A Healthy Memorial Day Feast

Happy Memorial Day!

One of my favorite ways to celebrate Memorial Day is with a fantastic, family-filled potluck, but I always end up feeling guilty for the “food baby” I’ve adopted by the end of the night. We wear our stretchy pants and over-sized tee shirts to hide our ever expanding waistlines in order to devour the delicious sides that Aunt Marge created. BUT, FEAR NOT! This year, you can have your cake and eat it too!

Below is a list of delicious dishes that are made with whole, healthy ingredients. They go great with all barbecue concoctions!  And as a bonus, your stretched-out yoga pants will politely thank you!

garden salad on a stick1) Salad on a Stick–Everything tastes better when it is served on a stick!  Food Network has a few ideas for this, but my favorite simple salad is this one. You can make it more interesting by adding a variety of vegetables and switching up the dressings/dips!  Turn it into a Cobb Salad by chopping up egg slices, cheese cubes, avocado and chicken breast. Go Greek with kalamata olives, red onion and bell peppers. Dive into summer with strawberries, sliced apples and a poppy seed dressing.  The possibilities are endless!



Nutella Apples

2) Nutella Apple Slices–The Nutella train has arrived and it has brought several scrumptious desserts! This one is suuuuper easy and extremely delicious. All you have to do is chop up an apple, throw it in a bag with a TINY bit of lemon juice (to prevent browning) and dab dry with a paper towel (very important step!! The Nutella won’t stick otherwise!!).  Next, grab your spatula and glob the tops with that hazelnut gold.  Finally, sprinkle them with some homemade granola and VOILA! Your little slices of heaven are complete.



greek mac n cheese

3) Greek Mac ‘n Cheese–Macaroni and Cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods, but this dish punches my daily caloric intake in the face. Fortunately, Oikos has created a dish that leaves my tummy happy and my arteries clean.  They substitute heavy cream with Greek yogurt for a deliciously healthy twist!  Greek yogurt is packed with protein. You won’t be disappointed.



Pasta Salad

4) Rotini, Summer Squash and Prosciutto Salad with Rosemary Dressing–Skip the traditional pasta salad for Cooking Light’s healthy pasta side dish. This salad with have you drooling in no time! Make sure to use  whole wheat rotini and you won’t go wrong. The smokey flavor of the prosciutto melds wonderfully with the rosemary vinaigrette, which will surely keep you full and satisfied.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5) Blueberry Pie with a Banana Graham Cracker Crust
–Every potluck needs a fantastic pie, and what is better than our “super-food” friend, the blueberry!  Blueberries are filled with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids (a berry a day keeps the doc away!), as well as vitamin C and potassium.  Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory. Doesn’t get much better than that! Check out Undressed Skeleton’s link for this amazing recipe and other healthy food options!  She uses canned blueberry filling for this pie, but you could always use fresh berries instead.


vanilla mint lemonade6) Vanilla Mint Lemonade–Nothing is more refreshing than a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. Bobby Flay has an excellent recipe, to which I add a teaspoon of vanilla extract when simmering the simple syrup–making it simply divine.  If you would like a bubbly treat, you can substitute regular water for sparkling instead! For added health benefits, I always replace refined white sugar with organic cane sugar. This lemonade will fulfill your sweet cravings and can easily be tweaked into an “adult” version with a cup of a little sumthin’ sumthin’…


Want more healthy living ideas?  Check out my Pinterest page to see my pinning genius-ness.
You can also get some great ideas from here too! Have a wonderful Memorial Day! And don’t be afraid to go back for seconds with these wholesome babies!

Great PA Day Trips

Looking for something fun to do with the whole family?  Here is a list of my top 5 favorite PA day trips!!

Cow1) Lake Tobias Wildlife Park–Halifax

Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is a hidden gem in Central PA. The main attraction is the safari tour. Patrons sit in open –air busses while a guide provides expert information about the variety of wildlife that live at the park. You can get up close to such animals as water buffaloes, elands, alpacas, ostriches, bison, and deer. Hint: Purchase a pack of crackers at the concession stand before going on the safari tour! Other attractions include a petting zoo, reptile house, and zoo exhibits.


2) Longwood Gardens–Kennett SquareLongwood

Over 1000 acres make up one of the country’s finest botanical gardens, Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square.  Be sure to visit the Conservatory, the various water gardens and fountains, and the indoor children’s garden.  In the children’s garden, children can explore and discover hidden secrets with a scavenger hunt, “paint the walls” in the Grotto Cave and enjoy jumping water fountains.


Please Touch

3) Please Touch Museum–Philadelphia

The first museum in the country specifically designed for children is located in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Two floors of interactive exhibits help children to do what they do best – play! Children can play music on nature-inspired instruments; pretend to shop in a grocery store; imagine being a doctor, nurse, or construction worker; race sailboats or play with bubbles; and have tea with the Mad Hatter in Wonderland. Make time to watch a show in the Please Touch Playhouse Theater and take a ride on the Woodside Park Dentzel Carousel.


4) Cherry Crest Adventure Farm–ParadiseCherry Crest

Kids of all ages enjoy the challenge of the Amazing Maize Maze every year at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Paradise, PA.  In addition to the maze, there are over 50 activities in the Courtyard and Barnyard.  Families can take a farm wagon tour, ride pedal carts, slide down a straw bale racer, hit targets with a giant slinger, or bounce on the jumping pillows. Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is open from May to November and hosts special events in the fall.


Hershey Gardens5) Hershey Gardens–Hershey

Originally created as a rose garden in 1937, the Hershey Gardens overlooks the town of Hershey and the famous, Hershey Park. In addition to the beautiful roses, two main features of the garden include the Children’s Garden and the Butterfly House. The Butterfly House is open from May to September and is home to more than 300 beautiful butterflies. Children are greeted by Hershey Kiss shaped misters and an alphabet trail of plants in the Children’s Garden.

Teacher Appreciation Week–Student Post

richie 300My Favorite Teacher

Mrs. Nardella is the best teacher I have ever had.  She would always make me smile with her great enthusiasm.  She helped me so much with my ability to read faster and more accurately.  She always gave us treats and privileges and rarely yelled.  She would always get us up and moving, and she made learning fun!   —Richie, 7th grade

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  You DO make a difference!