Mocktail Monday

I drink a ton of water but lets face it, water can be boring. So when I am thirsty for something refreshing on a hot summer day after I have had my fill of water, I reach for a mocktail. Today I am making one of my summer favorites!

Basil lemonade.

The recipe is simple and you can make a whole jug or a glass in minutes. Here are the ingredients:

1 organic lemon

3 sprigs of organic basil

A handful of ice

Simple syrup to taste or two teaspoons of organic sugar (Note: Simple syrup is sugar melted in hot water.)

About about 8oz of water
Basil lemonade ingredients
Start by washing your lemon and cutting it in half. Next grab a 16oz glass and use a hand juicer to squeeze your lemon juice in the glass. Throw in 2 sprigs of basil and use a spoon to muddle it in the bottom of the glass. Add your simple syrup. I recommend using simple syrup in cold drinks because sugar doesn’t mix well in ice cold drinks. You may like more sugar than me. I like my lemonade drinks on the sour side! Finallly fill your glass with ice and add water. Stir well and add a paper straw for fun. Top with a half of a lemon and a sprig of basil. These are so refreshing and they make a fun treat for kids too instead of soda!

Basil lemonade

Do you make mocktails at home? What is your favorite?

What is in your diaper bag?

My diaper bag is overflowing.  I don’t think I have ever been able to zip it.  It holds the typical essential items (diapers, wipes, snacks, toys and a sippy cup) but its filled with lots of extras so we are prepared to be out of the house for a few hours or the whole day. Since my daughter has grown from a baby to a toddler we slowly swap out items with a version that’s more age appropriate.

Diaper bag

One of the latest additions to her diaper bag was the Nuby Wash or Toss feeding utensils.  These are a must for a toddlers diaper bag.  If I want to enjoy my own lunch or dinner with my husband my toddler must be kept busy.  What better way to keep her busy then by her learning to feed herself.  This is an essential skill that promotes independence and it seems to be fun for her as well. My daughter loves trying to pick up her food with her spork or spoon and I love that meal time is enjoyable for everyone.

Nuby wash n toss

The box of Nuby Wash or Toss contains 8 spoons and sporks but we only keep one set in the diaper bag.  I love that I don’t have to worry about these being left behind at a restaurant.  Or if they are to messy to clean we can just toss them. The design is sturdy.  Much sturdier than using plastic cutlery and safer too than typical fork prongs. They are durable enough to reuse.  I like having that option too!

Test for wash n toss

Nuby Wash or Toss Feeding Utensils are perfect for travel this summer!  If you are heading for a day trip to the zoo or a week long vacation make sure you pick a pack up at your local Meijers store. If you love these utensils check out the Nuby Wash or Toss cups.  They would make another great addition to your diaper bag.

For additional information about these Nuby products, follow Nuby on their social media sites http://www.facebook.com/nubyusa or http://www.twitter.com/nubyusa.

Plus you can enter to win the Nuby Wash or Toss here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d69e0ad712/?

Disclosure: I am part of the Nuby parents blogger team. All reviewed products are given to me in part or in whole for my time to produce a review. All opinions are my own.

This entry was posted on June 25, 2015. 1 Comment

An easy and savory summer salad

I love salads in the summer!  From mixed fruit salads to bowls of loaded greens there is something about a refreshing salad. When it comes to salads, there is so such thing as boring!  I am constantly inventing new ways for salads to be a main dish or a complimentary side dish for a BBQ.

One of my recent favorites is Edamame salad.  It is a super easy salad to make with really just a few ingredients and spices.  Plus it can be served warm or cold.  This is a great dish to go along with grilled chicken or steak or a colorful dish to make quickly for a neighbors BBQ.

edamame roasted

The ingredients are simple:

1 bag frozen organicshelled edamame (16 oz)

1 handful of sweetened dried organic cranberries

4 oz of feta cheese

a few tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Start by tossing your frozen edamame with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Preheat oven to 350.  Place edamame on a ceramic baking sheet or a parchment paper covered baking sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes.  While the edamame is roasting crumble your feta in a bowl with your cranberries.  When the edamame is done toss it in the bowl with a splash of olive oil and mix it gently with the feta, cranberry mixture.  Serve warm or chill and enjoy!

Edamame salad

Do you have a favorite summer salad?

This entry was posted on June 18, 2015. 1 Comment

A Southern Staple

Living in the South, I have learned that ranch dressing is a big part of Southern cuisine. It’s a dip for veggies, a must for chicken wings and a favorite salad dressing of many southerners.  I haven’t bought a bottle of salad dressing in years!  I prefer to make my own.  One of my favorite ranch recipes is for Parmesan Peppercorn Ranch.

Ranch dressing

If you love ranch dressing or if you need help getting your kids to eat veggies or simply want to see how Southern folks make ranch, you must try this recipe.  The ingredient list is long but all you need is a food processor and in just a few minutes you will have creamy homemade ranch dressing.

Ingredients:

1 cup Dukes mayo (if you live in the south you will understand)

1/2 cup organic sour cream

1 clove organic garlic minced

1 spoonful of chopped fresh parsley

2 spoonfuls of fresh chopped chives

1 dash of hot sauce

1 dash of worcestershire sauce

Splash of white vinegar or red wine vinegar

1/2 cup fresh shaved parmesan

1/2 cup organic buttermilk (could be less or more this depends on your preference of thickness)

Fresh cracker pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Put all ingredients in your food processor with the exception of the buttermilk.  I slowly add the buttermilk because I like my ranch on the thicker side but this is a personal preference.  If time permits put all the ingredients in a Pyrex glass container and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or more.  This just gives all the flavors a chance to really meld together. Tonight I made salads which I topped with the Parmesan Peppercorn Ranch.  Time to dig in!

Ranch salad

What’s your favorite salad dressing?  Do you make your own?  Please share in the comments below!

Creating good habits in toddlers

My toddler is at an age where she mimics everything I do because she wants to be like me. I am trying to capitalize on this behavior and pass on great habits. Lately we have been focusing on brushing our teeth. I received this great oral care set from Nuby to try out. It is perfect because it has a 4 stage system for brushing so whether I have to brush my little one’s teeth or she is brushing on her own we have the right tool for the job!
Nuby oral care set

Whenever we are working on a new skill the most important thing is making it fun!  We brush together, sing songs and even smear a little toothpaste on our face to keep it silly.  Having a cute toothbrush that’s easy to hold and gently on a toddlers teeth and gums is important too.  It’s never to early to start creating great dental habits for your baby or toddler. And at less than $5 dollars at most retailers the Nuby Oral Care Set is the perfect way to get started.

Brushing photo

Nuby Oral Care Set is intended for babies through toddler hood. They are BPA free and can be purchased at your local Babies R Us or online at http://www.Amazon.com. For additional information about these Nuby products, follow Nuby on their social media sites http://www.facebook.com/nubyusa or http://www.twitter.com/nubyusa.

Disclosure: I am part of the Nuby parents blogger team. All reviewed products are given to me in part or in whole for my time to produce a review. All opinions are my own.

You had me at Bacon!

I don’t eat much meat but there is one type of meat I have a hard time giving up. Bacon! There is something about that crispy, saltiness that just tastes good in almost any dish or by itself. Bacon is simply perfect for any meal at any time of day. Bacon, egg, mushroom and cheese omelette for breakfast, a crunchy BLT sandwich for lunch or bacon wrapped scallops for dinner!

Tonight I am making my version of a BLT for dinner. My recipe is simple. There are only 5 ingredients. But these five ingredients need to be the best of the best. The bacon is the single most important ingredient, so for your health and for taste buy vegetarian fed pork with no antibiotics, no nitrates or certified organic. You can find several great options at Whole Foods. The second ingredient is one soft avocado. Give your avocado a good squeeze and make sure it has a little give but doesn’t squish in your hands. The next ingredient is San Marzano tomatoes. Disregard this suggestion if you live in New Jersey (there is something special about a NJ tomato) or if you have tomatoes from your garden. I unfortunately don’t have any tomatoes growing in my garden and San Marzano are the only tomatoes I have found with any flavor in them. The fourth ingredient is Dukes Mayonnaise. If you live in the South you will understand. If not go with your favorite. Finally the bread. A local bakery is always a good choice but tonight I am going with one of my favorite store bought breads Ezekiel Organic bread. It’s a nutty bread with a slightly sweet taste and the perfect compliment to the salty bacon.

Blt ingredients

Lets get cooking! Start with the bacon. It should be cooked in the oven on a baking sheet (350 degrees for 10-15) or in a frying pan on low so it doesn’t burn. Slow and low is the way to go. Repeat do not put bacon in the microwave. It dries up all the delicious bacon fat and half the flavor is gone. You can always pat the bacon with a paper towel to remove excess grease.

Blt in the works

Next slice your avocados and tomatoes thin so you can properly layer your sandwich. Toast the Ezekiel bread and then slather generously with mayonnaise. Your ready now to layer it up and enjoy! Please note this is a splurge dinner for when you want to indulge. Everyone should one night a week! I can hardly wait to bite into this Bacon, Avocado and Tomato sandwich.  I can only hope there is some leftover bacon for a breakfast omelet too!

Blt finished

What is your favorite meal with bacon? Please share in the comments below.

What does natural really mean?

The word natural on food, personal care products and cleaning products used to mean something. Sadly it doesn’t anymore.  I have to read labels and rely on organic certifications to truly understand what’s in the products I consume and use.  I found a great company that makes this process simple and transparent.  They are called Green Soap Inc.

Green Soap Inc. makes all kinds of soaps of course, from body bars to hand soaps but their product list includes a wealth of personal care products for babies, mammas and even furry babies! They have the whole family covered.

 

Green soap box

I had the pleasure to test out some of Green Soap Inc.’s Bubbly Bar Soaps and Gourmet Liquid Soaps.  I could smell the fresh, natural scents as soon as I opened the box.  The soaps reminded me of a fresh spring rain and the redwood forest.  Clean and close to nature.

When I started reading the labels I discovered, they have a simple ingredient list and included one of my favorite words on products, “organic”.  The ingredient list was short on all their products and easy to read.  A few of the ingredients that stood out were coconut oil, organic rosemary extract, and organic extra virgin olive oil. Many of these  ingredients I have in my kitchen!  Since I cook with these ingredients I felt very confident putting them on my skin.

Green soap variety

When I washed my hands with Hemp and Olive Oil Green Soap they felt soft .  After sometime spent working in the ER, I am a religious hand washer and my hands are typically dry.  Not with Green Soap.  The natural oils in Green Soap kept my hands moisturized even without any lotion.

Green soap counter top1

Green Soap Inc’s Bubbly Bars worked amazing too.  I tried the Tea Tree Lemongrass with activated charcoal in my shower and I smelled heavenly.  I truly felt that I just left the spa.  The  Bubbly Bars have a light scent of fresh herbs, flowers and some even have scents reminiscent of my favorite bakery items. How does a Chocolate Mint bar or Pumpkin Spice sound to you?

Green soap shower bar2

Green Soap is only tested on humans!  Their products are GMO free and Gluten free for those with gluten sensitivities. They are handcrafted in the good ole USA too!  Best of all I didn’t find any unnecessary junk in any of their products.  They are truly the definition of natural. Green Soap Inc is exactly what it seems.  It’s products are green and chemical free.

I can’t wait to try the whole collection including body wash, body lotion, body oil and of course their number one selling lip balms made with organic essential oils.  What would you like to try?  Tell me in the comments below.

Green Soap Inc is also generously giving away their Hemp and Olive Oil Liquid Soap and their Pomegranate Coconut Pucker Pack to 3 winners!  Wow!  GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!!

Enter to win Green Soap Inc.here:   http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d69e0ad711/?

You can try out Green Soap Inc today! You can order all their products here at http://www.greensoapinc.com.

Green soap bars

Disclosure: All reviewed products are given to me in part or in whole for my time to produce a review.  All opinions are my own.