Semi-Prepared Dinner Ideas

Take Back the Kitchen’s Alma Schneider shares quick dinner recipes for keeping her kids well fed even during the busiest time of year.
P1050602.jpgMy kids have a lot of homework lately which does not leave me a lot of time for din-din. Sometimes I need to take a short cut and have a semi-prepared dinner but still feel virtuous by making it semi-healthy. Try this ready made pizza dough vegetable roll on for size:
Broccoli Cheese Roll:
Store bought or homemade pizza dough from your supermarket or local pizzeria
3 cups steamed and then sauteed broccoli florets (or put the chopped broccoli in raw), cut into small pieces, optional sauteed in a tsp or two of olive oil. maybe add some :
minced garlic, 1-2 cloves
grated cheese like mozzarella, Asiago or Parmesan-2 cups
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425 degrees
Take pizza dough and stretch it out with your hands to cover a baking sheet. Try not to let any holes exist (fill them in with pinched off dough if need be).
Mix broccoli with cheese, add salt and pepper to taste and lay on one end of the stretched out dough. Roll it up like a jelly roll and place in oven for 45 minutes or so. Cover if it starts to cook too quickly. Slice and serve hot. Yum!
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.

I’m in Love with the XBox 360

Xbox-360-250GB-Special-Edition-kinect-Sensor-and-Kinect-Adventures.jpgI have to admit it. I feel like I’m cheating on my Wii. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Wii – but a few days ago a package arrived on my doorstep and the moment I assembled it, I was hooked. You see, my family was one of the first on the planet who got to experience the XBox 360 before its official release in stores and now that retailers have opened the floodgates, I hear those X-Boxes are flying off the shelves!
But let me get back to the task at hand. My review of the XBox 360. Well, here’s the first thing – I can actually beat my kids at the games. Okay – maybe I shouldn’t gloat but when you remove the controllers from the game equation, adults don’t necessarily make fools of themselves. Okay, strike that – with the XBox 360, you get to see yourself on TV looking really silly because the game takes pictures and video of you in motion!
kinectsports-play.jpgSo far, we got the chance to try out 6 games and while I have my favorite – Dance Central, my son is all about Kinect Sports where he absolutely loves the boxing game. Between the cool music and the realistic feel to getting your lights punched out, I have to admit, the boxing ring game is pretty awesome. You know what else is great? Soccer. My son challenged me to that game and while I kicked his tail the first game, kicking like a mad woman, he brought up his game several notches and scored four straight goals against me in game two.
I also tried out Your Shape Fitness Evolved which features workouts by Men’s Health and Women’s Health. I tried the kick boxing and the tai chi workouts and while I did feel the burn with the boxing, what I didn’t like is that the sensor totally scans your body and shows it on the screen – which means yours truly looked like a big blob. Sure I now know I have to lose weight – which is the sole purpose for the game but I would so love for that sensor to act like a skinny mirror instead.
Kinect-Adventures.jpgNext on our list was Kinect Adventures – this one is a favorite among all our family members. The cool thing about this game is that you can pair up in a raft and then go careening down a river while picking up tons of coins along the way. The cool thing is, you totally feel like you’re in the boat and riding those waves and even if you crash into poles and bump into rocks, you don’t die – you just keep on going!
Which leads me to Kinect Joy Ride. Similar to Kinect Adventures, this time you’re at the wheel of a car and you’re steering your way on a race track, jumping out of the car and landing back on the ground, doing stunts and you do not need a controller to drive! Just your two hands and your body. You can also race each other on the open road or the track – it’s a pure adrenaline rush and once again, you use your body to win the game.
Next up, Kinectimals – for the ultimate animal lover, this incredible game enables you to befriend a cub (you pick Bengal Tiger, Lion, Panther, Cheetah or Leopard) and then you take a journey with your pet using your voice and body to interact with the cub. Do you realize how cool it is to play with a pet that doesn’t ruin the furniture? If only I knew about Kinectimals before we adopted our psychotic cat that has wreaked havoc upon my couches.
Xbox-360-Kinect-Dance-Central-Video-Game.jpgLast, but not least is my favorite game of all…Dance Central. If you’re a fan of “Dancing with the Stars” then you are totally going to love this experience. You select your avatar (my son is partial to Angel, I went for Aubrey) and you dance to pop, rock and funk hits. My personal best was the routine I performed with Angel as my guide when we rocked out to “Funky Town.” The cool thing about Dance Central is that you can break down the routine and practice it, or you can give the entire dance a try by following the moves of the dancer on the screen. You then earn points for your fancy footwork. You can even challenge family and friends to a dance off. There are at least 20 songs to choose from and as you master the game, you unlock more difficult routines. LOVE IT!!!
So now that I’ve given you a review of all the games we received, our next post will tackle all the online options that you can receive if you opt to connect to XBox Live. To find out more about the 360 XBox visit their website and get ready to transform your gaming experience!

Strawberry Shortcake’s 30th Anniversary Bash

More check-ins at Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter 2
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Recently, I got the chance to celebrate a very special milestone at Alice’s Tea Cup in New York City with some of my favorite parenting bloggers and their great looking kids. Joined by fabulous co-host Kim Coleman, parents, grandparents and kids came out to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Strawberry Shortcake in an event sponsored by American Greetings Properties. As the moms reminisced about their favorite Strawberry Shortcake moments (Dina at Babycenter admitted having posters of Strawberry Shortcake on her bedroom wall), the kids had a blast, dancing with life-sized cartoon friends and posing for photos. Plus, there was face painting, a caricature artist, computer games and yummy food – from grilled cheese to scones, tea sandwiches and more! Take a look…

At the event, the kids were introduced to”Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Bitty Adventures” which began airing nationwide October 10th on The Hub, a new TV network for kids and their families. The Hub is a joint venture of Discovery Communications and Hasbro, Inc. and the series follows Strawberry Shortcake and her five berry best friends Blueberry Muffin, Plum Pudding, Raspberry Torte, Orange Blossom and Lemon Meringue in the whimsical land of Berry Bitty City, a tiny world underneath the leaves of a berry patch. Keeping with contemporary nutritional concerns, both Strawberry Shortcake and her magical home, Berry Bitty City, reflect a fruit-friendly atmosphere.
In addition to seeing a sneak peak of the Strawberry Shortcake series, the kids were also treated to previews of “Twisted Whiskers” which had parents and kids laughing out loud, and “Maryoku Yummy,” a cartoon about a magical place called Nozomu — where children’s Wishes go to be cared for and nurtured until they are granted!
In addition, Hasbro has created a special 30th Anniversary three pack of dolls that includes replicas of three original characters – Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Tart and Orange Blossom – exactly as they appeared in 1980. Each doll is outfitted in her classic fruit-themed pinafore and bonnet and emits their classic fruit scent. We actually got to do a sniff test at the event and the signature Strawberry Shortcake smells were there! The retro-inspired collection will be available on TysToyBox.com and www.hasbrotoyshop.com beginning this November (for ages 3 years & up, approximate retail price: $29.99).
An array of digital offerings are also launching this month including a new Berry Happy Birthday theme on StrawberryShortcake.com which features fun-filled activities to throw your berry own Strawberry Shortcake party. StrawberryShortcake.com also includes a section for parents filled with nostalgic Strawberry Shortcake fun facts and timeless recipes for moms and daughters to enjoy together. Additionally, Strawberry Shortcake is introducing her first-ever iPhone application this fall where players are tasked with helping Strawberry Shortcake prepare for a big party at her Berry Cafe and fill all of her smoothie orders.
For more information about Strawberry Shortcake and her magical fruit-filled world, visit www.strawberryshortcake.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/strawberryshortcake.