Easter is Coming! Got PEEPS?!

love your peeps

It’s not really Easter without a big basket of PEEPS!

I’m not a huge fan of sweets and candy, and I’m not even really crazy about marshmallows, but dang… I gotta have a couple peeps at Easter time! It just doesn’t seem like Easter without an assortment of Marshmallow Peeps. I like looking at them more than I like eating them. They are just so darn cute!

Peepsters wholePEEPS have really kicked things up a notch this year with their yummy little Peepsters. These cute bite-size nuggets of goodness are a great tasting combination of rich chocolate and delicious marshmallow flavored crème.

Available in creamy milk chocolate or rich dark chocolate varieties. I like the rich dark chocolate best, of course.

I also love the chocolate covered marshmallow chicks. Just delicious!

The little PEEPS Marshmallow Bunnies inspired our homeschool easter craft last week!

peeps bunnies

Head to your local supermarket and grab your PEEPS, then visit their website for cool crafts and activities you can do with Peeps (if you don’t want to eat them all!)

PEEPS Brand provided me with the products for this review/post.
My thoughts and opinions are my own, regardless of monetary compensation.
My opinion is that PEEPS are awesome.

D’Vida Pre-Made Low Calorie Smoothie Packets

d'vida smoothie packets

I’m 35 weeks pregnant now and trying my best to keep eating healthy even though I feel like sitting and eating a bowl of popcorn and a gallon of ice cream for dinner.

I recently discovered D’Vida pre-made smoothie packets and I’m so glad I did. I have a quick, go-to option when I don’t feel like making lunch. I can just throw a packet in the blender with ice, water and blend. DONE! What a healthy, on-the-go nutritious snack alternative or meal replacement!

The d’Vida sachets begin with a proprietary, LOW-GI smoothie base, with all-natural ingredients and only the freshest fruits and vegetables. All products are non-GMO, GLUTEN FREE and act as an excellent source of FIBER & PROTEIN! The packets are packed with +15g of Whey Protein to help support lean muscle recovery and growth.

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Four Delicious Flavors:

  • - VidaPUMP (Banana + Peanut Butter)
  • - VidaGREEN (Cucumber + Kale + Green Apple + Spinach)
  • - VideBOOST(Pineapple + Coconut)
  • - VidaSLIM (Strawberry + Banana)

Today I tried out the VidaPUMP (banana and peanut butter flavor) with frozen strawberries, almond milk and a little plain yogurt. (See picture above!) It was absolutely delicious!!! Not only that, I was surprised how long I went before getting hungry. Being pregnant, I feel like eating every hour just about. I didn’t get hungry for over three hours after finishing my smoothie. Definitely a huge bonus in my book so I’m a huge fan of D’Vida Smoothies now.

They are currently available for purchase at d’Vida Health Bars in NYC and online on Amazon.com!

Cookbooks You Need For The Holidays And Tips To Stay Healthy

Hey all you domestic little home makers! I put together a list of my fav new holiday cookbooks that you will want to check out before you start making your menu for Thanksgiving.

european cookiesEuropean Cookies for Every Occasion

Allright first of all, I love cookies. That said, it would be hard to find me a cookie cookbook I didn’t like. This one appeals to me though because of all the gorgeous pictures! I like pictures in my cookbook because then I know what to aim for and I like having a visual in mind when I’m trying a new recipe. My professional chef brother in law prefers his cookbooks without pictures but poo poo for him. I like me some pretty pics to look at. (Yay Pinterest!)

Secondly, of course, the recipes in here are amazing and easy to follow instructions make this book great for beginners (or busy, distracted moms!). If you want to wow your friends and family this Christmas with fancy baked treats then this is the book for you. The book by itself would obviously make a great gift, but I personally prefer to bake things as gifts and then put together “food baskets” as Christmas presents. Yes, I’m “THAT” person!

From Chocolate Crescents and Lemon Bars to Jam Blossoms and Cherry Kisses, European Cookies for Every Occasion includes cookies for every skill level. Each recipe includes easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to make sure you succeed in making the perfect cookies for the holidays as a special treat for your guests or to give as a hostess gift.

Along with more than 200 full-color photographs, the book also includes tips on setting up your kitchen and techniques for working with marzipan, melting and molding chocolate, and handling dough so that your cookies will come out perfectly every time.

Price: $15.99 ($9.99 Kindle Version)

Buy It: Amazon.com


new england recipesChef Daniel Bruce Simply New England: Seasonal Recipes That Celebrate Land and Sea

Being from New England and having grown up here my whole life, I think this cookbook is pretty dang cool. Just in time for Thanksgiving too! With 125 original recipes and 158 color photographs, you will be baking away from now until Christmas.

In this beautiful cookbook, chef Daniel Bruce of the Boston Harbor Hotel highlights food that is deeply rooted in New England soil with dishes that are respectful of their ingredients and simple to prepare; dishes that he enjoys cooking at home and sharing with his own family and friends.

“Great food doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Bruce. “These are dishes that I make over and over again because they taste good and they work. I hope they will become part of your personal culinary history as well.”

Price: $24.80

Get It: Amazon.com


deliciously holistic book coverDeliciously Holistic: Healing Foods Recipes And Lifestyle Tips To Help Increase Your Energy And Immunity!

Some people think to themselves “Oh, it’s the Holidays! To hell with my diet! I’m going to enjoy myself!” Ya know what I have to say to that?! HAHAHA! How much are you going to “enjoy” yourself when you find yourself 10+ pounds overweight come January 1st? How much are you going to “enjoy” yourself when you have to spend $50+ month on a gym membership instead of treating yourself to a nice pair of shoes? Hmmm????? I stuck to my diet so well last year during the holiday season that I actually LOST 3 pounds over the holidays AND I still got to taste EVERYTHING.

Why not try something different this year instead of the same old vicious circle? Learn how to eat healthy foods that make you feel good and you’ll be less likely to let loose and eat junk for the next 2 months.

In “Deliciously Holistic”, holistic chef and certified healing foods specialist, Shelley Alexander, provides everything needed to prepare delicious, healthy foods that nourish, strengthen, energize, and helps heal the body. Deliciously Holistic demonstrates with 154 mouth-watering recipes that good nutrition never has to be at the sacrifice of great taste! This beautiful, colorful cookbook includes a comprehensive shopping guide; seasonal meal plans; vibrant color photos of prepared foods; and recommendations for useful online resources. This book also provides information about how to use healing superfoods; tips to improve digestive health; how to stock a holistic kitchen with the best proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, natural sweeteners, healthy oils, and beverages; along with a bounty of recipes using healing foods.

Price: $22.31

Get It: Amazon.com


Tips For Staying Healthy During The Holidays

shelley alexander

Shelley Alexander

Wondering how you are going to bake all those delightful treats and Holiday meals and still stay healthy? No worries! Holistic chef and certified healing foods specialist Shelley Alexander, author of “Deliciously Holistic,” (www.aharmonyhealing.com), a new, full-color cookbook featuring more than 154 of her favorite healing foods recipes and 50 pages of holistic lifestyle tips to increase energy and immunity, offers six tips for quick and convenient healthy eating during the holidays.

  • When shopping, check labels and avoid foods with a long list of ingredients. The best whole foods have one or just a few unprocessed or minimally processed, easily recognized ingredients, Alexander says. Among ingredients to avoid: chemicals, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, MSG, genetically modified ingredients and preservatives (indicated by the initials BHT, BHA, EDTA and THBQ.)
  • Set aside a few hours each week to prep foods to eat in the days ahead. Cut up produce and store it in airtight containers. Lightly wash produce before using with natural vegetable wash or use one part white vinegar to three parts water. Make several homemade vinaigrettes or dressings to last all week so you can make leafy greens and vegetable salads in minutes. Clean and marinate enough meat or poultry for dinners over the next few days.
  • Start your day with a green smoothie. Cut and freeze organic fresh fruit to use in green smoothies. You can also buy frozen fruit that’s already cut up. Add organic kale or spinach, coconut water or nut and seed milks plus natural sweeteners such as dates or stevia for an energy-boosting beverage.
  • For your holiday dinners, plan on making at least three to four dishes that are both delicious and nutritious. Good examples are pasture-raised, wild turkey with sage and garlic, baked wild salmon with lemon and herbs, steamed greens, roasted heirloom root vegetables drizzled with balsamic glaze, pureed winter squash soups, and desserts made with seasonal fruits, spices, and healthy sweeteners like coconut sugar or raw honey.
  • Invest in a dehydrator. Dehydrate fruits and vegetables and raw nuts or seeds that have been soaked in unrefined sea salt water (which removes anti-nutrients, kick-starts the germination process, and increases key vitamins), and you’ll have plenty of on-the-go snacks with a long shelf life. Dehydrators are convenient and easy to use; Alexander recommends Excalibur.
  • Make batches of fermented vegetables twice a month. Alexander recommends eating fermented vegetables every day to keep your digestive system healthy. They’re loaded with probiotics – the good bacteria your intestines need. Mix a variety of organic vegetables such as carrots and celery into brine with warm filtered water, unrefined sea salt, and cultured vegetable starter or liquid whey, and mix with shredded cabbage heads. Pack the mixture into sterilized glass jars and allow the vegetables to ferment for five to seven days. Once done fermenting, store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Food For Thought…

“Stick to whole, healthy foods this holiday season, and you’ll feel so good, you won’t want to go near the buffet table at your office party,” Alexander says.

Top 5 Travel Essentials for Moms

If you are a mom and you are traveling with your kids, you know how hard it cane be sometimes. Either they don’t like their car seat, they fall asleep and get a kink in their neck or they get bored and fussy. We know how it is, moms!!! So we put together a list of OUR top 5 travel essential that we won’t leave home without.

Essential #1 – Britax Car Seat

car seat

Sure, you can buy a car seat at Walmart or maybe even get one on Criaglist and save a ton of money. But if you take 5 minutes and watch a couple youtube videos of what happens to a a car seat during a head on collision, you might think again about what you are strapping your precious cargo into.

I don’t take the safety of my children lightly, so when it came time to picking out a car seat, I put in a good amount of time into researching the best, most reliable, most highly rated car seats. One of the brands I trust the most is Britax.

My three year old son is rear facing in a Britax Boulevard 70-G3 Convertible Car Seat (Zebra print!) and he loves it. We’ve been through a few car seats with our two children in the past 6 years and this one is by far my favorite for a plethora of reasons.

A few key features about this particular car seat…

  • True Side Impact Protection diverts crash forces and keeps spine aligned
  • Base with SafeCell Technology compresses to counteract forward momentum
  • Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether anchors seat and slows forward movement
  • Integrated steel bars reinforce seat stability
  • HUGS with SafeCells minimize forward movement to protect child’s head

Visit BritaxUSA.com to learn more.

Price: $228 on Amazon (Retails for $319)

Get It: Amazon.com


Essential #2 – Bubble Bum

bubble bum

The BubbleBum Inflatable, Portable Car Booster Seat is pretty much the most exciting baby product I have discovered this year! I was lucky enough to receive one to review and I loved it so much, I got another. We are always traveling in a different car and it’s too expensive to equip my car, my husband’s car, our family suv, my mother’s car and my grandmother’s car with 2 car seats, EACH! When I discovered the Bubble Bum, it literally made my life so much easier. Now I can just grab the booster and quickly move it from one car to another. It’s also good for plane rides, car rentals and anytime you quickly need a child to travel in a different car. I don’t think it’s recommend for daily use, but it’s certainly a wonderful convenience to have when you’re in a pinch like we so many times find ourselves in.

Price: $39.99

Get It: Amazon.com, Target.com


Essential #3 – Neck Rest

owl neck rest

The Skip Hop Zoo Neck Rest is a car ride essential that you really shouldn’t leave home without if you have kids under 5. I’ve found putting it on “backwards” so that the space is in the back of the neck, rather than at the chin. This is especially helpful if you have a car seat that doesn’t recline. When kids fall asleep, their head always ends up hanging forward and then they get a kink in their neck. With a neck rest, like the Skip Hop, they can fall asleep easily and their heads won’t bop around or hang uncomfortably. A lifesaver for any child that might fall asleep in the car.

Price: $13

Get It: Amazon.com


Essential #4 – SEA-BAND for Motion Sickness

sea bands

While the iPad and Nintendo DS might keep them busy during your trip, staring at a screen for too many hours can cause motion sickness! We avoid that by having 2 pairs of Sea Bands in my purse at all times so I can whip them out as soon as the electronic devices get turned on! They work amazingly well. Before Sea Bands, we had to stop several times during a two hour car trip so that my oldest daughter could get out and walk around to ease her motion sickness. Now that we have the Sea Bands, everyone travels happy!

They also came in very handy during my first trimester when I had morning sickness. I put them on first thing in the morning and it really helped ease the morning sickness/nausea. The child size fit my skinny wrists perfectly!

Price: $6 on Amazon (Retail for $9.99)

Get It: Amazon.com


Essential #5 – Backseat Organizer

Munchkin Backseat Organizer

Few things compare to the horror you will experience if you put a couple children in a car, strapped into car seats, with nothing to do. God help you if you even try it… Do yourself a huge favor and get a couple Munchkin Backseat Organizers and pack it with all kinds of books, activities, car games, toys and healthy snacks like Macy’s CheeseSticks. It will even make short rides to the grocery store easier, believe me!

Price: $9.99

Get It: Amazon.com

 

 

* Some products in this post were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of product testing. This does not effect our opinion of the products in any way. We only write about products we personally like and use, regardless of how they were acquired.

Healthy and Fun Halloween Themed Snacks!

snacks

Parents can swap sugar-laden candy treats for Pirate’s Booty, a deliciously baked, all-natural snack that kids love and moms can feel good about adding to the Halloween treat bowl! Pirate’s Booty has less fat and fewer calories than traditional Halloween candy and guess what…. zero grams of sugar!

Being a family with food allergies, we love that Pirate’s Booty is gluten, peanut and tree-nut free, just a few of the most common food allergies. Pirate’s Booty is made without trans-fats and most importantly, ingredients you can actually pronounce.

This year, the Pirate dressed up for Halloween with a special box of 20, delicious, 65-calorie snack size bags of Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar. They are delicious and a convenient size for trick or treaters, after school snacks or anytime! The special Halloween-themed box will be available from mid-September through October.

pirate booty

Find these in Target and Super Target stores across the county for $6.99!

 

If you are feeling domestic this week, check out Halloween recipes on AllRecipes.com and get cooking!

Meal Preparation Tips for Busy Moms

housewife

When you’re not working, cooking is one of the things that is much easier to do – especially as you have more free time to do it. However, once you become a working mother, your time and energy becomes all the more limited.

 

Mouths still need to be fed though so it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Whether it’s ordering in, reheating prepared food or making a quick fresh meal, there are things you can do to make sure you a meal is ready every single day.

 

1. Order in

 

This is by far the easiest option and can also be the most diverse. Ordering in is not only cheap and quick, it also comes with a wide variety, making it useful as a treat for the family once in a while. For instance, in any local area you’re bound to find a wide variety of Chinese takeaway menus. This offers a diverse choice that can please any hungry family, without you having to cater to everyone’s needs and preferences.

 

Another benefit of this is that it allows you to be customizable to the very end. Children can be fussy, with an ability to change their mind on a lot of things, so letting them have a say in the matter can help keep them satisfied. You can always visit a local favorite, or encourage the family to try new things if you want to expand their palate.

 

2. Cold food

 

Whilst sandwiches aren’t typically suitable for that after-work dinner, cold food can have its advantages, especially when the weather is hot. Cold salads, for instance, can prove useful and quick to prepare. Likewise, cold meats, cheeses and other selection boards are simple to set up but allow the family to get stuck in and suit themselves.

 

3. Prepare in Advance

 

This is best left for the weekend, but having some free time in advance lets you prepare ahead of time. Sunday leftovers, for instance, can prove useful for dinner on Monday. This can be a real time saver, as you’re cooking once but making two days worth of meals, freeing up the time you would have usually spent on Monday.

 

This also goes well with cold food as, when in doubt, you can usually mix what’s left into a quick and effective salad. Chicken and other cold meats go well with lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables that can be grabbed out of the fridge for an instant, tasty meal.

 

Be sure to check out The Fashionable Plate, our cooking and home decor blog, for recipe ideas! Link at the top of the page!

 

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Recipe for Mexican 3 Bean Smokey Turkey Chili

turkey chili

3 Bean Smokey Turkey Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb fresh ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb dry pinto beans
  • 1/2 lb dry black beans
  • 1/2 lb dry navy beans
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 fresh medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 fresh yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 fresh cayenne peppers, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp McCormick Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp McCormick Cumin
  • 1 Tsp McCormick Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp McCormick Cilantro Leaves
  • 4 Tbsp McCormick Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp McCormick Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp McCormick Black Pepper
  • 2 12oz. cans of turkey or chicken broth
  • 1 12oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight in salted water.

Saute turkey in pot, add chopped onions and sweat them with the turkey. While hot, add a small portion of the turkey or chicken broth to mixture to deglaze the pot being sure to bring up everything that might be stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and remaining chicken broth, making sure there is enough liquid to cover all ingredients. (Add additional water or brother if necessary.) Stir frequently and bring to a boil, then simmer for 3-4 hours or until beans are tender and desired texture is achieved.

Serve with tortilla chips, soft tortillas or on the side of a main dish like Black Bean Enchiladas, Chicken Tacos or my favorite Caribbean Tostones Rellenos.

Check out other Mexican Recipes at McCormick.com