Growing My Family Healthy With 3 Simple Goals

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It’s that time of the year again.  Leaving is the dreary, grey and cold winter and coming is the fresh and pretty colors that is springtime.  With the changing of the seasons, so is my energy and my mindset.

I’m mainly speaking about my four-year-old boy, Max.  You see, he’s in his first year of pre-school and along with his trying to expand his little leaning mind and making new friends in school, it also means that he’s exposed to a lot more germs from other children.  I’m not kidding when I say that he was sick at least twice a month this past winter.  He had everything from sniffles, coughing, mucus, sneezing, projectile, high fever…. You name it, he’s had it these past few months.  Of course with him being sick so much, he also got the rest of the family sick. I don’t know if it was only that or if his unhealthy choices of snacks also contributed to it. Can you say sugar rush?


Well, I’m officially done with it!  I’m starting to incorporate this new philosophy of a better mind, body, and food consumption into our life this spring. Not to mention I need to lose some weight myself, so this will be a good place to start. I figure with better nutrition and eating habits in check… we will all be in stronger body and hopefully sharper minds.  When we want to relax and slow down our hectic day we could play a board game or figure out a puzzle or read a book.   It’ll be full circle…  I love that!

picking-peaches IMG_0002

I recently got asked to join forces with Knowledge Universe, and set a few goals for my family…. which I was already thinking of doing anyway. You see…. Knowledge Universe is this great company that cares for 0ver 130,000 kids everday and are now teaming up with Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a healthier America (PHA) to help battle child obesity. The goal is to help families make little simple changes  that could lead to a healthier lifestyle.  This is perfect for me right now, and so inspiring. If Knowledge universe can teach and care for thousands of kids, I can get it together for my family of 3. Plus it should be no problem finding new ways to incorporate our new goals since Knowledge Universe created the Grow Happy blog which will feature practical, easy, and step-by-step guides on how to eat well and stay fit together: Fun cooking videos, a collection of kid friendly recipes (dietitian approved), and tips on how to bring small healthier habits into our everyday life.


Here are the goals I am going to strive for:

FOOD:  We have a tendency to eat a lot of sugar in our house.  We’ll easily indulge in cakes & cookies a couple of times a week without thinking twice.  Our aim is going to be A LOT more fruits and vegetables, and maybe sweets only once a week.  I will also implement a  ”vegetarian day” twice a week. I want my boy to learn to eat salads, and pick vegetables at the market…. eventually it will meld into his adulthood and he’ll make better eating choices.

kale-salad tomatoes carrots vegetables

BODY: Our son is very physical.  We just started him in swimming lessons.  It’s helped ease our minds with summer coming because he’s always the first one to jump in the pool.  Only now he’ll know what to do once he’s in the water! It’s me I need to concentrate on in this area. I plan on taking walks, dancing to the ever so popular zumba, and slimming down my mid-section with pilates. If I could commit to this type of movement 3 times a week… it will make for a healthier me.

pool IMG_0347 scooter water-time

MIND:  With the entire house being more active, it would do us some good to focus as a group to learn to calm down and not race around all day.  We’ll sit around the living room with the T.V. off and play board games or make 3-D puzzles, or even cook together. Not only will it teach us to focus and let the stress of the day go, it will also allow us to bond.

Cooking-together games

Do you want to set some easy goals for you and your family? Go to the Grow Happy site for more ideas and tips. Or download the goal tracker!

Download your own goal tracker here!


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A St. Patrick’s Day Feast: Corned Beef And Cabbage

slow cooker corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day

Oh yeah,  It’s time for corned beef and cabbage.  Let me just set the record straight.  When I was a little girl the only way I had ever eaten corned beef was in a hash out of a can and in a hard taco because that was the way my grandfather prepared it.  It wasn’t till I was a teenager that I ate a proper corned beef  and cabbage that my Auntie Rosie had made for St. Patrick’s Day and I was so excited, I didn’t bother to ask her how she made it.  Over the years I have had many corned beef variations, everything from sandwiches to taquitos to hash with a poached egg on top and every once in a while I’m reminded of that first time I had the real thing with cabbage.

This year I decided to not let another St. Patrick’s Day go by without making my own corned beef and cabbage.  I looked up a few recipes on the internet and didn’t really like what I saw.  Then I thought, why not call my most reliable source in the world, my awesome Auntie Rosie!  She gets on the phone and I run a few ideas by her on how I want to prepare mine and she tells me all the methods I have suggested will work fine.  She’s a little “iffy” about my ground mustard rub idea but in the end tells me to go for it. Before we hang up, I ask her “Auntie Rosie, where can I buy corned beef?”  She said, “I buy mine at Walmart.”  That’s all I needed to hear.

The ingredients needed for a corned beef meal

Ingredients needed for corned beef and cabbage:

  • 1 1/2 – cups water
  • 4 – lbs corned beef
  • 1 – onion
  • spice packet: come included with the corned beef ( mustard seeds, coriander, black peppercorns, and bay leaf)
  • 2 – sprigs of thyme
  • 1 – teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 – head of cabbage
  • 10 – baby carrots (optional)
  • 1 – teaspoon olive oil
  • 10 – yellow potatoes
  • 1 – teaspoon sea salt


  1. Pour water into a slow cooker, then place corned beef, and onion inside slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle the spice packet over the corned beef. Then sprinkle the ground mustard over the top, and add the thyme to the top. Corned beef ready to cook in a slow cooker
  3. Cover and cook for about 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  4. While the corned beef is cooking steam the cabbage and roast the potatoes an hour before dinner time.
  5. Cut the cabbage in 4 equal pieces, then place them in a steamer basket inside a dutch oven with about an inch of water at the bottom of the pot. Place a lid over the dutch oven and place over a medium high flame and steam for 40 minutes. You can add carrots to the cabbage if you would like. Cabbage in a steam basket in a dutch oven
  6. To cook the potatoes: place them on a baking tray and drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes. roasted potatoes out of the oven
  7. When corned beef is ready. Remove from the slower cooker and place under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly browned on top.
  8. Let the corned beef rest for 15 minutes before slicing it. corned beef browned from the broiler
  9. Serve with cabbage, and potatoes.
  10. Enjoy! Corned beef and cabbage for March 17th



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Food Craft: Radish Wreath

Springtime radish wreath

Looks like this spring break I will be home. Finally a long awaited rest en mi casa. I have been traveling and running around like a mad woman lately. Even though it may sound like a let down to some people, I just fantasize about staying home with my fiance and our son and maybe inviting some friends over for a nice dinner.

Okay so here’s the skinny… I decided to stop fantasizing about it and start planning my little staycation at home instead. I hopped in the car and headed over to Walmart. With no particular plan in mind, just as a way to rummage through the store and see what I could find. I walked aimlessly through the aisles and found myself in the craft area. There on a hook was a variety of wreath skeletons empty and begging to be filled with something. I remembered these cool wreaths I had seen a while back made of vegetables and thought “I have that white fence that needs some color to welcome in spring.” Before I knew it a wreath skeleton was in my cart and I had made my way to the produce section of the store to see what leafy beauty I could fill it with. I found little bunches of radishes and they were certainly priced right for my project. I grabbed 10 bunches and rushed to the cashier, so I could get home and start my project. Taking me one step closer to my staycation and making the place feel more like spring with a simple veggie wreath. Now all I have to do is pick up the phone and invite some friends over for dinner.

items needed for radish wreath

Items needed for radish wreath:

  • 8 inch wreath
  • 10 to 15  - radish bunches
  • thin floral wire (26 gauge)
  • Scissors


  1. Start by spreading out your radishes in clusters.
  2. Then cut 6 inch pieces of wire and wrap them around the radish clusters where they are gathered by a rubber band.
  3. Carefully place the radishes onto the wreath with the radishes pointing toward the center and the leaves pointing toward the outer ring of the wreath.
  4. Then on the other side of the wreath twist the wire to tie it to the wreath. twist wire to tie radishes to wreath
  5. Continue until the entire wreath is filled with radishes.
  6. Hang and enjoy for a few days.  side view of radish wreath



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Baked Lemon Lime Chipotle French Fries (video)

       This video is sponsored by The Idaho Potato Commission. However all opinions and the recipe are 100% my own.

Fries n Stuff

Welcome to MARCH!  I love the month of March not only because it’s my birthday          month, but it is also National Nutrition Month.  As I slip into another year of age, I am happy to be more aware of what I feed my body.  Good nutrition = healthy living = great energy = baked fries.  Yes, baked fries are king!  Make them, bake them, watch my video and EAT THEM NOW!

Ingredients for Lemon Lime Chipotle French Fries:

  • 4 –  Idaho Potatoes (russet)
  • 1 1/2 – tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 – lemon (juiced)
  • 1/2 – lime (juiced)
  • 1 – tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 – teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 – teaspoon Lawry’s
  • 1/2 to 1 – teaspoon chipotle pepper (depending on how spicy you like your fries)

Watch the video for directions!

A special THANK YOU to the Idaho Potato Commission, Mando Lopez and Tony Molina!

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Move Over Cronut, It’s Time For The NOLA Inspired Croissant-Beignet For Mardi Gras


Good ol’ Mardi Gras is around the corner. I know this because my Aunt is having her annual Mardi Gras party as a segue into lent. She usually does it on Fat Tuesday, but this year will hold it the Saturday night before hand instead… so we can really celebrate NOLA style. I don’t know if I have the word “PARTY” embroidered across my forehead or something, because it seems whenever a celebration is in my family forecast I get elected to help with the menu and decorations. First rule of order: Head to Walmart to pick up supplies. We know we can get pretty much everything we need there…. food, decorations, spirited beverages, festive apparel, and colorful necklace beads.

Today my Aunt and I went over how we would decorate the party, while we were going over the details of the festivities we somehow got on the topic of the cronut.  I told her I had had a delicious one in SOHO the last time I was in NYC, and was craving one right now. She immediately asked if I would make some for the Mardi Gras party. I looked at her like she had nearly lost her mind… I told her “Tia that is not in theme of the party, but beignets are.” Then she said “Beignets take too long to make, since we gotta let the dough set overnight.” I told her “Well, we could make a NOLA inspired croissant-beignets, and it will be reminiscent of a cronut. We could save time and use packaged croissant dough and fry them up right before the party starts.” She loved that idea…. and so it is…. Croissant-Beignets will be served at our Mardi Gras party this year. With only a few more days of planning we gave these croissant-beignets a test run and were in carnival season heaven.

Ingredients for croissant beignets:

  • vegetable oil
  • packaged croissant dough ( I used tubed pillsbury )
  • powdered sugar


  1. In a small pot filled halfway with vegetable oil, over a medium flame allow the oil to get hot.
  2. Pop open croissant dough and unroll it to make a flat sheet. Then cut it into small triangles. croissant-triangles
  3. Fry the triangles on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon hot oil onto the triangle as it cooks.  _MG_1329 _MG_1340
  4. With a slotted spoon remove each triangle and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  5. Pour powdered sugar through a sieve and shake over beignets. powdered-sugar-beignets
  6. Serve and enjoy!




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Spicy Sausage Mushroom Lasagna Rolls


Do you see these? The  blend of melty cheese, noodles, spicy sausage, mushroom, and tangy tomato…. Yeah that pretty much sums up the ideal meal for me….. They are a hybrid of my favorite Italian dish and a touch of spicy Mexican. I can’t live without a dabble of spice.  I made these for dinner and was so thankful I made them into rolls instead of the traditional lasagna because this way, I knew exactly how much I was eating. I could have eaten the whole tray.



Here is what they looked like before they went into the oven and what it looked like when it come out. Can’t stand it anymore? Make your own. 


  • 1 – tablespoon butter
  • 3 – cups mushrooms (1 1/2 cups sliced, and 1 1/2 cups minced)
  • 1 – pound of ground sausage (I used jimmy dean- Italian)
  • 2 – tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – onion (chopped into small cubes)
  • 1 – tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 – basil leaves (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 – teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 – teaspoons chile pepper (the kind you put on pizza)
  • 1 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 1/2 – teaspoon sugar
  • 3 – cups canned chopped  tomatoes
  • 14 – oz. tomato sauce
  • 10 – lasagna noodles (cooked according to package) (I used Barilla)
  • 10 – teaspoons ricotta cheese
  • 70 – baby spinach leaves
  • 1 – cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 – cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 – cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. In a large frying pan over a medium flame melt the butter.
  2. Add in 1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms and saute for six minutes. Then move the mushrooms to one side of the pan making room for the meat.
  3. Then add in pork sausage, with a spatula break it up into pieces while it cooks. Mix it into the mushrooms. Cook the sausage for about 10 to 15 minutes or until completely cooked. Remove and set to the side.
  4. Let’s make the sauce: In a medium pot over a medium flame add in olive oil and allow to get hot.
  5. Add in onion and allow to saute for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add in garlic, 1 1/2 cups minced mushrooms, basil leaves, black pepper, chile pepper, and Lawry’s. Mix to combine. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Add in sugar, chopped tomatoes,  and tomato sauce. Mix to combine. Let simmer for 40 minutes.
  8. Boil noodles according to box.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
  10. Pour 2/3rds of the tomato mixture into a 9×13 pyrex baking dish. Set to the side and reserve the remaining tomato mixture to the side.
  11. Lay the noodles flat on a baking mat or non-stick surface. Then spread 1 teaspoon of ricotta cheese on each of the lasagna noodles. Covering the entire strips in a thin layer of ricotta.
  12. Then lay 7 baby spinach leaves on each strip.
  13. Sprinkle the top of the spinach with 1/4 cup ground sausage mushroom mixture.
  14. Top the sausage mixture with a few pinches of mozzarella cheese, then a few pinches of cheddar cheese.
  15. Take one end of the lasagna noodle and roll it up to the other end of the noodle.
  16. Then place in the tomato based pyrex dish. Continue until all noodles are rolled.
  17. Then once all rolls are in the dish pour remaining tomato mixture over the top.
  18. Sprinkle the tops with parmesan cheese.
  19. Bake for 30 minutes.
  20. Then place under the broiler (set on high) for 2 minutes. Just to brown.
  21. Serve hot.
  22. Spicy Sausage Lasagna Rolls…. who could ask for anything more?
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Food Craft: DIY Box Of Chocolates For Valentine’s Day

DIY-box-of-chocolates-Valentines-day My fiancé is very vocal about his likes and dislikes with everything, in this case, candy.  He is always disappointed with the boxes of chocolates that are store bought.  I can tell you exactly what candy he’ll eat and which he will complain about.  He looks inside the box takes a nibble out of a few pieces then puts them back.  Yeah, he’s that guy.  I guess I’ve gotten use to it, or I just throw them out or eat around the half eaten pieces.

As Valentine’s day approaches I’ve been thinking about chocolates and all the things my fiancé really does love….then I thought that I should just chocolate dip all his favorite treats. I’ll include savory, tart and sweet and create my own assortment of chocolate bites. I could recycle Valentine heart boxes from years past and spruce them up with a new lining. He’ll be so surprised and pleased.  That’s exactly what I did.

I started the project by heading to Walmart to pick up Valentine tissue paper (for the inside of my recycled boxes), stick glue, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and BACON!  If I was going to make my own box of chocolates it would have to have heart shaped bacon in it.  He lives to eat bacon so why not cover it in chocolate?

heart-shaped-baconIt was a real easy process.  I just shaped a few slices of bacon into hearts on a cookie sheet and baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  The rest was super easy and I believe he is going to be thrilled.  You can always custom make your own DIY box of chocolates with the treats your sweetheart loves most.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Things needed for DIY box of chocolates:

  • A heart shaped box ( I used a few I had from years past)
  • Valentine tissue paper
  • pencil and scissors
  • 2 – cookie sheets
  • wax paper
  • 1 – package bacon (shape each slice into a heart on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes)
  • 1 – paper towel
  • 1 – paper plate
  • 1 – bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 – tablespoon coconut oil
  • mini pretzels
  • strawberry marshmallows ( I used Kraft)
  • kumquats (I used Melissa’s Produce)


  1. Place a piece of tissue paper into the inside of a heart shaped box.  Then with a pencil lightly trace the outline of the inside of the heart.  Next remove the paper and cut it out with the scissors.  Place the heart on the bottom layer of the box. tissue-paper-lined-heart-box
  2. Line a cookie sheet with a piece of wax paper and set to the side.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  4. One the other cookie sheet shape each slice of bacon into a heart, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (as pictured above).
  5. Remove bacon from oven and place on a paper towel lined paper plate to cool completely.
  6. In a double boiler add in chocolate chips and coconut oil, mix until completely melted.  Pour melted chocolate into a bowl.
  7. Dip in pretzels, marshmallows, kumquats, and bacon.  Place dipped pieces on wax paper lined cookie sheet to firm up completely.  I let them set over night. chocolate-dipped-pretzels    chocolate-covered-kumquats    chocolate-covered-strawberry-marshmallows
  8. Once all pieces are firm, place chocolates into boxes, and give it to your sweetheart.  Valentine-chocolates
  9. Happy Valentine’s Day!



Posted in Crafty Food, Holiday, Presley's Panaderia "Bakery", Recipes, Sweets, Walmart Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ring Pop Cake And Jewelry That Sparkles!

IMG_8829 I pull inspiration from anywhere I’m at.  I look for the edible in almost any object or thing. For instance,  I was looking at the jewelry at Walmart and was pleased to find not only pieces so reasonably priced but sparkly pieces that inspired me to run home and bake some Valentine’s day treat.

djejej1 SKCXCJCKD1There was one ring in particular that was dainty and had a pretty red heart made of jewels in the middle. Not only did I see a ring I would pop on my finger, but I thought how fun would it be to make a ring pop cake that formed a pretty heart in the middle?












I wouldn’t mind getting either one or both of  these rings for Valentine’s Day! One for my finger and one for sweet cravings.IMG_8838

Ingredients for ring pop cake:

  • 1 – heart shaped pan
  • 1 – box strawberry cake mix (along with eggs, water, and vegetable oil- per ingredients/measurements on box)
  • 1 – can of strawberry icing
  • ring pops
  • conversation hearts


  1. Preheat oven according to cake mix box… most likely 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Spray heart shaped pan with non stick baking spray, and set to the side.
  3. Mix cake mix according to cake mix box, then divide batter in half, and bake the first half of the batter in heart shaped pan for 25 minutes.
  4. Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes, then flip it on to a plate, and allow to cool completely.
  5. Then bake the other half of the cake batter for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and allow that cake layer to cool completely. About an hour.
  7. Spread a thin layer of strawberry icing on the first later of cake then top with second layer of cake. Spread icing on the entire cake.
  8. Then press the ring pops into the top to form a heart. With any additional icing, frost over the ring portion of the ring pop.
  9. Fill the center with conversation hearts!
  10. Enjoy!


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Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich: A Cool Valentine’s Day Treat


When I think romance or love…. I associate the two with ice cream.  Don’t ask me why.  I guess I picture a couple sharing a banana spilt or going out on a romantic stroll and stopping for ice cream.  Or maybe it’s because me and my fiance eat ice cream side by side when watching a good movie or talking out on our patio on a warm night.  Or maybe because it is so darn good and why wouldn’t I equate it with love.  I actually love it.  To get to my point, I was sorta giving you the back story with the ice cream and love bit.  This Valentine’s day,  instead of making reservations to a restaurant I’m thinking of staying home and making a yummy dinner instead, and when I asked my sweetheart what he wanted he wanted for dessert he was very specific and said “Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Ice Cream.” In my head I danced with joy thinking this will be the easiest dessert I have ever made and it will be pink and so suitable for Valentine’s Day.  I looked at him and said “No problem hot stuff.”

The beauty of this Valentine’s Day dessert/treat is they are so easy to make.  I bought everything for the ice cream sandwiches at Walmart, and the ice cream was only $3.98.  My guy is a cheap date.  Happy Valentine’s Day!


Ingredients for strawberry ice cream sandwiches:

  • 1 – pint Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Ice Cream
  • 1 – box World Table Chocolate Caramel Cookie Thins
  • candy heart decorations


  1. Remove ice cream from freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Take a cookie and place a single scoop of ice cream in the center. Strawberry-ice-cream-on-cookie
  3. Top ice cream scoop with a cookie.  Press down to sandwich. _MG_1004
  4. Decorate the sides with candy hearts. _MG_1014
  5. Place back in the freezer for 30 minutes or until ready to eat! Valentines-ice-cream-sandwiches


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More Work Is Exactly What We Need!


I am proud to say I work for Walmart.  They do so many things for our nation that no one talks about.  Here are a few things that Walmart does: They are working to become supplied 100% by Renewable Energy, which means generating their own energy at stores and facilities, reducing gas emissions and making their private fleet of trucks more efficient.  They are also are in partnership with the national fish and wildlife foundation and together they created “Acres For America.”  This is a commitment by Walmart to purchase and preserve 1 acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land they develop on.  Fighting Hunger In The U.S.  Walmart is committed  to getting the best, healthiest, and most affordable food to as many people as possible.  They are using their size and scale to help support and strengthen local farmers and their communities, produce more food with fewer resources and less waste, and sustainably source key agricultural products.

Recently I was having a conversation with a highly influential food writer, and she brought up a wonderful point to me that brought all things into perspective being a girl who thinks in terms of food.  She said (I’m paraphrasing),  ”It’s easy for people to take a piss on Walmart, they are the world’s largest retailer making them an easy target.  I give them all props and credit for bringing organic foods into their produce section.  The little bit of organic foods they have brought in is going to make a huge difference to our nation’s view to eating better and in turn help the farmers and the economy.  They are taking a huge step forward by introducing healthier options to the American diet.” I loved her for saying this.

1901881_10152293759749236_1263964190_nNow I am even more proud to stand with Walmart and announce to the world their latest commitment to create and keep jobs in America. Walmart is investing $250 billion in products that will support American jobs over the next 10 years. Creating and keeping jobs in America, they are helping to rebuild local and national economies. Work is a beautiful thing. 

All of these facts are amazing and make me proud to join the Walmart Moms for a better tomorrow.



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