Archive for November, 2010
I hope everyone (in the US) had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. I know we did. I may go out later this weekend to shop for holiday gifts, but for now I am avoiding Black Friday shopping. For those of you who have decided to brave the crowds at the shopping centers this weekend, you may want to try Orgain meal replacement drinks. I was sent some samples of the Creamy Chocolate Fudge and Sweet Vanilla Bean, and they were certainly filling enough to give me energy for shopping.
I don’t usually use these types of drinks. I really would rather eat a nutritious meal. But, I have to admit that this time of year is so busy, I will often go for the quick and easy meals or snacks just so I can fit more activities (like shopping) into my day. For me, this is great for lunches. I can eat breakfast with the kids and dinner with the whole family. But for lunch I’m often on my own, so it’s a perfect time to get things done. Grabbing one of these Orgain drinks and heading out the door is very convenient. It’s much better than grabbing a sugar-filled soda, and more filling than a bottle of water. Since it’s high in protein (16 grams) and low in sugar (13 grams), I know it’s going to keep me going longer, so that after shopping I still have the energy to come home, help the kids with homework, and get a nutritious, home-cooked dinner on the table.
What are these drinks? The Orgain website describes it best as an “organic, ready-to-drink nutritional shake.” They have 255 calories (60 fat calories) and are full of vitamins and minerals. It is comprised of a protein blend, complex carbohydrate blend, vitamin blend, vegetable blend, fruit blend, and an antioxidant blend. The protein blend relies heavily on whey and milk proteins, so this is not for those who have trouble with milk products. It uses brown rice components for the carbohydrate blend. And just look at all the fruits and vegetables that were combined for these drinks: blueberry, banana, acai, apple, raspberry, kale, beet, spinach, carrot, tomato. Pomegranate and green tea extracts were added for antioxidant benefits. I’m impressed by all the organic nutritious ingredients used in these drinks because it just tasted like a thick chocolate milk to me.
How did they taste? They were good. The Creamy Chocolate Fudge was my favorite (no surprise there). It has a nice smooth chocolate taste, with just a slight grainy texture at the end. (I guess I didn’t shake it up good enough.) The Sweet Vanilla Bean was even smoother, but my husband and I both agreed the flavor of the chocolate was better. (Oops! We drank up the Creamy Chocolate Fudge before I got a chance to take a picture.) They really were very filling. I have trouble finishing an 8 oz. glass of water in one sitting, so an 11 oz. energy shake was more than sufficient to fill me up.
Will I buy Orgain? Yes, on occasion. However, milk is not always my friend, so I would not drink these on a regular basis. My husband, on the other hand, enjoyed taking these to work. Perhaps the real drawback is the cost. You can buy a case of 12 of these online at Orgain for $42 or at Amazon for $45. I guess $3.50 isn’t too much to pay for a meal, but still seems like a lot to add to the grocery bill. I will buy ours at Wegmans, where I can get them for $2.89 each. If you’re interested, you may want to check Orgain’s website for other local retailers, so you don’t have to worry about shipping.
If you have large family gatherings for Thanksgiving, you may do what many families have been doing for years: have a kids table set up separate from the adult’s table for the Thanksgiving meal. Although I would like to have the kids at the same table as the adults, it doesn’t usually work out. Some years there are just too many people to sit at the same table. Plus, the kids are usually the first to be served and the first to be done eating. They can eat, be done, and move on to playing with cousins. We adults can enjoy the meal and conversation at our own leisurely pace.
But, I don’t want the kids to miss out on the festive Thanksgiving table. So, let the kids help with these fun ideas for the kids table. These projects are so simple and adjustable, you can easily put them together last minute.
Pilgrim Hats. I found this idea at DollarTree.com and thought they were so cute. I picked up some black paper cups and plates at the dollar store, to make this a cheap but fun addition to my daughter’s kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast this year. Cut the edges off the plates so they are flat hat brims, then glue the cups upside down onto the plates. Cut buckles out of construction paper and glue them to the cups. To make these more useful, cut out the bottom of the cups and fill them with popcorn or another light snack. Or, instead of snacks, consider placing a napkin with fork and knife in it. Pick up black plastic flatware at the dollar store, too.
Pine Cone Turkeys. Have the kids gather some pine cones from the yard. If you don’t have feathers to glue into them, use colorful leaves or cut feather shapes out of construction paper. Bend a chenille stick for the wattle and glue it in the tip of the pine cone with some googly eyes. Cut a beak out of construction paper to glue on, too. Now you have a centerpiece for the kids table. And, the kids will feel so great about making it themselves. If you have some older kids who can supervise the younger ones, it makes a great activity to keep the kids busy while the adults are finishing the dinner preparation.
Turkey Treats. Here’s a treat the kids can help decorate, and then gobble up. I found a similar one at RiceKrispies.com, but I made it simpler than theirs. I used the basic recipe of 6 cups cereal, 10 oz. marshmallows, and 3 TBSP butter. (Do not use Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. They have malt flavoring in them, and are not gluten free.) I use Erewhon’s Crispy Brown Rice Cereal and Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice Cereal. I had a box of each, so I mixed them together. I think if I did it again, I would just use the Chocolate variety for a darker color. Instead of a 13×9 pan, I just pressed the mixture onto a greased baking sheet so I could make it thinner, and cut out more. I used a cookie cutter to cut out circle shapes for the tail. For a head shape, I rolled some into small balls while they were still a little warm. Instead of peanut butter, I used chocolate frosting to stick on the head and candy. I also used dot or button candy, but you could easily use any gluten-free small candy for the eyes. For the wattle, I used a dried cranberry. And for the feathers, we used candy corn.
More Thanksgiving Ideas:
- Visit Celebrate It! for more fun Thanksgiving treat ideas the kids will love.
- Check out Woo Jr.‘s Thanksgiving activities to keep the kids entertained before dinner.
- How about Thanksgiving games for the kids after dinner? Check out the list at Amazing Moms.
- You’ll find cute printable Thanksgiving decorations at Dimple Prints.