Tips to Raising Healthy Kids, Starting in the Kitchen

kids in the kitchen

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

The incidence of children with obesity in the United States has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Currently about one in five school-aged children (ages 6-19) are obese. In addition, “about one-third of American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old,” the CDC reports. And the longer children are obese or overweight, the more likely they are to remain so as adults.

We have to change these statistics. And a recent study suggests the place to start is in the kitchen. Continue reading “Tips to Raising Healthy Kids, Starting in the Kitchen”

Meal Prepping Breakfast: Cajun Mini Frittatas and Breakfast Burritos

Jimmy Dean sausage

* This post is sponsored by Tyson Foods #JimmyDeanSausage, but all opinions stated here are my own. 

Friends, if you’ve followed me for long, you know that I love to meal prep on the weekends. With a family of six going in six different directions every weekday, it’s important to be prepared if we’re going to eat real food at home…together-ish.

I’ve been on a slow cooker freezer meal kick for dinners for the past month or so and have discovered so many wonderful, new slow cooker recipes. I shop, chop and bag on the weekends, then just throw in the slow cooker before I leave in the morning and BOOM — dinner is ready when we all get home in the evening. The hardest part is just remembering to thaw a freezer meal in advance.

Meal Prepping Breakfast

This past weekend, I decided to add breakfast to my meal prep plan. Since Madison and I both watch our carbs, the first recipe I made was Mini Cajun Frittatas. They were super easy using Jimmy Dean® Fully Cooked Pork Sausage Patties that I found at Walmart. These heat and serve sausage patties can be found in the refrigerator section (near the bacon and sausage) and are made with premium ingredients – a filling and savory, keto-friendly, protein-packed solution to breakfast. (Plus I found a coupon on Ibotta!)

Jimmy Dean sausage Continue reading “Meal Prepping Breakfast: Cajun Mini Frittatas and Breakfast Burritos”

Thanksgiving with a Latin Twist

COCINA IS HERE TO SPICE UP YOUR THANKSGIVING

The New Latin Food & Lifestyle Destination Shares Bold, Delicious Flavors

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Ready to spice up your Thanksgiving with something new?  Look no further than Cocina, the first online food destination dedicated to celebrating the Latin lifestyle through its vast culinary culture and libations, to spark your imagination with mouthwatering Thanksgiving videos and original recipes. Continue reading “Thanksgiving with a Latin Twist”

Arkansas Soybean Month

Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board

Governor Hutchinson proclaims November Arkansas Soybean Month, recognizing the impact of the state’s top row crop, soybeans.

Ranked 10th in the nation for soybean production, the 3.1 million acres harvested last year in 41 of Arkansas’s 75 counties yielded 145.7 million bushels valued at $1.4 billion. Grown in more than 50 percent of the state, soybeans are the largest row crop in Arkansas, covering more acres than rice, corn, sorghum and wheat combined. “The miracle bean” is found on almost every aisle of the supermarket and hardware stores, in biodiesel and more.

Continue reading “Arkansas Soybean Month”

5 Tips for a Better Breakfast (and surprising breakfast trends)

Barbara’s, maker of cereals and snacks made from wholesome ingredients,  released findings from its 2017 Breakfast Survey exposing surprising trends about the school morning breakfast habits of families across the nation. The survey, which was conducted with more than 1,000 parents nationwide, found that one in every five children go without breakfast at least once per week, with 38 percent of parents saying this is due to lack of time and hectic mornings. The number of kids who skip breakfast at least once per week surges to 50 percent for those who typically eat on-the-go or in the car, demonstrating a direct correlation between eating breakfast on-the-go and poor nutrition in the morning. Continue reading “5 Tips for a Better Breakfast (and surprising breakfast trends)”

Meal Planning 101

What's your Dinnertime Dilemma

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Meal Planning Made Easy!
Make Ahead – Make Fresh – Make Fast

Take your pick of dinner dilemmas … no time, food allergies, culinary challenged, picky eaters, empty fridge … maybe all of the above! There is no end to the challenges that come with feeding your family good, nutritious meals Monday through Sunday. That’s where we come in. Think of Wildtree as your “Menu Helper” – providing plenty of meal solutions so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time around the table!

MAKE AHEAD

Whether you’re cooking up a storm on the weekend for the upcoming week, or need ready-to-go frozen meals that are on the table in no time, Wildtree has your solution. At our Workshop, you can enjoy good company and conversation, and go home with 10 freezer meals your family will love. Or, cook a big batch on Sunday using Wildtree products and recipes – and have peace of mind knowing that your family is eating good, clean food. You’ll never have to read labels again!

MAKE FRESH

With Wildtree, your weekly trip to the supermarket or Farmer’s Market can actually be a pleasant experience. Choose your favorites from our recipe database– many under 30 minutes to prepare – or opt for one of our Make Fresh Dinners bundle of products and recipes, and put a fresh meal on the table any day of the week.

MAKE FAST

You’re driving home from work. You have a 10-minute window before your family asks, “What’s for dinner?” You need a plan – and you need it fast. Wildtree’s got you covered with “staple” products that turn the pasta in your pantry – or the ground beef in your fridge – into a meal in a flash. No recipe card needed!

Contact me for details on scheduling your own Workshop, for Make Fresh recipes, and for suggestions on which Wildtree staples to add to your kitchen pantry!

 

Wildtree to the Meal Prep Rescue!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve decided to turn my meal prep obsession into a business! Many of you can relate to spending too much money by eating out too often (and not as healthy as you’d like) or spending too much time cooking instead of with the people that matter most. Wildtree is both the perfect meal solution for our family and a great business fit for me. I’m excited to share details with you, but I also promise not to flood your newsfeed! I’ve created a group where I can help you meal plan fast, fresh, and affordably. Join me over at https://www.facebook.com/valleyandassociates/ for recipes, workshop dates and specials. Continue reading “Wildtree to the Meal Prep Rescue!”

Highlights from Granada, Nicaragua — Day 2

dinner at Bocodillos

Day 2 in Granada started with a delicious breakfast buffet at Hotel Plaza Colon. Maya ate breakfast non-stop for an hour. Literally. She ate mangos, watermelon, eggs, gallo pinto (rice and beans), bacon and more. She made friends with one of the cooks, Alejandra. After breakfast, we walked several blocks to the Choco Museo. It was already so hot, by the time we arrived at the museum, we needed to sit down and rest. Luckily, I hadn’t bought our tickets yet for the chocolate making class because Maya started feeling sick at her stomach. Not surprised. After we determined that Maya was not up for the 2 hour class, we slugged back to the hotel to regroup. breakfast buffet at Hotel Plaza Colon Continue reading “Highlights from Granada, Nicaragua — Day 2”

Unplanned Breakfast Guests

breakfast party

I had unplanned breakfast guests this morning. But let me back up and tell you the back story first….

Earlier this week, I got a call from Stephen, the youth pastor at my church, asking if I could provide breakfast for the three summer interns’ weekend retreat. I said sure — thinking that I’d drop off a carton of OJ and a giant box of donuts. So fast forward to this morning. I woke up around 6:30 and notice that Anthony is also just waking. I sleepily asked him if he thought donuts and juice are sufficient for the three interns and Stephen, and that I was going to drop it off at the church on my way to run errands this morning. Anthony said, “Stacey, they are coming here!” Wait…what?

So now it was around 6:40 a.m., I was still in bed, and just realized that I have four people coming to my house expecting a home-cooked breakfast in just over an hour. (I may have said a few choice words as I rushed to shower and get dressed.) I plotted out my menu in the shower.

Luckily I had everything that I needed except OJ and coffee creamer. I had two baked sweet potatoes in the frig — that became sweet potato muffins. I always have eggs, cheese and some sort of meat on hand — that became a ham and Swiss cheese quiche with a pepperoni crust. I had a bowl of fruit that was nearing it’s end of life — that became fruit salad. And finally I sliced up some Italian sausage and cooked it up in a hot skillet. Anthony ran to the grocery store for the orange juice and creamer.

breakfast

Success! Most all the food was eaten, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. My kids even helped load the dishwasher afterwards — bonus!

 

breakfast party

breakfast party

I feel like Superwoman right now. Guess I’ll tackle errands and laundry next.