Blog Posts by Katie Dillon

  • User post: Use Ice Cream Cones To Spruce Up Healthy Snacks

    Sometimes, it really is all in the presentation. Ice cream cones are my new strategy. My daughter declared war against blueberries and a few other healthy snacks. I put these same snacks in an ice cream cone, and our problem is solved.

    Organic ice cream cones do exist, if that's a concern for you. The ones above are about 20 calories each and happen to be vegan too.

    The benefits of using ice cream cones:

    • No dishes to clean!
    • Cone snacks make a cute display at parties and playdates.
    • They're great for portion control.
    • Kids have fun making them.
    • They're inexpensive.
    The only downside is kids can drop a few crumbs here and there after they bite into the cone. I'll happily take that, if it means my daughter is eating healthy food without protest. This cone below is her current favorite. It's packed with antioxidants and a mix she created herself. It's so delicious, I'm impressed every time we make it.

    For the ingredients and more details regarding the cones, Read More »from User post: Use Ice Cream Cones To Spruce Up Healthy Snacks
  • User post: Bacon Brownies For Your Super Bowl Party

    When I read this recipe, I had to try it. Bacon in a brownie just sounded too interesting to pass up. The author of the recipe designed it so that a man can make and appreciate it. It's from a book by a food blogger, Susan Russo, called "Recipes Every Man Should Know."

    You'll need:

    • 1 box of brownie mix
    • Ready made whipped cream
    • 6 bacon strips (or if you're daring, use the whole pack)
    • Caramel sauce
    That's it. This only takes a few minutes to make, plus baking time. My guests thought it was outrageously good. The combination of salt, chocolate and caramel sauce is to die for. I'm going to be making it again for my Super Bowl party.

    Visit La Jolla Mom for the Bacon Brownie step by step and photos.

    You may also like:
    Molasses Ginger Cookies
    Best Banana Cupcake/Muffin Recipe
    Healthy Preschool Snacks

    *Katie Dillon writes La Jolla Mom, an award winning lifestyle site about food, travel, parenting, homekeeping, and local happenings. She lives in La Jolla with her husband Read More »from User post: Bacon Brownies For Your Super Bowl Party
  • 8 Must Haves For Flying With Young Kids

    As a former expat, I had to fly from Hong Kong to San Diego multiple times per year. Due to my husband's schedule, I was often alone. I bought a ton of useless gear and made numerous mistakes. However, I eventually fell into a groove. I've made a list of the 8 things that I feel will help parents survive holiday air travel.

    1. Ziploc bags: Who knew that a household item could be so useful? I always packed extra clothes and diapers for my daughter in my carry on bags, especially on a long haul flight. I still do this, because you never know if an orange juice is going to tip over or what kind of accident is waiting to happen. And when the accident does happen, you have a sealed trash bag available. Furthermore, you can compress all the air out of the packed bags, which will allow you to fit more into your carry on.

    2. Changing Mat: I used a Skip Hop Pronto mat, but there are many on the market. Let's face it, public restrooms can be gross and airplane changing tables can be too. Not

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  • One Way to Show Kids Kindness

    Given that it's the holiday season, I wanted to find a way to pay it forward. It's something that I don't do nearly enough of plus, though my daughter is only 3, it's important to me to start teaching her compassion at a young age. Yahoo! gave me the opportunity to get started, via their Ripples of Kindness Campaign. Can one good deed inspire others and create a ripple of kindness? Based on my experience, I would argue that the answer is yes. Though based on the age of my daughter, I would have done at least one thing differently.

    I decided that Promises 2 Kids, a cause recently brought to my attention, was the perfect place to start. They offer a broad array of services to help San Diego's kids in need, including the Polinsky Children's Center, the County's only emergency shelter for abused and neglected kids. They provide protection, shelter and support for nearly 3000 kids each year. Have you ever thought about where kids go after being yanked out of domestic violence and similar

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  • User post: 3 Reindeer Cupcakes for Christmas

    Since my daughter loves Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, we attempted to make cupcakes in his likeness. These reindeer cupcakes are the end result, however, you can easily simplify them based on your time constraints and what is in your pantry.

    The heads are donut holes attached to the cupcake with a candy melt stick. You may also use a pretzel. The antlers and ears were created by piping candy melts on to wax paper. Once cool, they were attached to the donut hole. We used candy for the eyes and nose, as well as a small marshmallow for the tail. My daughter insisted on the latter.

    If you're trying to cut back on sugar or short on time, just omit the frosting. Believe me, if the donut hole is fresh and the cupcake recipe is a winner, you won't miss it. Just use a dab of frosting or honey to attach the eyes and nose.

    You may also scrap the donut hole completely. Just make the antlers and ears a bit bigger. I used a regular sized red M&M for the nose versus mini M&Ms on the donut

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  • User post: Rainy Day Kids Craft: Holiday Marshmallows

    To prepare for rainy days, keep some essentials in your pantry for impromptu kids crafts. Holiday marshmallows are an easy favorite. Projects like these keep kids entertained while letting their imaginations run wild.

    Suggested ingredients and tools
    1. Large marshmallows
    2. Candy melts or chocolate chips
    3. Holiday sprinkles
    4. Ceramic candy melting bowls (nice to have, not necessary)
    5. Shredded coconut
    6. Food markers
    7. Chocolate covered candy canes, lollipop sticks or pretzel sticks
    8. Gum drops or other candy

    1. Melt candy and make sure it's at a temperature your kids can handle.
    2. Have the kids paint the tops of the marshmallows with the melted candy.
    3. Put toppings in individual bowls.
    4. Dunk marshmallows in toppings. Or sprinkle them on top.
    5. Draw faces on front.

    The creativity doesn't have to stop here. If you have pretzels, put the marshmallows on a stick. We used chocolate covered candy canes.

    Or arrange them into a Christmas tree shape. My

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  • User post: 6 prenatal fitness tips I wish I would have known

    I had a pregnancy that was rough enough to confirm my daughter as an only child. I read books, surfed the internet and listened to my doctor, but I still struggled with extreme discomfort. Looking back, I believe some of the agony could have been minimized through a proper fitness regimen.

    As someone who has exercised most of her life, I thought I already knew what I needed to about prenatal and postnatal fitness. I didn't. Here are six things I wish I would have known.

    1. Start off in shape: The fitter you are at the time of conception, the better. I was very busy and not exercising much, got pregnant, and then had 4 months of morning sickness. It was hard to motivate back into an exercise routine and harder for my body to adjust to exercise again.
    2. Exercises to avoid: As pregnancy progresses, there are certain exercises that are contraindicated. We all know to avoid lying in a prone position, however, exercises in the supine position (lying down, face up) after the fourth
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  • 3 Turkey Cupcakes for Thanksgiving

    Each holiday, I find a clever food that I can make with my 3 year old daughter. Since Thanksgiving is around the corner, I thought it would be fun to create cupcakes in the shape of a turkey. We took features from a few cupcakes I saw online and added some of our own. These turkey cupcakes are the end result, however, you can easily simplify them based on your time constraints and what is in your pantry.

    I used my daughter's left over Halloween candy corn for the beaks, tails and feet. The head is a donut hole and the cupcakes are pumpkin with maple cream cheese frosting. Pumpkin cupcakes wound up being a good choice. Not only are they delicious, but the cupcake itself is the same color as the donut hole and the ginger cookie tail (bought at my local grocery store). To simplify the cupcake, you can skip the frosting and the turkey will still be adorable. The cupcake recipe I used is so moist that it doesn't need frosting anyway.

    Or if the ginger cookie tail is too much, you can omit

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  • User Post: Facing Family History

    October is breast cancer awareness month. Everywhere I go, I see pink and that's a good thing. I don't mind paying a little bit extra for things that offer a worthwhile contribution with purchase. Breast cancer is a weight I carry on my shoulders.

    My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 44 years old. That's 7 years older than I am now. Even though she survived, every day I think about it and wonder how much sand my hourglass has left.

    I could get tested for the BRCA gene, but I have my concerns. To be completely honest, I think about looking into it and then the idea gets lost in the chaos of daily life. However, I have read that people who test positive are thought to be 5 times as likely to get cancer.

    If I got tested and it came out positive, what would I do?

    I suppose the most logical thing would be to have a preventative mastectomy, oophorectomy and/or hysterectomy, depending on what my physician recommended. All of this is not without potential side

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  • It's Not Perfect, But It's Pasta

    Roughly once a month, my kitchen looks like someone up ended a bag of flour in front of a fan. Making pasta became a family tradition by accident. I wasn't expecting my 3 year old daughter to enjoy a tedious process that takes a full afternoon, and almost as much time to clean up. I hope it eventually teaches her to appreciate the effort it takes to prepare a meal.

    Under supervision, my daughter carefully feeds dough through our stand mixer pasta attachment until it's the right thickness. I cut it into shape. In the meantime, dough and flour get in our hair, all over our clothes and even between our toes. Yes, anything that falls on ground gets thrown away. Daddy watches and laughs from his seat at the kitchen island, usually with a glass of wine. The end result may not look professional, but it honestly tastes better than store bought pasta.

    I'm a huge fan of involving my daughter in fun household projects. We need to eat dinner, so why not plan a little extra time and let her

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