Friday, April 29, 2011

Foodie Friday: In the Kitchen with Julia

Julia is a newer member to BaltimoreMommies but a long time food blogger.
She is sharing a great family-friendly recipe today from her blog, In the Kitchen with Julia.

Click here and use her recipe index to find other great recipes.

Santa Fe Chicken with Black Bean Salsa


I had some black bean salsa already made up in the freezer and wondered what I could do with it.
Other ingredients on hand were chicken and a can of organic tomato soup.
Here's what I came up with (chicken recipe adapted from Campbell's Kitchen, although I didn't use Campbell's tomato soup!).Bill said it's a keeper!

Ingredients

Chicken
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) Wolfgang Puck organic creamy tomato soup
  • Seasonings to taste (I used a little garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne, and salt)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack are good)
Black bean salsa
(make to your own taste and add whatever you like! Below is what I used.)
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 2 tbsp red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno, diced (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lime juice (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
Directions
  • Stir the flour and chili powder on a plate. Coat the chicken with the mixture.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides.
  • Add the soup and desired seasonings to the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, mix black bean salsa ingredients in a medium pot over low heat until heated through.
  • Top with cheese and black bean salsa and serve over my Cilantro-Lime Rice.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sunny, Sunny Days/Sunscreen Smarts

Since we seem to have skipped spring and gone straight to summer I began packing my bag of outdoor gear. All of us are going to be enjoying more outdoor opportunities now and it's time to stock up on new sunblock.

Check your bottles from the summer/fall for the expiration date somewhere on the bottom or lid. If you can't find the date, experts agree to only keep a year, then throw away.

Do you want to compare brands for the best for babies & children? Check out the EWG's Sunscreen Guide which includes the top-rated sunscreens for broad spectrum protection with fewest hazardous ingredients**. Also a must read, is their Sun Tips for Families.

It doesn't have to be a sunny day for the rays to injure that baby skin. I remember as a new mom having a pink-cheeked baby from a 15-minute walk.

** I did have a hard time locating some of the top brands last year but easily found them all on Amazon. Order now so you'll have them in hand for these sunny Baltimore days.



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Now you're cooking ...

Please bring your baking skills and love for BaltimoreMommies to the contest. We would love to feature your creation at our Birthday Party on May 14th. See this post for full details.
Friday, April 22, 2011

Nature Playdate with BaltimoreMommies

Join us on May 1st as we celebrate nature with crafts, snacks and a nature walk at Irvine Nature Center. We'll meet in the outdoor classroom area located in the rear of the building at the edge of the woods. Great for families with preschoolers and older or bring your baby for the nature walk. Check here for more details and to RSVP.

Irvine Nature Center is located at 11201 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117, across the street from the new Jemicy Upper School campus (formerly Ruxton Country School).

Thanks Karen for planning our nature fun!

* photo by Organic Sisters

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day 2011


Earth Day is tomorrow (April 22). As mothers, we strive to help Mother Nature all we can to protect our earth for our children.

Kimberly started a thread here to share our green practices - what we're doing and what we'd like to do better. Our moms recycle at their home, use reusable shopping bags and practice energy-saving techniques at home.

Some moms added other things they do:

Heather shared that she makes her own green cleaning products, supports local farms. Her goal is simplifying and not bringing in more stuff to her house.

Reba brings home recyclables from her son's school. (nothing more aggravating than seeing a trash can full of plastic at a public place). She chooses fair trade items, belongs to a CSA, practices paperless billing, no mag subscriptions and rarely prints paper. Her family also uses one car and has a Zipcar membership.

Erin takes green living to her office where she makes her own notepaper out of the paper that others have printed and discarded.

Jamie grows her own vegetables (can't get more local than that) and cans & freezes to last throughout the winter and owns chickens.

Mel collects rain water & reuses gray water for flushing. They own a biodiesel vehicle, and supplement winter heating with wood from trees that have fallen naturally. In her goal to use little electricity they use lanterns and wind-up items (clocks, radios, flashlights).

Courtney uses cloth diapers and buys used items when she can (an easy and sustainable way to recycle for moms) with a goal of using a laundry line and creating a compost pile.

Angela added some more items - waste-free packed lunches, walking places, using a rain barrel, low-flow faucets and only CFL's in her home.

Kristin chooses to only run her dishwasher or laundry when they are full. She also uses reusable drink containers.

Stephanie makes her own baby wipes from flannel and also uses cloth (versus paper towels) for her cleaning. She chooses her purchases with the least amount of packaging and buys from thrift or consignment stores.

Nikki shared her green living which included buying only local, grass-fed meat, unplugging appliances when not in use and grouping errands into few trips to save gas/energy

Karen's home is powered by renewable energy. She heats her home with a corn stove and chose a hybrid car with the goal of getting a plug-in one to remove her need for gasoline.

Enjoy this song by enviro-songster, Jack Johnson, "The 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recyle)"
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Ideas Round-Up

The school year will be winding down soon. And moms will start posting on BM soon asking for ideas on what to get the teachers in your child(ren)'s life. We're going to highlight some that we've found over the next weeks.

Skip to My Lou is collecting ideas from the craftiest of the crafty. Visit this thread often as it's updated.

And she has an archive of awesome gift ideas here too.

I love this personalized gift bag from Mique from 30days (found via Skip to My Lou)

She provides the printable topper and instructions on how to complete this personalized gift bag for teachers. Include a gift card and fun supplies or maybe some pamper items.



Collected from FamilyFun.com:

Candle with "You Lit Up My Year"
My daughter gave her teachers each a candle to which we attached a note that read "[teacher's name], Thank you for lighting up [grade] for me this year! Signed, ___." It was a great way to end the year.

"The Giving Tree" with a Sapling
My favorite gift for a teacher is the book "The Giving Tree," by Shel Silverstein, along with a small tree for the teacher to plant.

Ice Cream Basket
Include two ice-cream parfait glasses with colored tissue paper inside, an ice cream scooper tied with multi-colored ribbons, hot fudge topping, caramel topping, colored sprinkles, nuts, a jar of cherries, and a certificate to an ice cream parlor -- all in a small basket with a "You're the Tops" card.

You Deserve a Hand
Buy a pampering gift of good hand lotion. Trace your childs hands and cut them out to create this great presentation. Variations include a gift certificate for any pampering/pedicure.

Movie Night
A fun gift to receive is a "movie night" kit wrapped in a popcorn box (from the theater). Include several packages of microwave popcorn, Twizzlers, Junior Mints, and Dots, and gift cards to a local video store, Netflix or the movie theater.

Beach Basket Bonanza
A great end-of-the-year gift is a beach bag with beach towels, flip-flops, sunglasses, citronella candles, paperback books, an insulated water bottle holder, plastic tablecloths, paper plates, napkins, cups, sunscreen, moisturizer, bug spray, red nail polish (for summer toes!), and coupons for Italian ice at a local shop.

Books, Classroom Materials
Give a much-appreciated gift certificate from a local book store accompanied by a handmade bookmark from your child. Or include a gift certificate to a teachers' supply store. Teachers often spend their own money on items for school, and this makes it a little easier!

Seed-Planting Kit
The best gift we ever gave a teacher was a seed-planting kit. It had everything in it from the pot to the seeds that the teachers needed to grow a plant. This way they could either keep it at home or use it with their next group of children in the classroom. It's also a great learning experience for the next group if it is kept in the classroom. The teachers loved it!

Class Gifts

A fun way to group gift cards is to buy a plant and some picture clips to display a "garden of gift cards".

And always the best gift is a heartfelt thank you note. A letter from you and your child expressing how much the teacher means to both of you may be the most appreciated gift of all. Send a letter with similar sentiments supporting the teacher's work and give it to the school principal too.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Foodie Friday: Pint Size edition



photo Weelicious

This Foodie Friday is dedicated to the smallest members of BaltimoreMommies.com -- the adorable babies that are just starting on solids. Many of our moms want to try to make their own baby food. It's easy, delicious and saves money. We've shared many of our favorite recipes in different threads. Here are some resources:

~Here is Weelicious' Top 15 Purees.
~Simple Mom has a lot of information including the Baby Led Weaning movement.
~Simple Kids shares preparation techniques and a list of tools.
~Wholesome Baby Food is a go-to source for all things baby food. Here is an archive of puree recipes.
~NutureBaby shares tips for traveling with your homemade baby food.
~HonestFare shares her experiments and recipes.









photo SimpleKids

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Volunteer Driven


Happy National Volunteer Week!!

Our site is 100% volunteer driven! Our mission is an easy one to support and take to heart:

Mission: To provide a safe, secure, FREE place for mothers to find support and encouragement from other mothers and to empower them to be better women, parents and community leaders.

We know our members are volunteers in their communities and schools too. Together we spread the power of mommy-hood throughout the Baltimore area.

Get to know your BM Leadership volunteers here. Want to know how you can volunteer and give back to the site? Join a committee or see our open moderator positions.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Our board is buzzing with moms excited about the TotSwap sale happening tonight (for consigners and new moms) and over the weekend for the public.

TotSwap offers moms an affordable way to create the next season's wardrobe plus in the ultimate goal of all moms to be more green - it allows you to purchase gently used toys, books and gear.

For a complete run-down of times and to see details on all four of their regional sales, visit their site, sign up for their Facebook page. Thanks to Robyn and crew for helping to publicize BaltimoreMommies to all the new moms out there too. We know what a great resource our moms are and it's exciting when new members can find the support and friendship on our site too.
Friday, April 1, 2011

Major Event Sponsors & Raffle Donations


BaltimoreMommies needs your help!

We are having our site's 4th birthday party on May 14th and we are looking for sponsors to donate money & raffle prizes.

This is our biggest event of the year. Our sponsorships come in many affordable levels and are an easy way to support our non-profit organization and advertise to hundreds and hundreds of local moms!

For a sponsorship packet, please email Sara (sara@baltimoremommies.com) or Rene (rene.watkins@baltimoremommies.com).

If a monetary donation/sponsorship is not for you, we also welcome any donated item to use for raffle packages for our event. The value of these donated items is also tax deductible. Please e-mail Sara & Rene (info above) to arrange pick-up or mailing of your donated items or gift cards. Speaking of gift cards -- members can also donate any that you will not use, to our birthday party too.





Foodie Friday: inspiration

photo from Smitten Kitchen

For this Foodie Friday, we go to the Domestic Goddesses forum on BaltimoreMommies.com. Michele started a thread asking everyone to share their favorite go-to websites for food inspiration. Members can share your favorites in this thread.

Here are some favorites already listed in the thread:
Weelicious
Allrecipes Ingredient search (search for recipes based on what you have in the pantry. Also look for the leftover feature too)
Food.com
Epicurious.com
Food & Wine
Cooking with My Kid
Smitten Kitchen
Food Porn Daily
Foodista
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