Best Beaches for Kids in Orange County

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Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Since we are officially entering beach season, I wanted to do a post on the beach beaches for kids in Orange County. Awhile back I asked my Facebook fans for their favorite kid-friendly OC beaches. Just one more reason to “like” us on Facebook. I have the most amazingly resourceful mamas on there. Here are all the great recommendations…

Sunset Beach

“Parking at Sunset Beach is FREE which is an added plus!” ~ Lisa

Seal Beach

Super cute playground, and lots of lovely shops & food places.” ~ Amber

“Great bathrooms, playground, shops, places to eat and parking all close by.” ~ Andi

Playground at Balboa Pier

“Playgrounds, restrooms & close parking. Just have to go early!” ~ Lisa

Ruby Beach Balboa Island

Great beach for little ones, it’s on the bay, so no waves. Biggest downside is no restrooms, but great for a couple hour beach visit. It’s located at the end of Ruby Avenue at North Bay Front.” ~ Jen (me!)

Corona del Mar

“No playground but not a lot of sand walking needed to get to the bathrooms and a tame crowd.” ~ Jennifer

El Moro Beach (Crystal Cove State Park)

“This is a beach that is accessible from the Moro Canyon Camping entrance by El Moro school. I believe it’s $15 to park for the day. If you go early, you can park very close to the beach at the bottom of the hill and and take path under the freeway. Nice, clean new restrooms, hardly any sand walking.” ~ Jen (me!)

Crystal Cove Beach by Crystal Cove Beach Cottages

“Tidepools are wonderful, and they have The Beachcomber restaurant.” ~ Amber

“We LOVE Crystal Cove but it can be a trek down to the beach with younger kids and parking is expensive.” ~ Katie

“I also love to check out the historic Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. If you don’t want a sit down restaurant, you can also head up the hill for a hot dog from Ruby’s Shake Shack.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Aliso Beach

“Close parking, good bathrooms and a playground.” ~ Aracely

“Nice and easy to lug stuff to and from the car!” ~ Vanessa

Salt Creek Beach

“Bathrooms are close to beach and there are lots of walking paths and parking is inexpensive.” ~ Katie

Treasure Island Beach in Laguna Beach by the Montage

“Stunningly gorgeous.”  ~ Jen (me!)

Mother’s Beach at Dana Point

“Nice as they have a barrier so there are no waves close to the shoreline, good for the little kiddos!” ~ Nicola

Capistrano Beach

“Easy Parking and beach access…my son loves it because of the train that passes by often. I am not sure about their bathrooms…” ~ Melissa

Did we miss any? Please comment below on your faves! And have a beachy keen day! xo

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Skinnytaste Low Fat Recipes

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I am obsessed with this site my girlfriend sent me called www.skinnytaste.com. When I get obsessed with something I have to blog about it because it makes me so happy to share finds like this.

It’s a recipe website full of amazing low fat recipes. I am not a cook, but I successfully made three of her recipes in one week! That’s a record for for me. Woot woot!

This Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette was to die for. Completely delicious.

It was so good my husband said, “Babe! This is restaurant quality.” Never in my life has anything I made ever tasted remotely close to restaurant quality! Thank you Gina. Smooch!

I also did these Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Salsa Verde. Super yummy, healthy and choc full of protein and fiber. This is a good one to make towards the beginning of the week and have for leftovers.

Then I tried this Grilled Garlic Dijon Herb Salmon along with Susanne’s recipe for homemade vinaigrette dressing on our salad, and I got another first time quote from the hubby, “You are knocking it out of the park with these dinners!”

Big SMILE.

Her recipes are easy, flavorful and low fat.  What more could you possibly ask for?

Click here to follow her amazing boards on Pinterest, where you can even find a Kid Friendly board. Love it.

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Sweet Cherry Tomato Pasta

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Take it from me, the “Queen of the Cooking Challenged,” this is one SUPER yummy fail-proof recipe! When I started the “I Hate to Cook” series of easy recipes, I truly did hate cooking.  But what I am finding is the MORE I cook, the more I am actually NOT hating it! Gasp!  And it is recipes like this that have built my confidence. I even served it to my in-laws! And they loved it, or at least they told me so to humor me.

I found Jessica Seinfeld’s Sweet Cherry Tomato Pasta on her Do it Delicious site. LOVE that site. Ladies, if you are at all cooking challenged like me, it is SO great because you can also watch a quick video on exactly HOW to make it. For me, that is really helpful because to some it might seem like second nature to know how to “smash garlic” but to a non-cook it is intimidating!  It takes all of the guesswork and stress out of the dish!

I tried this recipe out as-is as a vegetarian dish to start, and loved it, but then after my kids sampled Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage and gobbled it up, I decided to give it a go adding the sausage, which has been uber-yummy!  So I will give you the recipe with sausage, you can easily omit.

Ingredients
{Recipe from Jessica’s site: My comments in italics}

1 pound spaghetti (I use Trader Joe’s organic wheat pasta)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, chopped (I use 2 tsp of jarred minced garlic if in a rush)

1 handful (1 cup) fresh basil leaves, torn, plus extra for sprinkling (I like even more than this…LOVE fresh basil!)

2 pints cherry tomatoes (have made with both cherry & grape and the cherry turn out better in my opinion)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup fresh ricotta

1 package fully cooked Trader Joe’s chicken sausage

Directions

Start boiling your water. Cook pasta according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and basil, and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper (12 turns on pepper mill) and cook, covered, for 8 minutes.

I periodically removed cover to stir, like every couple of minutes.  One time I made it and kept the cover on for the full 8 minutes and the tomatoes overcooked.

Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring, until the tomatoes split. Watch the video on her site to see what a “split tomato looks like!”

Meanwhile, cut the sausage into little circles and heat a skillet on medium heat. Cook the sausage until heated through, about 5 – 10 minutes.  They are fully cooked already, just have to heat them up.

Your pasta should be about done. Drain it.

Toss the pasta with the tomatoes and sausage and stir in the ricotta and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Serve sprinkled with the extra basil.

I also added some shaved fresh Parmesan on top. LOVE!

KID-FRIENDLY RECIPE!

Even though my little ones won’t eat the whole dish put together, they will eat the components separately, go figure. So, I will serve them plain noodles with butter, cherry tomatoes and sausage on the side.

ATTENTION MOMMIES WHO COOK:

If you have an EASY EASY EASY go-to weeknight dinner recipe – one you think even I could do – please send it to me at jennifer {at} tinyoranges.com and I will feature your blog / recipe on my site after I give it the dummy test (me being the dummy) to see if I can make it.  And to see if I can not only make it, but if it is edible.   Because if I can do it, anyone can.

Happy cooking (… and not hating it!)

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