March 31, 2014
There are certain behaviors and topics that get me overly excited or irritated. Respect or lack there of is a big one with me. Normally I can ignore most things, but last weekend my family and I went shopping in the capital city of our state. I don't know if everyone in the particular store had woken up on the wrong side of the bed or what, but everyone was rude. One women went so far as to push me in the checkout line and then rudely tell my oldest son 'excuse me'. This is a store which is a national chain and we shop at the location near our house frequently. At the location near us people are always friendly, but not this location. And I'm sorry to say it hasn't been just one time, it's every single time we shop at this location. I think people in this store location have had a little too much caffeine or lack thereof. It's funny how geography can make personalities completely different. By the time I leave the store I seem to be far less friendly and a lot more angry.
When I get stressed, or angry, or just because, I tend to make breakfast foods. I love breakfast foods, there is something so comforting about eating a big plate of waffles or pancakes. Last week I tried a new recipe for French Toast from the Food Network.
For the recipe go to French Toast.
March 29, 2014
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March 28, 2014
- One frozen banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter/almond butter
- dash of cinnamon
- 1 cup of spinach
My youngest loved the smoothie. I was worried that he would be put off by the green color, but it turned out he thought it looked like something a superhero would drink, so win for me! I thought the salads stayed fresh and worked well for my family's needs. The only thing I would change would have them more readily available in my area. The closest Target with food to us is an hour away, which is a ways to go for salad. I hope that in the future Fresh Express will expand into other grocery chains.
March 26, 2014
I need to add more hours to the day. It seems that I only am able to get half of the things on my to do list done everyday and by the end of the week my list seems to just get longer and longer. I thought that as my kids got older things would be easier, I was wrong. Now I have more dishes, laundry and general mess than I ever did when they were younger. Most days I fall onto the couch exhausted at the end of the day and almost fall asleep watching tv. Weekends are almost worse. With my husband home there are even more cups and bowls to wash and another person to clean up after. My family goes through more cereal bowls that I would ever think humanly possible. Weekdays are easier in many ways since my husband and oldest leave for part of the day. However, my youngest seems to make the mess of three people.
Since I have been short on time the last couple of months I have been looking for recipes that are easy to put together and cook. Last week I tried a new recipe for Quick Shepherd's Pie from the March/April issue of Eating Well Magazine.
My family really enjoyed this recipe. It is very easy to prep and put together so it's perfect for a busy weeknight meal. Lamb is one of my favorite proteins. A little amount adds great flavor to dishes, I love it. This recipe is also nice since it has 25 grams of protein, which with two growing boys is always something that I look for.
For the recipe go to Quick Shepherd's Pie.
March 22, 2014
I am a very impatient person. So much so that I am horrible about waiting to talk while having a conversation. I also have a tendency to watch a season of a show and then skip to the final episode (I blame Netflix and Hulu for this) or read the majority of a book and then skip a few pages (or 10) to get to the end faster. Part of the problem seems to be that my attention is less as I get older and partly that a lot of books and television just don't seem to be that great. I know that sounds harsh, but great books. movies etc. still can hold my interest, they just are very few and far between. I guess as I get older quality has become much more important and I don't have the patience to deal with okay or mediocre. Life is too short to spend a lot of time on something that isn't great.
Make sure to pick fatty pork chops and spray the top of the chops with canola oil. This allows the chops to have a great crispy outside and tender inside. My family really enjoyed these chops. If you aren't a fan of Gouda other types of cheese would also work, especially sharp cheddar. The same thing goes for the Creole seasoning, if you don't like the heat you could use any other type of seasoning salt and it would work just as well.
For the recipe go to Gouda and Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops.
March 19, 2014
My two kids are very different. They have different tastes, love different television shows, toys, you name it. They will spend hours disagreeing about what movie character is best, with neither of them winning the argument. My youngest is the huge Disney fan in the house, he loves the older Disney movies. Since so many of them are now available streaming he can pick and chose his favorite movies whenever he wants. Given my son's love of Disney I was excited to be given the opportunity to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration.
Anyone reading this probably already knows that I love food. I really love food. So any party at my house centers around food and lots of it. Kids parties can be a little boring so I decided to switch things up by having a breakfast party using some of the great recipes available on the Disney Side website.
- Disney napkins, cups, balloons, a tablecloth and a banner
- Disney tattoos and stickers
- Disney Bingo, trivia, and face painting kits
- HP photo card packs
- Disney vacation planning DVDs
- Disney cookie cutters and cupcake wrappers
- 6 pack of Craisins Dried Cranberries and coupons
- American Tourister Luggage
- Measuring cups and recipe cards from ABC's The Chew
March 16, 2014
I am so sick of school fundraisers. That sounds horrible I know, but also very true. It all came to a head last week with a fundraiser not benefiting the school. I won't go in to details, but since I decided that I didn't want to have my son raise money he was not allowed to enjoy the popsicles and apple juice that all the other kids received for participating. I could have done the fundraising, but I chose not to. It was the 4th fundraiser since the beginning of the school year. During the first fundraiser my son raised 1200 dollars. I feel that that should be more than enough as my contribution for fundraising for the year. Apparently not though, they have had 3 more. Maybe I am getting old, but when I was growing up we had one fundraiser a year. One, nothing more. I understand that times have changed, things cost more money etc. However, I would rather donate supplies that I bought at 90 percent off at Target than donate to 4 fundraisers in 8 months. I joked with my husband that I am going to run for PTO next year with the slogan work smarter not harder. Obviously that won't happen, I'm way too much of a perfectionist to deal with all the fundraising drama. In the meantime I bought my son a whole box of popsicles for the dollar that he would have had to raise to enjoy the one at school.
With 440 calories and 11 grams of protein these tostadas were a nice vegetarian meal option for my family. My husband absolutely loved the spaghetti squash and ate the leftovers without the tostada shell for breakfast the next morning. Like most kids my sons were thrilled with the spaghetti squash, it's very kid friendly. To cut down on the heat for their servings, I tossed sour cream with the squash on their plate.
For the recipe go to Spaghetti Squash Tostadas.
March 14, 2014
Sausage, Cheese and Grit Mini Quiches
- 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
- 1 cup grits (or polenta)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 eggs
- 1 package Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles (approximately 9.6 ounces)
- sliced buffalo Monterey jack cheese (or cheese of your choice)
March 9, 2014
I am so ready for spring to start next week. While I don't mind winter, this winter has been colder and had far more snow than we normally receive. Even my kids are sick of the snow and complained when my oldest was out of school for snow days twice last week. I think everyone in my house is ready for a little bit of warmer weather and sunshine. Granted we will start complaining about the heat and humidity in the summer (I hate humidity), but for now the 60 degree weather we had yesterday was perfect. Spring also gets me excited about gardening, which I love. It's a great way for me to relax and I love eating all the vegetables and fruit I am able to grow in our backyard. So I am impatiently waiting for the nights to get warm so I can start my planting.
Since our weather was cold last week I made a number of soups and stews. One of the new recipes I tried was for Curried Chicken Chowder from the November 2013 issue of Southern Living Magazine.
This recipe has 15 ingredients. It takes 1 hour of total time, 40 minutes of which is active, and makes 16 cups. I made a few changes to the original recipe. First, I used frozen corn. Fresh corn is hard to find in the winter and frozen is much cheaper. I added the corn frozen and it worked well. For the coconut milk I used light coconut milk and added a tablespoon of corn starch mixed with water to the chowder as a thickener to make up for the fat. Finally, I used homemade chicken broth. The taste is better and it is far cheaper than store bought.
If you are looking to feed a crowd this is a great recipe. It made enough for three meals for my family. I served the chowder with naan bread for the rest of my family, which worked well flavor wise. The edamame is a great way to add protein and add a little bit of crunch to the chowder. Plus using chicken left from another recipe is a great way to save money.
For the recipe go to Curried Chicken Chowder.
March 8, 2014
Television seemed more exciting to me when I was younger. The same goes for movies, I used to love going to see new movies every Friday evening in my twenties. I would get addicted to television shows and be excited for the next weeks episode. Now in my middle thirties television and movies just don't seem to hold the same appeal. A big part of the change might have to do with the Internet and the way that I watch movies and television. My family dropped cable years ago, we now rely on Netflix and Hulu. It's cheaper and we don't miss having all pointless channels that have nothing to watch on them. However, I also seem to not enjoy television the way that I used to. I get bored halfway through a lot of episodes and more than a couple of seasons of any show is just a little too much. There are exceptions, there are some shows that I have watched for years, but they are the exception not the norm. Maybe my expectations for television and movies have gotten higher the older I get. I have far less time to waste hours watching a movie that I hate. Maybe I just haven't watched anything great lately. Whatever the reason I have preferred books to television and movies for years and the trend seems to get only stronger the older I get. Hopefully I'm not alone.
Last week I was having a strong craving for pancakes. Gluten free pancakes can be very hit or miss, some are great, others barely edible. I decided to try a new recipe for Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Pancakes in order to utilize the large amount of oat flour I had in my cupboard.
These pancakes turned out very well. I topped the servings with melted peanut butter (which is delicious on pancakes and waffles - just heat peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds and it pours like syrup). The pancakes had a great banana taste and rose well on the griddle. They were delicious with peanut butter, but would also be great with butter or syrup. The only change I would make would be to add a small amount of vanilla extract the next time.
For the recipe go to Gluten Free Banana Oatmeal Pancakes.
March 6, 2014
Almondina® Brand Biscuits don't contain cholesterol, added fat, trans-fats, salt, or preservatives. They go great with coffee, tea, soft cheeses and dessert wines, in addition to being a great snacking option. Almondina® biscuits are available in the following flavors:
· Original - America's all natural favorite with almonds and raisins
· Chocolate Cherry - We combined the world's finest dark chocolate
with plump cherries to produce an irresistible, decadent treat without guilt.
· Choconut - Rich tasting crunchy chocolate, but low in calories
· Cinnaroma® - The original biscuit for cinnamon lovers
· Gingerspice - Trend setting, with chunks of Australian ginger
· AlmonDuo® - Double-nut wonder with almonds and pistachios
· AnniversaryT - Award winning delight with a touch of anise
· BranTreats® - Made with oat bran and the finest cinnamon "Cookies For Breakfast"
· Sesame - Irresistible, exotic, flavorful
- Seasonal Pumpkin Spice - A seasonal attraction with a delightful touch of fall spices combined with the highest quality almonds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Including new products:
· Chocolate Dipped – the Original® dipped in the finest, pure, rich dark chocolate was
previously offered only certain times of the year is now available year round
· Delights – The Original® Almondina totally encased in Milk chocolate
· Yogurt Dipped – Brantreats® dipped on one side with a layer of all natural yogurt
Best of all they are only 30 calories per slice and all natural. Plus they are available at a number of stores including: Fairway, Hy Vee, Giant Eagle, Brookshire, Mollie Stone’s, Hannaford, Jewel, Whole Foods, The FreshMarket, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Cost Plus World Market, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and many others.
The story of how the company was started is as great as the biscuits themselves. The owner of Almondina® for the last twenty years is world renowned musical director Yuval Zaliouk. The recipe is based on his grandmother Dina's secret cookie recipe which she shared with Zaliouk's mother. Zaliouk turned the recipe into the delicious and nutritious cookies available from Almondina®.
March 4, 2014
Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
|Little Things Favors Eco-Friendly Cork Coasters|
I try to re-use as many things as possible around my house. What was once a plastic ice cream container becomes a spray painted trinket holder, a wine bottle becomes a statement piece of hand painted art. I love finding new uses for things that would other wise be thrown away, not only is it a great way to save money, but also eco friendly. In addition to re-using household objects I also love finding companies and products that use eco-friendly and renewable resources. Recently, I was given the opportunity to try a set of Eco-Friendly Cork Coasters from Little Things Favors. Here is my review.
|Little Things Favors Eco-Friendly Cork Coasters|
A bit of background. The coasters are sold in sets of 4 and are 4 inches wide. The word love is spelled out across the coaster in black lettering and have a very cute leather cord and heart shaped tag that keeps the set together. They would make great eco-friendly favors for a party or wedding favors for a bohemian or rustic wedding. Here is the link to the item to learn more for yourself: http://www.littlethingsfavors.com
|Little Things Favors Eco-Friendly Cork Coasters|
So what did I think? They worked really well as coasters in my home. I normally end the evening with a glass of red wine after dinner. These coasters did a great job of keeping spilled drinks from hitting the furniture and the shape and lettering is a perfect fit for my living room. When my husband and I were married 10 years ago I made most of the favors and decorations. These coasters would have fit in very well with the rustic theme that I did our wedding in. I could also see them as favors for a summer party, green favors are really in right now and these would be a good fit along those lines.
|Little Things Favors Eco-Friendly Cork Coasters|
The only negative I found with the coasters was that they are definitely more geared towards women. They would have to be women only favors since the lettering and shape are definitely feminine. I'm not sure how they would hold up over time with the cork as well. They might be more of a short term use coaster.For more information go to the following websites:
- Twitter: @lilthingsfavors
- Pinterest: pinterest.com/lilthingsfavors
- Instagram: @little_things_favors
- Google+: +Littlethingsfavors
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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.