Stock Up on Fig Bars for the Holidays!

This post was created in partnership with Nature's Bakery fig bars. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Nature's Bakery fig barsThe holiday season can be stressful and chaotic, and our good eating habits tend to go out the window for a few weeks (months?)  This year, I decided to have healthier snack foods on hand for our family and I have been proven time and time again how smart this was!

Running errands with the kids?  Don't stop for fast food, grab a Nature's Bakery fig bar.  Wrapping gifts and don't want to stop?  Fig bars.  Watching a Christmas program and need to dig a delicious but healthy snack out of your bag?  Fig bars!  Every time one of us gets hungry, instead of grabbing something unhealthy, I get a Nature's Bakery fig bar.  All three of the boys (ages 6, 4, and 1) LOVE fig bars.  Their favorite flavors are blueberry and strawberry, but all six of the delicious flavors are satisfying, healthy, non-GMO, and trans fat free.  Other flavors include: apple cinnamon, raspberry, peach apricot, lemon, mango, and fig.  Yum!  Each package contains two mini fig bars, which are the perfect size for little hands.  The sticky center can be a little messy, but when something tastes so good, it's hard to make much of a mess.  
Nature's Bakery Fig BarsNon-GMO ingredients include:  stone ground whole wheat flour, dried cane syrup, brown rice syrup, fig paste, canola oil, rolled oats, oat fiber, ammonia-free caramel color, sea salt, citric acid, natural flavors, baking soda, and more, depending on the flavor.  (The blueberry fig bar is colored with red cabbage extract!)

Nature's Bakery Fig Bars stocking

Join Nature's Bakery Fig Bar Fanatics Program and enter to win a box of fig bars for yourself in the Rafflecopter form below!


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21 Fun, Festive, Flavorful Appetizers – Perfect for Holiday Parties!

This appetizers post has been brought to you by Foodie.  All opinions are mine.

Check out 21 Fun, Festive, Flavorful Appetizers

by Gena at Foodie.com

Fun, Festive, Flavorful Appetizers

The holidays are officially here!  It seems unreal that next week is Thanksgiving, but it's true!  It is definitely one of my favorite holidays because well….the food is delicious!  I am looking forward to the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and all the other delicious sides, but also the yummy appetizers to eat before the big meal.

 I have collected 21 fun, festive, flavorful appetizers on Foodie and all would be perfect for snacking while the turkey cooks or those Christmas parties that will be happening soon.  Take a look and pick a few favorites before you head to the grocery store.  These recipes are sure to wow your crowd!

What are you serving this year?

Prepare New, Quick Lunches For The Family with Jimmy Dean {$50 Walmart giveaway, too!}

This quick lunches post has been brought to you by Jimmy Dean®. All opinions are mine.

I am so lucky to be able to be a stay-at-home mom and we are even luckier to be able to have lunch with Daddy most days because he works close to home. The thing I do not like, however, is finding something for all of us to eat at lunchtime. We usually do our homeschool in the morning, along with chores and sometimes errands, and a nap for Baby Brother squeezed in somewhere, as well. Preparing a variety of quick lunches with flavor is tricky! Thankfully, Hubby and the boys love sandwiches, but cold lunch meat sandwiches every day get old pretty fast.

Today I got creative with the Pulled Pork with Potatoes Bowl from Jimmy Dean®​ and surprised everyone with hot pulled pork sandwiches. They were a big hit! I also made Hickory smoked turkey breast sandwiches, which Hubby requested we have again after I made them for dinner a few weeks ago. The NEW Jimmy Dean® and Jimmy Dean Delights® frozen lunch and dinner entrées are filling, delicious, and priced right.

I found a lot of great inspiration on the Jimmy Dean Pinterest page, and I have created my own #ShineAnytime Pinterest board to pin all of the great lunch and dinner options for these new Jimmy Dean products, found at Walmart in the frozen entrée section. I was hoping that our Walmart had more of the sandwiches to keep on hand for lunches, but I will have to check out some more Walmart stores to stock up.

If you are concerned about calories, have no fear. The Jimmy Dean Delights look equally as delicious. You get TWO yummy snack sized smoked ham and cheddar sandwiches on pretzel buns for only 290 calories. There are also barbecue options like the Delights pulled chicken sandwich and chipotle pulled pork sandwich for 300 calories for two snack sized sandwiches. I cannot wait to try the Jimmy Dean Delights Golden Roasted Turkey Bowl with potatoes, carrots, and celery for 210 calories. Check out the other Delights Beyond Breakfast choices from Jimmy Dean.

 

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Do you want to stock up on Jimmy Dean frozen entrees and other ingredients that will wow your family? Enter to win a $50 Walmart gift card below!

$50 Walmart gift card giveaway

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walmart: Jimmy Dean . The opinions and text are all mine.

 

In A Hurry For Dinner? Can Frozen Foods Be Delicious?

This frozen foods post has been brought to you by Jimmy Dean®. All opinions are mine.

How often do you have nights where dinner falls through, you come home late from work and your family needs to be somewhere in ten minutes, or when you just have hungry little (and big!) people to feed and nothing to serve? As much as I plan, those days happen to everyone, I am sure. I used to think that nothing that tastes good could come from the freezer section. Of course there is always frozen pizza, but that gets old and sometimes we just are not in the mood for pizza.

Last night was one of those nights. We had been running errands all day, the younger boys had a late nap, and it was already 4:30 when I got to thinking about dinner. (We eat at 5 here!) I went to the freezer and saw some frozen chicken breasts and frozen hamburger meat, but there were also some Jimmy Dean® frozen lunch or dinner entrées that I had picked up at Walmart for nights just like this. I felt a huge sense of relief because I know that my family would love these meals. (You can find these in the frozen meal section at Walmart.)

We have always loved Jimmy Dean sausage. I make delicious sausage balls for appetizers and it is always the New Year's Eve party staple. Jimmy Dean's breakfast sandwiches are delicious, too, and Jimmy Dean® frozen entrées are no different? They're hearty and delicious, as you would expect from the Jimmy Dean brand. I knew that my family would love the Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese because well, who doesn't like Mac & Cheese? I also picked up the Grilled Steak with potatoes and bell peppers and a Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast sandwich because the men in my family are sandwich fanatics!

The Jimmy Dean frozen entrees were a huge hit! They tasted fresh and delicious. It was so, so nice to grab these out of the fridge, warm them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and serve them to my family. They don't taste like a frozen meal, or at least like no frozen meal that I have had.

The all-around favorite was the Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese, just as I suspected! Before cooking the bowl, I could see the chunks of cheese that melted and made this meal exceptional. And ……..bacon. Need I say more?

This mac and cheese is more than your average mac and cheese. For starters, this bowl has 23 grams of protein! Imagine being able to cook a hot bowl of mac and cheese with that much protein in less than the amount of time you would spend making a box of mac and cheese. The Bacon Mac & Cheese tasted like gourmet mac & cheese. Real ingredients, real flavor, and so good!

I plan to purchase more of these frozen meals and sandwiches the next time I am at Walmart. They're filling, priced right, and perfect for chaotic nights when all we really want is a quick, hearty meal. Check out the other available options from Jimmy Dean that go beyond breakfast.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walmart: Jimmy Dean . The opinions and text are all mine.

 

What Is A Healthy Snack for Babies and Toddlers On The Go?

This non-GMO snack post was brought to you by Mum-Mum.  All opinions are mine.

As much as we try to always have healthy, fresh foods available for Baby Brother to eat, the need for healthy packaged snacks is always present.  When we go to the store, church, or to his brothers' soccer games, I know now that I need to have something easily accessible and portable in my diaper bag for him to munch on. He is all about self feeding, as we never did traditional baby food with him.  And at ten months, he has already found what textures and flavors he prefers.  His favorite foods are blueberries, grapes (cut up, of course,) bananas, peas, sweet potatoes, cheese, and carrots.  Do you know how hard it is to serve a bowl of squished up blueberries to an energetic ten month old at a soccer game, though?  Yeah, not easy!  

non-gmo snack

Baby Brother has been snacking on Baby Mum-Mum rice rusks for a few months now, and still gets excited when I offer one to him.  They're not messy and are made with non-GMO Japonica rice.  There are many options available, like Original, Vegetable, Banana, Apple, and Organic Carrot.  

Mum-Mums:

  • are made with non-GMO Japonica rice
  • contain minimal sugar and fat
  • contain no artificial colors
  • contain no artificial additives or preservatives
  • dissolve easily in your child's mouth
  • are gluten-free, egg-free, and peanut-free
  • are available in many different flavors
  • are available for different ages
  • have organic options

photo 1 (5) non-gmo snack

I gave Baby Mum-Mums to the Captain and D when they were babies, as well, and honestly, D still loves them!  I have gotten into the habit of putting TWO packages of Baby Mum-Mums in my bag because it's a good, healthy snack for D, as well!  D loves Toddler Mum-Mums, too, which are recommended for kids ages 18 months and up.  They're a little more dense and for babies who chew well.

non-gmo snack

Baby Mum-Mums are also a great option when we are dining out, too.  Whether it be something that is spicy or contains honey, something that I am not sure of the ingredients, or he is just not ready to eat, a Mum-Mum helps him to feel like he is crunching and chewing something just like us and helps keep him satisfied.  Baby Mum-Mums promise to never contain any of the main allergens, as seen in this infographic:

non-GMO snack  Top 10 Food Allergens and Senstivities

We love Mum-Mums and are pretty sure that your baby and children will, too!  Also, check out Mum-Mum Snax for older kids!  Find out more about Mum-Mums and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

Simplify Your Busy Days with a Meal Planner! {giveaway, too}

This meal planner post was brought to you by Carrie Elle Shop.  All opinions are mine.

Carrie Elle meal planner

I am admittedly the worst at organization.  I need all the help I can get!  When we were houseparents at the children's home, I was required to turn in a menu a week in advance.  Even though I didn't like actually doing it, having it done was BLISS.  All of my grocery needs for the week were right in front of me and I could grab everything I need in one trip.  Having a meal planner is helpful for many reasons.  

Five Reasons to Start Using a Meal Planner

Here are five reasons why using a meal planner has been helpful for me:

  1. Dinnertime won't be chaos.  I've had many days where I was staring at the fridge at 5 PM, trying to thaw out meat, and finally resorting to something simple like scrambled eggs for dinner.  Hubby walks in, and while he never criticizes what's for dinner, I KNOW he's thinking "eggs again?"  So having a go to plan and knowing exactly when and what I need to do for the night's dinner has been very helpful.
  2. You can serve your family heathier meals.  We have a 3 and 5 year old.  I don't like to use the word picky, but they don't always like to eat healthy foods.  When I have a meal plan, I can plan to add veggies to dishes they love instead of resorting to frozen cheese sticks or mac and cheese every night. 
  3. You can save money.  When I buy only what my family will eat for the week, the grocery bill isn't as high as when I just grab whatever sounds good at the time.  And when there's a meal plan, there isn't as much wasted food.  Meal planners are good for your bank account!
  4. You won't have to resort to eating out.  It is oh so easy to just give up and head to a restaurant or grab fast food.  We can save money this way, too, by actually planning for times to eat out and not blowing the budget on take out.
  5. You can try new things!  I have so many things pinned on pinterest, but they likely will never be made by me unless I plan to make them.  I can buy the groceries that I need and actually make the droolworthy recipes I see every day!

​I am loving this adorable handmade planner from the Carrie Elle Etsy shop.  It is sturdy and the cover is laminated for extra durability.  Carrie has made the perfect meal planner!  There is a place for weekly menus and a tear off grocery list:

Carrie Elle meal planner

Some other fabulous details Carrie has added are pages for holiday and dinner parties, notes, and monthly calendars so you can plan your menu a month at a time.  This is great to prevent making the same thing over and over.
Carrie Elle meal planner

If you aren't using a meal planner, this is a great place to start.  There are 12 monthly calendars, 60 weekly meal planning pages, perforated grocery lists, 10 holiday and dinner party pages, 5 blank pages, and meal planning resources in the back.  It would make a great gift for any mom or dad in charge of meal planning.  Carrie can also personalize them for you!  Order some for teachers, friends, relatives, and yourself at the Carrie Elle Etsy shop.  Keep up with happenings on the Shop Carrie Elle Facebook page and Twitter page.  And Carrie writes one of my favorite blogs, Carrie Elle, so check that out, too!

Carrie is giving away a meal planner to one Life With Captain Fussybuckets fan!  Winner will be able to choose from any in stock meal planner (no personalized planners.)  Enter in the Rafflecopter form below!

Simplify Your Busy Days with a Meal Planner from Carrie Elle

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13 Mouthwatering BBQ Recipes for Grilling Season

This BBQ recipes post has been brought to you by Foodie.  All opinions are mine.

We live in Texas and that means that there are very few days that we absolutely cannot bbq on the grill.  We love to grill and experiment with different foods, flavors, and recipes!  I wanted to be prepared for the peak grilling season, which starts in May and runs through the summer.  

I've made a mouthwatering collection of bbq recipes on Foodie to get you started.  Don't stick with the plain old burgers and hot dogs on the grill.  Think outside of the box with grilled vegetables, fruits, and even pizza!  The possibilities are endless and usually, anything you can cook inside, you can cook on the grill.  

This collection is just the beginning.  Why not start your own collection on Foodie?  (They have an app, too!)  It's simple to search for bbq recipes and add them so when you're ready to plan your bbq, you'll have your recipes right where you need them.  

13 Mouthwatering BBQ Recipes

For more fantastic recipes, check out Foodie.  For Chocolate Pies, check out my collection, too!

 

The Epic Battle: Junk Food vs. Healthy Snacks

Before I had kids, I always *knew* that my kids would not ever eat junk food.  Not only would they not eat it, they wouldn't even WANT it.  Yeah.  Isn't it true that people think they know the most about kids when they don't have any?  Well, my two oldest sons are 5 and 3 and junk food is a constant temptation in their little world.  Candy at the holidays, (which seems to last forever,) cookies, cake at birthday parties, fast food, treats at church, sodas….junk food is everywhere and at eye level for them.  It really is almost impossible to stay away from junk food.  I have been trying to teach the boys about moderation, because I know that we can never truly get away from food that just is not good for anyone.  Along with moderation, I have healthy snacks available for them at all times.

I asked the boys what their favorite "junk" snack foods are, and then what their favorite healthy snacks were.  Luckily, I truly believe that their healthy snacks are just as loved as the junk foods, if not more so.

The Captain & D's favorite "junk" snack foods:

  • chocolate cake
  • nacho cheese chips
  • suckers
  • gummy worms
  • jello
  • cookies

​The boys can tell you what is "junk" and what isn't.  While shopping, D will actually point out the "junk" cereals and the ones that are healthier and I allow them to get.  He even asked me the other day, pointing at one of the not so healthy yogurts that are marketed for kids:  "Mommy, that's junk, isn't it?"  He knows that stuff like that is something to be enjoyed in moderation, and that there are healthier foods that are just as satisfying to him.

healthy snack foods

Healthy snack foods that the boys love:

  • baby carrots 
  • apples
  • yogurt
  • berries
  • peaches
  • granola
  • Mott's Snack & Go

healthy snack foods​The boys are huge applesauce fans.  Mott’s Snack & Go doesn’t add sugar and I love that!  There honestly wasn't a flavor that they didn't just love.  Sure, they had their favorites (they both adored the mixed berry,) but it was all consumed in a short amount of time.  I threw some in the diaper bag, church backpack, the Captain's lunchbox, and each and every time, the boys were thrilled to be able to get that special treat.  It's like they don't even care that Mott's Snack & Go is good for them!  It's delicious and that's all that really matters to them.

mott's

Mott’s® Snack & Go is the nutritious applesauce kids love in a squeezable pouch they can take with them wherever they go. Mott's is also the only applesauce brand with Box Tops for Education®, helping to support kids' schools. Visit Motts.com to learn more.  Print out a coupon, too!

healthy snacking

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Mott’s® via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Mott’s®.

How Do I Eat Raw Cacao?

This post contains affiliate links.

raw cacao

A few weeks ago, I was ordering a few essentials from Amazon, but needed something else to put my amount over $25 to get free shipping because well, I don't enjoy paying for shipping.  I'm sure you understand!  So, I found raw cacao nibs, knew they were good for me, and thought:  "chocolate? yes please!" and added it to my cart.  Well, when they came in the mail, I opened up the package and had a brief thought of "I bet these are going to be gross," but I tossed a couple in my mouth anyway and yup, I was right.  They aren't good by themselves.  But well, neither is cocoa powder, so I knew I needed to give them a chance.  But how?  I went in search of recipes and asked my friends for recommendations.  The number one thing I love to use raw cacao nibs in is Overnight Oatmeal.  I don't know where I found the recipe first, but I saw that Mama Goes Bam has it on her blog today!  Basically you put oatmeal, milk, Greek yogurt, and any extras in a jar and leave it overnight to have a yummy, healthy, protein packed breakfast in the morning.  I added 1 tsp of raw cacao nibs to a recipe for chocolate overnight oatmeal and it was delicious, of course.  The cacao nibs provide a crunch and a bit of a dark chocolate flavor.  It was perfect.  And it's one of those "a little goes a long way" breakfasts because a small jar of this stuff lasts me until lunch time and that really is saying a lot because I'm usually hungry an hour after breakfast!  

Benefits of raw cacao:

  • full of iron, dietary fiber, calcium, zinc, potassium, and antioxidants 
  • raises levels of serotonin and acts as an anti-depressant
  • can help reduce symptoms of PMS
  • stimulates secretion of endorpins (source: Livestrong.com)
  • one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium
  • reduces appetite
  • supports cardiovascular health
  • lowers blood pressure
  • improves digestion

[Read more…]

Serve Something Different at Your Superbowl Party!

This Superbowl Party post was brought to you by Petit Jean.  All opinions are mine.

superbowl snacks

For a lot of Americans, the Superbowl is a time to get together with friends and enjoy some yummy food.  This year, we will have the youth group over for a party, snacks, and fellowship.  I am excited to be able to serve Petit Jean Jalapeño & Cheese Deer Summer Sausage this year.  We love Petit Jean hams, and I knew that the summer sausage would be great, too!

I made a few snacks to try out the summer sausage on my hubby and he was very impressed with the flavor.  The deer summer sausage is actually a blend of venison and fresh pork, jalapeño and cheddar cheese bits, along with special seasonings.  I, for one, am not a fan of plain venison, but I honestly couldn't taste a hint of "gamey-ness" in the summer sausage.  Take a look at the jalapeño & cheese sausage up close:

 

jalapeno cheese summer sausage

 

My first creation will be an appetitzer on a toothpick.  I chose colby jack cheese, along with bite sized portions of the summer saugage, topped with a bite of baby dills.  The summer sausage definitely has a strong, but delicious flavor, so evening it out with the cheese and pickle is a great combination.

 

superbowl appetizers

I also am serving up a slice of summer sausage on top of a buttery cracker, with a slice of Monterrey Jack cheese, too.  We love our cheese around here, what can I say?  And the addition of a white cheese to the cheddar cheese in the summer sausage is a great flavor!  I know these finger foods from Petit Jean will be a hit at our Superbowl Party!

Visit Petit Jean to find out more and order some of their delicious products!