Homemade Spaghetti O's Pasta - Spring Forward with OXO Tot #Sponsored

Now that my son is getting older I'm looking for healthier alternatives to some of the foods that I loved at his age. Things like Chicken Soup with Stars and Spaghetti O's were staples as I was growing up and those same foods were what I turned to in college when I wanted a comforting meal that was quick, easy, and didn't require a kitchen. These days I tend to make much healthier choices, both for myself and my family, but I still long for the days of fun-shaped pasta drenched in a sweet and salty tomato cheese sauce. 

The good news is that making a healthy, homemade version of this classic food isn't much more difficult than opening a can. It's even made with ingredients most of you will already have on hand. If you're looking for a fun, yet healthy meal you and your kids will love, give these homemade spaghetti O's a shot.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Forward with OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Forward with OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Homemade Spaghetti O's
 

makes 2 - 4 servings

 

 

Ingredients


1 tablespoon salted butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
16 ounces tomato sauce (I used Red Gold)
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 cups ring shaped pasta
 

Directions
 

 

  • In a saucepan add butter, milk, and cheddar cheese. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the butter and cheese has melted completely. Add tomato sauce and paprika, then allow to simmer while your pasta is cooking (approximately 8 - 10 minutes.)
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, top with tomato cheese sauce, and serve immediately.
     

Notes


Both sharp and aged cheddar cheese has a tendency to separate and leave behind little lumps of cheese. If you have a little one who is particular about texture consider using mild cheddar or monterey jack instead.

Having trouble finding ring shape pasta? I was able to find Creamette brand rings at Target as well as our local grocery store, but you could use mini shells, alphabet noodles, or another small size pasta in its place.

For a healthy meal your child will love I recommend pairing this with one of our homemade apple sauces. Check out our recipes for easy crockpot applesaucevanilla bean peachstrawberryspiced blueberry, and gingerbread.

Make sure to keep reading for our OXO Tot product review!

Today we'll be looking at the On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser w/ Diaper Pouch,
Flippy Snack Cup, Straw Cup (7 oz.), and Cleaning Set for Straws and Sippy Cups

Review


OXO On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser w/ Diaper Pouch

Out of all the products OXO has sent me over the years, this has ended up being one of my favorites. It's one of those things I wish I had when my son was still in diapers, but even though he's fully potty trained I still find it incredibly useful.

The storage pouch is large enough to hold roughly 5 diapers, 4 pairs of pull-ups, or several pairs of big-boy underwear. The wipes portion is a little on the small side, but it generally holds enough to get me through an entire day (as long as it doesn't involve spaghetti, at that point I find myself longing for a garden hose or a bath tub.)

What I love about this dispenser is that even after my little one is out of diapers it's still useful. My son is 4 and fully potty trained, but I still don't leave the house without wipes and a selection of small toys. The diaper portion of the dispenser is the size to hold a handful of hotwheels, a box of crayons, and a small notepad to keep my little guy occupied on shopping trips or long waiting lines.

As I said, it's incredibly useful.

OXO Flippy Snack Cup

The design of the flippy snack cup is absolutely genius, especially if you travel with your tot. The lid has a set of soft flaps that allows little ones to easily reach their snacks and those same flaps help keep snacks contained if the container is ever dropped or thrown.

What I don't like about this cup is the type of plastic it's made from. It's been my experience that hard plastic cups such as this one don't hold up to the long-term abuse of a toddler, especially if you have a tile floor. I'd prefer to see it made of a different type of plastic that doesn't scratch or break as easily, but if you have carpet it's a nice solution to keep snacks up off the floor.

OXO Straw Cup (7 oz.)

I have a real love/hate relationship with my son's sippy cups and after trying out nearly a dozen different designs over the past four years I have enough opinions to fill an entire blog post. OXO’s straw cup really appeals to me for a number of different reasons, but it isn’t without its faults. I love the markings on the side that easily allow me to see how much milk I’ve poured into the cup. While I don’t control the portions of my son’s drinks, I do like to keep track of how much he’s had, especially on a warm summer day. This is the only cup I’ve owned that has measuring marks and I absolutely love this feature.

I did mention that this cup isn’t without its faults and for me, one of the huge negatives is the design of the lid—it’s made of multiple pieces that don't disassemble. The simple fact is, at some point or another, if you are a parent you are going to lose a sippy cup only to find it a month later under the couch or in the car, full of moldy milk. This is a frequent occurrence in our house which is why it’s so important that the lid can be completely disassembled and cleaned. If you doubt me on this, do a google image search for moldy sippy cup, the results are absolutely disgusting.

For this reason alone I’m less inclined to buy a cup I can’t take apart completely, but at least this cup does have a replaceable straw (many brands don't offer replacements.) This is especially important when it comes to teething tots who will gnaw on squishy straws until there is nothing left.

OXO Cleaning Set for Straws and Sippy Cups

This last item is one I consider a must-have, even if you don’t have tots. It’s great for cleaning reusable straws and not just those attached to sippy cups. The three piece set has a large, rounded cleaner which is the perfect size for cleaning around rims and other stubborn areas, a long cleaner for reusable straws, sippy cups, and travel water bottles, and a toothpick-style cleaner for removing stubborn, stuck-on food from small spaces. This handy tool is a real time saver!


Where to Purchase



OXO On-the-Go Wipes Dispenser w/ Diaper Pouch — OXO.COM or Amazon
OXO Flippy Snack Cup — OXO.COM or Amazon
OXO Straw Cup (7 oz.) — OXO.COM or Amazon
OXO Cleaning Set for Straws and Sippy Cups — OXO.COM or Amazon

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Forward with OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

 

 

2016 Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day is coming up quick (it's Sunday May 8th for those of you who need a gentle reminder.) Don't be that person who puts off shopping until the last minute be cause you aren't sure what to buy.  Here are 8 great ideas that your mom is sure to love.

2016 Mother's Day Gift Guide | Not Starving Yet

Didn't find what you were looking for? Don't worry, we have you covered! Check out our past gift ideas for more inspiration.
 

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Spring Charcuterie and Cheese Board #Sponsored by Carnivore Club

Those of you who are meat lovers are really in for a treat today, I'm going to give you a sneak peak inside the April Carnivore Club box. For those of you who haven't heard of Carnivore Club, they're a subscription service dedicated to bringing you tasty, handcrafted meats from around the world. That's right, with the push of a button you can now get all of the meat delivered to your door and you don't even need to put pants on. This is the ultimate meat club for discerning individuals and let me tell you, they don't mess around when it comes to providing you with quality meat.

Vegetarians, I apologize, this box may tempt you away from your healthy lifestyle. If Carnivore Club had been around while I was still shunning meat I would have quit that nasty... er... healthy habit cold turkey. Don't worry, you can still send it to mom and dad (Mother's Day and Father's Day are coming up you know) and perhaps they'll at least let you smell the empty box. 

Today is not a good day to be a Vegetarian.

Make sure to keep reading for our tips on putting together the perfect Spring Charcuterie and Cheese board with the selections from the April box.

For a limited time you can Save 10% off your order from Carnivore Club using coupon code EATMEAT Offer valid through 5/31/16

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from 'Nduja Artisans in Chicago, IL. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from 'Nduja Artisans in Chicago, IL. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

What's in the Box?


The April box included five delicious offerings from 'Nduja Artisans of Chicago, IL

Salame Di Manzo (Waygu Beef Salami)
'Nduja (Spreadable Salami)
Nostrano  (Pink Peppercorn Salami) 
Finocchiona (Fennel Pollen Salami)
Cacciatorini Piccanti (Spicy Hunters Sausage)
 


Review

 

First let me start by saying that there isn't a single thing in this box I wouldn't want to chow down on again. In fact, I'm trying to figure out how to stretch my meager grocery budget to allow for a reorder of some of my favorites from the box. I could absolutely live off of the Finocchiona and I could see the Cacciatorini Piccanti becoming my new favorite pizza topping.

Want to know what I thought about each of these tasty treats individually, don't worry, you're about to find out.

I've never had the opportunity to try Waygu Beef before, so I was incredibly curious about the Salame Di Manzo. The flavor and texture reminded me a bit of summer sausage because it's so heavily spiced with peppercorn and a little bit dry. Surprisingly this ended up being my least favorite, mostly because of the dry texture (I'm not a huge fan of summer sausage either), but my husband said I was crazy and proceeded to finish it all off himself.

The 'Nduja immediately caught my eye when I first opened the box as it's the largest of the five offerings, but I'll admit they had me at the words spreadable sausage—I couldn't wait to cut into it. It's made from a combination of Calabrian Peppers and 100% Berkshire Pork which gives it the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, and smoke. It's also the most versatile of this months offerings as you can slather it on crackers, make a spicy vinaigrette, or stir it in to eggs (which I highly recommend.)  I can't wait to experiment with the leftovers.

I'm not even sure where to begin with the Nostrano, it's not like anything I've ever had the pleasure of tasting before. At first the flavor is mild; I can pick out the garlic and a hint of something slightly sweet (perhaps the wine) before finally tasting the pink peppercorns. I'm really surprised how much the flavor changes from start to finish.

The Cacciatorini Piccanti really packs a punch, so those of you who love things hot and spicy will really enjoy this one. I like to think of this one as pepperoni on steroids, it has a similar flavor profile, but a much more bold flavor. I can't wait to try this out on a pizza, I think it would be delicious.

My favorite out of all the offerings this month was the Finocchiona, a salami made with fennel pollen, fennel seeds, chianti, and black pepper. It absolutely melts in your mouth and was a clear favorite on our cheese board (it was one of the first to disappear, although I may have helped things along significantly.) 

Would I order this again? Absolutely! This box sent me into a meat coma that lasted the whole weekend. I really need more of this in my life.
 

Price


Pay as little as $50/month with a recurring subscription (monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly plans available) with a three month minimum or purchase a single box for $55. 
 

Where to Subscribe

Carnivore Club - The Ultimate Meat Club for Discerning Individuals

For a limited time Save 10% off your order using coupon code EATMEAT Offer valid through 5/31/16

Deadline for Mother's Day orders is April 30th


The May box features features a selection of meats from Parma Sausage including pancetta, chorizo, sopressata and more!

Make sure to keep reading for our tips for putting together the perfect Spring Charcuterie and Cheese board

Spring Charcuterie and Cheese Board + Carnivore Club Review

My rules for putting together a first-class charcuterie and cheese board are fairly simple: select one type of cheese for every type of meat you'll be offering, making sure at least one of them is a good aged cheddar so it doesn't compete with the flavors of the meat you select. If you're offering something spicy, balance it out with something sweet. I've noticed that if I put fresh fruit out on the board it often gets overlooked, so I like to offer at least one cheese with fruit in it. This time it was white stilton, one with blueberries and the other with apricots—it's the perfect addition and adds a little color to make things more visually appealing. I also like to include something soft, but flavorful. Lately I've been leaning towards herbed Havarti; it's a great addition for the non-meat lovers since it's really tasty on crackers or eaten alone. The last choice is always a wild card, something that jumps out at me while I'm shopping—in this case it was a mustard seed white cheddar, which adds a little zip to some of the more mild meat selections. 

Other important things to remember:

Always buy twice as many crackers you think you'll need. Even after the meat and cheese is long gone people always enjoy nibbling on them, so it's important to have extras.

And finally, remember there is no right or wrong to putting together your board. As long as you choose a good selection of meats and cheeses to accommodate a variety of tastes you'll be in good hands. But don't forget, for the best flavor you should always serve your selections at room temperature.
 

Spring Charcuterie and Cheese Board

Cheese

3 Year Aged Sharp Cheddar - Hooks
Blueberry Fayre (White Stilton with Blueberries) - Long Clawson
Sunburst (White Stilton with Dried Apricots) - Long Clawson
Havarti with Herbs & Spices - Castello
Red Dragon (Mustard Seed White Cheddar) - Somordale

Meat

Cacciatorini Piccanti (Spicy Hunters Sausage) - 'Nduja Artisans
Nostrano
(Pink Peppercorn Salami) - 'Nduja Artisans
Finocchiona
(Fennel Pollen Salami) - 'Nduja Artisans
Salame Di Manzo
(Waygu Beef Salami) - 'Nduja Artisans
'Nduja
- 'Nduja Artisans

Crackers

Potter's Crackers - Winter Wheat Crackers and Caramelize Onion Crisps

Here's an up close look at the 'Nduya and Salame Di Manzo made from Wagyu beef

Here's an up close look at the 'Nduya and Salame Di Manzo made from Wagyu beef

Disclosure


Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from 'Nduja Artisans in Chicago, IL. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.