Yes, the image leaves much to be desired but truth be told, there wasn’t much left to photograph after dinner was inhaled! Each bite leaves a myriad of flavors inside your mouth – first, spicy chorizo, and the last? Lingering lemon zest that cools the fire. This is a crowd-pleaser, each and every time!

Tiny Green Mom’s Paella

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup Arborio Rice

2 cups organic chicken broth

1 bay leaf

2 tsp. fresh thyme

2 range-free chicken breasts, sliced and cut into small, bite-size pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 orange or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1/2 pound spicy chorizo, casing removed

1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp (best to use fresh, not frozen)

1 cup frozen organic peas

Zest of 1 lemon

Preparation

Preheat large dutch oven or wide pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, heat through. Add rice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes. Add organic chicken broth, bay leaf, and fresh thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover.

Preheat separate skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil, heat through. Add diced chicken breast and brown on both sides. Add Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste. Once chicken has browned on both sides, add the chopped bell peppers and yellow onions to the skillet. Cook 3 minutes more. Add the spicy chorizo to the skillet, and stir. The chorizo should mix in well – coating the chicken, peppers and onions. Cook the ingredients 2 minutes more and remove the skillet from the heat. Set aside.

Next, make a small hole in the center of the rice mixture in the dutch oven and add the shrimp. Add the frozen peas and sprinkle the lemon zest over the top. Cover. Cook 5 minutes more. Remove bay leaf.

On large serving platter, spread the rice, shrimp and pea mixture. Arrange the chicken, bell peppers, onions and chorizo mixture around the rice.

Serve with a warm crusty loaf of whole grain bread. (can be sprinkled with garlic)

*Traditionally, Paella is served with mussels, and this can also be added to the dish, if desired.

**This recipe makes a GREAT one-dish meal to serve for a large gathering and can be easily doubled.

Move over potato chips! There’s a new contender in town! Newman’s Own Organics Soy Crisps are a crunchy, (gasp!) healthy alternative to one of America’s favorite snack foods. Everyone knows that it doesn’t matter which brand it is, you can’t eat just one. But with Newman’s Soy Crisps, you CAN eat more than one crisp and feel good about doing so! No guilt, just a healthy snack of choice!

Mom” recently had the opportunity to try out the 4 varieties offered by Newmans Own Organics, and while not typically a snacker because of the empty calories associated with unhealthy snack foods, the Soy Crisps have made quite an impression. Available in Barbeque, Cinnamon Sugar, Lightly Salted, and White Cheddar – these little crisps are packed with flavor and will satisfy any chip craving. Not only are they delicious, but they are made with wholesome ingredients, such as Organic Low Fat Soy Flour and Organic Rice Flour. In addition, one serving of Soy Crisps provides between 7 – 9 grams of protein (depending on the flavor) and 3 grams of dietary fiber. What a smart snack choice!

The best part? “Mom’s” husband actually liked the Soy Crisps, especially the Barbeque flavor, and didn’t balk at the fact they are touted as healthy and made with soy. Victory!

Newman’s Own Soy Crisps are available nationwide, click here for a list of retailers or to order online.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Here’s an amazing (and healthy!) recipe that takes 2 ingredients and a grill! These grilled chocolate bananas are extremely fun to make, and the kids can help you put them together.

Tiny Green Mom’s Grilled Choco-Bananas

Ingredients

4 firm bananas (not too ripe)

1/4 cup Ghiradhelli Dark Chocolate Chips

Preparation

Heat grill on low heat.

Cut a small slit, about 3 inches long, in each UNPEELED banana. Push a row of chocolate chips into the opening, and push the banana back together gently. Wrap aluminum foil around each banana, and place on grill. Grill for approximately 10-15 minutes, until bananas are tender.

Remove from grill, unwrap each banana, and palce on a plate. Open the peel, and eat the choco-banana with a spoon. YUM!

Hands-down, this has got to be one of the tastiest bars available! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom was sent a sampler pack of Kardea Nutrition Bars, and oh my – they are just divine. The bars come in 4 different flavors – Banana Nut, Chai Spice, Cranberry Almond, and Lemon Ginger. Kardea Nutrition Bars are Vegan and Certified Kosher, and contain absolutely no trans-fats. Plus, each bar is low in carbohydrates, sugar, and fat but high in fiber and protein. Need a healthy, quick pick-me-up? These are the bars to reach for in a pinch!

For more information on Kardea Nutrition Bars, to locate a retailer near you, or to order the bars online, please visit their website.

Kardea was founded by an avid cook and foodie, Rob Leighton, when he was diagnosed with high cholesterol in his late 40s. With a professional background in the food manufacturing business, he wanted to create healthy foods that were tasty and enjoyable to eat. His gourmet wellness bars are unusually low calorie and more nutritious than most other energy or “nutrition” bars.

*Company kindly provided samples and images for this review.*

Celebrate the 4th of July making some fun crafts at home with the kiddos, or trying out a new recipe or two from this free, downloadable 4th of July Crafts and Recipes eBook found on FaveCrafts.com! For those on a budget, enjoying the festivities at home can be just as scintillating, with family members nearby. “Mom’s” favorite? The Fourth of July Chalkboard Labels! Super cute – what a great idea for any holiday or special occasion!

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!

*This is not a paid advertorial. Please see disclosure.*

Simply darling! These stylish and reusable sandwich bags from all about sofi are just too, too cute! The bags arrived wrapped in a pretty organza gift bag, and were handcrafted with love by Sofi’s mom. All of the reusable snack and sandwich bags have been cleverly designed with a special liner that can be wiped clean. It’s easy – just turn the bag inside out and wash with soapy water, or throw the bags into the washing machine using cold water for a deeper clean, and then hang to dry.

Eco-conscious moms will love the fact that they are using less waste and helping the environment by not having to throw away so many plastic baggies! Plus, your little one will love having an adorable sack to carry snacks, treats, and sandwiches inside. all about sofi’s resuable sandwich bags are available in a wide selection of bold, bright and colorful prints – what a great way for parents to distinuguish whose lunch they are packing if they have multiple children!

By packing snacks and sandwiches into reusable bags, you are teaching your child to make a difference in regards to our environment, one tiny eco-friendly step at a time! To see the adorable reusable sandwich bag designs available or to order, please visit all about sofi.

*Company provided samples and images for this review.*

Here’s a dish typically found at 4th of July picnics – Deviled Eggs! “Mom” likes to make them with healthy Vegenaise® instead of cholesterol-laden mayonnaise, and no one will be able to tell the difference! This recipe can be doubled or tripled, depending on how many guests are being served.

Tiny Green Mom’s Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

6 organic hard-boiled eggs

pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

3 tbsp. Vegenaise®

Preparation

Make eggs in advance, set aside and let cool. Once cool, peel shells off of the eggs, and cut in half lengthwise. Place on plate, and remove the egg yolks.

Place egg yolks in small bowl; mash with fork. Mix in the mustard powder, salt and pepper, and add the Vegenaise, stirring until well-blended.

Fill the egg white shells with an equal amount of egg yolk mixture, making a rounded heap on top. Some may prefer to squeeze out the mixture through a pastry tube with accompanying design to make it look more decorative. Enjoy!

Love dessert but not the calories often associated with after dinner indulgences? Why not try a healthier option instead, featuring fresh-picked fruits of the season! What’s in season now? Berries! Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries…. placed lovingly on top of a Pavlova is a delightful option to make for your next soiree. Inspired by a family friend, this recipe is one of “Mom‘s” favorites!

Tiny Green Mom’s Berry Pavlova

Ingredients

6 organic egg whites

1 /4 cup organic sugar

2 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. organic vanilla extract

1 tsp. white vinegar

Preparation

In large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Beat in 1 cup organic sugar and beat until glossy. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. Set mixture aside.

Place tin foil over a baking sheet, and place parchment paper over the top of the tin foil. Shape mixture on parchment paper into a nine-inch circle.

Bake in a 200 degree oven overnight. (8 hours)

Before serving, fill the Pavlova shell with homemade whipped cream or store bought, organic whipped cream. Cover with fresh berries of your choice, such as strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Other fruits go well on this dish, such as kiwis or mango slices. Enjoy!

Mom” at Tiny Green Mom is lovin’ these link picks!

Peter Rabbit Organics Review and Giveaway on Jessica Loves to Save Money. “Mom” loves these portable pouches – learn more here.

Yes, the Little Things Matter on Type-A Mom.

Composting – You Can Do It! on Organic Soul.

12 Steps to Cooking Up a Green Life, Complete on A Conscious Feast.

*Image provided by Peter Rabbit Organics.*

As we head into the holiday weekend, Lissa Harnish Poirot has put together some timely tips for eating healthy while away from home without breaking the bank. A BIG thanks to Lissa for this informative article.

5 (Budget-Friendly) Ways for Families to Eat Healthy While Vacationing

1. Try to find hotels offering in-room mini-fridges so you can stock it with drinks and snacks (if they only offer a mini bar, ask the hotel to empty it before your arrival). Avoid purchasing snacks at the hotel (higher prices) but instead hit the local grocery store for fresh produce, bottled water, and healthy snacks that you’d normally purchase at home.

2. Look for hotels providing free breakfast buffets. I hate to look like that woman grabbing the extra food at the buffet, but I have no shame when I’m spending a bundle on a hotel and they offer a free buffet and the chance to grab some extra fruit to bring with us while we explore a city, visit a theme park, or even just to keep in our room for when we get hungry. I also grab extra apples from those hotels offering them at check in!

3. Splurge on a Club Level room, if available. I find the splurge for a Club Level room is worth it in the money I save on meals and snacks — the stay becomes nearly all-inclusive — but the choices are also more healthy. Club Levels provide breakfast buffets, snacks and drinks throughout the day, and heavy hors d’ouevres at lunch and dinner hours. During one recent Club Level stay, we were able to snack on hummus and fruit, and fill up on salads and finger sandwiches during meal times.

4. When traveling overseas where familiar foods may not be available, pack peanut butter and other favorites as a fail-safe standby. Again, visiting the local grocer can get you the tried-and-true healthy favorites that work at home, such as bread, sliced turkey, pretzels and fruit. Pack meals as if you’re packing for your child’s day at school. Try to order a couple of small items off the menu at the restaurants, however, to round out the meal, and to have your child try to embrace new foods.

5. Avoid “vacation” mentality. Too often we throw caution to the wind during vacation. We’re sleeping in, staying up later, off our daily schedules, and before we know it we’re ordering our weight in chicken fingers, chips and queso dip, and ice cream. Sure, it’s vacation, so splurge once in a while and have that double-decker ice cream cone after a day on the beach — just don’t do it every day. If you over-indulge at lunch, take it easy and order a healthier dinner. The kids will avoid the sugar high so many of us encounter on vacations, and you’ll avoid the extra pounds on the scale when you get home.

INTRODUCING LISSA HARNISH POIROT

Lissa Harnish Poirot is an experienced editor, writer and family travel expert who loves to travel with her two kids in tow — making her the perfect choice for editor of Family Vacation Critic.

*Image provided by Peanut Butter & Co.*