Ring Master MomOctober 18, 2015Leave a comment

Healthy Halloween Food

I’m all about celebrating holidays in my house, and Halloween is no exception!  I’ve put together a few of my favorite healthy snacks and meals we love in our home!

First up is a spooky ghost face parfait.  Add a generous scoop or two of greek yogurt, fruit, more yogurt and top with three blackberries to create a ghost face!


Ghost pancakes are a fun way to start the day!  I always add a small amount of oil to my cookie cutters before pouring in the pancake batter so nothing sticks when you remove the cookie cutter.


A great snack idea for little ones is cutting a banana into slices, and adding peanut butter and sprinkles.  I have to say that the cyclops eyes are my fave!


Another wonderful snack idea is pumpkin pretzels (found at Target) with golden raisins and skull cucumbers!


Color coordinated juices and ghost chips are a fun snack idea for Halloween.  You can find these chips at Whole Foods.


For dinner, we roast our favorite veggies in season and add them to scary pasta!  You can find the pasta with natural dyes (yay!) at World Market.  Then we top with a splash or two of our favorite vinaigrette.


My kiddos love creepy dinner ideas, and this one is so easy and fun!  I slice hot dogs and then boil for a few minutes.  The curl up into worm shapes – ew!  Add berries and cubed cheese for a colorful meal!


This has to be my children’s favorite Halloween dinner probably because it’s the grossest looking idea!  I cooked chili and hot dogs separately.  Then I sliced hot dogs and used a straw to poke out two perfect circles.  They call this one pig snout chili and always want more.



Every year we make pizza with different Halloween shapes.  This time we slices olives to create bats, and used a tulip cookie cutter to create a ghost.


Below are affiliate links to items I used to make the above food.  Thanks for your support and Happy halloween!



Ring Master MomOctober 14, 2015Leave a comment

Halloween treats

My children still only want to trick or treat at a few houses on Halloween so I don’t mind making a few treats with them during October for some special fun!  Here are a few of my favorites.

Nothing screams fall treat like a caramel apple.  I love to slice up apples first and then set aside caramel sauce and toppings.


For a silly breakfast treat, take powdered donut holes and add eye sprinkles!


Brownies cut with cookie cutters and Reese’s pieces make for a great looking dessert.


We also played a Halloween touch and feel game.  (Don’t worry, we didn’t have this food to go waste!  It was immediately snacked upon after finishing!)  We had some family over for this game and I blindfolded everyone and told them I had just come back from the cemetery.  Tortilla pieces were handed to everyone and I described that as pieces of skin, banana chips were witches’ fingernails, baby carrots were fingers I had sliced off, pretzels were petrified rat tails, and room temperature olives were eyeballs.  It’s great to see how people (even grown ups!) squirm and make hilarious faces when they’re holding these items.


And finally, we love to “Boo” our neighbors.  We’ve been doing it for years, and this is what we included in our bags this year.


Below are affiliate links to a few items pictured above.  Thanks for your support, and Happy Halloween!


Ring Master MomMarch 15, 2015Leave a comment

Healthy St. Patrick’s Day snack ideas

Horray for St. Patrick’s day – my chance to make everything in my house look like a rainbow! We do cook authentic food on St. Patrick’s Day, but I thought I’d take a moment to share the yummy & healthy snacks and meals I like to create for my family.

Yogurt parfaits are a staple in this house so it’s just a slight adjustment to make a granola rainbow and kiwi shamrock.


What I love most about making rainbows with fruit and vegetables for my kids is that it gets them excited to eat their colors and it’s less of a chore to repeat over and over again to “eat those veggies!” As a parent, you know that you can’t always win at getting your little ones to eat all of their veggies every night. My kids have changing tastes and having a nice variety keeps them talking about favorites and how they like to help prepare them.

Pro tip – I love setting out plates of vegetables as I cook because they seem to be eaten up very quickly by little ones who are hungry from running around all day!


Don’t forget to eat your fruit, too!


By now, you probably know I am a huge fan of pastas in silly shapes and colors! My favorites are from World Market since they have natural dyes and almost every holiday.


I love serving pasta with roasted rainbow vegetables because it adds in a ton of great flavor. Depending on how thinly you’ve sliced your veggies, you’ll want to cook it at 425 for about 15 minutes. I sometimes coat them lightly with olive oil, salt, and Italian seasonings.


Cutting out small shamrocks from spinach is an easy way to add some vitamins to pizza. That’s what I tell myself anyway.


Hope this provides some colorful inspiration to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Erin go Bragh!


Ring Master MomFebruary 12, 20151 Comment

Valentine’s Day food for toddlers

We love holidays in our house, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. My kiddos have loved heart shapes since they were very small and I’ve always had fun creating meals for them in February. Below are a few ideas for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. I wanted to share with you that we’ve created in our house over the past few years. Apologies for some of the photos – they are a few years old and from phones older than that.

I love homemade donuts, and these turned out so well! I don’t have an original recipe – I use the instructions they send with the pan.


My kids are obsessed – seriously obsessed – with yogurt parfaits. This is another great breakfast idea that you can switch up with different types of greek yogurt, fruit, and granola. The hearts make it extra yummy!


This next idea for breakfast is the classic egg in a hole idea, but made with a heart shaped cookie cutter. I fry on one side since I like my yolk on the runny side, but it’s up to you! Bacon hearts are simple – cut one slice of bacon in half and shape! I always cook mine in the oven at 400 for 15-17 minutes.


Kashi’s Heart to Heart cereal has changed shape over the years, but it always a hit in our house – no matter the holiday. Talk about a fast breakfast idea!


Oatmeal is a great breakfast idea in February. The warm oats warm up any cool morning and “writing” love notes on top really puts a smile on anyone’s face. Once I have prepared the oatmeal, I scoop a few spoonfuls of red raspberry preserves into a small sandwich plastic bag. I cut an extremely small slit in the bottom corner and used it as a pastry bag to decorate!


Nothing says love like red and hearts. Combine that with one of my favorite flavors – red velvet – and you’ve got yourself a yummy breakfast! I use a red velvet pancake mix from World Market with a heart egg ring set. Make sure to use extra oil or spray so nothing sticks!


My kiddos love snacks as most young ones do! Heart shaped anything ensures nothing is left behind!



This special treat sandwich with Nutella and sprinkles is made by cutting a heart shaped cookie cutter through one side of bread. Too easy!


We change up this snack every month or so in our house. It doesn’t always include sprinkles, but it’s a fun treat (especially ones with natural dyes!) and my little ones always want more.


I have tried for a few years to perfect the heart shaped ice cubes and I think this year I’ve done it! I’ve always used water and natural dye and it VERY quickly melts as soon as I place the ice in the milk for my kiddos. This is fine because pink milk is fun on Valentine’s day, but I’m looking for something slightly more stable. I decided to smash up raspberries and place them in the tray. They froze perfectly and stayed in a heart shape for a long time.



Homemade heart marshmallows are a sweet surprise to any cup of hot chocolate!


Not much could be easier for dinner than pizza! Heart shaped pepperonis are made with my smallest cookie cutter and you could substitute veggies or even create your own heart shaped pizza dough!


My husband James is a huge fan of beets, and son Patrick loves goat cheese. These two salads combine both which is a hit in my book! I bought pre-sliced beets and cut them in heart shapes with a cookie cutter. For the goat cheese, I mixed it with some of the beet juice from the can and spread it on parchment paper and froze it for about 30 minutes. After, you can use a small cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes!



Cost Plus World Market always has a different pasta for every holiday! They are my favorite for little ones for their creative shapes and natural dyes. I roast seasonal veggies and splash on shitake seasame dressing for a dinner that’s always gobbled up.


I received a great non-stick heart shaped cake pan from my Auntie a few years ago and I don’t believe they sell the one I have anymore. They make lots of great ones I’ve included in links below. Funfetti makes this cake even sweeter.


We don’t usually exchange big gifts with the kids, but little books like this always show lots of love which is what this holiday is all about.


I hope you enjoyed this Valentine’s food round-up for little ones! Below are affiliate links to all of the products I used mentioned above.


Ring Master MomNovember 26, 2014Leave a comment

Healthy Thanksgiving snack

With lots of special treats around the holidays, I thought I’d share one of my favorite healthy Thanksgiving snacks for little ones!


The best part is that you can use any fruit your kids enjoy or whatever’s in season. Enjoy & Happy Thanksgiving!


Ring Master MomAugust 15, 2014Leave a comment

Making the switch to greek yogurt

With of few of my Mommy friends asking me how I got my kids eat greek yogurt, I thought I’d share a few pro tips!

It doesn’t matter if your kids are eating sugary crap with candy on top (yuck – I long for the day when there will be fresh fruit to add in instead of M&Ms!) or plain and want to make the switch to greek. It just takes a few days to get your tastebuds adjusted and you can feel good about eating healthy. Just be sure to still read labels when it comes to sugar and fat content.

If you think it may take a few days, I would suggest buying vanilla greek yogurt first and adding in fresh fruit and granola. My kids tend to scarf down every bit if they are served like this:


After this, you can start using plain greek and adding in a small amount of honey or fruit if you’d like until tastes adjust.

It’s also great start using as you cook to make a thick and delicious ranch sauce for dipping fresh veggies or a healthy substitute for ice cream when making popsicles.


I hope these tips help your family make the switch!


Ring Master MomJuly 9, 20141 Comment

Meal prep

I just did my first meal prep for lunches this week – and it was incredibly easy and satisfying! Let me back up a bit. I eat horribly around lunch time. I run around chasing kids, snack, put together puzzles, snack, have a dance party, snack – you get the point. I really want to change this, so I decided to prep lunches ahead of time for the week so I can stay on track for eating healthy.

I decided to categorize vegetables, grains/legumes, protein, and toppings. Those include sesame seeds, hot sauce, citrus zest, and herbs. Each week I’ll pick a few from each category to (hopefully!) keep things interesting. I also just got started on soups & stews to freeze!

This week I sauteed spinach in garlic and made tequila lime chicken with cilantro. I added black beans and two types of tomatoes from my garden. I love being able to walk in my garden to pick fresh veggies & herbs! It’s inspiring me to plant a lot more next season.


My favorite part of this process is that I only cook once 5 days! Fewer dishes and less mess are a win-win in my book.

Have you done meal prep before? What are your favorite foods to prep together?

Below is an affiliate link to the containers I used.


Ring Master MomJune 14, 2014Leave a comment

Apricot popsicles

Patrick and Alice and I have great fun with our popsicle maker. The other day when our neighbors’ apricot was literally raining down fresh fruit on our heads, we decided to create a new frozen treat together.

I had some plain greek yogurt and since that along with the apricots can be a mouthful of tart, I added some lavender honey to sweeten our pops.


I smashed up the apricots with a fork and added them to the yogurt along with the honey. There are no measurements here – just what you see pictured above. This is really more of an inspirational picture popsicle idea!

We froze these for a few hours and as you can see, they were a big hit!


Below is an affiliate link to the popsicle mold I used to create these sweet treats.


Ring Master MomApril 14, 2014Leave a comment

Poached eggs & brussels sprouts

I have another quick breakfast recipe involving eggs to share! I’m always on the lookout for ways to cook eggs differently since we get about 4 a day with our hens and my kids seriously crave variety. A few months ago while at the Farmers’ Market with Patrick, he picked out brussels sprouts as a new vegetable to try. I really enjoy them with bacon and thought to myself, “Why NOT cook them for breakfast!”

I hope you enjoy this breakfast/brunch recipe as much as I do!

2 eggs
2 slices of bacon
A handful or two of brussels sprouts (side note – I never measure things unless I’m baking. Use about a serving or more for this recipe.)

Shave brussels sprouts or slice in half. Shaving will cook these much faster – so it’s up to your individual taste.


Slice bacon into small pieces and cook at medium heat.


When cooked, place pieces on a paper-towel lined plate to soak excess fat. Add brussels sprouts to pan and cook for a few minutes. Adding halves will take a little longer, but you’ll want to cook these babies up in delicious bacon fat!

As these cook, start poaching your eggs.

When your sprouts are done cooking, plate them up and mix in your bacon. Add your eggs and enjoy! I’ve added a little truffle salt in the pic – more for flavor than salt. This dish already has salt so I don’t add any to my eggs. Garnish as you please!



Ring Master MomMarch 10, 2014Leave a comment

Pantry Soup

One of my favorite comfort foods is anything my Mom cooks. Ha – okay, I’ll narrow it down a bit further. She makes great soups and my favorite is called Pantry Soup. Growing up, we never ate the same Pantry Soup twice. The saying went, “Whatever’s in the pantry goes in the soup.” I have great memories of pulling out cans from the shelves and hoping there’d be a bag of alphabet noodles for an extra fun pot.

Fast forward to my sophomore year in college where I was out of the dorms and fending for myself in the kitchen. My pantry was pretty bare being a college student, and I believe I only had a box of Cheerios inside. I had to call my Mom and hold back giggles asking for a recipe for Pantry Soup. This is a dish I’ve cooked for any roommate during my college days, and my now for my family. Although posting this recipe goes against the idea of pulling out cans of whatever’s in your pantry, I thought I’d share since it’s a big request among my friends. Of course, add or subtract whatever you have stashed inside your pantry. That’s the fun of this dish!


Mom’s Pantry Soup

4 cans beef broth (14 oz. size)
4 cans water (once you open and pour out beef broth, use one of these cans and fill with water. Whatever broth you put in, use the same amount of water.)
1 can chili
1 large can kidney beans rinsed
2 cans corn
3/4 cup barley
1/2 bag of alphabet noodles
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup shell or elbow noodles
1 lb of extra lean ground beef

Put broth, water, chili, kidney beans, corn, barley, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce in pot and bring to a gentle boil for 15 minutes. Add noodles and cook for 20 minutes. This is a good place to check fluid if you’re not really measuring how many noodles or barley you’ve put in and can always add more water at this point. Roll the ground beef into meatballs and add to your pot. Boil gently for 10 minutes and enjoy!