Archive for August 2015

Tyson Project A+™ - Why I'm Nominating Our School!

August 31, 2015
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson. The opinions and text are all mine.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate when companies decide to give back financially to our local schools. I sincerely wish we didn't HAVE to make up budget shortfalls in this way, but as a former elementary teacher and now mom of an elementary schooler, I know that's not at all a reality anymore! 





Paul is gone for work through the entire weekend, so needless to say we eat a lot of kid-friendly dinners around that time of the week! Which is why I was super excited to hear about Tyson's Project A+ program - we go through a lot of chicken nuggets around here! I usually pick them up on my weekly grocery trip to Walmart. 





I really like how they are 100% natural all-white meat nuggets that are crispy on the outside and juice on the inside - I love eating them, too! If you check out the back of the bags of Tyson® Fun Nuggets, Tyson® Chicken Nuggets, and Tyson® Crispy Chicken Strips (there are other Tyson products in the Project A+ program as well), you should see a label that looks like this:





All you have to do is clip that label before throwing out the empty package and give it in to your school. They can then turn the labels in for cash to spend on much needed projects and supplies. As a bonus, you can nominate your school here and the school that receives the most nominations Tyson will send a packet of labels worth $1,000 to give your school a head start on collecting Tyson® Project A+ labels!

I was quick to nominate our local elementary school. We are actually in the midst of raising money to construct a special needs, all inclusive playground on our school's campus. It's all in honor of a little boy who attended our school and sadly passed away a few years ago. I can think of nothing better to remember him by giving our students here a playground in which ALL children, regardless of ability level or handicap, can play together. 

What reason would you nominate your school? Leave your answer in the comments below!

Looking for an easy kid-friendly dinner idea using Tyson® Chicken Nuggets? Check out my Sweet & Sour Chicken Nugget Skillet!





Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson. The opinions and text are all mine.


Box Tops Scoop & Dump Collection Folder - No Counting! Free Printable

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.

The easiest and quickest way to bundle 50 Box Tops - without counting any of them!





Last year when Silas was in Kindergarten, I had signed up to volunteer in his classroom. And until about February I was in his room about once per week with various tasks his teacher would set aside for "parent helpers" to complete. Sometimes it was meeting with students to go over some difficult skills, sometimes it was finishing a fun seasonal project that was to go on the bulletin board, sometimes it was just menial tasks that teacher really wouldn't have time to finish. Not without taking it home, that is.

Ask me how I know this! ;)

I remember many a night when I taught 2nd grade where I would pack my canvas tote to almost breaking capacity and ride the bus home to our little duplex apartment in Philadelphia. More times than I care to admit, Paul and I chose to order out because I simply had no time to cook with all the homework to check and project pieces to pre-cut out for the students.

And to be honest with you, once baby Silas came along, a lot of those fun things I liked to do with my students simply had to go to the side for the time-being. Seriously, you guys. Teaching is a 24 hour job!

With that being said, I simply adore when certain companies come up with programs, like the Box Tops program, to support schools. If you're not familiar, each Box Top is worth $.10 that when turned in to your child's school, can be used for whatever expense is needed. Looking for a way to help your school/teacher? Collect Box Tops with your family and volunteer to count and bundle Box Tops! This method is SO easy and require ZERO counting - those of you that have done this before late at night will understand what I mean!





-Collect Box Tops by purchasing specially marked products. I found some Yoplait yogurt, Go Gurt, and Mott's Applesauce with Bonus Box Tops on my last grocery trip to Walmart - score!!





-Print out both pages of PDF printables (below) and tape the pages to the inside of any folder you have laying around. Place a Box Top inside each of the boxes on the grid of 50 (this is a great time to make sure all are within expiration date). 

Download Scoop & Dump 1-25 Grid

Download Scoop & Dump 26-50 Grid






-When all 50 boxes are filled, lift up side of folder and allow Box Tops to collect in the middle. Tilt folder and dump directly into a Ziploc baggie.





-Don't forget to label with how many Box Tops are in the bag!


Seriously - this method makes it SO SO SO much easier to count and bundle Box Tops - I can't tell you how many times I was distracted in the middle of counting last year when the kids interrupted me! If you have an older, responsible child at home, you could certainly have them help out with this activity as well. 





Does this encourage you to volunteer some of your time to help out your child's school this year? How do you plan on helping this year? Leave it in the comment section below!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.


Sweet & Sour Chicken Nugget Skillet

August 29, 2015
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson. The opinions and text are all mine.

Frozen chicken nuggets make this classic sweet & sour takeout dinner a snap to put together on a busy weeknight!





My boys have three main food groups: hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and pizza. I honestly believe this is just the way kids their age are and I'm done feeling guilty over that fact! Especially because this is coming from someone who cooks with a variety of ingredients most nights for dinner, so they have had ample opportunity to taste and try new things on a regular basis.

Yet if you ask them, the only foods they really like eating are hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and pizza.





Around our house, Paul is home during the beginning of the week, and then the end of the week through the weekend he's gone all day and until late at night working. So I'm home with the boys fixing meals for just us three, and I have to be honest. A lot of the time on those days I give in to what they want and fix myself a salad, wrap, or soup. It's just easier that way!

I really am in love with this Sweet & Sour Chicken Nugget Skillet. It's such a fun way to serve up classic chicken nuggets in a completely new and different way. And of course it's absolutely delicious!




Sweet & Sour Chicken Nugget Skillet

Ingredients
  • 16 oz Tyson® Chicken Nuggets (half of a 2 lb bag)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 16 oz frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 3/4 cup prepared sweet & sour sauce
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
Cooking Directions
  1. Bake frozen chicken nuggets according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium high heat in a deep skillet. Add frozen vegetables. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once nuggets are done, slice in half and add to cooked vegetables in skillet.
  4. Stir in sweet & sour sauce and green onions. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice.




This skillet dinner is perfect any time of the week, especially with back to school activities and sports coming up soon!





I was really excited to pick up specifically Tyson® Chicken Nuggets during my weekly grocery shopping trip to Walmart. I love how they have 100% natural ingredients, all white meat, and when baked they stay crispy on the outside yet juicy on the inside. Another reason is because of the Tyson Project A+ Program they have to support local schools. Just simply clip and collect Tyson Project A+ labels from participating products and hand them in to your school. For every label collected, Tyson will give the school cash to use for whatever it needs. I can't think of a better way to feed your family AND support your local school at the same time!





What products do you hope to purchase to help support your school with this awesome program?


Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson. The opinions and text are all mine.


Pecan Pie Stuffed Cupcakes

August 28, 2015
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BakeInTheFun #CollectiveBias

Yellow cake mix with pecan chips and M&M's® Pecan Pie in the batter, topped with cinnamon maple buttercream frosting. The perfect cupcake to welcome fall!






Is it weird that I get all excited when I start seeing all the fall candies in the stores? No? Ok, good. :)

I am DONE with summer. I don't think any year I said that phrase, I actually really knew what being "DONE" with summer actually meant. Two vacations, one wedding, a million activities, the smell of sunblock everywhere, dirty little boy toes, extra humid days, having to stop every 10 minutes to sit down because my hands and feet are so swollen I can't even bend them... yep, done. 






So done, in fact, I pretty much have the boys' entire fall/winter wardrobe bought and put away. The baby is good for newborn and 3 month clothes, and I'm working on 6 month clothes now. The beach towels and beach toys have been packed in the basement. And the candle warmer has now switched to "Autumn Wreath" scent.

Done.

Finally I'm perusing Walmart when I stumble upon this sight.





Yesssssss.

In case you were wondering, they do in fact taste as amazing as they sound. And I've created an over-the-top incredible cupcake to go with them. Pillsbury Moist Supreme® yellow cake mix, with Mott's® Apple Juice and Applesauce in the batter, with pecan chips and M&M's® Pecan Pie as well. 





Topped with a cinnamon maple buttercream frosting and garnished with some more pecan chips and M&M's®. These are insanely good, and easy!




Pecan Pie Stuffed Cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 15 oz box Pillsbury Moist Supreme® yellow cake mix
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Mott's® Applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Mott's® Apple Juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pecan chips
  • 1 bag M&M's® Pecan Pie
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and cinnamon. Add applesauce, apple juice, water, and eggs and beat until well combined. Stir in pecan chips.
  2. Divide batter among 24 muffin cups lined with paper liners, about 3 tablespoons of batter each.
  3. Drop 3 M&M's® on the top of each cupcake. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons milk, beat well.
  5. Add remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, cinnamon, and maple extract. Beat until well mixed, scraping down sides as needed.
  6. Pipe or spread onto tops of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a sprinkle of pecan chips and some M&M's®.




These are some serious cupcakes here, people.





Be sure to grab a coupon for the M&M's® here - you KNOW you'll be picking them up the next time you're in Walmart!!




How fun are all these fall flavors?! The Snapple® Apple Single (16oz) has even become my favorite drink to grab while I'm out grocery shopping - yum!!

Here are some more of my favorite fall treats:














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Trail Mix Cereal

August 27, 2015
Kellogg Company sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.

A bowl of Rice Krispies® gets a trail mix theme with granola, raisins, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts added in - the perfect back to school breakfast!




We are HUGE cereal eaters in this family. I was beginning to think that this summer would be my time to really get out all the pans and make big breakfasts every morning for all of us, since there's a lot less running around to do in the morning. 

Yeah... I still just like to slowly finish my coffee in the morning - so that plan never worked out!

It usually gets to the point where the boys are bugging me for juice and something to eat, so I almost always go for cereal. It's quick and easy, right up my alley when it's early and mommy hasn't had all of her caffeine yet. I believe I've warned you about that already boys... :)





We're going camping later this month, so I thought a fun trail mix twist to their favorite Rice Krispies® cereal might be a little different. By camping, I mean a cabin with a kitchenette, coffee maker, and air conditioning. I am 6 months pregnant, are you serious? I think it would take me all morning just to get OUT of a tent, let along fix breakfast!





I'm planning on making little individual ziploc baggies of this Trail Mix Cereal for us to enjoy in the morning. You could certainly quarter the recipe below for a one-serving size, or just add in your typical trail mix favorites!




Trail Mix Cereal

Ingredients
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups granola
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • milk
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large bowl, gently toss all ingredients together. Divide evenly among 4 bowls (or small plastic baggies, if travelling). Pour enough milk in each bowl to hear the familiar snap, crackle, and pop! Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.




The boys loved this cereal so much, I'm definitely planning on having the ingredients in the pantry for back to school time. We have a first grader AND a preschooler this year - and I want to make sure they're both heading off to school with full bellies ready to learn and have fun! Is it September, yet? 


Be sure to follow Rice Krispies on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter for more yummy back-to-school recipes and ideas!
Kellogg Company sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.


Berry Oatmeal Smoothie with Special K® Red Berries

August 26, 2015
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Special K® Red Berries.

This delightful breakfast smoothie is packed with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries blended with oats and yogurt. It'll keep you full until lunchtime!





I feel like during the week, from the moment I open my eyes, I'm "on." Most mornings I give myself just enough time to fix a cup of coffee and then I'm fixing the kids' breakfast, unloading and then loading the dishwasher while they eat, finding school clothes, making sure everyone has their teeth brushed, double checking the backpack and lunchbox... Somewhere in there I get myself dressed, hair brushed (most days), a bit of makeup on (HA yeah right), and then I'm walking our first grader to school. 

This is usually all done in the span of about 45 minutes. I like to live on the edge, can't you tell?





By the time I get back from walking Silas to school, I'm famished. My go to breakfast most days is cereal, and my ALL TIME favorite cereal is Special K Red Berries. I've been eating that cereal since my dorm room college days, actually! PLUS, they've recently added even more red berries to the mix - score for me. 

This Berry Oatmeal Smoothie goes perfectly with my morning cereal. Feel free to change the frozen berries to whatever type of berries you have on hand. I still have a nice stock of frozen blueberries from a sale a few months back, they are great in this. Plus, the oatmeal keeps you full for a longer time as well. 




Berry Oatmeal Smoothie

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 4-6 ice cubes
  • 1-2 cups water
  • optional: preferred sweetener to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed until mixed well. Add additional water if necessary to reach desired consistency. Makes 2 large smoothies.





How about that color?! What a way to wake up in the morning!





Not only does it taste awesome, I love how nutritionally rich Special K Red Berries are with fiber, folic acid, and vitamin D. Getting the right amount of these important nutrients at the start of my day is an awesome added benefit as well. Plus, who can resist all those yummy strawberries?! Along with the cereal, I love swapping what would have been a sugary latte drink with this great Berry Oatmeal Smoothie as well!



Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via FacebookPinterestTwitterInstagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Special K® Red Berries.

Apple Pound Cake

August 25, 2015
Celebrate apple season with this beautiful cake filled with fresh, chopped apples and dusted with powdered sugar - a dessert everyone will love!






I feel like pound cake is a dessert that pretty much, universally everyone loves and is drawn to! My Grandmom makes an insanely addictive pound cake and she always dusted the top with powdered sugar, so to me when I make pound cake it has to have that signature dusting as well.

I was so fortunate to have been gifted a LARGE bag of beautiful green apples from some friends at church and I thought it would be such a yummy addition to traditional pound cake. This one is a bit lighter than the usual pound cake as well, which I think pairs great with the chunks of sweet apples throughout.






Make this fabulous cake to take along to a potluck dinner, or as a way to celebrate apple picking season! We won't be out there picking as usual, what with me having to sit down every 5 minutes or else my back feels like it's going to break in half... so make sure you take those kiddos apple picking for me! It's truly one of our family's favorite fall activities.



Apple Pound Cake

Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups apples, peeled and diced small
  • powdered sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Cream together sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Gradually beat flour mixture into sugar mixture. Gently stir in chopped apples.
  4. Spread evenly into a greased Bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour 10 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Cool on a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar.





This one will get your house smelling wonderfully in no time!


Here are some more of my favorite apple treats:


Candy Apple Cupcakes




Autumn Cheesecake Dip




Apple Cinnamon Waffle Parfait




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