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    Superfood Spring Rolls with Orange Dipping Sauce

    January 16th, 2018

    The Power Lunchbox Pledge Campaign in brought to you by Produce for Kids. I have partnered with them to create this yummy Vegan Superfood Spring Roll recipe.

    This winter we have found ourselves indoors a lot more which means a lot of creativity on our parts. One of the things we enjoy the most is cooking and eating. Anyone else feel the same way? I think I can officially say that we have created little foodies. Our toddlers love to enjoy all kinds of foods and will at least try it once. Thanks to Produce for Kids for being an inspiration to create healthy meals for families and kids.

    I love joining Produce for Kids every year because they inspire to create healthier lunches, snacks, and meals for anyone interested in reinforcing New Year’s resolutions and goals. Not only are they inspiring families but they are also inspiring classrooms to make the promise together to eat a healthier lunch. For every promise made through this website, $1 is donated to Feeding America to help families in need.

    It is amazing to hear that in 2017, 48,000 families and classrooms made the pledge and promised to eat healthier lunches. That means that over 500,000 meals were raised. For every $1 donated, 10 meals are secured by Feeding America through the local food banks. It is great and encouraging knowing that through our pledges, other people in need are benefiting.

    When you visit Power Your Lunchbox through Produce for Kids you can click and pledge and then check out all the recipes created by dietitians. You can also get expert advice and other recipes inspired by parents, like me!

    There is a separate link for those of you who are teachers too! For every pledge a teacher makes they are automatically entered to win a special Makerspace Cart for their classroom! It is a sure win-win for all!

    Need some ideas for a yummy lunch or after school snack? While I will be sharing a delicious recipe for spring rolls, Produce for Kids has a huge list of recipe ideas you can check out.


    When it comes to creative meals, I always look to cultural foods. Since the girls are willing to try new foods I do not hesitate. The girls have really enjoyed Asian foods especially dim sum so I decided to make fresh spring rolls with seasonal produce to replace a healthy salad. Produce for Kids has partnered with six sponsors with this winter campaign. I was able to incorporate all of their products in this fresh and delicious recipe.

    I hope you make them for yourself and your family. Get your kids in the kitchen to roll these fun spring rolls. Want more protein? Add grilled shrimp or chicken and complete your meal. I created an orange dipping sauce that pairs well with each spring roll. Add a little more crunch and tropical flavors by adding Crispy Greens mango on the side. It ends the meal very nicely.

    Superfood Spring Rolls with Orange Dipping Sauce

    by Noelle Kelly

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients (8 spring rolls)

      Spring Rolls

      • 6 spring roll wrappers
      • 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
      • 2 cups baby kale
      • 1 cup blueberries
      • 1 1/2 cup fresh green beans

      Orange Dipping Sauce

      • 2 oranges, juiced
      • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
      • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
      • 1/2 lime, juiced
      • 2 tsp ginger Nunaturals Nustevia syrup or 3 packets Truvia
      • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder


      Spring Rolls

      Each roll will have to be made individually because they each need to be re-hydrate the rice wrapper. In a shallow dish, add warm water and add the rice wrapper allowing it to submerge for a few seconds. Remove immediately and place on a cutting board. Allow the remaining water to re-hydrate the paper and then start adding filling ingredients.

      Add two slices of avocado, 4-5 green beans, a bunch of baby kale, and 2 Tbsp blueberries. Place all ingredients in the middle of the wrapper and wrap like a burrito. Fold the sides first and the start from one end and fold until all ingredients are filled and sealed.

      Repeat with 5 more rice wrappers.

      Orange Dipping Sauce

      Juice the oranges and place the juice in a small pot. Add the vinegar, lime juice and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the arrowroot powder and bring to a quick boil for 2 minutes or until it thickens. Remove from heat and place in a dipping dish. It will cool quickly.

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      Date night at Chima Steakhouse Philadelphia

      December 18th, 2017

      Happy Holidays everyone! We are slowly resurfacing since moving to our new place. Moving even if it in the same are makes for a huge change in life. At one point I tried to do it all, but this time around it called for some time out. My husband and I have been making it a point to not only have a little fun with our kids but to also have fun as a couple. Thanks to Chima Steakhouse for hosting our dining experience because we are looking forward the next time!

      We have always gone into Philadelphia to check the Christmas market with our girls or with family but this time around we decided to check out the market on our own. One of the biggest things I love is establishing our own traditions especially since we are far away from family. We are now closer to the city, we should be able to  experience everything now.

      I loved driving into the city, thanks to Waze, and parking close to Love Park and I was super giddy. I loved seeing all the decorations, the shops and even the smells. For a second I thought I was in Germany in one of those Christmas markets.  I was able to capture a few pictures of the City Hall.

      All that walking definitely made us even hungrier for dinner. If you have never experienced a Brazilian churrascaria, you are missing a lot. Chima Steakhouse is an elegant experience and perfect for special occasions like holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries.

      Chima is known for their rodizio, an all-you-can-eat style of restaurant where they have gauchos, or cowboys serving a selection of over 15 meats including some seafood.

      They also have a huge selection of Brazilian drinks especially seasonal options as well. There is definitely something for everyone. We started out by sampling three of the restaurant favorites called Gaucho, Gaucha, and a Caipirinha Cocktail all made with cachaca. They were very great cocktails made with raspberries, blackberries, or mint and oolong tea.

      We started off with traditional appetizers that come with the whole experience. A dish of turkey pate, Brazilian cheese bread, and fried breaded stuffed meat and cheese balls. It was really hard not to consume everything on the bat because the bread was my weakness.

      The salad bar is impressive with a huge selection of Brazilian and American options like beef carpaccio, palm of hearts, seafood salad, black beans and rice, cheeses, smoked salmon and even a gorgonzola mousse. Once we were ready to eat we decided to start off with the meat selections by using a paper token on the table. When we wanted to start with the meat, we flipped the token to the orange side.

      The meat selections were super flavorful and if not handled correctly we could have many gauchos by our table. We paced it nicely so we could try a selection of meats which then led us to visit the salad bar. The gauchos always asked us what temperature we wanted our meat. I found that a medium rare cooking temperature was amazing! Some of the meat selections were:

      • Filet mignon
      • Filet mignon wrapped in bacon
      • Beef ribs
      • Garlic sirloin
      • Leg of lamb
      • Lamb chops
      • Parmesan pork loin
      • Salmon

      Are you hungry or salivating yet. I am salivating all over again. In addition to everything we received an additional 3 sides of fried polenta, creamy mashed potatoes, and fried bananas. A little bite of everything gives you enough of the experience without filling up too much.

      All I can say is that you have to pace yourself. It is easy to get full quickly but it is also a place to take your time with your loved one. The environment is elegant and classy and they even offer COMPLIMENTARY valet.

      If you get a chance to experience this yummy feast there are multiple locations in addition to the one in Philadelphia. These are the additional locations:

      • Charlotte, NC
      • Fort Lauderdale, FL
      • Tysons Corner, VA

      There is something for the vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian and those who lead gluten-free lifestyles. Rodizio, which runs from $31-$50,  is not the only option. Happy hour happens from 5-7pm during the week or folks can enjoy bar bites and drinks at the bar.

      Chima Steakhouse

      1901 John F Kennedy Blvd
      Philadelphia, PA 19103

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      Cheesecake Iced Pumpkin Cookies + Krusteaz Giveaway

      October 30th, 2017

      I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is almost here and that this year is almost over! Ok. I will not spoil it for anyone who is still enjoying 2017. If anything, I have been saddened by the erratic weather we have been having and how fall, my favorite season, has been virtually non-existent.

      Despite all that, life continues. Like pumpkin everything. Anyone else tired of it? I actually have been pacing myself because I want to be able to enjoy it by the time Thanksgiving roles around. In the last week, I have been able to bake a little for my family, neighbors and friends. Baking is one of my favorite past times but I have not been doing a lot because of time and well dietary restrictions.

      Even so, I have been able to use Krusteaz newest line of pumpkin spice mixes, including muffins, bread, and even cookies. If you are not familiar with the brand, they are known for their premium baking mixes, especially the pancake mixes.

      I have been taking advantage of making muffins for my little girls and even for my husband. Each recipe box requires either an egg or two, some water and an oil.

      Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Mixes

      I loved testing with the Krusteaz bread mix because I was able to sub the oil for fat free Greek yogurt and the eggs for flax seed meal and it worked perfectly! The muffins turned out nice and fluffy without the need for additional fat or calories.

      Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Muffin MIx

      This past week I baked two trays of pumpkin spice and white chocolate bars for college students in Haverford. I came to a realization that even though I might not eat the baked goods, I love doing it because it is therapeutic for me. I am still in the moving in stage so it is hard for me to be spending a ton of time in the kitchen just yet. These pumpkin spice mixes have been a life saver in so many ways.

      I used the Krusteaz bread mix and used my substitutions for my Cheesecake Iced Pumpkin Cookies . This is an easy recipe to bring to a potluck or even as a different dessert option for Thanksgiving. I used the Cookie mix and made a few substitutions and made a super easy cheesecake icing. Super easy and delicious.

      Enjoy the recipe over the next month while the pumpkin fever lasts!

      Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mixes


      Want to try the Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Mixes? Leave a comment below telling me what you are planning to make for Thanksgiving. I will announce a winner November 7th. Krusteaz will send winner a nice package of goodies.

      Cheesecake Iced Pumpkin Cookies- 5 smartpoints a cookie

      by Noelle Kelly

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time: 12 minutes


      Ingredients (2 dozen iced cookies)

        For Cookies

        • 1 box Krusteaz Bakery Style Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix
        • 1 egg
        • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted, softened
        • 1/3 cup Non fat Greek plain yogurt

        For Cheesecake Icing

        • 8 ounce Whipped Cream Cheese Spread
        • 4 ounces lite Whipped topping
        • 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
        • 1 tsp vanilla extract
        • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
        • Sweetener of choice (options: 1-2 Tbsp honey, 1/2 Tbsp NuNaturals Nustevia syrup, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, etc)
        • Add mini chocolate chips to each cookie ( optional)


        For Cookies

        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

        Add cookie mix to a medium mixing bowl. Add the egg, softened butter, and Greek Yogurt. Mix until blended. Knead with hands to combine extra well. Roll into 24 balls and flatten on cooking sheet.

        Bake for 12 minutes and let cool. Make Icing.

        For Cheesecake icing

        Mix all ingredients into a medium bowl well until blended. Dollop about 1-2 Tbsp on top of each cookie. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving or consume immediately. These can be refrigerated the night before serving.

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        Instant Pot Sugar Free BBQ Sauce for BBQ Pulled Chicken

        October 27th, 2017

        If you are following a sugar free lifestyle, this is a recipe for you. Do you know that there is practically sugar hidden in so many products especially in condiments? Ketchup and BBQ sauce are two condiments that we probably used the most in our home. Truthfully, they have been the hardest to kick because I had not come with an alternative.

        Since my husband likes a specific BBQ sauce line, I tried to really replicate as close as possible so that he did not feel deprived. He has been following my same clean eating lifestyle so it has been very encouraging. I was able to mix up all the ingredients in an Instant Pot to quickly end with a delicious recipe for BBQ Pulled Chicken.

        One of the things I enjoy doing on busy weekdays is to make really quick meals. The kids seem the neediest during meal prep time, so I have been really enjoying my Instant Pot a lot more lately. I quickly add all my ingredients or I can sauté first and then cook my recipe and it be ready within 30 minutes.

        As far as making my meals sugar-free, it has been definitely exciting to play around with spices and ingredients. Steviva brand is one of the newest sugar free brands on the market and are available on Amazon. They have blends that include agave nectar mixed with stevia for those that just need a little more sweetness, or there is the erythritol called Erysweet.

        For my BBQ sauce, I used their other product called Fructevia that consists of crystalline fructose, inulin and stevia. I really has a nice flavor to it without any aftertaste. I added all my ingredients for my BBQ sauce inside the Instant Pot starting with a small diced onion and I set the pot to the sauté mode. I cooked the onions and added garlic and finally added the rest of the spices along with my tomato paste, water, and sweeteners. Once that simmered in the pot, I turned it off and added 22-24 ounces of chicken breast and set on the chicken mode.

        Since I used a lot more chicken I increased my cooking mode on the manual setting from 12 minutes to 25 minutes to make sure that internal temperature for chicken would be appropriate. Sure enough, when the timer went off, I let there be a 5 minutes natural release before releasing completely. I used two forks to shred chicken and I was ready to serve.

        Note: I did make this recipe several times. If you want to make the BBQ sauce by itself, double the recipe for a larger quantity and follow instructions in recipe. Seal in a mason jar and refrigerate. It is good for 15 days.

        Instant Pot Sugar Free BBQ Pulled Chicken

        by Noelle Kelly

        Prep Time: 5 minutes

        Cook Time: 35 minutes

        Keywords: cook Pressure Cook entree lunch gluten-free low-carb sugar-free soy-free chicken American summer spring fall winter


        Ingredients (4 cups of shredded chicken)

          For Sugar Free BBQ Sauce

          • (Double Recipe if just making the sauce)
          • 2/3 cup tomato paste
          • 1 1/3 cup water
          • 6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
          • 1 small onion, grated
          • 4 garlic cloves, minced
          • 1 teaspoon onion powder
          • 3 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
          • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
          • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
          • 1 teaspoon chili powder
          • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
          • 1/4 cup Nectevia
          • 2 Tbsp Fructevia


          • 22-24 ounces of chicken breasts
          • plus an Instant Pot


          For Sugar Free BBQ Chicken

          Add 2 tsp olive oil to pot and hit sauté mode. Add grated onions and minced garlic and sauté until caramelized (about 7 minutes). Add the water, tomato paste and the rest if the ingredients and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and seal Instant Pot with lid. Turn off sauté mode and use manual mode to add 25 minutes cooking time. Allow to natural release for 5 minutes then completely release. Use 2 forks to shred chicken and allow chicken to rest in sauce for a good 10 minutes before serving.

          Add to baked potatoes, nachos, salads, and more.

          To make JUST BBQ sauce

          If you want to make the BBQ sauce by itself, double the recipe for a larger quantity. Seal the Instant Pot and cook for 12 minutes and naturally release so that flavors come together. Cool and seal in a mason jar and refrigerate. It is good for 15 days.

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          Spicy Snack Hour | Tapatío Tuna and Guacamole Rice Cake Stacks

          October 20th, 2017

          The last few weeks have been a blur because packing up a home and unpacking into a new home is no joke. My steady healthy eating habits have kept steady up until the week we had to have everything packed. Two weeks later, now that most of everything is set in place in my kitchen, I can get back to eating the way I enjoy. Lunch is the most trying time of the day so I usually enjoy a heartier snack while the kids are down for a rest. There is only enough time to prepare something for 3 hungry toddlers before they are done and mommy needs to get going with the rest of the day.

          Snack Hour with StarKist Tuna

          One of my favorite quick protein choices that you will find in my pantry is tuna. I recently discovered StarKist Tuna Creations BOLD which are available in 6 varieties, including Thai Chili Style, Jalapeño, Hot Buffalo Style, Tapatío, Sriracha and even one with Rice & Beans in Hot Sauce. If you like a bite in your foods, these ready-to-eat options will spice up your snack hour.

          StarKist Tuna Creations BOLD offer delicious & nutritious meal solutions to fit your busy lifestyle and add an extra kick of flavor —each is a good source of lean protein and 110 calories or less to keep you fueled. Fire up your taste buds and get ready for a BOLD hit of flavor.  StarKist has partnered with Tapatío and added their hot sauce and a touch of lime juice to their classic chunk light tuna.  This perfect blend is ready to enjoy on corn chips, on a salad, in a taco or straight out of the pouch.

          I grabbed my molcajete ( a stone mortar and pestle) and made some quick guacamole. I added the guacamole to some hearty multigrain rice cakes and added half a packet on top of the guacamole for two servings. Depending on the day and whether I had lunch, I would eat two rice cakes for my snack. So satisfying and a perfect combination of cool and spicy. Yummy food makes a happy mother.

          Oh, and if your husband is home, this is a winner for the father who forgets to eat. Thumbs up.

          Tapatío Tuna and Guacamole Rice Cake Stacks

          by Noelle Kelly

          Prep Time: 10 minutes


          Ingredients (4 servings)

            For the Guacamole

            • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
            • 4 Tablespoons red onion, diced
            • 1/4 cup tomato, diced
            • 4 Tablespoons shredded carrots ( prepackaged)
            • 1 lemon, juiced
            • salt and pepper to taste

            Additional ingredients

            • 2 pouches of StarKist Tuna Creations BOLD Tapatio
            • green olives for garnish
            • 4 multigrain rice cakes


            For the Guacamole

            Add the avocado to a stone mortar and pestle or bowl, and mash with pestle or fork. Mix in the diced onions, tomatoes, carrots, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


            Divide the guacamole between 4 rice cakes. Open two StarKist tuna pouches and divide each pouch between 2 rice cakes. Garnish with tomato and green olives. This can serve 2 people with 2 rice cake stacks or 4 people.

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            The pouches are single-serve and require no can opener and no draining, making it easy to add a BOLD protein to your favorite salads, meals and snacks…or you can just grab a fork and eat straight from the pouch wherever you are—just Tear. Eat. And Go! Visit and follow @StarKistCharlie on Instagram and Twitter.

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