Making Snack Time Fun

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(Pictured above –  A Crazy Taco, Chef Waffle and the Dabbing Apple)

My son is in Kindergarten and he’s required to bring his snack in a bag that is separate from his lunch. In the beginning of the year I would just toss his snack in a bag and write his name on the front but he complained that it was “so boring”. So then I started to draw quick, simple pictures on the front with a black marker or pen and for a while that was cool with him. But then one day I was in the mood to color and decided to start making his brown bags a little more fun and interesting and once I started, there was no going back!

I am by no means an artist or really even someone who can draw however, I consider myself to be a pretty decent “copycat“. I can look at most simple pictures and sketch them out but if you handed me a piece of paper and asked to come up with something on my own I’d really struggle. What I love about making these snack bags is that number one, it makes my little guy so happy but for myself, it’s just a nice relaxing activity. I enjoy the peaceful quiet and coloring when my kids are at school and I have some uninterrupted time to myself. Coloring makes you slow down, de-stress and relax which is why adult coloring books and apps have become so popular over the years. That being said, making the snack bags is also a fun activity to do with your kids as well. A lot of times they will be doing their own coloring or craft projects at the table and I’ll pull up a seat and work on the bags. They love sitting side-by-side while we all color, it’s great bonding time. We color, we chat, we giggle and we just have fun.

For some cute ideas on what to draw, think of the things your own kids like and do a Google® search but the add the word “cartoon” in front of whatever it is you’re searching for. For example, my son wanted me to draw him a waffle so I did a search for “cartoon waffle“. The images that come up are so much cuter and easier to draw than a standard image. You can find almost anything in a colorful cartoon version. My kids got a Nintendo® Switch for Christmas so right now I am working on characters from the Mario Brothers games and my most favorite character of all time, Yoshi. I can’t wait to see how those turn out! Check out the pics below to see some of the other snack bags that I made for my son over the last few weeks. Enjoy!

The Christmas Collection

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Kid’s Choice – The little blue guy is a character my son created named “Rock Boy”

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Mickey Mouse – I made this one the day before we were leaving for Disney World®

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Little Reindeer and his favorite squishie toy named, “Cubby”

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Squishie Toys and a Creepy Monster

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Mario Bros. Characters

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yoshi

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“Elf on the Shelf” – Helpful Ideas to Make this Annual Tradition More Fun

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He’s almost baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!! The thought of this little guy making his appearance every year seems to strike fear and dread in the hearts of so many parents across the country. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be such a miserable chore, In fact, I really love when our little “Hermie” makes his way back to our home. With just a little planning, a dash of creativity and a positive mindset this tradition can be not only fun, but something you actually look forward to year after year.

FIRST THINGS FIRST – CUT YOUR “ELF SELF” SOME SLACK

Nothing is fun when it starts to feel a like chore. So cut yourself some slack and don’t try to do too much or do everything perfectly. Regardless of what you think, you aren’t in competition with everyone else. So if having a North Pole Breakfast is too much for you, skip it. It you love being creative, go crazy with the mischief. If you barely want to do this tradition at all, do the bare minimum. Look, there is no ONE way to handle this elf and every mom and dad needs to what is best for them. In the end, this is just supposed to be fun and not a source of stress and anxiety. So follow these simple tips to keep your sanity this holiday season.

  • Don’t overdo it! You don’t need to do a big, elaborate setup for your elf every single day. Pace yourself and on most days, keep it simple. Sprinkle in just a few extra special setups here and there.
  • Use what you have around the house! Don’t make yourself crazy buying accessories for the elf, use what you already have. Take advantage of craft supplies, your kids toys, what’s in your pantry, etc.
  • Avoid elf mishaps, place him up high! Keep the elf high instead of within your kids easy reach. Countertops, wall units bartops, on top of furniture, etc. are all good places to place your elf. Avoid the floor, if possible, unless it’s in a room you aren’t often in or you know for sure your kid won’t be tempted to touch him.
  • Need ideas? Pinterest is a wealth of great information. You will find a ton of wonderful Elf on the Shelf® ideas there. Also, Google® is your friend, when you need some inspiration in a pinch, a quick search will provide you with everything you need.
  • Have fun! This isn’t suppose to be a miserable experience so try to have a little fun with it. Remember, the belief in Christmas magic is fleeting and before you know it your children won’t believe anymore. So take advantage while they are little and enjoy this magical time with them.
WELCOME BACK – NORTH POLE BREAKFAST

As we approach Thanksgiving, preparations are well underway for our annual, “North Pole Breakfast“. This is a very special breakfast that we have the day after Thanksgiving to welcome back our little elf. We have been doing this tradition for years now and it’s something that both of my children eagerly look forward to. Not only are they excited to see the elf but it’s a fun and festive way to officially kick off the holiday season!

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On Thanksgiving night, after the kids are asleep, I get to work. I decorate the kitchen, put out the elf and elf pets and prep breakfast. Some easy and delicious things to make for breakfast and which can be prepared ahead of time are: Bacon and Cheddar Quiche , French Toast Casserole , and even Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls . Another super cute idea, which is easier than making your own, is to buy store-bought Pillsbury® Cinnamon rolls and assemble the baked rolls on a platter in a Christmas tree shape. Tint the white icing with a little green food dye and sprinkle the “tree” with festive Christmas sprinkles. Other cute ideas for breakfast are white powdered doughnut holes otherwise known as, “snowballs” and mini muffins or as we like to call them, “elf muffins“. I also give them “jingle juice” which is any red colored beverage served in small, inexpensive milk bottles that I found at Michael’s®. I top them off with cute a Christmas colored straw. I always put out candy canes on the table and a few small Christmas chocolates as well. Get as creative as you would like for your breakfast but remember, do as much in advance as possible because your kids will wake up excited and ready to party in the morning so the less cooking you need to do that day, the better.

I know a North Pole Breakfast might sound like a lot but everything you see pictured above are Christmas things I already had in the house OR things I purchased for cheap at the Dollar Store and use year after year. The Dollar Store is a great place to pick up cute things to use at the breakfast. They have a nice assortment of holiday paper goods, Christmas tins and baskets, elf themed decorations, tablecloths, elf hats, gift bags and more! On the backs of my chairs I place these adorable “Santa hats” that just slide over the chair and make everything look even more festive. The best part? They were just $1/each! Once you have all of your goodies pulled together, you’re ready to go every year!

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Create an “elf bin“. I bought an inexpensive storage tote at Target and that is where I keep all of my decorations for the North Pole Breakfast along with our elf, elf pets, letters, and little goodies from the elf to the kids. It makes coordinating the elf’s return so much easier because everything that I need for a successful holiday season is all contained in one box which I keep in front of all the other Christmas boxes. A few years ago I typed up both my “Welcome Back” and “Goodbye” letters from Hermie and I keep multiple copies of each in the storage box and reuse the same typed letters every year. Trust me on this one, my daughter who is 10 years old with a memory like an elephant, still has never even realized that the letters are the same year after year. Having them ready to go saves you a lot of time and effort.

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Another tradition that we have at our North Pole Breakfast is that each of my children receive a gift from the elf. I don’t go overboard, just a few cute things to get them in the Christmas spirit. They each have an Elf on the Shelf® themed gift bag that I fill with chocolate Santa lollipops, holiday PEZ dispensers, coloring books, Christmas word searches, little notepads and pencils, Christmas themed Chapstick® and other cute things I find in the dollar section. In addition, every year they each get a special ornament chosen just for them to place on the Christmas tree. Sometimes I get them personalized ones but often I try to find an ornament that is meaningful to them in some way whether it’s a favorite hobby, character, toy etc. I love looking back at these ornaments every year and the kids get so excited to have a new and special ornament to hang on the tree. You don’t have to spend a lot, a few little things are all it takes to make them happy that morning and they really love getting a gift from their special elf.

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Lastly, no North Pole Breakfast would be complete without adorable matching Christmas pajamas! You can find so many cute choices at children’s clothing stores or even at Target or Walmart for cheap. I always give them their pj’s on Thanksgiving night because I love having pictures of them in the morning in their cute, festive, coordinated pajamas.

ELF BUSINESS

First things first, it’s time to remind your children of the rules. A good way to do that is to reread to them the book that came with your elf. Remind them that the elf’s magical powers only work if they don’t touch him. They can look at him, talk to him, show him things but “no touchy”! This reminder really makes your job easier because the last thing you want is for the kids to touch the elf, he falls down and then looks like some lifeless, splattered toy on the floor. You want to keep up the allusion and for the elf to stay put in whatever scene or mischief you create for him so the easiest way to achieve that is if the kids are reminded to just leave him alone.

Let’s face it, this elf has a job to do and that’s to keep our kids in line until the big day arrives. What good would the elf be if he didn’t give any status updates? I found this cute Daily Elf Report plaque at a nearby home store for less than $3. No matter where our elf shows up in the house, this little plaque is right nearby so the kids can see if they are behaving or need to do a little better. If you cannot find one of these, make your own reusable little sign. Anything that can give the kids a quick update will work fine, even a basic small white board will do.

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On the rare occasion I need to check off “naughty” I also leave a written “Elf Report” so that they know what behaviors they need to work on. You can find a ton of these cute little printables right online. This one below is my favorite, click here to print out your own.

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Sometimes our elf likes to leave them a treat which is usually coordinated with whatever mischief he created the previous night. Again, the dollar sections in stores are a great place to pick up fun items such as Elf on the Shelf® themed toys, coloring books, Christmas candy and other cute little things. A fun gift to leave every so often is one of the “elf couture” outfits available for both the elf and elf pets. My kids get a kick out of these!

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Occasionally the elf will leave them edible treats as well, such as special Christmas cookies, candies or the makings for hot chocolate. On the first on December he always brings them their chocolate advent calendars which my kids LOVE! They have so much fun counting down to Christmas and being able to eat a sweet treat each morning. Be as creative as you like with the gifts and treats, it really makes the whole Elf on the Shelf® experience so much more fun for them. One last tip, try to buy all of the treats and goodies at one time, store them in your elf bin and you’ll always have something on hand to pull out when you need it.

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When it comes to this Elf on the Shelf® business there is nothing more heart stopping than realizing right as your kids wake up that you FORGOT TO MOVE THE ELF!!!!! Don’t let this happen to you by simply setting a reminder on your phone for right before you go to bed. This will ensure that you never run into any problems because there is nothing worse than your kid waking up to find the elf sitting in the same place as the day before. Don’t ruin the magic, set a reminder. Oh, and should you STILL forget, make sure you have a few clever excuses up your sleeve such as, “The elf wasn’t feeling well so Santa told him to rest” or  “He broke his leg“. If you need a few more in your arsenal, click here for “25 Reasons Our Elf Didn’t Move“.

So what happens if you’re headed off on vacation this holiday season? The kids might be panicked that there elf won’t know where to find them. No worries, just bring him along. We’re going to Walt Disney World in December and I plan on tucking our elf away into one of the suitcases (carry-on, of course) and I will have him show up all around the hotel room while we’re there. I’ll keep the mischief simple and try to incorporate a little Disney magic into the fun as well. If you need a few more traveling suggestions for your elf, just click here .

Lastly, I like to photograph my elf every night, it’s a good reminder for me of the things I’ve done plus, when I am feeling stumped at night I have some inspiration to draw from. If nothing else, having the pics will be a nice reminder down the road of all the fun you had when your kids were little. Maybe one day they will carry on the tradition with their own children and those pics will come in handy!

FAREWELL ELF

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Inevitably, Christmas will roll around and it will be time to say goodbye. Our elf always leaves the kids a special plate and mug for Santa’s cookies and milk, carrots and food for the reindeer, the special Santa key so he can get into our house, a goodbye letter and his final “Naughty or Nice” report. I found these adorable Naughty and Nice cards at Target for under $3.

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It’s always sad to say goodbye to our elf because the kids have so much fun in those weeks leading up to Christmas but at least we know that he’ll always be back. On Christmas Eve, before they go to bed, they say their goodbyes and it’s the one time they are allowed to pick up the elf because he no longer needs his magic as he will be returning to the North Pole on Santa’s sleigh. They like to give him a hug, a kiss and to wish him Merry Christmas. With that, another season of The Elf on the Shelf® comes to a close.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAVE FUN

I hope that these tips and ideas are helpful as you embark on another season with your own Elf on the Shelf®. Please feel free to comment below and share any of your own elf ideas! I’ve done so many fun things with our elf over the years but I’ve had a few standout favorites. Check them out below and let me know what you think. Happy Holidays to all!

SOME OF MY FAVORITE ELF ON THE SHELF® IDEAS

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Feeding the Ducks

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Christmas Trivia Challenge

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Oops! Reindeer Poop

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Potato Sack Races

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Potty Time

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Hot Cocoa Break

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Zip Line Fun

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A Friendly Reminder

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Elf Sandwich………Hold the Mayo!

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Story Time with Frosty

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Phone Calls from Santa

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Christmas Melodies

 

Your Week-By-Week Thanksgiving Countdown

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Don’t panic but Thanksgiving will be here before you know it! My helpful November checklist has plenty of planning tips and ideas to help get you ready for the big day! I’ve laid them out week-by-week to help better organize you and get you ready for the holiday. Keep checking back for added tips and information as we get closer and closer to the holiday. Gobble, gobble!!

THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE HOLIDAY

  • Time to plan your guest list and begin reaching out to family and friends in order to get a headcount.
  • Take inventory! Do you have enough paper goods, china, utensils, serving bowls and dishes, glasses, etc? Look over what you have, plan your table settings and go shopping early for items that you might be missing.
  • Stock up! Thanksgiving isn’t without leftovers and if you’re planning on sending your guests home with “doggy bags” make sure you have plenty of food storage containers on hand. You can find lots of different options at restaurant supply stores, warehouse stores such as Costco and party outlet stores. Make sure to have an assortment of sizes and shapes so that everyone has what they need for leftovers.
  • Plan your menu. Start thinking about what appetizers, dishes and desserts you’d like to make OR which ones you’ll need others to bring that day. Also, plan what things you can make ahead of time and freeze so that you have less work to do on the actual holiday.
  • Get your home holiday ready by planning what decorations you’d like to put out and how you’ll fit everyone. Try different configurations for your tables so that every guest is seated comfortably that day.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE HOLIDAY

  • Plan out your table setting and guest seating. Gather dishes, silverware, linens and serving dishes. Make (or buy) guest place cards and fill them out. If possible, set up your table now so it’s one less thing to take care of Thanksgiving week.
  • Begin your grocery shopping early. Purchase non-perishable items such as chicken stock, Gravy Master, soda, wine, beer, canned vegetables, flour and other baking essentials, etc now so that you have less to shop for later.
  • Start making room in your pantry, fridge and freezer. Use up the food you have, organize to make room for more.
  • Plan out your cooking schedule. Make yourself a list outlining what you need to cook, when you need to cook it and for how long. Having a cooking plan in place ensures that your meal comes together perfectly and at the same time on the big day!
  • Cook ahead! Start prepping what you can now to make your cooking flow more easily later. Good ideas to make and freeze are pie crusts, cookie dough, rolls, cranberry sauce, gravy stock, etc.
  • Get your house holiday ready! Start cleaning, especially in areas of the house you aren’t in often such as the formal living and dining room. Put our your Thanksgiving decorations and create a warm, festive place for your guests.
  • Start thinking about serving dishes. Plan out which platters and bowls you will use for each dish. Use sticky notes to label each one so that on Thanksgiving you won’t need to scramble for the right serving vessel, everything will be ready and marked.
  • Plan about your drink menu. Wine, soda and beer are all essential drinks to have on hand but think about adding a specialty cocktail that you can easily make for your guests or even a nice autumn inspired sangria. Hot mulled cider is also another cozy, festive beverage to serve on Thanksgiving.
  • Breathe and take some time for yourself to decompress.

ONE WEEK BEFORE THE HOLIDAY

  • If using a frozen turkey, begin to plan your thawing schedule.

In the Refrigerator (40°F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days

In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound
4 to 12 pounds 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours

  • Finish your food shopping however, buy fruit and vegetables as close to the holiday as possible so they are at peak freshness.
  • Chill beverages ahead of time and if possible, have a cooler set out on the big day to keep everything cold without sacrificing fridge space.
  • Confirm your guest list.
  • Finish cleaning your house. Also, if you have not done so already, clean our your refrigerator and make room for all of the ingredients and prepared dishes.
  • Set your table with the linens, dishes and silverware. Put out your labeled serving pieces so they are accessible as you need them.
  • They day or two before Thanksgiving, chop up all of your vegetables so that you can easily grab what you need when cooking.
  • Prepare all of the cold dishes in advance, about a day or two before Thanksgiving. This includes any relishes, dips, cranberry sauce, or cold salads. Also, prep your cold hors d’oeuvres such as cheese platters and crudités.
  • Prep your stuffing the day before so it is ready to be baked the day of Thanksgiving.
  • Assemble nut platters and candy dishes ahead of time so that all you need to do on the big day is place them on the tables.
  • Go over your schedule for cooking times. Make sure you have every dish accounted for and planned out ahead of time.
  • The day before Thanksgiving, prep your bird so that all you have to do in the morning is put it in the oven. Place the turkey on a roasting rack, season, add your aromatics and cover with tin foil.
  • Take a breath! You’re in the home stretch now.

THE DAY OF THANKSGIVING

You made it!! The big day is finally here!! Time to pull everything together and get this feast on the table.

  • First things first, get an early start! The more time you leave yourself to get things ready the more calm you’ll be.
  • Go over your checklist and double check all of the cooking times so that everything will finish cooking in a timely manner and be ready to be served together.
  • Preheat your oven and adjust the racks.
  • Get the turkey in the oven. Try and avoid opening the oven door too much throughout the roasting process. The more you open the door, the more heat you let escape thus increasing the overall cooking time.
  • While the turkey is roasting, prep your app trays. Cover them in plastic wrap and store until ready to serve. Also, prep any remaining side dishes and take anything out of the fridge that needs to be at room temperature before being baked or served.
  • Double check you table settings and put out any last minute chairs, dishes, serving pieces or silverware.
  • Assemble all of your labeled serving bowls, platters and dishes nearby so everything is within reach as the food is ready.
  • Fill ice buckets and set up your bar. Get your cocktail ingredients prepped and ready to go so as guests want a drink you can make them quickly.
  • Make sure your dishwasher is empty as it will make cleanup later much easier.
  • Once the turkey is ready, allow it rest before carving. In the meantime, warm up and/or finish cooking all of the other dishes you will be serving.
  • Make you gravy. Keep it nice and hot over low heat on the stove. Serve it right as dinner is ready.
  • Carve the turkey and arrange slices on a nice platter. I like to separate the dark from the white meat so it’s easier for everyone to take what they like.
  • Don’t forget to allow plenty of time for coffee to percolate later. While the coffee is brewing, take our your desserts and get them ready for serving. If making fresh whipped cream, now is the time to whip that up. Also, soften ice cream for easier serving.

Last but not least…………………….ENJOY!!!! Take your time, enjoy the fruits of your labor and be grateful and thankful for this wonderful day of food, friends and family.

From my house to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Best Food Practices in the Kitchen

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Part of being a good cook, whether at home or professionally, means handling food with care and caution because it doesn’t take much to spread germs or make people sick. Something as simple as a bit of underdone meat or improperly washed produce can have very detrimental effects to one’s health. If there is one thing that I can impress upon you it is this: Move through your kitchen methodically and with careful attention to food safety. ALWAYS implement good kitchen practices in everything that you do. 

Whenever I go online I find myself a little stunned by many of the comments or suggestions that I read on other cooking sites or groups as there seems to be such a lack of regard for food safety and best practices in the kitchen. I am a real stickler for cleanliness and proper technique and I feel that both are essential when cooking or baking. All too often people overlook these simple but necessary practices in the interest of getting things done quickly or to save time and money but that can be so costly to your well being.

To that end, below are some very common (and unsettling) comments that I have seen come up time and time again. They are as follows:

  • “I forgot the meat out on the counter all night but it’s fine, I keep my house cool” – Keeping your house cool is not an acceptable substitute for a refrigerator or freezer which can safely keep meat at a consistent, appropriate temperature. If you leave meat out on your counter, especially unfrozen raw meat, you NEED to toss it. It does not take much for bacterial growth to take hold and meat is very susceptible to contamination. Any meat that has been kept out at room temperature should be discarded immediately.
  • “Well, it’s not like I have ever gotten sick from doing it this way” – My answer to that is simple. Count yourself lucky. Just because it’s never happened before doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Food poisoning is no laughing matter, avoid it by practicing safe handling of food in the kitchen.
  • “It’s fine to thaw meat on the counter, I always do it” – The problem with thawing meat on the counter is that it’s thawing at different rates. While the inner most part of the meat may still be cold and frozen the outside is thawing more quickly essentially leaving you with raw meat that is being kept at room temperature. Harmful bacteria can grow extremely rapidly at room temperature so avoid leaving your meat out on the counter at all costs. The safest method to thaw meat is in your refrigerator, in the microwave using a defrost setting or in cold water in the sink. Just be sure to change the water about every 30 minutes to ensure proper thawing.
  • “I always cool my leftovers before putting them in the fridge” – Harmful bacterial growth can occur quickly in warm food that is left out. Your safest bet is to package leftovers right away and place them right into the refrigerator.
  • “I don’t need to wash my fruits and vegetables, they are clean enough” – Unless you handpicked all of your fruit and veggies directly from the farm yourself (and even then they still need to be cleaned) the produce that you bring home from the supermarket is generally filthy. That beautiful orange from Florida that you’re about to bite into has been picked by a farmer and placed in a dirty crate or bag, has been processed for packaging, stored on a truck, transported, unloaded in a supermarket warehouse and then touched by employees stocking the shelves and customers picking through the fruit. Talk about manhandling! Protect yourself by thoroughly washing your produce in cold water or even better, use a simple vinegar wash. To make a vinegar wash -Combine 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar in a large bowl and soak your fruit and veggies. The vinegar wash will help to remove germs, pesticides, wax, and other icky grime.
  • “I love to use the leftover marinade for serving” – This one is an absolute NO-NO. Leftover marinade harbors a ton of bacteria and germs from the raw meat and should never be served alongside your cooked meal. If you want to serve extra marinade on the side, either make a smaller batch for serving or reserve some marinade before adding the meat to it.
  • “I washed my hands before I started cooking, I don’t need to keep re-washing them” – Your hands can be a breeding ground for germs so when you’re cooking be sure to wash them and wash them often, especially when handling raw meat. Remember, there is no such thing as washing your hands too much while cooking. The cleaner your hands, the safer the food preparation.
  • “I rinsed off the cutting board, it’s clean enough to use again” – Rinsing and washing are two very different practices. You should always scrub your cutting boards with hot, soapy water but even better, run them through a cycle in the dishwasher. I have at least 6-7 plastic cutting boards in my kitchen so that I always have a clean one ready to go without having to stop and wash them along the way. I also keep separate cutting boards for meat to avoid any possible cross contamination with other foods.
  • “It’s not bad, I tasted it and it smells and tastes fine” – Just because something smells and tastes fine does not mean it hasn’t gone bad. Sometimes the bacterial growth is not obvious enough for you to taste or smell however, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Instead of relying on your senses, use tried and true safe kitchen practices for storing, prepping, cooking and keeping leftovers. For reference, most leftovers should be discarded within just a few days, especially foods like homemade tomato sauce which can quickly mold due to its high moisture content and lack of preservatives.
  • “I use the same serving platter for the cooked meat that held the raw meat, it’s no big deal” – But alas, it is in fact a big deal. You do not want to ever cross contaminate your meal by introducing raw meat juices. Always place your cooked foods on a clean platter or surface. If you hate making extra work for yourself by using multiple platters or dishes try this little trick. Cover your platter with plastic wrap before placing the raw meat on top then simply remove the plastic wrap when you’re ready to serve and you will have a nice, clean surface for your cooked meat or other foods.

The above are just a few examples of comments I’ve heard or read time and time again however, there are countless other examples of unsafe food practices out there. The best thing that you can do is to make every effort to practice safe and healthy habits in the kitchen and when in doubt, err on the side of caution and don’t take the risk. It’s far too easy to get sick from food and so often it can be avoided by following just a few simple safety precautions. Check out the links below for more useful information and tips!

USDA – Basics for Handling Food Safely

Livestrong – How To Clean Fruits and Vegetables with Vinegar

EXTRA!! EXTRA!! Read all about it!! The KIDS CORNER is here!!

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Attention Moms and Dads!! The Simply Delicious Kitchen has added new content on the blog for your budding little chefs called, Kids Corner ! It’s filled with all kinds of fun activities, easy recipes for them to make in the kitchen and healthy snack and meal ideas for you parents to prepare for them. All are kid tested and kid approved! Click above to check out all of the new sections, “Fun for Kids“, “Happy Healthy Kids” and “Kids in the Kitchen“. Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!!

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HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

I hope that all who celebrate have a wonderful holiday and enjoy the long weekend with family and friends! I will be taking a break to spend some time with my own family but I will be returning to The Simply Delicious Kitchen on Monday, July 9th with all new tips, tricks, information and recipes. As always, thank you all for your continued support! xoxo

See You Real Soon!

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To all of my loyal and wonderful followers, I wanted to let you know that beginning tomorrow, May 11th I will be away on vacation with my family. As my internet access will be limited I will be taking a break from my blog to spend some much needed quality time with my husband and children. I will return on Monday, May 21st with all new tips, tricks, recipes, and information. As always, thank you for supporting my blog and I look forward to getting back to cooking and blogging when I return.

Life Might Throw You A Curve Ball…………But You Can Turn That Game Around!

A few months ago on the blog I shared a little bit about my diabetes diagnosis, Sometimes Life Throws You A Curve Ball , and I just thought I would take this opportunity to give you all a little update on myself.

In September I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after having had two rounds of gestational diabetes back in 2008 and 2013. My sugars just a few months ago were very high and my A1C, which is the measure of whether or not you have diabetes, was EXTREMELY high as well.

In September, my A1C was 9.7 which is well ABOVE where the baseline is for diabetes. (see the chart below) I’m happy to report that as of today, my current A1C level is 5.2!!!! Well BELOW where they even consider you to be PRE-diabetic, I’m basically in normal range now.

As soon as I realized my sugars were high in September I changed everything about how I was eating. I cut out a lot of processed foods, I started limiting my snacking, and I made many changes to my diet such as including more veggies, lean meats and healthy carbs. Even with occasional treats, the holidays, and all of my baking I’ve managed to lose 21 lbs in addition to bringing my A1C down and controlling my sugars.

I wanted to share my story and my success just in case there is someone else out there going through the same thing. Small changes can have big results and it’s never too late to make a difference in your health. I’m so thankful I was paying attention to the signs my body was giving me that something was “off” and I’m so thrilled to be able to say that in just a few short months, I’ve turned so much around. It feels really good to be in control of my health!

Thank you to everyone for listening, for your supportive words a few months ago and for your continued support of my blog. It means so much! xo

sugars

See You in 2018!!!

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Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!! 

I will be taking the next week off from my blog and to enjoy Christmas, spend time with my family, and just relax throughout the remainder of this holiday season. I’ll be back on January 1st with all new recipes, tips, and more!!

Also, thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting my blog this last year. It’s meant SO much to have so many followers and to hear so many kind words from everyone about how much they’ve enjoyed my recipes and tips. I hope that you will continue to stick with me in 2018!!

Merry Christmas 🎄🎄and Happy New Year 🎉🎉