Start Your Year Refreshed with Healthy Snacks at Albertsons

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and the Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #StartYourYearRefreshed #CollectiveBias

It’s the New Year! Can you believe it? Don’t you just love a fresh start? It makes me feel like I can conquer my loftiest goals!!

After the holidays have died down, the kids go back to school, and it’s time to get back into a routine. For me, I need to meal plan. Otherwise we end up eating out way too much! I have to plan down to the snacks I have on hand because my girls come home from school absolutely starving.

After school today, I was cutting apples while the girls ate snack number one. Lola asked, “Mommy, why are you cutting apples? We already have yogurt!” I responded, “Because I know the minute you are done with your yogurt, you’ll still be hungry. When you ask me for another snack, the apples will be ready for you.” Sure enough, Lola giggled as she threw away her yogurt cup and grabbed her plate of apples!

Albertsons makes having healthy snacks on hand so incredibly easy for you! Have you ever seen their fresh sliced fruit packs? They’re in the produce section near the deli.

They have many different combinations ready to grab and go. Right now, Albertsons has a promotion where if you buy $15 worth of participating items, you get $4 off your Fresh Cut Fruit via Catalina.

That means when you check out, you will receive a coupon/credit for your next purchase of Fresh Cut Fruit! I let the girls each pick out a bowl for our fruit salad.[Continue Reading…]

Back to School with a2 Milk®

This post was sponsored by a2 Milk® as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.a2 Milk - karainthekitchen.comCan you believe that it’s that time already? Back to school has already started for some, and my girls will be going back next month. Lola will be starting Kindergarten and Ada will be in 1st grade. I am so excited for them! It’s going to be an adjustment for sure; we have been loving these lazy days of summer. No schedules, beach days, and vacations. After a full day of school, I know they will both be coming home hungry, and I want to keep them filled up with happy tummies! Speaking of tummies, if anyone in your home has sensitivities to regular milk, you should have them try a2 Milk®! The A1 protein, found in all other cow milk on the market, is usually responsible for unsettled stomachs. The heirloom herd of milk cows from the a2 Milk Company™ produces milk devoid of the A1 protein, leaving only the A2 protein that is gentler on stomachs. It is still real milk and doesn’t taste any different than the cows milk you know and love.a2 Milk® - karainthekitchen.comI’m a big believer in doing everything in moderation. I think if you are too extreme in something, you will get burned out or have the opposite effect that you were hoping for. This goes for snacks in our home. I monitor what my girls eat and have taught them about healthy choices and “sometimes” foods. Apples are an every day choice for an after school snack. Cookies, of course, are a sometimes food. Best enjoyed with a cold glass of milk!a2 Milk - karainthekitchen.comOr, if your children are not fans of plain milk, make it chocolate milk! You can rest easy knowing that a2 Milk® contains about six times the amount of calcium as soy milk, eight times the protein of almond milk, and six times the potassium levels of rice milk! 
a2 Milk - have loved being an Ambassador for a2 Milk®! I hope you have enjoyed learning about it through my posts and it will help you or someone you know with lactose sensitivities. To find the store nearest you that carries a2 Milk®, click here. Happy new school year and snack in happy moderation :) a2 Milk® -

Get FREE a2 Milk® & Win a Trip to Australia!

This post was sponsored by a2 Milk® as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Have you ever had trouble with lactose? It seems the older I get, the more sensitive my tummy is to it. And the more friends I have that have the same problem ;) It turns out that there are different types of protein in cow milk, A1 and A2. The a2 Milk Company™ has found a way to produce milk without the A1 protein that affects sensitive digestive systems. The A1 protein is to blame for post-dairy discomfort and is currently found in every traditional and organic cow milk on the market today. a2 Milk® comes from specially sourced heirloom cows and brings you cow milk without the upset stomach!

The a2 Milk Company™ is working with dairy farmers in upstate New York and the Midwest to grow and expand their herd of a2 cows. The cows, by nature, produce milk without the A1 protein!a2 Milk -, people who are lactose sensitive don’t have to turn to nut or bean based milks. They can still enjoy the nutritional benefits and delicious taste of cow milk! a2 Milk® has:

  • approximately six times the amount of calcium as soy beverages
  • approximately eight times the protein of almond beverages and
  • approximately six times the potassium levels of rice beverages

To get your own free a2 Milk® through a receipt redemption program, head over to Try a2 Milk. While you are there, enter to win a trip to Australia, too! If you win, you have to promise to take me, though. My people are from there! Seriously, Ada is named after my great-great-grandmother Ada from Australia. She even had a pet kangaroo :)

I am so thrilled to continue my ambassadorship with a2 Milk®! I have loved trying this new-to-me product and have found it to be easy on my stomach (read: I can eat more dairy if I drink it). a2 Milk® is carried at our local Lassen’s. I am excited for a2 Milk® to gain traction and popularity and be carried in every store where you buy milk. To find your nearest grocery store that sells a2 Milk®, click here: a2 Milk® Store Locatora2 Milk -

a2 Milk® Ambassador Program

This post was sponsored by a2 Milk® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.a2 MilkI am so excited to announce that I have been selected to be an a2 Milk® Ambassador! I LOVE MILK! But what is a2 Milk®, you ask? Well, let me put on my Ambassador hat and tell you all about it :)

Back in the day (picture a milk man delivering milk to your doorstep in glass bottles), all cows milk had the A2 protein in it. Their milk was easy to digest and there were no issues. As dairy farmers started putting more pressure on cows to produce milk, the A1 protein started to manifest itself in the cows’ milk. The A1 protein is digested differently and began causing stomach problems in milk drinkers.

Chances are, you or someone you know suffers from sensitivities to dairy. An independent study found that one in four Americans had stomach discomfort after consuming milk, but only 3-4% of the population has been medically diagnosed as Lactose Intolerant. a2 Milk-5For those who do suffer, their options are usually to turn to a non-dairy milk alternative. Almond, soy, or rice in my friends’ cases. I have tried them and am not a fan. Almond I can bear if it’s mixed up in a smoothie, but I would still prefer the good stuff from a cow. Which is why I love a2 Milk®!a2 Milk-2Ever since I had my gallbladder removed, I have been more sensitive to dairy. I learned this in Paris, unfortunately. Matt and I had a gorgeous cheese platter for dessert at Astier and Matt insisted that I try every single cheese. Not one to back down from a challenge, I did it. And paid for it later at the hotel by throwing it all up! We joke about it because Matt showed true love by taking care of me and cleaning up after me…what a way to spend your anniversary! Luckily I was better the next day and we still had a wonderful trip. I have learned to limit the strong dairy after that experience!

a2 Milk® has returned cows milk to what it used to be! It has all of the benefits of cows milk: vitamins, taste, hormone and antibiotic-free, without the irritating A1 protein.

To find a2 Milk® near you, click here. Local friends: I found it at Lassen’s; Vallarta doesn’t carry it yet like the website says.

Keeping Cozy With Starbucks® Hot Cocoa K-Cup® Pods

This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review.

What is your go-to Starbucks drink? Mine is a Tall Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. If it’s cold out, this drink will warm me right up! The problem is: the Starbucks near me closes at 8 PM (it’s inside of a grocery store). There have been so many times that my mom and I are heading home from a baby shower or some other party and think, “Ooh! Hot cocoa would be perfect right now!” only to realize it’s past 8 PM and we don’t want to drive downtown to go to the 24-hour Starbucks drive thru. Starbucks KCups-1-4This dilemma will no longer be an issue thanks to Starbucks® Hot Cocoa K-Cup® Pods!! They are beautiful little cups of rich, creamy, chocolately goodness made with real cocoa and fat-free milk that pop right into your Keurig machine. Basically a happiness pod! You can find them wherever you buy groceries.Starbucks KCups-1-6Starbucks sent me the sweetest Cozy Collection! It was a box complete with plush blanket, new mug, shortbread, marshmallows, a $5 Starbucks card, coupon, and two types of Starbucks® Hot Cocoa K-Cup® Pods: Classic Hot Cocoa and Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa. When any type of package comes in the mail, my girls immediately want to help open it and get to playing with what’s inside. The princesses dolls had quite the little picnic inside the Cozy Collection!     Starbucks KCupsHave you ever tried Walker’s Shortbread before? My dad always brings us some from Scotland when he has trips to Edinburgh. It is delicious on its own, but dipped in hot cocoa it takes everything to a whole new level! Try it sometime, it reminds me of the scene in Lady and the Tramp when Darling and Jim Dear give Lady a donut dipped in coffee for breakfast :)Starbucks KCups-1-5The marshmallows from Madyson’s are insanely good as well! They taste homemade (see my homemade marshmallow post here) and melt into the top of your cocoa, leaving the perfect amount of creamy vanilla taste on top. Baby June and I all snuggled up thanks to the Cozy Collection:Starbucks KCups-1-2I am keeping so cozy in my comfy chair, sipping hot cocoa, wrapped in my plush blankie. The look below is me taking a sip before Lola came to steal the mug :) Starbucks KCups-1-3I am so glad to have Starbucks® Hot Cocoa K-Cup® Pods on hand for instant comfort and warmth! Want to score a Cozy Collection of your own? Enter the contest here!

Real California Milk Drive

This post is a sponsored discussion in partnership with The Motherhood and Real California Milk. Thank you for supporting Kara in the Kitchen! #CAMilkDrive

I am a total milk lover. Always have been! When I moved out of the house, my mom realized that her milk was going bad in the fridge because nobody was drinking it! I love a nice, tall, cold glass of California milk. Even better if a warm chocolate chip cookie is ready to dip in it ;)

I was raised on real California butter, cheese, and milk. I remember the days of margarine being all the rage and being bummed out when I’d go to friends’ homes and they had the fake stuff. In college, my health teacher said that she told everyone in her classes in the 80s and 90s to eat margarine. In my class in the 2000s, she said, “Yeah, they’re probably all dead now. It’s pretty much plastic.” Real food is best for you!

After speaking with California Milk Advisory Board spokesperson Nurse Barb Dehn, a practicing Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and nationally recognized health expert and speaker, I learned that California Milk is an excellent source of vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B12.

For children up to 8 years old, they should be getting 2.5 servings of dairy a day. My girls LOVE California cheese and chocolate milk. One cup of whole California Milk contains nine essential nutrients, including eight grams of high-quality protein per serving!

Did you know that California is the #1 producer of dairy in the United States? California has over 1,400 dairies! Ninety-nine percent of these dairies are family-run and they have a passion for what they do. Check out the video below:

Unfortunately, everyone does not have the access to the wonderful California Dairy products that are needed to stay healthy and strong. Food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per YEAR! People always tend to donate non-perishable items, like canned food to food drives.

That’s why The California Dairy Families have pledged $100,000 in matching milk donations to the Great American Milk Drive to help those in need. That will be equal to 20,000 gallons or 320,000 servings of milk through the end of the year. People can donate one gallon of milk for just $5 at $100,000 of total California milk donations made by the end-of-the-year will be matched by California Dairy Families. Enter your zip code and donations will help your local California food bank.

When shopping, make sure to look for brands made with 100% Real California Milk that feature the Real California Milk Seal or Real California Cheese Seal:

Real California Milk

You can learn more about the Real California Seals at

Join us for a Twitter party on October 22 at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) to discuss your family’s memorable meals that include Real California Milk and how joining the California Dairy Families with the Great American Milk Drive will help those in need also share in memorable family moments.

When: Thursday, October 22, 11 a.m. PT

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #CAmilkdrive hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite:

Hashtag: #CAmilkdrive

Prizes: Each prize includes a $100 Visa gift card. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

Hosts: @TheMotherhood, @TMChatHost, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Co-hosts: @babypyo, @lipglosscrayons, @mommylikewhoa, @mycharmedmom, @NinaSay,

@daytrippingmom, @RaisedByCulture, @KaraJMiller, @smashbravoteam

Hope to see you there!

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group – Let’s Play!

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with The Motherhood & Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. As always, all opinions are 100% my own!

If you know me, you know that I love Dr. Pepper. It’s my drink of choice and my fridge is always stocked! If I try a new restaurant and they carry my beloved Pep, the restaurant automatically goes up 10 points in my book. It’s a very sophisticated ranking system ;)

Dr. Pepper -

I had the opportunity to sit in on a conference call with the fine people at Dr. Pepper Snapple and some fellow bloggers. It was so fun to be a part of and I learned quite a bit about DPS!

DPS Portfolio of Products

  • The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group makes so many drinks that I didn’t realize. They have over 50 different sodas, juices, and drinks. They make another one of my favorites: Orangina! I discovered that in Italy and drank so many of those cute little glass-bottled lovelies! Also craved it while pregnant with both of my daughters :)
  • Dr. Pepper has come out with a naturally sweetened soda! It’s only currently available in Chicago, Ohio, and Texas, but I am dying to get my hands on some. My sister in Houston hasn’t been able to find it yet, but I will not give up! I am hopeful because I was not a fan of Dr. Pepper Ten, so the sugar and Stevia version might be up my alley.

DPSG Let's Play Logo

  • The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has built numerous playgrounds through their Let’s Play initiative, started in 2011. Their goal is to get kids outside and playing actively! Things have changed since I was a child. We rode our bikes all around the neighborhood and to the park until the street lights came on and it was time to go home. Now, children are in front of TV screens, phones, and computers and obesity rates have tripled in children ages 6-11.

  • DPS believes in balance. Calories in, calories out. Everything in moderation! I love that.
  • DPS took full-calorie beverages out of schools and reduced the calories in shipments to schools by more than 90%!
  • To become a certified flavorist, you have to complete a 7-10 year apprenticeship program!
  • Since DPS started Let’s Play in 2011, it has worked with KaBOOM! to build or fix up 2,188 playgrounds across the country! They’ve also partnered with Good Sports to donate $1.6 million in grants for new sports equipment to 803 organizations, impacting more than 7.5 million kids.
  • If you’d like to nominate a school or neighborhood for a grant, you can do so here.

I'm a Pepper -

I’m so happy to see a company (that I already love because of their products) doing great things with their resources. I’m a Pepper! Are you? :)

Mav Pep -

Lorna Jane’s Nourish – The Fit Woman’s Cookbook

As a SweatPink Ambassador, I received a digital copy of this cookbook to review in addition to a promotional item. I made two recipes and photographed them. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.  

I was so excited to have the opportunity to review Lorna Jane Clarkson’s new cookbook! Lorna Jane is a fitness apparel brand based in Australia. I’ve seen their stores at Westfield Mall in San Jose and Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara. The day I shopped at the store in Santa Barbara, their air conditioning was broken and it was a really hot day! The sweet retail girl put a fan in the dressing room for me and brought me a bottle of cold water. Thank you for that!!

Looking through Lorna Jane’s cookbook, you have pictures of her in various workout attire and quotes on her food philosophy. It makes you want to hang out with her! I decided to go for one recipe that scared me and one that sounded like something I’d normally make.

The first recipe I tried was the Glow Elixir. It has all kinds of good-for-you veggies in it and no sweeteners besides some apple.

To be honest, it was gross at first. Each subsequent sip wasn’t as bad, but I thought about wheatgrass and how you take a shot of it and get it over with, so I would treat this the same way. It’s good for you and it tastes that way! Very minty too.

Glow Elixir
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ½ c. spinach
  • ⅔ c. water
  • ½ c. chopped cucumber
  • ½ chopped small apple
  • ½ chopped small carrot
  • 6 mint leaves
  • ¼ small avocado
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. (I used the juice button on my Blendtec). Pour into glass and serve.

The next recipe I tried was Roasted Balsamic Tomato & Avocado on Toast. It was delicious!! I’m glad to have leftovers so I can make it again. The only thing I would add is salt on the avocados and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on the bread. I love the combination of the tart roasted tomatoes with the creamy goat cheese & avocados. In the cookbook, she has a recipe for a bread that she uses for the toast. I decided to go with a whole grain sourdough bread instead of baking bread.

Lorna Jane  1 of 1

Roasted Balsamic Tomato & Avocado on Toast
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 slices whole grain sourdough
  • 2 ounces arugula
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons roasted walnuts (I forgot to add these...oops)
  • 1½ ounces soft goat cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F.
  2. Combine tomatoes and vinegar in a large baking-paper-lined baking dish; season to taste. Bake about 10 minutes or until tomatoes are browned lightly and beginning to soften.
  3. Meanwhile, toast bread. Serve toast topped with rocket (arugula), avocado and tomato; sprinkle with nuts and cheese, drizzle with any pan juices from tomatoes.

Lorna Jane says that she, in true Aussie fashion, spreads some Vegemite underneath all of the other goodness on this toast. My dad used to fly to Sydney and bring home Vegemite. He would ask us kids if we wanted some chocolate and trick us into eating it!! So terrible! I like how she refers to the arugula as rocket, too. I want to start calling it that :)

Right now Lorna Jane is running a #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative and you can win:

 – A hard copy of NOURISH – The Fit Woman’s Cookbook!

– A $200 gift card to Lorna Jane!
Tweet: Join the #LiveLoveNOURISH initiative w/ @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach! Giveaway of: 10 NOURISH Cookbooks + $200 Gift Card to #lornajane!

I have to say I love my running top from Lorna Jane. It’s cute and different than any other workout tops I have. It’s got a little interest in the back!

I hope you enjoy these recipes and get a chance to check out Lorna Jane’s new cookbook. There are numerous other recipes, everything from omelettes to healthy desserts!

Fuel Your Better with Vega Sport!

I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador and was sent this product to try and review. As always, all opinions are honest & 100% mine.

When it comes to supplements and refueling, I have pretty much no idea what to use. I usually have a glass of chocolate milk after a good, long run. Big vitamin stores scare me and I leave all of that up to my husband. He likes talking with the employees and is all into the latest and greatest protein or glucosamine drink. So this is me:

2353 FuelYourBetter Fueling 800x800  1

Vega Sport’s Fuel Your Better movement is helping people like us to see how you can better fuel and optimize your workouts!

I was extremely excited when Vega Sport offered to send me some recovery accelerator! I love the idea of not being as sore after a workout and recovering quicker.

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The powder is completely plant-based and tropical flavored. You mix it into 1 1/2 cups cold water and drink immediately after your workout.

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I was really surprised by the flavor! Reading plant-based made me think it would taste like, well, plants. That was not the case! It’s like a watered down mango pineapple juice. I liked it all except for the last sip. No matter how much I shook and mixed it, there were always some bits at the bottom that I couldn’t drink.

I’m still trying to master the mirror selfie…I may have been distracted by a cute little two-year-old coming in the door :)

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I have a really sensitive stomach, so I was worried about how the drink would affect me. I found that if I drank it and made sure I got some food in my stomach afterward I was fine. If I only drank the recovery drink and didn’t eat anything for a couple of hours, I’d start to feel woozy.

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The best part about Vega Sport’s Recovery Accelerator was that it actually made me less sore after a workout! Especially one where I sprint to smoke my husband at the end ;)

Foodbuzz Day 2!

I’m finally getting around to posting about day 2 of the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco. The recap of Day 1 is here.

I was SO proud of myself for navigating the mess of bus lines that got me lost last year! Would you look at this map? Oh dear. I was stressed out that I wasn’t going to make it in time for the TCHO Chocolate factory tour. Thank goodness the guy stopped and picked me up, the bus was packed and he wouldn’t pick anybody else up the whole way! Once I made it to the Embarcadero, I had to run a few blocks to make it in time. My flats were actually not that bad to run in, until the next two days when I had the WORST shin splits of my life! It killed to be in heels at church the next day.

I made it to TCHO in the nick of time & got to go on the tour. Here’s our lovely tour guide. He was interesting, talked really fast, and was very informative. He had this little microphone that didn’t really help us hear him any better, and kept moving it to take sips of his tea. I loved learning about cocoa, the process of making chocolate, the different ways it’s infused with flavors, and touching cocoa butter and cocoa beans. I also really appreciate how closely TCHO works with their farmers and how well they treat their employees!

What’s a chocolate factory tour without one of the best TV scenes involving chocolate?!

They didn’t allow any pictures to be taken where the chocolate magic happens, but it was so wonderful. Did you know that they only let women package their chocolate? Any guesses as to why? The answer is that women have a lower basal body temperature and can hold chocolate a second or so longer than a man can before it melts. You learn something every day!

After the tour, they let us sample all of their high-quality chocolate. I am a milk chocolate girl through and through. But what he taught us was that to eat chocolate the right way, you must use all five senses. 1. Look at the chocolate 2. Snap the chocolate in half so you hear it 3. Feel the chocolate in your hands 4. Smell it 5. Taste it. Now tasting means letting it sit on your tongue and melt for a bit. This changed how I view dark chocolate! I actually enjoyed quite a few of the dark pieces we sampled because I let it melt on my tongue and dissolve instead of biting into it. The 99% cocoa was AWFUL though. I ran to the trash can and spit it out. No amount of melting could help that puppy out.

After the TCHO Chocolate factory tour (which had no Gene Wilder or everlasting gobstopper involved, bummer), I walked downtown to shop a bit before my mom came to meet me. We met up for the Taste Pavilion and sampled food after food after food!

Here is the famous Chef John Ash, behind a beautiful Alaskan halibut. They served it in a coconut curry sauce that was absolutely perfect & my mom’s favorite.

My favorite were the crab cakes! Oh my goodness. They were the best crab cakes that I have ever had in my entire life! The wonderful people at Alaska Seafood have perfected them. I was so glad that we got some first because I heard they ran out and/or people were too full by the end! Mmm I could go for one or three about now :)

I am a total fan of Naked juice and drank it all through my pregnancy with Lola. I had to have some of their orange juice every morning! They had this mango juice that was insanely sweet and had NO added sugar in it. Incredible!

The cupcakes from Mission Minis were so moist and the perfect size. I kept the two spiders and brought them home for my girls :)

After all of the chocolate tasting and all of the food at the Taste Pavilion, my mom and I headed to Nordstrom to shop for a bit. They had a huge event going on and we got our makeup done! Here I am with Bobbi, who I’ve followed on Instagram for over a year now! I was SO happy to meet her in real life and it was crazy feeling like I know her so well but having never met in person. Here we are with our final makeovers!

I am so disappointed with myself, I didn’t take any pictures at the Gala with my hair done or all of us dressed up! We had a minor car incident, then tons of traffic, and my phone died, so I wasn’t really focusing on pictures. But I did take a few at the dinner of the food. It was held at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park and was stunning!

My favorite was the artichoke ravioli with ginger soup, pictured below.

The mushroom & onion pizza was my favorite from this plate, nothing else was a standout. For dessert, my favorite was the pot de creme in the tiny mug!

I had so much fun this year and am excited by all of the new people I met and connections I made. Thank you DailyBuzz Food for a wonderful event! I have another awesome giveaway coming so stay tuned! :)