Summer is finally here, which means it’s time to enjoy the fresh vegetables found at your local farmer’s market! This adorable Mason Jar Pasta Salad is a wonderful way to prep some healthy lunches and grab-n-go options for the week ahead, thanks to Pasta Fits!

Their recipe calls for baby bocconcini cheese, but we used fresh mozzarella balls instead, as that is what we could find at our local grocery store. You can also substitute baby kale for the baby spinach, but we combined the two to add an even more nutritious punch!

Mason Jar Pasta Salad

Ingredients

4 oz. farfalle
4 oz. low-fat baby bocconcini cheese
1 cup/5 oz. halved heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 cup/5 oz. chopped cucumber
1 cup/5 oz. chopped red pepper
1/2 cup/2.5 oz. chopped red onion
2 cups/2 oz. baby spinach

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
4 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

Preparation

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside; let cool.

Divide pasta and cheese among four (8 oz.) Mason jars. Toss together tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and onion. Divide evenly among jars.

Red Wine Vinaigrette: Whisk together oil, parsley, vinegar, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper.

Drizzle vinaigrette over tomato mixture; top with spinach. Cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Shake before serving.

Tip: Substitute baby kale for spinach if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Pasta Fits.*

It is the height of summer here in Florida, and the mosquitoes are out in full force! At dusk, they seem to hover near our patio door, patiently waiting for anyone who opens the door to step outside! My little guy seems to be their biggest target… his sweet, 2 year old skin seems to be their favorite and tiny mosquito bites appear like chicken pox the second he is outside for more than 2 minutes at that time of day!

To keep those pesky mosquitoes away naturally, I have compiled a list of 3 tips and tricks that we use around our home. I don’t like to spray my children or myself with DEET-based repellents, so have found other, less toxic ways to combat the problem. Here are a few of our favorites!

3 Tips on Keeping Mosquitoes Away Naturally

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Eliminate Standing Water Sources

Mosquitoes breed in water, and with heavy rains in FL in the summer, this makes for a terrible combination! If at all possible, drain areas that fill up quickly. Any toys & other items, such as plastic buckets, small wading pools, wagons, etc. should be dumped out at the end of the day after playing so as not to create the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Yes, those sand box & water play table toys are the ideal place for mosquitoes to breed, so remember to dump them out and cover the table or sand box at the end of the day!

Brittanies Thyme Bug Spray

Apply (and Reapply!) a DEET-Free Insect Repellent

Brittanie’s Thyme offers a safe, effective organic bug spray that is derived from essential oils, not toxic chemicals. The Organic Bug Spray provides floral & woodsy scents that create a pleasing aroma for people, yet the bugs hate it! Brittanie’s Thyme does not contain citronella, and will not stain your clothes. They recommend not spraying the bug spray directly on the skin of babies and toddlers under 2 years old. Instead, spray your child’s clothing, stroller, blankets or grass area around them.

white socks

Dress Appropriately

We know it’s hot, but wearing light colored, long-sleeved pants & tops will deter mosquitoes from those areas of your body! Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing, so white or other lightly colored clothing are an optimal choice when planning to spend time outdoors hiking, playing and more! In addition, mosquitoes love feet, so opt for socks and shoes whenever possible!

*Brittanie’s Thyme provided samples for review for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*

I am always on the lookout for a healthier treat for my family, and these little bites of organic goodness definitely fit the bill! I have seen Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies tucked in the bins at Starbucks and have always wanted to give them a try… so when asked to try all 4 of their delicious flavors, I jumped at the chance!

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Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies are made with clean, organic ingredients like fair trade cocoa powder, and contain zero artificial ingredients or coloring! They are certified USDA organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan and paleo-friendly, making them an ideal little snack!

Available in flavors like Dark Cacao, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Vanilla Bean, Lemon Ginger and more, these superfood snacks are great atop smoothies, yogurt, or as a yummy bite straight from the bag.

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Emmy’s are also the perfect size for summer travel and can be found at Starbucks stores nationwide — making them an ideal on-the-go vegan or paleo option!

We loved the simplicity of the vanilla flavor, which reminded me of traditional shortbread with a hint of coconut! If you have little ones like I do, make sure they eat those over a plate as they are soft and can be a bit flaky.

To learn more about Emmy’s Organics Coconut Cookies, visit emmysorganics.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this article. All thoughts expressed herein are my own.*