Fun 4th of July Treats | Cute Beltz

Somehow June has flown by and the 4th of July is right around the corner.   I’ve been looking for fun and festive 4th of July treats and desserts, and thought I would share some of the fabulous sweets I’ve found around the web.

Here are some 4th of July treat ideas that include just a few simple ingredients. No real cooking is involved- just some very easy assembly is required.

Red, White and Blue Strawberries

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Strawberries taste best in the summer but these juicy fruits might be too pretty to eat! Take a strawberry and dip it in melted white chocolate (I used the Baker’s brand) and then sprinkle blue sugar on the bottom tip of the berry. Keep the strawberries in the refrigerator on waxed paper until you’re ready to serve.

Ice Cream Sandwich Pops

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These treats are a kid-tested favorite and so easy to make it should be a crime. Cut an ice cream sandwich in half or use the mini sandwiches (I know Meijer has the mini ones.) Insert a wooden craft stick into the sandwich and then allow the ice cream to soften just a bit. Roll the ice cream in red, white and blue sprinkles and re-freeze on wax paper. Take out and serve when you’re ready.

Patriotic Cones

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These ice cream cones are just too fun and couldn’t be any simpler to make. Take a sugar cone and roll the top round part in melted white chocolate and then add red, white and blue sprinkles or colored sugar. Line them up on a wax-paper covered platter to harden and then bask in the admiration you will surely receive for your talent and creativity.

Red White and Blue Layered Popsicles

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Ingredients:

  • Blue Kool Aid (and sugar) or blue Gatorade
  •  Red Kool Aid (and sugar) or red Gatorade
  •  Vanilla yogurt
  • Cool whip
  •  Plastic cups or popsicle molds
  • Craft sticks

Directions:

1. Mix the blue kool aid as directed and pour into cups or popsicle molds for bottom layer. Freeze for 1 hour, or until mixture is beginning to freeze, but not yet hard.

2. In separate bowl mix 2 cups vanilla yogurt with 2 cups Cool whip. Spoon white mixture into popsicle molds. Insert craft sticks in an upright position into popsicle molds. Stick back in the freezer until solid (white mixture won’t get completely hard, but pretty firm).

3. Mix the red Kool Aid as directed and pour into cups for final layer. Freeze overnight or for at least 5 hours

If you feel like channeling your inner Martha Stewart, give any of these recipes a try and let us know how they turned out! Happy 4th of July everyone! – Cute Beltz

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5 Healthy Snacks For Kids | Cute Beltz

Serving healthy snacks to our kids is important not only for growth and development but also to support and encourage lifelong healthy eating habits.  Get your kids on board with healthy eating through these creative healthy snack choices your kids will love!

Peanut Butter

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This versatile childhood favorite has plenty of protein and fiber. For a change, try making silly PB&J sandwiches with toasted mini waffles or rice cakes instead of bread, or try it with yogurt and raspberries in a yummy frozen treat that’s super fun to eat.

Whole Grain Cereal

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With vitamins, calcium, and fiber, a bowl of enriched whole grain cereal with milk and fruit is a power-packed snack or healthy start to the day. For a fun and flavorful twist, try our cute clusters with yogurt-covered cereal and dried strawberries

Mini Waffle Cones

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Toast a frozen whole grain waffle and fill the waffle cone with cut-up fruit and top with low-fat vanilla yogurt.

Cheese and Fruit Kabobs

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Put cubes of low-fat cheese and grapes on pretzel sticks.  To add more variety add melon balls, berries, pineapple chunks, and cubed peaches for different creation every time.

Hummus

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Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus is an excellent dip for kids. It has an appealing nutty flavor, is thick enough not to be messy, and contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron. Serve hummus with cut-up vegetables or salt-free crackers for dipping, or use it to make a pita bread sandwich.

Smoothies

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Kids go crazy over these delicious sippable treats, and they’re packed with nutrients. Use nonfat vanilla yogurt, 100 percent orange juice, and a banana as the smoothie’s base, then experiment with a combination of cut-up fresh or frozen fruit. It’s a great way to sneak two or three servings of fruit and fiber into your child’s diet.

 What healthy snacks do you like serving your kids?   –Cute Beltz

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Delicious Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate all the wonderful things moms do. A perfect gift is to give mom a break from cooking.  Treat Mom to a delicious brunch this Mother’s Day with some of our favorite recipes.

Whole-Grain Waffles with Cherry Sauce

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There’s no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by making your mom a delicious, healthy brunch. Take advantage of spring fruits and vegetables for a delicious Mother’s Day menu. Enjoy our Whole-Grain Waffles with Cherry Sauce for a sweet breakfast or our Chard & Feta Tart, a satisfying savory dish your mom will love.

Ingredients

Cherry Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) pitted cherries (10-ounce package)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Waffles

  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups low-fat or nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

1. To prepare cherry sauce: Combine cherries, water, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Set aside.

2. To prepare waffles: Preheat oven to 200°F; place a large baking sheet on the center rack.

3. Whisk whole-wheat flour (see Measuring Tip), cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Lightly beat eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

4. Preheat a Belgian-style waffle iron. Lightly coat it with cooking spray. Add enough batter to cover about two-thirds of the surface (about 2/3 cup); distribute evenly with a spatula. Close and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the waffles to the baking sheet to keep warm until ready to serve; do not stack. Repeat with the remaining batter, using more cooking spray as needed. Warm the cherry sauce over medium heat until hot and bubbling; serve with the waffles.

Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad

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Packed with protein and fiber, this tuna and bean salad is ready in a flash. For an extra kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne.

Ingredients

  • 1 15- to 19-ounce can beans, such as chickpeas, black-eyed peas or kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2  5- to 6-ounce cans water-packed chunk light tuna, drained and flaked (see Note)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups mixed salad greens

Preparation

1. Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl.  Season with pepper and combine the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil and salt in a large bowl. Add salad greens; toss to coat. Divide the greens among 4 plates. Top each with the tuna salad.

Savory Ricotta Pancakes with Tomato-Chard Sauce

Pancakes transcend breakfast when they’re made with savory ricotta cheese and topped with an Italian tomato and Swiss chard sauce.

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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of (8-ounce) Swiss chard, tough ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed with press
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 can of (28-ounce) whole tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup of reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of margarine or butter, cut into three pieces
  • 1/4 cup of freshly shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

Preparation

1. Cut ribs and stems from Swiss chard leaves. Cut ribs and stems into 1-inch pieces; cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Rinse Swiss chard thoroughly in large bowl of cold water; swish to remove any dirt. With hands, transfer chard to colander, leaving dirt in bottom of bowl. Repeat process, changing water, until all the dirt is removed.

2. Prepare Tomato-Chard Sauce: In 4-quart saucepan, heat olive oil on medium until hot. Add onion and garlic, and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring. Add tomatoes with their puree and 1/4 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling on medium-high. Stir in Swiss chard; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Remove cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes longer or until chard is tender and sauce is thickened slightly, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; cover to keep sauce warm.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Prepare Savory Ricotta Pancakes: In blender or food processor with knife blade attached, blend egg yolks, ricotta, and milk until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and blend until smooth; transfer batter to 8-cup glass measure or medium bowl.

4. In small bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat egg whites just until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. With rubber spatula, fold beaten whites into batter.

5. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1 piece of margarine on medium. Drop batter by 1/4 cups into skillet, making 4 to 5 pancakes at a time. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges are dry and bottoms are browned. Turn pancakes over and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Transfer pancakes to platter; keep warm in oven.

6. Repeat with remaining margarine and batter to make about 16 pancakes in all. Serve pancakes with warm Tomato-Chard Sauce; sprinkle with shredded Romano.

Sunrise Bellini

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This slightly tart fruity Bellini recipe will zing you awake. It’s the prettiest color imaginable and it makes a brunch instantly fun! You can serve the Bellinis in champagne flutes or in simple Mason jars—be creative!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe papaya, peeled, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 12 fresh raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
  • 2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger (1/4 inch)
  • 2 cups fresh tangerine juice (from 6-7 tangerines) or orange-tangerine juice
  • 6 ice cubes
  • Honey to taste (optional)
  • 2 bottles (750-mL) Champagne or sparkling wine

Preparation

1. Puree papaya, pineapple, raspberries, lime zest, mint and ginger in a blender until completely smooth. Add juice and ice and blend until the ice is crushed. If the mixture is too tart for your taste, add 1 tablespoon honey at a time, blending after each addition, until it’s as sweet as you like. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

2. To serve, stir the Bellini mixture and divide among 8 glasses. Very slowly top each drink with wine. Gently stir, if necessary. (You’ll have about two-thirds of a bottle remaining; top off drinks as desired.)

 

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Simple Solutions to Help Transform Your Picky Eater

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Has your preschooler refused to eat anything other than chicken nuggets for the past two days? Or would your toddler rather play than eat anything at all?  There are so many possible reasons for picky eating, but whatever the reason; finding ways to deal with it is a good place to focus your energy and attention. Remember…celebrate every little accomplishment…one bite leads to more!  Check out our simple solutions to help transform your picky eater!

Get Them Involved

Although your first instinct may be to shoo your toddler from the kitchen, studies show that kids who do some mealtime prep are more enthusiastic about trying the fruits (and veggies) of their labor. So let your toddler sprinkle cheese onto the pasta, toss the blueberries into the oatmeal, or spin the salad spinner.  Chances are they will be more willing to try something they helped make.

Be Patient With New Foods

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Young children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure to a new food before he or she takes the first bite. Encourage your child by talking about a food’s color, shape, aroma and texture — not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child’s favorite foods.

Eat Together When You Can

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Sure, it’s hard to get everyone to the table, but try to eat together a few times a week. After all, toddler see, toddler do: Your child’s more likely to want a bite of something if he sees the rest of the family enjoying it.

Be Creative and Make it Fun

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Little tricks can sometimes encourage better eating. For instance, you could cut foods into fun shapes using cookie cutters. Turn mealtime into a game to see who can “eat all their colors.” Or try an at-home picnic for a change of scenery.

Get creative with presentation too! Your child’s plate doesn’t always have to look the same.  You can string beans or noodles around the edge of the plate. Try alternating veggies, meat and grain in mini-piles or stripes all over the plate, or combine them to make a design.  Use anything other than a kitchen plate to serve up food. It’s so easy to use colorful containers, toy dishes, an ice cube tray, or a muffin tin as dishes. These platters often make a meal or snack more interesting to a child.

How do you make mealtime fun for your child? – Cute Beltz

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Fun Frozen Treats For Hot Summer Days

On those hot summer days spent at the park with your little ones running around, there is nothing like coming home and making something cold and sweet for them to cool down. Frozen treats are fun and delicious, no matter how old you are. Today we’ll be bringing you all sorts of simple ideas for frozen treats to make and enjoy with your kids.

Kiwi Ice Pops

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Glowing in green, these sweet and tart kiwi ice pops appeal to kids and adults alike. This recipe is not only refreshing but no-fuss, making it one of the coolest ways to extinguish summer’s sizzle.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup(s) water
  • 1 cup(s) sugar
  • 4 kiwis
  • 1/2 cup(s) (about 4 limes) fresh lime juice

Directions

1. Make the syrup: Combine 1 cup of water with the sugar in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Set aside to cool.

2. Make the ice pops: Using a paring knife, cut kiwis into quarters, peel, and remove the white core and seeds from each piece. Place the seeded kiwi pieces in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée to a liquid — about 1 minute. Combine the puréed kiwi, 3/4 cup syrup, lime juice, and remaining 3/4 cup water in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into molds and freeze until solid — about 6 hours.

Lemon Sorbet

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This fragrant sorbet can be served as an intermezzo to cleanse the palate and stimulate the appetite, or be presented, instead, with not-too-sweet cookies for a light dessert. Add fresh herbs to the sorbet to give this treat an unexpected twist.

Ingredients

  • 10 sprig(s) mint, stemmed
  • 4 teaspoon(s) mint sprigs, finely chopped
  • 3 sprig(s) thyme
  • 3 cup(s) sugar
  • 3 cup(s) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon(s) lemon zest, finely grated

Directions

1. Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in three small saucepans. Add the mint leaves to one pan and the thyme sprigs to another. Bring all three to a boil, remove from the heat, and steep for 12 minutes. Strain each steeping mixture into a separate bowl, stir 1 cup lemon juice into each, and cool completely. Process each batch separately — starting with plain and ending with thyme — in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions for sorbet. Stir the finely chopped mint into the mint-infused sorbet once it has set. Stir the lemon zest into the plain lemon mixture when it has set. Place a film of plastic wrap directly on the sorbet surface in an airtight container and freeze until firm — about 1 hour.

Watermelon Pops

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Don’t be fooled by these frozen treats! Made from sorbet blended with mini chocolate chips, they’re a great cool down dessert on hot summer days.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberry sorbet
  • 2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup lemon sorbet
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • wedge-shaped popsicle molds
  • popsicle sticks

Directions

1. To make a batch, mash together 1 cup strawberry sorbet, 2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl.

2. Put the mixture into wedge-shaped popsicle molds (we used six 2-ounce molds), filling each about two-thirds full.*

3. Spoon a thin, even layer of lemon sorbet on top. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup lemon sorbet, 2 drops green food coloring, and 1 tablespoon water.

4. Spoon a layer into each mold and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze the pops for at least four hours.

Ice-cream Cookie Cups

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This summer, double your pleasure by serving your family’s favorite ice-cream flavors in edible chocolate chip cookie bowls.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. To make the cookie cups, beat together the shortening, butter, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until combined.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, baking powder, and flour, then gradually stir them into the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flat disk, and wrap it in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

4. Heat the oven to 375º. Turn two 12-cup muffin tins bottom side up and cover 10 of the cup bottoms with squares of aluminum foil (use every other cup so there’s some space between them). Grease the foil with shortening and set it aside.

5. Unwrap 1 disk of dough, place it between 2 sheets of waxed paper, and roll it out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out 4-inch circles of dough and place each one over a cup bottom, smoothing out any cracks. Repeat with the other disk, rerolling and reusing any scraps.

6. Bake the cookie cups for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Let them cool for 10 minutes, and then remove the foil and cookies together from the muffin pan. Peel off the foil and let the cups cool completely on a rack. Just before serving, fill each cookie cup with a scoop of ice cream. Makes 10.

What are some other ideas that would make great frozen treats?

 

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