Easy Lentil & Spring Green Salad with Mac & Cheese

Easy Lentil & Spring Green Salad with Mac & Cheese


You guys know by the recipes I tend to post here that I like to create meals that are quick and easy. I think one of the reasons I disliked cooking for so long was due to the time involved in making elaborate dishes from scratch. It took me a while to realize that it is indeed possible to prepare meals for myself and my family that can accommodate a busy lifestyle by saving time, but are still nutritious and delicious. I’ve found that the key to doing this is, like most things in life, balance. A balanced plate that contains, for example, one frozen item (frozen prepared foods are a great time saver and there are so many new dishes and flavors to choose from!) alongside a unique salad or homemade veggie dish, makes for the perfect meal. And today I’m sharing with you my current favorite – lentil and spring green salad with baked macaroni and cheese.

Easy Lentil & Spring Green Salad with Mac & Cheese
Easy Lentil & Spring Green Salad with Mac & Cheese

Makes 5-6 servings

INGREDIENTS

Mac and Cheese
1 package Stouffer’s Family Size Macaroni & Cheese

Salad
1-1/2 cup of steamed lentils
1 bag of organic spring greens
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
handful of raw almonds

Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 lemon

Prepare the Stouffer’s Family Size Macaroni & Cheese according to package directions (either in the oven or microwave). For the salad, put spring greens into a large salad bowl. Slice tomatoes in half, and add to bowl, along with lentils (I buy them pre-steamed) and almonds. Toss. For dressing, whisk together the olive oil and mustard, then cut lemon in half, squeeze in juice, and whisk again. Pour dressing over salad and serve alongside the mac and cheese.

Easy Lentil & Spring Green Salad with Mac & Cheese
Easy Lentil & Spring Green Salad with Mac & Cheese

Everyone in this house is a big fan of this meal. The lentil and spring green salad perfectly balances out the rich flavor of the macaroni and cheese, and it ends up being a hearty, delicious dinner or lunch that is incredibly simple to put together – which for working parents of a three year old and a one year old is a lifesaver. And I love how the Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese recipe includes real, simple ingredients, like freshly made pasta, cheddar cheese, milk and butter.

We know that everyone wants to eat better but needs inspiration and simple solutions to choose from so they can make it a reality more often. This dish is just one of endless possible combinations that work within the concept of balancing your plate. To build a balanced meal, use frozen prepared foods as your base and pair with an easy-to-make side dish made of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and/or low-fat dairy. It’s a great way to enjoy a nutritious, tasty meal without the effort of making an entire dinner from scratch.

Easy Lentil & Spring Green Salad with Mac & Cheese

If you try these recipes for your balanced plate, I’d love to hear what you think! And if you want to see this meal being prepared, stop by my Instagram and check out the short video I put together the last time we made it.

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Danish red fox takes out Eurasian eagle owl nestlings

The cute little red fox is quite a savage beast. It also shows us that the current fad for filming rare or relatively rare birds on nests with the use of web cameras can sometimes wind up with the ending we weren’t expecting:

 

 


Natural History

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4 Mama Daughter Eyewear Looks for Summer

4 Mama Daughter Eyewear Looks for Summer

I’m going to start this post (sort of) off-topic and say that one major thing I’ve learned as a parent is that you’re not likely to do things the way you think you’re going to do them. I mean, I was absolutely certain my kids would never use iPads (until they were much older), that they would never eat sugar or even non-organic foods, and that the kids wouldn’t sleep in our bed. (Let’s just say that none of these things have gone as planned, and I totally cool with it.) I was also sure I would never do the “mommy and me” dressing thing with Essley. And while we don’t dress alike the majority of the time, she has been big into wanting to wear “matching things” lately, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much fun that is for me as well.

Most recently, Essley has been fascinated by my glasses, and asking to get glasses of her own. (While you guys mostly see photos of me in contact lenses, I actually wear glasses most of the time.) So when the opportunity arose for Ess and I to get several pairs of super cute, just-for-fun matching frames from Visionworks to wear as accessories showcasing four different spring/summer eyewear trends, we were both really excited. And today I’m sharing some photos from these different looks with you, taken on a few different occasions over the last couple of weeks.

Look 1: Pretty in Pink. My daughter and I may have a lot in common in terms of what we like, but when it comes to colors, we are on opposite sides of the fence. I’m a neutrals girl, and she is all sparkles and 100% pink. She stops strangers to tell them pink is her favorite color, and if she had it her way, every single item in her wardrobe would be a shade of that color. So it only makes sense that her favorite pairs of our matching frames are these pink-embellished beauties from Chelsea Morgan and Visionworks. I admittedly only own one pink clothing item – this tunic/dress I picked up at a Free People in Arizona last year – but I love it, and it’s the perfect piece to pair with these sweet, feminine frames. And Essley’s pink dress (one of many she owns) goes perfectly with them as well.

Look 2: Shopping Chic. When we have a mama daughter day and I ask Essley what she’d like to do, she often suggests the library or the park – but more times than not, she says “lets go shopping!” And I am admittedly always up for that. Essley is hilarious about her shopping dates – she always has to carry a purse, put on pretend makeup, and wear her sunglasses. My personal favorite pairs of matching Visionworks frames are these babies from Guess. They’re super chic and make us feel all fancy, even when our shopping excursion is just a grocery store run.

Look 3: Summer’s a Breeze. Essley and I are both big fans of summertime, and when I told her we were going to have a summer-inspired adventure on a warm day last week and explore outside looking for dandelions and flowers, she was thrilled. She asked if we could both wear our “summer whites” dresses and matching boho fringe sandals, and I happily obliged. We also decided to accessorize with our summery blue Chelsea Morgan frames from Visionworks. I loved how the tropical blue arms popped against our white outfits. We’re both excited to wear these pretty matching frames all summer long.

Look 4: Always On-Trend Tortoise. When it comes to eyewear, I have always been a tortoise shell fan. It’s classic, it’s neutral, and it looks good on everyone. My daughter, on the other hand, likes her frames to have a little more personality. And that’s why our Vera Bradley frames from Visionworks - which feature explosions of colorful wildflowers on the inside of their tortoise frames – are the perfect combo for both of us. We like to pair these on-trend frames with our favorite on-trend dresses – these pretty patterned, off the shoulder numbers.

Okay, let’s hear it. Who else secretly (or not so secretly) loves twinning with their little ones? Anyone else have matching eyewear? If not, I highly suggest heading over to your local Visionworks. They’ve got the largest selection in the industry, which means you’re sure to find the perfect fashion-forward frames to go with your and your babe’s personal styles!

This post is in partnership with Visionworks. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

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My neighbors are wonderful people they are also re…

My neighbors are wonderful people they are also refugees. They came to America legally to escape the radical Islamic opression fearing for their young daughters' futures. They voted for Trump. I have worked tirelessly for bully breeds. I have gone sar far as to file lawsuits against towns that attempt to enact BSL. I was raised in the foster care system and left home at age 14. There were no government grants, scholarships or aid for foster kids living on the street who graduate on the honor roll. Nobody understands oppression moreso than me. I voted for Trump. While I'm certainly happy for these families and thankful for the work they've done in behalf of tge breed…I'm a bit confused as to why the bully forum has decided that this is the platform from which they should disenfranchise half of their supporters.
BAD RAP Blog

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Thanks for the latest update. We are all staying p…

Thanks for the latest update. We are all staying positive. I am going to read some more on Bill 128.
BAD RAP Blog

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Madison WI

Taken from The Puppy Up Foundation Blog by Erich Trapp

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On Sunday, May 7th over 1,300 people and 900 dogs attended the 4th Annual PuppyUp Madison Walk at McKee Farms in Fitchburg, WI. This is the largest PuppyUp Walk the Foundation holds each year, and each year the PuppyUp Madison Team surpasses their goals.

Their beginning goal in 2014 was $ 10,000 and 50 participants and they passed that goal by raising approximately $ 87,000 with over 750 participants. This year the goal was $ 135,000 and 1,000 participants; they again blew their goals out of the water by raising over $ 156,000, having 106 Teams and 52 Sponsors and vendors.
Success at this level is not gained over night. Many steps are planned with precision for months, progress is monitored daily and often by the minute. The dedication and passion of the Madison Committee (Beth Viney, Dr. Kai-Biu Shiu, Ann Lippincott, Lana Hesch, Mel Stodola Taylor, Mary Ann Francis, Katie Martz, Danielle Kay, Courtney Tyson, Jennifer Schleicher, Vicki Nussbaum, Lori Gibson and Dr. Linda Sullivan) inspires all who meet them. The hours they spend away from their dogs, family and friends in order to fight cancer in pets and people is much appreciated not just by me, Luke and our Board of Directors, but by all the people they encounter along the way. They have created a community in which others feel free to seek help, advice and even a shoulder to cry on. Many now feel that there is hope that one day we will have better cancer treatments for our two and four legged companions. And some day through the research that we are funding …. a cure, so that others do not lose loved ones to this horrible disease.
A special thanks to Beth Viney (co-founder of PuppyUp Madison) who works tirelessly in memory of Czar and is an inspiration to all who meet her; Ann Lippincott (2017 Chair) who dedicates her fight against cancer to Velma, (or Miss V as she is sometimes called); and Dr. Kai Shiu (co-founder of PuppyUp Madison, Veterinary Oncologist and Chair of the Puppy Up Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee) who fights cancer on all fronts in his office, and for the Foundation.
Through their efforts, they have raised $ 500,000 in the past 4 years allowing the Foundation to add funding to much needed research, awareness and education.
When asked to comment about the 2017 PuppyUp Madison Walk, Luke Robinson, the Founder of the Puppy Up Foundation stated “Trail Magic has taken The Puppy Up Foundation from just 2 dogs and a homeless dude to funding cutting edge, peer reviewed cancer research in exciting areas like immunotherapy at world class institutions, and it led us to Madison, WI. And where Kai and Beth and all of Team Madison have taken it from there is nothing short of awesomeness! My proudest achievement aside from getting the Fuzzybutts safely across 4,000 miles for this cause is how Puppy Up Nation has inspired the best and greatest in all of us.”
We’re looking forward to 2018 PuppyUp Madison.
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YBD’s Notes – the photo above is of the Puppy Power Team led by Michael, a 9 year old lad I had the honor of meeting who became one of Madison’s top fundraisers and at last count that was $ 5,800.  Congrats and cheers to a job well done!
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Of course, Hudson, the famous Fuzzybutt, had his own take on Madison.  As some of you know, he’s become some what of a degenerate in his old age, humping indiscriminately.  Boy dog, girl dog it doesn’t seem to matter one bit earning him the nickname Humpson we just chalk it up to the French in him. The Old Perv wrote a Haiku about his recent time up in Madison WI, home of the Badgers, and what’s become the town where the Fuzzybutts ring in summertime.  
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Hudson Haiku

Madison blossoms.  
Where is dat lil badger at?
I hump it too!

2 Dogs 2000 Miles

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Would this work similarly when introducing a cat t…

Would this work similarly when introducing a cat to our dog? We have a coonhound mix (about 70 lbs) that we have had for 5 years. We adopted him when he was about one year old, so we don't know what the first year of his life was like. He is very interested in cats when we see them on walks. He first stops and stares at them, then starts baying. We would love to adopt a kitty, but don't know how to do it safely. He has never been in a crate. He is usually a very calm, well behaved dog and we just have never had the need for one. If the cat is the one being introduced to the family, which one would you crate? Any advice you have for us would be MUCH appreciated! Thank you!
BAD RAP Blog

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Iranian veterinarian could win local election…or he could get 60 lashes

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Kids Water Safety Tips + A Summer Fun Kit GIVEAWAY!

Kids Water Safety Tips


There is little in life my kids love more than going swimming. When we went to the Dominican Republic in December, and then Arizona last month, all they wanted to do (basically the entire time we were on vacation) was play in the pool. Right now, Essley actually has a count-down going on to Memorial Day – because that’s the day the local swimming pool opens for the year. They’re both signed up for swimming lessons this summer, and we’ll undoubtedly be purchasing season passes to the pool. And Essley has a couple of friends with pools at their houses where she’ll have summer play dates. Swimming pools are going to be a big part of our lives in the coming months.

While the whole family is excited for pool season, I’m admittedly a little nervous (as I think most parents are, by instinct). Swimming pools are magical places for little ones, but they can also be incredibly dangerous. Thankfully, I recently learned about a concept known as the A, B, C, D’s of water safety that The Zac Foundation put together to help parents remember important ways to keep kids safe. Since May is National Water Safety Month, and I’m sure many of you are gearing up for pool season yourselves, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with all of you today (along with some of my favorite pictures of my little ones having water fun over the past few years). And when you’re done reading, there’s also a summer fun kit giveaway to enter at the end of the post to celebrate summer water season’s arrival. Woohoo!

A is for Adult. An adult should always be present when children are in or around water, and should always have an eye on the children (and not be distracted by phones, etc., or walk away, even for a minute). Never let kids be alone near a pool, ocean, lake, or river.

B is for Barrier. If you have a pool or spa, make sure to have barriers to keep children safe. Examples of this would include a fence around your pool, a lock on the fence for which only adults have the key, a lock only reachable by adults on doors that lead to pool areas, an alarm that beeps if doors or windows to the pools or open, and an alarm that goes up if the surface of the water is disrupted. Children should also be taught to never a pool gate unless an adult is present.

C is for Classes. Kids and adults should take water safety classes. Children should take swimming lessons where they learn water safety, and adults should take classes in CPR and First Aid. If you have a pool, have a phone close to it at all times, and teach your children how to call 911. And as a family, find ways to talk about how to be safe around water.

D is for Drains. This is something I honestly had never even thought about before, but it is profoundly important. Teach all swimmers to stay away from all pool and spa drains. Make sure that any pool or spa you or your kids swim in has been inspected and is up to code. If you have a pool or spa, install emergency shutoff switches to shut off pumps, and if a drain cover becomes loose or falls up, makes sure to immediately shut down the pool until it is repaired.

In addition to the A, B, C, D’s of water safety, I’ve learned even more about water safety on The Zac Foundation’s website. Parents Karen and Brian Cohn co-founded The ZAC Foundation in 2008, in honor of their 6-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, a natural and accomplished swimmer who passed away after his arm became entrapped in a pool drain. In Zachary’s honor, they created this incredible organization that works to save the lives of children through educating parents on water safety and pioneering water safety standards. Pretty wonderful, right? Please take a minute to watch this informative video on one more thing to know before your kids jump in the pool (I am so glad I watched it, and I’ve passed it on to everyone I know who owns a pool). And for more water safety tips, sign up for the ZAC Foundation’s newsletter right here.

And now for the giveaway! I’m teaming up with the ZAC Foundation and a few other bloggers to give away 15 summer prize packs, each of which includes a bag, towel, book, water watcher card, t-shirt and wristband. To enter, just use the form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway runs through May 26th and is open to US residents who are 18 and older. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by The ZAC Foundation by June 1. Only one winner per household, please.

Big thanks to The Zac Foundation for consistently working to spread awareness about water safety, and for the great prizes they’ve donated for this giveaway! Have a happy – and safe – swimming pool and water season, friends.

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST //  BLOGLOVIN’
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K-9  officer saved his partner’s life; now making a full recovery

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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