Blog Posts by Sarah Lipoff

  • My Go-to Weeknight Chicken Dinner: Healthy Baked Chicken Tenders

    Healthy Baked Chicken TendersThere's nothing like a go-to chicken dinner recipe and this is totally my favorite. When I saw that the Shine Supper Club challenge was weeknight chicken recipes I knew I had to share this quick and easy dish. Along with being delicious, this chicken recipe takes hardly any time to make and is also healthy.

    Cut the fuss and muss, along with an oil-spattered kitchen, by baking these chicken tenders in a hot oven. Easily tossed together in less than 30-minutes of cooking time, these tenders are perfect for a family friendly weeknight dinner. I serve with a crisp, green salad for the adults, along with some tasty yogurt Alfredo noodles for the tot (and, yeah, for us adults too). And just a quick tip - using a really good plain yogurt ensures you get seriously tender crispy chicken along with great tangy flavor. Go with a Greek-style or thick plain yogurt for best results.


    1 lb chicken tenders

    1/2 cup plain yogurt

    1 tablespoon mustard

    Dash salt and

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  • Shine Supper Club - Easy Grilled Pizza

    Easy Grilled Pizza

    Summer entertaining shouldn't be about spending hours in the kitchen tossing together elaborate meals when guests come over to play. Nope. Dinner should be effortless, preferably served on paper plates, and cooked on the grill creating hardly any cleanup. When kids are involved, finding a dish that keeps both adults and tots happy can be challenging, but not with this seriously easy dish.

    Grilled pizza.

    Sure, you can cornmeal your crust and slide your tasty pie directly on the grill, but I erased the worry that yours won't with my cheap pizza-grilling secret - throw-away aluminum pizza pie tins from the grocery store. This month's Shine Supper Club is about sharing cookout secrets, and this is my no-fail way to make summer entertaining fun and easy. And you know how much I love pizza (here, here, and here...).

    Make things even easier by using a store purchased pizza crust and you are good to go. This is so fun for the kiddies as well as the adults. Each child can

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  • Sticker Finger Paint

    Sticker finger paintThis is such a simple project with fun - and educational - results. Along with honing fine-motor skills, it also encourages color recognition. Toddlers love getting messy - and finger paint doesn't disappoint. Combining stickers and finger paint also creates a multi-step activity, which also helps tots learn how to wait and follow directions. This doesn't mean that things are going to go smoothly - plan for chaos by having wet-wipes or a few damp paper towels handy and donning your tot in a smock or okay-for-mess clothing.

    Finger painting is an exciting way to introduce color theory through mixing paints. Most toddlers are on their way to mastering color recognition, which means it's time for the next step. Using two colors keeps things from turning into a big brownish-grey mess o' paint. Most tots are also still in the scribble stage and getting pretty comfortable using pencils, crayons, and markers to draw, draw, draw. This activity encourages kids to use the entire paper,

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  • Shine Supper Club - Lightened-up Summer Chicken Salad

    Lightened-up summer chicken saladSummer is here, which means cranking up the grill, enjoying frozen treats, the smell of fresh-cut green grass, and tossing together cool salads. It also means the potential of wearing a swimsuit. Sure, I'd love to comfortably strut my stuff in a two piece. But, yeah. No. I've been working on walking instead of driving to places closer than a mile from the house, cutting back on sweet treats, and lightening-up our favorite dishes. One of my go-to regulars for lunch is chicken salad. There's nothing like that creamy, comforting bite of rich chicken salad sandwich full of garlic, tangy mustard, and wonderful mayo. But, OH, the calories! 1 tablespoon of regular mayonnaise has around 60 of them!

    Not so nice and light.

    So, for summer, and the hopes of dropping a few jiggly pounds, I decided to lighten-up my tasty go-to chicken salad recipe. I swapped that high-calorie mayo for plain, tangy, light yogurt. Not only was I in love, my toddler couldn't get enough of the lightened-up

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  • Yogurt Quick Bread

    Yogurt quick breadThe other day someone asked me if I was more of a baker or a cook. My first reaction was that I'm a cook - but I'm also a baker (kind of). I'm not a patient person, so waiting for something to bake drives me batty. I can't open the oven and stir or baste or season. With baking, you've got to wait, wait, wait a bit more, and then wait. You can't frost cake until it's cool. Let the cookies rest before removing from the pan...

    But, I do love making quick breads.

    And I love yogurt.

    Today the tot and I whipped up a simple yogurt quick bread. It's nice and moist, lovely drizzled with glaze, and perfect for taking to any picnic or gathering. Use a good, thick plain yogurt for a delicious, tangy bread.


    1 egg

    1 cup plain yogurt

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup vegetable oil

    1/4 cup melted butter

    1/4 cup sugar

    1 packed tablespoon brown sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 1/4 cup flour

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  • Shine Supper Club - Sticky Monkey Bread

    Sticky Monkey Bread

    With Mother's Day right around the corner I have been finding myself thinking about food. Honestly? I think about food pretty much all the time. Lately I've been thinking about the things my mom made when I was young that have stuck with me over the years. With my own tot at home, I want to start great cooking memories with her - just like my mom did with me. The theme for this month's Shine Supper Club also fits right in - making your mom's best recipe!

    I absolutely love my mom's homemade Sticky Monkey Bread. Sure, you can follow the recipe found on the side of the biscuit can, but this is the original version straight from the 1970's church cookbook of my midwestern town. This is the stickiest, gooiest version of goodness out there. While growing up, my mom would hand my sister and I our own plastic baggies filled with cinnamon and sugar to shake-shake the bits of cut canned biscuits and then toss into our well-used bundt pan. After a serious coating of butter, more sugar

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  • Spring Blossom Artwork

    Spring blossomsIt seems everywhere I look there are blossoms, blossoms, blossoms. Spring is officially here, and with it, tons of flowers. While out for a nice walk, the tot and I couldn't help stopping every few blocks to check out the colorful beauties, which reminded me of amazing Chinese blossom paintings. Full of bright pinks and reds, traditional blossom paintings are delicate and pretty and then lined with black lengths of tree. Blossom trees welcome spring in Asia and are also a large part of Chinese New Year celebrations as decorations.

    After we returned from out outing, I pulled out the tissue paper and glue. While I cut several circles of pink, red, and fuchsia tissue, I enlisted the tot to mix together equal parts glue and water in a small container. If your child is old enough to cut with scissors, she can be in charge of cutting tons of different sized tissue circles.

    Once there's a nice pile of tissue circles get out a sheet of white paper and invite your child to sprinkle

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  • Shine Supper Club - Skinny Orange Chicken

    Orange chickenI love sweet, savory and spicy Asian food. Every once in a while we order from this awesome local place, but lately we've saved the cash for other things. Delivery can run upwards of $30 for an appetizer (got to have cream cheese wontons), two entrées, and don't forget tip. Now that it's spring, I'm also trying to lighten-up our dishes. The Shine Supper Club Challenge this month is all about spring cleaning your dinner so light recipes have really been on my mind. Last night I needed a sticky rice fix something fierce and happened to have all ingredients needed for one of our all time favorites.

    Orange chicken.

    This is a nice and light version with lots of bright orange flavor that happily serves two - with leftovers for lunch the next day. If you love lots of sauce, you might want to double the ingredients. I like a nice, thick coating of sauce on my chicken, not a big pool of it leftover on our plates. Adding a touch of grated orange peel really kicks the orange flavor to

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  • Hand-painted Easter Egg Cookies

    Hand-painted Easter egg cookiesWith Easter right around the corner, I wanted to make something special with the tot to celebrate. When I think of Easter memories of candy, cookies, candy, a few Easter egg hunts, candy, and more cookies come to mind. Vanilla, lemon, sugar, whipped cream, and chocolate top my list of Easter goodie must-haves. We had some lovely fresh lemons, which were perfect for tossing together these wonderfully tangy cookies. And we topped them in a really special way - by hand-painting them with vanilla flavored edible paints.


    This is just about the easiest cookie recipe to put together (resulting with about 24-28 oval goodies) and inviting the kiddies to slather tangy egg-shaped cookies with edible paint is a perfect way to spend Easter together. Not up for the baking part? Simply pick up a roll of store-bought refrigerated sugar cookie dough and you're good to go.


    1/2 c room temperature butter, cut into small cubes

    1/4 c powdered sugar

    1/4 c sugar

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Spring with Monet

    Spring with Monet
    The weather outside is definitely no longer frightful. The blossoms are blossoming, bulbs are popping flowers, and the grass sure seems a lot greener. While out on a walk with the tot the other day, she got caught up admiring the dandelions adorning the sidewalk. She picked several, positioned a few in her hair, and then proceeded to squish the rest of them up.

    Oh, to be three.

    When we got home, she was determined to paint a picture. While getting out the paint I had a flash of those dreamy, romantic paintings by Monet. I grabbed the trusty laptop and pulled up a few images for the two of us to check out. Claude Monet is a mega artist - pretty much everyone has heard of him or seen his art at some point. He is considered the Big Daddy of French Impressionism, which was all about capturing the light and impression of a scene or object through small brushstrokes of color. In fact, the style was named after his painting titled, Impressionism, Sunrise 1872.

    I shared a few

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