Thanks to Bertolli for sending me a sample bottle of Bertolli Lighter Tasting Olive Oil in exchange for writing my review. All opinions listed are my own.
While I was in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago, we got to eat dinner at a 5 star restaurant complete with a delicious 5 course menu. It was heaven on earth I tell you!
My favorite dish of the night was not anything on the menu (although that duck and brie roll came really close), but it was the delicious olive oil dipping sauce at the table served with bread that was my favorite of the night.
There is just something about a really good pressed olive oil mixed with herbs that bring together a great piece of bread. We sprinkled salt flakes into ours and dipped all night. My taste buds were in pure heaven.
I decided that when I got home after that trip, that I was going to work myself to the bone to recreate that same olive oil dipping sauce for my own bread.
- ¼ cup Bertolli® Extra Light™ Tasting Olive Oil
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Pour olive oil onto plate that has a rim or a very shallow bowl.
- Use a garlic press to press the garlic cloves into the oil.
- Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the oil and garlic. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and oregano. Season with black pepper.
- Mix with a fork to combine all flavors together.
- Leave out at room temperature and serve with all kinds of artisan breads.
About Bertolli Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil
Bertolli® Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil is ideal for searing, baking, sautéing and frying. The clear color and hint-of-olive taste make their’s the lightest olive oil and a most suitable substitute for butter, canola oil, shortening and other vegetable oils. Plus, the high smoke point means it’s great for all types of high-heat cooking.
Right now, you can get a $1.00 coupon to use at BJ’s Wholesale on the purchase of Bertolli® Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil. BJ’s Wholesale is a great place to shop for any of the Bertolli® olive oil line.
Check out Chef Fabio!
Chef Fabio Viviani, Top Chef fan favorite and author of Fabio’s Italian Kitchen is a huge fan of Bertolli® Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil and has created a lot of videos and yummy recipes for the Spring and Summer months that highlights this lighter tasting olive oil. In this video, he shares how to put together a delicious and yummy meat and cheese platter.
Be sure to visit this page here for more recipes and videos from Chef Fabio.
What kind of recipe would you create using the lighter tasting Bertolli olive oil?
I can’t believe it’s only been 5 months since I got my braces on. My teeth have moved SO much. The @damonbraces that I have on are definitely worth every penny. People ask me all the time — WOW — your teeth are moving in place SO fast. What kind of braces do you have on?
It’s then that I am happy to share my secret
I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months hold!
I have to say that over the course of the last month, for the first time in years, I feel — liberated — with my weight loss. I am honestly amazed at the transformation that is happening with me, and I have Weight Watchers to thank for that. I really do.
Many friends and family keep asking me — “WOW! What are you doing to lose weight? You look amazing!” Then, it’s my turn to be amazed because I step on the scale and I have honestly only dropped 7 pounds since starting WW. Really? 7 pounds makes that big of a difference? Not really, I tell myself. I think it has to do with the mindset that I have adopted since starting Weight Watchers.
- It’s really all about what you eat. One thing that has helped me is that I have almost completely cut out sugary and refined sugar products. I do allow myself a cheat day every week so that I can indulge, but for the most part, sweets are gone, white bread is gone — and it’s place I have added wheat bread and whole grains. I cannot tell you what a difference this has made in my life.
- Eating more veggies. It took me a while to realize that with Weight Watchers, veggies and fruits are ZERO points, so I can eat all of that stuff I want. Instead of choosing a big burger and fries, I go for a hearty salad, filled with delicious vegetables and then add in a grilled chicken breast for my carnivore side.
- Trying to exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week. I still have not mastered this yet, but I am getting there. I am amazed at how it makes me feel afterward.
- The scale lies. Never believe the scale. This I have learned a lot over the course of the last couple of months. While my body is changing, the scale is not moving that much. The scale causes severe frustration and will have you spiraling down if you let it. My theory? Don’t be a slave to the scale. Accept that you are getting leaner and your muscle always weighs more — so don’t believe the number. Believe your body and what people are saying about you.
I am super excited that I have now reached 155. I am 7 pounds lighter and I cannot wait to reach my goal weight of 130 pounds. That number is perfect for me — not too skinny and definitely not overweight.
Weight Watchers definitely is worth doing. It is making a difference and whether I can see it or not, others have noticed and that makes me a happy, happy girl!
I was provided a 3 month membership to Weight Watchers online in order to write this review. All opinions listed are my own.
With all of the tragic events that have happened over the last couple of years, many children might have their faith and lives shaken up. In a world that is so uncertain to begin with for kids, it can be even more uncertain when tragic things happen. If you are a teacher, many times, you are the the first adult a child will come into contact with when tragedies around the world strike. Many of these tragedies happen while they are at school, so here are some tips on how to talk to your students about tragedy.
- Setting Their Fears to Rest: Many kids will become fearful and act out because they hear things on the news. Be sure to reassure them that they are safe and you will do your utmost best to protect them at all costs. As long as they child feels secure, they will be fine.
- Find Out Exactly What They Know: Instead of sharing all the details that you have seen on the television or the news, ask them what they have heard. This way, you can help field the info that they do know and leave out any gory details that they may not need to hear.
- Give a Simple Explanation: Many parents shield their children from details such as tragedy, so do your best to share a simple explanation — just enough to get them through the school day so that their parents can talk to them in depth when they get home.
- Listen to a Child If They Need to Talk: Many children just need to talk through what they have seen. Be sure and listen and again reassure them that they are safe with you and that you will protect them.
- Remind Them That Not Everyone Is Bad: Remind the child that not everyone is bad, just some people have problems which cause them to do bad things. This way, the child does not think that everyone he or she comes in contact with is bad.
For more tips like these, visit a new website that I recently discovered — TeachHUB.com.
I spent some time browsing the Teachhub.com website and found a lot of great information that would have come in handy when I was teaching in public and private school before. TeachHUB.com provides the latest in education technology, news and tools. It’s a great free resource for all K-12 teachers.
TeachHUB.com is a free resource for teachers and parents who want the latest in education news and technology. You can see the latest articles from TeachHUB by subscribing to their Facebook page or following them on Twitter.
Teachers can find encouragement from other real teachers, but they can also find lesson plan ideas, articles that will help them cover topics in their classroom and find new ways to teach those sweet little children that rely on them every day.
A Really Cool Infographic
TeachHUB.com recently put together an infographic on things that kids want in the classroom. I was pleasantly surprised at the things that kids wanted and loved from school. Take a look below:
Be sure to visit the TeachHUB.com website today to gain encouragement for yourself and to find tips, tools, and ideas for teaching the children in your life. Homeschool Moms could definitely find this site helpful as well.
I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, and content and opinions expressed here are all my own. To learn more about the TeachHUB.com, visit their website. #CleverTeachers #NLW13
Tucker is like my third child. If you have been on my blog at anytime, then you have seen me post numerous pictures about my sweet little man. I mean — he is the true king of this castle.
We recently found an amazing online boutique for Tucker that offers dog toys, gourmet treats, and more for my little fur baby. Bone Appetit Bakery has become my new favorite online store for special treats for my sweet little chihuahua.
The day that the box arrived, we set it down in the floor for Tucker to check out. He immediately was drawn into the smells coming from the box. He kept scratching at it, so I knew we needed to get it open so he could see his special treats inside.
Bone Appetite gave me $25 to spend in the store, so Kayla and I chose yummy doggy doughnuts for him and some special Oreo looking cookies for dogs. They even sent some free cookies for him to try as well.
Tucker was immediately drawn to the doughnuts. For such a little guy, he has a major sweet tooth!
It’s almost as if he is saying, Decisions, Decisions. He took his doughnut and went straight to his little corner to eat his yummy treat!
Later that afternoon, he was definitely ready for another treat, so Kayla gave him a choice and nothing do him but to get that free lightbulb cookie that Bone Appetit Bakery sent us. I think all in all — that was definitely his favorite cookie of all.
I love the Bone Appetit Bakery and so does Tucker! He gives it two paws up
About the Bone Appetit Bakery
The Bone Appetit Bakery serves organic, all natural dog treats for that special little furry friend in your life. Not only do they serve gourmet dog treats, but you can also get toys, pet id tags, beds, mats, collars, and leashes at their online store.
Be sure to sign up for their email list so that you can stay up to date on any specials they have going on.
Enter to win
One of my readers is going to get a chance to win $25 to spend at the Bone Appetit Bakery as well. To enter, leave a comment below letting me know you want to win.
What would you purchase for your sweet little puppy?
I was given $25 to spend at the store online in order to write this review. All opinions listed are my own.
We are always on the go here at the Sikora household. My hubby and son are usually out the door by 7:00 o’clock in the morning, and when I wake up, I hit the ground running. With that being the case, we always try to have quick and yummy breakfast foods that can be eaten on the go. Here are my favorite 5 quick breakfast foods for families on the go.
5 Quick Breakfast Foods for Families on the Go
- Breakfast Burritos: These can be made ahead of time and frozen for quick breakfasts. Simply take them out of the freezer, wrap them in a paper towel and heat them in the microwave until heated through — usually about 3-4 minutes.
- Bagels and Cream Cheese: I usually keep a bag of bagels in the refrigerator along with cream cheese since these are super quick and don’t need to be heated. Just grab and go!
- Fruit cups: I make these up with strawberries, grapes, blueberries a little yogurt in the bottom, and sprinkled with granola on top. These are great for my daughter who is really trying to watch what she eats.
- Meal replacement shakes: While these are not what I would consider breakfast, sometimes that is all the meal I have time for. When I have a busy day ahead, I will grab one of these just to make sure I get my breakfast choices in.
- Aunt Jemima Lil Griddles: With new Lil’ Griddles from Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast, families now have big breakfast taste, bite-sized. Every batch is made from scratch with real ingredients- like eggs, milk and sugar. I love these little delicious goodies that can be found in the frozen food section of your local grocery store.
The new Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast Lil’ Griddles line has three delicious bite-sized options for family fun; new Aunt Jemima frozen Blueberry Mini pancakes, Aunt Jemima frozen Mini pancakes, and Aunt Jemima frozen Cinnamon French Toast sticks. The french toast sticks are my absolute favorite.
Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast Lil’ Griddles are a big help for moms who want to serve her family a warm breakfast in the morning, just like she’d make it herself. For me, this gives me the peace of mind that I need knowing that my family is eating what they should be eating.
Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast takes great pride in making frozen pancakes, waffles and French toast just like moms across America make breakfast in their own kitchens — their griddles are just a little bit bigger. Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast puts love and care into every step – from stirring the batter and pouring it on a hot griddle to flipping the fluffy and bubbling pancakes, just like you do.
The goal of Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast is to deliver every batch just like you’d make it yourself. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and Aunt Jemima frozen breakfast knows for moms, starting her family out with a warm breakfast makes the morning, and the entire day, even more special.
Grab a coupon for Lil’ Griddles
Think you might want to try the new Aunt Jemima Lil’ Griddles? Here is a coupon for so that you can try out the Lil’ Griddles for yourself. That’s right — you get to try them for FREE!
What is your favorite “on the go” breakfast item? Do you think that the new Lil Griddles would be a perfect fit for your family?
Thank you to Aunt Jemima Frozen Breakfast for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.
There are 4 people in our house that take daily showers. Almost everyone of us are shower lingerers — you know the kind that takes a 30 minute shower. I will admit, I am the head honcho of that clan. I like my long, extremely hot showers better than anyone. That was until I got my $65 water bill, and almost had a heart attack. Since then, the family and I have worked together to find ways to reduce our shower time, and yet still make it enjoyable.
6 Tips to Reduce Your Shower Time and Still Make it Enjoyable
- Hot Water vs Warm Water: Running the water on extreme hot is not good for you for two reasons. 1) having the hot water makes you linger longer in the shower. I am the world’s worst about this because I am cold nature, so I stand under the water to get warm for at least 6-7 minutes before I even begin showering. 2) Extremely hot water is not good on your skin. It’s best to use a slightly warm water, or better yet, go cold if you can handle it. This way — you will speed your shower up to get done quickly.
- Washing your hair: If you are washing your hair, do this immediately when you get in the shower. Shampooing first, so you can then put the conditioner on. It can stay on your hair while you wash the rest of your body. Just don’t forget to wash it out when you are done (been there — done that a few times)
- Mood Music and Candles: Taking a shower while music is playing helps me mellow out and gets me in the right frame of mind. A shower is supposed to help wash away the day, so by playing the right music for yourself, and creating the right lighting with candles, you can really get yourself in shower mode. If you want to calm down, play something slow and languid; if you are prepping for a night on the town, put on an upbeat record and witness the power of music to transform your mood.
- Set a timer: For my son, I am definitely going to do this because he takes even longer showers than me! The minute you turn the water on, set the timer. When it goes off, you should be done so get out — don’t linger!
- Don’t Zone Out: If you have had a bad day or just a rough one, sometimes the place where we think about everything that transpired is in the shower. Don’t allow yourself to do that. Your shower is a time when you get to really unwind and just wash off the stresses of the day. Don’t go back over everything that happened. Wait until you have finished and gotten out and dressed before you actually do that.
- Enjoy the moment: The best thing that I can do for myself is enjoy the time when I am in the shower. You should do the same. Sing to yourself, pray, seek God — whatever it is that you want to do that will bring you enjoyment — just do it!
Spring Smells Can Also Bring Enjoyment
One thing that really brings me enjoyment when I take a shower is really good smelling body soap. Softsoap recently introduced two new scents for Springtime — Forever Springtime and Lemonade Berry Splash.
Both body washes are infused with fresh scents and moisture rich formulas to provide the body and mind with a much needed spring awakening. These two new variants are limited edition body washes and will be sold only at Walmart from now until May. They’re the perfect complement to the spring season.
My favorite of the two is the Lemonade Berry Splash. The smell is just so revitalizing. As soon as I step in the shower and I grab my body soap, I take in the scent and let it really awaken my senses.
If you want to really make your shower time more enjoyable, head to your local WalMart and grab a bottle of each of the new scents from Softsoap.
Which scent would you like to try?
I was sent product to review in exchange for my post. All opinions listed are my own.
I never thought my almost 15 year old daughter would enjoy decorating Easter eggs, but when she puts her mind to an Easter photo shoot for my little chihuahua, she knows she has to have props. What Easter photo shoot would not be complete without colorful Easter eggs?
It was funny to me, because my daughter is just so different from a lot of the other girls her age. She still enjoys hanging out with me, loves to cook, and could care less about the latest and greatest fashion. She just enjoys life, but enjoys it in her own way. I truly love that about her.
She has lots of friends, but one really great best friend who has been through a lot with her. They have stuck together like glue and love being together.
As they decorated the Easter eggs, I thought to myself how blessed I am. My son turned 18 not too long ago, and looking back, neither of my kids have ever followed the pattern of being led by peer pressure. I think that has to do with the fact that they are homeschooled and know how to handle it. My kids have stayed out of trouble and have tried really hard to let God be their guide. It’s just a sweet blessing.
Our Easter egg decorating fun was filled with laughter and lots of colorful giggles! I have to give a shout out to Paas and Heinz Vinegar for making this day so special to Kayla and her bestie. This year PAAS has seven new decorating kits, including Volcano Eggsplosion, which uses melted crayon shavings to provide instant color, and Touch of Velvet, a kit that uses double stick adhesives and flocking powder to create fun, fuzzy shapes on your Easter creations.
How to Get Your Easter Eggs to Have Bright Colors
Kayla loves bright vibrant colors for her Easter Eggs, so we learned a tip while decorating them:
For the brightest, most vivid colors, add one tablet and three tablespoons of Heinz Distilled White Vinegar to a PAAS Color Cup or a one-cup container. Once the tablet has dissolved, add ½ cup water and stir gently. Also, to help keep hard-cooked eggs from cracking, add two tablespoons of Heinz Distilled White Vinegar per quart of water before placing the eggs in the pot. The shells will also peel off faster and easier when they’re done.
Decorate a Virtual Egg and Help Out Make a Wish Foundation
While we had tons of fun decorating the eggs for Kayla’s photo shoot, I was even more excited about the online virtual egg I can decorate at the Paas website.
Heinz Vinegar and PAAS Easter Egg Dyeing Kits have partnered to bring you the Easter Egg Decorator app, available both online via desktop or laptop computer and through the iTunes App Store. Now through March 31, when you decorate and share a virtual Easter egg with family and friends using the free app, Heinz and PAAS will donate $1, up to $25,000, to Make-A-Wish®.
So what are you waiting for? Hop on over to the Paas website and decorate and share a virtual egg with someone so you can help the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
I was sent a Heinz and Paas gift basket full of goodies in order to facilitate my review. All opinions listed are my own.
When a huge box of Avocados arrived from Paradise Grove, I started looking back through the recipes I had shared on the blog to see what in the world I could make again. The only one in my family that would even consider eating avocados is me, so I had to find ways to hide them in the food or just plain decide I was going to chomp down on those delicious foods!
Avocados are great to use for any gathering because they pair wonderfully as appetizer, dip, or toppings for favorite sports foods. In fact, with March Madness right around the corner, I am going to be sure to have some recipes ready for the big game time!
- Avocado Creamy Dressing: This is a delicious twist to regular dressing and goes great on a salad, or you can use it to top your favorite Mexican Dish.
- Chewy Fudge Avocado Brownies: If you have picky eaters who say they hate avocados? Yeah– this recipe will fool them for sure. The avocados add a creaminess to the brownies and no one will never know that they are in there.
- Tomato and Avocado Salad: If you are on a health kick, this salad has a wonderful taste and goes great with a piece of grilled chicken or fish.
- Homemade Guacamole: At your next sports party, bust out the chips and dip and serve this tasty avocado dish. Authentic flavors and totally easy to prepare.
- Avocado Fries: If you seriously want something delicious — you have to try this recipe for Avocado fries. They are unbelievable!
I used my Paradise Grove Avocados to make a new dish that I found on my friend Lolli’s website. Her Bacon Avocado recipe was one that I had been drooling over since the day she posted it. Since I had so many avocados, I decided to give it a try.
Using the Paradise Grove Avocados, the taste was so creamy and scrumptious. They actually just melt in your mouth when you bite into them. At their ripest state, you can just smell the deliciousness.
I also had another recipe that I am going to be attempting soon and I will share it with you once I have had a chance to make it. It is an Avocado Chicken Salad that I had at Tumbleweed’s with a Cilantro Lime Dressing. OH MY WORD. This salad was so good and definitely needs a copycat recipe to go with it — so be looking for that recipe in the next coming weeks.
Now that you have some delicious new recipes to try, break out the avocados and start experimenting with your own!
About Paradise Grove Avocados:
Unlike Chilean and Mexican groves where the fruit is harvested when immature and therefore watery, at Paradise Grove, our farmers cultivate our Avocados until they reach optimal quality and size, at a maximum weight of 8 ounces. At that size, the fruit is about three times larger than those found in grocery stores.
They hand clip them from the trees when mature but still with green skin. This method leaves a stem nub on the fruit. Ones missing this likely weren’t hand-picked and, instead, fell to the ground.
With care, Paradise Grove can harvest the fruit nearly 10 months out of every year, from December to October.
Enter to win
One lucky winner is going to get a huge 6lb box of Paradise Grove avocados to use for themselves. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below sharing a recipe you want to try that uses Avocado as the ingredient.
To gain an extra entry, sign up to have Jen’s Journey delivered to your email daily (in the right hand sidebar).
Other ways you can enter:
- Sign up for the Paradise Grove Newsletter
- Submit a recipe to Paradise Grove that uses Avocados
- Follow Paradise Grove on Facebook
- Follow Paradise Grove on Twitter
- Follow Paradise Grove on Pinterest
Comment below. Giveaway will end on March 20th.
I was sent a box of Avocados from Paradise Grove in order to write this review. All opinions listed are my own.
Who would have thought a vegetable company would be creating their very own line of yummy chips? Way to go Green Giant! Their little surprise hit my doorstep and I was immediately drawn to the Zesty Cheddar chips. Opening the bag reminded me of my favorite cheddar triangles that I refuse to eat because I always eat SO many of them. With the first bite I was in heaven. Nothing about this chip tastes like a veggie. The Green Giant™ Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips – Zesty Cheddar Flavor are made with real vegetables, 17 grams of whole grain per serving (48g are recommended daily), and are naturally flavored. Total win in my book.
The great thing about the new Green Giant Veggie Chips is that you can allow yourself to enjoy and indulge just a bit without feeling guilty at all. It is a great tasting snack that you can feel good about. And the sweet potato chips with sea salt? I got ONE out of the whole bag because my entire family loved them — even my “I’m never eating veggies” son. They are that good! The Green Giant™ Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips – Sea Salt Flavor are made with real sweet potatoes and made with 14 grams of whole grain. Plus, they contains 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips!
What’s your talent? Green Giant wants to know!
Visit the Green Giant Facebook page and share your special talent. I have a special talent that not many people know about — I sing. I’ve been singing for the last 13 years at church and I love doing it. I surprise a lot of people with my voice . So — what’s yours? Go share with the folks at Green Giant.
While you’re at it, grab this coupon here for .85 cents off a bag of the new Green Giant Veggie Chips.
Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at www.facebook.com/greengiant
I’m finally going to do it. Lose these last 30 pounds I mean . I have been struggling for about 5 months now to really lose these last few pounds and just have not been successful, so I reached out to Weight Watchers Online and they have agreed to help me over the course of the next three months to get my weight and my eating habits completely under control. So far — I am loving the new Weight Watchers 360.
I’ll be doing the online version only. I’m really excited about getting started. Getting my weight under control has been a dream of mine now for several years and while I have lost about 30 pounds on my own, it has taken me a very long time to do so, but with Weight Watchers they will definitely help me to make better choices to achieve the goals I am wanting to achieve.
This morning, I set the program up online and I was instantly impressed with how it immediately starts breaking things down into small goals that you can achieve without feeling like you are letting yourself down.
My first goal is to lose around 7.9 pounds and I will be weighing in on Sunday. For my first small step, here is how I will be reaching that goal:
- Track what I eat — every single thing. This is hard for me because I have always been someone who didn’t think I needed to track anything (this is the girl who sat and ate almost a whole box of chocolate truffles last night). BUT I am going to do it, because I do believe that this is the first step in changing what and how you eat.
- Get my kitchen in order. I have yet to go through my cabinets, but Weight Watchers offers me some tips on doing that like putting the tempting things out of my site and reach, marking my cabinet foods with my points on the boxes and bags so I can see them and not be so tempted to grab that item or to make a healthier choice when I would rather make a bad one.
- Making my living room exercise friendly. I have tons of workout dvds that are collecting dust on the shelf and a yoga mat that has never been opened, so I am going to work on getting that done.
With these few small first changes, I know that I will be on my way to meeting my first goal. Each Sunday, I will be checking in and sharing my journey with you, so I hope you will stick around and cheer me on! I can definitely use the support.
I was provided a 3 month membership to Weight Watchers online in order to write this review. All opinions listed are my own.
You could see it from a mile away as we approached the Red Carpet Wednesday evening. The blue of the balloon was vibrant and standing tall and proud as it let everyone know that the show was about to begin!
Seeing the balloon floating proudly in the air was exhilarating. There is just something about a hot air balloon– especially for Oz the Great and Powerful that makes the movie come to life.
As we got closer to the entrance of the El Capitan theater, I began to see the full size of the balloon. This was not some back drop for a green screen — NO this was the real deal, a hot air balloon specifically made for this particular Disney movie.
The balloon was so amazing that even James Franco himself had to test out the balloon! Uhm — hello! I want to ride too
On Valentine’s Day, we got an up close and personal look at the beautiful Oz balloon. I learned that it took over 1800 yards of fabric and 5 miles of thread to create this beauty. It’s creator told me that no basket is exactly the same. These balloons that are created for the Disney movies are so unique and stunning — you just have to see one for yourself.
I think the balloon has been one of the highlights of my trip. Now — if we can just get them to take us all up, we would love them forever!
You think we will all fit?
I was sent on a Disney press trip to cover the Red Carpet premier of Oz the Great and Powerful. All opinions listed are my own.
This sponsorship is brought to you by Foodie Blogroll who we have partnered with for this promotion.
I am not a big fan of trying new meals that I have never tasted before. I like my comfort foods that are tried and true and I know are not going to let me down. So when Foodbuzz asked me if I wanted to try Thai Kitchen Products and offer my thoughts, I said sure — why not? I’ve never tasted Thai food before, so I was hoping to find a new favorite International Cuisine (nothing can top my love of Chinese food though.)
About the sponsor
At Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia, we’ve made your favorite Asian flavors available to enjoy anytime and anywhere. From noodles to sauces and seasonings, coconut milk to fish sauce, our premium products deliver restaurant-quality Asian cuisine in minutes. Our ingredients and recipes offer simple solutions to spice up any celebration – and what better time to “thai” new dishes than Chinese New Year? The traditional 15-day celebration kicks off February 10, 2013, and is a perfect reason to gather a group of friends and try tasty Asian cuisine. From mild to spicy, appetizers to dessert, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia have something for every taste bud, sure to please even the most discerning palates.
The aromatic essences. The exotic flavors. The abundant texture. There’s no culinary experience that compares to Asian cuisine – whether you’re preparing a meal for the whole family or looking for a quick snack, we’re here to bring the adventure to your kitchen.
Try out these delicious recipes
Or, add a little zing to traditional party favorites with Thai Kitchen dipping sauces. Our Spicy Thai Mango dipping sauce puts a fruity twist on traditional spring rolls in this Zing Rolls recipe featuring Thai Kitchen’s Red Rice Noodles.
Whether entertaining a crowd or an everyday dinner with the family, Simply Asia Stir-Fry Sauces are the perfect way to create Real Asia, Real Fast at home. Try our mild, flavorful General Tsao Stir-Fry Sauce in Restaurant Style General Tsao Chicken or General Tsao’s Meatballs. Fans of ginger will enjoy the flavor our Ginger Teriyaki Stir-Fry Sauce brings to these Ginger Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps.
We created a Thai supper last night using all the ingredients we were sent. It seemed that the consensus was all the same — the Kung Wow chicken tenders atop the Jasmine rice was a great favorite. Coming into a close second was the Jasmine rice served with the Red Chili sauce. I had never eaten Jasmine rice before, and I found it to be so much more flavorful and softer than regular white rice. I think I might be switching rices from here on out.
Follow Thai Kitchen on
Which product would you like to try from this line?
When my son was born, I had his pictures made like every month for the first year of his life. I am not joking. I wanted to make sure to capture every single moment of his life. Little did I know that I could do that very same thing myself and take photos with my point and shoot and really get some great shots.
Photographer, author and educator Erin Manning provides her Top 3 Tips for capturing better baby photos. Erin gives you advice on setting the scene and getting close to the baby for those perfect images, as well as using a SanDisk Ultra SDHC card to make sure she never misses a shot.
The tip on the macro has to be my favorite. Up til now — I honestly had no clue how to use that. Thanks Erin for such great advice!
These tips provided by Sandisk will definitely come in handy for you the next time you are snapping away and taking photos of your kids.
What kind of picture will you be taking of your baby?
“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for SanDisk. I received a product sample to thank me for participating”
When I see that title, it still shocks me that my child was one — a cutter. Before I share with you her journey from being a cutter, I just wanted to let you know that I asked her if I could share her story and she gave me full permission to do so. This is something that is so personal to her that I did not want to do it without her knowledge.
We moved in 2011 to a nice house in the country. I remember the first time I saw scratches on her arm. I asked her what happened and she quickly told me she had scratched it on the fence while climbing over. In my innocence as a mother I believed her because my 13 year old daughter had never done anything other than be a sweet and loving child. Sure she had anger issues, but at 13, most kids do because they are going through that time of body changes, etc. She had never lied to me, stolen anything, or been rude and ugly to others. Yet — she had a hidden secret that only she knew about. She hid her secret beneath a bunch of hand made bracelets.
The day I discovered her self injury habit is a day that I will always remember for the rest of my life. Something about her seemed off — very moody and sad and it worried me. I hopped on twitter to see if she had been posting anything about what she was feeling and while she did not come right out and say she was cutting herself, I saw tweets that told me that was what she was doing. My heart ached for my baby girl because this was something so big and I had never in my life dealt with it. Thankfully she was at a friend’s house staying the night so her daddy and I sat down and started talking and praying trying to make sense of it all.
We asked ourselves questions like:
Were we bad parents? Did we cause this?
What else had she subjected herself to?
So many questions weighed on our minds. We stayed up all night researching how to deal with cutting and self injury. We found helpful information online and I am so thankful for what we read before we talked to her, because if I had been allowed to just talk to her, what I would have said would have made things SO much more worse for her and for us. Yes — there is a special way to talk to children who are cutting.
I called my friend at 1 in the morning and told her what was going on and to please keep an eye on her and that we would be there to talk to her the next day. As we pulled into the driveway the next day, my heart was pounding. When I saw her, all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around her and hold my hurting baby girl. We spoke for a long time that morning and as she shared with me about her addiction, the walls and barriers broke as we held each other crying.
Cutting herself was her way of dealing with emotional stress that she had no other way of knowing how to deal with. By cutting, she could focus on that pain and not the pain in her heart she was feeling.
She shared with me that she hated what she was doing to herself. It had been going on for several months and she was sick of hurting herself. During her time of self cutting, she shared with me that she had thoughts of suicide and just killing herself and not having to deal with all the issues that were going on in her head. Knowing that I could have lost my little girl frightened me beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and God used that as a wake up call to me as a parent.
It has now been over a year and a half since that time and I am proud to say that my daughter has been healed of her cutting addiction. For a few months after we found out, she struggled with wanting to do it again, but she kept remembering God’s love and our love for her, and she found a way to beat it. Not every child is as blessed as mine. While her time was short with cutting, many kids deal with it daily and for many years –without anyone every knowing what is going on.
Signs Your Child May Be Cutting
If you think your child may be self harming themselves, here are a few signs you can look for:
- Always wearing long sleeves or long pants at unusual times during the year (ex summer time with long pants or long sleeves)
- Small, linear cuts. “The most typical cuts are very linear, straight line, often parallel like railroad ties carved into forearm, the upper arm, sometimes the legs,” Rosen tells WebMD.
- Unexplained cuts and scratches, particularly when they appear regularly.
- Mood changes like depression or anxiety, out-of-control behavior, changes in relationships, communication, and school performance. Kids who are unable to manage day-to-day stresses of life are vulnerable to cutting
I think what started Kayla’s issues was because we had a major change in our home before we moved. For about 6 months I went back to work outside the home. She had just turned 13 and really had a hard time dealing with that. I did not have as much time for her and her daddy and I ignored her a lot. Kids NEED their parents. During this time, I was not there for her, and because she does not always handle change well, she found a way to cope — not one I would have chosen for her, but then again, I was not around for her so she found her own way to cope with the change that she did not like.
What Can a Parent Do
If you think your child is cutting, do not come at them as if you are attacking them. That will set them on the defense and they will cut more. Talk to them as a concerned parent. Let them know that they are not in trouble and you will not judge or punish them. With Kayla, we basically just loved her as God would love her and let Him do the change in her. We became available to talk at any given time she needed and we prayed with her quite a bit.
This post has been sponsored by Sage Day School. Check out Susan’s post about the signs that your child might be depressed on 5 Minutes for Mom and Lolli’s story on childhood depression at Better in Bulk.net. All thoughts included in this post are my own.
I love coffee — hands down, but there are some of my friends that visit that don’t drink coffee. When that happens, I turn to hot cocoa and hot tea to serve them. I don’t always have much of it laying around because I don’t drink it that often, however I recently discovered Cafe Escapes and I will definitely be keeping these delicious hot chocolates and teas around for a very long time!
From the website:
An anytime indulgence.
Every day, you should do something nice for yourself. Take a break. Relax. Recharge. Give in to a few delicious moments of “me time.” Café Escapes® salutes this notion with a delectable collection of indulgent treats. They’re rich, satisfying, and decadent — but not so much that you can’t enjoy one every day. Whether you need an afternoon pick-me-up, or something to go with that hard-to-put-down book, Café Escapes is the perfect companion. Prepare a cup just for you and enjoy a moment of uplifting downtime.
I was recently sent a box of different flavors to try and give my opinion on them. Now — I truly love chocolate more than life itself, so of course I did not turn down this opportunity
Every single one of these flavors were absolutely delicious. I am a dark chocolate fan, so I was so excited to try the dark chocolate hot cocoa because I have never seen that before. Hands down one of THE best chocolate drinks I have ever had. The other two favorites of mine are the Cafe Vanilla and Cafe Caramel — both are new flavors from the line and are absolutely creamy and smooth and OH-so delicious!
All of these flavors are available from Green Mountain Coffee and can be ordered on their website or you can pick them up at your local store that carries Green Mountain Products.
Which Cafe Escapes flavor do you think you would want to try first?
I was sent 6 different Cafe Escape Flavors in order to write my review. All opinions listed are my own.
I have partnered with Lean Cuisine through DailyBuzz Food to help promote their new line of Chef’s Pick products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you Lean Cuisine!
Losing weight is hard sometimes when you have SO much food in front of your face. I mean, let’s face it — learning self discipline is HARD, so it’s always best to start out with portion controlled meals that can help you do that. The new Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection definitely fits the bill.
Today’s hottest chefs have brought their freshest thinking to the Lean Cuisine kitchen. The Cuisine Culinary Roundtable — Michelle Bernstein, Brad Farmerie, Paul Kahan, Anita Lo, Lior Lev Sercarz & Lucien Vendome — are embracing the bolder colors and tastes of the season to create recipes with exciting flavors for Lean Cuisine’s Culinary Collection. With varieties such as Ranchero Braised Beef, Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli and Chile Lime Chicken, Lean Cuisine’s Culinary Collection offers something delicious for every palate.
Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Choices
Here is the list of the new products. I truly want to try each one.
- NEW Spinach Artichoke Ravioli
- NEW Asparagus Ravioli
- Ranchero Braised Beef
- Chile Lime Chicken
- Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli
- Chicken Makhani
- Chicken & Vegetables
- Chicken in Peanut Sauce
- Chicken Carbonara
- Glazed Chicken
- Steak Tips Portobello
- Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce
- Chicken Pecan
- Thai-Style Chicken
- Chicken Marsala
- Lemon Chicken
- Orange Chicken.
At first thought, I wasn’t for sure I wanted to try Lean Cuisine. I’ll be honest — I like to eat and those meals are small, but for a reason. They teach us portion control. However after eating one, I realized that I didn’t need as much food as I initially thought I did.
From the website:
The chefs of our Culinary Roundtable are embracing the bolder colors and tastes of the season, creating recipes with exciting flavors for our Culinary Collection. Taste their daring flavor combinations in our Chef’s Pick creations—chef-inspired dishes that are as inventive as they are delicious.
The nutrition value on the new Culinary Collection is great! It helps me stay within my calorie goal for the day and have a nutritious and healthy lunch or dinner. With only 290 calories, 9 grams fat, 650 mg sodium — everyone watching their weight will want in on these new frozen meals.
- Flavor - Very delicious! Most boxed meals do not taste like a homecooked meal and this one was beyond yummy. It was mushroomy and the sauce was full of flavor. The marsala wasn’t overpowering but very creamy (considering I am the only one in the house who likes mushrooms, I will be buying more of this one!)
- Meat - there’s no meat here so it is great for vegetarians.
- Cooking - It takes about 5 minutes in the microwave and then you can eat. a Fast and yummy meal will keep you from snacking on things you shouldn’t.
- Cost - These run about $2.50 per meal so you can purchase a whole week’s worth of meals for as little as (one for breakfast and one for dinner) for $35
- Nutrition - 290 calories, 9 grams fat, 650 mg sodium
These meals come in handy in so many ways — traveling, a healthy lunch at work versus fast food, a quick meal for a very hungry mommy who doesn’t remember to feed herself, and bloggers who are working on deadlines — the possibilities are endless!
So which new Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection meal do you think you would like to try?
The Fly Lady is one of my favorite household names. She will forever be remembered as the woman who helps you shine your sink. Her tips are great and I use them frequently, but my go to item that really helps me get my sink spotless is CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner.
CLR Bath and Kitchen Cleaner tips for cleaning your sink
- Take all the dishes out of the sink.
- Spray your sinks down with CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner.
- Rinse your sink well.
- Take a sharp edge, such as a butter knife, and clean around the rim of the sink, just like you would clean dirt out from under your fingernails.
- Clean around the faucets. You may need an old toothbrush or dental floss (spraying with CLR first will loosen up the dirt and grime and make it easier to scrub off)
About CLR Cleaner
CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner is a little gift from the mom-gurus! It works on all the tough spots – so you don’t have to – and gives you a little extra time to do what YOU want to do during your day!
This cleaner is wonderful and does all of the following:
- Fast acting and powerful
- Cleans quickly and effectively
- Makes short work of stubborn dirt, calcium, lime, hard water stains and soap scum
- Has the Environmental Protection Agency’s “DfE” (Design for the Environment” designation, meaning its safer chemistry is not harmful to everyone in your home.
Be sure to follow CLR brands on Twitter (@clrcleaners) and watch for specials, coupons, and cleaning tips.
What would you start cleaning first at your home?
Growing up, I was a girl who never liked to try anything new. If you set something in front of me that I was unfamiliar about — I would push it away and turn my nose up at it.
The older I got however, I began to branch out and try new things. One of those things is Avocados. It has become one of my absolute favorite go to healthy fats. I eat it on burgers, in guacamole, chopped up in a salad, and I use it in desserts as well.
Here are 5 of my favorite uses for Avocado:
Use avocados in place of butter in desserts
By using avocados in place of fats in a dessert dish, like brownies for instance, then you can cut the calories. It adds a delicious flavor, but helps you stay healthy.
Create delicious salad dressings
You can create homemade dressings right in your kitchen by adding avocado to some regular pantry items.
Avocados are great to smooth your skin and make masks for your face.
Chopping Up Avocado for salads
By chopping up avocados, you can add them to salads in place of oils and such to give that yummy healthy fat that you need.
Make Yummy Dips
Check out my cool Avocado Gear from Cafe Press
I recently purchased the cool plate from the Avocados from Mexico Cafe Press store. Avocados from Mexico has their very own CafePress store where you can purchase Avocado’s branded shirts or gear that will help you showcase your love for the delicious, green fruit like me
Do you love avocados as much as me? During the month of February, you can share your passion for avocados with your family and friends via the Facebook App “Share the Avocado Love”. Check it out here: Share the Avocado Love Facebook app. I sent an Avocado Valentine to my sweetie He knows just how much I love them!
Join the Twitter Party!
Lastly, on February 7th between 3:00 and 4:00pm EST there will be an #iloveavocados Twitter party with @guacgrl! Check it out for a good time and for great prizes such as gift cards and Café Press gift cards to buy I Love Avocados Gear – over $500 in prizes! Just follow @guacgrl or hashtag #iloveavocados to be a part of the fun!
What do you love most about avocados?
I got the hubs an Ipad for Christmas. He has been wanting one for several years now, so I saved up and surprised him with it He was quite ecstatic about it and really gave me tons and tons of hugs and kisses for it! Since getting him his Ipad though, I have been looking for products that he can use with it. That is how I stumbled upon Domeo Products.
From the moment you open the package to the day you realize you can’t live without it, domeo is all about delivering maximum comfort and quality to your iPad experience. Every material is carefully chosen. Every viewing angle meticulously studied. All in order to insure your comfort.
I received the Tri Desk Lounge to review, but Domeo has TONS of products to choose from. The cases are very sturdy and comfortable and make for great television viewing when you want to catch up on all our favorite Netflix shows
About the Tri-Desk Lounge
- Innovative 3-sided design allows for multiple viewing angles
- Inner pocket stores your iPad safely while not in use
- Available in Blue-Grey and Brown-Tan
- Fits iPad, iPad 2, and the New iPad
- Provides a stable, multi-functional surface for your iPad
The inside pocket is something that I found very useful and does a great job of protecting your Ipad.
The Tri- Desk Lounge runs around $56 dollars but would be a great investment for your Ipad to not only keep it safe, but also to give you some other neat ways to use your new piece of electronics
Domeo Products has a ton of other cool cases that you can check out by visiting their website here.
Enter to win
One reader is going to get the case of their choice for their Ipad. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter:
I received a copy of this product in order to write my review. All opinions listed are my own.