First things first, I have to admit I never would have tried this recipe had I not had it at a friend’s house. French Fried Onions just aren’t on my regular grocery shopping list. But, I am so glad I had it because it is really, really good. The best part is the recipe is EASY, is ready in less than 30 minutes and kids will gobble it up. Even my picky 4 year old loves these tasty homemade chicken strips.
Fresh from the oven.
The original recipe (also found on the side of the French’s container) calls for chicken breasts, but I’ve found using chicken strips makes it much more kid-friendly. Plus, the leftover chicken strips taste delicious on salad. I also add a little pepper to add some extra flavor. The recipe makes enough for our family with a couple leftover strips.
CRUNCHY ONION CHICKEN STRIPS RECIPE
3 cups (6 oz) FRENCH’S Original French Fried Onions
2 T Flour
1.5 pounds Chicken Breast Strips
1 egg, beaten
Black Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Crush French Friend Onions with flour and pepper in plasic bag. I use a rolling pin.
- Create an assembly line and dip chicken in egg and coat in onion crumbs. Press firmly to adhere onion to chicken strips.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes until no longer pink.
The chicken is really moist and yummy.
We usually serve the Crunchy Chicken Strips with rice and a green vegetable. Always a hit!
Nothing says summer like cold, refreshing popsicles! And nothing says the very best homemade popsicles like the Zoku Quick Pops Maker. Using some fancy technology for a fast and even freeze, the Zoku Quick Pop Maker allows you to create your very own delicious pops at home in a matter of minutes.
About the Zoku Quick Pops Maker
The patented Zoku Quick Pop Maker freezes ice pops in as little as seven minutes right on your countertop without electricity. Quickly make striped pops, yogurt pops or (for the first time ever at home) flavored core pops. To enjoy Quick Pops at a moment’s notice, simply store the compact base in your freezer. The kit includes six durable, reusable plastic pop sticks that have unique ridged designs that allow pops to adhere securely, with special drip guards for tidy eating. A specially designed Super Tool helps to quickly release the frozen treats from their molds. The unit can make up to 9 pops before refreezing the unit again. Includes 1 Quick Pop Maker, 6 sticks, 6 drip guards, and 1 Super Tool.
Zoku Video Review
The beauty of the Quick Pop Maker is that you create the pop from start to finish. Concern about allergies? Trying to restrict calories? Avoiding high fructose corn syrup? Eating organic? Make the recipe that best suits you and your family’s tastes and in less than ten minutes you have three pops to enjoy! To prepare to make Quick Pops, put the Zoku in the freezer for a day or two before you plan to make a batch. Before we made Pops for the first time we browsed the super tasty Zoku Quick Pops book that includes over 40 recipes designed specifically for the Zoku to find a couple we wanted to try. The recipes are easy to follow and quite tasty, so I definitely recommend the book. It also has some valuable tips and tricks on creating your Pops. So far we’ve made plain Vanilla, Lemonade with Strawberries and Cookies and Cream Pops – and they were all delicious. The Zoku Blog also has lots of yummy recipes to check out, too.
One of the best things about the Zoku is that your kids can easily participate in making the Pops. Both my son and daughter have helped to mix ingredients, pour and they love watching the Pops freeze. (A little like watching paint dry, I admit, but it doesn’t take nearly as long!) And, of course, they’ve really eating the Pops!
Cookies and Cream
Lemonade with Strawberries
If you plan to invest in a Zoku, which I recommend, the set of Zoku Quick Pop Tools is a useful addition. The Tools are useful for making more fancy and complex Pops, but don’t be intimidated. We’ve used the fruit Stencils to make stars and hearts from strawberries, and the Fruit Want to place the fruit and Oreos (yum!) in the Pop Maker. The tools are very easy to use and, like the Maker, the instructions are very easy to follow.
To Buy or Not to Buy
To Buy… We LOVE the Quick Pop Maker. It is easy to use, makes delicious pops from the ingredients YOU want in less than ten minutes. It’s a great addition to a family kitchen and makes a fun activity for a dinner get together or play date.
Or Not to Buy… The only issue we’ve run into is that it makes 3 pops at a time so someone in our family of four always has to wait for the second batch.
“I went to the grocery store today, so it’s takeout for dinner.” Do you get the irony? It’s certainly not lost on me. On the days that I go to the grocery store, I prepare and clean up two meals, plan a week’s worth of meals, organize a shopping list, let my children nap and try to run to the store before they are hungry for dinner. After arriving home, unloading the car and putting away the groceries, we’re all starving. There is simply no time to prepare a dinner as well.
But even on the days I don’t go to the grocery store, I often feel pressed for time and supplies for putting healthy meals on the table. Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins were feeling the same pressures. Unlike me, they did something about it.
Authors of The Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List… Endless Recipes, Kallio and Krastins worked tirelessly to put together A SINGLE SHOPPING list of “real food” items (i.e. very little packaged food or specialty ingredients) that will supply any of the 400+ recipes in the cookbook. And to make it easy, they even provide multiple copies the shopping list for you.
The philosophy is simple, use the trademarked shopping list as a checklist before going to the store. Once you’ve marked all the items you do not have, you know what to purchase. And once you have all items on hand, you can make any of the recipes. And because you are shopping for the ingredients, you can tailor the list to fit any dietary restrictions including low-sodium, low-fat, organic, etc.
But the authors don’t stop there, they encourage readers to embrace a new way of organizing the kitchen and the cooking that takes place there. They encourage purging all grocery items that are not on the list and, during the purge, performing a deep clean and organization of the kitchen. I know, I was thinking the same thing, “How do they know my refrigerator is in need of a deep clean?” They seem to know there is a three-year-old tube of sun-dried tomato paste leaking in my produce drawer.
I know what you’re thinking. What are these 400+ recipes if a single shopping list can supply them all? While I haven’t had time to try them all, here’s the list of those that I’ll be making soon: Tuscan Baked Cannellini Beans, Creamy Broccoli Soup, Asian Vinaigrette Coleslaw, Chocolate Chip Scones, Italian Vinaigrette Salad, Chicken Florentine.
That’s just a short list, there really are too many that look delish to list here. There are also many seafood recipes, but I don’t care for seafood, so they didn’t make my short list. Preschool girl and I did make the Southwest Pasta Salad together and she claims, “dis is da best dinner ever!” And while it was very tasty, I must balance that with the fact that my son barely ate any at all. Please note that most picky eaters will always eat pasta. Not my boy. He takes picky to a whole new level. We ate very last bite of the warm pasta salad and, because the recipe makes a good quantity, it took us several days to do it. Served with steamed vegetables, this one meal lasted us for three days.
This rich, warm Southwest Pasta Salad was incredibly yummy and filling.
Like most normal children, preschool girl gobbled up all her pasta salad first. Don’t get me started on toddler boy’s eating habits.
To Buy Or Not to Buy
To Buy… If you are looking for help organizing your dinner routine and finding recipe inspiration at the same time, The Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List… Endless Recipes is a tool to help you. Once you embrace the philosophy and calm the clutter, you will see hope for preparing delicious meals with little hassle. The shopping list is simple. The recipes all look appetizing and include a broad spectrum of tastes and preferences. There is a glossary of terms for even the most culinary-challenged. Kallio and Krastins have put great thought into the development of their recipes, shopping list and the entire book philosophy.
Why We Like It: Oh my goodness, what is not to like about the adorable and super functional Matryoshka Doll Bib set from Sugarbooger? The set includes two twelve by nine inch bibs, perfect for on the go with your stylish little doll. The bibs are safe for machine washing and drying, making them nearly as practical as they are cute.
I have been a Graco car seat fan for many years. In fact, I purchased a SnugRide for each of my children before they were born and each used the seat until they outgrew it. Graco is always working on car seat technology and one of the newest seats, introduced on the market earlier this year, is the Signature Series SmartSeat All-in-One Car Seat. The SmartSeat is a unique car seat system that allows one seat to grown with your child from birth (5 pounds) through 100 pounds. Yes, the seat transitions from rear facing to forward facing car seat to booster seat.
SmartSeat Height & Weight Limits
REAR-FACING: fits infant 5 to 40 pounds and the top of the child’s head must be at least 1 inch below the top of the headrest of the seat
FORWARD-FACING: fits toddler 20 to 65 pounds and up to 50”
BOOSTER SEAT: fits youth 30 to 100 pounds and up to 57”
Graco SmartSeat Details
SafeSeat Engineering – Engineered & Crash Tested to Meet or Exceed US Standard FMVS213:
Side Impact Tested* (*In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable US safety standards, the SmartSeat™ car seat has been side impact tested for occupant retention with the built-in 5 point harness system and with a standard vehicle harness system when in high back booster mode. Please consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for more specific information on the performance of your vehicle’s safety belt system.)
New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) – peak crash force approximately 2X Car Seat Standard
Extreme Car Interior Temperatures
Convenient, stay-in-car base with belt lock off for one time install (LATCH equipped)
Steel-reinforced frame & car seat base provides strength and durability
Locking indicators on seat & stay in car base to help ensure proper installation
Integrated harness storage compartment holds the harness straps that are not in use while in the belt positioning booster mode
Easy-to-read level indicator on the seat, helps eliminate installation guesswork
No Re-thread harness for quick & easy harness adjustment
One-hand, 6 position adjustable head rest for your growing child
On-the go, 5-position recline so you can recline child while in use
EPS, energy absorbing foam liner
Flip-up armrests makes it easy for child to get in & out of car seat
Child’s cup holder keeps child’s drink close by
Graco SmartSeat All-in-One Video
SmartSeat All-in-One Car Seat Review
SMART BASE: One of the key features that sets the SmartSeat aside is the Smart Base. The steel-reinforced base is used with the Smart Seat in both the rear and forward facing position, so you install the base one time and it’s in position for use for, literally, years. It can be placed in the car using either a LATCH or the car seat belt. The base has a unique belt lock-off system that makes it easier to install it securely with less tugging and pulling. Having installed many a car seat, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the base was to install in both our SUV and our sedan.
It’s quite easy to transition the SmartSeat from rear to forward facing (or back again). There’s a knob on either side of the seat that you turn to release the seat from the base. Large, very noticeable red latches come through the seat to unlock it from the base. To re-attach it you simply adjust the knobs on the sides again. If the red things sticking out of the car seat aren’t indication enough, there is a very easy to read base locking indicator on the Smart Base to let you know when its locked. (In the photo below it’s in the locked position.)
REAR-FACING USE: The SmartSeat can be used rear facing with infants from 5 pounds through toddlers who are 40 pounds. Graco recommends using the seat rear facing as long as possible. The generous 40 pound limit and six position head rest definitely extends the likelihood and ability to use the seat rear facing, which we really like. My two and a half year old daughter is average height and weighs about 30 pounds fits comfortably rear facing.
Installing a car seat can be stressful and intimidating, but there’s a level indicator on the side of the seat that easily lets you know whether the seat is at the correct angle when rear-facing.
The SmartSeat has a one-handed recline that helps to get the rear-facing position correct. The seat may not be at the appropriate angle in all recline positions in all cars; for example, in our Honda Accord the seat was installed correctly according to the indicator in 2 of the 5 recline positions.
Using convertible car seats rear facing often presents a “fit challenge” in cars. Because of the recline position and the size of convertible seats, they take up a lot of space. In the photo below you can see the seat rear facing in a four door Honda Accord. It actually fits better than other convertible car seats we’ve used so I’m rather impressed with how it fits. Now, a very tall passenger in the front seat might disagree as the seat cannot extend back all the way.
Like all convertible car seats, the SmartSeat is not an infant seat that you’ll remove from the car and carry with you. Even if you could, you wouldn’t want to because the steel reinforcements in the seat make it rather heavy. If you plan to use this seat with a young infant I recommend keeping a baby wrap or carrier in the car for use when you’re on the go.
FORWARD-FACING USE: Toddler will ride in style in the SmartSeat forward facing from no less than 20 and up to 65 pounds. One of the best features is the 6-position adjustable headrest. Parents can easily adjust the height of the headrest with one hand, and the Seat automatically adjusts the length of the harness. I just love this no stress, no re-thread adjustment which makes it particularly easy to switch between use with my 4 year old son and my 2 year old daughter.
Because the SmartSeat sits on the Smart Base, it has a higher profile than other convertible car seats we’ve used. The flip up armrests on the side help kids get in and out of the seat slightly easier, but it was still difficult for me to help my children in the seat when it was installed in our SUV.
BOOSTER SEAT USE: When your child is at least 30 pounds and ready to switch to a booster seat, there’s no reason to purchase a new seat. The SmartSeat can be used as a high-back booster with your car’s seat belt restraint. Neither of my children are appropriate to ride in a Booster Seat yet, so we haven’t put this to a road test yet. To use, you remove the Smart Base and take advantage of the Smart Seat storage compartment to stow the harness you no longer need.
Aesthetics & Fabric: The SmartSeat is available in two fabric options: Larkin (in this review) and Jessica (a pretty brown and pink with floral). The fabric is different from other car seat we have – in a good way. It’s almost silky lending to an overall really nice looking seat.
To Buy or Not To Buy
To Buy… The SmartSeat puts the three car seats your child needs (a rear-facing infant seat, a forward-facing toddler seat and a booster seat) into ONE Seat, making it a good investment that will grow with your child for years. Seriously, how great would it be to purchase one car seat and use it until your child outgrows the need for it? I found the seat relatively easy to install, and I like the easy-to-read safety indicators and notations throughout the seat. The seat, arm rests and cup holder provide a very comfortable ride for kids of all ages. Parents are comfortable knowing both the seat and base are steel reinforced and side-impact tested.
Or Not to Buy… Using a base makes the forward-facing position very high profile and more difficult to get in and out of. I like the idea of the “install it once” base, but am not sure how realistic it is to install it and leave it there for years.
Shop! The Graco Signature Series SmartSeat All in One Car Seat is available exclusively at Babies R Us for $299.99
Disclosure: This is a personal review based on our experience with the car seat. It is not intended to be instructional – that’s what the thorough manual is for. Thanks to Graco for providing a sample product.
Gilt Children is celebrating summer with the Summer Spectacular. They are gathering the best advice for summer with kids – everything from fashion to family traditions to family fun – on the Gilt Children Facebook page.
If you’re new to Gilt Children, let me just tell you: it rocks. But, because that doesn’t really explain anything, here’s how they describe themselves: Gilt Children offers hand-selected luxury brands at member-only prices. I’ve been a fan for a while and have scored some amazing deals. They really do curate beautiful deals of high-quality products. Think Maclaren, Skip Hop, beautiful boutique clothing lines you will fall in love with. If you haven’t yet, it’s worth registering so you get updates on the latest sales.
As a Gilt-y Mom I’ll be sharing my best tips and advice on the Gilt Children Facebook page over the next month. I’d love for you to join me there and chime in – I know you have great things to share! Right now you’ll find lots of great ideas for summer celebrations from all the Gilt-y Moms.
Now, for the best part. (Okay, almost best. The best will be the upcoming $100 Gilt credit giveaway.) Gilt Children is providing members of Gilt-y Mom’s Summer Spectacular with a special limited-time offer: Get $10 off when you spend $50 or more on Gilt Children! Offer expires July 18.
So, what are you waiting for? Click through to automatically take advantage of this awesome Gilt Children discount.
I am a compensated Gilty Mom. Opinions are my own.
I’ve seen some adorable cake bunting decorations on the blogs I follow. They look amazing, adding color and personalization to cakes without adding lots of food dye to the frosting. Have you seen some of these?
They look great. They look amazing. They look like they require skills above and beyond what I have in my tool belt. Two of the three also require a sewing machine. Um, for me, a sewing machine is a deal breaker. So, here’s my super-simple attempt at cake bunting. For a unique twist, I attached mine to a diaper cake for a baby shower.
My bunting is super-simple because it is one long sheet of paper with a few cuts to produce the individual “flags”. I counted the number of letters for each word and (based upon the stickers I chose) gave each letter a half inch of space. Therefore, the strip of paper for the word “welcome” is 3.5 inches long by 1 inch tall. I then cut up at each half inch interval and placed my sticker letters on the paper. Now, I did get a little fancy and added fringe to the bottom of each flag. Fancy, meaning I used a pair of scissors specially made for that purpose. I also punched 1/16 inch holes in the top to thread my string.
Just like most craft projects, the special touches are in the details. For the string to hang my bunting, I chose three colors of DMC floss to match the colors of the shower and braided them together. I know, you can buy twine in all colors these days. However, when you can find the right color twine, you have to buy an entire spool for the 18 inches you need. The DMC floss for this project set me back all of $1.48 and it looks adorable (if I do say so myself).
To braid the DMC floss, cut each color to the same length and line them up. Tape one end to a surface and begin braiding. Once the braiding is complete, leave that end taped together, but remove it from the surface. Thread the non-taped end through a large needle and work the string through the banner. Tie each end to the skewers for your cake and… super-simple cake bunting.
If you’re a regular reader it’s no surprise at all when I confess that I am less-than-crafty. In fact, I pretty much stink at being craftalicious. But, when people and companies make products that are so simple that even I can use them, I know they’re on to something. Like party circles and printables? I can do that. Crafts using the Silhouette craft cutter? I’m pretty sure I can do that. Luckily, one of you will put my theory that the Silhouette SD craft cutter will help even the craft-challenged rival Martha with your very own machine. Read on to enter our awesome giveaway and for an amazing promotional discount!
What is the Silhouette?
The Silhouette is a digital cutting tool for personal use. Similar to the functioning of a home printer, it cuts paper and other materials like vinyl with a blade instead of printing onto it.
What Can You Make With a Silhouette?
What can’t you make with the Silhouette is a better question. Clothes, Etched Glass, Cards and Vinyl Decor, to name a few things.
Our very own Amy offered some fun tutorials for things she created with her Silhouette SD machine last fall.
In addition to all the current craft possibilities, Silhouette has recently added Temporary Tattoo paper to its shop. Just in time for summer fun, you can cut designs on paper specifically for temporary tattoos.
Shop! We have an awesome promo to share with you. From today through June 29 you can purchase the Silhouette SD and 2 Packages Temporary Tattoo Paper for $199 (U.S. only). That’s 120 bucks in savings! Use code MAMA at check out.
Plus, you can get 25% off all other products in the Silhouette shop (excluding gift cards and download codes) with code MAMA!
Win! A Silhouette SD – a $299 value!
How to Enter: Visit Silhouette and leave a comment with the very first thing you would like to create with a Silhouette machine.
Bonus Entries – valid only after completing the first required entry. Please leave a separate comment for each you do.
The Shopping Mama™ was founded by Kate Marsh Lord in January of 2009 to share the latest and greatest in gear, clothes and toys for kids. After graduating law school and moving around the world with her Air Force husband, Kate settled down and had three beautiful little ones.The children changed her online motivation from researching legal issues to tracking down the best in everything for kids from strollers to monogrammed onesies.Kate is proud to partner with several brands as an ambassador