Friday, March 30, 2012

My March Foodie PenPal

This is my 4th month of participating in Foodie PenPals which is graciously put together by Lindsay (The Lean Green Bean).

This month I was given Sarah a.k.a Miss Smart who writes The Smart Kitchen to send a package to. 

I was a bit intimidated because to me as a little blogger Miss Smart is way above me (hello she met Tyler Florence) so I put together a package that I hope she enjoyed.  Be sure to stop by her blog and take a peek at the goodies.

The box I was sent could not have been more perfect.

I received a package from Mellissa of A Fit and Spicy Life.

As a side bar here I must say that I have been introduced to some fabulous blogs through this monthly program and really do love getting to meet new people.

So Mellissa was kind enough to send me a whole host of yummy goodies:

As a Southerner we have a thing for iced tea (or sweet tea down here) and this candy is just like drinking a glass.

The almond crunch was delicious and a perfect snack all week after I tore into my box.  As for the fruit well I lost it to my daughter who wanted to have it in her yogurt (I couldn't deny her).

I was VERY excited for the Himalayan salt, knowing the numerous health benefits (check it out here). This is actually the second time I received this, I also had some in my Conscious Box.  My husband was psyched to see the paprika and has absconded with that for his cooking ventures (he is actually wonderful baking though he can't do that).

Mellissa thank you so much for such a wonderful and thoughtful box which just happens to be full of variety.

So there you have it my wonderful and creative box.  Seeing this does it make you want to join the fun?

I thought it in anticipation of that here are the rules and regulations (really it's not that formal, but I just wanted to say that):

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!

The Lean Green Bean

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Little Champions, a Giveaway, and a Winner

At my house sometimes the post man is good to us and brings us packages.

Sometimes the post man is REALLY good to us and brings us a package like this:

Can you see the joy on their faces? 

We promptly moved it to the kitchen table where Andrew decided he could open the box all by himself.

He wasn't successful, but I got out the scissors and freed these little fellas champs:

Chobani was kind enough to gift my children with 6 packs of their Champions in their newest flavors "Orange Vanilla" and "Vanilla Chocolate Chunk."

The chocolate was by far the favorite, however the orange vanilla was just as quickly consumed with granola on top (I think they like having a little texture in their yogurt either from the chocolate chunks or granola).

I snapped a couple of pictures of Andrew and Caroline as they had their first bites (Owen was too shy to participate in the photos, but he sure did participate in the consumption):

They were finger licking good.

Champions are Greek yogurt made especially for children.  Each container has 8 grams of protein in it...a pretty powerful punch in a delicious snack cup.

They also come in: Very Berry and Honey-Nana.

Now I am pretty excited to share that I have been given a chance to share this deliciousness with 2 readers (each of which will win a case of the new Champions).

So would you like to win (I know I ask this a lot, but seriously I just love hosting giveaways)?

To win just use the Rafflecopter Below. The giveaway will be open until Wednesday April 4th. I will announce the winner on Thursday the 5th.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIAW The Leftovers

Welcome everyone!

So glad you could join the WIAW Wednesday party hosted by the lovely Jenn of Peas and Crayons.

Today I want to talk about leftovers.

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must eat leftovers and for me that day is today.

Even my breakfast is partly a leftover.

This delicious berry smoothie has a secret ingredient...left over beet juice.

Yesterday I felt a little drained and thought I would stop in at my local natural food store and get a juice.

I THOUGHT getting one with beets in it would not taste like dirt.

OH how wrong I was.  I could only take a few sips and decided I would put the rest in smoothies this week (no need to waste the stuff).

The orange and slice of pineapple in my smoothie mask the dirt taste pretty well, although I do get hints of it.

For snack:

Some Mary's Gone Crackers (in onion) and The Works from Food Should Taste Good.

To be dipped in my raw hummus:

On to lunch:

Pasta with tempeh crumbles and spinach (this was dinner on Monday).  I like it a lot my kids didn't really care for the spinach (oh well I will just keep putting it in their food and maybe one day they will like it).

For dinner:

Veggie stir-fry with quinoa and topped with Trader Joe's chickenless mandarin bites.

This was dinner last night and it is packed with kale, cabbage, carrots, and yellow bell peppers. 

The Trader Joe bites were very yummy.

I am looking forward to this vegan day of eats.

So what did you eat this week that was good?

Be sure to head over to Jenn's and see what other yummy eats people have been noshing on.

Also be sure to enter my Food Lion giveaway as today is the last day :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Weekend Fun

This weekend was an adventure and I tried a many new things. 

I relied on the wisdom of my fellow bloggers to accomplish a few tasks.

First up Mama Pea from Peas and Thank You

On Sunday there was a cry from all 3 children for donuts for breakfast. 

Alright I can hang with that but I will have a healthier, and vegan, version to present to them. 

Enter Mama Pea Chocolate Glazed Cake Donuts:

My donuts didn't photograph as well as the mini-muffin version...but oh my word these are fantastically delicious. 

In fact I just got a bite and the children consumed the rest. 

Oh well just an excuse to make them again.

Next up Laura from Spint 2 The Table.

I decided to take the leap and sprout my own chickpeas.

And you know worked.

I started out with them looking like this:

24 hours later they looked like this:

48 hours later they looked like this:

Laura has perfect directions here, and I promise any idiot can do this (as I am one of those idiots...who is no longer afraid to sprout her own food).

Now you can eat the chickpeas just like this but I knew I wanted to make them into raw hummus.

For that I turned to JL Goes Vegan and used her recipe here for the most delicious and potent hummus I've had to date.

I think the next time I make it I will use 1/2 a lemon and maybe only 2 cloves of garlic (to make it more kid friendly).

The potency of the raw food really hits you and is just amazing.

So amazing you might want to get a start on your spring cleaning (or not).

I did do a little spring cleaning and all I needed was this:

I put the baking soda into the sugar shaker (empty shaker I might add) and sprinkled it on my area rugs.

Wait 15 minutes  and then vacuum the rugs.  This helps freshen and deodorize your rugs (works on carpets as well).

At 70 cents a box baking soda is a tremedous value and a lot more eco-friendly then some of the more toxic and perfumed cleaners you can find at the store.

So I hope this post inspires you to try new things and strive for a more ecological and economical way of living. 

Be sure to enter my Food Lion giveaway here if you have not done so (it is open until Wednesday the 28th).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Liebster Award

I would like to thank the academy and the accounting firm of Deloitte and Touche...

No just kidding I would like to thank Amanda of At The Red Table for giving me the Liebster Award.  This was a complete surprise and really made my day when I read the comment on my post here.

I have seen this award pop up on various blogs and I am completely honored to be one of her choices to bestown this gift upon.

Now what is a Liebster?

Well it is recognition given by bloggers to other up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 subscribers. The award is meant to acknowledge that the blog is inspiring, motivating or a fun read -- in other words, it’s worth checking out! (Liebster is the German for “beloved” or “dearest.”)

Now the rules are simple, and keeps the fun going:
  • Thank your Liebster Blog award presenter on your blog and link back to them
  • Copy and paste the blog award on your blog
  • Present the Liebster Blog award to 5 other blogs of 200 followers or fewer that you feel deserve recognition
  • Let your selected bloggers know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog
So my selections for this award are (in random order)

  1. Bit of the Good Stuff
  2. Feeding Five
  3. The Vegetable Life
  4. Sprint 2 The Table
  5. Dixie Creek Farm
My choices might not have 200 followers or less, but I went with ones that I find very enjoyable and that I look forward to reading everyday. 

I hope you will take a bit of advice from me and check these guys gals out and if nothing else congratulate them on their award.  Everyone enjoys recognition from time to time.

Also be sure to enter my Food Lion $50 gift card giveaway here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Food Lion Revamped

I was selected by Mom Central to be a Food Lion Ambassador.

Food Lion is revamping their stores and to make these changes more known they have enlisted some bloggers to go and shop at the new stores, write a post and host a giveaway.

Yep you heard me correctly I am hosting a giveaway (details at the end).

To kick things off I was sent a care package that included:

Recipe cards
Recipe box
Bamboo cutting board
Oven mitt

I was most excited about the bamboo cutting board because bamboo is an incredibly eco-friendly material.

To go shopping I received a $150 gift card.

It was like winning the lottery because for me going to the grocery store is like clothes/shoe shopping for other women.  I get giddy just thinking about the variety of food I am going to make with my raw ingredients.

I took Andrew with me and headed to the store in Chapel Hill (yes the home of that little basketball team that is playing today in the NCAA, for any of you who are men's college basketball fans).

I am pleased to show you my haul:

I did a little work ahead of time to make sure that I gathered coupons for the items I thought I might purchase and also loaded my MVP card with coupons (so cool that grocery stores are doing this you don't have to remember where the coupons are you just scan your reward card).

I ended up saving $11 by having those things with me.

I am not an extreme couponer, but if I was I imagine I could have brought back quite a massive haul (although I think I did really well).

I have to say in the past I have not been a fan of Food Lion because to me the stores always seemed outdated.  I was EXTREMELY pleased with the updated store.

The floors were fresh and clean and there was an abundance or organic food (more than Harris Teeter or Lowe's Foods offers).  I would completely recommend visiting if you haven't done so recently.

Today I want to show you a recipe that I made using some of the items that I purchased.

Vegetarian Egg Rolls

1 pack egg roll wrappers
10 brussel sprouts shredded
1/2 C thinly diced carrots
1 Tofurky Italian Sausage (with sun dried tomatoes) diced
1/2 C broccoli sprouts
1 green onion chopped

In a skillet, on medium heat, put your diced sausage.

Saute for 3-5 minutes.

Add brussel sprouts, carrots, and green onion.  Saute in the pan till the vegetables brown (on the edges) and soften up.

*a healthy tip instead of using oil I used water to saute my veggies.  To do this once the pan was heated and the veggies were in I added 1 Tbsp of water to the skillet and allowed it to cook off before adding another.  I continued until the vegetables were nice and soft (al dente as you don't want them to be mush).

Take your skillet off of the heat and get your wrappers out.

I put one wrapper at a time on a plate to fill and roll up.

Put 1 Tbsp of broccoli sprouts down:

Top with a tablespoon of veggie/sausage mix:

Roll up and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet:

Brush the top with olive oil and cook at 400 degrees for 11-13 minutes and you are welcomed with this treat:

Delicious, crispy, and packed with veggies.

By baking the egg rolls instead of frying your are significantly increasing the nutritional value.

I promise you the only difference you'll notice is that you won't be left with greasy fingers.

These are best dipped in your favorite Asian sauce.  For me I used Bragg's amino acids (a low sodium sauce similar in taste to soy sauce).

Now for the exciting part (as if this was exciting already) I have a $50 Food Lion gift card to give one of my readers.  The winner must live in the continental United States.

For the giveaway please use the Rafflecopter, but if you would like to leave me a comment (and not enter the giveaway) you can do that as well (I sure do love when people leave me comments).

The giveaway will be open until Wednesday the 28th and I will announce the winner on Thursday.

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central for Food Lion. I received a gift card and product kit to facilitate my review.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

What happened to March?

Today is March 23rd...can that be right?

I feel like Christmas was about a week ago, but yet we are plugging along and before we know it summer will be here.

I love the warm weather, but living in North Carolina I don't look forward to the humidity (it makes for bad hair least that is what I am blaming it on).

So in general today is a pretty random day for me.

I am suffering greatly from allergies, but man does it feel good to sleep with the windows open.

So that being said I haven't felt much like baking and consequently don't have a good recipe for you.

What I do have is the announcement of my Annie's Homegrown pizza giveaway, which I was supposed to announce yesterday (my apologies for my tardiness).

My winners are:

Serena of Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch
Anna of Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet

I shall leave you with something that has been stuck in my head all day:

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true your a pal and a confidant.

And if you through a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

In case you aren't familiar it is the Golden Girls theme.

You will thank me for this little nugget later.

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chobani = Love

This past weekend I hosted a baby shower for one of my best friends.

I wanted to make sure that the food I served was homemade and healthier than conventional versions.

One thing I always enjoy at a party is a dip for fresh veggies and fruit.

To satisfy that I made two dips for my party featuring Chobani Greek yogurt.

For the fruit I made a chocolate dip (and I felt a bit like Sandra Lee and Semi-Homemade).  Perfect for the fresh strawberries and pineapple.

1 C vanilla Chobani
1 box of Dr. Oetker's organic chocolate pudding mix

Greek yogurt has 170 calories per 8 oz
Cream cheese has 800 calories per 8 oz

That's a 630 calorie savings...PLUS the yogurt has 22 grams of protein.

For the veggies it was a similar winning situation

1 C plain 0% Chobani
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch packet

Greek yogurt has 140 calories per 8 oz
Sour cream has 492 calories per 8 0z

A 352 calorie savings and the plain yogurt has 23 grams or protein.

Just think if you substitute yogurt you get the added benefits of extra protein but also you can save numerous calories.

Chobani makes a great substitution anytime you would use:

cream cheese
sour cream
ricotta cheese
non-Greek yogurt
heavy cream

With the variety of flavors offered by Chobani you can jazz up your meals in a snap.

I have more yogurt recipes coming, but if you need some inspiration before then head over to Chobani's Kitchen for some recipes.

You can also connect with Chobani on Twitter and Facebook.

So what do you use Greek yogurt for?  Have you tried it yet?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Erewhon is the name of a delicious brand of cereals from Attune Foods.

I was given the opportunity to try their Crispy Brown Rice Mixed Berries, Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice, and Cinnamon Grahams.

The first one I opened was the cocoa crispy and taste wise it was spot on. 
A nice cocoa flavor and you have a nice treat if there is any leftover milk  (who doesn't like chocolate milk after their cereal is complete).
My kids devoured the box in a day and a half.
The mixed berries was more my speed with the delicious freeze dried blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Both cereals were lightly sweet and perfectly suited for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack (for whenever you like to eat your cereal).
The third item I tried were the cinnamon grahams. 
Perfect on their own, or my favorite way with a little smear of peanut butter.
It has made a nice crisp snack that is mildly sweet which I have been enjoying in the afternoons.
Besides these foods tasting great (and being super kid friendly) they also contribute to your digestive health.
By having a healthy digestion you are able to keep everything on the move. 
Something I learned from my cleanse experience is that by having regular eliminations you don't feel so tired and so bloated/full.  Your body is able to do other work if it doesn't have to worry about always processing the food you put in your stomach.
Attune Foods knows good health is important and has taken care to remove some of the guess work when it comes to making sure you have a healthy cereal.
On their website they have several pages that provide some education on digestion:
Your digestive system is always at work breaking down the food you eat into the nutrients your body needs, but you may only become aware of this intricate system when you feel discomfort. You realize then how important your digestive health is to your well-being. To avoid digestive discomfort, eating a well-balanced diet should include fiber and for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, avoidance of gluten. Your digestive tract houses 70% of your immune system, so keeping your gut healthy is a great way to keep you healthy.

Do yourself a favor and do a little reading. Educate yourself on how you can help your body help you.

Feeling good on the inside will radiate through to the outside.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Annie's Homegrown Pizza Giveaway

As a part of Moms Meet, a program sponsored by Kiwi Magazine, I get to try products from time to time and then tell you lovely people (my wonderful and fantastic readers) all about them.

Most recently I was given a chance to try Annie's Homegrown Organic Rising Crust pizza.

The same Annie's that brings you the delicious cheddar bunnies and mac & cheese (at least to my house)

So who would say no to an opportunity for a pizza dinner for your family?

Not me that's for sure.

My children love pizza and making sure that the pie has quality ingredients is always at the forefront of my mind.

Annie's takes the guess work out of it for you by making their pizzas:
  • Certified organic
  • naturally rising crust, 8g whole grains per serving
  • 100% real cheese, no cows were treated with rBST growth hormone
  • features meat with no nitrates or nitrites (except those naturally occuring in sea salt and celery juice powder)
  • available in four flavors (uncured pepperoni, four cheese, supreme, and spinach & mushroom)
We selected spinach & mushroom as those are two favorite toppings for my children (sorry to say that cheddar bunnies wasn't a choice...but maybe a future flavor for Annie's).

As I am going vegan for the month of March I did not eat the pizza, but the rest of my family had no qualms about wolfing down enjoying this Friday night treat.

So what is the verdict?  THEY LOVED IT

Would we recommend it to friends?  Absolutely

I think Annie's is right up there with other name brand rising crust pizzas.

Currently these are being sold at Whole Foods.  But instead of buying one would you like the chance to win one?

I thought you might.

To win leave me a comment and let me know what flavor of pizza you would try if you win. 

The giveaway will be open until Wednesday March 21st.  I will announce the winners (yes you heard me right plural) on Thursday.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of
the Moms Meet
it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet
agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My
opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media
Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.
SM program, May Media Group LLC, who receivedSM blogger, I

Beautiful Weather and a Baby Shower

This weekend was a crazy fun filled weekend.

I hosted a baby shower for one of my best friends from college, Kristen.

I invited all of the girls down to NC, we've known each other 17 years, and their husbands as well as children came (20 of us in all).

I feel a little old to say we've known each other 17 years, but I guess I could lie and say we met when we were 7 instead of when we were 17.

Anyway Kristen is having baby #2 and keeping it a surprise so I decided we would have a "diaper" shower for her. 

We gifted her with many boxes of diapers so that the little one will have a nice dry tush.

The weather was gorgeous and a perfect day to enjoy our food and company outdoors.

I served:

mock chicken salad (I don't think anyone little secret)
variety of veggies to top your sandwiches
pineapple and strawberries
fresh veggies
vegan vanilla cake with vegan buttercream and raspberry filling (my cake had a little incident in the center, but it still tasted good)

(For my display I had visions of Amy Atlas, but alas I am just not that creative)

and these delicious cookie:

Can you see the label?

I know my photograph isn't the best for it, but they are from Lauren at Keep It Sweet Desserts.

Lauren is a food blogger who VERY recently has quit her job and has taken up baking for a living.

I asked if I could commission her to make some cookies for my shower and she was very obliging.

She made some of the most delicious double chocolate chip cookies (at least that is what I hear, my guests enjoyed them and I missed a chance at getting one).

And then she made cut meyer lemon sugar cookies in the shape of a bee (for a Mama to Bee theme).

The bee cookies were light with just a hint of lemon and of so delicious.

I believe Caroline had no less than 5 of them, she loved them A LOT Lauren.

So all in all it was a wonderful day and we had some delicious food.

I can't wait till there is another reason to have a party.

What did you do this weekend to enjoy the wonderful weather?