Valentine’s Day Choco-Banana Hearts

Valentine’s Day Choco-Banana Hearts

Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic Kids®. As always, all opinions are expressed are 100% my own

Valentine’s Day is literally right around the corner! This is the first year both of my boys are in the same school and I am fully reveling in the fact that I get to send favors/treats for kids in both of their classes. A one-stop shop for love, if you will! We’ve put a lot of thought into what kind of treats we want to bring to their class parties. I’m Room Mom, so the pressure is on to bring in something the kids will enjoy that will parents and teachers will love too. It just isn’t cool to dump off a bunch of sugar and send them to hang with teachers.

Choco-Banana Valentine's Day Cakes

I’ve decided a fair way to give everyone a little bit of what they want is to make these fun Choco-Banana Valentine Hearts with my boys (super fun) and bring in some of my favorite Stonyfield® Organic Kids® yogurt tubes. Their new look and Stonyfield® Organic Kids® Choco-Mooo flavor is a big hit with the kids (perfect for adding to any recipe), and they have committed to putting less sugar in their kids’ yogurt. It’s a win/win! With 40% less sugar than the leading yogurt brands, I never feel guilty giving the kids a Stonyfield® Organic Kids® Choco-Mooo as their dessert.

Choco-Banana Valentine's Day Cakes

This simple recipe helps keep the sugar high to a minimum and kicks the flavor up a notch. The bananas and chocolate flavor add sweetness and the yogurt keeps the cake/cupcakes moist and delicious. Top it off with the homemade raspberry icing (made from real raspberries, powdered sugar, and water) and you’ve got yourself a hit! We even made sure to create a heart shape with the muffins by rolling up a ball of foil and placing it between the silicone cups and the muffin pan. These were adorable, and unfortunately mostly eaten by the time I found my camera!

I loved creating this with my boys and can’t wait for them to share with friends. Next year we may have to host a V-Day dance at our house and really take things up a notch. Any reason to celebrate with Stonyfield® Organic Kids®, right? I recently spent time walking the Stonyfield® Organic® dairy farms and have truly fallen in love with their ethically driven brand. All of their products are Non-GMO verified, free from pesticides and artificial ingredients. All dairy comes from happy & healthy cows I’ve met myself. Stonyfield® Organic Kids® has been in the yogurt business for over 35 years (before stating “Organic” was necessary) and has been trusted by moms far and wide. Stonyfield® Organic Kids® is a certified B Corp, meaning they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. I feel good knowing where my dollars are going to work. I know these treats will be a hit for all moms looking to feed their kids healthy options. They come available in cups, pouches, tubes, or smoothies.

Choco-Banana Valentine's Day Cake

Quick Tip: Freezing the Stonyfield Organic Kids Packs (containing 40% less sugar than most yogurt brands) are easily frozen and taken to last on-the-go, making them the easy party snack/favor.

Valentine’s Day Choco-Banana Hearts

Valentine’s Day Choco-Banana Hearts

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of Stonyfield Choco-Moo Yogurt
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • Raspberry Icing:
  • 2 tbsp Raspberry "juice" (mash berries in strainer and collect juice in a bowl)
  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs and sugar together, add oil and whisk until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl and combine. Pour egg mixture, mashed bananas, and yogurt into the center of dry ingredients, add warm water and mix together.
  2. Pour batter into heart-shaped greased baking pan, pop it in the oven for twenty mins. Mix together icing ingredients and pour over cooled cakes/muffins and enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.essentiallyerika.com/easy-valentines-day-party-favors-w-stonyfield/

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Essentially yours,

Erika

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic Kids®. As always, all opinions are expressed are 100% my own.

 

 

Get Your FL Prepaid Questions Answered

Get Your FL Prepaid Questions Answered

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Bloggin’ Mamas & the Florida Prepaid College Board. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Florida Prepaid College Savings Plan open enrollment period is almost over!!! This is the one time each year in which you can sign up for one of five plans. The open enrollment period runs through February 28th, 2018. To learn more about these plans, visit: MyFloridaPrepaid.com Check out this new FAQ page, if you have specific questions: bit.ly/fppfaq; And if you decide to sign-up for a plan, use my code: Social1718 to receive $25 off the application fee (normally $50).

Mom Blogger Network

#StartingIsBelieving Twit­ter Chat

Join Blog­gin Mamas & Florida Prepaid as we host the #StartingIsBelieving Twit­ter Chat on Thurs­day, 2/8/18 at 9p EST! Join us as we discuss saving for your child’s future using Florida Prepaid College Savings Plans, as well as the open enrollment period that will be ending very soon! (Plus, there will be some prizes too!)

Date: Thursday, February 8, 2018

Time: 9:00–10:00pm EST / 6:00–7:00pm PST

Hash­tag: #StartingIsBelieving

Spon­sored By: @FloridaPrepaid

Pre­sented by: @BlogginMamas

Mod­er­a­tors: Eng­lish– @HeLoEnterprises Span­ish– @BBabushka

Co-hosts: @zipporahs @SunnySweetDays @MommyMafia @JustMarlaZ @RealAdviceGal

@TopNotchBlog @ModernBocaMom @OurPotluckFam @WorkingMomMagic

@xxplumcrazeexx@MakeItAllWork @FunMoneyMom @Faithful_Mommie @eatdrinkandsave

@essentialerika@DiscoverSelf @momneedsabottle @lifealalatina @mommyhoodlife @paulabendfeldt

@mamainthenow @coolchillmom @summerlendavis @livingmoneywise @casamoncada

@mujerVersatil@Mom_Junky

  1. We will be focusing on the importance of savings for college. Florida Prepaid Open Enrollment, which is ending on 2/28/18.
  2. There are different options in higher education – colleges, universities, technical degrees and Florida Prepaid has 5 different plan options to cover any route. We will share them with you during the chat.
  3. We are also going to de-bunk some of the myths you may have heard about Florida Prepaid College Savings Plans.

Dur­ing the Twit­ter Chat there will be a chance to win one of the fol­low­ing prizes by answer­ing var­i­ous ques­tions. Win­ners will be selected at ran­dom from all eli­gi­ble entries.

Prizes

5- Florida Prepaid Prize Packs, including items like Slingpack or Backpack, water bottles, Frisbee, wristbands, and pencil pouches. ARV $150

RSVP Prize

1– Florida Prepaid Prize Packs, including items like Slingpack or Backpack, water bottles, Frisbee, wristbands, and pencil pouches. ARV $150

Tweet­share:

Terms and Conditions

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING.

By RSVP’ing to this event and uti­liz­ing the #StartingIsBelieving hash­tag, the atten­dees acknowl­edge hav­ing read and agreed to these terms and conditions.

Twit­ter Party Prize Give­away begins February 8th, 2018 at 9:00 pm ET and ends no later than February 8th, 2017 at 10:30pm ET (the “Twit­ter Party Entry Period”). Entrants enter via fol­low­ing @FloridaPrepaid and @BlogginMamas, and post­ing a tweet with the #StartingIsBelieving hash­tag dur­ing the Twit­ter Party Entry Period. Five (5) Win­ners will be drawn ran­domly by random.org at approx­i­mately 12 minute inter­vals dur­ing the Twit­ter Party Entry Period. One (1) Win­ner will be drawn ran­domly via random.org from the event RSVP’s on the Mr. Linky widget.

Prizes include:

One (1) Florida Prepaid Prize Packs including items like a Slingpack or Backpack, water bottles, Frisbee, wristbands, and pencil pouches. ARV $150. Total approx­i­mate retail value (“ARV”) $150, for each of five (5) winners.

One (1) Florida Prepaid Prize Packs including items like a Slingpack or Backpack, water bottles, Frisbee, wristbands, and pencil pouches. Total approx­i­mate retail value (“ARV”) $150, awarded to one (1) win­ner who RSVP’s via the Mr. Linky widget.

Each win­ner receives one (1) prize pack. Entrants who fail to com­plete said actions will be dis­qual­i­fied and an alter­nate win­ner will be selected from all entrants who entered dur­ing the Twit­ter Party Entry Period. Win­ners will be noti­fied via DM (Direct Mes­sage) on Twit­ter with a request for an email address to send prize claim infor­ma­tion. Win­ners will have 48 hours to complete the prize claim form or an alter­nate win­ner will be selected from amongst all entries received dur­ing the Twit­ter Party Entry Period. All prizes will be awarded pro­vided they are validly claimed by February 12th, 2018 at 11:59AM EST.

Entrants agree to release and hold harm­less the Blog­gin’ Mamas, Heather Lopez Enter­prises, LLC, Florida Prepaid, Moore Communications, Twit­ter, and any other orga­ni­za­tions respon­si­ble for spon­sor­ing, ful­fill­ing, admin­is­ter­ing, adver­tis­ing or pro­mot­ing this give­away, and their respec­tive par­ent, sub­sidiaries, and affil­i­ates and each of their respec­tive offi­cers, direc­tors, mem­bers, employ­ees, agents and sub­con­trac­tors (col­lec­tively the “Released Par­ties”) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and lia­bil­ity, includ­ing but not lim­ited to neg­li­gence and dam­ages of any kind to per­sons and prop­erty, includ­ing but not lim­ited to inva­sion of pri­vacy (under appro­pri­a­tion, intru­sion, pub­lic dis­clo­sure of pri­vate facts, false light in the pub­lic eye or other legal the­ory), defama­tion, slan­der, libel, vio­la­tion of right of pub­lic­ity, infringe­ment of trade­mark, copy­right or other intel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, prop­erty dam­age, or death or per­sonal injury aris­ing out of or relat­ing to a participant’s entry, cre­ation of an entry or sub­mis­sion of an entry, par­tic­i­pa­tion in this give­away, accep­tance or use or mis­use of prize. Entrant agrees to indem­nify, defend and hold harm­less the Released Par­ties from and against any and all claims, expenses, and lia­bil­i­ties (includ­ing rea­son­able attorney’s fees) aris­ing out of or relat­ing to an entrant’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in this give­away and/or entrant’s accep­tance, use or mis­use of prize, includ­ing, with­out lim­i­ta­tion, lia­bil­ity for per­sonal injury, dam­age, or loss.

The Released Par­ties make no war­ranties, and hereby dis­claims any and all war­ranties, express or implied, con­cern­ing any prize fur­nished in con­nec­tion with the give­away.

WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, SUCH PRIZES ARE PROVIDEDAS ISWITHOUT

WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AND THE RELEASED PARTIES HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL

SUCH WARRANTIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY,

FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND/OR NON-INFRINGEMENT.

You don’t have to wait for the chat to enroll. Sign up now at MyFloridaPrepaid.com use my code: Social1718 to receive $25 off the application fee (normally $50).

Dis­clo­sure: Blog­gin’ Mamas is being com­pen­sated for man­ag­ing this Twit­ter Party. Indi­vid­ual co-hosts are being com­pen­sated for their par­tic­i­pa­tion. All prize ful­fill­ment is the respon­si­bil­ity of the sponsor.

 

3 Ways to Enjoy Universal Studios Florida

3 Ways to Enjoy Universal Studios Florida

I was recently invited to stay at the Loews Royal Pacific in Universal Studios Florida. I was excited to give it a try, it had been years since I’d been there. I think I was twenty-years-old and just started dating my (now) husband. We spent a weekend at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. My, how life has grown beyond measure. I was interested in seeing how much it all has changed for me as a (now) parent. I packed up the car with a few of my favorite ladies and hit the road. We had dreams of visiting it all, including the new park, Universal’s Volcano Bay. Along the way I realized there are many ways to enjoy this type of adventure and thought I’d share.

#1) A Universal Orlando Couples Trip

It’s a great place for fun and adventurous couples. I remember taking this trip with my then boyfriend and learning so much about how we experience the parks together. There is a variety of thrill-seeking options and entertaining shows throughout the park that can keep you on your toes. Besides, it’s always great to hear see how someone reacts to the spooky stuff. Can you say Skull Island?

Universal Orlando

There are many benefits to staying at the Loews Royal Pacific property while visiting the parks. The early admission to the park and convenient water taxi are enough to make a girl swoon, but the sheer beauty of this property definitely had me missing my hubby (Loews Royal Pacific Resort guests receive Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the theme park opens). Gorgeous details throughout the hotel and a romantic bamboo garden with just the right amount of light to remind you to really take it easy at dusk.

Royal Pacific Hotel
Enjoy a traditional torch lighting ceremony poolside (weather permitting) featuring the “oli aloha” welcoming chant, a fire dancer and more at the Royal Pacific Hotel.

The authentic details of this property will draw you in and transport you to a different place and time. The perfect Royal Pacific holiday minus the day and a half of travel. We were treated to Jake’s Beer Dinner, a beer pairing dining experience offered at the Loews Royal Pacific. You can also enjoy sushi every evening after 5pm in the Orchid Court Lounge and Sushi Bar at the Royal Pacific, or take part in the weekly authentic Wantilan Luau experience (reservations necessary). This weekly dinner show features a tropical all-you-can-eat buffet (complete with pit-roasted pig) and live music. Shows are Saturday evenings; tickets are required. Registration begins at 5:30 pm, seating starts at 6 pm (subject to change).

Royal Pacific Hotel

Royal Pacific Hotel

Royal Pacific Hotel
Details in all of the woodwork is warm and inviting.

#2) A Universal Family Trip

It’s a no-brainer that Universal Orlando is a great family destination. What I didn’t realize, was that it is great for all family types. I’d always assumed the boys needed to be much older before we could visit. There is plenty for young kids to experience throughout the parks (particularly during the holidays), including the new Macy’s Parade.

Universal Orlando

While I was mesmerized with the Simpsons in Springfield, I just know my boys would have loved Seussland. I was lucky enough to catch the beautiful decorations for Grinchmas!

Who-ville was certainly magical as was the entire park for the holiday celebration. We spent time amongst the trees with Lorax and breezed through the nostalgic Comic Town. We agreed that Cathy and Dogwood were our favorites.

Royal Pacific Hotel

There is definitely a benefit to transporting kids to and from the park via water taxi on late nights, and the convenience of stopping for lunch just outside the park at restaurants like Cowfish where hotel guests enjoy preferred seating. The hotel holiday decor was warm and beautiful with a tree that must be aspiring to reach Rockefeller proportions!

Royal Pacific

The most appealing of all amenities would have to be the Universal Express Unlimited passes available to guests of the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel (as well as those who stay at Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel). This saves time and allows you to experience the wonder that the entire park has to offer without the stress of standing in a long line. There is so much to see in all of the different parts of the park, just this one park could literally keep you busy for days! My boys would probably be more interested in the option to shop throughout the park and have it delivered to your room so you don’t have to hold your purchases all-day-long. Actually, that may be our favorite as well…

A Universal Orlando Girl’s Trip

An unexpected surprise from my trip at Universal is that it is perfect for a girl’s/guys getaway. Action, adventure, good food, and fun. What more could you want from a weekend getaway with your friends? My friends Ilysia and Meade took full advantage of this “nerd-cation” and completely geeked out with me over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’ve got to say, folks, this was the highlight of this trip. It started before even leaving to Orlando when it was demanded I finish the first book in the Harry Potter series. Boy am I glad I did! There are so many nuances throughout this amazing addition to the park, and from what I understand they are currently working on the newest installation (hopefully more juicy details to come soon)! We spent the first night at the Royal Pacific getting spoiled with chocolate Christmas trees and fun surprises in our room. I had my wand, and I was ready for the day ahead… well, after watching the first Harry Potter movie!

Diagon Alley

(photo courtesy of Meade Peers McCoy)

Diagon Alley was more than I could have dreamed of. I entered this wizarding world on our second day of the trip and I’m afraid I haven’t been able to shake the spell its put on me since! You can almost miss the entrance entirely, it’s just next door to Kings Cross Station by the Knight Bus. I’m so glad I brushed up on my reading, although it still meant I had to constantly ask for references from the two best Potter guides a gal could ask for! The bricks “parted” and I had my first glimpse of Gringott’s bank (to-die-for). It’s completely worth standing around and waiting for the dragon to breathe actual fire.

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

We put our map and wand to work as soon as we could. Wands purchased at Olivanders come equipped with the ability to perform spells throughout the park at the marked stations. Look for the gold emblem etched into the cobblestone streets (which looked magnificent on a rainy day with a bit of overcast). Search for the clues on each station to show you how to perform each spell.

Hogwart's Castle
Hogwart’s Castle

Bonus Tip: Take your map to Knockturn Alley and put it under the blue light to see additional spots to perform super secret spells.

We rode the train at Hogsmeade (the train takes you between parks and has plenty of entertainment along the way), listened to the Frog Choir (fantastic), and drank plenty of warm butterbeer on a cool afternoon. In case you’re wondering what the holidays are like in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, they DON’T disappoint! At every turn, there were fancy little details depicting the fabulous Christmas celebration that the books convey.

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

The ride at Gringott’s was our absolute favorite, and seeing Hogwart’s for the first time was pure magic. The detail put into each aspect of this park and transforming it for the holiday was intoxicating. We spent our afternoons looking for any clues from the books or movies, and our evenings reflecting on it all.

We had a fabulous time enjoying the amenities available via water taxi and even had a girl’s night out starting with a few drinks in the Orchid Court Lounge and Sushi Bar. We then danced the night away at Universal CityWalk. The rooms were gorgeous with fascinating color/texture patterns layered so incredibly well that they didn’t seem overwhelming at all. The perfect blend of modern meets classic style, transporting you to a different time and giving you the sense you’ve traveled much farther than the two-hour trip to Orlando from Boca Raton.

The courtyard is fantastic with authentic elements everywhere you look. The running water and outdoor seating invite you to come and bask in the sights and sounds of the Royal Pacific.

There is beauty everywhere you turn at the Royal Pacific. It starts at the entrance of the property when you cross a bridge and leave all your cares and worries behind. I am proud to say that the three of us didn’t focus on work once while we remembered how to play on our weekend getaway.

It seems there is something for everyone at Universal Orlando whether you are a young family or a group of adults looking to unwind. I can’t wait to come back and explore more with my family over the years as we grow and our experiences change. I want to bring the boys and introduce them to Universal’s newest park Volcano Bay!

Check out this picture gallery of all the fun we had on our amazing trip!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Huge thanks goes out to Universal Orlando, and the Loews Royal Pacific Hotel for hosting us on this fabulous adventure!

You can follow Loews Royal Pacific Hotel on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don’t forget to consider any of the five on-site hotels at Universal Studios Florida for your next vacation!

  • Loews Sapphire Falls Resort 
  • Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort 
  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel 
  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort  

Essentially yours,

Erika

 

Subscribe to Essentially Erika!

You will receive updates on All Things Organic & Essential!

DON'T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE!