Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Month of Thanks & Giving : Week 2 : Seeds Family Worship

One of the things I love the most about this month is that we, as a family, get to celebrate everything we're thankful for. And, we almost always come back to our faith - how thankful we are for Jesus and what He did on the cross for us, to give us life, when we really didn't deserve it!

Today, I'm happy to be giving away one of our family's favorite CDs with songs all about faith, from Seeds Family Worship.

Seeds is an awesome group that takes Bible verses and puts them to music. Good music. Catchy music. The kind of music that keeps the lyrics playing in your head. And what better music to have playing in your head than the words of God?

Here's a sample:

I love everything from Seeds, but, more importantly, my kids love all their songs too and my 5-year-old has been memorizing Scripture for the last year and a half completely easily and happily. It makes my mama heart so happy! 

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and click the button: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

By the way, if you already have this CD, I still recommend entering the giveaway - this would make a wonderful holiday present!

The winner will be selected next Wednesday, November 19.

Good luck and have a wonderful week!  

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Thanksgiving side : Roasted Green Beans

Thanksgiving is coming up in just two. short. WEEKS!!! Well, 2 and a half, technically … :)

As you can tell, I'm super excited about Turkey Day and I'm busy making all my plans using the planners I've found on Pintrest. They're all here, on my Thanksgiving board.

Follow Christa's board Thanksgiving Ideas on Pinterest.

One of the sides we'll be having this year is Roasted Green Beans. It's really easy and goes really well with the turkey and heavier side dishes that typically come with the main meal. It's also really great for families with both toddlers and babies - it's easy to prepare and easy to modify.

- French-style green beans, also called "haricot verts" (note: you can also use regular green beans, but I've found that they're a little more bitter than their longer, thinner French cousins) - use about a pound, or, if you really love them, add a little more
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

- Preheat oven to 400
- Toss green beans in olive oil and sea salt in a large Ziploc bag
- Bake for about 15 minutes, toss the green beans and bake for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the beans are roasted and crispy

Serving modifications:
- For babies and early eaters, let the beans cool and blend a few beans in a food processor. You can mix in water or formula, to make the consistency a little thinner for early eaters. I personally would add water instead of formula, since the beans have a little salt, and extra water will help thin that out. If you're concerned about the salt, you can rinse the roasted beans before mixing them.
- For older babies and toddlers, cut the beans into bite-size pieces (no larger than the size of a pea) and let them eat as finger food.
- For older children and adults, you can add a little goat cheese, if you like.


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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Month of Thanks & Giving : Week 1 : Truth in the Tinsel

I am so excited to celebrate this month of Thanksgiving with you all! We're a small community here on Mommy & Me Meals - and I get such joy out of our email conversations and your comments. I'm really thankful for all the sweet friends I've made, and am making, through this blog :)

Earlier this week, I shared with you that I'll be giving back this month. One new prize each Thursday during the month of November. 

Today, I'm thrilled to introduce you to the best-selling ebook "Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands." My friend Kristy turned me on to this last year on Facebook and it is seriously awesome. 

Here's what the ebook's author has to say: 

Isn't this great?!?!

My kids and I had a ton of fun with this last year - it was a great way to get them into the Bible during the busy advent season and they loved the crafts that went along with each day's Scripture reading. Amanda, the author, does a phenomenal job linking the verses to the craft and I could not recommend this ebook any more highly!

If you're ready to try for a chance to win, click onto Rafflecopter and follow the instructions. (Side note: for those of you who are used to seeing a Rafflecopter giveaway actually in a post … I'm sorry, but for some reason I can't get it to work! Please don't let that stop you from entering to win - click the link!)

If you win, you'll receive 2 copies of the ebook - one for you to keep and a 2nd for you to give to a friend! So you can have your own moment of "thanks" and "giving."

Make sure you get your entry in soon - this week's giveaway ends next Wednesday and the winner will be announced next Thursday morning.

Good luck and have a great week :)

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November: A Month of Thanks & Giving

I love November! The Fall season is in full swing, and after Halloween, "the holidays" are officially upon us. 

Thanksgiving is coming up in just a few short weeks. To celebrate the month and our awesome family and food-filled day, I'll be posting family-oriented Mommy & Me Meals recipes that incorporate lots of traditional Thanksgiving day ingredients. Turkey, green beans, pumpkin … they're all going to be right here on this blog, on Mondays and Wednesdays, beginning next week. 

On Thursdays, I'm going to feature a few of my favorite holiday-ish fun things - and give them away! I'm very thankful for those of you who keep tuning into this blog and for sharing it with your friends. It's my pleasure to give back to you and hopefully bless you as much as you keep blessing me! 

Because I'm a type-A schedule-oriented nut-job, I've planned them all out and thought I'd share a preview of what I'll be giving away this week: 
- Thursday, November 6: 2 copies of "Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands" (one for you, one for you to give away!) 
- Thursday, November 13: 1 copy of "Seeds of Faith" from Seeds Family Worship
- Thursday, November 20: 1 $25 gift card to MightyNest
- Thursday, November 27: 1 copy of "Christmas around the World" from Barefoot Books

I'm keeping it really easy to win these fun holiday prizes! 

To enter: 
- just come back here 
- comment on your favorite posts
- record your activity using the link in each post
- earn bonus entries for tweeting the giveaways
- and that's it! 

Each giveaway will run Thursday through Wednesday and winners will be announced on Thursday mornings (Eastern time in the US). 

If you have friends who might be interested in learning about cooking healthy meals for their families Mommy & Me Meals, and family and faith-filled products, please share this blog with them! My heart's desire is to build an online community of supportive, like-minded moms. 

Have a wonderful week!

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Family Time Friday

Welcome to a new series I'm calling "Family Time Friday." Each week, I'll focus on what it means to be a family. It might be a recipe, it might be a family activity, it might be a thought about motherhood or marriage. If you write on similar topics, I'd love to hear from you in the comments - or feature you as a guest writer! Email me for more information.

In the last couple of years, my husband and I have been trying to become more intentional about establishing family rituals and traditions. One of my favorites is "Pizza and a Movie Night." Every Friday night, we watch a feature-length movie, enjoy our favorite Against The Grain Pizza (it's gluten-free and delicious) and a big kitchen sink salad together. The kids stay up a little late ("late" for them is 7:30 pm …. ahhh, the little years!) and we all love relaxing at the end of a long week.

We tend to watch quite a few Disney movies! Our favorites right now are:


Planes (and we can't wait until Planes: Fire and Rescue comes out on DVD!)

And (the only non-Disney movie to make the list…) How to Train Your Dragon

If you have any end-of-the-week family traditions, please share in the comments! I'd love to hear what other families do to wind down before a weekend! 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Kitchen Sink Salads

Every week or so, my family ends up with a bunch of random veggies left the in fridge. Half a pepper and a quarter of an avocado after turkey chili …. a couple of carrots left over from root fries …. and on and on. Never enough to make a full meal, but always enough to cause a twinge of discomfort when I have to throw out what adds up to a bunch of wasted produce at the end of the week! What a waste of money!

A couple of months ago, I got so sick of wasting all that great produce, that I just said "to heck with it!" and started throwing it all in a salad.

And … the "kitchen sink salad" was born!

Why the name? My 5-year-old came up with it - because I throw in everything but the kitchen sink :)

As the name and description imply, this is a really easy one to make: 
- Start with a green base, even if you just have a bit of spinach or some lettuce leftover from a salad another night. 
- Add a protein of some kind. Sometimes, I'll add leftover chicken. In the case of the salad above, I added roasted pumpkin seeds. You can also try cooked beans or canned wild-caught salmon. 
- Next, chop up whatever leftover veggies you have - both raw and cooked are fine. If you have a combo of both, it adds interesting tastes and flavors. 
- Finally, add a fat. Avocado is a great option, or some cheese, in moderation. 

I've found that the best dressing to use on these mixed salads is a combo of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The salad pictured used about 3 Tbsp of olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of vinegar, but you can experiment to find what works best for your family. 

To modify this recipe for babies and toddlers, try the following: 
- For the littlest baby eaters: mash up some avocado and serve. 
- For older babies (who've been on solids for a while) and toddlers: chop an assortment of veggies into small, pea-sized pieces and let them choose what they like. 


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

It's that time of year again - the leaves are turning, the temperature is dropping and slow cookers are making their way out of closet storage :)

I'm always thinking about new ways to use my slow cooker (or "crock pot" for those of you who grew up with me in the Midwest). I've used several brands, but my Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, the one I currently own and use, is my favorite so far. It heats very consistently and and the temperature probe makes it really easy to check my meals, without lifting the lid and letting heat escape.

The problem, though, with slow cooker cooking and babies, is that it's often difficult to incorporate foods that can be mashed for babies. However, this recipe solves that problem! It can easily be modified for babies, toddlers and adults!

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

1 lb Ground Turkey
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
2 cups of chicken broth
4-6 diced carrots
1 cup of frozen corn
1 yellow onion, chopped

Chili toppings (all optional):
Chopped fresh cilantro
Diced avocado
Shredded cheese

Place all ingredients in slow cooker, stir a bit to loosen ground turkey and cook on HIGH for approximately 4 hours.

Serving ideas:
- For new eaters (babies just starting solids), strain out carrot pieces, rinse with cold water (to cool them) and mash before serving. Or, mash avocados and serve.
- For older babies and toddlers, strain the chili of liquid and let your kiddos pick out what they like.
- For moms, dads and other adults, serve with desired toppings.

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