Tag Archives: back to school

Back to College Essentials

The end of August calls for many exciting things: the symbolic end of summer, last minute vacations and of course the infamous start of a new school year. For some, this is the start of a new college semester. College living isn’t always the most comfortable years of your life. It usually consists of small dorms/apartments and super-size boxes of Ramen noodles (they have helped me thrive in college). However, finding ways to make your college space useful and livable is the key to a great experience. Downsizing is difficult to do after living in a large space for a while. Finding products that help you minimize while still maximizing your living space is essential to campus living. Here are some products that can help you utilize your new lifestyle:


1450957343998GreekGirl Beauty Protein Powder (As featured in our August issue!)
It’s important to stay healthy at all stages of life, including college. However, its tough to maintain a good diet with pizza everyday around campus and dining halls with unhealthy choices. Protein powder can be the perfect solution because it offers all the nutrients you need in a meal. It also never goes bad and takes up very little space!

Storage Ottomans
Finding multiple uses for an item can make things much simpler. Storage is the number one concern when it comes to downsizing and it can be tricky trying to fit your life in a small space. A storage ottoman is a good resolution because it’s seating for a guest and a place to put books or shoes. Utilizing the purposes of things in different ways in your new home can make the place more practical.

Lap desk
It’s vital that you take full advantage of the space you have so putting useless furniture, like a desk, in the room isn’t a way to maximize the space. Instead of a desk that you will most likely rarely use, try a lap desk. You can sit on the floor or your bed and do work and store it out of sight when you’re done!

32305708_000_aDry shampoo from Farmaesthetics (As featured in our August issue!)
Dry shampoo is a go-to when it comes to busy college schedules. It absorbs the oils in your hair to make it as fresh as it was days ago. It also doesn’t strip your hair out like shampooing does if you wash your hair every day. Throw a can in your purse for a hair boost wherever you go!

Phone charging purse
Once again, finding products that have more than one purpose is a way to maximize your lifestyle. One product that I have found useful is a purse that can charge your phone. Never go a night out again and worry about your phone dying! These are also perfect for people that are on the go every day.

Written by Stacy Shrader

Banish Lunchbox Blues with Grapes

When it comes to packing a school lunch, you know the drill: Lay out two slices of bread. Spread one with peanut butter, the other with jelly. Press together, slice diagonally and place in sandwich bag. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Of course good ol’ PB&J is a lunchbox staple, but who doesn’t crave something just a little different every now and then? Here are some quick and easy ideas that are sure to earn an A-plus with your kids:

*Add halved grapes to chicken salad for a refreshing take on this timeless sandwich filling. Pack it in a separate container, and provide crackers for a crunchy alternative to bread.
*Offer a mix of baby carrots and sugar snap peas with hummus for a smashing side.
For creative sandwich substitutes, think outside the bread box:
* Create a bento-box-style, snackable lunch combo: include cheese and crackers, fresh grapes from California, and a small handful of nuts.
* Make a sandwich rollup, using flatbread or flour tortillas as the base, or stuff pita pockets with filling, as a fun replacement for sliced bread.
* Tuck whole-grain tortilla chips and salsa, a side of black bean and corn salad, plus cheese and grapes for a Mexican spin on lunch.
* Looking for a gluten-free alterative? Try a cheese stick rolled with a slice of ham, with grapes on the side.
*Shape-shift familiar lunch items to add interest: offer cheese cubes, apple rings, carrot coins, and tortilla pinwheels.
*Tuck in a cluster of fresh grapes from California for an easy finger food that’s juicy and hydrating too.

After school, a good snack can revive and refresh your student for homework time and afterschool activities. Smoothies are a great-tasting option, offering unlimited possibilities for ingredient combos and the ability to customize to everyone’s liking. Plus, they’re a nutritious way to tide over tummies until dinner, or even start the day at breakfast, by providing an excellent source of protein.
Grapes and yogurt are a classic combination, and this great-tasting smoothie proves the point: creamy and naturally sweet, simple to make and easy to embellish as desired. Just whirl all the ingredients in the blender and you’ve got a delicious superfood smoothie.

21329564Grape smoothie

1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt
2 cups red California seedless grapes
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 banana (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour and serve.

Yield: Makes 1 3/4 cups.

Note: To make a green smoothie, use green California grapes instead of red, and toss in a handful of spinach leaves.

Nutritional analysis per serving: calories 192; protein 5 g; carbohydrate 39 g; fat 1.5 g; 7 percent calories from fat; cholesterol 7.5 mg; sodium 100 mg; calcium 205 mg; fiber 1.5 g.

For more grape ideas, go to GrapesfromCalifornia.comfacebook.com/GrapesfromCalifornia,twitter.com/GrapesfromCApinterest.com/GrapesfromCA.

Back-To-School Foods

It’s back-to-school season and Liz Bushong has some great tips for parents who want to create healthy lunches for their kids.

For example, give your children ownership in the process of making their lunch selections. It will encourage them to eat healthy and teach personal responsibility.

VIP Healthy school lunch- categories-binsBuy six clear storage containers or baskets. Label each container with these categories; Protein, Whole Grain, Veggies, Fruit, Drinks and Snacks. Kids will select one item from each container to pack in their lunch.

For creative after school snacks, try these fun recipes from Liz:

Back- to- School Cupcakes

24 Baked Lemon Cupcakes
Lemon butter cream frosting tinted with Golden Yellow color paste
24 Red M&M’s- for apples
1 cup Royal Icing– separated- 3/4 white 1 /4 tinted leaf green for apple stems
24 White Good & Plenty candies or a tic tack would work too- as the chalk
24 Fudge covered graham cookies- Keebler Delux Grahams –chalkboards- extra for practicing.

Place royal icing in disposable piping bag, fitted with a # 2 tip OR place white butter cream frosting in plastic bag with a tiny clipped corner of the bag for piping. Pipe letters or numbers on graham cookies, covering only the top 2/3 of cookie. (You will be inserting it into the cupcake later and will eliminate the bottom 1/3). Set aside to dry. To make the leaf on the apple-tint 1/4 white royal icing -or butter cream frosting greenchalkboardcupcakes and using a toothpick, top each red M&M with the frosting. Cut a 2 inch slit on top of the frosted cupcake then insert the chalkboard cookie, position the apple and the chalk (Good & Plenty) as pictured in the photo.

Serve these on a chalkboard cake pedestal to add to the back- to- school theme.
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Edible Pencils for Back- to -School

Roll of Rollo® candies  or  Cheddar Cheese Sticks
Golden Yellow, and Pink solid scrapbooking paper- (Candy pencil only)
Wrapped Hersey Kisses for Rolo Candy Pencil or Bugles® for Cheese Stick pencil
Raisins for Cheese Sticks, (point of pencil)
¼ cup peanut or almond butter (Cheese pencil only)
Strips of aluminum foil- folded into ¼ inch pieces. (Candy pencil only)

Measure the length of candy roll to determine the length and width. Cut golden yellow scrapbook paper the diameter and length of the candy roll. Cut pink paper into stripes wide enough and long enough to cover the end of the pencil to resemble an eraser. You can use pinking shears to cut one end of the yellow paper to resemble a sharpened edge. Hot glue or using double sided- tape to attach the golden yellow paper to the roll/stick then tape or glue the pink paper to the end.  candypencilHot glue the kiss as the pencil lead. Using about 1/4 inch of alum foil.  Wrap this foil around the top of the yellow paper as a pencil band. This will cover any paper ends at the top of the pencil. To assemble Cheese Stick Pencil:  Unwrap cheese stick.  Fill Bugle with peanut or almond butter.  Attach Bugle to one end of cheese stick.  Attach raisin to end of Bugle with peanut butter to create pencil lead point.  Serve immediately.


Peanut Butter  & Jelly Bar Cookies
Recipe adapted : Patty Flowers, Midland, Texas

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups peanut butter morsels, divided
1 cup Cherry jam or jelly of choice

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add peanut butter, egg and vanilla, mix well. Combine flour, soda, baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture, mix well. Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (2)Reserve one cup of dough. Stir one cup peanut butter morsels into remaining dough, press into bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Spread jam evenly over the dough.  Crumble reserved dough over jam, and sprinkle with remaining morsels. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely and cut into bars. Cookies may be frozen.
Yield:  3 dozen- depends on how you cut the bars.

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! ®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™.

To purchase her cookbooks or find recipes, cooking, and decorating ideas, go to www.lizbushong.com. Like and Share Liz on Facebook, tweet @lizbushong and pin on pinterest.com/lizbushong.




Crock Pot Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats
Pinch of salt
4 cups water

Put it all in a crock pot on LOW when you go to bed. It will be ready when you awake. Let everyone add their own unsweetened almond milk, nuts, chi seeds or flax seed meal, raisins or frozen blueberries or sliced bananas or diced apple and some cinnamon. (If your family is used to a super-sweet package instant oatmeal, you may want to add a little REAL maple syrup-drizzle it on the top so they can get a little with each bite) Serves 4

Written by Heather Millar Quintana

To find out more healthy back-to-school recipes, pick up our latest issue on stands now!