Results tagged “kids recipes” from The Sneaky Chef

Halloween Cupcakes

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Halloween will always be a nutritionally challenging holiday. This cupcake recipe has fiber, pure vegetables, and whole grains, as well as being low in fat. You can also get yourself an inexpensive donut pan at the housewares' store and convert these healthy muffin recipes to seemingly more decadent donuts! 

Enjoy in good health!

Missy

Halloween Cupcakes web.jpg

Halloween Cupcakes/ Donuts

- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or combine with equal parts whole grain flour) 
- 2 teaspoons baking powder 
- One-half teaspoon salt 
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or equal parts cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg) 
- 2 large eggs 
- 3 tablespoons walnut, canola or vegetable oil 
- 6 tablespoons Orange Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #2) 
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
- One-half cup brown sugar, packed 
- Optional decorations: white or orange colored frosting with orange and black sprinkles or Halloween candies 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini-bundt (or donut) pan with oil. If you choose the cupcake option, line a muffin tin with paper liners. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, Orange Puree, pumpkin puree, vanilla, and brown sugar until well combined. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the flour is just moistened. Don't over mix. Pour into donut molds or fill muffin cups almost to the top. Spray tops of donuts or muffins with oil before baking. 

For donuts: Bake 14 to 16 minutes until the tops spring back when pressed lightly. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn the donuts out over a plate. Allow to cool, and then decorate as desired 

For muffins: Bake 22 to 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn the muffins out of the tins to cool. Dust tops with powdered sugar or decorate as desired.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY NEW SNEAKY CHEF FOOD LINE COMING TO A GROCERY STORE NEAR YOU! 

Shake it up on Earth Day!

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Green smoothie smaller for sure.pngHappy Earth Day! As a mom, I’ve always believed in the importance of teaching my children about the benefits and gifts we receive daily from our planet. Although Earth Day is an ideal time to recycle and make steps to take better care of the environment, it’s also a perfect opportunity to teach our kids the difference between real, whole foods from nature, and overly-processed foods that are often filled with chemicals and fake ingredients.

Taking the time to enjoy foods that are as close to their natural form like, fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains and lean proteins, can be a delicious and eye-opening way to celebrate Earth Day with your children, and all the bounty our planet provides us. 

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to teach my kids the difference between foods from the earth and heavily processed items is by taking them grocery shopping with me. It can be fun and educational to walk the perimeter of the store where the fresh produce is, and then show them a few examples of unhealthy packaged foods. I know how hard it can be to convince kids not to go for the super sugary cereals and fruit roll-ups, so here are a few different techniques to try:

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1. Read them the nutrition labels and ingredients list. I like going by the rule of “if you can’t pronounce it; you probably shouldn’t be eating it.” Let them give it a try too! Reading labels will help set healthy habits for the rest of their lives early on. 

2. Try explaining how natural foods are changed by other ingredients to become something different that is less healthy for our bodies. Although some processed foods can be a part of a healthy diet, try to go for those that still have real ingredients in them (that you can pronounce). 

3. If your kids aren't impressed by Earth's natural bounty, try this win-win approach: make them my Earth Day Milkshake (recipe below) but don't tell them what's in it. About an hour later, ask them how they're feeling: good? sleepy? sugary crash? Now tell them that you made it really easy for them to eat their veggies today by putting them in the milkshake. Point out that you balanced out the sugar with the high quality nutrition of spinach. This is the classic "sneak and teach" approach. Kids get to experience first hand the energy and mood benefits of the veggies in a way that's completely easy and delicious for them. What's not to love about spinach when it tastes so good? Try this in my other free recipes for kids' favorites including: Sneaky Chef mac n' cheese, Speedy Stovetop Lasagna, chicken nuggets, Brainy Brownies, spaghetti and meatballs, Power Pizza, etc!" 

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My Earth Day Milk Shake features one of my all-time favorite whole foods, spinach. This green superfood has countless nutritional benefits, and the green color makes it fun for the kids on Earth Day. 

I hope these tips and recipe helps you celebrate Earth Day with your children in a fun and delicious way!

Earth Day Milk Shake

Yes, it’s bright green, but so are mint chocolate chip and pistachio ice creams and that never stood in anyone’s way. Tell the kids you’re celebrating Earth Day or just having fun. They will gobble it up and you’ll be amazed. The key is to start with a really good tasting vanilla frozen yogurt or light ice cream; the vanilla extract will help its flavor shine through. Each tablespoon of Spinach Juice is the equivalent of eating about 1/4 cup of spinach, so you can feel great about serving this delicious treat. Start with the lesser amount of juice called for, and work up to more over time.Makes 2 servings

2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
4 to 6 tablespoons Spinach Juice (See Make-Ahead Recipe)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve in tall glasses with a quick squirt of whipped cream and a straw.

For more fun recipes featuring spinach and other healthy veggies, click here!

National Autism Awareness Month

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In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.
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Many of these significant issues have to do with foods: texture, taste, color and flavor issues are frequently seen in children suffering from autism. This often results in inadequate nutrition, especially from vegetables, as well as severe limitations on the foods that the children will actually eat. 

Helping to ease this challenging situation was not what I originally set out to do when I first created the Sneaky Chef method, but I have since recieved hundreds of testimonial letters from families with autistic children. Here's one that brings tears to my eyes every time I read it: 

"I am a mum of six children ranging from 19 to 8. My three youngest have autism.

"Finding food that they would eat is hard enough but healthy food is even harder. We decided to take out a lot of the preservatives in their diet as well as getting them to eat healthier.

"Finding your book was a Godsend. While making up the purees, I despaired getting them to eat them. Then I stood in awe as my 9-year-old took off with the bowl that I had made the "Brainy Brownies" in and began to lick it. I can make up food now knowing that in most things they are getting such wonderful vegetables. Putting a white and an orange puree into plain baked beans and watching them eating it is incredible.

"My son’s teacher came up to me after two weeks and asked me what I had done. She told me that my son was now working alone without needing much help and his spelling and English had improved dramatically.

"My 9-year-old daughter is amazing. Since starting with the purees and other things in the book, her speech has improved dramatically and she had now at least twice the amount of words. When she got out of the car the other day, and just before she ran off to school, she turned and called out. ‘I love you mummy.’ I sat and cried because that is not something she says.

"If I could meet Missy I would give her the hugest hug because without this book I would definitely not have the kids I have today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving my kids back to me. Tina E., Australia (mum of 6)"

I'm still amazed by the positive effects that proper nutrition can bring to small bodies, minds and souls. 

With healthiest regards,

Missy

artichokes steamed.jpgYes, I’m The Sneaky Chef and I’m known for hiding healthy foods in kids’ favorite meals…..however, this post is from my alter ego, The not so Sneaky Chef! There are certain fun, healthy foods that most kids will eat without any arm-twisting. This is probably the least sneaky of all of my tricks because most mothers have figured out which fruits and vegetables their kids will think of as snacks and not resist. More often than not, they are finger foods of some kind. For reasons child psychologists haven’t figured out, children like little foods they can hold in their hand and pop in their mouth. They provide kids with a kind of mini-adventure in the culinary realm. The moment they have to use a knife and fork, it isn’t so fun anymore.

Through experimentation, I have pinpointed the top 10 unusual, surprisingly popular fruits and vegetables that (most) kids will eat without a fight:

  1. Artichokes, whole
  2. Edamame (soybeans), in pod
  3. Strawberries
  4. Sweet green peas, in shell
  5. Grapes
  6. Cherries
  7. Pomegranates
  8. Popcorn
  9. Snap peas, raw
  10. Corn on the cob

cherries.jpgAnd just in case your kids aren't willing to try these new foods, here are my top 5 ways to entice kids to eat the above healthy foods in their natural, undisguised state:

  1. Offer the new food without competition - don't put out the snap peas you want them to try next to their favorite bowl of chips.
  2. Make sure the kids are hungry when you set out a new food.
  3. Don't tell them this new food is "healthy" or that they "must" try it.
  4. Eat it yourself - let the kids see you enjoying the food you want them to try.
  5. Call the new food a "special treat."

    What's your child's favorite fruit or vegetable?

 

Healthy Easter Basket Treats

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Special thanks to Janet Lynch for this guest blog. Janet works with people to help them meet their weight-loss goals. Through a well chosen delivery diet many of the people she helps are able to easily achieve their goals.

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With today’s focus on better eating habits – and especially in light of the fact that the U.S. is estimated to have nearly 20 percent of its children in the overweight category – the upcoming Easter holiday could call for more healthy choices in kids’ baskets.
Yes, gone are the days of lining up the jelly bean trail and filling up the kids’ Easter baskets with chocolate bunnies and extra large Cadbury eggs – or at least those days should be gone in order to promote a healthier holiday as well as better overall food choices.
The truth is that the long term effects of eating sugary foods are not very sweet. Over time, an abundance of sugar in the body’s system can lead to reduced bacteria-fighting white blood cells and an overall compromised immune system. In addition, the blood glucose effect can even be a trigger for the onset of diabetes.

 

Some Healthier Alternatives
Although it may seem a bit out of the ordinary to forgo candy at Easter, there are a number of healthier alternatives – some that aren’t even consumable at all – that should be considered for kids today.
Filling Baskets with Treats You Can’t Eat
In taking the focus completely away from eating, there are a wide variety of items that can be used to overflow the Easter baskets of your little ones. In fact, many of these items may even be much more preferable and longer lasting than candy. Here are some suggestions:

● Small Toys – Depending upon the age of your children, small toys such as super balls, a set of jacks, or even a deck of cards can do the trick. For those with fancier tastes, gifts such as iPods or video games will also suffice.

● Movie Passes – Putting some movie passes or other types of gift certificates in kids’ baskets are another great way to say Happy Easter, without a lot of sugary candies.

● Money – For any age child, you would be hard pressed to find one who would not be happy to find money in their Easter basket. This can be cleverly disguised inside of a plastic egg or other similar item.
Good Tasting Treats that Won’t Cause a Sugar High
For those who simply want to keep Easter somewhat traditional in that baskets should be filled with something eatable, there are several suggestions that will help keep the tradition alive, while at the same time not spiking kids’ sugar levels. Some of these can include:
● Nuts and Seeds – Treats such as sunflower seeds, cashews, and pistachios can make for wonderful Easter basket treats, while also offering protein rather than a mouth full of sugar.

● Fresh Fruits – Fresh fruits such as blueberries, grapes, and strawberries can not only make for a healthy basket but can also add a great deal of color.

● Hard Boiled Eggs – Certainly, no Easter basket would be complete without some colorful hard boiled eggs. And, by adding just a touch of salt, these can be a much healthier alternative to the chocolate egg version.

Janet Lynch works with people to help them meet their weight-loss goals. Through a well chosen delivery diet many of the people she helps are able to easily achieve their goals.

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY BEST-SELLING RECIPES & TIPS ON HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY EATING BETTER!

 

 

I always draw a sharp breath when I see the school's number pop up on my caller ID in the middle of the day. I know I'm not the only parent who kisses their kids goodbye at the bus stop and silently prays it'll be just another normal, uneventful day. This time, it wasn't. My 11-year-old daughter, Samantha ("Sammy," as we call her), had fallen and hit her head on the pavement while playing touch football at recess. I asked all the questions moms ask -- is she OK, how serious do you think the injury is? The nurse told me Sammy seemed well enough to stay at school, but suggested I watch her carefully over the next few days to make sure she didn't show any signs of concussion. The hallmarks are headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, slurred speech and fatigue. And they're often not immediately apparent. And with spring sports upon us, we should all be aware of these symptoms and how to treat them.

Sammy did, indeed, get increasingly dizzy, nauseous, confused (uh, even more than usual!) and complained of wicked headaches. She couldn't concentrate. And her vision became so blurred that she couldn't read a word. Her doctor diagnosed her with a mild concussion and prescribed both physical rest and "cognitive rest" for two weeks -- as in, no heart rate elevating physical activity of any kind -- and no texting, video games or any other kinds of electronic stimulation. Research has shown all of these things to be mentally taxing -- even more so than schoolwork -- which can slow the healing process. Sammy was allowed only one hour of TV a day, which had to be broken up into two half-hour sessions.

We're not all that big on screen time in our house in the first place. But take away that and reading and anything active and I couldn't help but think: What the heck is she going to do for the next 14 days? Sammy is super athletic -- not the type of kid who would be content to just blob around in bed. This was all completely new and eye-opening to me. No one ever talks about how to handle that aspect of helping a kid with a concussion, right? I'll tell you two key things that worked for me -- about how to pass the time, as well as how to actually speed the healing process.

Considering that nearly half a million kids are admitted to the ER each year with a traumatic brain injury -- and many more cases of concussion are diagnosed by pediatricians -- this advice may come in handy someday. (Of course, I do hope you won't ever have to use it!) First, Sammy and I raided the craft store. It was a goldmine. She spent hours and hours making friendship bracelets -- and have you seen all the other cute projects and kits that are out there, too? And since Sammy couldn't actually read, I got her a bunch of audio books (the entire Hunger Games book series downloaded from iTunes). Baking -- muffins, cookies, you name it -- also helped pass a lot of time. And we took a lot of nice, easy walks together.

What made the biggest difference, however: Her diet. A few days into Sammy's recovery, I remembered my New Year's Eve dinner partner, Dr. Michael Lewis, a physician who, after retiring recently following a career in the Army, started the Brain Health Education and Research Institute to continue his work on the role of omega-3s and concussions. Michael makes the case that omega-3s are the foundation of the brain and, if they are essential for the brain to develop, maybe they would help the brain heal when it gets damaged. There's some evidence that healthy doses of it may reduce inflammation in the brain and could even help it recover faster from an injury. Omega-3s are good for so many other reasons, anyway -- like heart health and mood -- that I thought why not give it a shot.

tuna in pita.jpgI mashed sardines into Sammy's beloved tuna salad. They don't really alter the flavor, but they do boost -- by a ton -- the amount of Omega-3s you get from just the tuna (while reducing the mercury). I fed her edamame, put extra beans and veggies in the muffins we baked, and sprinkled flax seed on her morning cereal -- all foods rich in Omega-3 fats. And I whipped up a batch of what I dubbed "concussion chowder," made with clams, sardines, broth and veggies. 

Within 7 days Sammy felt better, and by day 10 she was able to read again. The doctor had told me the symptoms would probably last two weeks -- and that Sammy wouldn't be able to read or concentrate until the tail end of that time. I have no way of knowing for sure if Omega-loading my daughter helped her recover as fast as she did. But I believe it did make a big impact. I'd tell any parent to give it a try. At the very least, you'll have a kid who is happier and heart-healthier. And who doesn't want that?
 

autism awareness.jpgThe following story was reprinted from The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue. I wanted to share it with you in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.

“I am a mum of six children ranging from 19 to 8. My three youngest have autism.
Finding food that they would eat is hard enough but healthy food is even harder. We decided to take out a lot of the preservatives in their diet as well as getting them to eat healthier.
Finding your
book was a Godsend. While making up the purees, I despaired getting them to eat them. Then I stood in awe as my 9-year-old took off with the bowl that I had made the "Brainy Brownies" in and began to lick it. I can make up food now knowing that in most things they are getting such wonderful vegetables. Putting your White and Orange Puree into plain baked beans and watching them eating it is incredible.

My son’s teacher came up to me after two weeks and asked me what I had done. She told me that my son was now working alone without needing much help and his spelling and English had improved dramatically. My 9-year-old daughter is amazing. Since starting with the purees and other things in the book, her speech has improved dramatically and she had now at least twice the amount of words. When she got out of the car the other day, and just before she ran off to school, she turned and called out. "I love you mummy." I sat and cried because that is not something she says. If I could meet Missy I would give her the hugest hug because without this book I would definitely not have the kids I have today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving my kids back to me.” Tina E., Australia (mum of 6)

Sneaky Chef "Concussion Chowder"

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concussion chowder smaller.jpgA delicious Manhattan-style clam chowder loaded with brain-boosting omega-3 fish oil from clams & sardines - suggested to aid in the recovery from concussions and other brain injuries.

Concussion Chowder
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-size onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄2 cup White Puree or Orange Puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 (28-ounce) can diced, peeled tomatoes, with liquid
1 large russet potato,* diced, with skin
2 (61⁄2-ounce) cans chopped clams, with liquid
1 (3- to 4-ounce) can skinless and boneless sardines, packed in water, drained
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste
Optional extra boost: 2 celery ribs, diced

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and sauté until they are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery (if using) and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, White or Orange Puree, tomato paste, clam juice, diced tomatoes, potato, and clams with their liquid. Stir to combine well. Add the sardines, breaking them up with the spoon, slightly mashing them into the pot so there are no remaining visible pieces. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Ladle into 4 soup bowls, and season with freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes.

Sneaky Time Saving Tip:
Use low-fat frozen hash browns instead of dicing fresh potatoes

FOR MORE TIPS & TRICKS, FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!

blueberry photo.jpgTop reasons to eat blueberries & spinach:
• Blueberries are packed with more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable.
• Blueberries contain 38 percent more heart-healthy anthocyanins than red wine.
• Blueberries boost lutein which helps protect vision.
• Calorie for calorie, leafy greens like spinach provide more nutrients than almost any other food.
• Spinach is an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and manganese.

Easiest Ways to Get Spinach & Blueberries into Your Diet
- Make Sneaky Chef Purple Puree & Add it to:
brownies 190x150.jpg• muffins & other chocolate baked goods
• chocolate pancakes
• taco meat - beef and/or turkey
hamburgers
• smoothies & Sneaky Chef Breakfast Ice Cream

Click here for healthy kids' recipes & follow me on twitter for healthy tips & more ideas

Here we are, a couple of weeks into the New Year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to renew and reinvigorate my resolutions! As The Sneaky Chef and a cookbook author known for the art of hiding healthy foods in everyone’s favorite meals, you’d think I have this health thing nailed – but I’m the first to admit when there’s room for improvement!

I know they say writing down resolutions helps ensure success – and I’m posting mine here for YOU to help keep me accountable on these 5 resolutions!

Resolution: get more superfoods into my family’s meals – including leafy greens, broccoli and blueberries
Action Step: take a page out of my own books (lol!) and when I need a quick fix, serve veggie products the kids love, like Veggie Patch Broccoli Bites with Cheese

Resolution: swap sugary desserts for fruit-based desserts most days
Action Step: make my Breakfast Ice Cream for dessert! Check out my newest flavor, Tropical Twist, just published in The Speedy Sneaky Chef 

BreakfastIceCream trop twist smaller.jpgResolution: lose those stubborn 5 (ok, 8) pounds (and help hubby lose a few too!)Action Step: slip those veggie purees into my recipes since research shows this sneaky method can cut out about 360 calories/day which can equate to more than a pound of weight loss every 10 days! 

Resolution: serve at least one completely vegetarian dinner per week
Action Step:
use smart vegetarian substitutes such as Veggie Patch Chick’n Nuggets instead of chicken in my kids’ fave new recipe Chick’n Parm Pops below or Meatless Meatballs with spaghetti.
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Resolution: do at least 2 spinning classes and 3 exercise videos per week
Action Step: just do it, as they say!

What are your resolutions for this year? Please share with us!

Chick’n Parm Parm Bites
Serves 4
1 package (about 14) Veggie Patch Chick 'n Nuggets
1/2 cup store-bought tomato sauce
1/4 cup Sneaky Chef Orange Puree
1 cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
14 skewers or craft sticks, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with oil.
In a mixing bowl, combine tomato sauce and Orange Puree. Dip one side each nugget in the sauce mixture, place on the prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle with about a tablespoon of cheese. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. If using, insert a skewer or craft stick into each nugget and serve.

Thank you Laura Fuentes, Chief MOM
www.MOMables.com

Three years ago my daughter entered a picky eating stage and I could not get her to eat anything! My son followed her path a year later. I came across Missy’s book The Sneaky Chef and I immediately fell in love with her ingenuity! The brownies were such a hit that I began putting them in their lunch box. They wanted a treat? Have a brownie! I’d say.

My daughter has slowly grown more open to trying new things; my son is another story. For the past year he has eaten macaroni and cheese nearly 2-3 times per week. Initially, I used Missy’s technique of adding pureed carrots or squash (anything orange) to add a nutritional boost to the organic, out of the box pasta. Soon, it became apparent that I needed to come up with my own “power sauce” in order to really maximize nutrition.
momables mac n cheese 1[1].jpg

They say desperation is the mother of all invention. After trying many sauces and online recipes, I realized that simple ingredients worked best. There are days I whip up a single serving of “power sauce” while the pasta cooks; other days, I get really inspired and whip up a huge batch so all I have to do is pull a serving from the freezer and warm it up. Below, I’ll share with you both options so you can make the power sauce at home.

Power Sauce: Homemade Creamy Cheese Sauce
momables mac n cheese 2[1].jpgCourtesy of MOMables™’ Recipe Stash

Large Make ahead recipe: yields 12 1cup servings.
Ingredients:
• 5lb bag organic carrots, peeled and washed
• 32oz (2lb) container part skim ricotta cheese
• 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup milk
Directions:
1. Peel and wash carrots. Cut in a few pieces. Steam
2. Steam carrots until soft (12-15min for that size load)
3. In a blender/food processor add half of all the ingredients above and blend/puree well.
4. Repeat process for second batch.
5. After cooling, pour 1 cup of pureed mac and cheese into individual zip bags or freezer containers.
6. To make mac and cheese dinner: pour 1 cup power sauce and mix with cooked pasta (12oz dry pasta)

Single Batch: yields approx. 1cup sauce
Ingredients:
• 3/4 cup steamed carrots
• 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
• 1-2 oz sharp cheddar cheese
• 2TB milk
Repeat directions.

Enjoy!
momables plated mac n cheese.jpg
Laura Fuentes is the Chief MOM at MOMables™. A wife, mother of 3 and a lunch enthusiast who insists on healthy, wholesome food for her family. 
She’s on a mission to help busy parents overcome the difficulties of packing fresh school lunches. On her personal blog, SuperGlueMom.com, she writes about motherhood, deadlines, healthier living, and keeping her cool, even when her kids super-glued her hair. She’s also a food contributor to numerous sites and is published weekly on an online news hub.

You can find her on Facebook or Twitter and MOMables on Facebook and Twitter

 

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