Rev Your Bev Day 2019

I love seeing how excited these kids are over water! 
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Rev your Bev Day 2019 promoted a great cause that I truly believe in -- getting kids to drink more water! Healthy food and drink choices early in childhood help ingrain those choices later in life, making it easier to continue making healthy lifestyle choices as an adult. I am very thankful to have been a part of this campaign and loved playing around with some fun new healthy drink recipes with my kids!

Part of Rev Your Bev Day 2019 was a recipe contest, and one of the winning recipes created by a student at Giles High School was Strawberry + Lemon, two of our family's favorite ingredients! 

To add a fun little twist to this recipe, I decided to make ice cubes out of fresh strawberries and lemon zest to add an extra pop of flavor to my kid's favorite kind of water: BUBBLY WATER! 

Follow @RevYourBev on Instagram for tips, recipes, activity ideas and information on the benefits of drinking water. 

Although this is a #sponsored post, my thoughts and opinions are my own :) 

How to get your kids to drink more water

As a family that focuses on fitness and eating clean the vast majority of the time (no processed food, no added sugar, etc. etc.), we drink a LOT of water. That goes for our kids too.

Drinking water has many health benefits, like keeping you hydrated, improving your focus, and increasing your energy. Water is also good for your skin, digestion, metabolism, and it can help make you stronger (which is awesome because I really want to get that strict handstand push-up I've been working on!). When I tell my kids that something will make them stronger and bigger, they are all about it! Reagan, especially, wants to win ALL.THE.THINGS (whether it's a race against her sisters, a game of tag, or a competition to see who can buckle their seat belt first)!

Every once in a while though, our brains and taste buds need a little help to remember to choose water instead of something a little less good for us. So I'm going to let you in on our family's secrets to drinking more water: 

Tip #1: BUBBLY water a.k.a. plain soda water (we have a Soda Stream). It's cheap, convenient, fast, and the kids get a hoot out of the bubbles. Who knew plain water that fizzes in your face could be so exciting for a kid!? My two-year-old starts screaming "bubby wawa" every time I get it out of the fridge.

Tip #2: Whenever you cut up some fruit, herbs, or vegetables, throw a few pieces in a large mason jar or pitcher of water and let it sit over night. Ta da!! Flavored water! No fuss, no added mess, barely any added effort. And it makes for a pleasant surprise the next day when you're perusing the fridge for something yummy and healthy to drink!

Tip #3: Get your kids involved!! Reagan LOVED helping me pick the herbs and doing a taste test of the different recipes. Figure out what your kids like and have them help you make it. 

Flavors: orange + rosemary, strawberry + mint, jalapeno + lime, pear + thyme

The winner! Strawberry mint (that she picked the mint for)
(My favorites where the jalapeno lime and orange rosemary!)

Rev Your Bev Day

Tomorrow, May 9, is Rev your Bev Day in Virginia, and I hope this affiliate post will help draw attention to this great campaign, because I really believe in the benefits of teaching our kids at a young age to drink water. 

This program has given parents and youth across Virginia the information and resources they need to make healthier beverage choices since 2013. This year’s Rev Your Bev Day is all about tapping into your creativity by encouraging kids to come up with their very own water recipes using fresh ingredients.

Soon, I'll share with you the winning kid-created recipe that comes out of this year's Rev Your Bev day! 

Sweet Potatoes Loaded with Chorizo, Caramelized Peppers and Onions, and Candied Pumpkin Seeds (Paleo)

Warning: when you eat these potatoes you will turn into one of those Food Network cooks that instantly starts describing the delectable flavors they are tasting as soon as the food touches their mouths. I mean, they don't care whether they have food all over their faces, or whether or not they are eating like their mamas taught them (ahem - with their mouths closed!). They just eat and talk... at. the. same. time. It's kinda ridiculous actually. But despite all of that, these potatoes totally turned me into a Giada clone (eeek). 

"Oh my gosh! I can taste the smokiness of the charred red peppers... and the spicy, savory taste of the chorizo! It goes so well with the sweetness of the potato. And these pumpkin seeds... they are sweet and spicy and crunchy all at the same time!!! They are my new favorite thing. I will put them on all of the foods from now on."

<Husband looks at me strangely, hoping I will stop talking soon so he can focus on eating.>

That is exactly what I said yesterday while we devoured these potatoes for lunch. I did not chew with my mouth closed. Sorry, not sorry, Mom. 

Sweet potatoes (As many as you want. FYI - One half of a potato was enough for me for lunch, but hubby needed two to fill him up.)
1 pound ground chorizo sausage
Olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (shelled)
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chopped cilantro, optional
Chopped avocado, optional

Place the whole sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until soft throughout. (This took about 10 - 15 minutes for 3 sweet potatoes, or you can bake them in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees << mama ain't got time for that). 

While the potatoes are cooking, brown the chorizo in a pan over medium-high heat with a little olive oil, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a paper towel-lined dish to remove as much grease as possible.

Wipe the pan out with a paper towel to remove any excess grease, and add a little more olive oil. Add the sliced onion and chopped pepper and saute until caramelized and softened, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small saute pan over medium-low heat, add the pumpkin seeds and roast for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Drizzle the honey over the seeds, and sprinkle with the chipotle and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. They will harden slightly as they cool. 

When the potatoes are cooked through and cooled slightly, cut them in half lengthwise. Top with the chorizo, peppers and onions, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro and avocado, if desired.

Now go to town!

Mexi-Irish Nachos with Cilantro-Avocado Sauce (Paleo)

After a long hiatus (because of this), I'm finally returning to my beloved food blog! My last post was a year and a half ago, which is hard to believe, but also not. I give mad props to all those blogging mamas or any mama that works from home with kids, or gosh, even stays at home with kids all day whether you're working another job or not. Keeping those kids alive and happy is TOTALLY a full-time job all on its own. Needless to say, I could not keep up with blogging while Reagan was an infant because I also have a full time job, and I was just focusing on keeping us all alive, fed, and happy.  Do you know how hard that is!? No one told me it was hard work taking care of a baby! Omg just kidding - I knew, you guys.

Anyway, lately I've been missing my blog and cooking FUN adult food (meaning, not mac and cheese or Cheerio and blueberry lasagna)... So I'm trying to ease back in, and make one fun recipe each weekend that you guys can drool over.

Dun Dun Dun Duuuuuh... Without further ado, I give you: Mexi-Irish Nachos. "Mexi" because they taste like tacos, and "Irish" because they are made with potatoes instead of chips, so basically the healthiest nachos one could shove into their face. You. are. welcome!

Ingredients: (for a pan full of nachos) 
Cooking spray
3 Russet potatoes
1 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water

Cilantro-Avocado Sauce:
2 avocados
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Additional Topping Suggestions: 
Tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
Cheese and sour cream (omit if Paleo)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Thinly slice the potatoes (about 1/4" thick) and arrange them in a single layer on the pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over the potatoes to get them crispier, if desired. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom of the potatoes. Flip each potato over and cook another 5 - 10 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown and starting to get crispy. 

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground meat and cook through while breaking up the meat. Drain the excess fat from the meat (if you used ground beef). Add the coriander, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and water, and simmer a few more minutes to combine and reduce to the desired consistency. 

To make the sauce: combine the avocados, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or bowl and blend with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To assemble: 
Top the crisp potatoes with the meat mixture, avocado sauce, and desired toppings (tomatoes, diced onion, and sour cream and cheese if desired). 

Bon appetit! 

Southern Fried Corn

So as you may have seen, I'm pregnant! I'm at 24 weeks now, and it has completely changed my blogging habits, so I apologize for that! During my first trimester, I did not want anything to do with food, unless it was oyster crackers or plain pasta. So dragging my butt into the kitchen to create delicious, flavorful food was just not happening. And then to photograph that food? Forget about it. 

I'm feeling much better now, but as you can imagine, I have been pretty busy trying to get ready for baby's arrival, putting our house on the market, AND starting my MBA. So again, blogging took the back burner. But I'm hoping that I'm back, and better than ever! 

Now, on to this corn recipe. My father-in-law said that this corn changed his life. 

While that may be a little extreme, it is pretty derrrrn good. The milk mixes with the flavors of the veggies and seasonings to make a delicious, creamy "sauce" of sorts that complements the corn really well. Also, this recipe is SIMPLE and CHEAP, so it's a perfect side dish to serve all summer long at your BBQ's or with a simple supper. You will be surprised at how tasty it is - I promise!

6 or 7 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 green pepper, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

Cut the kernels off the cobs into a bowl. Add the onion, pepper, flour, honey, salt and pepper, cayenne, and milk, and stir until well blended.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil and add the corn mixture, and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the butter and continue to stir until the butter is melted an the corn is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.