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4 Homemade Orange Soda

Homemade-Orange-Soda-MOMablesWant a homemade alternative to sugary store-bought orange sodas? Look no further. This homemade treat is one your entire family will love.

Isn’t there just something about that classic orange soda that brings you back to your childhood? It does for me. Except that when I take a look at the nutrition label, it’s a rude awakening from my childhood memories. Artificial coloring, preservatives, and natural flavoring instead of real oranges? No, thanks.

Here at MOMables, we understand the need and want for homemade recipes, drinks included, made with real ingredients. In our Homemade Orange Soda, you will find oranges and sparkling water.

It’s really that simple. No, it won’t taste exactly like your childhood orange soda, but that’s because we don’t put artificial ingredients in ours! Besides, you don’t want it to taste exactly the same. Yours will be healthier and better for you.

Getting my daughter involved in the kitchen always helps her want to eat healthier. Not only did she enjoy helping squeeze the oranges to make the juice, she enjoyed watching the entire process! Being able to try the soda at the end was almost like a prize to her.

We decided to squeeze a bunch of oranges and keep the orange juice in the fridge so that we could make our soda throughout the week. It was delicious and refreshing! You will not be disappointed! You can always add more sparkling water or more freshly squeezed orange juice to your liking.

My four oranges yielded 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. One cup of orange juice yields 3 servings of homemade orange soda. Serve with some slices of oranges if desired.

Homemade Orange Soda

  • Author:
  • Yield: 3

Ingredients

  • 4 oranges, washed and dried
  • Orange zest (from the 4 oranges)
  • Sparkling water
  • Simple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry your oranges, then take the zest from the four oranges and set aside.
  2. Squeeze the oranges (4 oranges = approximately 1 cup).
  3. Mix freshly squeezed orange juice with the zest, and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Push the orange juice and zest through a strainer to remove the large pieces of zest, pulp, and seeds.
  5. To make the soda, mix 1/3 cup of orange juice and 2/3 cup sparkling water over ice (add 2 tablespoons of simple syrup, if desired.)

Notes

To make Simple Syrup (optional): Heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir. When the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and allow it to cool. You can keep the simple syrup in the fridge for up to a month in an airtight container.

 

128

DIY Smoothie Freezer Packs

Love smoothies, but hate the hassle of making them every morning? You’ll love these easy smoothie freezer packs.

These smoothie freezer packs show you how to make smoothies with frozen fruit and veggies!

All the convenience of the store-bought kind with ingredients YOU select.

These are the perfect addition to healthy lunches.  See how to pack a smoothie. 

I love smoothies, especially green smoothies. You get all the nutrients and benefits of the greens (spinach or kale, for example) along with the taste of your favorite fruits. This is also the perfect way to get your picky eater to drink up some greens.

When my daughter helps me put together the smoothie packs, she’s always much more willing to try the smoothies.

While I love smoothies and love to have one every morning, I don’t always have the time to put together a fresh smoothie on the spot. By preparing my smoothie packs ahead of time, we can have healthy smoothies ready and at our disposal whenever we need them.

Check out this video to see exactly how I prepare my DIY Smoothie Freezer Packs!

Once a week, I like to make a few smoothie freezer packs so that we have ready-made smoothies for the rest of the week. You put everything you would want in your smoothie, excluding the liquid base, which you add when you are going to make the smoothie.

Smoothie-Freezer-Pack-ingredients

Freezing the spinach or other greens has no effect on the taste of the smoothie, or on its nutritional value.  Now you can make your favorite smoothie recipe and make it into a freezer-ready pack.

When it comes time to make your smoothie, you can easily take one smoothie freezer pack out of your freezer. Blend all the ingredients, in addition to your liquid base, until smooth. You can either blend your smoothie frozen, or you can defrost the pack in the fridge the night before you make it.

Here, I’ve listed one of my favorite recipes with pineapple, mango, clementines, and spinach. Many times, I will take my overripe fruits and stick them into the freezer so that they can be added into a smoothie later on.

When it comes time to blend your smoothie, I like to blend my greens (I usually use spinach, kale, or a mixture of both) with my liquid base first. I then add the rest of the fruit and blend until smooth. If you have a high-powered blender, you might not have to add that extra step.

For my liquid base, I like to use 1 cup of coconut water and 1 cup of water. I always label my freezer packs with how much liquid I need to add, as a reminder in case I’m not the one making the smoothie.

Want to pack a smoothie for your kids lunch? See this post on how to. Smoothies can go great with a MOMables lunch from our MOMables menus.

DIY Smoothie Freezer Packs

5 from 6 reviews

  • Author:
  • Yield: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping cups spinach
  • 2 cups liquid (i.e. 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut water)
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2 clementines
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the spinach and the liquid, and blend until the spinach is completely broken down.
  2. Add the fruit in batches, and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Pour into cups, and enjoy!

 

72

The Trick To Making Fresh Berries LAST! {video}

Want to know the secret to making your berries last longer?

How to keep berries fresh in the refrigerator so they last longer MOMables.com

This is exactly how the Chief MOM of MOMables manages to pack 3-4 days of school lunches without her berries spoiling!

Berry season is upon most of us these days, and all of those vibrant, sweet fruits are calling to us from road-side stands, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores.

While my children may attempt to devour the berries as soon as they are purchased, I try to hold a few back to use in our fresh school lunches and in easy summer desserts.

In the past, my refrigerator shelf life for berries was pretty short, especially if I was dealing with strawberries or raspberries.  It seemed I would bring them home from the store and find them spoiling within a few short hours.

Now, thanks to a quick kitchen trick, I know how to keep berries fresh, giving me more time to use them as needed. 

The secret to extending the life of fresh berries?  White Vinegar. Check out this short video that shows you how to wash your berries or read step by step directions below. 
Wasn’t that so easy? Wash strawberries, blueberries, and even blackberries! Note: I don’t recommend washing raspberries, washing them will actually cut their lifespan. With raspberries, refrigeration is key. 

how to keep berries fresh so they last longer in the refrigerator MOMables.com

How To Keep Berries Fresh

  • Once you bring your fresh berries home, the key to keeping it fresh is to kill any spores on the fruit.  The pH of vinegar does that job.
  • Place the berries in a large bowl and wash them in a vinegar-water bath:  1 cup of white vinegar and 8 cups of water.
  • Let the berries sit in the vinegar-water bath, gently moving them to help dislodge any dirt, grime and letting the vinegar kill spores and bacteria.
  • Drain the berries in a colander and then thoroughly rinse the fruit (to remove any vinegar flavor).
  • Thicker skinned fruit (like strawberries or blueberries) can be dried in a salad spinner but delicate berries such as raspberries and blackberries should be dried on a towel, patting them with paper or cloth towels.
  • Store the washed and dried fruit in a sealed container that has been lined with paper towels — if using an air-tight container, leave the lid slightly open to avoid natural moisture build-up.  When I handle fruit I have purchased from my grocery store, I wash the original container and then re-use it, making sure to line it with paper towels.

How-To-Store-Berries-In-The-Fridge so they last longer MOMables.com

Other Options To Keep Berries Fresh

  • A quick hot-water bath (30 seconds in 125 degree water for strawberries, raspberries and blackberries; 30 seconds in 140 degree water for blueberries) has been shown to kill bacteria, resulting fewer berries going bad.
  • Commercial produce cleaner, such as EatCleaner, are another good option for cleaning fresh berries and elongating their life in the refrigerator. This is one of those multi-use products because it also happens to keep your apples from browning.

How to keep berries fresh in the refrigerator so they last longer MOMables.com

 

57

How To Keep Apples From Browning in the Lunchbox {Video}

Wondering How To Keep Apples From Browning in the Lunchbox? Look no further – here are three ways to keep sliced apples fresh!

Apples are a favorite school lunch addition for many children and moms love their year-round availability and budget friendly prices.  But, one question we often get when we share school lunch menus is “How do you keep the apples from browning?”

How To Keep Apples From Browning MOMables.com

Fortunately, there are several options for preserving fresh apples, keeping them as crisp and white as the moment you cut them.  AND, these methods will let you cut and store sliced apples for the entire week, saving you time as you pack lunches for your children.  Who doesn’t love that idea?

The main ingredient to preserving apples and keeping them from oxidizing is simple: citric acid.  In its very basic, natural form it is found in lemons, limes, oranges, pineapple and other citrus fruits.  It is also dehydrated and crystalized for a shelf-stable preservative and, in a variety of forms, is perfect for keeping sliced apples ready for lunch or an easy snack!

Here is just one method that I use to pack apples for the week and make fruit cups for school.

Three Ways To Keep Apples From Browning

1) Citrus Fruit Juice: lemon juice is our family’s favorite as we love the flavor combo of tart lemon and sweet apple.  But, if your children don’t like lemons, any fresh citrus fruit juice will work.  Pineapple juice is yummy on apples!

Lemon-Juice-keeps-apples-from-turning-brown MOMables.com

Simply squeeze the juice of one lemon (or other citrus, if desired) into a bowl of sliced apples.  Toss lightly to coat and then store the apples in a sealed container within your refrigerator.  With this method, apples stay ready for 4-5 days worth of use.

2) Fruit-Fresh: this powdered, natural preservative is made from citric acid and is most often used by home-cooks when canning fruits and vegetables.  It can also be used on fresh produce to halt the oxidation process.

 Citric-Acid-works-for-preserving-apple-slices

If using it on a few sliced apples, simply sprinkle it lightly on the fruit.  To preserve up to two cups of sliced apples, mix two teaspoons of Fruit-Fresh with two tablespoons of water, and then toss the sliced fruit with the liquid.  Store in an air-tight container in your refrigerator.

3) Eat Cleaner: an all-natural, tasteless and odorless produce and food cleaner that was created by a family dedicated to creating a safe product that would remove wax and residue from the items sold at our grocery stores.  Because it has citric acid in it, it also keeps produce and fruit from browning! This is a 2 in 1 product: you can clean your produce from nasty pesticides, waxes and dirt (even organic!) and use it to keep the food fresh. Win win.

EatCleaner-product-for-cleaning-fruits-and-vegetables

There are a variety of wipes and products in the Eat Cleaner family; follow the package guidelines for spraying and keeping your apples fresh.

Yeah, you say it all works but how about some proof?

sliced-apples-hour-1

sliced-apples-hour-6

In the interest of science (of course), our family tried out the three afore-mentioned methods for keeping apples fresh.  After six hours of sitting on the kitchen tables, the treated apples were all brighter and whiter than the apples that had been left untreated.  I now cut my apples on Sunday night, treat them and then I have easy “grab-n-go” apples for the duration of the week!

Regardless of which method works for your family and budget, you will find each to work perfectly at saving your apples from turning brown!

2

How to freeze rice to pack for school lunch

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Want to save time when packing lunches? You’ll love this tip.

Here at MOMables, the #1 priority is to save YOU time making school lunches.

This MOMables tip is going to save you so much time AND stress.

Next time you make a batch of your favorite rice dish, double up that recipe.

Serve half to your family and freeze individual servings of the rest for future lunches. Let me show yow how easy this is!

Last night I had some leftovers of my family’s favorite rice recipe, MOMables  Cheesy Stop Light Rice.

 

 

Place individual servings of rice into ziplock baggies. Try to remove most of the air, and label with the date.

Rice dishes can be frozen up to 30 days. After that, they tend to dry out.

The morning you are ready to pack the rice for lunch, run water over the frozen bag for about 15 seconds.

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

This separates the food from the sides of the bag, allowing it to slide out.
Place frozen portion of rice in a microwave save bowl and reheat in the microwave.

 

MOMable TIP! Add 1-2 TBS of water to the dish before microwaving. This will prevent any dryness.

While waiting for the rice to warm up, prep a thermos for the warm rice (CLICK here to learn how to). Pack cooked rice in warm thermos and WHALA!  A nice warm lunch ready to go!

 

 

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