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30+ Restaurants where kids can eat for free (or at a discount)

No school, no homework, and no stress, right? Summertime is all about giving kids time to let loose, but unfortunately you’re still working, and kids inevitably end up bored and whiny. When that happens, sometimes all you need to make everyone happy is a trip to their favorite restaurant. You’ll get everyone out of the house, and save yourself some cooking time, too. And of course, free food makes it all possible. Here are 30+ restaurants where you can get free (or seriously discounted) kids meals. Some of these deals make dining out so affordable for the entire family, you might even start a weekly tradition. ***NOTE: Before you head to your nearest location of any of these chains, call ahead to make sure they participate in the promotion. Just in time for busy summer schedules, here are 30+ restaurants, listed by each day of the week, where kids can…

Lucky Charms Bars

Lucky Charms is probably one of those cereals you only spring for occasionally — like around St. Patrick’s Day when that devilish little leprechaun gets the best of your diet. But we must admit, the luck-themed sugary marshmallow shapes do add a fun flair to the holiday. This year, upgrade your classic Rice Krispie squares to these Lucky Charms bars. You basically just swap out the cereal in your favorite Rice Krispie recipe. Lucky Charms bars Makes 16 squares Ingredients 6 cups Lucky Charms 4 tbsp butter 1 (10-ounce) package of mini marshmallows Cooking spray Directions Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. (This will help you remove squares and cut them later.) On low heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until everything is melted. Pour in cereal and fold until cereal is completely coated with melted marshmallow. Transfer cereal…

Cocoa Krispie Treat footballs, a fan favorite

Are you ready for some football? Of course you are! But do you know what you’re bringing to your friend’s party? This year, let someone else bring the boring chips and dip, while you show up with these adorably delicious Cocoa Krispie Treat footballs. With just four ingredients, this recipe is super easy to make. I melt the butter, add the marshmallows, pour in the cereal, then transfer to wax paper and let it cool. It’s impossible to shape warm, gooey marshmallow, so it will need to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes before you start. But don’t wait too long or the mixture will set and become too hard to mold. For the football shapes, I never like recipes that require specific cookie cutters, like — Hello! How many kitchen gadgets do you think I have?! (Actually, don’t answer that.) Anyway, no cookie cutter or special tool required. Footballs…

Winter white hot chocolate with cinnamon

Living in Pittsburgh, it seems hot chocolate is everywhere — and that, in my opinion, isn’t always a good thing. Those watered-down styrofoam cups at freezing cold football games or the overly sweet stuff handed out after cold weather 5Ks, are really consumed out of a need to stay warm, more so than for the enjoyment. It had been a long time since I had a cup ‘o chocolate that I actually enjoyed. But I was feeling a bit Christmassy decorating the house, so I thought I’d whip up something warm and delicious to sip on as we watch holiday movies on repeat. This Winter White Hot Chocolate has a dash of cinnamon to give the cup some complexity. You can add more or less, if you like. Even some nutmeg would taste pretty good. The best part of making drinks like this is always the extras, so if you’re going…

Holiday Ornament Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats might already be your go-to when you need a quick treat for a kid’s birthday party or snack for the class, but this holiday season, dress them up a bit for a brand new take on the old classic. They’ll look just as good in your kid’s lunchbox as they will on the buffet table at your holiday party. I made red and green Rice Krispie ornaments, but you could easily adapt to make them match the color scheme of your holiday decor — blues or purples. Leave some without food coloring for an all natural golden ornament look. I sprinkled in some golden sugar sprinkle for extra shine, but the photo doesn’t pick up on it well. Add sprinkles in the colors of your choice for extra customization.  I could even see them decorated with piped white chocolate for more fun and flavor. The Rolos were…

This is what a teal pumpkin means

If your kid has food allergies, trick-or-treating can be a seriously scary evening out. Many kids are unable to eat items like milk, peanuts, eggs, and soy — ingredients found in many popular Halloween candies. But the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) group is raising awareness and making Halloween fun again for kids who may have had to previously sit this holiday out. The Teal Pumpkin Project launched in 2014, is designed to encourage inclusiveness on Halloween by making it easy for kids and their families to spot the houses offering allergy-friendly treats. Because of the vast array of allergies, participating houses may even opt to have “non-food treats” such as small toys, books, stickers or crayons. Participating houses are instructed to paint a pumpkin the color teal and put it on their porch or stoop in an obvious location. This way, parents will know that house is safe…

Study shows picky eaters care how food is presented on a plate

If you have a picky eater at home, there might be one more thing you can try. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food Science found that kids do actually notice — and care — how their food is presented to them, and this can influence how much of the food they eat. It turns out, that young children are more inclined to eat when food items are kept separate from one another. Researchers asked 100 children ages 7 to 8 and 12 to 14 to prioritize six different photos of dishes of food plated three different ways: one with food items separated; one with the food separate but ingredients mixed (like chicken with gravy touching the rice, but vegetables on the side); and another with food all mixed together. Among the youngest age group, girls preferred foods to be separated, while the…

School Concession Stands can benefit from adding more healthy food options, study shows

Once upon an unhealthy time, high school students would buy a Coke and candy bar from a vending machine and call it a day. But kids and teens today are much more health-minded. A new study shows that school concession stands — best known for their greasy hamburgers and cheese soaked nachos — can actually benefit from adding some healthy fare to their menus. The study was recently published in the Journal of School Health. “We found that an average of 77% of students purchased healthier food items when they were available and that revenue also increased when a variety of healthy items were available,” said Brian Wansink, PhD, Professor and Directory of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and study co-author. Beginning 2014, researchers at Cornell University and the University of Iowa teamed up with booster club presidents to publish their findings on healthy snack sales at their respective school concession…

Pixar’s upcoming new short film is about a dumpling

It’s been 14 years since The Incredibles first hit theaters, and the long-awaited sequel is finally about to premier this summer. As exciting as the release of a new Pixar film is, there’s another part of the Pixar moving-going experience that we look forward to just as much: the short film. The Incredibles 2 will run after new short film Bao, a seven-and-a-half-minute short film about an empty-nested Chinese-Canadian woman who gets a chance to be a mother again when one of her handmade dumplings comes to life. The heart-warming tale is also the first Pixar short film to be directed by a woman. Domee Shi, the only child to Chinese immigrants,  shared her inspiration for the story with Entertainment Weekly. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bg9DpX-l6D8/?utm_source=ig_embed “Often times it felt like mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff,” Shi…

20 Spooky Halloween Recipes

Food creativity around Halloween goes way up! I’m always amazed at the things people come up with for this holiday in particular. My theory is that it’s driven by moms up late at night who forgot about their kid’s classroom party — “We only have pretzels and chocolate in the pantry?! Yup, totally looks like Frankenstein!” Either way, these ideas are enviable. But luckily, these crafty folks proudly pasted their ideas to Pinterest for the rest of us to marvel at — and of course copy. Mini Halloween Pizzas It’s genius. Why shouldn’t cheese look like ghosts around Halloween? https://www.pinterest.com/pin/155655730851255379/ Jack Skellington Oreo Pops Everyone’s favorite Halloween movie. Or is it Christmas? … Or is it Halloween? The debate continues. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/201254677082069614/ Skeleton Ribs and Guts Clever. Gross, but clever. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/283726845257060705/ Monster Toes So easy. And a really cool idea, too! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/143481938112679123/ Strawberry Ghosts Again, super simple, but incredibly tasty. Everyone loves chocolate covered…