Author: Stacie Billis

7 easy school lunch ideas for St. Patrick’s Day from rainbow fruit to leprechaun sandwiches. (Contains no actual leprechauns.)

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a weekday this year which means it’s time to get festive with your kid’s bento box. (How’s that for a super specific column for you? St. Patrick’s Day Bento Lunches.) Don’t worry: You don’t need a PhD in crafts—or even the luck of the Irish—to take on these school lunch ideas for St. Patrick’s Day. Each is simple to make, even after a couple of pints of Guinness. Kidding. Kind of. Related: 5 copycat Shamrock Shake recipes. You can even pack them in a Thermos.    Don’t fret if you don’t have a set of...

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2 fun resources that can get a picky eater to actually eat.

Anyone who’s dealt with a picky kid (and who hasn’t?) knows that feeding a picky eater is the opposite of fun. And I’ve found two new parenting resources—one a book, the other a game—which aim to change that. Both were developed by moms to use children’s natural affinity for games, competition, and high scores, all with the aim of ending mealtime drama. No matter which you choose, I think the whole family can win big. Now I must say that I find that turning mealtime into a game takes more work than I’m personally willing to give. However many parents find...

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9 spectacular one-pot recipes for dinner that everyone will love. Especially those on dish duty.

Great one-pot recipes are a family dinner lifesaver — so long as they are truly a one-pot meal. As in, no cheats. These recipes are, and they are amazingly delicious, too. If you ask me, every parent should keep a list of recipes like these on hand at all times. You should know that I’m picky about what counts as a one-pot meal. For me, the word meal implies that the recipe comes complete with protein, veggies, and some kind of carb or carb-y vegetable. If I have to pull out another pot to make rice separately or cook side veggies, well then it’s...

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A first look at the new Haagen Dazs Artisan Collection. We hope you’re sitting down, ice cream lovers.

Though I’m a big fan of the artisanal food movement, there are some products from big food brands that I just can’t live without, and Haagen-Dazs ice cream is one of them. I grew up eating the stuff—their butter pecan is still a favorite—and am beyond excited that they’re getting into the artisanal food spirit now too. Here’s the scoop (ha). This April, Haagen-Dazs will be launching a new line of flavors, the Haagen Dazs Artisan Collection, each of which has been developed with a culinary artisan entrepreneur over the course of a whole year. They’ve taken each artisan’s goodie, from cookies to jam,...

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Move over cronut, we’ve got 5 epic dessert recipe mashups you can make at home

The cronut, a dessert made by frying croissant dough like a donut, set off a nationwide phenomenon in 2013, when Time magazine also named Dominique Ansel‘s creation one of the best inventions of the year. Having had one, I can tell you that the cronut is worthy of the hype and also totally impossible to recreate at home. These five dessert recipe mashups, on the other hand, are equally epic. And you can actually make them. (Yes, you!) All you need is a sweet tooth, some baking gumption, and a lot of sugar. Butter, too. Related: 8 easy homemade donut recipes   Strawberry...

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8 easy slow cooker dinner recipes to help beat those long winter nights

It may not be frigid everywhere, but I think it’s safe to say that plenty of us are winter weary and as done with cooking as we are with gloves with scarves. This last stretch of the cold weather (and the exhausting lack of daylight) is a perfect time to let your crock pot do the work of making these easy slow cooker dinner recipes. With hardly any effort on your part, you can cozy up with a book while dinner cooks. Or, you know, take care of one of the other million things on your to-do list. Now if only there...

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7 outrageously creative, A-list popcorn recipes that are Oscars night approved

Whether you’ll be watching the Oscars with friends, snuggled up with family, or all by yourself, these 6 creative popcorn recipes are the perfect Oscars viewing snack. Or anything viewing snack, really. Move over fake butter topping, more fabulous dresses…uh, I mean, dressings, are in town. Surely these should help you answer the great question of the night, what are you eating?  With these on your coffee table, we don’t expect any popcorn malfunctions whatsoever.   Like a flawlessly fitted Calvin Klein on Jennifer Aniston, sometimes you’ve got to start with the basics. This easy homemade microwave popcorn recipe that we found on...

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Mardi Gras recipes: 6 easy ways to have your King Cake and eat it, too.

During Mardi Gras, it’s customary to say, Laissez les bon temps rouler, which translates, Let the good times roll.  In your world, that might be a throwback to Ric Ocasek circa 1978. In my world, it means eat cake. How convenient for me that the most traditional Mardi Gras recipe is a deliciously sweet and cinnamony yeasted King Cake draped in green, gold, and purple. How not convenient that making a King Cake recipe in the classic way is incredibly time consuming. Whether you’re willing to work for the real deal or would rather shortcut with a King Cake inspired treat, we’ve got you...

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Easy dumpling recipes for Chinese New Year that kids can help make. We predict a very tasty Year of the Sheep.

What better way to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year than with a crafty project that you can easily do with kids? And, yields dumplings! If you hit the kitchen with the kids to make one of these six  easy dumpling recipes for Chinese New Year, the results of your labor will not only be delicious, but dinner will be done too. Now that’s a fortuitous start to the new year. Oh, and none of them are lamb dumplings. We want to honor the sheep here, not necessarily eat one. Of course all of the recipes here can be made with...

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7 sweet, non-candy Valentine’s Day treats for Candy Meltdown Avoidance. (C.M.A.)

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about sugary sweets, of course. Though kids do clamor for those conversation hearts and pink jelly beans, they may get enough of them elsewhere this week. So I’ve put together ideas for non-candy Valentine’s Day treats that make a sweet surprise for your little ones without the sugar of candy—and hopefully without a major letdown. I think they’re all deliciously cute. In other words, your kids will definitely feel the love, just not the massive sugar rush.   Serve up the color of the day with this naturally pink Strawberry Applesauce spied on Lemon Tree...

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The freedom clip for Keurig 2.0 gives you java freedom of choice. Power to the people!

Last summer, Keurig Green Mountain released the latest version of their K-Cup brewer, the Keurig 2.0, with a new feature that only allows brewing of authorized K-Cup pods. Convenience coffee drinkers across the nation were understandably up in arms, but they can rest now (or be more alert?) thanks to the Freedom Clip for Keurig 2.0 from Rogers Family Company. This small plastic device essentially overrides the lockout technology and allows the new Keurig machine owners to brew coffee of their choice from most non-approved K-Cup type pods. Oh yeah, and it’s free. How’s that for sticking it to a monopoly? Of course this isn’t all about benevolence;...

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3 ideas for family-friendly Valentine’s Day dinners: How to adapt them from kid-friendly to adult-friendly later on.

Every time we parents make dinner, family cooks work to strike a balance between what the kids are willing to eat and what the grown ups actually want to eat. Sometimes holidays make this balancing act even harder. Ever make a heart-shaped pizza and call it dinner on Valentine’s Day? Yeah, me too. This year, if you’re staying home for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a better idea. With the help of Ashley Rodriguez, a favorite family cookbook author and a top food blogger to follow in 2015, we’re offering up 3 great ideas for Valentine’s Day dinners that will make all of your loved ones happy, even if you...

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8 decadent Nutella breakfast recipes for any special, extra indulgent morning

Recently, there was a whole lot of controversy about marketing Nutella as a healthy breakfast food. Apparently, someone thought that the kids of the world need help eating toast by slathering it in a chocolate-hazelnut spread. But on World Nutella Day, I’m giving everyone a pass.  I’m happy to limit my daily dose of Nutella to snack-time the other 364 days of the year, but I think this weekend, we may celebrate with one of these Nutella recipes for breakfast. Or hey, maybe hold the ideas for Valentine’s Day. It does fall on a weekend this year after all, which leaves plenty of time...

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8 easy homemade Valentine’s food gifts, because you know what they say about the way to someone’s heart.

We’re suckers for easy DIY Valentine’s Day crafts that make thoughtful gifts, especially when they’re deliciously edible. So I’ve put together some ideas for homemade Valentine’s food gifts that are easy to make with the kids—even little ones and those not gifted in the craft department—and can be churned out in big batches to take care of a whole classroom. They’re also inexpensive to make, so that you can save the decadent store-bought chocolates for you and your special Valentine. Or just you.   My name is Stacie and I cannot decorate a cookie for my life. Yet even I can make...

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5 beer cocktail recipes that are a step up from a bunch of bottles in a bucket of ice

I admit it: I’m the cliche food person for whom the Super Bowl is all about food. I love anything with guacamole, nachos of all kinds, and even get excited about trying t make healthy game day recipes for our crew. But for me, the buck stops at beer. Or at least it used to; ever since I realized that even my wine snob husband opts for a cold bottle of brew on game day, I’ve been trying to keep an open mind, and these creative beer cocktail recipes are helping me. It’s just what it sounds like: Beer and liquor mixed into one...

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7 DIY Valentine’s Day candy recipes that you can make with kids.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about candy, of course. But I don’t see why it shouldn’t be, if you make the candy from scratch, with love. Okay so maybe I’m justifying. but still, these DIY Valentine’s Day candy recipes–all of them easy enough for your kids to make along with you–are a fun project for the givers and a delicious treat for the receivers. My goal: to be both.   Turn plain conversation hearts into something special with this recipe for Conversation Heart Marshmallows from Passion 4 Baking. (Manuela has her blog set up to translate from...

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10 awesome kitchen projects to do with kids when you’re stuck indoors. Especially on a snow day.

Apparently, there are places in the U.S. right now where the sun is shining, the air is warm, and the kids are where they should be: in school. If you live in one of these glorious places a) I’m jealous, and b) bookmark these super fun kitchen projects to do with kids for a weekend or a rainy day. But for anyone in a snow zone like me, these kitchen activities for kids will help make your day inside a little more fun (and delicious, too). Related: The ultimate guide to snow day activities: 20+ indoor ideas to keep you sane   1. Make...

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Healthy game day food: 9 skinny Super Bowl recipes that bench the guilt

I’m not much of a football fan, but I am a sucker for game day eats. Nachos, chips and dips, wings–you name it, I’ll eat it. This can be a problem since I’m also trying to maintain a healthy diet, so instead of giving up on my favorite tailgating foods, this year I looked for lighter versions that are big on flavor and lower in fat and calories. Healthy game day food for the win!   This Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip from Gimme Some Oven brings all of the flavor of hot wings without all of the calories. I’m not...

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7 fantastic food blogs to follow for family food inspiration beyond the usual

I recently tried to figure out how many food blogs populate the internet. The answer: A lot. I couldn’t find an exact number—not a recent one, at least—but it’s big enough to demonstrate that yes, there can be too much of a good thing. With so many food blogs to follow out there, it’s hard to know which you can count on for great writing and reliable recipes, especially for families. To help, I’ve combed all my favorious resources, and put together a list of some of my favorite food blogs to follow in 2015, with a particular focus on...

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The Blender Girl Smoothies app: Healthy eating inspiration right on your phone.

A peek into our food archive shows that we’re big into smoothies. But no matter how many awesome smoothie recipes we track down for you, nothing will compare to having a constantly updated collection in your back pocket from the smoothie master herself, Tess Masters of The Blender Girl. Her new The Blender Girl Smoothies app is making that one delicious reality. My kids and I are smoothie junkies. I love creating them, finding new recipes for them and we all love drinking them, so this app was meant for me. That said, I’m picky about apps, and don’t stick with them if the nav is frustrating and if...

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