I received products from Stonyfield YoKids, but as with all of my sponsored posts, all opinions expressed are my own.

Exciting news everyone! Stonyfield Yokids is sponsoring the AZA SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) programs; together on a mission to help save endangered species. As part of a year-long effort, Stonyfield will not only be contributing funds to field work but aiming to drive kids and their families to see animals and conservation projects first hand at zoos, aquariums, and on the ground where the research is happening. By encouraging more kids and families to visit their local participating zoo or aquarium and experience endangered species firsthand, Stonyfield hopes to inspire a lifelong appreciation of our planet and commitment to animal conservation in the next generation.

As the country’s leading organic yogurt maker, Stonyfield has long been focused on conservation and sustainability. Each year they keep over 185,000 pounds of toxic pesticides out of the environment, helping safeguard species and their eco-systems.

Did you know that tomorrow, April 25th, is World Penguin Day? To commemorate World Penguin Day, Stonyfield and AZA are hosting a Facebook Live for kids and their parents to get a firsthand look at these majestic seabirds, as well as the conservation work being done to save them. Tune in to this Facebook Live broadcast direct from Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT on Tuesday, April 25, at 12 noon EST. You can find the live broadcast on Stonyfield’s Facebook page.

So, here’s some fun info!

Stonyfield YoKids is featuring an on-pack offer to get families out to visit any of the 131 AZA accredited member zoos and aquariums in their own communities. Click here for  list! Now through the end of September families who buy two specially-marked YoKids yogurt multipacks will receive a FREE kid’s admission to their local AKA-accredited zoo or aquarium when they also buy an adult ticket!

They’ve also added pictures of the lovable African Penguin and most endangered AZA SAFE species on Stonyfield YoKids packaging this year. I know my kids loved seeing them and had favorites that got packed into their school lunches!

To draw further attention to the plight of the endangered species Stonyfield has also created a series of videos that ask kids and their parents, “Can a cow save a penguin or a sea turtle or a cheetah?” The videos and other resources can be found on Stonyfield’s site. The humor and heartwarming answers showcase the optimism and imagination of children, but also the need for real action to save endangered species.

Some more great news!

Stonyfield recently announced a sugar reduction across its yogurt portfolio and that includes YoKids! Always made with USDA organic, non-GMO ingredients, Stonyfield Yokids yogurt now features as much as 40% less sugar than the leading low-fat kids’ yogurt!

So, as the school year winds down and summer is nearing, don’t forget to pack some YoKids yogurt for a healthy snack, and grab some free admission tickets to the zoo or aquarium! There, you’ve got some summer plans already made for you! I know my kids are looking forward to multiple trips since we’re all about learning about both the local wildlife and those from lands far, far away!

Happy Spring!

 

 

 

 

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Paw Patrol Party ~ George Turns 3!

I can’t believe another year has passed and my baby, our George, is three! Now, before you start sending in your wishes for him, his birthday was back in November. Yup, I’m embracing being a mom of two and only just got around to going through all of the pictures. His birthday is a week before Thanksgiving (or what we ended up calling Flu-giving) and then there is Christmas, etc.

His birthday was just too cute not to share. I wanted to show you how I gave him the Paw Patrol party he wished, made it delicious and fun for the kids and adults, and how my parties are getting easier and easier. Work smarter is my adage these days!

Whenever I start planning a party, we go to the cake and theme first. We bounced around the idea of a dinosaur party, trucks, construction, and finally Paw Patrol. I showed him a bunch of cakes on Pinterest and thankfully he chose one that wasn’t a 3D of a face or their tower. Then I just had to come up with some ideas for how I wanted to incorporate what he wanted.

The menu is always a little trying when you are trying to accommodate little one’s palates with their parents. We had fun making choices and then silly names to go with each item. I was stuck on the Buffalo Chicken Balls when the character Chickaletta came to me. My husband just gave me a look, but my six year old daughter loved it and that was my target audience 🙂 I served up some of the food in dog dishes which the kids thought were fun.

George chose the cake flavors, since we had two tiers we could mix it up a it. I’ve never done a yellow cake with chocolate frosting under fondant, but it works and offered a classic birthday flavor to the party. Everything was made out of fondant. While the badges had to be accurate, the first tier added a whimsical feeling. George insisted on having little bones so I made a few of those up for him. Since we had the badges, I decided to use little toys for the characters which George could have afterwards since he didn’t have any.

Since we were dealing with three year-olds and one big sister, we kept it simple with a coloring station set up with Paw Patrol pictures and a Pin the Badge on Chase game. The boys mostly just played with George’s toys, old and new. I kept favor bags simple and gave them some Floam and some of my sugar cookies that I made in nice bright colors using paws and bone shapes.

The kids had lots of fun and most importantly George declared it the best day ever. So much that, even though it’s February, he still talks about his birthday on a daily basis. We had a lot of fun now that he gets it and really has fun with holidays. He’s become quite the goofy, fun loving little boy and I’m so glad I could give him this Paw Patrol Party.

I hope this post helped and gave you some ideas. If you have any questions, ask below in the comments section!

 

Appetizers & Dessert

Fruit Kibble

“Ruff” -age with Ranch Dressing

Fetch Sticks ~ Pretzel Rods

Nutella Puppy Chow

Pups in a Blanket

Buffalo “Chickaletta” Bites

Bone PB&J Sandwiches

Paw-tato Chips and dip

Pup-roni Bites

Marshmallow Fondant

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

Favor Bags

Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

Floam

Additional Items

Coloring Pages

Menu Tags & Favor Bag Badges ~ Found online through image searches

Dog Dishes ~ The $1 Store

 

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Whenever I ask my family, “What do you guys want for dinner?” I get the usual replies. From my daughter it’s, “macaroni and cheese and can it be from a box?” From my son, it’s “pizza!” From my husband, “whatever.” Not helpful! I usually try to make something new each week that will hopefully become the new favorite. What I’ve been doing lately is showing them two or three recipes and having them pick. They are always pasta based. Always. I love pasta too, bu every night and I’m going to blow up like a balloon. Since I can’t fight them, they get one or two a week but I try to make them healthier and try to throw some veggies in there as well.

While I was making this for the first time, my husband looked over at how much spinach I had set aside and cringed. So, I put some spinach back into the refrigerator to appease him. While eating it, both he and my six year old daughter exclaimed that it could actually use a little more spinach. I love when they surprise me like this! I think it’s because it was topped with cheese, but whatever works!

While you wont get leftovers from these portion, this served my family of four happily with my husband going in for seconds. It’s so easy and there’s only one pot to clean up. Perfect for a weeknight meal that tastes like a Sunday supper!

 

One-pot Cheesy Pasta Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 oz. 90% lean ground beef
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 8 oz. uncooked whole-grain penne pasta
  • 5 oz. fresh baby spinach
  • 4 oz. preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)

Preheat broiler to high.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add beef and oregano and cook for 3 minutes, stirring to crumble.

Add stock, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and pasta and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer to 12 to 13 minutes or until pasta is done. Stir in spinach.

Sprinkle cheese over pasta mixture. Place skillet in oven and broil for 2 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Source: Cooking Light September 2016

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Chipotle Ranch Chicken Nachos

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield and Simply Organic. As always, all opinions are my own.

When I found out that Stonyifeld would be sending their new product, Double Cream, and some wonderful spices and dips from Simply Organic during the playoff season I knew some sort of game day snack would be born. We’re big fans of nachos in my house. Probably more than I care to admit. Sometimes we’ll even call it dinner if there is some sort of meat involved. Besides the fact that nachos are delicious the big factor for me is my kids wont eat them. That’s right, they don’t respect the nachos. They’ll eat the chips and the cheese, but not melted and not together. This is actually a huge win for us. We have found ONE snack that we can sit and enjoy at a normal pace without our kids eyeing it, asking for just “one bite,” or sticking their grubby hands in our food. They walk on by. It’s glorious! I can hand them a few chips out of the bag and then eat these in peace.

Typically, when we make nachos they become kind of a free for all and we toss anything and everything we can find on them. These nachos right here were thought out. I knew I wanted to use the Chipotle Ranch Dip from Simply Organic. My husband hates dips that do not involve cheese so I knew this was going to be one of the only ways I could utilize this. I was a little sneaky, sneaky with it. I had plenty left over though for dipping veggies, chips, etc. in addition to these nachos. The Chipotle Ranch dip had a great kick, plenty of spice, but wasn’t too hot. I really liked that. I’m not a fan of heat for the sake of heat. I like my food to have flavor and depth. The ranch gave it a great little twist as well. One little side note about Simply Organic that I did not know until working with them, perhaps you did? One percent of their sales goes to support organic farming and agriculture. I can always get behind a company that helps support the farmers that create their product!

 

Now, we’ve talked flavoring of these nachos but we haven’t talked about what really ups the ante in my book. That would be Stonyfield’s Double Cream. It’s their newest whole milk product and the stuff of yogurt cooking dreams. Made specifically with cooking in mind, Double Cream has just what it says, a higher fat content than any of our other whole milk yogurts, making it thicker, creamier, and more luscious for your cooking needs, while still boasting all the awesomeness of yogurt. It’s also an ideal and wholesome sub for cutting vegetable oils and sour cream. I love it personally because it doesn’t have as tangy of a flavor as yogurt so my family found it more pleasing. I enjoyed the Double Cream on it’s own atop of my baked potato, dipping my veggies into the Chipotle Ranch dip, or baked with the chicken and nachos. It’s definitely delicious and the fact that it has all of the health benefits as yogurt? Talk about a game winner!

So, back to the nachos really quick. The reason I think these are pretty awesome is because the chicken is smothered in the Chipotle Ranch dip made with the Double Cream. This gives the chicken a huge amount of flavor, but keeps the chicken nice and moist as well. These aren’t your typically nachos with over baked chicken on top that you have to smother in salsa or sour cream. Not at all! Then, put all the usual fixings on top and you’ve got yourself one heck of a game day appetizer! Enjoy!

Now tell me, if you could substitute Double Cream for sour cream, butter, or oils, which recipe of yours would you like to try first?

 

Chipotle Ranch Chicken Nachos

Ingredients

  • 8 oz shredded chicken
  • 1 cup  Chipotle Ranch Dip (see below)
  • Tortilla chips
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • cilantro for garnish

For the Chipotle Ranch Dip

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Mix chicken and Chipotle Ranch Dip until combined.

Place tortilla chips in a oven proof dish. Top with chicken and cheese. Add more chips and repeat. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Top with tomatoes, cilantro, and any other  favorite nacho toppings.

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