July 20, 2014

Blog Tour

My children are the reason I started this blog back in 2008. One day I wanted to make my Grandmother's recipe for potato doughnuts and realized it had never been recorded, since she had always made them by memory. That day I decided to make sure the family favorites that my children are growing up with are documented, so that they can continue on with our traditions, if they chose to. Since then it's grown into a way for me to connect with others who share my passion for food and feeding their loved ones. I love hearing about folks using my family's recipes and enjoying them with their own families. It's so fulfilling to know that what I share here inspires people to become creative and daring in their own kitchen.

My views on food and cooking are such that I aim for homemade as much as possible but I am not against using ready made, boxed, canned, frozen or pre-packaged items now and then. There is a time and place for fast and easy meals when you have a family to take care of. Sure, scratch cooking is always best but I'm not going to fret about using a can of cream of mushroom soup or a boxed cake mix in a pinch. I love vegan and vegetarian cooking, though we are most definitely an family of omnivores. We love ethnic and exotic cuisines as well as good old fashioned American comfort food.  Our family motto is "try it, you might like it" when it comes to most things in life.

July 18, 2014

You've Got Options with Walmart and P&G *Giveaway*

Shopping for household items is one of my least favorite tasks. It always seems like I run out of everything at the same time and because I like to buy household items in bulk... a shopping trip for those items always becomes quite a big event with more than one shopping cart and multiple trips back and forth from the car to get it all into the house. Toilet paper, laundry detergent, paper towels, cleaning products... before you know it I've spent a couple hours shopping, checking out and getting my purchases home. Truly not my idea of a good time but a necessity.

I live in a small town but am lucky enough to have a Walmart close by, so I have always done the majority of my household product shopping. Recently, I learned that Walmart has a couple of great way to shop online and through a mobile app that has made my restocking so much easier and less stressful. You can find the mobile app for your particular device HERE. Shopping with the Walmart app has made my life so much easier! I can shop whenever and where ever I like, I can choose to have my items shipped to my home (with FREE shipping over $50) or I can choose to have them sent "site to store" for quick and easy pick up at my local store. No more cart pushing and standing in checkout lines for this busy mom! The other beautiful thing about shopping with the Walmart app is that I can build a shopping list by scanning all the products you’re ready to purchase, so ordering is super easy with no searching around for my favorite products.

I purchased 3 of my favorite products through the app the other day and am including these photos so you can get a feel for just how seamless the app purchase process it. It seriously couldn't get any faster than this.

That's all there was to it! I was in and out of the app and had my purchases on their way to me within minutes... all from the comfort in my home and still in my PJs! Pretty cool, right? Now it's your turn to try Walmart.com or the Walmart app for yourself. I am giving away a $25 Walmart gift card to help you make your shopping easier! Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below! (US only, no PO Boxes) Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**DISCLAIMER** The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G.
Disclosure Policy 

July 15, 2014

Hawaiian Loco Moco

A couple weeks ago my 2 youngest children were watching the The Food Network... ever since they've been begging me to make this local Hawaiian dish called "Loco Moco." I'd never even heard of such a thing and didn't see the show they were watching so I actually had to research it online. The first link I found was this one from Wikipedia. Apparently, Loco Moco is a local diner specialty that can vary in its ingredients depending on which island you're on. I have to admit after reading about what it was, I sort of put it off for a while because it's not exactly what I'd call a good for you dish. I think part of me was wishing they would forget about it... because I was pretty darn sure it would be tasty. Too tasty. Tasty like wanting it anytime you might need some serious comfort food. Of course, they didn't forget, so I caved and made it for dinner one night. Oh man. This is a very dangerously simple and addicting meal. Not great for you and surely not something I would suggest indulging in frequently... but definitely a nice spurge meal once in a while.

July 9, 2014

Greek Village Salad and "It's All Greek to Me" Cookbook Giveaway

Recently, I was given a wonderful opportunity to review an amazing new cookbook by Debbie Matenopoulos called "It's All Greek to Me." I was all over it, since I love Greek foods and I didn't currently have a good Greek cookbook. For my first recipe from the book, I chose to make this delightful Greek Village Salad. It was delicious! Only problem was, I made this salad last night as a starter to dinner and we had a wicked storm come through and knock out our power for about 6 hours. Sadly, this meant I got no photos of my salad and instead am using Debbie's photo here. I styled my salad a little differently, making it into something more like a chopped salad because I knew the kids would like it better. I will definitely be making it (and everything else in this cookbook!) again very soon. It was light, refreshing and absolutely the perfect start to any meal. I'll list the recipe below, in case you'd like to make this one for yourself.

July 8, 2014

Simple Salmon Cakes

By now I think most of you know I absolutely hate throwing away leftovers. I am that woman who will save a 1/2 serving of anything leftover from a meal because there always has to be a way to use it. Throwing away food is, to me, like throwing away money... even if the amount is only worth a few coins. I wouldn't toss away the pennies in my pocket... so why toss the leftovers? I freeze the bones from our chicken dinners until I have enough saved up to make a batch of stock from the bones. I save the tough ends of fresh asparagus in the freezer to add to soup or stew. Heels from loaves of bread become breadcrumbs or croutons. You get the idea. And yes, sometimes it takes a little more effort, but in the end I think it's totally worth it. Homemade stocks and croutons taste better than anything store bought and it cost me NOTHING (or very little) to make... just a little time and forethought!

July 1, 2014

Urbangrains Extra Virgin Olive Oil Review

Today I am here to tell you about a company I recently discovered and have fallen in love with. Urbangrains. I started off with trying their Extra Virgin Olive Oil and I have to say, honestly, it is the best olive oil I have ever used. It's beautifully smooth, fruity and has a gorgeous golden green color. Recently my family and I had a tasting of this incredible oil using the spread you see above. I wanted to get a true feel for this oil using it in the ways my family uses a fine olive oil most often. Drizzled over fresh mozzarella and seasonal vegetables, for dipping with some hearty bread and with our favorite hummus. Let me tell you... it was incredible. I will be buying this olive oil as my "house" brand from now on. It's just delicious.

June 27, 2014

reBloom Natural Sleep Drink Review

Now and then I have trouble falling asleep. Or staying asleep once I have gotten a couple hours. I think it has something to do with being a mom and constantly having to keep track of schedules, what needs to be crossed off the to-do list and that constant worrying that we moms just seem to do. I have taken over the counter sleep aids in the past for those nights when sleep alludes me, but I hate that cloudy feeling they always seem to leave me with the next morning. Because of that, more often than not, I just struggle through the day with less sleep and we all know that gets old very quickly. When I was offered the opportunity to try reBloom Natural Sleep Drink, I jumped on board because it was said to offer an all natural way to help you fall asleep without all that morning grogginess.