There are some things I can tolerate and other things that make me cringe when it comes to processed foods and nutrition.  Artificial food colorings is something that makes me cringe.  So when my daughter asked me for princess pink cupcakes for her birthday, I smiled and stepped up to the task.  My solution to avoid Red #40 was Beet Juice Powder made by Pines.

Beet Juice Powder for Food Coloring


It is simple to use.  Just add a little powder to a couple drops of water and mix well.  Add the drops of the mixed liquid to anything you want to make pink or purple.  The more you add, the deeper the color.  I have used this with cupcake icing, milk, pancake batter and cake batter.

What are your tips to reduce food coloring but give your child the foods that are marketed to them?


#BlogginMamas Kids' Choice Awards Presenter Swag Bag and $500 The Childrens' Place Giftcard Giveaway

Ever watch one of those award shows on TV and wish you could score some of the awesome swag that the celebrities take home? Well. I’ve teamed up Bloggin’ Mamas & Hollywood Swag Bags to make that wish a reality. One lucky winner will receive a Swag Bag that was given out to Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards 2014 Presenters and Nominees ($800 Value) + a $500 giftcard sponsored by The Children’s Place.

The giveaway starts 4/17/14 at 12:01am EST and ends 4/30/14 at 11:59pm EST. It is open to United States Residents 18 and over. Winner will be selected via and notified via email within 48 hours after the drawing. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Winner’s name will be displayed via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Here is some of what you might find in your swag bag if you win:

  • Buddy Ball The Buddy Ball is a multi functional toy that can go from a teddy bear into a ball in a matter of seconds. The soft plush also stores a variety of kid treasures inside. The company gifted the nominees with a variety of their bears named Max, Eva, Landry and Sam.
  • OPPOS A line of girls leggings featuring interchangeable legs. Short for opposites, OPPOS™ enables girls to mix and match the legs of their leggings for a different look every day of the month (and beyond).
  • Various pieces of AngieShel Design’s gorgeous handcrafted jewelry.
  • Ericka La Presle-Freer, creator of Starbars is added her gourmet organic super food bar in a delicious mint chocolate chip flavor.
  • The “Brain Bar” was included to help nominees get their “Think On”, particularly helpful during an acceptance speech.
  • Darby’s English Toffee is the finest toffee maker in Southern California. They have added their classic box for the nominees.
  • Author Jennifer Ormond gifted her precious book Baby’s Binky Box.
  • Oxylent Multivitamin Supplement Drink Oxygenates, hydrates, circulates and rejuvenates. Drink Oxylent Breathe Life.
  • SeaSnax, a favorite among celebrities, launched a new product “Chomperz” to all the recipients. Chomperz can be described similar to a chip, but with the low calories and nutrition of seaweed. SeaSnax are gluten free and all natural. Try Chomperz and you will be hooked.
  • Crave Naturals included three items from their product line, featuring the best selling Glide Thru Detangling Brush, Whiplash Eyelash Curler & Mirage Argan Oil.
  • Tat Patch takes your ripped, destroyed and distressed jeans to a new level. Tat Patches go on the inside, peeking out. Everyone received an assortment of cool designs.
  • DidiPopMusic supplied nominees with a collection of her smart and soulful music for kids.
  • Rusk Hair made sure the nominees’ hair was perfectly groomed with its entire line of products.
  • Nominees over the age of 21 enjoyed Tipsy Girl Wine Design Custom bedazzled wine glasses for the sophisticated oenophile.
  • Focal Instincts Photography is including a gift certificate for award winning photography.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you know 1 in 2 children are on some form of food assistance? Did you know that 1 in 5 children do not know where their next meal is coming from and go to be hungry every night? Please read our story and learn how you can get involved below. Not to mention there is a great nutrient dense smashed sweet potato recipe below I know you will love to make.

I am excited to introduce to you my intern, Allison Tait! She is a senior at the University of Scranton studying Community Health Education. This semester I had the honor to work with her at the Al Beech/West Side Food Pantry on our project called Children Feeding Children.

This is her guest post:

Children Feeding Children: children helping end childhood hunger!


Children Feeding Children is in celebration of National Nutrition Month presented by Al Beech West Side Food Pantry, Wyoming Valley Montessori School and The Northeast Pennsylvania Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics.

In March, I visited with students at the Wyoming Valley Montessori School district to educate them on food insecurity, nutrition and the food pantry needs. The students worked in a group and developed and sponsor a portion of the Easter dinner for 100 families.

On April 16th, families will receive an Easter bag full of food, a $20.00 gift card to Gerrity’s Grocery Store (sponsored by Church of Christ Uniting), and a ham from Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO). During the Easter basket pick-up, CEO and the University of Scranton will conduct a healthy cooking demonstration and nutrition education session using food items in their Easter Bags.

Below is the recipe I am presenting at the cooking demonstration this week, mashed sweet potatoes. Not only is this recipe packed with Vitamin A and Calcium it is also has brain boosting fat and taste really great- a perfect food to feed a child.

Calcium Rich Sweet Potatoes

Smashed Potatoesphoto 1(1)


4.8 from 8 reviews

Calcium Rich Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Recipe type: Side Dish
  • 15 oz canned sweet potatoes or yams
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (vanilla would work too)
  • 4 Tbsp. walnuts, slivered
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Combine sweet potatoes, yogurt, cinnamon, salt, and butter together mixing until smooth
  2. Transfer to serving dish
  3. Top with nuts
  4. Enjoy!

Black Beans and Rice


  • 1 can drained and rinsed black beans
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. cumin or to taste (taco seasoning will work well too)


  • Cook rice according to directions
  • Over medium low heat add all other ingredients, mixing well until warm

Al Beech/West Side Food Pantry

Need Food?

If you are not in our community, please refer to Feeding America to find a pantry near you.

Contact: 570-288-8434 or 288-0934

Area served: West Side communities from Edwardsville to Exeter in Pennsylvania

Times of operation: Tuesday & Friday, 10:00am – 11:00am (pick-up)

Eligibility and requirements: Clients must pre-register Monday or Thursday by phone between 1:00 & 2:30pm.

Proof of residency required

  • medical card wth address
  • driver’s license with current address
  • utility bill with current address

Eligible persons can receive food up to twelve times a year plus Christmas and Easter.

What to volunteer at pantry?

Please email the President, Clancy Harrison, at, if you are interested in volunteering and helping us feed children. The pantry is always looking for volunteers to help with the packing, sorting and distribution of food. We are also looking for new and inventive ways to collaborate with many organizations as this great story demonstrates. Clancy enjoys working with children and teaching them about nutrition, food insecurity, and getting them involved in the community! We look forward to your ideas and input.