The Scramblog

Making Healthy Family Dinners Happen with Less Time, Money and Stress.

  Aug 17, 2016   #Freebie Fridays

Exciting Back-to-School Giveaway–Win a Slow Cooker and $135 Worth of Time-Saving Gifts!

Enter to Win our Back-to-School Giveaway We know how tough it can be to think about all the things you need to do to get your kids ready for the Back-to-School grind. We want to make it easier on you so we've put together our favorite time-saving prizes for you worth over $135! Enter our giveaway and you could win a prize pack that includes:  Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker  Lunchskins reusable lunch packing bags  3 coupons for Mom Made Foods meals and snacks  EasyLunchBoxes container sets (lunch container set, set of Mini Dippers, and one lunch bag)  3-month membership to The Six O'Clock Scramble Healthy Family Meal Planner Enter to Win the Back-to-School Giveaway The sweepstakes ends on August 31st so enter soon so you don't miss this great giveaway! Visit our giveaway partners to learn more about their great prizes.

This Year Will Be Different: 8 New School Year Resolutions for Parents Who Are Tired Of Doing It All

8 New School Year Resolutions for Parents Who Are Tired Of Doing It All Moms and Dads, are you TIRED of making the kids breakfast, packing lunches, making dinner AND doing the dishes?  Basically, are you tired of doing it all?? Most of us realize that our kids can do more, whether it’s making their own breakfast, taking out the trash, doing the dishes or folding the laundry. But too often we hesitate to delegate, either because we don’t know the right age for the children to start, we get tired of nagging and decide it’s just easier to do it ourselves, or we have trouble relinquishing control of the way things are done. But, at the same time, we’re often frustrated and exhausted from trying to do it all, and we realize it would be better for all of us if our children took on more responsibility. Here's Aviva’s advice in the Washington Post for how to delegate more and get changes to stick. Please read and share your new school year resolution for...
  Aug 8, 2016   Easy Family Dinner, Family Dinner

Peek Inside Aviva’s Inbox: From Fast Food and Food Stamps to Healthy Family Meals with The Scramble

From Fast Food and Food Stamps to Healthy Family Meals with The Scramble

Dear Scramblers, This letter from a new member provides a vital reminder of why I love what I do and the impact meal planning and healthy family meals can have on our families. I’d love to hear from you—what positive changes has The Scramble had on your family? What could we do better? Please send me a note anytime at

Dear Aviva,

I recently signed up for 3-month membership, and I would like to sign up for a whole year now! Thank you for making healthy family meals possible for us.

I am the mother to a 3-year-old, a 2-year-old, a 1-year-old, and our fourth baby is due on Thanksgiving. We have been living on government assistance and food stamps for the last two years, and our diets consisted of fast food, lots of bread and pasta, and frozen food due to finances, my husband working 2 jobs, and me babysitting full time.

My husband recently started working for US FOODS as...

8 Ways Cooking Can Keep Your Kids’ Minds Sharp Over the Summer

8 Ways Cooking Can Keep Your Kids’ Minds Sharp Over the Summer

No matter your situation when school lets out in June, whether you are happy to get a break from supervising homework and packing lunches, or you’re stressed because you’re scrambling to fill hours usually reserved for school, you probably wonder how to keep your kids’ minds sharp and their bodies occupied productively for 10 weeks during summer “vacation.”

You may wonder:

• How will I prevent my children’s brains from atrophying when they aren’t in class for 6 hours a day?

• How will we keep them off of YouTube, tablets and the TV when those digital babysitters are not only easy temptations, but can also feel like the only way we can get a little break?

• And how can I make sure they don’t forget their hard-learned math, reasoning and reading skills when school is on hiatus for so long? (Those summer “math packets” don’t really cut it when our kids forget about them until the week...

  Jul 19, 2016   brunch, cocktails, peach, Recipes

Peach-Mango Bellinis

Peach-Mango Bellinis

Makes 8 - 10 bellinis

When we celebrated my dear friend Rachel Lostombo’s birthday, we organized a gourmet Italian picnic which we enjoyed at Wolf Trap park in Virginia, while listening to Melissa Etheridge and Pat Benatar.

When Rachel’s friends arrived at my house before we carpooled to the concert, I greeted them with these peach-mango bellinis and Caprese bites on colorful toothpicks with balsamic-olive oil and crushed red pepper dipping sauce.  At the Italian picnic we also enjoyed prosciutto and cantaloupe bites, Italian salami and cheeses, orzo and arugula salads, olives, artichokes and other traditional Italian antipasto, and Rachel's favorite, Stella D'oro cookies for dessert.

These bellinis are fruity and bubbly and go down oh-so-smoothly. They would also be an elegant addition to a Sunday brunch. The peach-mango syrup would also be divine drizzled over vanilla ice cream or turned into grown-up ice pops.  It's also delicious mixed with...

7 Basic Cooking Skills Kids Need Before They Leave Home

  Cooking Skills Kids Need Before They Leave Home

Some of my friends worry that their kids don’t have even the most basic cooking skills they might need in their next phase of life. So what cooking skills do kids need? Last year I wrote about the 6 things every kid should know how to make before they leave home. Now in the Washington Post I share basic techniques kids may want to master this summer.

Summertime, when the pace of life may be just a little slower, is the ideal time to get your teen cooking — especially if they are leaving the nest soon. Making one of their favorite things to eat — whether it’s burgers, salad, pasta, corn on the cob or omelets — is a great place to get them started on picking up basic cooking skills. Many families find it works well to have each family member take on a meal each week. They might even like to make a checklist of dishes they’d like to master before they leave home.

Let your teen decide...

  Jul 5, 2016   healthy dessert 1

How to use cacao nibs

How to Use Cacao Nibs

Have you ever wondered how to use cacao nibs and why people might eat them instead of chocolate?

Last year I got involved with an anti-sugar film called Fed Up! and in the process I learned a lot about how we’re eating too much added sugar, which is causing obesity and diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and possibly cancer.

I’ve always had a problem with sugar, especially sugar cravings, and even a mild to sometimes severe sugar addiction.  I didn’t like the cravings and wanted to eat a healthier diet, so I decided to get most of the added sugar out of my diet.  I even created a Facebook group of 1,000+ people who want to reduce or eliminate added sugar in their diet.

But I love chocolate, and I didn’t want to completely lose it from my diet.  Happily, I discovered an ingredient called cacao nibs.

Cacao nibs are made from chocolate or cacao beans and they have no added sugar.  They are very chocolaty, but they are a little bitter if you...

  Jul 5, 2016   Time Saving Kitchen Tips

Make Your Kitchen Smell Sweet: How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Refrigerator, Sink and Kitchen Trash Can

Make Your Kitchen Smell Sweet: How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Refrigerator, Sink and Kitchen Trash Can I know, it’s not the most appetizing topic. But do you know what is really unappetizing? When you can’t get rid of bad smells in your kitchen! It’s not too appealing to create delicious food when your refrigerator smells like old fish or your sink smells like rotten vegetables. Recently we had a fishy smell in our fridge.  I cleaned the shelves, emptied any vegetable scraps that were past their prime, and gave the refrigerator a once over to see if there was anything rotting, but I couldn’t find a thing! So I did a little research and discovered that putting coffee grounds in an open container in the fridge can eliminate bad odors. Sure enough, a day or two later, the refrigerator was back to its sweet smelling self. I decided I would turn to my clever friends, including some Six O’Clock Scramble members, to see what other home remedies they...

Best No-Cook Summer Recipes

Best No-Cook Summer Recipes

When the thermometer tops 90, the last thing we want to do is turn on the oven or stove, or even the grill! So The Scramble team put together a list of our most popular and best no-cook summer recipes. These are also perfect to bring to a picnic or potluck, an outdoor concert, baseball game, or just enjoy on a shady porch, cooled by a fan, on a hot summer night.

How do you enjoy your meals during the warm weather? As long as I’m out of the direct sun, I can’t get enough of the outdoors, even in steamy weather. My family eats dinner almost every night during the summer on our screened porch. Sometimes we linger out there, sitting on the wrought iron furniture that used to be Andrew’s grandmother’s, long enough to watch the bats swoop down to eat the pesky mosquitos.  Ah, summer living!

I hope you and your family get outside this summer and enjoy some of our best no-cook summer recipes: Mediterranean...

Will You Help Me Decide What Cooking Videos to Make Next?

Will You Help Me Decide What Cooking Videos to Make Next? Have you subscribed to The Scramble’s new YouTube channel yet? I’m sharing inspiring weekly recipes, tips and helpful cooking videos to make your meals and snacks easier, healthier and more delicious. If you subscribe to the channel, you wont get bombarded with emails, but you will get notified when there’s a new video so you won't miss it.  My goal is to share short and inspiring videos each week that will make your life easier, healthier and more delicious. Please let me know what recipes or tips you’d like me to share next. Current top contenders are: A. What to pack for kids’ summer camp lunches B. How to make peanut butter, banana and chocolate overnight oatmeal (no sugar added!) C. How to make banana whip...