Spring Break Snack For Kids: Recipes with Smart & Final

I am a member of the Collective Bias® (#CollectiveBias!) Social Fabric® Community. This shop for First Street products at Smart & Final (#ChooseSmart!) for the creation of healthy snacks for spring break has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

spring break treats #shop

My boys are in first and third grade. Their spring break is coming up in several weeks, and when Smart & Final asked for some recipe ideas for spring, I thought “yes, I would like some too, please.” But Kyle and Brady are so picky, I often have to adapt recipes for them or give up altogether, so this time I decided to create my own and throw my hat into this recipe ring. To my delight there are plenty of ingredients to choose from at Smart & Final:

smart & final store #shop

Since we are not planning any travel or special activities, we’ll be home a lot, with daily excursions to the beach or for a hike or to the park. That’s a lot of togetherness, which means every 5 minutes the boys will be asking for a snack. I don’t want to resort to pre-packaged cookies or a boring old apple every time, so I thought it would be fun to come up with some new and let them help me so they’ll be more interested in eating what we make together.

Breakfast Fruit Smoothie

smoothie #shop

I know it’s not rocket science, but that’s what makes it easy for kids to help, and for pre-coffee mom to make it. I don’t know about yours, but my kids are up at the crack of dawn on days they don’t have school! Use frozen fruit so you don’t have to bother adding ice.

Breakfast Fruit Smoothie Recipe

2 cups First Street Mango Berry Blend, frozen
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Add fruit, yogurt, and milk to blender. Mix on chop setting until the ingredients break up a bit. Add orange juice and increase to high speed. Makes two kid-size smoothies.

Veggie Baked Taquitos

taquitos ingredients #shop

Brady saw a commercial for frozen taquitos and he wanted to try some. But I wanted a homemade version that wasn’t fried and full of mysterious ingredients, so we experimented with taste and texture, and he really likes these:

Veggie Baked Taquitos Recipe

1 can First Street vegetarian refried beans
1/4 cup pureed roasted red pepper*
1/2 cup First Street sour cream
1 cup First Street Mexican blend shredded cheese
15 corn tortillas

taquitos measurements #shop

1. Mix beans, red pepper puree, sour cream, and cheese in a bowl.
2. Put 5 corn tortillas on a plate and cover with a wet paper towel. Microwave for 45 seconds.
3. Working quickly, place a 1/4 cup dollop on the top tortilla and spread in an even layer over the whole thing. Roll into a tube from one end to the other. Place tortilla on a baking sheet, seam side down.
4. Repeat step 2 and 3 in batches of 5 with remaining tortillas.
5. Spray a fine mist of cooking spray over taquitos.
6. Bake in 375 degree oven for 18 minutes or until edges of taquitos are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Makes 15 taquitos.
7. Serve with salsa.**

taquitos on pan #shop

*I snagged a big can of First Street roasted red peppers because these are a true gem in your pantry. They are packed in water with very few additives so they are still healthy. I pureed the whole can and used the rest to make an easy, delicious lentil soup. Bonus recipe: 1 package lentils, 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth, and pureed red pepper. Add all to pot, bring to a boil, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. The roasted peppers give this soup a smoky flavor.

red pepper lentil soup #shop

**These taquitos are great for adults too. As soon as my husband got home from work, he ate about 5 of them!

Banana Swirl Pudding Pops

banana swirl pudding pops ingredients #shop

Adding whipped cream to the pudding gives it a lighter texture and makes it easier to pour. Make as much pudding as you need to fill your pop molds – we only have three so we reserved the extra pudding and made a second batch the next day!

Banana Swirl Pudding Pops Recipe

1 box chocolate pudding mix
1 box vanilla pudding mix
1 banana
1 can First Street whipped cream
4 cups First Street whole milk

kids making pudding pops #shop

1. Prepare each box of pudding according to package directions.
2. Before puddings are set, scoop 1/2 cup of each flavor into smaller bowls. Add a generous pile of whipped cream to each, and fold in.
3. Slice banana and mix in to vanilla pudding mix.
4. Pour chocolate pudding into 1/2 of each pop mold.
5. Fill the rest of the pop mold with vanilla/banana pudding.
6. Freeze for 3 hours.

kids with pudding pops #shop

Smart & Final is holding a picture & recipe contest on their Facebook page.  The name of the contest is “Our Brands, Your Pics.” Find more awesome recipes created by my fellow bloggers at the Smart and Final Social Circular, or connect with them on Twitter.

Smart & Final is a great place to do a one stop shop of everything from produce to meats. Smart & Final carries warehouse size items without a club fee, making shopping easy, less expensive and less daunting to shop in than a big warehouse store? Smart & Final is a perfect place to shop for all your food needs, bakery items, etc.


Wordless Wednesday: My Beastie Boy

beastie boy

He’s totally thinking “I’ll stir fry you in my wok.” Or maybe just “I like my sugar with coffee and cream.”

Bon Jovi Cologne, $300, and YouTube


That is not the beginning, or even the punchline, of a funny (or even very bad) joke. It is a short list of some of the things I’ve been working on that haven’t appeared on this site.

Man Smell” is an essay I wrote about my surprise and dismay when my first born son started emitting unmistakable boy-scented body odor starting at age 6! It is published on Mamalode, a web and print magazine that features funny and moving essays about parenthood. The more clicks I get, the more I get paid. It’s not my ideal revenue structure, and I was hoping the essay would have been chosen for the print mag, but it’s a start. Many people have found it funny and I dare say, especially those who have or have had or have been little boys.


The $300 is a rounded up figure – the amount over budget we found ourselves after three months of tracking our spending and attempting to stick within said budget. I chronicle this journey at Mint’s blog – Mint is a free online and mobile budgeting tool created by Intuit, who also makes Quicken and Quickbooks and other financial software tools. Their blog, Mintlife, publishes helpful articles about personal finances every day. My series is a first person account of one family’s decision to get control of its spending, called “American Family Budget.” (Start from the bottom to follow the story from the beginning.) Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s funny, and sometimes it just makes you feel less alone.

dressing room

YouTube – I listed this because soon I will be adding the video of my appearance in Expressing Motherhood, the stage show in which 12 women write and perform their own stories about parenting or being parented, to my channel. You should subscribe (just click the orange “subscribe” button that appears to the right just under the header photo), because when I finally get the balls to watch the clip and upload it, you will be alerted so that you can see it. If you didn’t make it to Hollywood for any of the 8 performances because you either live far away or you were just too busy or it just wasn’t that interesting to you at the time, this is where you can click and watch and say “Whew, I dodged a bullet with that one” or “Dammit. I totally regret skipping this!”

Chinese New Year Wish

Brady came home from school with good news:

“Great Grampa is going to be alive again, Mom!”

For a moment I couldn’t speak. I dropped everything and gave him my full attention. “What do you mean?” I asked him.

“Oh,” he said. “At school I got a wish, and I wished for Great Grampa to be alive again!”

He beamed at me, proud of the gift of his wish. He showed it to me. It looked like this:


I looked at his face. He absolutely believed that it’s true.

Then he ran off to play.

He has brought it up again, when Kyle puts on the Notre Dame sweatshirt that was my Grampa’s, that is too small for me and too big for him, but he wears it to school on chilly days. “This was Great Grampa’s,” he’ll say. And then Brady says “He’s dead. But I wished him back alive, so he’s going to be alive again someday.”

I repeat the “in due time,” part to him, and remind him that this could take a very long time.

“I know,” he says. “I’ll wait.”

great grandparents