A Healthy Green Smoothie for Saint Patrick’s Day


Check out our yummy healthy green smoothie recipe to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with the kids! Thanks to our partner Maple Hill – America’s original 100% grass-fed dairy producers for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Over the years, my kids have shown me that it’s the little things commemorating the special dates and holidays that mean the most to them. Their excitement over a simple banner on the mantle, handmade decorations or a themed recipe will always make me incredibly happy. That said, I was in great need of upping my game for Saint Patrick’s Day this year – ever since my son came home from school last March wanting to know why he’d been deprived of setting “leprechaun traps” in our home. While I may not ever be the leprechaun-trap-making kind of mom, I can make a mean kiddo-approved green smoothie. And if I can get kale, spinach, Maple Hill Organic Grass-Fed Yogurt and more into my kiddos before they’re out the door for school in the morning – than that’s a win for us all!


Smoothies are a breeze, especially when you’re looking for something easy and healthy. And our Saint Patrick’s Day smoothie recipe is catered to please the kiddos:



One of the best things about adding greens to smoothies is that they don’t add a lot of flavor. The combination of banana, frozen mango and pineapple help to add just enough sweetness to make my kids gulp away. Although we also make this smoothie with Maple Hill’s Organic Milk – the Maple Hill’s Organic Whole Milk Yogurt gives this specific recipe a deliciously creamy texture and taste. Not only are Maple Hill’s products grass-fed, but they’re certified USDA and PCO organic, and GMO-free.  You’ll taste the difference as soon as you try Maple Hill.

Along with all the vitamins and nutrients from the organic greens and fruits – I’m happy that my kids are getting solid protein and more from Maple Hill Yogurt. Maple Hill’s products are 100% grass-fed – and milk from grass-fed cows (versus those that consume a grain-based diet) is higher in essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat – with a whole host of great health benefits known to reduce inflammation in the body and more. Their grass-fed milk has double the omega-3 fat content as conventional milk. It’s always the right choice for my family.


If your kiddos happen to be resistant to drinking their greens in any way, make sure to give this smoothie a fun name.

I’m pretty sure that Leprechaun anything will do!


The Perfect Roasted Broccoli


Now and then something happens that makes me stop and reevaluate my kids’ diets. This time around, it was the faces they made at the broccoli on their plates at dinner time on our recent Disney cruise. Let’s just say that they weren’t friendly faces. The kids used to devour my roasted broccoli – but at ages six and nine, they still prove to be picky with some vegetables.  And I suppose that I’ve made my trusted go-to recipes on constant repeat – resulting in a loss of interest.  After making a roasted broccoli with loads of garlic, cheese, and lemon for years – I had to simplify it a bit to get the kids back interested in my broccoli. After a few dinner experiments, I think that I may have stumbled on the perfect roasted broccoli in the process.


The kids didn’t care for the added tomatoes that I threw in at the last minute, but I happen to love the tasty combo and the pops of color.  For now, we’ll just stick to the broccoli!  Get the super simple, kid-pleasing perfect roasted broccoli recipe below:



We hope you enjoy it!  And, please chime in with your favorite veggie recipes below!


Endless Summer with Taste of Nature

The theme around here lately seems to always return to the full days of fun that we are having this summer.  It really is hard to believe just how much we pack into a single day and I’d like to think only of our endless summer before autumn breezes and academic shuffles creep back in.  I hope that the kids will remember their early childhood bond and the togetherness of our big extended family.

tree swing

To some extent we feel like party crashers but even the most impromptu visits are welcomed by family with open arms.  There is so much beauty just a short drive out of NYC and the dreamy respite is rejuvenating.

Most importantly, we are together.  All of us.

It’s nice to arrive with a party packed into a suitcase and working with Taste of Nature was a perfect meshing for my family.  I was happy to introduce their tasty, certified organic, gluten-free, non-gmo project verified snack bars to our tribe.

taste of nature organic bars #realtastesgood

From green energy to constructing schools in Africa, Taste of Nature chooses carefully to support sustainable farming, empower communities and preserve the environment.  And since Taste of Nature bars are free of fillers, chemicals or anything artificial I feel good about giving these simple, healthy snacks to the growing littles.

Taste of Nature Barstaste of nature 4

Taste of Nature’s six delicious flavors include Brazilian Nut Festival, California Almond Valley, Quebec Cranberry Carnival, Canadian Maple Forest, Himalayan Goji Summit, and Persian Pomegranate Garden.  I appreciate that what you see is what you get with these bars.

Taste of Nature Bars #RealTastesGood

Unlike some of the completely healthy things that I’ve tested out with my family – Taste of Nature actually tastes good.  They were a hit!  And so was the paver stone art.

creative chalk drawing with kids

And the pool.  And endless paddle ball games.

taste of nature 6

Purchase taste of Nature for $1.99 each at Fairway Market here in New York City or at many other stores near you.  And stay in touch with Taste of Nature via Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


The Active Family Project & The Importance of Family Mealtime

Research continually suggests that family meal time is a crucial component in deepening familial bonds and fostering a healthy lifestyle.  Studies also indicate that sitting down together at mealtime can boost a child’s vocabulary and help development in many different ways.  For many families, carving out family meals and playtime can be a challenge.

eat dinner together

This past month was National Nutrition Month and I was invited to interview author and entrepreneur Laura Fuentes about her role in the Active Family Project – a health and wellness initiative aimed at helping families take back family playtime and mealtime.  In addition to her well-known blog Superglue Mom, Laura is the Founder/CEO of Momables – the first meal-planning service for healthy and fresh school lunches.  And as a member of the Active Family “Play Council”, Laura has insight into the importance of incorporating playtime and family mealtime into busy motherhood.

Check out my interview with Laura below and learn more about the Active Family Project on Facebook.


This is a sponsored post.  Opinions, as always, are my own.


Creating Veggie Lovers With Birds Eye {AMEX Giveaway}

Our children are growing up in a heavily media-saturated environment. Although a variety of factors influence food choices and eating behaviors, children in the US are often the targets of aggressive forms of food marketing of products that are high in sugar and fat. According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. This is of significant concern to me as a mother and former researcher with a Public Health background, and I couldn’t be more excited to share Birds Eye’s initiative to encourage children to make healthier food choices. With Jennette McCurdy (the star of the popular Nickelodeon show Sam & Cat), Birds Eye and Nickelodeon are Re-writing The Dinnertime Rules and sharing positive healthy eating messages in fun and creative ways.

Michael Christiansen, Jennette McCurdy

I recently took Lucia and Adrian to a Birds Eye adventure in Manhattan celebrating all thing vegetable.  This event was of great interest to me because I have two very different eaters. Adrian LOVES his vegetables, describes peppers as beautiful and gravitates towards the veggie platter at any given party. Lucia eats a handful of healthy veggies (including broccoli, and dark greens), but she’s not engrossed in a veggie love affair like her little brother.

At the Birds Eye Play With Veggies event, the children had the chance to Rewrite the Dinnertime Rules with the assistance of Executive Chef Michael Christiansen and TV star Jennette McCurdy. The venue was filled with veggie stuffed animals, healthy foods and fun stations. Adrian was in his element inhaling three plates of carrots and actually shunned his homemade pizza for another serving of veggies. Lucia was immediately won over by the Luau theme, complete with grass skirts, aloha-print hats and leis. My kids even made a smoothie that included a handful of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots to which Lucia described as “the best smoothie EVER”! Chef Michael Christensen had plenty of high fives to dole out and helpful recipes and tips to share with the adults.

birds eye veggie giveaway

birds eye veggies

eating carrots

Jennette McCurdy iCarly Sam and Cat Nickelodeon

I explained to Lucia that Jennette McCurdy works hard to meet big goals that she sets for herself, and fuels herself with healthy veggies to be the best that she can be. Why would she be partnering with Birds Eye if she didn’t LOVE veggies? Janette’s presence and involvement in the campaign definitely had the effect I was hoping for on Lucia (her pink highlights were also a huge hit!). We’ve since had a lot of fun visiting Nickelodeon’s Play With Your Veggies website (where you can enter to win a trip to NYC to join Jennette at Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play). I’m incredibly thrilled to see this collaboration promoting such positive media messages to children.

Win It: Birds Eye is generously giving away a $50 American Express Gift Card and Five Free Birds Eye Product Coupons (each coupon is valued at $3.49) to one lucky MB reader.

To Enter: Simply leave a comment below.

Extra Entries will be given to Birds Eye followers on Facebook, and Marino Bambinos followers on Facebook and Twitter.

An Extra Entry can be earned by sharing this giveaway on Facebook (tag @MarinoBambinos and @Birds Eye, and please include the post link).

An Extra Entry can be earned by sharing this giveaway on Twitter:  Enter to #win a $50 AMEX GC and coupons #giveaway from @BirdsEye via @MarinoBambinos: http://bit.ly/1cQiLie #PlayWithVeggies.  Or create your own tweet including handles MarinoBambinos, BirdsEye, and post link.

Six entries total and please leave a separate comment for each. This giveaway is open to US only and a winner will be selected via random.org next week. Best of luck and thanks for your readership!

UPDATE:  Congratulations Crystal G!

Birds Eye provided me with products and a gift bag at the event. The first image is via Birds Eye. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.


Healthy Tips for Picky Eaters {Sponsored}

I’m not one to typically dole out the parenting advice over here. I think that many aspects of parenting are simply trial and error, and what works for one bambino doesn’t usually work for the other. But I do have a picky eater, and am happy to share a few of my healthy eating tips on behalf of Tyson.

My oldest child, Lucia has always been a bit of a picky eater, but I definitely think that the corruption sets in as they start to get older. I vividly remember the day that Lucia declared that she no longer wanted green peppers in her snack bag because so-and-so said that they were “yucky”. Which leads to my first tip:

Be Sneaky and Consistent:

I could have been better about continually offering Lucia the food she started to reject as she grew. I learned from my mistakes and make sure that my little guy continues to eat his veggies.  I also continually offer my kids different foods – even when rejected. But sometimes, my only hope is sneaking things in their food.  I often hide veggies and power packed nutrients into my children’s meals. I like to send them off to school with a healthy breakfast, and am a huge fan of steel cut oats (or regular oatmeal when pressed for time). I like to chop up a ton of mixed nuts (Brazil nuts, walnuts cashews and almonds) for extra protein and mix in a bit of ground flax and cinnamon. I also frequently mix chopped veggies into ground turkey meat, and chicken cutlets as it’s a guaranteed way to sneak them in.

Include Tiny Helpers: 

Both of my kids are prone to eat healthy food if they help take part in the process. They love to crack eggs, mix ingredients, and pick things apart (like parsley). We try to involve them as much as we can and also include them in the cleanup!

Offer Different Forms: 

It is highly unlikely that Lucia will devour an entire plate of carrots, but she will gulp down freshly juiced carrots and apples. My littles think that juice is such a treat, and they also love to help make it. When my kiddos first rejected raw broccoli, I found a recipe that they love – which turned them into broccoli lovers. Sometimes a different form or an awesome recipe will do the trick.

Make it Look Awesome: 

Little ones can often be cajoled by a pretty presentation. Fun containers, divided plates and tiny separated groups of food make healthy snacks appealing to children.

Walnuts, fruits, veggies and cheese presented in a glittery Easter egg rainbow, supported by a cut up egg carton.

Make It Fun: 

I certainly don’t have Pinterest perfection going on all the time (and think it would be problematic if children’s meals always looked like elaborate art). But I love to get creative with meal presentation on occasion. The process of creating is so much fun for me, as is the pint-sized excitement over my arrangements. My husband (an artist) is also a master creator and has been making fun food art since the pre-Pinterest era. I also always try and incorporate a little fun into my kids school meals with creature-shaped cookie cutter sandwiches, the addition of an eyeball and a special hand-drawn love note.

Mango, orange, cranberry, and strawberry sun. Dino mold turkey and cheese. Kale chip tree. Roasted seaweed, green bean, broccoli, Brazil nut, blueberry, mango and kiwi grass/flowers.

If all else fails, my worst possible tip *bribery* may work wonders if used in excessive moderation. My daughter may or may not be a salad lover due to a singing, light-up, Rapunzel doll.

To make mealtime more fun, learn how to get a free colorful plate and share your healthy-eating success story for a chance to win $1,000!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson Chicken Nuggets. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.