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Eat Your Way Though Independence Day: Quick and Easy Recipes!

June 24, 2017 at 7:11 AM • Posted in Creative Fun, Food, HolidayNo comments yet

Looking for some quick and easy recipes for your fourth of July cookout? Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, has compiled a list of her favorite mouth watering summer favorites that your family can make today. Take a look… quick and easy recipes

Eat Your Way Though Independence Day: Quick and Easy Recipes!

Nothing says summer like the 4th of July! Fireworks, swimming pools and everything red, white and blue. When I was younger, I always loved a few things about the 4th of July and that’s the picnics and fireworks. Getting together and spending a day eating summer favorites, popping fireworks and fighting your exhaustion from the day just to see the big ones go off at night made it all worth it.

Now that I am older, and have a family and an obsession with Pinterest, I get more excited to host the picnics and get togethers more than anything. Once the fireworks go off at night, I feel like it is the “ta-da” moment of the day lol.

The 4th of July is such an awesome holiday and it can be the highlight of any summer. But I also know that it can become complicated, overwhelming and just downright tiresome. So this year, have no fear! Here are some of my favorite quick and easy 4th of July recipes!

#1 Red, White, and Blue Salad

When it’s hot, you don’t really want a whole lot of piping hot food. This red, white and blue salad is so easy, light and perfect for summer!

#2 Patriotic Popcorn

I love sweet popcorn and this one is perfect for the 4th of July! Check out this easy recipe for some of the best sweet and salty popcorn yet!

#3 American Pride Ice Cream Sandwiches

I am definitely doing these this year! So quick and easy plus very patriotic! Who knew that 2 simple store bought items could become something so creative! Check out the how to here

#4 Red, White and Blue Strawberries

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES… need I say more lol?? Who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries!? Give them a patriotic twist by using a few ingredients! Check out these super cute ones from

#5 Jello Snacks

Jello is one of the easiest snacks to dress up. By adding a few items to it, you can use it for just about every holiday. Try doing this with your kiddos for a quick 4th of July treat!

** pro tip, pre made jello snack cups if you are short on time or simply can’t make jello like me lol**

#6 Firecracker Dogs

Possibly the cutest hot dog you will ever see! These firecracker dogs are sure to please everyone! Check out these simple dogs perfect for the 4th!

#7 Grilled Chicken Berry Salad

One of my FAVORITE salads! I love everything about this salad, the sweetness, the crunch and the fact that it is healthy. Plus it is easy to whip up for a crowd. Check out how easy this amazing and easy this salad is!

#8 Veggie Flag Tray

When it’s summer time and especially when it is a holiday, you can be surrounded by nothing but sweets and treats. So to make sure you get those veggies in check out this super cute and delicious veggie tray idea!

#9 Red, White and Sangria

This is the perfect adult beverage for the 4th of July! Check out how simple and crowd pleasing this is.

#10 Patriotic Punch

And in case you haven’t had enough sugar or cool treats for the 4th, check out this awesome kid friendly patriotic punch! Not only does it look cool, but it screams HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

All of these recipes are super easy and can definitely be modified to your own liking. Enjoy your 4th of July!

From iFamily to Yours,


22 Simple Summer Snack Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

May 30, 2017 at 11:46 AM • Posted in Family Health & Wellness, Food, Mom ResourcesComments Off on 22 Simple Summer Snack Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

Happy Tuesday, Kansas City!

Summer break is in full swing here in the metro area and,  if you’re like me, you’re already dealing with the constant battle of feeding (always) hungry kids at home and on he go. Brigette, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, is here to help. She’s come up with a list of 22 simple summer snack ideas your kids will love this season. Whether you’re heading off to camp, venturing out to the park, or relaxing at home – we’ve got you covered right here on the blog. Take a look…

22 Simple Summer Snack Ideas

22 Simple Summer Snack Ideas Your Kids Will Love!

The kids are out of school and, unless they are in summer camp, chances are they are like mine…and will be snacking! Kids seems to want more snacks than anything else, especially on days when they are very active and hitting those growth spurts.

Snacking during summer can be tricky at times, especially if you’re not prepared. It always seems to be easier to just stop somewhere to grab some fruit snacks or another sugary “snack”- And we all know what happens when they get that sugar overload! There are kids bouncing all over the place, attitudes change, and, of course, they are not receiving any nutritional value. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with what I like to call “fun snacks” (such as fruit snacks or the occasional sour patch kids) every once in a while. Of course, only you know what is best for your child.

But if snacking is something that just seems to be hassle getting together of too time consuming, here is a list 22 of my favorite go to snacks! Especially during the upcoming summer time heat!

Fresh Fruits

1. Apples

2. Mandarins/ Cuties

3. Bananas

4. Grapes

5. Berries

6. Pears

These are some of the best fruits to pack! They don’t need to be kept cool and you can throw a few in your snack back or purse! Plus they don’t have much waste (wrappers, bottles) o you don’t have to worry about a huge mess. For those really hot days, I freeze our grapes and let the kiddos eat them on the road. They taste like grape popsicles! If you have a smaller kiddo and need to cut the apples beforehand, soak them in a little lemon juice water to prevent the browning.


7. Carrots

8. Celery

9. Cherry tomatoes

10. Edamame

11. Broccoli

These veggies are also great to just grab and go! A little wash off when you get home, chop them if not already in “baby form” i.e. baby carrots and you are set! My littlest loves tomatoes so these always get packed!

Grains &  Nuts

12. Granola Bars

13. Energy Cookies

14. Almonds

15. Trail Mix

16. Gold Fish

17. Dry Cereal

These are items we keep in our home all the time! Our oldest doesn’t like granola and the boy doesn’t like almonds so we get the Ziploc snack size baggies and fill them with a variety of these snacks. This way they can choose their own, not overdo it and still be a happy camper. Our energy bites are the only thing that really takes time to prep. For our kids we use about 2-3 mashed ripe bananas, about 1 cup and a half oatmeal and a few table spoons of chocolate chips. I mix them all together and bake for until they are firm. My kids love these especially with ice cold milk!


18. Water

19. Fruit Water

20. Lemonade

21. V8 Juice

22. Juice Box

These should be every parents go to drink arsenal! One thing that my kids love to do is freeze their drinks (I guess they get their love of ice from me!). They will freeze their cups of whatever and when they are ready for some, they grab a spoon and dig in! I also fill their water bottles half way and freeze them. When we are ready to go out in the heat, I fill the rest with water and they have instant ice water that will last much longer than a few cubes.

I hope these easy snack ideas will make your kiddos summer snacking a lot easier! Let us know what simple snack ideas YOU have to help other moms on the go!

From iFamily to Yours,



A Simple & Sweet Pi Day Recipe: Mini Cherry Pies

March 14, 2017 at 7:23 AM • Posted in Educational Fun for Kids, FoodComments Off on A Simple & Sweet Pi Day Recipe: Mini Cherry Pies

Happy Pi Day, Kansas City! To celebrate this mathematical holiday, we’re bringing you some more pie recipes. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, has a simple and sweet recipe for MINI cherry pies. They’ll be sure to satisfy that sweet tooth (and hopefully warm you up a bit too!) Take a look..

A Pi Day Recipe: Mini Cherry Pies


A Simple & Sweet Pi Day Recipe: Mini Cherry Pies


Celebrating the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter (did I get that right?) is easy as pie.


Mini Cherry Pies (makes 4)

What you’ll need:

• 1 refrigerated pie crust
• 1 large can of cherry pie filling
• 4 ramekins
• Cookie sheet
• Cutting boards for work surfaces
• Pizza cutter

A Pi Day Recipe: Mini Cherry Pies


What to do:

• Preheat oven to 375.

• Cut both the crusts in ¼ pieces.

• Have your kids roll each ¼ piece into a ball.

• Help them roll out each ball until round and flat.

• Take a rolled out piece of dough and place it in the bottom of the ramekin. Pinching the dough around the top edge. Repeat x3.

• Have the kids scoop the cherry pie filling into each ramekin until it is full.

• Using the pizza cutter, cut the remaining round and flat pieces into thick strips (about 6).

• Criss cross the strips of dough over the cherry pie filing in the ramekins. Pinch dough around the sides so all the dough is sticking together.

• Place all the ramekins on a cookie sheet (the pies may bubble over, so you can thank me later) and bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes on the center rack. If the top crust begins to get too dark, cover pieces with tinfoil.

• Cool about 1 hour before serving (especially to little ones). They also taste great cold!


Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,




A Fun St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Shamrock Shakes

March 11, 2017 at 4:06 PM • Posted in Food, HolidayComments Off on A Fun St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Shamrock Shakes

Top o’ the morning to ya, Kansas City! One of my favorite spring time treats are milkshakes/smoothies. Truthfully, I can drink them any time of year! With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has a simple recipe to make Shamrock Shakes at home. Yum! Take a look…

 A Fun St. Patrick's Day Recipe: Shamrock Shakes

A Fun St. Patrick’s Day Recipe: Shamrock Shakes


I love Shamrock Shakes from McDonald’s! Since they are only offered during early spring, I decided to concoct a recipe so myself and my family could enjoy them all year round! They were super easy, yummy, and were a big hit in my house!

A Fun St. Patrick's Day Recipe: Shamrock Shakes



3 scoops mint chocolate chip ice cream

1/4 c. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

4-6 drops green food coloring

Whipped cream, for topping



Maraschino cherries, sprinkles, chocolate chips

or any other fun green things you can come up with!



Decorate with plastic rings, fun straws and serve up in a fancy wine or martini glass


From iFamily to Yours,




10 Great Recipes to Celebrate Pi Day!

March 11, 2017 at 7:50 AM • Posted in FoodComments Off on 10 Great Recipes to Celebrate Pi Day!

Hey, Kansas City! For pi(e) enthusiasts everywhere, March 14th (3.14) is a special day. A day dedicated to the mathematical number – 3.14, which many of us use as an excuse to bake up some tasty pies to celebrate! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has a 10 fabulous recipes rounded-up to help celebrate this yummy holiday. Take a look…

10 Great Recipes to Celebrate Pi Day!


10 Great Recipes to Celebrate Pi Day!


Math lovers rejoice! Pi(e) day will be here before you know it! For those of you that may not know what I am referring too, March 14th is an unofficial holiday. The reasoning why is clear by the definition of Pi “The number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159.” So in honor of Pi(e) day, I am going to share with y’all some awesome pie recipes to help celebrate this unofficial day!


#1 Pecan Pie- My personal Favorite

Pie Crust
2 and 1/2 cups (250g) coarsely chopped Diamond of California pecans
3 large eggs
1 cup (240ml) dark corn syrup1
1/2 cup (100g) packed dark brown sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For instructions visit here.


#2  Pumpkin Pie

2 Large Eggs, Beaten
1 (16 Ounce) Canned Solid Packed Pumpkin
2 Tablespoons Molasses
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Dried Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Ground Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1 (12 Ounce) Canned Evaporated Milk
1 9 Inch Deep Dish Pie Crust-Unbaked
You can get the rest of this recipe off any can of pumpkin at your local grocery store.


#3 Apple Pie

6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium)
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
This apple pie is such a classic! You can get the rest of the directions over from Pillsbury.com!


#4 Shoofly Pie- Another FAVE!

(This is a family tradition pie from back east – Pennsylvania)
Pie Crust:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
¾ c. shortening
5 tbsp. water
½ c. dark corn syrup
¼ c. light brown sugar
1 large Egg
½ tsp. baking soda
½ c. hot water
Crumb Topping:
1 c. all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. shortening
.67 c. light brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon
This is no everyday pie! This is something SPECIAL! Get the rest of the recipe at Countryliving.com.


#5 Peanut Butter Pie- This pie is a perfect pair!

1 (14.3 oz) package whole Oreos (about 36 Oreos)
1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, divided
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
This is one of the easiest pies to make! Head over here to get the full recipe!


#6 Brown Sugar Pie- Simple ingredients, amazing taste!

1 pound light brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 pie crust
For this quick pie head over here to see the rest!


#7 Coffee Pie-This recipe had me at COFFEE!

1 (3.4 oz) box INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
¾ cup cold brew coffee
½ cup milk or cream
1 Tbsp pure coffee extract
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 prepared Oreo cookie crust
Whipped cream, for garnish
Dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish
To get this afternoon pick me up pie, head over here!


#8 Banana Cream Pie- This pie is so creamy you will want seconds!

11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter diced and chilled
2-4 tablespoons ice water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks- beaten
3 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 bananas-sliced
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 banana-sliced
This is pie is perfect for a spring afternoon! To get the rest of the recipe, head over here!


#9 Martha Stewart’s Boston Cream Pie

I mean it’s Martha lol! Need I say more?..
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk(whole)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 recipe cooled Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
To get the rest of Martha’s incredible recipe, head over to marthastewart .com!


#10  Whoopie Pie- Another family favorite!

This technically isn’t a “pie.” It is more like a hand held piece of heaven!
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of shortening
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of warm water
To get the step by step recipe, head over here!

I hope you will enjoy these pie recipes as much as my family and I do! Happy PI(e) day!

From iFamily to Yours,







Super Foods: 7 Different Avocado and Banana Recipes for your Family

February 20, 2017 at 8:29 AM • Posted in FoodComments Off on Super Foods: 7 Different Avocado and Banana Recipes for your Family

Hello, Kansas City! Did you know February is Avocado AND Banana month? My family and I love both of those foods a ton, and we’re so excited to try these 7 awesome recipes from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, to give a little umph to your banana and avocado tastes! Take a look…

Super Foods: 7 Different Avocado and Banana Recipes for your Family


Super Foods: 7 Different Avocado and Banana Recipes

for your Family

Although Valentine’s Day gets all the attention, February has a lot going on. National Nutella Day is February 6, National Pizza Day is February 9, National Margarita Day is February 22 and the entire month is dedicated to Avocados and Bananas. Can you handle all the deliciousness?
Bananas and Avocados are staples in our house, and I’m sure they are in many of your homes as well. Delicious and nutritious to eat as they are, I thought you all may appreciate a few recipes to perhaps shake up your menu options when it comes to this month’s favorite produce.



Avocados are a great source of healthy fats. One of our daughters had a low birth weight and still struggles to gain weight as she’s growing, so avocados are a great food for her. Our favorite use for avocados is on toast. Here’s some of our favorite spins on it.

#1 Avocado Toast, 4 Ways

P’s favorite:
White toast, buttered with mashed avocado on top. Place two slices of bacon on top of that.
E’s favorite:
White toast, almond butter, with mashed avocado on top
Dad’s favorite:
Wheat toast, mashed avocado, salt, pepper and a fried egg on top
Mom’s favorite:
Rye toast, mashed avocado with salt and pepper topped with tomato and bacon slices

We also love Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad, which is similar to guacamole, but no chips needed.

#2 Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad

1 English cucumber
4 Roma Tomatoes
3 Ripe Avocados
½ Red Onion
¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chop up all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and toss into bowl. Toss with olive oil, juice, salt and pepper. There’s a video of this recipe on Tasty.

My final recipe comes from my lovely sister. She made these for us once, and I crave these about once a month.

#3 Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas (makes 4 quesadillas)

8 Tortillas
1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
2 Cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 Avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 Green onions, sliced
2 tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. Butter
Heat skillet over medium high heat. Assemble Quesadillas by dividing the toppings (except butter) among 4 tortillas. Top with another tortilla. When skillet is hot, melt butter and then place 1 quesadilla onto skillet. Heat for a couple minutes, until cheese starts to melt. Flip and cook for a minute more, until tortilla is browned on both sides. Continue, one quesadilla at a time until all are cooked. Cut into slices and serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.


Now for some fun banana recipes! Bananas work themselves easily into things like smoothies, Nutella on bread, crepes and on top of waffles. We make banana, flax seed bread often too. Here are just a few of our most used and beloved recipes.


#4 Mama’s Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup water
1 cup fresh spinach
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 banana
Add all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.


#5 Frozen Honey Banana Pops

4 just ripe bananas, peeled
8 craft sticks
½ cup honey
About 1 cup of finely chopped nuts, coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit or graham cracker crumbs
Cut bananas in half cross-wise. Insert a craft stick into each cut end. Freeze for at least 30 minutes on wax paper lined tray. Spread desired toppings onto separate plates. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of honey over each banana. Roll banana in toppings. Press with fingers if necessary to adhere. Place back into freezer for about 10 minutes. Enjoy! (Parents- these are nice to eat outside. They can get messy and sticky quickly with little ones.)

We seem to always buy more bananas than we can reasonably eat before they start to brown. Here are two recipes that are perfect to use on those last couple bananas that are too ripe to eat on their own.

#6 Banana Pancakes

2 ripe Bananas, mashed
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, oil and bananas. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle or pan. Cook until pancakes begin to bubble and bottom is golden-brown. Flip and cook until golden-brown on both sides.


#7 Banana Ice Cream

Also, the healthiest and easiest ice cream known to man. Whenever you get to the point when you realize those bananas aren’t going to get eaten soon enough, peel them, slice them and toss into a freezer-friendly Ziploc bag. Just keep adding bananas until you get at least a cup’s worth. This was also great when the kids were young and didn’t always finish the banana. The leftovers can get tossed in the bag so you don’t just throw food out. Blend in your food processor until smooth. Scoop into bowls and top as you’d like to.


How do you like your avocados and/or bananas? Share in the comments

From iFamily to Yours,





In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein

February 5, 2017 at 8:49 AM • Posted in FoodComments Off on In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein

Hello, Kansas City! We are always looking for new ways to feed our kids, and recipes that are QUICK and EASY! Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, has just the answer — this easy Chicken Chow Mein recipe. Her kids love it and from the pictures, it looks delicious! Check it out…

In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein // iFamilyKC Blog

In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein


Do you have a favorite source for recipes? Some people go crazy finding new meals to try on Pinterest, while others stick with a few tried and true recipes. I really enjoy cooking and trying new things, but I always appreciate a good lead on a good source. I have bought many cookbooks to find that I really only like one or two of the recipes. There’s a few food blogs I follow, but sometimes they seem to make things overly complicated. I do have a favorite cookbook author- and everyone is surprised when I share who it is.

I have two of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbooks, and they are BY FAR my family’s most-used resource.
I tell this to people all the time, and every single time people have been incredulous. I think it’s because of her second cookbook, It’s All Good, which is dedicated to clean eating. I do not have that book. I have her first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter and her latest book, It’s All Easy. In her first cookbook, Paltrow talks a lot about her love of food which she mainly picked up from her father. The book contains many family favorite recipes and some of the stories behind them.

In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein // iFamilyKC Blog
I picked it up because I had tried a few recipes I’d found on her website and really enjoyed them. The cookbook did not disappoint. She walks through a lot of the basics and prep work for ingredients and sauces used in the recipes and many of them have become staples at our home. Sometimes her recipes call for an item I’ve had trouble tracking down, so I’ve substituted. My favorite thing about the cookbook was it taught me new ways to make some of our favorites and new ways to use ingredients we already loved. Some recipes take all day to make, while others are fairly quick.
If fairly quick recipes are more your style, then It’s All Easy may be for you. I bought it after reading a review. Apparently Paltrow’s claim with this book was that you could create a dish that was better than take out, and do it in less time than it took for take out to arrive. A young writer in New York took that challenge and for several days tried to make one of the recipes while ordering a similar dish and compared the two on taste and speed. The cookbook won, much to the writer’s surprise.

In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein // iFamilyKC Blog
We’ve only had the book a few months, but have made quite a few of the dishes and we have really loved them. I will say- once again Paltrow had me headed to the store, scratching my head for an item so I can’t say it’s all easy when it comes to the grocery shopping; but once you get to the kitchen it is smooth sailing.

My favorite recipe is the Chicken and Zucchini Noodle Pho soup. I am soup obsessed. For me, nothing beats curling up with a hot bowl of soup. This recipe helped us get through the TONS of zucchini we had on hand this summer, but it’s deliciousness has me craving it year-round. It’s a good way to get extra veggies in, but you could also use rice noodles if you prefer. If you have a spiralizer, it makes the process of converting zucchini to noodle easier, but I did not at first and was able to use my cheese grater.


In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein // iFamilyKC Blog
My daughter’s favorite is the Chicken Chow Mein. She claims, “The chicken tastes better than chicken.” I think the secret here is the tamari sauce. I had never bought tamari before, but now we can never go back! Since this one is a crowd pleaser, I will share the recipe below. Because, as I said, I can never seem to get through a recipe without changing something- I used different oil (I have a good collection of random oils that I do not use up and didn’t want to buy another). I also cut the chicken into bite sizes (because I’d have to do that anyway for the kids) and did not salt them. I cut the broccolini bigger (because I wanted to). This is great as is, but some crushed peanuts and water chestnuts would be a good addition.

Chicken Chow Mein From Gwyneth Paltrow’s, It’s All Easy

In the Kitchen: Easy Chicken Chow Mein // iFamilyKC Blog
9 oz. udon noodles or fettuccini
6 tbsp. peanut oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾” x 2” strips
1 bunch broccolini, cut into ½” pieces
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup tamari
Cook the udon noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Heat a wok or a very large non-stick sauté pan over high heat. Add 3 tbsp. of the peanut oil and arrange the chicken strips in one even layer around the pan; season the chicken with salt.
Sear the chicken for 2 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side; turn and sear on the second side, then transfer to a large bowl.
Add the broccolini to the wok and sauté, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccolini to the bowl with the chicken, leaving as much oil in the wok as possible.
Add the onions to the wok and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until beginning to soften and caramelize, then add the remaining 3 tbsp. peanut oil and the cooked noodles. Stir the noodles and arrange them so that as many as possible are in direct contact with the pan (you want to sear them as much as possible) and cook for one minute. Return the chicken and broccolini to the wok, stir to combine everything, and cook for 3 minutes or so more. Add the tamari, turn off the heat, and serve.


What are some of your family favorites? We’d love to hear in the comments!

From iFamily to Yours,

8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family

November 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in FoodComments Off on 8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family

Hello, Kansas City! Dinner can be tough for a family. Particularly trying to find recipes and foods that make even the pickiest eaters happy. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has some great ideas to add some life to your dinner and hopefully please the entire pack. Check it out!

8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family



8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family


My children have to be the pickiest eaters on the planet! Planning dinner is not the easiest chore in my house at all. I thought I’d share some easy kid-friendly dinner ideas that just might please the pickiest of eaters in your household. I think dinner should be an enjoyable time for the whole family and hopefully these ideas will have your family clearing their plate and asking for seconds!


Simple, separated and balanced meals.

A lot of kids may not like casseroles yet because of different foods being mixed together. I would suggest possibly separating out the foods before mixing all of the ingredients together. This avoids having to make another whole meal for the picky eater in the bunch.


Breakfast for dinner

Pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, French toast! You could even have a waffle or pancake bar with different toppings for everyone to customize their own.


English muffin pizzas

SUPER simple and fun idea to get the kids involved in making dinner. Take an English muffin and top with sauce and cheese. Have a bunch of different veggies and meats cut up and cooked ready to add to the pizzas. Heat in the toaster oven or conventional oven for 10 minutes or so and you’re ready to eat!


Have an alternative choice

…but also put a small bite of the main meal on your child’s plate. We are all used to having choices when it comes to meals and kids are no different. They have a choice when they buy lunch at school or when we go to a restaurant.       The alternative choice for dinner does NOT have to be something extremely difficult to prepare and you can teach your child to make it as well. My daughter’s favorite alternative meal when we have something she absolutely will not eat is chicken noodle soup and crackers.


Spaghetti or pasta dishes

Where you can easily hide vegetables. It’s really hard to get kids to eat vegetables a lot of times. This is a great way to sneak a few nutrients in their food without them even knowing! I think there is a whole cookbook out there somewhere about hiding vegetables in food.

Involve your children

Involve your children in the process of shopping, preparing and cooking food. Or enroll them in a kid’s cooking club. My daughter tried guacamole for the first time ever at her cooking club and now she LOVES it! All because she made it herself and was able to add the ingredients she wanted to add and knew exactly what was in it.


Recreate your child’s favorite restaurant food

If your child likes a certain food at fast food restaurants try to recreate that food at home. My daughter would NEVER eat a hamburger at home until I decided to make the patty thin and toast the bun like McDonald’s hamburgers. She loves them now!


Make food fun!

There are all kinds of ideas on Pinterest to make food shaped like animals, scenes, or holiday themes. You can be as simple as you like or get crazy creative with those ideas.


Do you have any ideas or recipes that your kids just LOVE? Feel free to share with us in the comments!


From iFamily to Yours,


7 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy Besides Eat It

November 2, 2016 at 11:00 AM • Posted in Food, HolidayComments Off on 7 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy Besides Eat It

Good Morning, Kansas City! Can you even believe we’re two days into November already?! As we look back on the craziness that was Halloween, we probably have a lot of leftover candy to figure out what to do with. And while the kiddos would probably love that we let them devour each and every piece — us parents know better. So, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky has some great ideas of what to do with all the leftover loot. Check it out!

7 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy Besides Eat It

7 Things to do with Leftover Halloween Candy

{Besides Eat It}


One year after trick-or-treating, when I was six, my friend and I were left unsupervised in the next room and we ate EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. of our Halloween candy. (My mom had four kids, I now have three that I can barely keep track off, so no judgments here.) One guess how that night ended. Ugh. So while eating all of the Halloween candy is definitely an option, I don’t recommend it. Instead, set a limit with your kids, decide how much to keep, let them pick out their favorites and then get rid of the leftovers by doing one or more of these fun ideas:



Bake with it

From Candy Corn Biscotti to Candy Bar Croissants, there are all kinds of recipes out there featuring leftover Halloween candy as the main ingredient. Personally, I’m adding Twix & Banana Muffins to my next brunch menu.



Bank it

Cha-ching! Your kids can earn $1/lb. (up to $5) for turning in their candy at Prairie Pediatric Dentistry (15230 W. 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66219) to support Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to our troops. All participants will enter to win a $50 Power Play gift card. You gotta hurry on this deal because it’s only good through Nov. 2, 7:30am-4:30pm. For more info, call 913-586-0770.


Gift it

Have a niece or nephew with a birthday coming up? Buy them a piñata and fill it with all your leftover candy. You’ll be the hit of their party. Or tape candy all over the next few birthday presents you give to up the fun factor for the birthday boy or girl.


Switch it

Get a Switch Witch (or create your own) and convince your kids to leave their candy for the witch to take while they sleep in exchange for a surprise gift when they wake up—like an electric toothbrush! (Is that mean?)


Donate it

Bag your candy in smaller Ziplock bags and find a food pantry, Ronald McDonald House, homeless shelter and/or and nursing home near you to drop them off. Make it extra meaningful and have your children write letters to stick inside the bags with the candy.


Experiment with it

Science Experiments with candy? If someone had introduced me to this as a child I just might have become a chemist. There’s still hope for your kids. Check out these fun experiments here, here and here.


Save it

The holidays are just around the corner so save some of the candy to use in your holiday countdown, stockings, St. Nick shoes, etc. All this leftover candy is also a great excuse to throw a Gingerbread house-building party. On second thought, that sounds like a lot of work. Never mind. Maybe just eat all the candy now instead.



Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,


 7 Things to Do With Leftover Candy!

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11 Simple & Fun Halloween Snack Recipes!

October 31, 2016 at 12:59 PM • Posted in Creative Fun, Food, HolidayComments Off on 11 Simple & Fun Halloween Snack Recipes!

Happy Halloween, Kansas City!

It’s a beautiful (albeit, warm) day here in the metro area and I have a feeling your kiddos are getting ridiculously excited for tonight’s tick or treat festivities. If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what you should feed the kids before and after your stroll around the neighborhood. Leah, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad Ambassador team, is here to help with some ideas on snacks and food options that work in easily with your busy schedule. Take a look…

Halloween Snack Ideas, Halloween Dinner, Halloween Food, 11 Simple & Fun Halloween Snack Recipes!

11 Simple & Fun Halloween Snack Recipes!

Halloween is here which means that children will have an abundance of candy at their disposal. It also means rushing the kids to get all dressed up…. and more than likely having only a few minutes to make dinner. There is a likelihood that you will be asked to bring a dessert to an activity or work pot luck. I have complied some of my favorite recipes of Halloween snacks or treats. Please click on the links provided for the full recipes. Have an amazing Halloween!

Jack-o’-Lantern Fruit Cups

Add color and fun to your Halloween with these smiling jack-o’-lantern faces carved into navel oranges. Slice off the tops of the oranges, scoop out the pulp, use a paring knife to cut out jack-o’-lantern faces, and fill with grapes and/or mixed berries

Slithering Snake Dip

Eek! What is lurking in your hummus? A slithering snake made from black olives! Cute Food for Kids carved beady eyes from string cheese and added a carrot tongue. Even those who hate serpents will love this little guy.

Spooky Spider Eggs

Deviled eggs (like these) get extra creepy-crawly when they’re topped with spiders. To make eight scary spider eggs, cut 12 black olives in half vertically. Place one half in the center of each egg to form the body, then slice each remaining olive half into four sections to create legs.

Cheesy Monsters

A sharp knife (a filleting knife is perfect), a few googly eyes in different sizes, some non-toxic kids PVA glue, a tiny bit of wool for hair and a couple of packets of mini Babybel cheeses all come together to make a plate of monsterlicious treats.

Oreo Eyeball Cookies

These Oreo Eyeballs are an incredibly easy Halloween party treat.  No baking, just use Oreos (or gluten free version, if you prefer), and dress them up inside out.  The only heating involved is melt the red candy melts, but even this could be skipped by using one of the many red decorative icing gels available this time of year

Baked Eyeballs Casserole

The “eyeballs” that top our spooky casserole are made from mozzarella cheese and sliced olives.  But the cheesy, baked pasta that lies below is a real treat that everyone will enjoy.

Flying Bat Pizzas Recipe

Pizza is always a surefire way to lure kids to the dinner table because they can help add toppings and decorate the pizzas before they go into the oven. They’re tasty, quick and totally spooky!

Pizza Snake Recipe

“Once your snake is filled, rolled and shaped, let the kids paint it. The bread will bake up colorful, yummy and just creepy enough to satisfy the boys and ghouls.”

Eyeball Taco Salad Recipe

In Queen Creek, Arizona, all eyes are on Jolene Young’s tasty main-dish salad when she brings it in. Topped with creepy peepers, it’s packed with beef, cheese, tomato and satisfying taco flavor to satisfy a crowd.

Frankenguac Recipe

Play the mad scientist this year and bring a monster to life. He’s frightfully fun and delicious! 

Popcorn Owls Recipe

Sweet and chewy popcorn balls are a “hoot” when they’re formed into wide-eyed owls perfect for a Halloween party. They take a little bit of assembly but draw a lot of compliments.

From iFamily to Yours,



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