There’s no better way to warm up on a chilly winter day than with a steaming bowl of soup. In honor of National Soup Month, we’re sharing this recipe for Kielbasa Bean Soup, which is a hearty meal in itself. It’s perfect for throwing together while the kids are outside playing or putting in the slow cooker so it’s ready when everyone gets home from school and work.
Kielbasa Bean Soup, serves 6
2 cups potatoes, ½-inch diced and par boiled*
2 10.5-ounce cans bean with bacon soup
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
¾ pound kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces Continue reading
Children welcome and wish for snow days… a day off from school and a chance to play outside. When the weather keeps you from getting out of the driveway, seize the day. Bundle them up and head outside, you too!
- Summer games seem new in the snow. Try: Tic-Tac -Toe, Hop-Scotch, Follow-the-Leader, and Tag.
- Play Act. Pretend you’re the Grinch, Frosty, or any of your favorite Christmas story characters and reenact you kid’s favorite scenes outside together.
- Build something with snow. Give them shovels and buckets to create roads, forts, cities, creatures, and furniture. Continue reading
Are you Worried that your Kids are Headed Toward Obesity … before they Grow Up?
We’re a culture obsessed with media-glorified body images and yet our lifestyles are mostly sedentary with a high caloric intake. We live in a contradiction that’s challenging to win. The grocery check-out highlights our dilemma with these two messages: (1) Follow these recipes and indulge, and (2) look like these super-skinny models. Research shows our health is the loser. Both children and adults are experiencing an obesity epidemic. 30% of American children are overweight or obese [i] and 35.7% of adults are obese [ii]. On top of that, our self-esteem wanes as we don’t meet the size and shape expectations we’ve accepted.
I was chubby when I was little so my dad used to have me step on the scale. He’d create contests and I’d earn prizes for losing weight. I have to say, Continue reading
Thursday, January 16 is National Hot and Spicy Food Day. It is the perfect opportunity to combat chilly weather with food that will heat you from the inside out.
Warm up with our Buffalo Ranch Chicken, Sweet Chipotle Chicken Cavatappi, or Outlaw Chicken Sliders from January’s menu. The great thing about celebrating spicy flavors with Dream Dinners is that you can make your dinners as hot or as mild as your family likes. By adjusting the spices to fit your family’s tastes, you can rest assured that your kids will still enjoy all of these family-friendly meals.
You can also ramp up the heat on any of these dinners and invite friends over to help you celebrate. Just be sure to serve these Cream Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos as an appetizer!
When the extra Christmas decorations begin to feel like clutter and the daylight hours are short, it is the perfect time to organize. Cupboards are like junk drawers – they need regular attention or things become lost and unused.
When you feel that organization motivation coming, seize the day and tackle your pantry!
Try this step-by-step guide for creating a little peace when you open your cupboards.
- Take a look at your space and get some ideas for how you want to organize everything and make a list of needed supplies. (Clear storage containers, labels, shelf risers, lazy susans, pull-out trays, wire racks for under shelves, book/magazine containers, and larger bins). Get everything you need before you dive into it.
- Pull everything out, clean, and toss dated items.
- Group like items or like purposes. This is about how you will use them so do what’s intuitive for you. These groups can be: fruits, vegetables, cereals, snacks, condiments, mixes, baking, entertaining, appliances, recipes and cookbooks, or, sort by meal if you prefer.
- Put infrequently used items on the top and in the back. Place heavy objects and appliances down low. Organize each group in a different section of your cupboard.
- For an extra tidy look and to keep things sealed and fresh, use clear containers instead of the original packaging. For loose bags, place in low clear containers that can be pulled out.
- Label shelves and containers. Don’t forget this part. This helps your family help you by following your system.
Ahh, now you’ve done it. That wasn’t so bad was it?
If you’ve tackled the question of, ‘What’s for dinner?’ you might still have one big dilemma, ‘When’s dinner?’ Family meals are not easy to squeeze into today’s busy family calendar. We have long work hours, long commutes, kids going in multiple extracurricular directions, and if there’s room, we might grab a date night or enjoy a hobby of our own. Assembling everyone together can be like gathering butterflies. Sometimes it just seems easier to give into the chaos and let our families eat when they can.
Why protect the family dinner hour?
Consider this: “study after study shows that the more often families eat together, the less likely the kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop Continue reading
January is National Slow Cooking Month. Using a Crock Pot, or slow cooker, is a great way to save time and make a delicious meal. Just set it up in the morning and you’ll have a delicious-smelling, hot dinner waiting for you when you get home – perfect for busy weeknights!
Both the Old Fashioned Pot Roast with Baby Bakers or the Honey Chipotle Pork Roast with Almond Green Beans from our December menu are great meals to make in a slow cooker. Plus both come with a side, so you’ll have a complete dinner with no extra prep work. Continue reading
Dream Dinners has you eating homemade meals at dinner time, but we want to help you avoid ‘famished-overeating’ by incorporating healthy snacks into your diet.
Why healthy snacks? Because sugary snacks make you crave more sugar causing your blood sugar levels to vacillate like a yoyo. Low blood sugar makes you feel hungry and therefore eat more. That’s why you can eat a muffin and feel so hungry in only a couple of hours.
Fiber, protein, and unsaturated oils will slow digestion and help keep your metabolism stable. Fiber rich foods include whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables, beans, peas, and lentils. You can find protein in lean meats, fish, jerky, low fat cheeses, nuts, eggs, and beans. If you eat something sweet, pair it with these other food that will slow its digestion.
You can stop the yo-yoing cycle by wisely choosing healthy snacks. Here are some of favorites from our Dream Dinners Home Office staff. Continue reading
No matter how many years have passed since our kids were little, every mom has a vivid grocery store meltdown story. That is our kid’s meltdown, not ours. Well, both are a viable possibility! When I see little children having tantrums at the checkout or hear loud wailing 3 aisles over, all I have is compassion. Even on a good day, packing children in and out while focusing on the task at hand really is a lot of work!
My daughter was sweet and easy, but, my son offered me a strong dose of ‘reality therapy.’ He was like a wild animal throwing things and running off. One time when he Continue reading
I try always to do everything in moderation so my resolutions are usually around improving something, like cleaning out a closet, organizing my pantry, and telling people how much I appreciate them. Hopefully I am making a new habit not just a resolution.
During last summer’s vacation, Vern and I decided to chew each bite of food 30 times. It’s not a magical number, since chewing depends on what you eat, but, that was our resolution. It’s a healthy choice for aiding digestion, increasing satiety, and maintaining weight. We figured if we spent 2 weeks focusing on chewing we could create a habit.
We kept it positive and agreed to remind each other in advance. When something was delicious and we were tempted to wolf it down we’d say with a wink, “30 chews.” We’re still more aware of it, so it’s helped! Here’s a great link about all the benefits of chewing: http://www.symptomfind.com/health/reasons-to-chew-your-food/
This year … Continue reading
This year, the Super Bowl will be on February 2nd so make sure to plan ahead with meals off the January menu that can easily be turned into game day appetizers. You’ll be able to spend less time focusing on food prep and more time enjoying the game! Try these great options.
Buffalo Ranch Chicken – Enjoy all the flavor of a football halftime favorite without the mess. Slice chicken and skewer each piece with a toothpick or serve on buns as chicken burgers. Continue reading
I like the word nostalgia and the images it evokes. I think of my grandma’s house, her pink sinks and mint cupboards, the two pre-set tables – one for adults and one for kids, the colored plastic divided plates we always got to use, and the aroma of delicious food bubbling in the oven. These are my memories of Sunday dinners.
Nostalgia is a wistful desire to return in our minds to a former time in our lives, our homeland, and our relationships. It’s a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. (Dictionary.com)
None of our lives are perfect, and maybe that’s what makes nostalgia endearing, because we remember with fondness something that was special in our past, the ‘cream that rose to the top’ of mundane or difficult times.
What is the essence and causes of nostalgia? Think of the input you receive from your five senses and the emotion this stirs. Consider your own heartwarming memory. What Continue reading
There’s no doubt that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. But even with all the shopping and prep work that needs to be done, the parties and get-togethers you plan to attend, it’s important to spend some time relaxing with your family.
Try making our Toasted Pecan Chicken with Mashed Potatoes for savory comfort food the whole family will love. Then whip up some hot chocolate and pick out a favorite holiday movie for a relaxing family movie night. Need movie ideas? Continue reading
As a new mom, I remember feeling a little pressure if asked about my budding family’s traditions. We were young, growing, and didn’t have any yet. I wanted to create traditions but somehow got overwhelmed by visions of polished scenes from magazines.
Today, I’ve learned you don’t always have to set out to choose a tradition, it can choose you. My husband started adding a splash of 7-Up to my granddaughter’s orange juice for a sparkling treat. This has become an important favorite to her. Every time she spends the night, she remembers and asks for grandpa’s sparkling orange juice with breakfast. A tradition has been born!
Traditions are any habit that you do with consistency that creates warm memories, security, and stability in your family. Over the years, traditions create remembrances Continue reading
Just a week before the Christmas holiday, Bake Cookies Day is the perfect reminder to make a few sweet treats to share with family and friends. To get you started, we’re sharing a cookie recipe handed down by co-founder Tina Kuna’s mother. Grandma Rue (as the grandkids who couldn’t pronounce her last name, Ruebush, called her) brought these scrumptious cookies to festive occasions, making every gathering extra special. Whether you’re planning on serving Christmas cookies to your kids, gifting a plateful to friends or participating in an annual cookie exchange, these cookies are sure to be a delicious addition.
Grandma Rue’s Peanut Butter Fingers
You’ll need: Continue reading