Festive Fun Holiday Recipes With Shamrock Farms Foods

Eggnog peppermint cheesecake anyone?  cheesecake picHow about an eggnog latte with extract made of rum?  Yum! And here is a fun and tasty idea…peppermint eggnog punch for kids of all ages!  It is all here plus I also share a quick tip that will spice up your mashed potatoes that is super simple. Plus sour cream banana bread and more!  With Shamrock Farms fresh dairy foods, the possibilities and recipes are endless! Check out the morning segment I did on the ABC 15’s Sonoran Living morning show this morning for ideas for all of your holiday entertaining.  Also a big thank you to professional makeup artist Karen Hall for meeting me at the studio to work her magic on me!  And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

 

I am proud to work with Shamrock Farms who sponsored this segment. 

An Eye Opening Experience

Since 1 in 4 children and 1 in 5 Arizonans live in poverty and go hungry, I joined forces with Shamrock Farms and St. Mary’s Food Bank to raise awareness about this very serious issue.  Our experiment was eye opening. Take a look and then consider helping out since only $5 goes a long way actually!

Valley mom blogger Rachel Harris Manic Managed Mom shares what she’s learned about the need for milk donations at local food banks. #milkdrive #stmarysfoodbankalliance

Posted by Shamrock Farms on Thursday, September 17, 2015

 

The Missing Milk Element & How We Can All Help

September is Hunger Action Month and my family and I have been discussing how to help out in the community more.  So I got to thinking about the food that we have donated before to the wonderful St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.  And it dawned on me that we always give non-perishable food items.  I have never once included milk in our donation.  And I must admit that milk is one item that my family and I take for granted.

In honor of September being Hunger Action Month, my family and I had the opportunity to partner with St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and Shamrock Farms.  As a recipient and supporter of the Great American Milk Drive respectively, they wanted me to understand what it’s like to be missing milk from my table.  You see, like most of you, my family regularly donates non-perishable items to food banks, but what about perishables like milk?  It’s easy to take for granted items like milk that are regularly in our refrigerators.

We recently learned this firsthand when we received a box of items representative of a St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance Emergency Food Box.  Shamrock Farms, a huge supporter of the national Great American Milk Drive initiative, invited me to help raise awareness about hunger in our nation and here in Arizona and to imagine the possibilities created when a family in need is able to receive milk as part of their emergency assistance.

I hate to admit it, but I never even thought of a milk drive before and just how important this drink/food really is for a family to have on hand.

Good ol’ milk is a family favorite at my house for so many reasons.  My family likes the taste and I like how milk can make so many nutritious recipes.  I also appreciate that milk is a top source for calcium, potassium and Vitamin D in the American diet and that is all critical for healthy child development.  I missed not having milk over and over again as we worked with the foods that are representative of the emergency food boxes that are so kindly provided by the awesome St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and the generous and thoughtful people and organizations who donate to the food bank.

And so the challenge began.

This is the box that we received and it contained some very useful items that I immediately pictured for several future meals for the family.  The cereal box was the very first thing that I noticed and I quickly felt the absence of milk.  Dry cereal for breakfast is not appetizing, although some kids may disagree!  I would really want my kids to have the benefits of calcium and protein poured over that cereal with milk. food boxThe contents of the box had foods that are versatile and I loved seeing that.  out of boxI also reflected on how much more I could do with the addition of milk, but since milk was absent from this assortment, we went on to see what we could create with the items on hand.

When we first arrived home, my daughter requested an after school snack.  They come home so hungry after school especially when they are experiencing a growth spurt.  She asked me if she could have chocolate milk, which can be an excellent post practice or game snack.  Since milk didn’t come in the generous box, she decided to have some of the fruit cocktail with a glass of water.  As she ate her fruit cocktail snack, I did wish that she could have a glass of milk with it to give her a more complete snack. She also ate a few of the sliced dried apples that were in the box as well.  While she ate that snack, I pictured adding those apples to the Kix cereal in the morning, but then I remembered that the cereal would be without milk.  peaches

applesA few hours later it was already time for dinner and I was so pleased that the food box contained a big bag of spaghetti pasta and two cans of tomato sauce, one of which was a nice Garlic & Herb flavor, which would provide several dinners for a family. foods for dinSo I prepared our family dinner making the spaghetti with the provided can of green beans for a side veggie and the canned peaches for a fruit side dish.  dinner doneThis worked well but we did miss washing it down with a glass of milk.  As I prepared to store the leftovers, I pictured several recipes that I could have made with the addition of milk to make even more meals over the next few days.  leftoverWith the leftover pasta, I could add a bit of milk, pepper, Parmesan cheese and the can of chunk white chicken that came in the box to make a fettuccine type of dish.  As I put away the other donated food items, I thought about how the can of potatoes could easily be made into a yummy and filling mashed potato dish with milk on hand or how the pinto beans could made into a soup, along with the can of corn with milk as an important ingredient.  can and beansThe apples would also be good with oatmeal and milk.  The peaches would make a yummy smoothie in the morning with some milk and a few other ingredients.  I just thought about how much more I could do with a gallon of milk on hand.

I decided to do this research and article after I heard about some alarming statistics.  Currently nearly 1 in 3 children and 1 in 5 Arizonans live in poverty. Arizona’s hunger rates are higher than national averages and it ranks third in the country for high child food insecurity rates with 456,760 children facing hunger on a daily basis.  That breaks my heart.  Thankfully families are receiving some milk with donations and the incredible help of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, but due to shortages of donated milk, it’s rare for emergency food boxes to contain this important item.  The good news is that we can all help!

For as little as only $5, a milk donation is made right in time for September Hunger Action Month.  My family and I will each give $5 a person, for a total of $20 to go towards the cause.  This cause will not only put milk on the tables of families in need, but it will also give them the opportunity to create recipes, along with giving their bodies that much needed calcium, Vitamin D and potassium.  Plus my kids learn about giving, out of their own pocket, to help others.

So join us and donate to the national Great American Milk Drive initiative.  Shamrock Farms will match the first 500 gallons of milk that is donated.  That is awesome!

I know that my kids still look forward to a glass of cold and nutritious milk.  A bowl of cereal is not complete without that important calcium providing milk.  Milk is one of my main kitchen staples when I plan the weekly meals.  The things we take for granted.  Milk, as they say…it does a body good…and I want to help as many bodies and lives as I can by supporting the national Great American Milk Drive initiative.  Join me.  Let’s make a difference together.

 

I am proud to work with Shamrock Farms and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance on this sponsored and very important article. 

Easy Enchiladas Made With A Little Holiday Flair

Had a ball shooting this video in my kitchen to show you how to make these Green Chicken Chile Enchiladas that are a crowd pleaser.  Plus we add a little red and green to the mix to give this dish some holiday color, so take a look and make this recipe for your holiday company.  They will love it!  The ingredients that include tomatillos, Shamrock Farms Zesty Jalapeno sour cream and more are delicious!

 

 

This video was sponsored by Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods is 100% my own. 

4 Delicious Ingredients that Multitask for Easy Holiday Cooking

Manic:  Figuring out how to cook smart when making the big holiday meal so that we can get out of the kitchen to spend precious time with family and friends.

Managed: Using these four ingredients that include Shamrock Farms Half & Half, Zesty Jalapeno Sour Cream (yum), Shamrock Farms Calcium Plus Milk and eggnog to make multiple recipes.  This also frees up that much needed fridge space for leftovers since each ingredient container can make numerous recipes all in the same day.  So from breakfast to snacks to the main meal to dessert, check out these ideas that will have you working smart so you have more time for holiday cheer and less time hovering over the stove.  How about adding Zesty Jalapeno sour cream to your eggs for a little spice or making eggnog fudge for a scrumptious dessert?  These ideas and more are all here, so check this out…

 

shamrock farms nov 2014 (1) from Rachel Harris on Vimeo.

 

 

This delicious segment was sponsored by Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods is 100% my own. 

Keeping Kids Entertained At The Holiday Table

Manic:  Restless kids at the big holiday table resulting in stressed parents, bored kids and chaos.

Managed:  Brainstormed with the folks from Shamrock Farms and one of my gal pals about how to keep kids entertained at this holiday season’s big meal and we came up with some good stuff for parents everywhere.

It’s hard to believe that my teenagers are past this stage now, but I do remember those days!  Recently, one of my gal pals with younger children asked me for tips to keeping kids entertained at the holiday table so that they are not disruptive.  Here are a few tricks that I put to use with my son and daughter, as well as other clever ideas from my friend, Suzie.  Take a look…

*Consider a Kids Table – I know some of you want your children to learn dinner table etiquette (and I agree with that), but having a separate and nearby kids table can work well.  This way both the kiddos and the adults can converse with their own age groups about topics that all will find fun. Have their table set ahead of time with kid themed plates, holiday napkins and a drink that will make them cheer, like Shamrock Farms Chocolate Milk.

*Crafty Crafts for Festive Fun – Have a fun holiday craft ready for the children to do right after the meal.  Kids typically finish eating first, while adults may want to linger and enjoy the holiday fare and company.  Lexi gingerbread manOffering the kids pre-baked mini gingerbread cookies that they can frost and decorate to their hearts’ content gives them something fun to do while the grownups continue with dinner.

*Letters to Santa – Invite children to write a letter to Santa while they wait at the table before or after the meal.  Give them fun decorations, stickers and washable markers to decorate their note.  The letter will also make a great keepsake for the child’s scrapbook.

*Make Christmas Cups – Give the kids red or green Solo cups and materials to decorate the cup.  This becomes their drinking glass during dinner and they will be proud to show off their creation.  milkFill the finished cups with fun and festive Shamrock Farms Santa’s Choice Calcium Plus milk for their own special occasion drink.

*Older Kids Read – Ask the older children to read a holiday story to the younger kids.  And don’t forget to videotape to have this memorable record of the kids at different ages.  It goes by so quickly!

*Sing Along – Let each child select their favorite holiday tune and ask everyone at the table to sing it together.  This gets everyone in the holiday spirit and kids will love leading all in song.

*Holiday Eye Spy Game – Eye spy is a great game to keep kids engaged while also staying put.  Ask them to look for holiday themed items in the room, such as a wreath, something red and white or something sweet.

*Holiday Share – Whisper in the child’s ear to ask everyone at the table to share what they like most about the holiday.  Festive, fun and memorable.

What are your ideas for keeping kids happily busy and content at the holiday table?  Share in the comments section because we like to share ideas and help each other out when it comes to taking the manic out of the holiday season to make it more managed and enjoyable for all!

 

This article was sponsored by Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods are 100% my own. 

Sour Cream Banana Bread, Pumpkin Supreme & More Delicious Holiday Recipes

Three of my favorite recipes are featured in my most recent Shamrock Farms video that we filmed in my very own kitchen, so take a look to learn about Sour Cream Banana Bread, Pumpkin Supreme (my sister-in-law Stephanie’s amazing recipe from her South Texas family cookbook) and a super simple and smart breakfast idea called Sausage Breakfast Bake from my gal pal Amanda’s family.  I especially appreciate how the breakfast recipe is whipped up the night before and simply placed in the oven to bake Christmas morning.  Your company will wake up hungry so you can’t forget breakfast.  This recipe takes care of that for you.  Check it all out here…

 

 

This post was sponsored by Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms delicious foods are 100% my own. 

Simple & Scrumptious Holiday Recipes

Manic:  Coming up with new and unique recipe ideas every holiday season.  Hard to believe that the holidays have rolled around again.

Managed:  Worked with wonderful Shamrock Farms to share some terrific holiday recipes from our family and friends’ cookbooks using yummy Shamrock Farms ingredients like festive eggnog, creamy half and half, the irresistable Shamrock Farms Zesty Jalapeno Sour Cream and more.   page with red borderTake a look at the recipe link (once at link, scroll down to access all of the recipes) to see how to make Sour Cream Banana Bread, Pumpkin Supreme, Eggnog French Toast and more. Happy Yummy Holidays!  I am very proud to be a part of Shamrock Farms holiday creative team!

No More Hectic Holidays: 4 Things You Can Do Now to Streamline the Season

Manic:  Holiday planning!  Be honest: How often do you actually sit back and kick up your feet between November and January? Does the “most wonderful time of the year” feel more like a nonstop cycle of bake, clean, shop, wrap and repeat?!  Most years it does for me, especially since I had kids!

Managed:  These four tips that will get us ahead of the game!  Let’s do it and enjoy a managed, not manic, holiday season where we moms, hosts and holiday planners actually get to relax, too!

1.  Be prepared for guests. Help out-of-town guests feel at home with a welcome stocking filled with toiletries, non-perishable snacks, reading material and their favorite coffee or tea. stocking stuffAssembling everything ahead of time will free up those final precious moments for last-minute chores.  Also, keep a secret stash of snacks on hand for unexpected company. Stock the pantry with nuts, popcorn, crackers and chips, which is the perfect accompaniment for any variety of the Shamrock Farms delicious assortment of flavored sour cream.  Keeping a bottle of Shamrock Farms delicious eggnog on hand will also instantly up the festive factor of even the most casual get together.

bananabread_withpackaging

2.  Make-ahead meals. Who wants to cook after a day of battling holiday crowds? Avoid going overboard on take out by putting aside a few hours now to create make-ahead meals. Some family- and freezer-friendly options include chicken and sour cream enchiladas, Roxie’s easy lasagna  and Hungarian goulash.  (For best results, freeze the enchiladas and lasagna before baking. When ready to eat, pop the frozen dish into the oven for about 50 percent longer than the original cooking time.)

3.  Create go-to gifts. Avoid the last-minute dash for forgotten gifts by stocking up on several of one item – from candles to gourmet coffee to holiday tea towels. If you’re feeling particularly domestic, try your hand at preparing homemade vanilla extract in vintage bottles or a DIY body scrub.

My teen daughter actually made this DIY body butter.  We found the recipe online.

My teen daughter actually made this DIY body butter. We found the recipe online.

 

4.  Wrap it up. You may be weeks away from wrapping, but who needs the added stress of a midnight run for Scotch tape? Take an hour this week to take inventory of your wrapping supplies and stock up on scissors, tape, paper, tissue paper, gift tags, ribbon and bows. Keep it simple by using just one or two gift wraps for everyone on your list (it really doesn’t get much easier – or chicer – than brown craft paper wrapped in colorful twine).

Now, sit back, relax and actually enjoy all of the fabulous memories you’ve worked so hard to create. You deserve it!

 

 

This helpful holiday article was sponsored by wonderful Shamrock Farms.  My opinion about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods is 100% my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ideas For Welcoming New Family Into Holiday Traditions

Do you remember when you celebrated the holidays at your new husband’s family home?  Or how about when your younger sibling brought her new spouse to your home for the holidays?  I recently had a friend ask me for ideas to integrate new family members into old holiday traditions and how to best make them feel at home during a holiday visit.  That got me thinking about how fortunate I am to have been welcomed with open arms into my husband’s family more than 22 years ago. (That time went by fast!)  Check out these tips to create new traditions with your family – and great memories along the way.

One of our family traditions is a picture by the tree sporting Santa hats and in the background, ornaments with pictures hang on the tree.

One of our family traditions is a picture by the tree sporting Santa hats and in the background, ornaments with pictures hang on the tree.

*Ask the new family members to bring a favorite recipe from their family holiday cookbook.  A great example of this is my sister-in-law’s Pumpkin Supreme recipe.  Her family’s southern Texas tradition has now become our family’s annual delicious dessert as well. A bit sweeter than traditional pumpkin pie, this delicious recipe calls for yummy ingredients like pumpkin, vanilla pudding, cinnamon, pecans and more.  pumpkinsupremeYou can get the recipe for Stephanie’s Pumpkin Supreme at www.shamrockfarms.net.

If you aren’t asked to contribute to your new family’s feast, but would like to, ask the hostess what the menu is and then suggest bringing an appetizer, side or dessert. It’s best to suggest new items to the menu, rather than asking to replace a family recipe already in use.

*Welcome the new family member with a gift basket.  If this is your brother’s new bride, create a special holiday gift basket with monogrammed dish towels, his and hers coffee mugs and the couple’s favorite coffee paired with Shamrock Farms Half & Half.  new SF picFill the basket with her favorite candy or mixed nut flavor and add that to the basket with a festive gift like Shamrock Farms Eggnog.  Being greeted with a holiday gift basket, either presented to her upon arrival or in the guest room, will make her feel welcome and appreciated.

*Ask about their family holiday traditions.  Find out ahead of time if the new family member has a family tradition that they would find fun to share.  Maybe his family all wear ugly Christmas sweaters on Christmas Eve or perhaps they have a favorite board game they like to play.  Once I married into my husband’s family, I discovered that they all eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck.  If your new family member honors that tradition, be sure to have some black-eyed peas on hand. To add a little kick to this traditional dish, top it off with yummy Shamrock Farms Zesty Jalapeno Sour Cream.

*Snap pictures of the holiday gathering and then make your new family member a memory book.  With online sites like Shutterfly, Snapfish and Kodak, it has never been easier or quicker to put together a scrapbook. mem bk
A few weeks after the visit, mail the finished memory book with a card thanking your new family member for spending their first holiday celebration with your family.

These are just a few ideas on how to welcome a new member to the family during the holiday season.  Chances are they may be missing their own family and feeling a tad blue; these ideas will help make them feel welcome and celebrated.

What suggestions do you have for welcoming a new family member into the family holiday celebration?  Share in the comments section because we love to share and try each other’s suggestions.  I’m wishing you a wonderful holiday filled with warm family memories.

 

 

This post was sponsored by the awesome Shamrock Farms.  My opinions about how much I love Shamrock Farms foods are 100% my own.