Monday, June 25, 2012

Marvelous Monday

Did you get a chance to see The Lorax?

I saw it with my children and it is just a fantastic movie, and a very good adaptation of the book.

The story reminds us that we need to socially and ecologically conscious about the decisions we make.

For children the story with its beautiful trufulla trees (which I think look like cotton candy) has some wonderful imagery.

After they saw the movie my five year old, Andrew, was upset that someone would want to do so much harm.  For him it is just second nature to want to protect the environment.

I am thankful that he saw a deeper meaning in the movie (conserve what you have) and didn't just enjoy it for its musical numbers.

In that vein I think Andrew would be quite happy with Conscious Box and the way they do business.

Conscious Box is a monthly subscription service which mails it subscribers a box chock full of goodies (from food items, to drink mixes, to hand sanitizer).

Previous boxes have included products from:

Mate Factor
Natural Calm
Dr. Cleangreen

The companies that produce the products chosen are held to a very high ethical, sustainable, and honest businesses that create very pure products.

Conscious Box is concerned not only that the products you receive be of a high standard but that also the box you receive them in be held high.  The boxes are 100% post consumer recycled cardboard.  They encourage all of their subscribers to "up-cycle" (or find a new purpose) for their box. 

If you post a picture on Facebook you receive an extra item in the next months box. 

I've seen people get pretty creative and fashion their boxes into planters, picture frames, and even a box for craft supplies.

But you know at my house even the rafia tie gets used (a great headband):

Now that I've talked them up a little I want to give you a chance to win a Conscious Box for July.

I will be running the giveaway until Thursday June 28th and to enter you just need to use the rafflecopter form below.

Good luck to you all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 22, 2012

Simple but Genius

Let's start with sometimes my husband is a genius.

You see our family enjoys popcorn, nothing fancy just popped corn (and maybe a little seasoning salt).

Well after reading articles such as this we began rethinking microwave popcorn.

So not one to be defeated my husband decided to take an ordinary brown paper bag with a 1/4 cup of organic popcorn and viola:

He popped it for about 2 minutes and we had a healthy bag o' snack.

Topped simply with a little pink himalayan salt and we were good to.

This is a good example of how dad's "fix" things.

Looking forward to presenting him with another challenge to see how he does (I am quite sure he will come out a winner).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mott's Medleys

If you are like me you probably grew up eating applesauce and for me the one company that sticks out in the applesauce industry is Mott's (I always loved the cinnamon one).

I always have fond memories of them and when I was given a chance, through My Blog Spark, to sample Mott's new Medley's I thought it would be perfect for my kids.

The Medley's are fruit flavored gummy snacks.

I received 3 in Berry and 3 in Assorted Fruit (made with fruit and vegetable juice so I don't guilty about giving them as a snack).

They have come in handy when we are running errands, or lounging by the pool.  You can toss a couple in your purse to have handy should the need arise.

With each box containing 10 packs I have had an ample supply to share with my kiddos.

Now I have been given the chance to give you, my readers, a gift pack just like I received.  I have two of them to share.

To enter leave me a comment below. 

Need a suggestion: You can tell me one of the foods that has a special childhood memory for you, or maybe how having snacks like this would help make snacking easier for you.

The giveaway will be open until Tuesday June 26th.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Triple Threat Brownies

For Father's Day this weekend my husband had one request "to sleep in."

Well he got his wish, but I really couldn't just leave it at that. 

The least I could do was bake him a delicious dessert to go with dinner.

The tough part was deciding what type of dessert to make.

I always go for cake right off the bat, but he doesn't like that so much.  He is more of a cookie and brownie kind of guy.

So I decided to make him brownies and fill them with three different kinds of chips (chocolate, peanut butter, and white chocolate).

Triple Threat Brownies

1 2/3 C sugar
3/4 C butter (melted)
2 Tbsp water
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 C all purpose flour
3/4 C baking cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C chocolate chips
1/4 C peanut butter chips
1/4 C white chocolate chips

Combine your sugar, butter, and water.

Stir in your eggs and vanilla extract.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  Then add to wet mixture.

Mix in your chocolate chips.

Spread into a greased 9x13 pan and top with peanut butter and white chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

As you can see I didn't go the healthy route I went completely BAD...but hey it is only Father's Day once a year.

Substitutions could easily be made to make this vegan, but my husband SOMETIMES gets tired of my substitutions and just craves treats made the old fashioned way (with fat and animal products)...who am I not to oblige, after all he helped me create three of the most precious children ever.

(sometimes it is hard to get a shot of them all happy at once)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Friday

Happy Friday to one and all!

I want to first say congratulations to Anna for winning my Lucy's Cookies giveaway.  A box of their yummy goodness will be coming to you.

This week has been interesting.

We got the news on Sunday that my husband's maternal grandmother passed away.  So we quickly put our travel plans together and got child care settled as we had to travel to York, PA for the service.

It was a fantastic trip because we got to see many relatives that we don't often see...however it was indeed a sad occassion that we had to get together this way.

In lieu of the trip I haven't been able to spend any time in the kitchen to bring a recipe to you so I would like to share some of my favorite food finds on Pinterest:

Source: via Robyn on Pinterest

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers (current or sometime in the future) out there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lucy's Gluten Free Cookies

I have been meaning to share with you for months the ultimate in yard art:

Your eyes do not deceive you this person has the tail end of an airplane in their front yard.

I admit this is not the best photo, but I was trying to snap the pic while driving (not terribly safe).  

I am not sure what the significance is to them, but it is definitely different.

Today I want to share with you some cookies that I have sampled and absolutely fallen in love with.

Like all good moms Dr. Lucy Gibney created these cookies when she discovered her child had severe food allergies.

They have a dedicated bakery in which they select only the finest ingredients to ensure that none of the common allergens make their way in.  In fact peanuts and tree nuts aren't even allowed in the building.

The cookies are:

Gluten free
Contain no peanuts or tree nuts
0gm trans fat
0mg cholesterol
All natural

I know what some of you might thinking.  That the cookies won't be very tasty because of they are gluten free or that they just can't be good if they are vegan.

Well I am here to let you know that is just not the case. 

I was sent 3 varieties to try:

Currently Lucy's offers 7 flavors total:

Sugar Cookie
Cinnamon Thin
Chocolate Chip
Oatmeal Cookie
Ginger Snap
Maple Bliss
Chocolate (which is a chocolate cookie with chocolate favorite)

The flavors are out of this world and the cookies have just the most delicious crunch to them.  Should you not scarf the entire box down the cookies will retain their crispness for several weeks once opened. 

All of the varieties are good by my favorite (no surprise to my husband) was the chocolate and chocolate chip.  These cookies had tons of chocolate chips in them and my sweet tooth craving was perfectly satisfied with one or two cookies (that doesn't mean you don't want to eat the whole box just that you will be satisfied after 1 or 2).

However let me say that the maple bliss was perfect with a scoop of coconut milk ice cream and the ginger snaps had quite a bite to them (a little too spicy for my children, but I enjoyed them very much with a cup of hot tea).  So for those of you who aren't chocolate fans the maple and ginger can provide a delicious treat.
I always like to share some love when I have a product to sample so I would like to offer to one of you, my wonderful readers, a chance to win a box of Lucy's cookies (so you can taste the deliciousness for yourself).

To win a box of cookies just use the rafflecopter below. 

The giveaway will be open until Friday June 15th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mexican Pizza...YUM!

Summer is in full swing here in the South (humidity and all)

With that comes the nice sunshine and rain to grow a bountiful garden. 

We have increased the number of raised beds and then the coolest thing we've added is a teepee to grow beans.

The kids can go inside and play.  Once the beans grow the kids can play inside and then eat beans if they feel the need for a snack. 

The garden has produced thus far tons of lettuce, spinach, and kale.  Most recently we have gotten some onions and tomatoes which we used on Mexican Pizzas that we made yesterday.

I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner as it just delicious and so very easy to make.

Mexican Pizza

flour tortilla shells (you'll need 2 per pizza)
1 can of refried beans (I used the black bean variety)
1 jar of your favorite salsa
vegetable oil
tomato (for topping)
green onions (for topping)

Brush both sides of two tortillas with vegetable oil and place on a baking sheet.

Bake in a 400 degree over for 10 minutes (5 minutes per side).

Top on tortilla with beans (however much or little you like).  I mixed 2 Tbsp of water with the beans to make them easier to spread.

Top beans with salsa (again however much or little you like depending on your salsa preference)

Place second tortilla on top.

Smear the top with salsa and then sprinkle cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees (just long enough to melt cheese).

I sprinkled green onion and tomato fresh from the garden and then served.

This was enjoyed by everyone and is a quick dinner I look forward to serving again.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Caramel Birthday Cake for Mom

This past Sunday was my mom's birthday (to protect the innocent I won't reveal her age)

She asked for a pound cake with caramel frosting.

There was a standard to live up to, as the best pound cake with caramel frosting comes from a woman by the name of Frances who ran my youth group when I was younger.

I was pretty sure I wouldn't live up to Frances' standards, but I gave it my best shot anyway.

I took a recipe of my grandmother's for pound cake but made the error of using all purpose flour instead of cake flour.

This wasn't a complete fail, but the cake turned out a bit more dense than I would have liked it.

So here is the final product:

I took the picture in the Mexican restaurant we went to (sorry I should have taken the time to style it).

Nana's Pound Cake

2 sticks butter
1 3/4 C sugar
5 eggs
2 C cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Cream your butter and sugar with an electric mixer.

Add eggs one at a time (incorporate fully before adding next egg).

Fold in flour, salt, and vanilla.

Pour into greased and floured bundt pan.

Bake for 70-80 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the frosting I went with a recipe I found of Paula Deen's (I figure she knows what to do with butter and sugar).

1 stick butter
1 C packed brown sugar
1/3 C heavy cream
16 oz (1 box) confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.

Add brown sugar and heavy cream, bring to a boil.

Pour in mixing bowl and add vanilla and confectioner's sugar.

Beat with an electric hand held mixer until it reaches spreading consistency.

This was the easiest frosting to make.  I was quite intimidated as caramel makes me nervous, but I couldn't have been more pleased with the turn out.

By the looks on their faces I have to say I think they were pleased:

I am going to keep working on the pound cake, because it wasn't exactly what I wanted.  If any of you have suggestions for good pound cake recipes comment below, or e-mail them to me, I would love to give them a try.