DIY Meal Prep

You’re either 1, 2 or 3 weeks out from the start of school – and it’s going to get here fast – just like our sale in a few short weeks!!

To keep your sanity, how about a little meal prep for busy parents? Check out this week’s post from the JBF Corporate Blog!


meal prepThere’s no doubt how overwhelming meal prep can be. Sometimes trying to figure out what you want to eat for your next meal is hard enough, let alone an entire week! But with just a few tips, meal prep can become a breeze. Not only does it help you become more organized, there’s no debate over what’s for dinner and you save time on prep. Here are a few tips to help you meal prep like a pro!

Deciding What Will Be On The Menu

Before you start writing a grocery list, planning what you want to serve every night is key. The best time to do this is over the weekend, where you have time to concentrate and even get some input if you don’t want to do this part alone. You’ll start with deciding on one food category per week. There are a few foods categories – heavy protein, heavy carb, and specialty cuisine. Heavy protein will mostly consist of burgers, steak, chicken, pork, etc. Heavy carb will be pasta, rice, potatoes, chilis, and bread. Specialty cuisines are Italian food, pizza, Mexican, Asia, or anything else your family loves. Once you pick out a category, you can narrow down which meals you want to cook within that category. This helps cut down on time when deciding what to eat and helps narrow down your choices. Make sure to write down things you know your family will enjoy and you’ll enjoy making.

Meal Planning

After you’ve decided what meals you want to make, it’s time to put them on a calendar so you can schedule accordingly. Make sure to double check what events may be going on that week. If you have any appointments, meetings, or even birthdays it may have an effect on your meal plans. Meals that may take a little bit more time and effort should be scheduled for days that are lighter, versus a busy day. After you decide how you want to schedule your meals, don’t forget to add in sides or any family favorites! Once you have everything mapped out, you’re ready to start your grocery list. Tip: when making your grocery list for popular meals, try to save it or make an extra copy. That way when you make this meal again in the future, you don’t have to go back and look at recipes, and your list is ready to go! 

Planning Prep Schedules

This part is kind of scary if you’ve never done prep for future meals, but it’s actually pretty simple! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you never did it before. Not only does is help you plan out your week, it saves a huge amount of time if done right. You don’t need to be a professional, and it doesn’t have to be a chore. Make sure to pick a time where you’ll have a few hours to focus on what you need to do, what needs to be portioned, cut, or seasoned. If you know you need to make dough for a pizza, make it the night before. When it’s time for dinner, your prep time will be short and sweet. When trying to figure out what meals to make on busy days, think about leftovers. If you make double servings of dinner the night before, there’s no need to worry about what’s for dinner.

Veggie Prep

As soon as you get home from the store, try to start on some of the meal prep. Even if you can’t plan out meals right now, taking care of your produce all at once is a huge time saver. Slice and portion all of your veggies and fruits that you can. If you know you’re making something in the next few days that requires diced peppers, do it now and you won’t have to worry later. Make sure to use sealed bags and Tupperware, because moisture is not your friend. Portioning is a huge part of produce prep, too. If you cut fruit and have it portioned and ready to go, you have a healthy snack ready! Make sure to rinse all of your veggies and fruits before anything else.

Portioning Snacks

Whatever dry snacks you buy, try to portion them after you prep your produce. Portioning snacks really helps with portion control for the whole family! Additionally, when packing school lunches or snacks for sporting events, it super easy. Can you imagine reaching in the pantry, grabbing a Ziploc and throwing it in a bag? You may not be able to do this with all of your snacks, but you won’t regret portioning the rest.

And that’s about it! It may sound detailed or over-complicated, but it can really come in handy when time is not on your side. If you’re not super organized, don’t worry. The plans aren’t set in stone and you can’t plan everything! Look at the calendar as a guideline to make cooking a little more stress-free. Start out with just planning dinners, and if you come to love meal prep, add in breakfast and lunch too! There’s not really a wrong way to meal prep, but it can be a learning process. How do you feel about meal prep? Leave your comments for us below!

Quality Counts – Halloween Costumes

 Our JBF Fall Sale is perfect timing to reduce the inventory of your Halloween costumes. It’s time to let another doodle bug twirl like a princess or swashbuckle like a pirate!

Costumes are in HIGH demand at our Fall sale- and we want every little trick or treater to feel confident and happy in their costume. Please take close look at each of the layers, pieces, parts or supplies that complete your costume. No stains, missing pieces, cracked masks, ripped toule, broken swords, etc…..get Halloween off to a sweet start – and leave the “surprise, you get a stain!” item for the dress up bin or our donation bin!

Get a Move On – A Trip Around the World, Part 6

riso-1389481016rIDBrazil – the largest country in South America – is the next stop on our food tour of the world. Home of the world’s largest rain forest, Brazil is known for soccer, long beaches and the Amazon River. Kids of Brazil also love to eat! While the national dish of Brazil is “feijoada” (a dish of pork, rice, beans and onions), one of their popular specialties is tapioca pudding.

Children all over Brazil help their parents make this simple dessert – and often times find a way to have it as after school snack, too. Take a trip to Brazil by visiting the jell-o/pudding aisle of the grocery store. Kids can certainly help with the easy recipe, so spend some time with your child making dessert for dinner tonight. Ask them what it might be like to live in Brazil- and to see piranhas in the Amazon!

Last stop? The Native Americans of the USA


This is part of the Get a Move On series – keeping your child healthy through activity and movement.

Quality Counts – Bedding

We’re hoping you’re on your way to tagging some great stuff.

And we hope you’re really taking a hard look at the quality of your items – beyond clothes and shoes, too!

Today’s post is about bedding. This is such a cute little sleeping bag. Any Doc McStuffins fan would love….

…until it gets unrolled and you find a snag on her eyebrow and her hairband. What a bummer!

This is one of the ways your bedding needs to be inspected….snags and rips. Holes, stains, tears, etc all need to be  donated. In the Image can still use this, so feel free to bring it down to the sale, marked for the donate bin, and it’s still a win-win for all!

Healthy Snacks

It’s funny that the JBF Corporate Blog had a post about granola this week – just as we did our trip around the world to Australia and their love of the stuff.

If your kids are like my kids, they need to be involved in creating healthy food (if I am ever going to have a chance that they’ll eat it!).  So here’s a fun way to get your kids channeling their inner “down under” and have a little fun while they do it.

Enjoy!


granolaGranola bars are a staple in every pantry, but during the summer you can never have enough. But instead of store bought granola bars, how fun are homemade granola bars? Not only are they delicious but they’re even healthy! We’ve finally found the perfect recipe that your whole family can’t get enough of. The best part is, they’re no-bake and take only ten minutes to make.

Healthy Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking/instant oats, such as Quaker Quick 1-Minute Oats 
  • 1-3/4 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup flax meal or wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (or to taste)

Directions: 

  1. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large pot, combine the butter, brown sugar and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is slightly thickened about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
  3. Add the oats, rice cereal, almonds, and flax meal to the pan and fold with a rubber spatula until well combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down lightly with a rubber spatula to even out. Sprinkle the miniature chocolate chips over top, adding more or less to taste, and press down firmly with the spatula so the chips stick.The mixture should be tightly compacted in the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator for 1-1/2 – 2 hours to cool.
  5. Use the foil overhang to transfer the uncut bars to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into rectangles. Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you have to stack them, be sure to use parchment paper or foil in between the layers, otherwise, they’ll stick together and fall apart.

And there you have it! A delicious recipe, that’s easy to make and super fun to eat. Your whole family will love them and you’ll never have to buy store-bought granola bars again! What’s your favorite sweet summer snack? Leave your comments below!

Get a Move On – A Trip Around the World, Part 5

map-of-australiaGood Day Mate! Welcome to Australia – the next stop in our food tour around the world. Children in Australia grow up with koalas, kangaroos and wallabies in their country. While Australians live “down under” they start their day off right, just like us, with breakfast! One of their favorite breakfast cereals is muesli. Similar to granola, muesli is toasted oats, nuts, dried fruits and cereal flakes. You can find muesli in the cereal aisle in the grocery store.

Why not take a trip to Australia with your child over breakfast? Try mixing muesli with milk – like you do with cereal. Or, mix it with any flavored yogurt for a fun way to start the day. Remember to involve your child in learning and talking about Australia – try a morning of make believe and invite a koala over for breakfast!

Next stop? Brazil!


This is part of the Get a Move On series – keeping your child healthy through activity and movement.

Glitter Slime

Summer is in full swing – and we’re alllllllmost to the point where I am counting down the days until they go back. But ideas like this from the JBF Corporate Blog keep the fun in summer, even when “Momma Weary” sets in!

Enjoy!


GLitter slimeWith fireworks, good food, and the red white and blue, the month of July is one of the best times of the year. Whether it’s the parades, parties, or a good time with our loved ones, summer is always a good time. However, keeping the kids entertained isn’t always easy, with the excitement surrounding your those summer days. We’ve got an awesome glitter slime recipe for families of all ages, sure to make your summer special.

Glitter Slime

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 oz of white glue
  • Liquid starch
  • Food coloring – pink, blue, green and yellow
  • Glitter
  • Cups and craft sticks for mixing

Directions:

  1. First, mix 1/2 cup of white glue, 1 tbsp of water, food coloring, and glitter in a red solo cup.
  2. Use 3 different cups for each color. Use a craft stick to mix completely.
  3. After mixture is combined, add 1/4 cup of liquid starch.
  4. Keep stirring and slime will form. When slime forms, take the slime and begin kneading.
  5. If the slime starts to stick, add some more liquid starch. Be careful not to add more than 1 tsp at a time.
  6. Braid the three colors of slime for a marbled appearance.
  7. Store in a sealed container until you’re ready to put this colorful slime to good use!

And there you have it! A fun AND pretty way to display your creative side. This slime is perfect for kids, parents, and everyone in between. We hope you try making this slime to make this summer extra fun. What’s your favorite summer craft? Leave your comments below!

Quality Counts – Shoes, Part 2

So either Godzilla came in my house, or my son’s feet have grown another shoe size in the last six weeks. I’m really looking forward to the JBF sale coming up, his poor toes are in dire straits!

So I am going through and grabbing a few pairs of shoes that are still in great condition and I could sell. Sell some, buy some. #MomForTheWin!


Look at that happy face! Barely any scuff whatsoever. I’m thinking these are in great condition.


Mayday, Mayday! This is where your attention to detail and your commitment to the quality of your items counts.

Yes, the Pinterest hack works. A bread clip does keep the flip-flop in use. But it is not appropriate for a JBF sale. We need you to check not only the tops which look cute, but the bottoms as well. Remember this for flip-flops, gym shoes, boots, sandals, etc.

We are going from a good sale to a great sale, and your commitment to quality gets us there!

Happy Tagging!

Snack Time!

It’s blueberry time in West Michigan – WOOHOO!! If you’re not already loaded up on cherries and strawberries – or if you just bleed blue – it’s your time to shine! Thanks to the JBF Corporate Blog for this cute post on summer snacks. Happy Munching!


BlueberriesJuly is here, which means tons of family fun and full-time demand for hungry kiddos! If you’re tired of hearing “Mom, I’m hungry”, this one’s for you ladies! Whether you prefer fresh fruit and vegetables or prefer to go for something a little more exciting, we’re here to help with some summer snack hacks for all appetites. Not only do we have some great ideas that will make your summer go smoothly, they’ll also keep your kids happy!

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

What You’ll Need:

  • Colby-Jack Cheese Snacks
  • 30 Seedless Grapes
  • 1/2 lb fresh strawberries
  • 4 oz low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • Honey
  • Skewers

Directions

  1. Before cutting your fruit, cut cheese into rectangles or cubes – whichever you prefer.
  2. Then cut strawberries into thirds, or keep them whole if you prefer. However, make sure they still fit on your skewers!
  3. Following chopping the fruit and cheese, place ingredients on the skewers. Start with alternating cheese, grapes, and strawberries on skewers.
  4. Finally, drizzle honey over the vanilla yogurt and serve as a dip for fruit kabobs. Enjoy!

Apple Nachos

What You’ll Need:

  •  1 crisp, sweet apple
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped almonds

Directions:

  1. Before melting your drizzle, core your apple and slice completely. Arrange in a single layer on a plate.
  2. Then, put chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave for 15-20 seconds at a time, until completely melted and smooth. Mix between heating.
  3. Following step two, in a separate bowl, melt the peanut butter for 20-30 seconds, until soft. You’ll use this to drizzle over the apples with a spoon.
  4. Finally, Drizzle chocolate and peanut butter over the apples. Sprinkle coconut and almonds over the drizzle and enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Pizza

What You’ll Need: 

  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 whole bananas

Directions:

  1. Start by cutting watermelon into circular slices, then cut into quarter slices.
  2. However, before you begin topping your slices make sure all other fruit is chopped. When toppings are ready, start with some strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. Add or remove whatever fruit you prefer!
  3. Lastly, trim the rind of the watermelon if you wish, if not your snack is ready to eat and enjoy.

And there you have it, folks! After all, who doesn’t love a summer snack that tastes good AND is guilt free? Even if you love the classics like celery and peanut butter, trying out a new snack this summer is always a good idea. What are some of your favorite snacks that your family loves? Leave your comments below!