ChiTAG 2017 Coupons and Giveaway

If you’re interested in going to the 15th annual ChiTAG 2017, let me give you tickets! The Chicago Toy and Game Fair is a highlight for my family. We’d love to help you attend too!

ChiTAG 2017 coupons and giveaway for family 4 pass

*This post is sponsored by ChiTAG. All opinions are mine.*

ChiTAG 2017 Coupons and Giveaway

Have you been to the Chicago Toy and Game Fair? I’ve heard about it for years, but last year was the first time my family was able to attend. My kids had such a great time and they have been bugging me ever since to make sure we take them again this year. Well, it’s official. We’re heading back to Chicago next week to attend ChiTAG 2017!

Going to #ChiTAG2017 – download money saving ChiTAG 2017 coupons hereAnd save $5 on parking by registering in advance with SpotHero. Use promo code CHITAG.

ChiTAG 2017 coupons and giveaway for family 4 pass

ChiTAG 2017 will take place Saturday & Sunday November 18-19. You can buy tickets and learn about the full schedule here. Or you can enter my giveaway for a Family 4 Pack of Tickets! 

We’re about three hours from Chicago and it’s one of our most favorite family friendly cities to visit. We love to go to Chicago for New Year’s Eve and it’s also a very fun place to spend a weekend getaway with your bestie.

Enter to win tickets to ChiTAG 2017

Highlights of our ChiTAG 2016 experience included drooling over new Tesla cars! My six year old even got to drive a mini Tesla (but that wasn’t nearly as cool as sitting in the real Tesla!), watching acrobats and very skilled yo-yoers? (Is that a word?), playing a lot of brand new games, and simply hanging out at Navy Pier in Chicago.

ChiTAG 2016 - Happy Salmon game

What we’re looking forward to at ChiTAG 2017 – 

  • U.S. National Rummikub Championship
  • Giant Soggy Doggy!
  • Meet Princess-Etch-A-Sketch
  • Interactive exhibits and playing with tons of new toys & game
  • Meeting Toy & Game Inventors from Around the World
  • Yo-Yo Championship
  • Ben’s Giant Bubble Show
  • Giveaways, Stage Events, Magic Shows, Contests

Hopefully, I’v convinced you to go – now enter to win tickets to ChiTAG 2017!

Contest is for a TWO DAY FAMILY PASS FOR FOUR TICKETS – Contest is open to US residents, 18 years of age and older. Contest ends at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, November 14th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’ll be at #ChiTAG2017 on Saturday! Say hi if you see my family. 🙂

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot {Soaked or Unsoaked!}

Do you know how to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot? I love being able to cook unsoaked beans in my Instant Pot and it’s totally doable! If you want to soak yours first, you have my permission to keep on soaking! 🙂 I’ll tell you the perfect way to cook dried beans both ways.

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot {Soaked or Unsoaked!}

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site!*

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

One of the things I love the most about my Instant Pot is the ability to cook unsoaked dried beans relatively quickly. My Instant Pot has transformed the way I cook dried beans. I never remember to soak beans the night before and the ability to simply omit that step is so lovely!

We eat a lot of beans here at SimplifyLiveLove. I add them to taco meat to stretch the meat, they’re a staple in my kids’ favorite taco soup, and we make a lot of refried beans for bean burritos, nachos, and more. Dried beans are frugal, healthy, and easy to make and we love them!

how to cook unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

Cooking Time for Dried Beans in the Instant Pot

I primarily cook three different types of beans: pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. But I have all types of beans in my pantry and so I’m sharing this handy chart of cooking times for nine different types of beans. Soak them, or don’t soak them. That’s your call.

Bean Type Soaked Unsoaked
Black Beans 10-15 minutes 22-27 minutes
Black-Eyed Peas 5-10 minutes 10-15 minutes
Cannellini Beans 10-15 minutes 30-35 minutes
Garbanzo Beans 15-20 minutes 35-40 minutes
Kidney Beans 10-15 minutes 25-30 minutes
Lentils 12-17 minutes
Navy Beans 10-15 minutes 20-25 minutes
Pinto Beans 10-15 minutes 25-30 minutes
Split Peas 5-10 minutes

How to choose a cooking time for unsoaked dried beans

How I choose a cooking time depends primarily on my end goal for the beans. If I plan to use the beans in another recipe, meaning they will continue cooking after I take them out of the Instant Pot, I will cook them for fewer minutes. For instance, if I’m using black beans in my taco meat, I’ll cook them for around 22 minutes instead of 27. But if I’m not putting them in another recipe, I will cook them for longer in the Instant Pot so they come out softer instead of al dente. I cook pinto beans for 28 minutes, for instance, instead of 25 if I’m making refried beans.


In addition to the beans, you’ll also need a good quality oil and salt as well. I prefer to cook with unrefined salt as regular ole table salt has been bleached and has a lot of additives that I’d rather avoid. My favorite type of salt is REAL Salt from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. I love its pretty colors and it has a nice taste and lots of healthy qualities too. There are so many different types of salt. We only use table salt for crafts.

how to cook soaked or unsoaked dried beans in the instant pot

Some things to be careful about when cooking dried beans in the Instant Pot

Make sure you do not over fill your IP when cooking beans or it will foam and boil over. While the oil helps reduce foaming, one pound of beans (2 cups) is the maximum you can cook in a 6 quart Instant Pot. I know, that saddens me too, but it’s not worth the mess to cook more. 🙁 Also, use high pressure and a natural release for best results.

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 TBS oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to instant pot.
  2. Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for the time specified in the chart.
  3. Manually release pressure and enjoy.
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And that’s it, my friends, how to cook dried beans in the Instant Pot! It’s totally worth the price of the Instant Pot to me, just for the ability to cook dried beans in a relatively short amount of time! Do you cook beans in your Instant Pot? I’d love to hear if you soak them, or skip it!

Do you know how to cook dried beans in the instant pot without soaking? It is possible and this handy chart will help you get beans right every time!

 

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

This recipe for Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese is simply delicious! It’s the perfect addition to any holiday meal and it makes a nice side dish for week night dinners as well. It’s not to hard to make and it’s definitely one of my favorite ways to eat brussel sprouts.
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

*This recipe contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site!*

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

If you’ve never seen brussel sprouts growing, this is what they look like. They’re basically little cabbages growing up a stalk. The picture above shows very small sprouts, and they normally grow a bit bigger.

In addition to tasting great, brussel sprouts are incredibly nutritious. They look a little like a cabbage, but taste much better in my opinion. According to Nutrition and You, they are a great source of Vitamins A, K, and C, are rich in B Complex vitamins, full of anti-oxidants, and are also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Nutrition and You mentions all kinds of  cancer fighting properties that brussel sprouts have and claim that these vegetables should be eaten on weight loss programs because they have a low glycemic value and are low in calories.

If you’d like to try brussel sprouts, I highly recommend cooking them in the following manner. NOTE – this recipe is likely NOT low in calories…because of the BACON. But truly, bacon is the key to many a person’s heart. Don’t leave it out! {But do source a high quality bacon.}

Let’s make this delicious brussel sprout side dish recipe!

First, fry up some bacon – 3-4 pieces is plenty. I use nitrate free bacon I buy at Costco. It’s YUMMY! I just use my kitchen scissors to cut up a few pieces and then cook them over medium high heat in a nice cast iron skillet.

Then, clean the brussel sprouts. Make sure you check your bacon! Don’t want to burn it…

Cut the sprouts in half and remove any outer leaves that look bad. Your bacon should be done by now. Remove it from the pan so it doesn’t burn. Reserve half the bacon grease and leave the rest in the pan.

Now, take those little brussel sprouts and put them cut side down right in all of that delicious bacon grease. And leave them alone. Let them cook like this {medium heat} for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, stir up the sprouts and add a handful of pine nuts. If the pan looks a little dry, add a bit of the reserved bacon grease. After the pine nuts look nice and toasty, add the bacon bits back in and top everything off with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

 

Yields 4-6 side dish servings

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese

5 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 3-4 pieces nitrate free bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 lb brussel sprouts, washed and halved
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut bacon and fry until crispy in a cast iron skillet. Drain half the bacon grease and reserve.
  2. Place halved brussel sprouts cut side down and fry in the bacon grease for about 5 minutes. Do not stir the sprouts during these first 5 minutes.
  3. Then, stir sprouts and add pine nuts. Cook 5-7 more minutes.
  4. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese, salt & freshly ground pepper, and enjoy!
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Would you eat these Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Pine Nuts & Parmesan Cheese? Share another favorite way to eat brussel sprouts, if you have one!

For more delicious side dish recipes, check out these posts:

Baked Camembert with Pomegranate & Hazelnuts

Easy Buttery Carrots

Green Beans w/ Garlic & Toasted Almonds

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears

Pepper Jack Mashed Potatoes

 

This recipe for brussel sprouts with bacon, pine nuts & parmesan cheese is a delicious side dish - perfect for holiday meals or serving on a busy weeknight!

Salmon Street Tacos Approved by 5/6 of My Family

Salmon Street Tacos are one of my newest favorite meals. This meal can be on the table in 15 minutes and is seriously delicious!! Make sure to add it to your menu plan right now!Quick and easy recipe for delicious heart healthy salmon street tacos served with red slaw and lime cream sauce, on the table in 15 minutes!

*This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my site.*

Salmon Street Tacos Approved by 5/6 of My Family

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate more heart healthy salmon into my family’s diet, and this recipe for salmon street tacos is approved by five out of six of us. My middle daughter, Cora, has proven to be my pickiest eater and claims she doesn’t like salmon (or anything healthy really). Honestly, I think she just won’t give it a chance. But as long as I serve it with beans, she’ll add a tiny bit of salmon to her bean burrito in an attempt to make me happy.

Salmon Street Tacos with red cabbage slaw and lime cream sauce

The rest of the family, however, thinks these salmon street tacos are delicious! These tacos are a great way to stretch salmon and are so qiuck to make. Check out the recipe below.

How to Make Salmon Street Tacos

The really great thing about this meal is that not only is it delicious, but it’s also quick to make. Seriously, in the ten minutes it takes to cook the salmon, you can have the red cabbage slaw and the lime cream sauce finished for a complete meal. It’s possible to make everything ahead of time for a quick reheat at dinner time too and the slaw actually tastes better if you give it time to absorb the flavors!

salmon street tacos

So let’s get started, shall we?

Saute the salmon in butter over medium high heat

Melt butter in your favorite skillet over medium high heat. Cover salmon with blackened seasoning mix (you can make your own with my recipe here) – only one side if the skin is still on the bottom of the fish. Place salmon skin side down in melted butter and saute for 5 minutes. Flip salmon and saute for 5 more minutes. If you want, remove the skin after you flip it and add more blackened seasoning. Remove salmon from pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, then shred with a fork and set aside.

Make the red cabbage slaw to go with the salmon street tacos
While the fish is cooking, combine all ingredients to make the red cabbage slaw. Place the slaw in the fridge to let the ingredients mingle.

make the lime cream sauce to go with the salmon street tacos
Last, make the lime cream sauce by simply combining all ingredients. If you don’t have one of these microplanes, you need one! It makes zesting citrus and grating hard cheeses a snap! Place cream sauce in the fridge so its flavors can come together too.

serve salmon street tacos with lime wedges, chopped jalapeno, and cilantro
If you have time, heat up the tortillas to make them taste even better! If you want, you can even make your own flour tortillas pretty easily with my recipe here. Serve these yummy salmon street tacos with lime wedges, chopped jalapeno, and cilantro. Enjoy!

These products make this recipe for Salmon Street Tacos a snap!

Salmon Street Tacos Approved by 5/6 of My Family
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Ingredients

    Salmon
  • 1 lb wild caught Alaska salmon
  • 3-4 TBS blackened seasoning mix
  • 2 TBS butter
  • Red Cabbage Slaw
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 1/2 TBS fresh lime juice
  • 1 TBS EVOO
  • finely chopped jalapeno, to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp REAL Salt
  • Lime Cream Sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. Melt butter over medium high heat. Cover salmon with blackening seasoning - only one side if the skin is still on the bottom of the fish.
  2. Place salmon skin side down in melted butter and saute for 5 minutes. Flip salmon and saute for 5 more minutes. If you want, remove the skin after you flip it and add more blackening seasoning.
  3. While the fish is cooking, combine all ingredients to make the red cabbage slaw. Place the slaw in the fridge to let the ingredients mingle.
  4. Last, make the lime cream sauce by simply combining all ingredients. Place cream sauce in the fridge so its flavors can come together too.
  5. To assemble the salmon street tacos, simply add a bit of everything to a tortilla of your choice and enjoy!
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Yes, tacos? or No, tacos? What’s your call on street tacos? 🙂

You might also like these recipes:

Large Batch Ground Beef Taco Meat – perfect for the freezer

Homemade Blackened Seasoning

Greek Salmon Sheet Pan Dinner

Cheesy Salmon Pasta w/ Spinach & Mushrooms

Quick and easy recipe for delicious heart healthy salmon street tacos served with red slaw and lime cream sauce, on the table in 15 minutes!

Family-Friendly and Fun FREE things to do in the Twin Cities

There are so many fun and family-friendly FREE things to do in the Twin Cities. If you haven’t visited Minneapolis-St. Paul before, I highly recommend that you do! And, here are a few tips to help you save money when you do. 5 Delicious Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities that you must visit

*Many thanks to the Roseville Visitors Association, Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit St. Paul, and Meet Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association for sponsoring my recent press trip to the Twin Cities.*

How to Save Money on a Family Vacation to the Twin Cities

It’s no wonder that Minneapolis is listed on National Geographic’s Happiest US Cities. Called the City by Nature because of its great outdoor spaces, it also serves up delicious food, has amazing indoor activities, and a deep appreciation for the arts. Minneapolis is definitely worth a family vacation! Here are a few tips to help you save money on a family vacation to the Twin Cities. Because if you haven’t been, you need to go! No excuses.

1. Find Free Things to do in the Twin Cities

One great way to save money on family vacations is to find free things to do. Luckily, the Twin Cities has more than its share of amazing things that are free. Your entire family will find something fun to do for FREE in the Twin Cities with the following list. Most of these are outdoors, but you can also find more free things on this list of the top 7 family friendly activities to do indoors as well!Feed the giraffes at Como Zoo in the Twin Cities

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

This free zoo has been a Twin Cities destination for over 100 years. In the beginning, the Como Zoo housed animals in little cages which you can still see (no longer in use). Over the years, the zoo has changed significantly and focuses their efforts on animal conservation and leaving visitors with an appreciation of all living things. It’s a beautiful place to spend a day!

Twin Cities Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Your kids will enjoy watching the polar bears, penguins, and feeding the giraffes is always a big hit – one of the many fun free things to do in the Twin Cities. Plan your trip to Como Zoo here!

 

Spoonbridge & Cherry sculpture at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Spoonbridge & Cherry sculpture at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is must-see destination for visitors of all ages. It’s open 365 days a year, from 6 am to 12 midnight. You could spend hours taking in all of the amazing exhibits. I loved Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock, a huge, bright blue rooster, and of course, the iconic Spoonbridge & Cherry sculpture is a must see!

Arikidea sculpture at Minneaplis Sculpture Garden

Kids will enjoy swinging on the iron Arikidea sculpture and listening to the 47 windchimes in Pierre Huyghe’s wind chime sculpture! Be sure to download the interactive park guide  to sneak in a bit more education to your visit, and use the free park wifi to really experience this amazing park.

Peanuts scupltures in Rice Park at the Landmark Center St Paul

Find the Peanuts Statues in Rice Park

Located in Rice Park near Landmark Center are lots of fun sculptures of the Peanuts Gang and also F. Scott Fitzgerald. Both Fitzgerald and Charles Schultz were born in the area and these fun sculptures were made to honor both amazing men. While you’re in the area, make sure to head over to the Landmark Center and take a FREE tour of the building to learn about St. Paul’s gangster history!

Minnehaha Falls Regional Park

Minnehaha Falls Regional Park

This lovely park is situated in Minneapolis and features hiking trails, a disc gold course, wading pool for kids, picnicking spots, as well as bike rentals and more! Even though he never saw this gorgeous 53 foot waterfall in real life, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sang its praises in his poem Song of Hiawatha. Minnehaha is really a lovely spot to spend a gorgeous afternoon.

Stone Arch Bridge and Mill Ruins Park

Part of the US National Park Service, the Mill Ruins Park is located at the base of the Stone Arch Bridge is a great place to learn about the early history of Minneapolis and the Native Americans who used to gather at the the St. Anthony Falls. Make sure to hike across the Stone Arch Bridge while you’re there and take in the beauty of the city!

2. Don’t forget those museum memberships

Do you belong to any museums in your area? Make sure to double check for reciprocity! If they do, you could very well get your entire family into Twin Cities museums for free. To find out about reciprocity, just head over to your home museums’s website and look at the membership benefits. They should clearly state who they have reciprocity with and knowing this information could save you lots of money!

3. Stay in Roseville

The name, Twin Cities, is actually a misnomer since many more than two cities make up the Metro Minneapolis area. Roseville, for instance, is perfectly positioned in the Twin Cities – just north of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, only ten minutes from both cities, and within twenty minutes of most attractions listed here and on my indoor guide too. Roseville also has one of the lowest lodging tax rates in the metro Twin Cities area so you might be able to save money by staying in Roseville! We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott on our recent press trip to the Twin Cities and really enjoyed our stay there.

4. Request Guide Books and Coupon Booklets

Another way to save money is to reach out for visitor’s guides – great places to find coupons – and most destinations will send you a book for free! Request information or view and print coupons for Roseville, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington from these links.

Nice Ride Minneapolis

5. Save money on gas and parking by walking, biking, or riding public transportation

If possible, stay at a hotel with free parking and then ride public transportation to and from destinations. We found Nice Ride to be a fun, convenient, and cheap way to get around the city! If you want to wear a helmet though, you have to bring your own.

6. Eat in for two meals and splurge on one!

Food can be a huge expense with a large family. We love to eat out, but we also love to save money too. One way we try to accomplish both is to pack our own for two meals a day and splurge on only one meal a day. We either find a hotel that includes breakfast, or stop in at a grocery store and buy food for quick breakfasts and easy meals. Eating out only one time per day is a great money saver for us when we’re on family vacations. Keep in mind that lunch specials can be a great way to save money on dining when you’re traveling with your family!

For more information on the Twin Cities, check out these articles:

Farm to Table Restaurants you MUST try in the Twin Cities

30+ Free things to do at the Minnesota State Fair

7 Best Family-Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities

Of course, the activities in this list are specific to the Twin Cities, but everything else can be applied to most family family vacations! Do you have a best tip for saving money on family vacations? I’d love to hear!

These practical tips will show you how to save money on a family vacations and includes a list of free things to do in the Twin Cities, too. Minnesota, USA.

Save Money on Family Vacations - Free Things to do in the Twin Cities

Make Breakfast Fun with Kid-Friendly Granola Fruit Pizza

Make breakfast fun with this kid-friendly granola fruit pizza recipe. Bake the granola “pizza” crust ahead of time, then add Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt, and fresh fruit! Quick, easy, and delicious!slice and serve the homemade granola fruit pizza

*Many thanks to Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt for sponsoring this kid-friendly granola fruit pizza recipe! All opinions are mine.*

Make Breakfast Fun with Kid-Friendly Granola Fruit Pizza

Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt is something my kids eat almost each and every day. They pack frozen yogurt squeezers in their lunch, and eat Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt for snacks and breakfast too. We love Stonyfield because it is Non GMO Project Verified, contains no high fructose corn syrup, and has 25-40% less sugar than other kid yogurt. Since we take many steps to reduce sugar consumption at home, I’m happy Stonyfield is reducing sugar as well! (If you haven’t heard, Stonyfield recently reduced the amount of sugar in YoKids® cups, smoothies, and Squeezers and their pouches will have up to 35% less sugar in December 2017).

It’s almost November and we’ve entered the dreaded RUT. Eat. School. Eat. After school activities. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Do you know that rut too?! In an attempt to break out of the breakfast rut, we made this fun granola fruit pizza recently. It’s topped with Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt and my kids’ favorite fruit. They think it’s delicious! And I think it’s a winner because I can bake up the “pizza” crust the day before and the kids top it quickly themselves in the morning. It’s also beautiful enough for brunches and parties too (If you do the topping yourself)!let your kids decorate their own granola fruit pizza

Why we love Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt

Organic certification means something. When food is certified organic, you can rest assured that no GMO crops touch what you’re eating. Organic certification is especially important for dairy and meat products because, to be certified organic, the animals must also be feed NON GMO feed. You know the saying “You are what you eat?” Well, animals are what they eat too. Don’t be fooled by Natural, All Natural, etc claims! They don’t usually mean anything.

Stonyfield is a Certified B Corporation. That means Stonyfield is concerned about society and the environment, public transparency, and legal accountability. As a B Corp™, Stonyfield uses the power of the food markets to solve social and environmental problems. You can help by voting with your food dollars and buying from companies that practice what they preach.

Let the granola crust cool completely before adding yogurt & fruit.

How to Make Kid-Friendly Granola Fruit Pizza

Now that you know why it’s important to feed your kids organic food when you can, let’s make this yummy breakfast! To make mornings go more smoothly, I recommend baking the homemade granola crust the night before. It doesn’t take long, but having it prepared ahead of time just makes busy morning easier.

mix together the crust for the homemade granola fruit pizza

To make the granola crust, simply mix the dried ingredients (oats, flour, nuts if you want them, cinnamon) together in a medium sized bowl.

fold the dry and wet granola ingredients together

Whisk the wet ingredients (coconut oil and honey) together and fold into the dry ingredients.

press into a springform pan lined with unbleached parchment paper

Press the crust out on a 8-9″ spring-form pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Then cool completely.

top with fruit & yogurt

Now, spread the yogurt out on the granola crust and add fruit. Slice and serve!

Make Breakfast Fun with Kid-Friendly Granola Fruit Pizza
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts & almonds) optional
  • 2 TBS melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 8 ounces Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt
  • sliced fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine oats, flour, nuts (if desired) and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Whisk together honey and coconut oil, then add to dry ingredients.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Press granola mixture on 8-9 inch springform pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Cool completely on counter, in fridge or freezer.
  8. Spread yogurt on the granola.
  9. Top with fruit of your choice.
  10. Enjoy!
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To learn more about Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt and their dedication to food and the environment, head over to the Stonyfield website!

AD Make breakfast fun with this kid-friendly granola fruit pizza recipe. Granola "pizza" crust, Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt, and fruit! Quick, easy, and a real kid pleaser!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic YoKids®.
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7 Best Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities

If you’re looking for the Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities for rainy or cold days, this list is for you! These seven activities are perfect for kids of all ages and fun loving adults too!5 Delicious Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities that you must visit

*I received comped activities from the Minneapolis, Rosevelle, and Bloomington CVBs in exchange for this post. All opinions are mine.*

7 Best Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities

The one consistent comment I hear from people when I mention my recent trip to Twin Cities is “OH! I could never live there. It’s too cold.” Well, that may well sometimes be the case, but the Minnesotans have figured out how to entertain themselves even on the coldest or rainiest of days. They just take it inside. Check out all of these family friendly indoor activities in the Twin Cities! {Many of them are even FREE!}7 Best Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities - Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul

Science Museum of Minnesota

Located in downtown St. Paul, the Science Museum of Minnesota is perfect for guests of all ages. Climb up a real towboat and pretend to pilot the Mississippi River, learn about dinosaurs, race, the human body! There are tons of interactive exhibits, live science displays, an experiment gallery, and classes for kids of all ages. We had a great time wandering around the Science Museum, and wouldn’t you know it, it was raining buckets the day we were there too!

Mississippi River Center in the Science Museum of Minneapolis

Mississippi River Visitor’s Center (National Park Service)

If your kids collect Junior Ranger Badges, you have to head to the Mississippi River Visitor’s Center. Located inside the lobby of the Science Center of Minnesota, it’s also a free activity your younger kids will enjoy. This Visitor’s Center isn’t very big, but they do have a few interactive displays the children we were with really enjoyed! The exhibits in this visitor’s center teach about the Mississippi River culture, biology, and history.7 Best Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities - musuems in the Landmark Center in St. Paul

Landmark Center Museums

The Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul has a fascinating history as a federal court during Prohibition, a United States Post Office, and an office building. It was almost torn down at one point, but luckily it was saved and restored to its former glory. This beautiful building is now home to several very interesting museums and art exhibits: the Gallery of Wood and the Schubert Club Museum. You can also take a free tour and learn about the building’s roll in the gangster days of the 1920s. In all, it’s worth a visit just to check out the gorgeous interior! It’s all free, too! Learn more here.

7 Best Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities - Mill City Museum

Mill City Museum

Located in downtown Minneapolis on the Mississippi River Front, the Mill City Museum is a great place to spend a cold or rainy afternoon. Built on the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, it’s full of interactive exhibits, (yay for sneaking in some learning!) and displays about the history of the flour industry in the area. Ride the Flour Tower (interactive elevator) up and down the building and learn about the great fire and how the workers actually milled flour back in the day. They also have a display kitchen and serve fun treats made with Gold Medal flour. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch card holders get one FREE admission on the first Saturday of every month.

Family Friendly activities in the Mall of America

Mall of America

The Mall of America is just full of fun indoor activities – I never realized just HOW MUCH there is to do there. You can spend as much or as little money as you want. Choose from Flyover America, Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, Minnesota Sea Life Aquarium, the Crayola Experience, Nickelodeon Universe, Smaaash Gaming & Entertainment Center. Or just wander the mall and window shop! The LEGO store is always a hit with my kids and there’s also an American Girl Doll store as well. Just prepared to fork over the cash or tell your kids no. 🙂

Can Can Wonderland Mini Golf Course in the Twin Cities

Can Can Wonderland

Located in the former home of the American Can Company, Can Can Wonderland is the first arts based public benefit corporation in Minnesota! If you can find it, Can Can Wonderland offers a fun whimsical indoor miniature golf course, a huge assortment of vintage pinball games, and a full bar and kitchen too. The owner’s dedication to arts education is inspiring and we really enjoyed our time at Can Can Wonderland.Walker Art Center

Photo source: The Walking Tourists

Walker Art Center

If you like pop and contemporary art, the Walker Art Center is for you! I know my kids would go bananas about seeing all of the great Andy Warhol exhibits. I only made it as far as the snack bar, but my friends at The Walking Tourists have a great write-up of the Walker Art Center if you’d like to learn more! By the way, teens get in FREE every day thanks to Wells Fargo. They also have FREE days on the first Saturday of the month. And thanks to Target, Gallery admission is FREE every Thursday night from 5-9 pm.

No matter the weather, you will find plenty of family friendly indoor activities in the Twin Cities! If you haven’t been, you’re missing out.

For more info on visiting the Twin Cities, check out these posts:

Farm to Table Restaurants in the Twin Cities

30 Free Things to do at the Minnesota State Fair

Looking for family friendly indoor activities in the Twin Cities? Look no further. Your older kids and fun loving adults will enjoy everything on this list! A lot of the activities are free and they're all perfect for cold or rainy weather.

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole That’s Not Mushy

Looking for a good breakfast casserole that’s not mushy but is still delicious? I think you will like this recipe. With a 10 minute prep, it’s really easy and perfect for brunch or breakfast for dinner!Breakfast casserole that's not mushy

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Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole That’s Not Mushy!

I love the ease of breakfast casseroles, but was never satisfied with them before because I think they are “mushy.” You know what I mean, right? I’m a texture gal. I can’t stand mushy textured food. I think anything that resembles oatmeal is gross…and I have really tried to like it because I know it can be so healthy and frugal – but I. Just. Can’t.

make ahead breakfast casserole that's not mushy

So normally, I am not a fan of the breakfast casserole, But, I attended a baby shower where this egg casserole was served and I loved it. I’m convinced that the difference is using potatoes instead of bread. Bread is mushy and potatoes are not! So if you want a make-ahead breakfast casserole that’s not mushy, this recipe is for you!

Here’s how to make a breakfast casserole that’s not mushy. It’s perfect for brunch or quick weeknight dinner!

cook sausage for the make ahead breakfast casserole

Brown sausage and spread in lightly greased 9 X 13 dish. I use my Le Creuset 5 qt braiser. It’s nonstick, oven safe, and so pretty!

add potatoes to the breakfast casserole

Spread potatoes over sausage. Combine eggs, milk, salt, pepper and pour over hash browns.

add cheese before baking

At this point, you can cover and refrigerate overnight. Then sprinkle with cheese and bake uncovered at 350 degrees 35-45 minutes. Or, you can go ahead and cook it immediately too! Your call.

breakfast casserole

These tools make this breakfast casserole a snap!


Grab your printable breakfast casserole recipe.

Egg Casserole that’s not too Mushy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. regular sausage
  • 1 lb. frozen cubed or shredded frozen potatoes
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2  to 1 lb. grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook the sausage in an oven proof pan and drain the fat.
  2. Combine the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper, and whisk well.
  3. When the sausage is cooked, cover with the frozen potatoes, then pour the egg mixture on top. Stir well.
  4. At this point, you can place the casserole in the fridge over night and cook in the morning.
  5. Before you cook it, add the shredded cheese.
  6. Cook at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Or, cook it immediately and enjoy!
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Want more delicious make-ahead breakfast recipes? Try these.

 Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole That's Not Mushy - 10 minute prep, 5 easy ingredients a must have recipe for brunch or breakfast for dinner.

Easy Pumpkin Scones – One of our favorite family breakfasts!

These easy pumpkin scones are one of our very favorite family breakfasts. They are on my weekly menu plan quite often. I love them because I can prep the dry ingredients ahead of time for the freezer, and then just add butter, mix-ins, and milk for a quick homemade breakfast.

Easy Pumpkin Scones
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We honestly haven’t had scones in quite some time, in part because it’s been so hot that I haven’t been doing hardly any baking. My son asked me this week to please make him some scones, so this morning I was happy to oblige with these.

Easy Pumpkin Scones – One of our favorite family breakfasts!

pumpkin scones First, mix up dry ingredients and add butter. Cut with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles little peas.

easy pumpkin sconesAdd in the pumpkin and the milk and fold until combined.

easy pumpkin sconesTurn the dough out onto a baking stone and pat into a circle – it should be about 3/4 inch think.

Enjoy! Do you like scones? What’s your favorite type?

easy pumpkin scones I like to add a couple TBS course raw sugar at this point. It just gives the scones a nice crunch! And boy do my kids yell at me if I forget to add the sugar on the top.

easy pumpkin sconesUse a serrated knife to cut the scones into eight, pie shaped pieces.

easy pumpkin sconesSeparate the scone pieces so they don’t touch and bake at 375 for 22-25 minutes. I usually bake mine longer because I like them crunchy. 🙂

These products will help you make the best pumpkin scones!


easy pumpkin scones
Viola! Easy pumpkin scones! To make the process even easier, make mixed out of the dry ingredients for your freezer! Do you prefer crunchy or non-crunchy scones?

Here’s your printable Pumpkin Scone Recipe

Easy Pumpkin Scones
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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (You can mix unbleached and whole wheat if you want. If use freshly ground soft white wheat.)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I use raw sugar)
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup (You can use buttermilk or regular milk. I use whole milk most often.)

Instructions

  1. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Cut in the butter with with a pastry blender until the mix resembles peas.
  3. Add pumpkin and milk.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Turn dough out onto a cooking stone.
  6. Form a 9" circle.
  7. Top with extra sugar if desired.
  8. Cut circle into 8 pie shaped pieces.
  9. Separate the pieces so they don't touch.
  10. Bake for 22-28 minutes.
  11. Enjoy!
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Want more scone recipes? Try these:

I have lots of scone recipes on the blog. The sky is the limit when it comes to baking delicious scone flavors! I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Apple / Pear Scones

Whole Wheat Rhubarb Scones 

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Scones

These 5 Easy Tips will Help You Keep Fall Mums Alive All Season

Looking for tips to help you keep fall mums alive all season? Look no further! These  five easy tips will help you keep your mums beautiful until it’s time to replace them with winter decor!These 5 Easy Tips will Help You Keep Fall Mums Alive All Season

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I love decorating with fall mums – available in many colors and varieties, mums are a great addition to your outdoor fall decorating scheme. The have long lasting blooms and look great in pots and landscape as well! Check out all of these pretty ways to decorate with mums from Midwest Family Living! Like most things in life, a little effort will keep your mums looking their best all season long!

These 5 Easy Tips will Help You Keep Fall Mums Alive All Season

Re-pot fall mums after you get home

repot fall mums after buying if they are root bound in the pot

It’s important to give your mums room to grow.  Most mums you buy at the store are totally root-bound so make sure to check your mums and put them in a pot at least twice their current size if you want them to keep growing all season.

Place your fall mums in an good location

how to keep your fall mums alive

Mums need at least six hours of sunlight a day, so skip shady locations and make sure to place mums in spots that get plenty of sun! Remember that as the days become shorter the position of the sun changes. A spot that was sunny in the summer may no longer be sunny. Just be mindful of the changing sun position during the fall. If you get your fall mums early in the season, you may need to move them to a new location as fall progresses.

Make sure your fall mums get enough water

make sure to water your fall mums enough to keep them alive all season - Copy

It’s very important not to let your mums dry out or they might just die on you like the one above. Then again, it’s also important not to over water them either. How much water is enough but not too much? That’s the million dollar question. Just make sure the dirt stays moist, but not drenched. 😉

Don’t forget to deadhead to keep fall mums alive

deadhead mums to keep them alive longer - Copy

I know deadheading is no fun, but if you want your mum to re-flower – you have to get rid of the dead ones first. Grab a trusty pair of snips and cut away while listening to your favorite music or chatting with a dear friend. Or just use your fingers. Honestly, I think the easiest way to deahead mums is just to pinch off the dead flowers with my fingers. You have to be careful or you will kill the baby buds that might be lurking under the dead flowers, waiting for their chance to shine!

Cover or bring them inside if it’s going to freeze overnight.

Continued cold weather will kill your mums so watch the forecast. If a freak frost is in the forecast, either cover your mums or bring them inside over night. This practice doesn’t work long term, but it can help your mums last a few more weeks if you want to prolong their lives!

tips for keeping your fall mums beautiful


More posts on fall gardening & plant care you may like:

Tips for decorating for fall

How to start a fall vegetable garden now

How to cover a raised garden bed to extend your growing season

15 Fall gardening tasks 

Types of heirloom garlic to plant this fall

Fun ways to decorate pumpkins without carving

Want to know how to keep fall mums alive all season long? These five easy tips will help you keep your lovely fall mums beautiful for as long as possible!