Family-friendly recipes


matzo ball posole recipes

Take a Crack at Homemade Matzo Ball Posole

Jon Sloan, culinary director of The Crack Shack (which opened its newest location in Pasadena in November), is of Jewish descent and hails from the East Coast. That’s why this mashup of comfort foods, one from Jewish and one from Mexican tradition, felt like something he’d want to try. It didn’t hurt that The Crack Shack already features tasty posole broth for its California Dip sandwich, that there always seems...

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los angeles bakery

What Makes a Cookie Good

Do you remember your first favorite cookie? Ross Canter does. His grandfather was one of the original Canter brothers who ran Canter’s Deli, which at the time had a location in Boyle Heights, along with the Fairfax deli that is open to this day. “I really remember being a little kid and walking around the bakery counter and just looking at all of those cookies all the time,” he says....

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how to grill a turkey

Choosing – and maybe Grilling – Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Marconda’s Meats and Puritan Poultry is a family-owned meat and poultry market located at The Original Farmers Market. It's been in business since 1941 and there are three generations of the DeRosa family working behind the counter. So, of course they don’t want you to buy your Thanksgiving turkey at the supermarket. Lou DeRosa, current owner of Marconda’s, makes a compelling case. Butchers like Marconda’s, he says, sell turkeys that...

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Shared Plates and a Flexible Pasta Salad Recipe

L.A. Kitchen is a nonprofit dedicated to reclaiming local food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it in the form of fresh, nutritious meals to Angelenos in need. Another L.A. Kitchen mission is to provide culinary job training, and Theresa “Chef T” Farthing, top graduate of the program’s first class, is now the organization’s community outreach specialist. She leads volunteers in preparing meals for low-income senior communities and...

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sweet potato chili recipe

Hearty Sweet Potato Chili Recipe and Cooking Know-how with Clemence Gossett

When Clemence Gossett was a little girl, she made cream puffs with the help of Jacque Pepin’s classic cookbook “La Technique,” a gift from her parents. Today, she’s co-owner of The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories ( at Santa Monica Place, and mom of three kids who love to cook.   “My oldest is in college and he’s making doughnuts and apple fritters for his dorm mates,” says Gossett. “And...

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Ayara Thai

Barbecue Chicken Recipe: A Labor of Family Love on the Grill

It’s fair to say that Vanda Asapahu grew up grilling. That’s partly because she grew up Thai. “I’m a second-generation Thai American. My dad is Thai Chinese and my mom is northern Thai,” says Asapahu, who now runs her family’s restaurant, Ayara Thai Cuisine, in Westchester.   Her parents are self-taught chefs who founded the restaurant, so Asapahu grew up in SoCal eating plenty of Thai food. “My parents would cook...

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summer salad recipe

This Crisp, Colorful Salad is Perfect for Summer Grilling

When you hear the word “succotash,” maybe Sylvester the cartoon cat and his catchphrase (“Sufferin’ succotash!”) come to mind. Or maybe you think of a hot dish with mushy corn and lima beans sautéed together. Chef Maire Byrne had neither of these in mind when she created her recipe for Summer Succotash.   The founder of Santa Monica’s Thyme Café and Market, Byrne, a third-generation Santa Monica native and regular at...

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shortcake recipe

Summer Shortcakes You Can Make at Home

As a little girl, Ann Kirk was all of us (and all of our kids) who have mothers who bake. “My favorite thing to do would be to sit on the counter and just wait for that spatula or anything that she would give me that had cookie dough or brownie batter on it,” Kirk says. She watched every move her mom made, but never thought she would become a...

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crab cake recipe

Kid-Friendly Dining for Grown-up Palates

When Michael Franks, co-owner of Chez Melange in Redondo Beach, got into the restaurant business several decades ago, there were two distinct differences: very little fresh food was served and many restaurants didn’t allow children. Much has changed. Most eateries – including Chez Melange, which opened in 1982 – now welcome families. “We grew up with the family, and now we’re going through a second generation, and even a third...

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Simple as One Potato: Spring Vegetable Pasta Recipe

Catherine McCord really wants you to cook – and eat – with your kids. The L.A.-based family food blogger, chef and cookbook author behind Weelicious has even created a meal-kit service to help make that happen. Launched two years ago in California and expanded this past year into seven other states, One Potato ( offers an especially family-friendly twist. “We want you to cook just a little bit,” says McCord....

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vegan date truffles

Healthy Make-at-home Fun: Vegan Date Truffles Recipe

Who would have thought that vegan date truffles would be the perfect confluence of D. Brandon Walker’s roles as chef and dad? At the time he created the recipe, Walker was working as personal chef for music producer Russell Simmons, who is co-founder of Def Jam Recordings – and also a vegan. While upping his vegan game, Walker was also looking for a treat for his daughters, who are now...

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chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies You Don’t Have to Bake

“Why do we bake them?” my husband often asks after snatching some dough from the batch of cookies I’m making. With this recipe from Pastry Chef Lindsay Kirk of Small Batch Ice Cream in Mar Vista, you don’t have to. You can have your cookie dough and eat it, too. “It’s less messy, more portable,” Kirk says of the Cookie Doh Pops served up at Small Batch.  Substituting margarine for...

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hummus recipe

Family Recipe: A Different Kind of Hummus

A house specialty at Panini Kabob Grill, which has several SoCal locations including Woodland Hills, Bevery Hills and Glendale, is the hummus trio. It includes traditional chickpea hummus, black bean hummus and this edamame hummus. “Parents love this for their kids because it’s healthy,” owner Ali Kazemi explains. “Kids like it because it’s easy to eat.” The spices are mild and the dish is creamy – and fun to dip with crackers, cut veggies or pita triangles. ...

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sweet potato bread pudding

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding: Dessert or Side? You Decide

Jeremy Cantwell grew up in San Diego eating his mom’s and grandmother’s Japanese- and Hawaiian-inspired cooking. He’s also classically trained in French cuisine, which gives him a special appreciation for the Cajun-style food at the House of Blues in Anaheim, where he is executive chef. “There’s a lot of tradition that comes with the Cajun [and] Creole food,” says Cantwell. At home, he has a tradition of baking with his...

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holiday dessert recipes

5 Tips for Happy Holiday Cooking with 3 Sweet Recipes from L.A. Chefs

Hooray for the holidays – lights, music, love, joy and a chance to spoil family and friends with delicious homemade food from your cozy kitchen.   What? Holiday cooking isn’t your absolute favorite thing to do? You avoid the kitchen most of the year, and get stressed out by the pressure to produce a festive meal?   Relax, take a deep breath and a different approach this year with these tips from...

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Make Your Own Pizza for National Pizza Month

It’s National Pizza Month, and yes, you can make your own – with the kids. California Pizza Kitchen’s Senior Vice President of Culinary Innovation Brian Sullivan has made a lot of pizza with a lot of people at the iconic chain’s parties and events. “Everybody just seems to love it. It’s just fun,” he says. “You get to use your hands. You get to let go and be creative.” That...

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introducing solid foods

Introducing Solid Foods With Born to Eat

Introducing little ones to solid foods can be fun and exciting for you and your baby, but can also bring many challenges. In their new book “Born To Eat—Whole, Healthy Foods from Baby’s First Bite,” authors and nutritionists Leslie Schilling and Wendy Jo Peterson outline the basics of whole-food introductions for babies in a safe and fun way that includes the whole family. The book contains several recipes designed to...

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sweet rose creamery

Family Recipes: A Healthier Frozen Treat by Sweet Rose Creamery’s Shiho Yoshikawa

Shiho Yoshikawa is co-owner and executive chef at Sweet Rose Creamery, local purveyor of small-batch hand-crafted ice cream in gourmet flavors such as salted caramel, malted milk with mocha ripple, and blueberry muffin. But because she also has a 4-year-old son, sometimes she is looking for something with just a touch less sugar. That’s when she turns to frozen bananas. “It’s healthy,” she says. “It’s frozen and fun.” Freezing a...

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baby led weaning

Cookbook Review: Food Intros for Baby Made Family Friendly

Gone are the days when feeding Baby solid foods meant opening a jar or making purée after time consuming purée at home.  With “The Baby-Led Weaning Family Cookbook” from Gill Rapley, Ph.D., and Tracey Murkett, a baby just beginning to enjoy basic foods doesn’t need to have a separate meal from the rest of the family. With more than 100 easy and fast recipes that are healthy, easily digested by...

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Family Recipes: A Sweet Summer Salad from Fabio Ugoletti

A traditional Italian panzanella salad, a Tuscan classic, includes tomato, onion, cucumber and chunks of sturdy bread. But Fabio Ugoletti, chef at Bettolino Kitchen in Redondo Beach and father of daughters ages 5 and 9, gives his a kid-friendly twist.   The Michelin-starred chef substitutes watermelon for the summer tomatoes. “The flavor is a little sweet,” Ugoletti says.  He came to Southern California from his native Florence almost three years ago...

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Sanity-Saving Family Recipes For the New School Year

After a long day of rushing the kids to school, working, running errands and after-school activities, the last thing anyone wants to think about is where to find family recipes. Let Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh serve as your fearless leaders in this quest for survival and sustenance. Together, they developed “The School Year Survival Cookbook,” which features 110 time-saving and kid-friendly recipes for cooking when there just aren't enough...

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Cooking Class with My Daughters: Sharing the Flavors of My Childhood

Even though I have been living in Los Angeles since I was 10 and married the boy from the Valley who grew up with peanut butter and jelly and tuna salad, my favorite food is and will always be Persian. The aroma of cardamom, coriander and cumin is my childhood, my family home, my parents and my extended family. I have shared my love of basmati rice with saffron and...

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Easy and Fun Recipes for Busy College Students

Healthy, low-cost food options that are dorm-room friendly have been traditionally hard to come by, but “The Quick and Easy Vegetarian College Cookbook” from Adams Media offers more than 300 meals that fit the bill. Staying healthy amid the hustle and bustle of college life can be tough, but this recipe book offers delicious meals and snacks for even the busiest students. The book suggest healthy late-night study snacks and...

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kid friendly recipes

Light, Healthy, Family-Friendly Meals Made Easy

It can be tough to find healthy, kid-friendly recipes everyone in the family will actually like. Food writer Victoria Dwek knows firsthand how challenging this can be. In Dwek’s new book, “Secrets of Skinny Cooking,” co-created with nutritionist and dietitian Shani Taub, you’ll find more than 135 delicious recipes with tips and suggestions for cooking with even the pickiest of eaters in mind. The book is a visual delight. With each...

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family recipes - The Albright

Family Recipe: Asian Sweet and Sticky Wings

Yunnie Kim Morena grew up in and around SM Pier Seafood, the Santa Monica restaurant her parents opened after emigrating to the U.S. from Korea in 1977. “I loved being in the kitchen at the restaurant,” says Morena. “It was so exciting.” Morena describes her parents’ restaurant as a market-style place with lots of fish on ice and live lobsters and crabs. She recalls tasting her first uni (sea urchin)...

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Family Recipe Fun with Fair Foods

While I was growing up, summer always meant warm nights, family fun and trips to the fair. Although I loved the rides, my favorite part was always the yummy food I could find there. In George Geary’s new recipe book, “Fair Foods—The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs” from Santa Monica Press, he highlights some classic goodies and new favorites. Geary is an award-winning chef...

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Innovation in the Kitchen: Spiralizer Fun!

Looking for a fun, new way to bring more excitement into your family meals? “The Spiralizer Recipe Book,” by Carina Wolff, is sure to change up your dinnertime routine. It features 150 easy-to-make recipes the whole family is sure to love. Spiralizers are new, must-have kitchen gadgets that help turn healthy fruits and veggies into beautiful and creative meals. This new recipe book shows you just how easy it can...

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family recipe

Summertime Meals by the Campfire

“The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook,” from camping-equipment company Coleman, is your go-to guide for a fun and stress-free camping experience and some great family recipes. The cookbook offers more than 100 recipes that make it a culinary campsite resource, and also outlines several tips and suggestions for creating the ultimate summertime outing. The cookbook is divided into several sections to cover virtually every type of meal. The book features beautiful photographs...

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A Delicious Guide to Dairy-Free Ice Creams

If you love ice cream, you’ll really enjoy “Guilt-Free Nice Cream,” a new recipe book by Margie Broadhead featuring more than 70 delicious desserts that will have you astounded that no actual ice cream is involved. Broadhead, well known for her popular food blog “Made by Margie,” is a professional chef and owner of a catering company. In her book, she shows readers how to create recipes that not only...

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Family Recipe: Meatballs – Spicy or Mild – For Sharing

Meatballs are often a kid pleaser and a crowd pleaser and Oscar Chavez, executive kitchen manager at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, which recently opened a new location in Santa Monica, says these are no exception. He has a 15-year-old son and daughters ages 9 and 11 and makes this recipe at home – adjusting the spice for kid palates. “I made this recipe without the chipotle ketchup and without the...

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A Cookbook With Lots to Love

“Love Real Food,” by Kathryne Taylor, is a vegetarian cookbook that’s all about simple, flavorful and wholesome cooking. Taylor is the creator of the popular vegetarian blog, Cookie + Kate. In her debut cookbook, she brings us her 100 feel-good favorites. The book is a visual delight, with gorgeous photos of Taylor’s food creations and sweet cameos from her adorable and crumb catching dog, Cookie. Throughout the book, Taylor offers...

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Huckleberry Chocolate Chunk Muffin Recipe

Zoe Nathan likes doing good. And the co-owner of the Rustic Canyon family of restaurants, author of the cookbook “Huckleberry” and mom of three does a lot of good baking. Her latest adventure, Gather For Good, began with a series of bake sales featuring Nathan and her celebrity baker pals. At Bake & Gather events, the public is invited to mingle and purchase sweet treats to benefit causes such as...

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guacamole recipe

True Food Kitchen Guacamole Recipe: Getting Sneaky With Kale

True Food Kitchen offers healthy, tasty cuisine at locations across the U.S., including five in Southern California. It’s not exclusively vegetarian, but it is a great place to show the kids how fun veggies can be. True Food Kitchen El Segundo's Executive Chef Jordan Herigstad recommends the restaurant’s Kale Guacamole as a fun dish for families to make together at home. Herigstad grew up with four brothers and took an...

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classic pasta sauce

A Fresh and Classic Pasta Sauce

Maurizio Mazzon started cooking in restaurants at age 15, but he was working in the kitchen long before that. Born in the Veneto region of Italy, he grew up in a home with a garden full of vegetables, where the pasta was always hand made. “In Italy, you start from the day you’re born,” says Mazzon. “I was the guy selected to turn the handle of the pasta maker to...

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Cooking Empanadas With Love

Guillermo Zapata grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And when he moved to Los Angeles in 1992 to pursue a modeling and acting career, he brought a taste of home with him. He renovated a small space in West Hollywood and opened SUR Restaurant and Lounge, now expanded and known as quite the trendy eatery. Along the way, he married and had two daughters, Lou Mila, 11, and Miarose, 8....

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family recipes

Celebrate Chinese New Year With Potstickers

The first day of the Chinese New Year is Jan. 28, and we’ll welcome the Year of the Rooster. The delicious little dumplings called potstickers are a traditional food this time of year because, according to chef Katie Chin, they resemble gold ingots and symbolize wealth. Chin, L.A.-based cookbook author, food blogger, TV personality and mom of 8-year-old twins, also points out that in Chinese culture, food is served family...

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family recipes

Be Bold and Bake Your Own Cinnamon Rolls

Imagine the smell of warm cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. Now imagine waking your family on a Saturday morning with that delicious, warm aroma. Yes, you can! Gemma Stafford, creator of Gemma’s Bigger, Bolder Baking (, is dedicated to helping home cooks bake cinnamon rolls and a variety of other tasty dishes. “I grew up with a mom who was a fantastic cook and baker,” says Stafford, who was...

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Rosa’s Mud Cake From “How to Celebrate Everything”

Jenny Rosenstrach doesn’t just write about food. She writes about family, rituals, traditions and how food brings all that together in the most delicious way. “One ritual, family dinner, is so fundamental to the psychological health of our household that we think of it as our North Star, something worth organizing our days – maybe even our lives – around,” she writes. Her popular blog, “Dinner: a Love Story,” is...

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family recipes

It’s Pie On a Stick

  Stephanie Norcio runs the beautiful test kitchen at Surfas Culinary District in Culver City, a mecca for top-notch cooking equipment and classes that cater to everyone from young kids to aspiring Master Chefs. Upcoming classes include Chinese take-out and Greek favorites for families and make-and-take holiday pies. Norcio, a whiz of a chef who is great with kids, was kind enough to share this recipe for pie pops. Her...

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family-friendly recipes

Easy Fish Tacos from “100 Days of Real Food”

As moms on the go, we’re always looking for healthy meal ideas that are also easy to cook. “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food” by Lisa Leake gives us exactly what we we’re looking for – quick and tasty recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert and snacks. We also love the beautiful color photos with every recipe –...

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family recipes

Family Recipes: Pancakes On the House

Chef Kristina Mikyste of Doma Kitchen shares a fun dish you can top any way you like  Ricotta cheese is an unusual addition to pancakes, but it is similar to the farmers’ cheese Kristina Mikyste used growing up in Lithuania – in a family of chefs. Needless to say, the family did a lot of cooking. “Especially Sunday,” says Mikyste, “because it’s a family day, so we always cooked. It’s...

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fun ideas for kids

Recipes for Kids: Pasta and Possibilities

Diana Stavaridis, head chef at Manhattan House restaurant in Manhattan Beach, started cooking with her grandfather when she was a child but didn’t have the chance to imagine cooking as a profession until years later. Now she works with GrowingGreat, a community garden program that helps local elementary students grow school gardens, then brings fourth and fifth graders into the restaurant to cook with Stavaridis. The goal is to help...

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fun summer activities

Blackberry Crumble: A Sweet Taste of Childhood

Katie Shyne of Taste on Melrose shares fond memories and a Spiced Blackberry Crumble recipe. Doesn’t blackberry picking with your mom sound like a delicious way to spend a morning? Katie Shyne, executive pastry chef at Taste on Melrose, brings her childhood memory and a childhood favorite recipe to life in this Spiced Blackberry Crumble. “It’s one of the first things I learned how to make when I was a...

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5 Steps To a Balanced Breakfast Smoothie

It’s time to create a new breakfast staple with fun ideas for kids. Although breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a typical kid’s breakfast includes foods such as cereal, pancakes, bagels or waffles, which are high in processed grains. These breakfasts are easy to make, but don’t include the ideal nutrient balance your kids need to start their day. A balanced breakfast contains a protein, a carbohydrate and healthy fat. Here are five steps to help you create a balanced...

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fun ideas for kids

5 Tips for Healthy Summer Camp Lunches

Camp time is here. You want your kids to be well nourished and enjoy their lunch, but kids often get bored with the food parents pack, and parents have a challenging time coming up with new lunch ideas. Kids enjoy camp lunches that have balance, variety and include surprise treats. The treats are small, but are delicious and hit the spot.   Here are five tips to help you build...

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summer activities

Ready For Summer With Pie

When strawberries come into season in the spring, at my house we start out by just bingeing on them plain – or with maybe a touch of whipped cream. Eventually, we get around to some shortcake. Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections – with locations in L.A., Echo Park and at Grand Central Market downtown – offers a recipe for another strawberry classic, strawberry-rhubarb pie. “Kids love pies,” says the mom...

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Holiday fun

Holiday Recipes From Milo and Olive

When Erin Eastland was moving to Southern California from New York in 2005, it didn’t take her long to figure out that she wanted to call Santa Monica home. It helped that she and her family scoped out the city on a Wednesday. “We came upon the farmers’ market and I was like, ‘We’re done,’” says the mom of two, who is now executive chef at Milo and Olive, a...

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Have a Fabulous Fiesta Birthday!

Lucky and I love throwing parties, celebrating with friends, laughing, drinking and eating. Lucky is the chef of the house and I am the party planner – but neither of us likes doing the dishes! Here are our tips for a great fiesta with plenty of fun ideas for kids: Mix up the guest list. Invite your most fun friends and your most interesting friends. Sometimes, these are the same...

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30 Real-Food Snack Ideas for Kids

Snack. The word itself sounds fun and delicious, right? We all perk up when imagining our own personal-sized package of chips, crackers or cookies. Sadly, these so-called “snacks” are just treats with a convenient name change. Most Americans are not eating quality meals or snacks, but instead are eating packages of sugary, salty, empty carbs with minimal nutrition. We have been conditioned to crave these snacks in bright, colorful boxes,...

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Healthy Holiday: Santa’s Cookie Pops

Here in sunny SoCal, hot cocoa is still a favorite, but it’s also ice pop weather almost all year. Health-conscious families can get the skinny on a real treat with this recipe from Mom and Pop Shop, a local, family-owned business that brings all-natural popsicles to events of all sorts. Learn more about them at Santa’s Cookie Pops Yield 6-8 pops INGREDIENTS 1 can (13-14oz) Unsweetened Coconut Milk (if...

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Party-Time Treats

Food can be a fun part of any party, but can be a real headache if you’re the one doing the planning. Keep it simple (and fun for you) with these great recipes from Home & Family’s Tanya Memme. Tanya’s Birthday Party Popcorn! Everyone loves popcorn! Be a hero at your child’s next party with this!  It takes minutes to make, is easy on the wallet and kids love it....

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Love In the Lunchbox

Freshen up your approach to school lunches with help from Catherine McCord of Weelicious By Christina Elston Maybe you started the school year with a great plan to pack your child a tasty, nutritious lunch every day. Maybe things even went well through most of September before you exhausted that back-to-school energy or just ran out of ideas. Or perhaps you’ve always just knocked together a PB&J and some chips,...

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