Super Easy, Super Cute Easter Bunny Cupcakes

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Nothing says Easter like Easter Bunny cupcakes, am I right? I am always trying to make on-theme desserts for a certain little pre-schooler and these certainly made her a happy girl. You can make your own cupcakes of course or even just buy undecorated cupcakes from a bakery or grocery store and just add the simple decorations.

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You’ll need frosted cupcakes, jelly beans, coconut, black icing, and bunny ears. To make the ears I just cut the shapes from white and pink construction paper and taped them to toothpicks (see? Easy.)

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Roll the frosted cupcake top in coconut and make sure it’s fully covered.

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Decorate! Halved jelly beans make the perfect eyes and nose for a bunny. Draw whiskers and a mouth with your black icing. Stick in the ears.

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Voila – Easter bunny cupcakes to please any/all kiddos. Enjoy!

PS. Easter bunny Rice Krispie Treats

Beet Pesto Recipe

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We are always look for interesting recipes to try and recently we found one recently that was totally awesome – beet pesto. You may think that word combination is actually an oxymoron, but let me tell you that this recipe was so interesting and delicious. Just like any pesto, the beets (almost the replacement for the basil in a traditional pesto) were blended with nuts (walnuts instead of pine nuts), oil, and cheese. What was most interesting was the use of beet juice in place of much of the oil so it wasn’t so heavy and oily – I think that’s part of what I liked it so much. I included the beet pesto recipe below because I can’t find the recipe online to link to.

Beet Pesto (serves 4)

1/4C Walnuts
8 oz. can red beets (save juice)
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4C Grated Parmesan cheese

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Toast your walnuts in a non-stick pan.

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Blend walnuts with next 4 ingredients and mix in beet juice until desired consistency is reached. I used our Magic Bullet and it worked fine.

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Mix blended beet mixture with cheese.

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As directed on the original recipe we served the beet pesto over salmon. So good, so interesting! Enjoy!

Ps. Galic scape pesto is good, too!

Simple At-Home Curry Recipe

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Sometimes you need a little something special for dinner even if you don’t have any extra time to make it. We get bored with the same old, same old and every once in a while will make a more ethnic dish to literally spice it up. Making curry at home is so easy now because curry powder and paste can be found at most regular grocery stores. We based our recipe on this Simple Vegetable Curry Recipe from Martha Stewart. We omitted the cauliflower (I love it, husband hates it – marriage is compromise, right?) and added shrimp. We also used brown rice in place of white because we honestly don’t even own white rice these days, I do think the sauce would taste best over white rice though, if you have it.

Simple-At-Home-Curry-Recipe-1Hopefully buying a jar of red curry paste for one recipe will inspire you to make curry more often! Also, I would suggest getting regular coconut milk to make sure your sauce thickens properly (we only bought light coconut milk because that’s all they had at our store).

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We added the shrimp at the point in the recipe when you add the chick peas but you could add cooked chicken at that point too.

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This was a good one – enjoy!

Cooking with a Toddler

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We are constantly cooking in our house and from a very early age we knew it was rubbing off on our Z. We put her tiny kitchen (we got the wood DUKTIG Play Kitchen one from Ikea, I highly recommend it) in our kitchen so we could all cook together at the same time. Well, I had been noticing the past year or so she wants to get in there and REALLY cook in the REAL kitchen. So, over time, I’ve pulled together some ideas of how your toddler can actually help you cook. It’s great when I start to cook and Z walks up and says “I help?” and I can actually respond with a list of things she can do to really help – after washing her hands first, of course!

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Placing items onto a baking sheet or in a bowl after they’re chopped/cut. Especially in the fall/winter, we’re always baking and roasting. As I chop/cut, it’s the perfect task for your toddler to place your cut item onto the baking sheet or into a bowl.

Tossing pre-measured ingredients into the bowl or mixer. I measure the flour, she can pour it in! I measure the nutmeg, she tosses it in the bowl. This one can get messy but they feel really proud when they make in the bowl.

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Tossing in spices/herbs that don’t require measuring. We put dried parsley in a bunch of recipes and never measure it. So, Z’s job is to toss in the dried parsley, I tell her when to stop…and most of the time she does, but what’s an extra shake of dried parsley? Grinding pepper falls into this category too.

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Using benign kitchen appliances. Do I let her use the knife to chop veggies? No. Do I let her use the rolling pin to give the dough an extra roll or 10? Yes. And she always feels awesome about it! But honestly, the lettuce spinner is her fave benign kitchen appliance – she could spin lettuce for HOURS!

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Hanging out with a snack. Sometimes “I help” really means, let’s hang out. And she gets to have a snack of whatever I’m making while I make it, not a bad gig!

How do you let your little one help in the kitchen?

Halibut with Roasted Beets

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I’m giving you another recipe this week! Must mean one thing…it’s CSA season and we’re getting tons of random vegetables that we’re scouring the internet for interesting recipes to use them all. Today I bring you what to do if you have tons of greens (like kale or swiss chard) and beets, as we had earlier this week. I found this recipe on Martha’s site for Halibut with Roasted Beets and it was great. Healthy, satisfying with interesting flavor combinations – tangy mustard, sweet golden beets, and tart greens.

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We used swiss chard and golden beets seasoned with salt and plenty of pepper.

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Dijon mustard on halibut is an unexpectedly fabulous combination.

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Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs

One night last week we were headed to a local farm that hosts a weekly concert in the summer for families where you can bring a picnic and sit outside as you eat and listen. We had pasta salad and cheese on hand but we needed one other thing to complete our picnic dinner. We had a few eggs in the fridge so we decided to make deviled eggs – nothing says picnic like deviled eggs!  Martha Stewart has a whole bunch of awesome deviled egg recipes but based on ingredients we had on hand we made these Old Bay Deviled Eggs. SO GOOD.

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Mix…

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…spoon mixture…

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…enjoy! Btw, we topped ours with green onions.

Veggie Cream Cheese

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Other than my cute husband, my favorite export out of New York is the bagels. They are just…better than anywhere else – it’s the water, they say. So whenever my in-laws visit they always bring a few up for us to freeze and enjoy later. And since we don’t eat them very often, when we do, I prefer to go all out with plenty of cream cheese. My fave is a whole wheat bagel with veggie cream cheese. But it has to be real veggie cream cheese, like from an actual bagel shop – the kind you get a the grocery store barely qualifies as having veggies in it, they look more like shavings of freeze dried unidentifiable vegetables. So what do I do? I make my own! It’s simple and I highly recommend it the next time you treat yourself to a New York (or local!) bagel.

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It’s easy to make yourself, just grab your favorite veggies and softened cream cheese. For this batch I used a green onion, carrot, and celery. I also recommend a little lightly cooked broccoli and finely diced green or red pepper as options, too.

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I chopped the onion and celery and shaved the carrot. Mix with your softened cream cheese, spread on your bagel…

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…and enjoy!

HappyFamily GIVEAWAY

We’re always on the go in our house and it seems like my Z is always hungry – “I hun-ry, Mommy!” It’s hard, especially as your baby gets older and turns into a toddler, to find great tasting AND healthy snacks for them to eat. Well, we were first introduced to HappyFamily products when we started Baby Bootcamp (strollerfit) classes when my Z was just 6 weeks old. Once she was old enough to try them (around 6 months) we were hooked.

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When we go out, I always carry a lunch bag full of food, my Z likes variety in her snacks (she gets that from her daddy!).

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HappyFamily makes premium organic food for babies, toddlers, kids & grownups. I love HappyFamily because I can let my Z snack on any of their products and know she’s getting healthy, organic, and often veggie-packed food (toddler granola bars with kale, SCORE!). And my Z loves HappyFamily because everything tastes SO good. I am so excited to bring you a HappyFamily product giveaway today!

 

happy-family-1The above is filled my Z’s favorites from HappyFamily, enter to win this package – it contains a selection of their most popular products for ages 12 months and older, as well as additional coupons, educational resource cards and a reusable Happy Family tote bag! *Note you may receive different product flavors than you see here.

Use the rafflecopter widget to enter below! The more options you do to enter, the more entries to win you’ll have! A winner will be picked Monday, April 21.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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UPDATE: Contest has ended – thanks for playing! A winner has been notified via email.

*Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by HappyFamily, however all above opinions and thoughts are my very own. And let’s face it, you know toddlers and my Z would not be gladly snacking in the above pics if she didn’t LOVE these products!

London Recap, part II – Dining Guide

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So enough about the sites of London – let’s talk about the FOOD!

I often hear from people that, especially when traveling internationally, they tend to frequent places that are familiar (US chains), end up being disappointed (crappy hotel restaurant), or end up spending way too much (concierge recommendation). We always make the effort to do some research before we leave to have a few reservations made for the trip.  Then, once you’re there fill in the rest of your nights with places you find yourself in travel guides, recommendations, or simply places you see on your journey. This trip, we ended up buying a 1-month phone and data plan from a UK provider and converting an old iPhone we brought with us so we could check in with Z and hear from my parents how she was doing. Having this was SO helpful to have the internet to get around the city and be able to research places to dine. Truth be told, it was only about $23 and we had unlimited data for the 8 days we were in the UK. Plus, we could then text with the friends we were visiting in Scotland.

All of that said…here’s how we ate our way through London (good thing we walked and walked ALL day!!):

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Our first night in London we hopped right over to Anchor & Hope in Waterloo, an authentic English gastropub with communal table seating and all sorts of English classics on the menu – it was great. To start, we split this goat cheese and beet salad with mint, an unexpected bite we will be sure to add to our homemade version.

 

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English breakfast of a scone with jam and cream at a French patisserie right near our hotel.

 

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The flavors of crisps (potato chips) were unbelievably unique…and odd. We tried the fish & chips in the middle photo and brought the beef burger home for our Z (hamburgers are her favorite).

 

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We had made a reservation for The Orange, but then decided to visit their sister restaurant The Grazing Goat on Sunday night for an English Sunday Roast – so many restaurants serve a traditional Sunday Roast menu on Sundays (of course) that we wanted to try it. I had the chicken and it was to die for!

 

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I mentioned in my first London Recap that we picnicked in Hyde Park. Well the full story is that we stayed around the corner from famed department store Selfridges – where they have the most fabulous food store with amazing prepared foods from around the globe, cheese counters, meat counters, bakeries, florists, everything you can imagine! It’s like a Whole Foods x10. So…we went there to grab some yummy treats for our picnic lunch. Notice we’re eating on my Turkish Towel – the perfect travel companion! Also – yes, we tried more crisps, these roast chicken crisps were not good. =(

 

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We used Yelp to figure out a well-liked Indian restaurant since Indian food is so big in London. We ended up at Salt Whiskey Bar – which from the appearance just seemed like a place to drink whiskey and smoke with a hookah, but when we got our food, we totally agreed with all the reviews. We started with the cheese balls, left (SO much better tasting than their name would lead you to believe) and then got the classic chicken tikka masala.  Yum…

 

Clos-Maggiore-London

The nicest restaurant we dined at was Clos Maggiore, voted the most romantic restaurant in London! We were celebrating our wedding anniversary, so we figured, why not? We made this reservation before we left and mid-week at 6:30 was the only time left! Anyway…the food was amazing, I had the Scottish Monkfish pictured above.

A few notes:
– for lunch every day we ate on the go, usually a little sandwich from one of the “on the go” places.
– unfortunately we never had dessert so I never tried sticky toffee pudding!
– You’re probably wondering where fish and chips are on this guide!  Well, we did have fish and chips at a pretty nice place for lunch one day – it was a gourmet version and I didn’t take a photo because I thought we’d go to a try the dish again at a pub. I found this list helpful when trying to find a place. We had planned on going to Sutton & Sons, but…we ran out of time and meals. Next time!

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So there is my London dining guide – I hope you find it helpful the next time you cross the pond!

*top photo of some bar snacks at a hotel bar down the street from where we stayed.
*bottom photo of breakfast-on-the-go one morning at Selfridges Food Market.