Bananas Foster Protein Shake with Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla 

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I’ve gotten really into lifting heavy weights lately. I’m finding that it’s making the most difference in shedding my baby weight.  Of course any weightlifting routine means an increase in protein, which can be problematic if you’re a vegetarian like myself. This shake is not only high in protein and vegan.  It’s the perfect pre-workout shake!

Recipe:

In a blender combine:

1.5 tsp. Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Ice

1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 scoop Trader Joe’s Vanilla Protein Powder

2 bananas


Blend it up and enjoy either before or after a hard workout!  I added a packet of Stevia to my shake because I have a sweet tooth, but it’s not necessary.  The Bourbon Vanilla tastes amazing in cookies and I used it in Adam’s Birthday cake icing.  It’s good stuff!

Easy and Beautiful Gluten-free, Vegan, and Kosher Gift Basket

For the holidays I struggled with the idea of what to get my parents this year. In years past when I was making a salary I could purchase them anything I wanted but this year was different as I’m a stay at home mom.   I figured DIY would be the way to go this year.  My dad just recently switched to a gluten-free diet. In my home we keep kosher and vegetarian. So as my parents were visiting I figured it would be a lovely hostess type presentation to give my dad a gluten- free gift basket that he could snack from while staying with me.

 

I started with this tin basket that I found at Michael’s. I got it for 40% off with my coupon which turned out to be a great deal. Then I went on to find some cute snowflake tin containers that I could put different food items and as well as snowflake treat bags.

I filled the gift tins and treat bags with nuts and a dried fruit. I included a bag of gluten-free pretzels and a bag of gluten-free granola. I found all of these items at Trader Joe’s.  If you go to their customer service they will print you out a list of all of their gluten-free items which is so incredibly helpful.

This turned out to be a really easy and useful gift for my dad. He didn’t have to go searching in my pantry for something to eat. He had plenty to eat while he was at my house despite all of the very different diets that we have in my home. This would make a great gift to anybody who’s visiting or staying with you. Also this would be a great teacher gift as it was fairly inexpensive and only took about 30 minutes to put together!  For shipping: I would recommend wrapping cellophane around it and tying some ribbon on top before putting it into the box so everything will stay pretty well in tact during the shipping. I also would recommend going with a lighter box, maybe even a wooden crate which they have plenty of at Michael’s and with that 40% off coupon it would be very inexpensive. You could also paint the crates different colors and match them with your tins!

Make Ahead Pesto with DoTerra Oregano Essential Oil (Kosher, Vegan, Gluten -Free)

make-ahead-pestoAs you know I love essential oils. I am actually not at all advertising for DoTerra -I don’t have a membership anymore and I’m not selling oils. I do believe in the oils and I use them every day.  I use DoTerra products every day. I believe that they do help overtime to make your family a little bit healthier. I have started cooking more and more with DoTerra oils.  This is an easy pesto that you can make ahead of time and freeze in baby food jars and have on hand when you want to make pastas or pizzas or flat breads or avocado toast. I use a Ninja to process all of the ingredients but this can be done in a food processor or blender. I also will be sharing with you how to do this with a pasta and brussels sprouts which is how I’ve been serving it almost weekly to my husband -he loves it!  This recipe is kosher, vegan, and gluten free!
Ingredients:

1 stalk of brussel sprouts

12 oz. of pasta (I used brown rice and quinoa pasta from Trader Joe’s.)

16 oz. of fresh basil

6 oz. of Olive Oil plus 2tbs. For the brussel sprouts

2 tbs. garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

6 drops of DoTerra Oregano Oil

Directions:

Set the oven to 350°F. Remove the brussels sprouts from the stock using a serrated knife and then cut each of them and have removing the outer petals. Wash all of the brussel sprouts. I did this by placing on my brussel sprouts in a colander and then rinsing them off.  Set out a large pot of water with lots of salt and placed on the stove on high heat.

While you are waiting for the water to boil put all your brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix it up with your hands.  Put the brussels sprouts into the oven for 30 minutes.

By now the pasta water should be boiling add your pasta and cook according to the instructions on the box. While your pasta is cooking put the basil,  6 ounces of olive oil, garlic and oregano oil into the blender or food processor and blend until you see all the ingredients are completely combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste and blend one more time.  I only use 2 ounces of the pesto each time I make my pasta or pizzas so I put them into baby food jars and store them in the freezer.  They store nicely for about six weeks. If you really want to give your pesto a healthy boost you can add one or two more drops of oregano oil once it has defrosted on the countertop. The defrosting usually takes about an hour and a half at room temperature.

Native American Vest and Headband

One piece of advice I would give anyone teaching children art is that to have successful projects you need to have a successful example.  I always make every project I teach before I teach it with the same materials and techniques so I can iron out any issues that may arise beforehand.  It also gives students an idea of how their project could look-however I stress to them that we are all different artists with different hands.  Picasso and Matisse made the same paintings for years-but each master artist made their paintings in their personal style.

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I have taught this project to kindergarteners before.  It’s fun, easy, and cheap.  It ties in multiculturalism, symbolism, recycling, wearable art, social studies, and literature (if you read Native American folktales with the project).My students loved this project and Ben was very pleased with his vest and headband today. To start I took the handles off the Trader Joes shopping bag, cut straight up the center of the front of the bag and cut off the bottom of the bag.  Then I turned it inside out so it would be blank and drew circles where I wanted the arm holes to be.  I cut them out and added fringe.

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I practiced writing Ben’s name with him in black Sharpie.  I’m hoping repetition will pay off and he will know how to write his name in a year or so.  This is a good for kindergarteners to practice writing their names and also for everyone to know who’s project belongs to whom.

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I drew a turkey and Native American pictographs I remember on the back of the vest. Ben used the Sharpie and Crayola markers to draw and color on the back.  He practiced making glue dots and added feathers to his vest.

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We used scraps to create a headband with feathers.  I can’t wait to see all the kiddos tomorrow with their vests and headbands-they’ll be so cute!