Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Very Veggie Eggie Brunch!

Plain and simple - brunch makes me happy.  And this Very Veggie Eggie Bake is the ultimate in weekend happiness!   We made this super easy bake that is table ready and will delight your  guests...or really just make your husband think  you worked extra hard slaving away in the kitchen and you simply deserve an afternoon reading in the spring sun!   ...except for my husband who knows that I am happiest cooking.

We are so very pleased this recipe and pictures have been selected to be featured at The Feed Feed!  Check us out! 

Color, organic healthy food are always absolute pure happiness! 

Ingredients - 

your ingredients make all-the-difference and with this recipe use and variate and add-in more veggies as much as you want to!  This is just a basic recipe.

Orange Beets - 3
Garlic - 2 cloves - dice
Lemon - 1 - wedges
Carrots - handful of small carrots
Potatoes - 4 large
Kale - 1 - 2 cups 
Sea Salt

Toppings - 

Guajillo or Saracha Sauce!
Chia Seeds
Spoonful of Grass Fed Yogurt

We paired out veggie bake with freshly made organic apple chicken sausage, fair trade strawberries and freshly squeezed orange juice!  And TOMS Roasting coffee...always coffee - fair trade! 

Cook - 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a cast iron skillet to medium. 
Add olive oil, spices and diced garlic to your pan.
Dice your veggies length ways and your kale finely.
Cook your carrots, potato, beets until done the way you like. 
Add in kale.
Make 4 well spaces in your pan while pan is still on burner and drop in an egg in each one.
Squeeze your lemon wedges all over your dish.
Bake in oven until done.


You have an easy egg bake that is gorgeous and table ready!

Bon Appetite! 

My Notes:

The quality of your ingredients make all the difference - choose organic, pasture raised and sustainable foods.

The orange dishes are from Williams Sonoma made in France and they're my favorite!

My garlic press and tongs are from DreamFarm

I'm obsessed with Staub cookery and colors.  Just sayin'.

Driscoll's has recently joined forces with Fair Trade Campaign and SO very pleased I can now buy strawberries organic and fair trade.

Farmers and Food Matters!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Trombone Shorty Foundation! #SaveDatSound

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 We are SO pleased to introduce you to the Trombone Shorty Foundation!  The launched its first social donation campaign, #SaveDatSound, to support young musicians in New Orleans and uphold the city’s world-renowned musical sound. With mobile and online donations, sponsor matching and giveaways, #SaveDatSound serves as a crescendo in anticipation of Shorty Fest, the Foundation’s fourth annual benefit concert at the House of Blues New Orleans on Thursday, April 28, 2016  presented by Presqu’ile Winery.

Music and culture lovers everywhere are encouraged to tag #SaveDatSound on Instagram. For every use of the hashtag, Shorty Fest presenting sponsor Presqu’ile Winery will donate $1 to the Trombone Shorty Foundation during the week of April 17, 2016.  

Fans and supporters can make a donation online or by texting “TROMBONE” to 41- 444. 

Donations over $25 will be entered to win Shorty Fest prizes, including customized “Trombone Shorty Social Aid & Pleasure Club” t-shirts from local apparel designer tasc Performance and designed by local artist Frenchy, and signed copies of the Caldecott and Coretta Scott King book award honored “Trombone Shorty” children’s book.

“I am so proud to have been raised on NOLA’s sound and am humbled by the amount of support toward this city’s culture and for kids just like me,” said Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. “This campaign invites everyone to join me in keeping New Orleans' music alive and well. Support is just one click or text away.”

Founded by renowned New Orleans musician Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews in 2013, the foundation is Andrews’ vision of sharing his passion to inspire the next generation by developing their musical talent and connecting them to the city’s unique musical heritage.

This campaign is on the eve of Shorty Fest, the largest fundraiser of the year for the Trombone Shorty Foundation. This Jazz Fest tradition gathers stellar regional artists including the students the Foundation serves. All funds raised go towards music education, instruction, mentorship and musical performance programming for talented local youth. VIP Tickets are still available for purchase by stopping by House of Blues New Orleans box office or by visiting: www.hob.com/neworleans

Frontman of the band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Andrews credits the support of his own positive role models in the rich New Orleans music community for helping him make his way into the world of music, where he has grown into an internationally recognized, Grammy Award-nominated artist.

The Foundation partners with Tulane University’s New Orleans Center for the Gulf South to deliver two music education programs offering underserved high school students the opportunity to pursue music as a career: the Trombone Shorty Academy music performance program and the Fredman Music Business Institute. The programs provide mentorship in music performance and education about the business side of the music industry. The foundation also presents “Trad Fridays” presented by Acura with New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, a free workshop program dedicated to the traditional New Orleans’ sound. For more information about the Trombone Shorty Foundation visit:  www.tromboneshortyfoundation.org.

To make a donation, please visit:
http://bit.ly/SaveDatSound or text “Trombone” to 41-444.

For more information on Trombone Shorty Foundation, please visit: www.tromboneshortyfoundation.org.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Absolutely One Thing featuring Charlie & Lola by Lauren Child!

We are incredibly honored to partner with Candlewick Press to feature books moms and dads will love for their little ones!  Enjoy!

Have I mentioned we are huge fans of Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola characters - the books and even the videos.  Charlie and Lola are simply lovely.  Absolutely One Thing is her new picture book for kids and it is the perfect addition to Charlie and Lola's adventures!  Absolutely One Thing has loads of counting fun for little one to count along with.  Join Charlie and Lola their ever-so-lovely counting tale!

Sometimes, as a treat, Mom takes Charlie and Lola to the store and says they may choose one thing. "One thing to share?" Lola asks. No, it’s one thing each, explains Charlie, or two actual things between two. Lola is nine minutes late getting ready, and on the way, there are ladybugs and birds to count and maybe a squillion leaves on a tree. At the store, Lola says she’ll choose three things, or possibly two. "How about no things?" asks Mom. With Lola hilariously bending everyday numbers to her will, the math goes down easy in this charming picture book loaded with visual appeal. - Candlewick Press

Candlewick Press is giving away one hardcover copy of Absolutely One Thing by Lauren Child!  If you can't wait, pick up your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your local book carrier!

Giveaway is for US only please. Prize is shipped via publisher, we are not responsible for shipping, use or whether or not your child can count.

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I happily partner with Candlewick Press and I feature picture books my reader may like for their little ones.  I do not feature books I don't approve of and/or absolutely love! Opinions are my own.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Homemade Strawberry Cardamon Ice Cream!

We are so pleased to partner with Cuisinart to introduce you to the Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker- your must-have summer addition!  You're welcome!  

Check out our post at Cuisinart!

Summer is coming and there is nothing better than freshly picked organic strawberries, homemade ice cream and a sunny day!  When you can have them all-together - it's a perfect day!  We took Cuisinart's basic (there is nothing basic tasting about it) and added a bit of spices to it - OH MY!

For this recipe get the kids involved!  Kids can top the strawberries, measure, pour, stir, push the Cool Creations button and tell you when they think the ice cream is done and best of all, they make the best taste testers!  It's never too early (or too late) to introduce healthy eating and cooking and making food a part of everyday food education! 

We actually had so much ice cream left that we topped the Strawberry Cardamon Ice Cream on top of left-over waffles!  Absolutely delicious.  

Cuisinart's new Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker is nothing short of spectacular!  Seriously.  It makes the most delicious ice cream with the simplest of ingredients.  Kind of makes you wonder what on earth they add to store bought ice cream?  Yikes.  

As always with recipes - ingredients matter!  We choose organic, fair trade strawberries, grass fed whole milk, organic cream and sugar and the spices that have not been irradiated, for our ice cream.  This recipe involved no cooking and may just become your family's favorite summer treat!

 Ingredients - 

Strawberries - 1/2 cups (cut the tops off)
Whole Milk  - 3/4 cup
Heavy Cream - 1.5 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cardamon - 2 pinches 
Ceylon Cinnamon - 1 teas

Add-Ins Options - a teaspoon of Manuka Honey, a 1/2 cup of raspberries, leave out the cardamon and add-in nutmeg.  Leave out the strawberries and add in chopped chocolate! 
What to do - 

Top the strawberries and place in food processor with chopping blade.  Pulse until roughly chopped.  If you prefer finely chopped and almost liquid-y, that still works great!  If you do not have a food processor, you may use a blender.

In medium bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed (or even a whisk ) to combine milk, sugar and spices.  Taste and add a bit more cardamon to taste.  We tend to like a bit more!  Stir in your mixed strawberries.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.  Whisk mixture again before pouring into the ice cream maker.

Press the Ice Cream button and then start.  Please note, if you forget the stir piece in the ice cream maker...it doesn't quite work.  Yes, it took me a few seconds to realize something was missing!  Make sure you put the mixer piece into the frozen ice cream bowl, before you start the machine and preferably before you pour in your mixture!  Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker has it's own timer and ours was ready when it stopped.  If you prefer your ice cream firmer then transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.   

We enjoy Strawberry Cardamon ice cream with left-over waffles and coffee (or water), by itself topped with extra strawberries or simply out of the machine!

Top with fresh strawberries, close your eyes and taste.
Completely glorious!

The kids got too excited and added a bit too much heavy cream.  
(okay, really...it was me!  I couldn't wait!) 

My Notes:

I am a huge fan of Cuisinart - Just ask my coffee pot, food processor, coffee grinder and various other appliances! 

I use organic heavy cream with zero "extras".  It should just be heavy cream!

I use grass fed organic whole milk - non-homogenized 
- like Organic Valley  and Kalona.

I use Frontier and Simply Organic Spices.  They are organic, non-GMO and not irradiated. (that's bad)

I have been buying Driscoll's strawberries.  They are now (or at least the ones I have been buying) Fair Trade and Organic!  Food and Farmers Matter!  Treat them right and they will treat you right - wellness!

This is a yummy collaboration with Cuisinart!  Opinions are my own and if you don't like strawberries...how about blackberry ice cream?!

A New Twist For A Tropical Strawberry Smoothie! #Vitamix

Thank you for stopping by little island studios, please subscribe by email to follow along in family fun!

Today's post is happily sponsored by Vitamix!

Strawberries are back in season and including them to a smoothie is a must for warmer weather happiness.  We took a classic strawberry ice cream shake and mixed it up a little and we have a new classic Strawberry Smoothie! - no ice cream, just grass fed yogurt, fruit and a bit of coconut milk (or your choice in milks)!  Make this re-imagined classic with your kids and celebrate summer fun! 

Ingredients - 

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of fresh strawberries
1/2 of Grassfed Plain Yogurt - we love Stonyfield!
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
squeeze of fresh lime
1/2 of lemon (we are big fans of lemon, use a whole if you like!)
3/4 frozen pineapple or mango
Ceylon Cinnamon - to taste

1/2 cup - Choose grass fed whole milk, coconut milk, water or soy milk 
(organic and with no additives)

Taste and tweak, if necessary.

Add your ingredients and press the smoothie option!

We choose organic, fresh and frozen ingredients!  Now that Driscoll's is working with Fair Trade Federation, we look for and buy Driscoll's organic & fair trade strawberries!

Food and Farmers Matter!

We simply love the Vitamix S55 Personal Blender for smaller sized batches.  When it's just me and the kids home, it's absolutely perfect!  And it has become my travel must-have accessory.  Easy to bring with me on road trips and the kids and I can eat and drink healthy!

In an Orange Mood?  Check out our Vitamix Cuties Smoothie on The Feed Feed

And our feature page at The Feed Feed

The black and white bowl are LeCreuset

This is a sponsored post with Vitamix.  Opinions are my own.  Yes, Vitamix rules.  Yes they do.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Where's The Elephant Picture Book!

We are so very pleased to partner with Candlewick Press for today's post and giveaway!

Where's the Elephant is my pic for Earth Day this year.  Celebrate April 22 and every single day by voting with your dollar, teaching your children about true sustainability, reusing, global climate and being good stewards of our lands and water ways.  

It matters.

I came home from my trip to find Where's The Elephants by Barroux and I was immediately moved.  Where's The Elephant, gently but affectively touches on what I had, had on my mind since my trip to Dallas Zoo - habitats, human encroachment and deforestation for our own monetary gains.  Where's The Elephant is in, no way preachy about the subject and in-fact there are few words in the book.  The art.  Oh, the art.  We highly recommend Where's The Elephant and honestly cannot wait until Barroux creates his next work of art - a child's book -  that is for every single human being.

We had just gone to the zoo in Dallas and normally I am not a fan of zoos.  This was different.  I met several zoo employees, all passionate, real and so knowledgeable about world animal habitats and the environment in general.  One woman, in particular was extremely passionate and had been all over the world working with animals.  Environments, governments and politics in general are different than they used to be.  I agreed and we talked about our love for animals and their well-being and happiness.   

The colors and illustrations are absolutely brilliant! 
We have one hardcover copy of Where's The Elephant by Barroux to giveaway.  US only please.  Prize is shipped via publisher. We are not responsible for shipping or use.

Please note:  The adorable elephant in the pictures is from The Land of Nod.  It is one of little one's favorite lovelies and is not part of giveaway. (thought I'd mention that)

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We are in partnership with Candlewick Press.  Opinions are our own.  Where's the Elephant is to be my go-to picture book for kid's gifts.  I HIGHLY recommend! 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray Movie, Activities & Fun! #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

Thank you for stopping by little island studios, please subscribe by email to follow along in family fun!

We are thrilled to have this post sponsored by Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

It's here and is there really anything to say?  It's Star Wars.  It's Harrison Ford.  It's The Force and The Dark Side.  Yes, it's that good and yes, we pre-ordered a copy waiting anxiously by the front door.  It would lead to the dark side, if we choose not to!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the perfect addition to the Star Wars epic movie series.  I assumed they wouldn't make anymore, because how can you improve or add to pure awesomeness?!  I was wrong, The Force Awakens is perfect and we can't wait for more!

Daisy Ridley is the lead character in the movie (next to Harrison Ford, of course) and is absolutely out-of-this-world!  Seriously, she is spectacular and they couldn't have cast her better.  We're now huge fans.  So...when is the next edition to Star Wars coming?

Print these free activities the kids can do while you're making dinner, waiting for the movie to start!

Check out some behind the scenes trailers for The Force Awakens!

Here are some more free crafts, recipes and fun for the kids to celebrate 

May the Force Be With You! 

We are happy to join Star Wars: The Force Awakens!  Opinions are my own.

Friday, April 1, 2016

5 Ways To Cleaning Fun & A Casabella Giveaway! #CasabellaClean

We are so very pleased to have Casabella sponsoring our post and giveaway today!

Spring is here! Spring is here!  We are always ready for spring cleaning happiness!  We clean green with vinegar, essential oils, eco-friendly cleaners and Casabella cleaning supplies.  Just like food, what we use and what touches our skin and our little ones matters. Cleaning green is good for the whole family!  ...and have you seeeen the sparkly sponges?  

        They had me at the sparkly sponges!

5 Ways To Have Cleaning Fun! 

1.  Turn the music up!  80's dance music anyone? Yes, really.  Check Amazon Prime for the 80's playlists - they kind of rock! *pun intended*

2.  Clean with Color!  Color makes me happy!  Yes, we buy Casabella cleaning supplies year-round.  Have you seen their hot pink cleaning gloves?

3.  Include your kids!  Not in a "you have to clean because you're being punished" kind of way...but, a "WOOT! We GET to clean today"...kind of way.   Yes, it really can be fun.

4.  Divy it up.  If everyone doesn't want to work together (my teens don't usually), then you can make a list and everyone can pick what they have get to do!

5.  Indulge!  Clean until your heart's content and then treat yourself to a glass of organic, fair trade wine or some chocolate and coffee in your freshly cleaned house!  You're welcome!

Casabella's Neon Collection Cleaning Pail & Mop get things started & the sparkly sponges are icing on top! 

Casabella is giving away a fabulous Spring Cleaning Prize Pack to a equally fabulous little island studios reader!  US only.  Prize is shipped via company.  Use or whether or not you actually clean with the supplies are all totally up to you!

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This is a sponsored post with Casabella.  Opinions are my own.  And yes, I absolutely buy Casabella year-round. (usually from BB&Beyond, Amazon and Whole Foods)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Orange Citrus Bake!

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It is spring and I feel the need to completely submerse myself in all-the-colors!   Orange is always my most favorite color, so putting all-the-orange things in one bake, seems especially wonderful!  As always, ingredients matter.  I choose fresh and organic every single time I can!  Grab a variety of oranges, carrots, peppers and bright orange beets and lets COOK! 

Ingredients - 

3 Oranges or Mandarins (choose organic because you will be using the zest and the juices)
3 Orange Beets
Peppers - a large handful of the smaller ones or 2 large - 
a variety of colors (we're particular to orange) 

Carrots - 4-5 - dice or slice long ways - no matter, it's all yummy
Broccolette - a bunch

fresh thyme
fresh garlic - 2 larger cloves

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Olive oil or Red Palm Oil - We like Nutiva (no environment is harmed in their palm oils)

1.5 pounds of chicken - we choose organic thighs - choose any pieces you like

Dice your veggies
Dice your garlic small
Slice your oranges - cut the peel off  2 of your oranges.  
On one, zest it (save the zest for last) and slice into chunks and set aside

Choose a dutch oven or cast iron skillet.
Add in 2-3 tbs of olive oil or red palm oil
Place your chicken in the pan
Sprinkle sea salt and pepper
Place orange slices on each piece of chicken
Add in your diced veggies and garlic
Place your thyme herbs on top
Take your 3rd orange and squeeze the juices all over the top of the veggies
Sprinkle the zest on top
Add just a touch more sprinkle of your pink Himalayan sea salt on top

Cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees until done.  Cover the top with a piece of unbleached parchment for the first 20 minutes to ensure the veggies don't darken too much.

Take loads of pictures and then eat whilst hot!

Bon appetit! 

My Notes:

I cannot express to you enough how important food is.  Ingredients truly matter.   Take the time to choose organic and fresh produce.  For chicken, choose organic and the highest number in animal welfare they have available or even better - know your farmer!
What the chickens eat matters too, so local isn't always the answer.
Yes, I love color and especially so in my food and pans!
Get your kids involved in the shopping, preparing and cooking process!  Age appropriate of course, but there is always something to do in the kitchen!  Cooking is never a chore - it is a blessing and a much needed treat!

Please join our cooking adventures on Instagram - littleislandstudios

Thursday, March 24, 2016

An Organic Futon For Color, Play & Happiness! #TheFutonShop #spon

We are absolutely thrilled this post and giveaway is sponsored by The Futon Shop - organic & eco-friendly home decor options for your healthy family

The giveaway is over, but style is forever!  Be inspired to create healthy spaces for your family! 

                          Organic Living, Color & Play is Pure Childhood Happiness! 

As a mom, organic living, color and play are all a necessary part of childhood (and adult) happiness!  Childhood can and should be magical - full of wonder and delight.  To me, a huge part of that is a green and eco-friendly environment - not furniture that emits toxic VOCs, "air fresheners" from a spray bottle and not fire-resistant chemicals added to...well....everything.  Creating a home that is free from these synthetic and toxic chemicals is extremely important to me and my children's health - now and their future health.  I feel as strongly about that as I do about eating organic and chemical free food.

Let me start by saying - we were given a sofa years and years ago when my daughter was born and it was pretty heavily used when we received it.  When the kids got older we came up with enough money to replace it (sofas can only take so much jumping and fort building on them) but to be honest every single time I went to look at sofas or even futons they smelled so bad of chemicals I just couldn't do it.  Everything I read about the process of furniture making and what they are made of and the toxic chemicals that are used...well, I just decided we would keep what we had - falling apart or not.  That seemed infinitely better than subjecting my children and myself to such an unhealthy environment.  I am extremely sensitive to any chemical smells.  I think most people inherently are, they just become so accustomed to chemical smells, they aren't even aware that your laundry should never smell "mountain fresh" - unless your laundry is actually line dried in the mountains!  We have got to RE-think our idea of what is healthy!  The scariest commercial I've seen is the air "freshener" spray that is sprayed in children's bedroom as they sleep!  Agh! NO NO NO!  Please don't do that.  We wonder why America's children are among the unhealthiest of the first world countries? 

So, we took out our older-than-creation sofa and put in The Futon Shop's organic futon mattress.   There was no smell upon opening!  I can smell the faint scent of wool - which to me, is extremely soothing.  (I would do great having a sheep farm)  I can't tell you how very pleased we have all been with the organic futon!  I am not sure why I ever consider a sofa over a futon?  A great quality large futon is a must, in my opinion for Friday night movies, sleepovers for the kids and when company comes in to town!  

The Futon Shop has all-the-colors, sure to go with your family's style!
Absolute happiness! 

The Futon Shop has the same values and philosophy as I and other eco-minded moms and dads!  The Futon shop was gracious enough to let me try out one of their organic and sustainably and humanly harvested wool futons  - Oh. My. Gracious.  I kid you not, I have never been SO pleased with a bed or sofa - ever!  

The organic and wool mattress is thick, firm and stands up to my little one's constant playing (jumping off) on it - a healthy mattress indeed! 

A chilly, rainy day is the perfect time to unplug for coziness! 

Saturday Morning Relaxing!

Please visit The Futon Shop online or in stores all over California! 

The Futon Shop is giving away this healthy organic futon mattress - a double / full size -  values at $2399.99 and it is completely awesome! (the frame is not included) 

Please note - the futon shown in the pictures is covered with a futon cover!  The giveaway is for the  mattress itself.  The mattress is off-white, heavy (not light from cheap material that squishes down within two weeks) and so well-made - absolutely spectacular and no doubt will become your most favorite place in the house to relax! You're welcome.

 The giveaway is for US residents only.  We would like to ask that the winner would share a pic via social media (Instagram or Facebook) - 

The Futon Shop loves to see their futons in the wild! 

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We are so very pleased to partner with The Futon Shop in this sponsored post and giveaway. Opinions are my own.  I would never recommend to other moms if I didn't love it!