Fun Strawberry Lemonade Mocktail Recipe

 

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far! My name is Lauren Pickens and I’m so excited to be posting my second guest blog here on The HighChair Chic. You can read my first post here, which is a Healthy Eating Essentials post. You can also visit my website, where I discuss pop culture, lifestyle, and much more!

Today I will be sharing a recipe for a strawberry lemonade mocktail. It’s super easy and a drink that you can enjoy with the whole family.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries or frozen strawberries

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water


Lemon juice

Plain seltzer water

Ice cubes

The first half of the ingredients will be used to make your strawberry simple syrup. Simple syrups are used in cocktails and other drinks to give a powerful burst of flavor. Instead of using store bought syrups that are full of preservatives and chemicals, we’re going to make our own!

Put the strawberries, water, and sugar into a medium sized pot and bring your ingredients to a boil.

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Next let it simmer for around 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once you strawberries are falling apart take it off of the heat. If you are using frozen strawberries it will take about 25 minutes.

Using a strainer filter out the bits of strawberry skin and put your syrup into a bowl so that it can cool.

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Now your simple syrup is done! All that’s left to do is to put it in the refrigerator to cool until it is completely chilled. For me this was a few hours.

Once the syrup is done cooling you can mix your drinks. You can change the portions depending on how sweet/sour you want your drink.

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In each of my cups I put about 4, cubes of ice, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of strawberry syrup, and filled the rest of the glass up with seltzer to balance out the flavors.

Once you have added the ingredients use a straw or spoon to stir it and enjoy!

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This would be perfect for a holiday party or family night when you want to do something a little special!

If you liked this post please follow my blog, twitter, and instagram for more!

Healthy Eating Essentials

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Hello Highchair Organizer audience! My name is Lauren Pickens. I am a fellow lifestyle blogger and writer, and I am proud to introduce my first guest blog on this site. Today I thought that I would share some of my personal secrets to something that we all struggle with, healthy eating. As I am a college student, I try to keep the base of my diet as natural as possible to keep up with my busy lifestyle. However, due to time and budget constraints it can become easy to eat processed unhealthy foods. Below, I have listed three items that I make sure to have in my kitchen at all time that make eating healthy meals easy and affordable whether you are making meals for a single person or a family.

1. Avocados

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Photo credit: Farmanac
This super food will get you full and satisfied in no time. There are so many ways to eat them. You can make some easy guacamole with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh salsa. Or, add a few slices to a turkey sandwich to make it more filling.
My personal favorite way to eat avocados is put them on top of whole grain toast for breakfast. When they are ripe (when the avocado can be easily squeezed), just put it directly on your toast and sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper to taste. This is perfect for those days when you need to throw something healthy together for breakfast!

2. Detox tea

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Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
If you are a tea lover, then you should give detox tea a try. The brand Yogi makes detox teas in a variety of different flavors. You can find this brand at Walmart and all major grocery chains, and a box goes for an average of about three to five dollars. They are all natural and are a healthier alternative for morning coffee on days that you feel a little sluggish or lethargic.
Detox tea can help to cleanse your body and regulate the digestive system. I can really tell the difference when I drink it 3-5 times a week. If you have gone through a week of unhealthy or binge eating, drinking detox tea every day for a week can help you get back on track.

3. Spinach

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Photo credit: michelle@TNS
This leafy green vegetable is full of vitamins, iron, and calcium. You can incorporate spinach into all three meals of the day in order to create colorful and healthy dishes.
Breakfast: Adding spinach to a smoothie can be an easy way to create a great tasting green smoothie. Blend together about five pieces of ice, three strawberries, one banana, a handful of spinach, and about a ½ cup of water or soy milk. Green smoothies can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t tried one, but this recipe is great because the sweetness of the fruit camouflages any taste of the spinach.
Lunch: For an easy lunch salad; I toss together freshly washed spinach leaves, dried cranberries, some feta cheese, and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette.
Dinner: Spinach is great to add into any pasta dish and works well with a variety of sauces, including pesto and cream based sauces. When you have boiled the pasta just cook the spinach down in a separate pan with a bit of coconut or olive oil and add it to the dish once you have added the sauce that you are using. This simple addition turns an ordinary pasta dish into a more health conscious alternative.

Follow me on Twitter at @laurenpickens92, and tell me in the comments below if you have any holy grail food items!

Volunteer much?

Giving back is something I always try to do…in some form or fashion.  My passion for the past 3 years has been working with a non-profit organization called Not By Bread AloneNot By Bread Alone gives food boxes to 70 families in need each week – no questions asked.  Why this is important to me is simple.  As a girl, my grandmother would always say to me “You don’t know where you’re going. You only know where you’ve been.”  Simply stated you don’t know where this game called life will take you.  You only know of the fortunes you’ve had in the past. With that in mind each Friday for 2 hours I assist in making and passing out food boxes.

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It is never too early to get your children involved in volunteering.  My 2-year daughter goes with me each week while I volunteer.  While she is too young to officially “help”, she is not too young to understand what we are doing.  My dedication to the project instills in her the spirit of volunteerism. Getting involved in volunteering at a young age can set a life-long pattern of advancing the common good. There are many great opportunities for community service for kids that will expand their social circle, teach them empathy and compassion, and increase their chances of success in life.

Encourage your kids to start by looking into volunteer opportunities with the organizations closest to them. Their school may have a volunteer program that can arrange placements for them. Perhaps they could volunteer at a local library or community center? Joining a scouting organization is another great way to find opportunities to give back to the community. Whatever the organization, whatever the cause, giving back is a good thing!

Turkey Time!

The Highchair Organizer staff is all for healthy eating! Teaching manners and incorporating a balanced diet starting from the highchair are two things we are truly passionate about. The last post helped us all keep our sanity while transitioning into the holiday season, but what do we do once the holiday fever actually hits? We eat, eat, give, and then eat again! How can we not all of our favorite, yummy, once a year treats are everywhere!

This year lets try something different by merging our treats with our healthy habits. For example, the kids can still enjoy grandma’s homemade cookies, but give out small portions. While fixing your child’s plate make sure to add veggies and fruits as well. Or to avoid over eating, give your little one a healthy snack before the big family feast. These tips can be helpful for us parents too, it takes 10-15 minutes for our brain to register that we are full, try to wait before jumping up for seconds.

No one likes a Grinch so there is no need to decline a dinner invite just to stay on track with your healthy eating, just remember moderation is key. This will also take away that awful feeling of being too full or too tired to enjoy family time after dinner.

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A Little Turkey Day Humor

The Back to School Struggle

 

 

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Tomorrow is the the 1st of August, which only means one thing: The first day of school is quickly approaching… I know a lot of parents who are more than ready for school to start, however for my family getting back into the school year routine has always been stressful!! Do the kids have new clothes that fit, do we have enough paper and pencils, are they going to pack a lunch or eat the cafeteria food?

The last question is usually a no-brainer for the kids– hard for me. Of course they want to pack a lunch over eating cafeteria food (and I don’t blame them!) , but that is just one more thing we as parents have to worry about!

I try to encourage my children to eat healthy, get enough fruits and vegetables, you know the drill. But normally once school starts this all starts to slip. We start packing whats EASY – not whats HEALTHY.

This school year, however, is going to be different! Packing lunches from now on is going to be something fun that the kids and I can do together. This way they will learn what foods they need to eat to stay healthy and it gives them the option of picking out the foods they love most.

Here are some simple tips I thought of to start following when packing school lunches. Seems easy enough! 🙂
1. Avoid pre-packaged, processed foods. Although they are fast and easy, they are extremely high in sodium and preservatives.
2. Don’t be afraid to use leftovers! If your kid loved last nights dinner, pack it in a thermos for them to enjoy for lunch.
3. Pack foods from each food group. This includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and diary.
4. Make it fun! To get your kids to pack healthier foods, make a game out of it. See how many grapes they can fit in one ziploc bag or time how long it takes them to make the perfect turkey sandwich.
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Hope these tips make it easier for you all to pack school lunches as well! What other tips or advice do you have for making healthy but delicious school lunches??