food

What to Feed A Picky Toddler

Now that Evelyn is a month away from turning two, she has become the worst eater on the planet. She used to eat anything and everything I would put in front of her but now I’m lucky if I can get her to eat cheese cubes. I vaguely remember going through this with Henry but he wasn’t nearly as bad. I want to share with you some easy snacks and meals I have been putting together for her lately in hopes she turns her eating habits around. Nearly everything can be made in prepped in under 10 minutes so there are no wasted in hours in the kitchen preparing food that your dog will end up eating off the floor.
Breakfast Option 1: Mini Blueberry Waffles, Yogurt, Sliced Banana
Breakfast Option 3: Banana Pancakes (made ahead of time and thaw), Raisins, Grapefruit
Breakfast Option 4: Mini Whole Wheat Bagel with Almond Butter, Sliced Banana
Breakfast Option 5: Greek Yogurt Topped with Blueberries, Half a slice toast
Lunch Option 1: Cold Penne Pasta with carrots, corn and peas. I buy organic vegetables in the bag and steam in the microwave. I also boil pasta in large batches twice a week to have on hand!
Lunch Option 2: Sliced Bell Peppers, Deli Ham, Clementine Oranges
Lunch Option 3: Applesauce, Turkey & Cheese Roll Up, Carrots
Lunch Option 4: Avocado, Crackers with Hummus, Strawberries
Lunch Option 5: Pepperoni, Raisins, Pineapple
Dinner Option 1: Shredded Chicken, Edamame, String Cheese
Dinner Option 2: Cheese Quesadilla, Chopped Strawberries
Dinner Option 3: Brown Rice, Sliced Cucumber, Blueberries
Dinner Option 4: Penne Pasta with Parmesan, Hardboiled Egg,
Dinner Option 5: Turkey Meatballs (I buy the organic frozen kind), Sliced Grapes, Green Beans
Another amazing snack option that I have recently discovered is frozen Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Rolls). My kids definitely take after their parents and love a good baked cheese roll. These delicious gluten free snacks bake in just 5 minutes and are the perfect afternoon treat. They are perfect for the whole family and really compliment any dish. Henry loves to dip these in his tomato soup and they are a wonderful alternate to grilled cheese.  Since I always seem to be pressed for time, anything that can be ready in 5 minutes when my kids are both going wild is a win in my book. Forno de Minas is a socially conscience company that is deeply concerned with the environment and sustainability. They treat 100% of the water used in the factory, administrative area, and kitchen, through its ETE (Water and Sewage Treatment Plant). I love supporting companies that give back and care about their community. Want to try some Pão de Queijo? Here is a coupon for $1 off your purchase. You can find Forno de Minas in your local grocery store. Do you have any go-to meals for the picky eater in your life? Leave them in the comments below!
*this post was sponsored by Forno de Minas. As always, all opinions are my own*

Luxury Chocolate You Need

Raise your hand if you have a huge sweet tooth but the thought of baking overwhelms you. Or if the thought of going to the grocery store during the holidays at all stresses you out. As a stay at home mom, I love when things are easy. That includes being able to do most of my holiday shopping online. Vosges Haut Chocolate offers the most luxury, gourmet chocolate on the market. Everything they make is beautifully crafted and packaged. Almost like you’re opening a one-of-a-kind designer gown. I’ve never tried anything so rich and decadent in my life. There are several people I know that can be tough to shop for but I’ve learned that people always love great food, drinks, and desserts, especially around the holiday season. All hail Vosges and their incredibly delicious chocolates and treats.
One of the most popular pairings they offer are the wine and chocolate gift boxes. I have several people in my life who love great wine and great chocolate and these luxury pairings are a total home run. Here a few of my other favorites from Vosges!
This Bubbles + Brunch Gift Box would be perfect for any lady boss. Buttermilk pancakes with fruitwood smoked bacon chocolate smothered liberally with aged bourbon barrel syrup and toast with a morning mimosa. It does not get much better than this, especially when you have some time to yourself to indulge.  If anyone wants to send me one, email me for my address 🙂Drinking Chocolates. Need I say more? We set up a hot chocolate bar every year from the day after Thanksgiving well into the New Year. There are fewer things I love than coming downstairs in a quiet house before everyone wakes up and making hot chocolate with all the fun toppings. The gourmet drinking chocolates would taste like heaven!
I love champagne. Probably too much. It’s my go to drink and these Champagne Truffles scream my name. They are blended with 85% dark chocolate and Krug Champagne so you know they will probably be the best thing you’ve tasted all year. Did you know that you can store any of the Vosges truffles in the freezer for up to 4 months (just make sure they’re sealed). Once you’re ready to enjoy, you can pull them out let them come to room temperature!
Any of these chocolate bars would make the perfect stocking stuffer. I also love how you can buy them in collections for someone who really appreciates gourmet chocolate. I’m putting the Noble Pig Chocolate Bars under the tree for my husband. He loves bacon, beer, and chocolate so this is a no brainer.
I can confidently say that the Caramel Marshmallows were by far the most amazing thing I have ever tasted. I hated that I had to share them with my husband (you’re welcome babe). If you only order one thing from Vosges, these need to be it!
Going to a New Year’s party? Need a gift for your boss who has everything? Want to send something just because? Vosges has gifts starting at $25 and under so there is really something for everyone. Use code HENEVE15 for 15% off your order! You can find Vosges on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
*this post was sponsored by Vosges Haut Chocolate. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*

Holidays with Harry & David

A few years ago, around late December, I ordered a Harry & David Gift Basket for a friend. It was late in the month, I hadn’t had time to do any shopping, and I was just flat out exhausted. I remember having to call and order because my internet was down. I was dreading making the call because I hate talking on the phone and rely so much on the convenience of online ordering. I was so pleasantly surprised at how amazing their customer service was! They went above and upon to make sure my friend got the gift basket at her home in such short notice. It was at that moment when I knew I loved this company and would be a life long customer. Since then, I have always referred my friends and family to Harry & David.
One of my favorite things about these amazing gift baskets is how they are equipped for sharing. Everything is packaged nicely in their own bags or boxes so that you can enjoy the treats longer. I love opening up the yogurt covered pretzels for the kids as an afternoon snack, or enjoying some fruitcake for breakfast with coffee. Everything is top notch, fresh quality and absolutely delicious. This Classic Christmas Gift Basket comes with gourmet popcorn, milk chocolate covered cherries, assorted truffles, peppermint bark, jordan almonds, fruitcake, yogurt covered pretzels, raspberry filled shortbread cookies (by far my favorite) and Royal Riviera pears. The pears taste like Heaven on Earth  and are the most delicious fruit you will try this holiday season.
The presentation of the baskets are always so gorgeous. When I think of Harry & David, I think of high quality gifts for: business partners, people who are hard to shop for, and host/hostess gifts for parties. Everyone loves holiday treats but not everyone has time to spend all day baking or braving the grocery story rush. That is what makes Harry & David so special; they do all of the work for you.  If you have any last minute shopping to do, or you just want to make someone’s day, be sure to keep Harry & David in mind.
*This post was sponsored by Harry & David. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*
How do you #ShareTheHolidays? I would love to hear in the comments below!

Making Mealtime Easier with HelloFresh

Last week my family and I had the pleasure of trying HelloFresh, a weekly meal service which delivers seasonal farm fresh ingredients to your doorstep. They send pre-measured portions packaged in their own box which easily fit in the refrigerator. It definitely beats the stress of meal planning and hectic grocery shopping. My husband and I loved cooking these meals together. He is the cook in the family and really enjoys it. I, on the other hand, cannot stand it. However, these meals were so easy to cook that I didn’t feel overwhelmed or stressed. In fact, I cooked two of them without any help (pats self on back). I really appreciate that the majority of the HelloFresh meals can be cooked in 30 minutes and have no more than 6 steps.
I love that you can really customize your meals and there is something for everyone. If you are single, newly married, work full time, or have a family, HelloFresh offers a plan for everyone. You can even view the meals ahead of time before you sign up to see if they would be something you’re interested in (spoiler: you will be interested). I chose the Family Meal Plan for 4 people and it was more than enough for for 2 adults, a 4 year old and almost 2 year old. There are no spicy ingredients within the family plans but there is still plenty of flavor. I received three meal on the day of my choosing. They were shipped overnight so that all ingredients were grocery story fresh. My favorite to make was the One-Pot Ravioli Bake. I cooked it for lunch one day for me and the kids and it was so easy, not to mention the most tasty of the bunch. The meal that took the most time was the Sweet & Sour Pork. Luckily that was the meal my husband and I cooked together. Despite the length of time it took to prepare (around 40 minutes), the resulting dish was well worth the wait!
Want to try HelloFresh and get $35 off your first box? Be sure to use code CHANELVANREENEN35 when you check out! Know someone who would love this as a gift? Check out their gifting options here. You will NOT be disappointed!
*this post was sponsored by HelloFresh. As always, all opinions are my own*

Local Eats: Saltwood, Atlanta

This past Sunday, my husband and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary (!!) We were lucky enough to have a night out alone and had a mini staycation at the Loews Hotel in Atlanta. Tucked inside Loews is Saltwood, a wonderful charcuterie and bar. They serve the best selections of fresh cheese and meats which can only by topped by the beautiful presentation of each platter. They are carefully put together and almost look too pretty to eat. All of their cheeses and meat are locally sourced, which makes this farm to table style of dining work so well. A few of the local artisan cheese companies that Saltwood works with is Sweet Grass Dairy, Woodsman & Wife Cheese, and Calyroad Creamery. We had one of their beautiful cheese boards for an appetizer in our room before heading down to the lobby for dinner. The decor and style of Saltwood is modern, cozy, and sleek. There are plenty of tables in four separate dining areas, including the patio.
We arrived just before 7:30 and were welcomed by a lovely host who was more than accommodating throughout the entire evening. The staff have a warm, approachable attitude and make sure you’re taken care of without being obtrusive. We ordered some delicious cocktails and two appetizers: fresh burrata and the Gulf Coast seafood. The burrata was nothing short of amazing but the standout of the two was hands down the Gulf Coast seafood. Fried oyster, shrimp, snapper, okra with an escabeche aioli set the stage for only amazing dishes to come. My favorite cocktails of the night were the Contingency Plan {Tito’s Vodka, Fresh Lemon and Lavender} and the Summer Break {Peach Ciroc, Fresh Lemon & Lime}.
It’s not uncommon for the chef to come out and greet you while your dine, ask if you have questions about the menu and offer his suggestions. We loved getting to know Jeremy and hearing about how much love and dedication goes into making each meal at Saltwood. He also informed us of some exciting menu additions coming in the next few months which we will definitely be checking back in to try. My husband decided on the Spice Crusted Pork Tenderloin with potato purée, roasted mushrooms, date, and cilantro chimichurri. The infusion of all these ingredients was excellent and the pork was cooked to perfection. Pork is not something I tend to lean towards when ordering dinner, however, I would definitely order this for myself next time. After speaking with the chef, I was set on ordering the Southern Paella. This seafood wonderland included pan seared red snapper, scallops, mussels, and andouille sausage which sat upon a bed of amazing Carolina gold rice. Paella is a dish that originated in Spain but has evolved throughout the years and I love seeing the southern spin on this old classic.
Our dinner at Saltwood was one of the highlights of our anniversary. We cannot wait to come back and try out the amazing brunch menu. Breakfast tacos, chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits, cold pressed juices … the list of plates I want to try is endless. If you work around the Midtown area, are in town for the night, or just want to try a new place, I can not recommend Saltwood enough. You will not be disappointed with your visit and it will quickly top your list of favorite places to dine at!
*Our meal & drinks were provided by Saltwood. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*

Local Eats: Mama’s Boy, Athens

My family loves breakfast. It’s our favorite meal of the day and on weekends we always have a least one big, hearty breakfast together. When planning vacations, food and restaurants are the number one thing I start researching (after accommodations). One of my favorite ways to find out about local eateries is through Instagram. Most restaurants follow their cities Instagram account and vice versa. I had followed the My Athens account for a few months prior to our trip and food pictures from Mama’s Boy frequented their feed. I could not wait to visit here during our Athens trip. 

I need an iced coffee first thing in the morning before anything else. Sometimes I think I am addicted because I literally crave it when I wake up. My husband prefers his warm but I drink mine iced year round. It could be -30 degrees outside and you would still see me sipping on iced coffee. Mama’s Boy coffee is delicious and they offer free refills when you order it iced. For our starter, we decided to share the banana bread with honey poppy seed butter.  This butter was definitely the start of the show and if I worked at Mama’s Boy, I would be hiding in the back on my break eating this with a spoon. 

My husband usually orders the heartiest thing on the menu and chose the Mill Town Breakfast Plate. I’m a huge fan of a restaurant’s specials and on this Saturday one of their specials were the Shrimp & Grits with poached eggs, creole sauce, and cheddar cheese. It was without a doubt phenomenal and had a kick to it which added a ton a flavor. If you follow my food posts, you know I am egg obsessed and add eggs to just about everything. I can’t make poached eggs to save my life so when I see them on the menu, I can’t resist. The kids shared the Cinnamon French Toast sticks and biscuits. Ahhh, the biscuits. Paired with the homemade raspberry jam, they are melt in your mouth deliciousness and will have you dreaming about them for weeks on end. 

When visiting Mama’s Boy on the weekends, I suggest coming early or be prepared to wait for a bit. This place is so popular with the locals and for good reason. The restaurant is cozy, service is fast and the food is outstanding and budget friendly. Thank you, Mama’s Boy for hosting us! 

*This review was in partnership with Mama’s Boy. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*

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Pizza Nights are the Best Nights

A few years ago my husband got a pizza oven and ever since then we have been hooked on homemade pizza. Before Evelyn was born, we would have pizza night once a month with some friends, it was that intense. Now that Henry is older he loves to make his own pizza and add an array of toppings. Although we’ve had to refrain from letting him use candy, most of his creations are really yummy. I love seeing how he lays out the ingredients on the dough like a work of art. He’s really into putting things in rows so usually only half of his pizza has cheese on it 🙂

We’ve found that the best mozzarella is made by Stella® Cheese. Our favorite pizza to make at home consists of prosciutto, basil and fresh mozzarella. It’s so simple to make and always a crowd pleaser. Stella® cheeses are flavorful and combine old world craftsmanship with rich dairy heritage, dating back to 1923. From shredded to crumbled and sharp to sweet, the wide range of Stella® cheese products will infuse your meals with a hint of romantic flavor. Pizza nights are a great way to bring family and friends together for a laid back evening. They’re also a great way for young children to experiment with cooking and explore their independence. Henry loves to cook and is so happy when he helps daddy in the kitchen making pizzas. 

Stella® Cheese is all about togetherness and great food. Click here to receive your $1 off Stella Fresh Mozzarella coupon (through August 20) and be sure to follow Stella Cheese along on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram for some amazing recipe ideas! Do you have a favorite summer staple that your family loves? Please share in the comments below! 

Many thanks to Stella® cheeses for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to try their Fresh Mozzarella! 

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