Family * Travel * Food

Top Vegetables That Are Easy To Grow In Your Garden

Growing your own vegetables can be a rewarding experience, both for the taste of fresh produce and the satisfaction of knowing where your food comes from. However, not all vegetables are created equal when it comes to ease of growth. Here are a few vegetables that are relatively easy to grow and tips for controlling pests without chemicals. 

Easy-to-grow vegetables: 

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a classic garden staple and for good reason. They are relatively easy to grow, especially if you live in a warm climate. They do require a bit of staking or cage support, but once they get going they will produce an abundance of fruit.
  • Peppers: Peppers are another easy-to-grow option. You can choose from hot or sweet. They like warm weather, so make sure to plant them in a sunny spot. They also do well in containers, making them a great option for small spaces.
  • Cucumbers: Cucumbers are a great choice for a home garden. They grow quickly and don't require a lot of space. They also do well in containers, but make sure to provide a trellis or other support for the vine to climb. They do need a lot of water, especially if you live in a hot climate. Keep in mind that if you do plant in a container, you should water daily. Just make sure your container has adequate drain holes. 
  • Leafy Greens: Leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, bok choy and kale are easy to grow and can be planted in succession to ensure a continuous harvest throughout the growing season.
  • Okra: Okra are pretty hardy plants and grow quite tall as they give off fruit. It is important that you check them daily to harvest as needed. If you grow about 3-4 plants, you will get enough okra to add into your favorite recipes well through the summer. 

To control pests without chemicals, try using companion planting, row covers, and hand picking. Companion planting is the practice of planting certain crops together to discourage pests. For example, planting basil or marigolds near tomatoes can help deter tomato hornworms. Row covers can also be used to protect crops from pests. And hand picking pests off plants can be a simple and effective way to keep populations under control.

Another tip is to make sure your garden is healthy and strong, this will make it less attractive to pests and diseases. This can be achieved by ensuring your soil is rich in nutrients, providing adequate water, and choosing plants that are well suited to your climate.

In conclusion, growing your own vegetables can be a very rewarding and delicious experience, and there are many easy to grow options available. By using companion planting, row covers, hand picking and making sure your garden is healthy and strong, you can control pests without resorting to chemicals.

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Protein Sources for A Healthy Vegetarian Lifestyle

Are you considering moving toward a vegetarian lifestyle? If so, check out these helpful tips on how to incorporate more protein in your diet. 


Since meat and dairy products are the richest sources of protein, non-vegetarians can afford not to monitor their protein intake rigorously. However, if you’re a vegetarian, making sure you’re getting the right amount of daily protein is crucial to your health and well-being. Because protein is a critical nutrient without which you cannot stay healthy and active, you need to plan your diet around it. 

Here is a list of protein sources to include in your nutrition plan so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Soybeans 
No doubt, soybeans are the best protein source you can find as a vegetarian. Most importantly, soybeans are considered a whole protein source because they contain all nine essential amino acids that the body needs. Because meat products provide complete protein whereas most plants provide incomplete protein, soybeans are an excellent replacement for meat. Learn more about Sustainable Soy to get the whole range of health benefits from this essential plant. Besides tofu or tempeh, you can incorporate soybeans into a wide variety of delicious vegetarian recipes. 

Lentils
Made up of 25% protein, lentils are an excellent protein source and meat alternative. Although today these highly-nutritious and inexpensive legumes are often neglected, lentils were considered in the past the equivalent of a superfood, in many cultures around the world. Besides containing a high amount of protein, lentils are packed with other nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, zinc, B vitamins, and iron. Lentils are also very versatile when cooked so you can include them easily in your diet. From lentil soup to salads, there’s a wide variety of choices. 


Chickpeas & Beans
Most varieties of beans contain high amounts of protein. This includes chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzo beans. Whether you prefer kidney, pinto, or black beans, you can get at least 15 grams of protein from each cooked cup.  In addition, beans contain iron, fiber, potassium, and several other crucial nutrients. A diet rich in chickpeas and beans not only can help you keep your protein intake at an optimal level, but can also bring you many health benefits such as low cholesterol, balanced blood sugar level, and reduced belly fat

Hemp seeds 
Although soybeans and legumes are known for being great protein sources, few people know about hemp seeds. Not only that hemp seeds provide whole protein, but they also contain 50% more protein than the popular flax seeds and chia seeds. They’re also a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. You can add hemp seeds to your salad, oatmeal, or daily smoothie, but you can also include it as an primary ingredient in granola bars or vegetarian desserts. 
Being a vegetarian doesn’t require a compromise in nutrition quality, as some people wrongly assume. There are plenty of high-protein vegetarian foods and ingredients you can add to your diet that will help you maintain excellent health. The only thing to remember is to diversify your diet to include a variety of protein sources since most plants don’t provide whole protein. 
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Delicious Mashed Sweet Potatoes Side Dish Recipe

Are you a fan of sweet potatoes? They have been a family favorite in my home for decades. My husband and kids love the classic Southern style candied yams, while I prefer a them baked or as a mashed sweet potato side dish. One of our favorite steakhouses makes a delectable sweet potato casserole. While I do love it, the topping adds so much extra sugar that can be a bit too much.

I have experimented with sweet potatoes and finally came up with the winning combination that makes for a delicious side dish. I like serving mashed sweet potatoes with pretty much any protein and some steamed or sauteed veggies. I used to bake the sweet potatoes in the oven, but it takes way too long and heats my kitchen up a lot, especially during the warmer months. Now I use my electric pressure cooker which takes about one third of the time to bake them to perfection.

The first step is choosing sweet potatoes that are very close to the same size and thickness. This ensures that they will all cook through properly. Trust me, I've used different sizes before and it was a disaster! I recommend going with smaller, slimmer potatoes if they are available. It might all be in my head, but I find them to have a smoother texture and a sweeter taste.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes Side Dish Recipe

Ingredients: 

4 small to medium size sweet potatoes
3 tbsp salted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt

Preparation: 

Rinse off sweet potatoes with cold water and dry with paper towels. Pierce whole sweet potatoes with a fork in multiple places. Pour 1 1/4 cup water in the bottom of your pressure cooker. Place rack on the bottom. Place whole sweet potatoes on rack as evenly as you can. Set pressure cooker on low setting for 14 minutes. I use a Cuisinart 6-qt pressure cooker, so you might have to check your instruction manual for the brand you have. 

Let sweet potatoes sit for 5 minutes when the cooking process ends, then release the remaining pressure. Place potatoes on a plate and carefully remove the skin and place in a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and add the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and salt. Give it a taste to see if you need to add any additional brown sugar or syrup if needed. 

Transfer sweet potatoes to a oven-proof baking dish. Add several tiny pieces of butter on top of potatoes (optional) and microwave for 5 minutes or bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve with your favorite fish, chicken or beef dish. Enjoy! 


This sweet potato dish is so creamy and delicious! You can make it as sweet as you like. If you aren't a fan of maple syrup, you can omit it and add a little bit of cinnamon and some vanilla extract. 


Our favorite main dishes we enjoy pairing with these mashed sweet potatoes are meatloaf, salmon, air fried chicken thighs and ribeye steaks. We also love to serve it at holiday dinners along with this mac and cheese recipe
If you are a sweet potato lover, you will definitely enjoy this recipe. If you decide to give it a try, drop me a line and let me know what you thought of it. Thank you so much for stopping by today! 
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Low-Carb Italian Zucchini Boats

If you are like me, you probably have about 50 links on Facebook you saved of recipe or exercise videos that caught your eye. You tell yourself you will try that amazing ab and butt workout or will bake that triple chocolate ganache brownie cake. Am I right? Of course I am! I think Facebook sends me bi-weekly reminders that tell me I have saved links to look at. 

Recently I saw a recipe floating around Facebook for Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats and it really caught my attention. This time it was only saved for one week instead of 6 months. Today was finally the day I would try it. I followed the recipe for the most part, but tweaked it to my taste. First, here is the original recipe from Valerie's Kitchen. 


I omitted the extra flesh that was scraped out of the zucchini as well as the panko bread crumbs at the end. Also, I used a 4-cheese pasta sauce instead of marinara like the recipe stated. I put my own favorite seasonings including some extra hot pepper and let me tell you, this one is a winner! It was so full of flavor and good texture. I like the fact that you top it with the cheeses at the end so that it doesn't get too gooey or lose it's cheesiness (if that makes sense).



My husband does not like zucchini at all. He will tolerate trying one or two slices in a stir-fry, but still never actually liked it. He is currently practicing a lower carb lifestyle and I begged him to try it. He started with half of one "boat" and soon went back to the kitchen for the other half. He was so shocked that he really liked it. I was super shocked myself! I think it was because the zucchini was still pretty firm that he enjoyed it. If it was squooshy, he would not touch it. 

I did notice that if you reheat any of the leftovers that they become a whole lot softer. I think I will bake for 5-8 minutes less next time. One of my blog friends mentioned that her mother makes these with eggplant. I will definitely have to try that in the future. If you are looking for a delicious dinner idea (especially if you are doing LCHF), you must try this one!

Thanks for stopping by đŸ’“
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Easy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe

If you are stuck on what to make for dinner, I have a great idea for you. I make a chicken broccoli casserole that is not only delicious, but it is super easy. My daughters love having leftovers to take to lunch the next day. This is one dish that never gets wasted, and is a great option to make for a friend or family member who could use a home-cooked meal that will last a few days.

Before I share the recipe, I wanted to mention that you can substitute some ingredients for fat-free or low-fat if you are cutting calories. It will still be just as delicious.


Easy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients:

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 8-ounce container sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
16 ounce bag of frozen broccoli florets
3-4 cups of cooked rice
2-3 thinly sliced green onions
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and paprika
cooking spray or butter for baking dish

Directions:

  1. Place chicken breasts in pot of water with desired seasonings. Bring to a boil and cook about 25 minutes. Drain water and chop chicken in small pieces (or shred). Set aside in fridge to cool.
  2. Mix soup, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, half the green onions, and half the shredded cheese. Add in chopped chicken and season to taste. Garlic powder and red pepper flakes add a nice kick. 
  3. Quickly boil broccoli in salted water for 1-2 minutes and drain. 
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or coat casserole dish with butter. Layer rice on bottom of pan evenly, then layer broccoli on top of rice. Next, layer with the creamy chicken mixture on top of broccoli layer. Top with remaining cheese, green onions, and a sprinkling of paprika. 
  5. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Tips:

  • You can substitute chicken breast with chicken tenders. I find that tenders are less "stringy" and are well, more tender. 
  • You can omit the green onion if you are not a fan of onions, but I like the flavor and color that it adds to the dish. 
  • You do not have to use frozen broccoli. It just makes it so much easier, and is a time saver.
  • The paprika is optional, but it really adds nice color and minimal flavor.
  • If you want to make a casserole to share, just separate into two smaller baking dishes.  

I hope you make this recipe for your family. Let me know if you do. Thanks for stopping by.
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bistroMD’s Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving will be here in a matter of weeks and many of you may be menu-planning already. Here are some healthy Thanksgiving recipes courtesy of bistroMD. I'ms sure we all could 'healthify' one of the most decadent meals of the year. Even if it's just a couple dishes. Check it out...

bistroMD’s Roasted Turkey Breast with Cranberry Chutney Recipe

Nutrition Per Serving (serving includes: 5 oz Turkey Breast + ¼ cup Cranberry Chutney + ½ cup Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Blend + ¾ cup Broccoli):

Calories: 300
Protein: 29 grams
Net Carbohydrate: 27 grams
Ingredients:

Roasted Turkey Breast:
5-6 lb Turkey Breast, bone-in, skinless
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Sage, fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon Thyme, fresh, chopped
1 tablespoon Rosemary, fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Black Pepper

Cranberry Chutney:
1 lb Cranberries, fresh
½ cup Raspberries, frozen
¼ cup Water
½ cup Celery, finely chopped
Juice and Zest of 1 Orange
1 tablespoon Honey
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon

Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Blend:
1 cup Wild Rice Blend (we like Lundberg Wild Blend)
1 Butternut Squash, cubed
1 Fennel Bulb, sliced
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions:
Roasted Turkey Breast:
Pre-heat oven to 325 °F
In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, herbs, sea salt and black pepper to make a paste. Then rub the mixture into the turkey breast, coating all sides.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for about 1 ½ hours to 1 ¾ hours, until an instant read thermometer registered 165 °F when inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Cranberry Chutney:
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add water, orange juice, orange zest, honey and cinnamon and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add cranberries. Continue to cook until they become soft and burst, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add raspberries and celery, cook an additional 10 minutes, until raspberries begin to burst.
Reduce heat to low and cover until ready to serve.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Blend:
Pre-heat oven to 425 °F.
Cook rice according to package directions.
Spread butternut squash and fennel evenly, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil, sea salt and black pepper over the squash mixture and toss with your hands to coat.
Roast for 20-30 minutes, until squash is turning golden around the edges. Stir squash mixture halfway through cooking.
Once rice is complete, fluff with a fork and transfer to a serving bowl. Combine butternut squash and fennel with the rice, toss and serve

bistroMD’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Tartlets

Nutrition Per Tartlet (Serves: approximately 15 tartlets):

Calories: 150
NET Carbohydrate: 12 grams
Protein: 4 grams

Ingredients:
Pie Crust:
1.5 cups Almond Flour
1 Egg
2 tablespoons Butter, unsalted

Pie Filling:
1 can (15 oz) Pumpkin Puree
½ can Coconut Milk, unsweetened
½ cup Honey
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Ginger, ground
¼ teaspoon Cloves, ground
½ teaspoon Sea Salt

Instructions:

Pie Crust:
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender until a smooth dough forms.
Spritz muffin pan with non-stick olive oil spray or use muffin liners.
Press approximately 1 tablespoon of dough into each cup and press to evenly fill the bottom.

Pie Filling:
Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix using a hand mixer until smooth. Or add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Divide filling amongst muffin cups.
Bake approximately 10-15 minutes or until center is set.
Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan

bistroMD’s Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Stuffed Acorn Squash

Nutritional Information: (for each serving, serves 8):

Calories: 219
Protein: 5g
Carbohydrates: 44g
Ingedients:

4 medium acorn squash, halved lengthwise with the seeds removed
3 cups of water
2 cups quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ cups diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced cardamom
1/8 tablespoon of turmeric
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup diced apples
1/4 cup dried currants
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust rack to the middle shelf.
Simmer the quinoa in 3 cups of water to make fluffy, this should take 15 to 20 minutes.
While the quinoa cooks, add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the carrots, celery, cardamom and turmeric.
Using fresh apples, cut into small dices and soak with lemon juice.
Cover the pan and simmer the vegetables for 5 minutes until they are tender.
In a big bowl, toss together the quinoa and vegetables. Stir in the dried fruit, diced apples, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
Brush the skin of the squash lightly with olive oil. Place the squash, cut side down, in a baking pan.
Pour 1/2-inch of boiling water into the pan and bake for 20 minutes to soften the squash. Move the squash to a plate and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Stuff the squash halves with the quinoa mix, return them, stuffing-up to the pan, and bake until the flesh can be easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife. This should take 30 minutes or less.

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Amaize Sweet Corn- Truly The Best Corn Ever!

Today's post is sponsored by Amaize Sweet Corn. All opinions are strictly my own. 

It's summertime and we are all about the summer veggies. One of our favorites is the classic, fresh corn on the cob. I was watching a segment on a health-related news show a while back and was blown away to find out that close to 90% of our corn is genetically modified. I find that really scary to say that corn is such a common go-to vegetable for families. I was thrilled to be introduced to Amaize sweet corn. Amaize sweet corn is bred using traditional methods through hybridization and is not genetically modified. Amaize is grown locally using conventional farming methods.

So why is this corn so special? It is the sweetest, most crunchy corn I have ever tasted. Some corn tends to get mushy once its cooked. Not Amaize. It stays so crisp and pops in your mouth when you eat it. My family is pretty traditional when it comes to how we like our corn cooked. One of my favorite ways to prepare fresh corn is parboiled in some plain water and then seasoned and grilled on my stove-top cast iron grill. 
I love adding a little something extra to my grilled corn and either grated Parmesan or crumbled feta is a great addition. You can transfer your grilled corn onto a piece of aluminum foil and sprinkle lightly with your choice of cheese and a small pat of butter if desired. Put it back on the grill just for a couple minutes and you will have the most perfect corn on the cob! 

Feta adds a nice salty flavor that pairs perfectly with the abundant sweet taste of the corn. My family raved about how sweet and tasty the corn was. My husband insisted that I must have added sugar to it and I had to ensure him that I did not! It is just that delicious. 

Amaize sweet corn is only available for a limited time-- from June- September in select stores. I am so happy that it is available at my local Food Lion stores. I will be purchasing some to freeze so that we can have some extras for after the summer ends. Check out some of the cooking tips and recipes here and be sure to follow Amaize Sweet Corn on Facebook and Youtube

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some Amaize sweet corn, let me know how you liked it! I am pretty certain that you will LOVE it :) 
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Easy Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

I am a huge fan of all things vegetables, but unfortunately that's not really the case for my family. We try to have vegetarian meals a couple times a week and I feel like I get stuck making the same old things. One of my favorite summer vegetables is zucchini. I can eat it prepared in any way-- sauteed, baked, in soups or stews, and even raw with dips. My husband and daughters do not share my love of zucchini at all. I decided to come up with a way to make them at least give it a try again. I figured a little cheese and savory flavor would help with those picky eaters. I came up with the perfect dish that is big hit with my family. My husband had to admit that zucchini isn't as bad as he thought it was. 

Check out my delicious recipe for Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini...


Ingredients: 
3-4 small zucchini 
4 ounces (half pack) of cream cheese 
Grated Parmesan cheese 
Garlic powder
Cracked pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional) 
Feta cheese
Seasoned bread crumbs 
Olive oil for your baking dish

Directions:
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly in the zucchini halves (layer will be thin). Sprinkle a little bit of feta on top of cream cheese mixture and then follow with the bread crumbs. Just a little of both will do. Bake in oven uncovered about 35-45Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a baking dish with your favorite olive oil and set aside. Cut the ends off each zucchini and then slice lengthwise in half. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds without taking away too much of the flesh. Mix cream cheese with a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.  minutes depending on how big your zucchinis are. You can insert a fork to check for doneness. Enjoy!

You can serve this recipe as a side dish or even a main dish. Feel free to add or take away any ingredients to make it your own. Let me know if you try it!
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Operation #PileOnTheVeggies with SUBWAY and Fandango (Giveaway)

This post is sponsored by SUBWAY, but opinions are my your own as always. 

Getting your kids to eat their veggies can be quite a challenge for many. My son loves vegetables, but usually prefers them cooked. I have to get super creative when it comes to serving them raw. SUBWAY wants us to help reach the goal with Operation #PileOnTheVeggies. Children (and parents) are encouraged to pile as many different veggies on their sub as they can for special powers like Maleficent. My little one watched a fun video starring SUBWAY Ambassador Jared Fogle. 

After viewing the video, William decided that he was up for the challenge to #PileOnTheVeggies at lunch. We headed up to SUBWAY and he kept saying he wanted salad on his sub. This child NEVER asks for salad. He enjoyed watching the sandwich makers do their magic on his sub. I have never seen him so excited or interested in veggies like lettuce, spinach or tomatoes. 
We brought our lunch from SUBWAY home to enjoy. 
William was so excited to take a big bite out of his sandwich. He pretended to be a dinosaur and very surprisingly ate almost over bite. This is big for my finicky eater! 
SUBWAY offers an easy way to #PileOnTheVeggies with the Fresh Fit menu; featuring tasty, heart-healthy choices for all ages.  Kids get a special meal of their own, complete with a Fit Mini Sub (piled high with fresh veggies such as cucumbers and spinach), apple slices, and low-fat milk. For a limited time, your child can get a Maleficent backpack with their Fresh Fit meal. Be sure to connect with SUBWAY on Twitter and like them on Facebook for product promotions and updates.

SUBWAY wants you to have a magical experience, inspired by what is sure to be one of summer’s biggest blockbusters – Disney's Maleficent. One very lucky Mom Files' reader will win a $25 SUBWAY gift card to #PileOnTheVeggies and also a $50 Fandango gift card to see Disney's Maleficent. Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway  
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on July 2, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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Marco's Pizza Review #MarcosFreshSpinach

This is a sponsored post in partnership with The Niche Parent Network & Conference and Marco’s Pizza. All opinions are my own as always.

Do you and your family love pizza, but get tired of the same old traditional varieties? Marco’s Pizza has come out with two great varieties that are sure to please your taste buds. Introducing the new Grilled Chicken Florentine Pizza. This pizza has tender grilled chicken, Parmesan garlic sauce, four cheeses, fresh spinach and sliced tomatoes, with chopped red onions on dough made daily. I really love the Mediterranean flavors including my favorite cheese, Feta! The crust is really light with the perfect chewiness. I judge all pizza by the crust and Marco’s certainly passes with flying colors! My whole family enjoyed the crust right down to my picky six year-old. I love that all of the vegetable toppings are fresh. The tomatoes are sweet and ripe, the red onions still have a bite to them and the spinach is my favorite! I very seldom find spinach as a topping choice, much less fresh spinach.
Speaking of spinach, the Marco’s Cheese Pizza topped with fresh spinach was the family favorite. It was perfect in every way. It almost reminded me of cheese bread since there was no tomato sauce on it. That is the way we like our pizza on occasion. Even my husband enjoyed it. He is a very traditional pizza eater. He goes for either cheese or pepperoni. This made me so happy that he liked the spinach. At least now I can get what I want and please him as well as the kids at the same time. This pizza should be hashtagged: #youhadmeatfreshspinach 
It’s funny, I have heard of Marco’s Pizza before and we just got two new locations in my area. The newest store is still in the grand opening stage and the other one has an actual dining room for if you want to eat in. The ordering process is simple with the option of making your order online or by phone for delivery or carryout. 

I feel like we have been missing out for too long. I did a little search to see if there is a location in our favorite beach town, Myrtle Beach and I was thrilled to see that they have a new store opening soon. My daughters have already said that they want Marco’s Pizza when we visit the beach next time. To find a location near you, go here. Be sure to connect with Marco’s Pizza on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for product updates and promotions. 

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New Green Giant™ Veggie Chips and a $25 Publix GC giveaway #spon #myblogspark

The information and prize pack have been provided by Publix® and Green Giant™ through MyBlogSpark. 
Green Giant™ Veggie Chips are a brand new snack that are made of real vegetables and sweet potatoes. I received all 4 varieties and it was so hard to choose which one to try first. I went the Garden Ranch Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips. They looked very textured and seasoned. I popped the first one in my mouth and was pleasantly surprised with the nice ranch flavor without the heavy salty taste you get from most chips. It has the perfect crispy, crunchy texture and if you're not careful, you can easily eat half the bag. Of course, I know nothing about this. 

Green Giant™ Veggie Snack Chips can be a smarter snack since they are made with real vegetables and real sweet potatoes
o With 17 grams of whole grain per serving (14g for Sweet Potato Chips, 18g for Ranch) 48 grams of whole grain recommended daily.
o About Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips only: 40% less fat than regular potato chips Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips only (6g per 28g serving) have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips (10g per 28g serving).

These are really good for every day snacking, lunchboxes, movie munchies or even as a team sport snack. It's a chip you can feel good about giving your kids. You can purchase Green Giant Veggie Chips are many stores nationwide, including Publix Supermarket.

One Mom Files winner will win a great prize pack consisting of 4 bags of Green Giant Veggie Chips in Garden Ranch, Barbecue, Zesty Cheddar and Sea Salt varieties, as well as one $25 Publix gift card. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US Residents only. Giveaway ends on October 6, 2013 and one winner will be selected at random and contacted via email to claim prize. Be sure to follow contest rules stated in Rafflecopter widget. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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Easy Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Cabbage with Pork

I was chatting with my friend Krystel from Army Wife 101 yesterday and was looking for some dinner suggestions. She talked about a cabbage and ground pork dish she made before and I came up with my version of it. I posted a photo of it on Instagram and received several messages and texts to share the recipe. Here it is:

Ingredients:
1 pound of ground pork (you can also use ground chicken, turkey or beef)
1 head of cabbage chopped
1 small chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger
2 scallions sliced thinly
your favorite dry seasonings. Here are my favorites.
about 1 teaspoon of 5 spice powder (optional)
1/3 cup of Frank's® RedHot® Sweet Chili sauce

What to do:
Add your ground meat in a hot pan and season to your liking. I use a potato masher to help separate the meat and make it in more uniform crumbles. Cook until brown and add your onion, garlic and ginger. Saute for a few minutes and drain any fat from pan. Now you add your cabbage and cook it down until it gets a bit tender. From there I add any additional seasonings and my Frank's sweet chili sauce. Toss in your scallions, simmer for a few minutes and you are done! Serve with Jasmine or brown rice.

This is a crowd pleaser for sure. I think I will try it next time with kale. This meal takes 30 minutes or less to make, perfect for busy weeknights.  If you try this dish, please let me know how it turned out. Enjoy :)

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Eating Light Magazine | Recipes with 400 calories or less!




Kick start your New Year’s resolution to shed those unwanted pounds with help from your favorite magazines!  Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Country Living and Woman’s Day bring you Eating Light, the latest Hearst Special. Eating Light provides a 13-week quick and easy eating plan sure to eliminate all of your diet stresses and guide you on your journey to better health. Each week of the plan features six 400 calorie or less dinner recipes, slim-friendly restaurant suggestions (because a girl’s gotta eat out sometimes) and various ideas for the best breakfasts, lunches and snacks to satisfy your appetite. What’s inside?

*Comfort food recipes with a healthy twist—including pizza, chicken pot pie and chicken fingers!
*Guilt-free “sweet treats” that will make your taste buds pop
*Cheat sheet for restaurant dining without losing control
*Quick tips and guidelines to answer your dieting FAQ’s

Eating Light is available for $9.99 and can be purchased at your local supermarket, newsstand or bookstore. A digital edition is also available at Zinio.com or Nook.bn.com.

I have picked out a few recipes that I will be making soon and I will be sure to post about them. I was so impressed with the variety and love how many vegetarian recipes are in there. This will come in handy for making meals that will please my entire family and helping my husband shed some weight at the same time.

For even more photos and inspiration, check out their Facebook  and Pinterest page.

I received a review copy of the magazine. All opinions expressed are my own.

Shelly, Mom Files
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See how Green Giant Seasoned Steamers can perk up your meals (Review & Giveaway)

Green Giant has come out with a new line of vegetables that is a delicious and easy option for your family meals. Introducing, Green Giant Seasoned Steamers. Available in six different varieties, Green Giant Seasoned Steamers are one of the first sauce-free seasoned vegetables to bring unique chef-inspired seasonings and premium cut vegetable blends to your dining room table. 
These tasty Seasoned Steamers are bound to spice up any meal with six varieties including: Mediterranean Blend, Tuscan Seasoned Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts with Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, Honey Roasted Sweet Corn, Honey Dijon Carrots and Backyard Grilled Potatoes.

My family tried out the Tuscan Seasoned Broccoli as a side dish and were quite impressed with the great flavor. I am the type of cook that regardless of if something is pre-seasoned, I still have to jazz it up. Not this time. The broccoli was perfectly seasoned. The bonus is the cooking part. All you do is pop the bag in the microwave and you're done! It's a great time saver. Click here for a money saving coupon for $1 off on a future purchase. 


How would you like to try out the new Green Giant Seasoned Steamers for yourself? One lucky Momfiles reader will win a prize pack including: (1) VIP coupon for one free package of Green Giant Seasoned Steamers™, (1) Apron, (1) Green Giant Serving Spoon and  (1) Mixing Bowl. Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 29, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: The coupons, information, and gift packs have been provided by Green Giant® through MyBlogSpark.
Shelly, Mom Files


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Perfect Roasted Potatoes

I discovered these wonderful potatoes that Publix carries called Potato Inspirations. I decided to try them out since they were on sale. They came in a few different varieties, but I decided to go with the Honey Gold. They are smaller than a golf balls. I remembered a recipe I saw Michael Symon make and thought I would try to replicate it. The only difference is he fried his potatoes in bacon fat instead of baking them. Yeah, I didn't have a half gallon of bacon fat laying around so I had to improvise!


Ingredients:
1 bag of Honey Gold Potato Inspiration potatoes or 2 pounds of very small potatoes of your choice.
a few tablespoons of olive oil
dry seasonings of your choice. I used sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, Cajun seasoning and Badia Complete Seasoning which are my staples.

All you do is rinse and boil your potatoes (whole) in salted water until they are starting to get soft, but not cooked all the way, about 9-13 minutes. Drain potatoes and smash each one with just a little bit with the bottom of a cup or small plate. Toss smashed potatoes in olive oil and dry seasoning and roast in a 425 degree preheated oven for about 25 minutes. They come out slightly crisp on the outside and super buttery and creamy on the inside. I baked mine on the Silpat mat so they did not stick or brown unevenly.

What a wonderful side dish this is! I am going to try it next time using two different types of potatoes. I might make them for Thanksgiving too. They are so easy and delicious!

This was NOT a sponsored post :)
Shelly, Mom Files
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