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Something yummy for Valentine’s Day (and I don’t mean a box of chocolates)

 

Breakfast in bed

Do plan on giving your special someone a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day? Or, are you anticipating receiving a box of chocolates from someone?

I love giving and receiving chocolates. There is only one problem – I’ll eat it all! I don’t really need all those extra calories, but it’s hard for me to resist when the chocolate is calling my name.

Food is a big part of the Valentine’s Day holiday, from breakfast in bed to a romantic dinner – plus a big box of chocolates. I guess a lot of people equate love with delicious food.

Recently a survey was done with 500 men and women between the ages of 25-54. The survey came up with the following results, which I find very interesting.

  • 38% of respondents said that a creative Valentine’s Day would begin with breakfast in bed.
  • 63% of respondents said that they would want to awake on Valentine’s Day to the taste of something delicious.
  • 81% of respondents said that they would prefer to treat themselves to something if they are celebrating Valentine’s Day alone

I find it interesting that a lot of people responded to breakfast in bed and wanting to wake up to something delicious. I’m pretty sure no one was referring to a box of chocolates first thing in the morning for breakfast (although that would be yummy).

I have a better idea – Love Crunch Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter, a new flavor of granola from Nature’s Path. It’s made with whole grains, fiber and is low sodium. It does have chocolate, it’s delicious and it’s a sweet treat you can enjoy for Valentine’s Day (or any day).

Love Crunch Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter is made with the following ingredients.

Ingredients

In addition it has 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of whole grains and 4 grams of protein per serving.

Love Crunch

Love Crunch Dark Chocolate & Red Berries

Love Crunch Dark Chocolate & Red Berries

If your beloved loves chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine’s Day, why not try Love Crunch Dark Chocolate & Red Berries, made with freeze dried strawberries and raspberries. Dark chocolate and strawberries are a match made in heaven.

Ingredients 2

It contains the same amount of fiber and whole grains as the peanut butter mix, but only 2 grams of protein instead of 4 grams.

You can enjoy these granola mixes “as it” straight out of the bag. They can also be used in delicious recipes – some of them ideal for breakfast in bed.

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Decadent Love Crunch Parfait

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Love Crunch® Berry Bars

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Love Crunch Family-Style Pancake

There are other recipes available utilizing Love Crunch granola mixes from Nature’s Path.

Granola mixes make great toppings on yogurt, oatmeal and cereal too.

There are other Love Crunch flavors also available.

If you are looking for other healthy breakfast ideas to enjoy on Valentine’s Day (or any day of the year), Nature’s Path has other great products available. One of my personal favorites is Flax Plus® Pumpkin Raisin Crunch cereal. I LOVE this cereal! I love pumpkin and I like to eat raisin cereals, so this is the best of both worlds. It’s very flavorful and it’s packed with goodness. One serving provides you with a whopping 7 grams of fiber, 19 grams of whole grains and 6 grams of protein.

Cereak

Not only is it great for breakfast, it’s also a great anytime snack including a topping on ice cream, yogurt and oatmeal.

Here are some more breakfast recipes you could make for your loved one. I wouldn’t mind having these breakfasts in bed.

Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats created by RD Desiree Nielsen. PHOTO CREDIT: Desiree Nielsen - DesireeRD.com

Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats created by RD Desiree Nielsen. PHOTO CREDIT: Desiree Nielsen – DesireeRD.com

Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats (created by Registered Dietitian Desiree Nielsen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of cashew milk (or your favorite milk alternative)
  • 1 tsp of honey or maple syrup (to your taste, omit if you like)
  • 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or thawed blueberries

Directions:

  1. The night before, mix the oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, milk, water and honey together in a medium bowl
  2. Pour into three separate bowls or jars and stick in the fridge overnight or for at least 5-6 hours
  3. Before serving, dollop with Greek yogurt and blueberries on top of each bowl to serve

*You may add additional milk/water in the morning to loosen up oats into your desired consistency

Pumpkin

Sweet Pumpkin Overnight Oats (created by Registered Dietitian Ashley Koff)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, place the pumpkin and stir in the cayenne, cacao, and cinnamon;
  2. Continue to stir in the hemp and chia seeds until well-combined
  3. Stir in the oats, non-dairy milk, and vanilla (if using)
  4. Separate the mixture into two mason jars
  5. Cover with lids and refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 3 hours
  6. Wake up in the morning and enjoy

*Note: if too thick, add a Tablespoon of non-dairy milk and stir; if too mushy you can add an additional tablespoon of chia seeds, stir in, wait 30 minutes before eating.

*Need a stimulant boost: add a shot of espresso (instead of drinking your coffee)

For more information about Nature’s Path products visit US.NaturesPath.com (notice the US. before the brand’s name). You can also find the brand on social media. All of the links are found on the top of their website.

Nature’s Path products are sold at many health food stores and grocery stores (look in the natural/organic section of the store). You can also check out the store locator found on the brand’s website.

What is your favorite food/meal to eat or prepare for Valentine’s Day?

Have you ever tried any Nature’s Path products? Do you have a favorite?

Nature's Path Logo

Kimberly

*I received free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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10 Ways to Dress up a Dish with Pico de Gallo

 

Pico de Gallo

Sometimes the simplest of ingredients are often over looked when trying to prepare a memorable meal for friends and family. Pico de Gallo, often made with 5 of the modest ingredients (fresh tomatoes, onions, lime juice, jalapenos and cilantro), can elevate a multitude of dishes. From scrambled eggs in the morning to flavorful fish tacos for lunch, a spoonful of this simple mix can sure go a long way.

Terra’s Kitchen, a meal-delivery service, offers these 10 different ways to dress up a dish using Pico de Gallo.

1) Spoon over scrambled eggs.

For a healthier, tastier breakfast, spoon a dollop of fresh Pico de Gallo over scrambled eggs as opposed to ketchup! With fewer calories, less sugar and more fresh ingredients, your taste buds and waist line will thank you.

2) Spice up your party dip.

Add a 1/4 cup of fresh Pico de Gallo to 1 cup of Greek yogurt for a fun and healthy tortilla chip party dip! We promise, your guests will thank you.

3) Fish taco topping.

Are you a fish taco fanatic? Top your taco with a dollop of fresh Pico de Gallo to take the taste up another notch!

4) Take pasta night to another level.

Tired of the same boring pasta with tomato sauce? Looking for a way to jazz it up? Next time you have pasta night, toss whole wheat pasta, olive oil, white beans and Pico de Gallo for a quick 15 minute meal that your family will think you slaved over!

5) Spoon over grilled eggplant.

Do you enjoy eggplant and its health benefits, but struggle to up its taste profile? Spoon Pico de Gallo over your grilled eggplant for a healthy, tasty topping.

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6) Side dish or burrito filling.

Stir Pico de Gallo with fresh corn kernels and black beans for a quick side dish, or even a tasty filling to your burritos.

7) Elevate your grill game.

Instead of steak sauce or processed marinades, spoon Pico de Gallo over your perfectly grilled shrimp or sliced flank steak. Your mouth will thank you for the added freshness and flavor!

8) Add a flavor explosion to your grilled chicken salad.

Do you love salads, but tire of the same grilled chicken salad over and over again? Toss fresh Pico de Gallo into a bed of greens along with grilled chicken to spice it up. Your co-workers will wonder what smells so good and why you’re passing up the daily trek out for lunch!

9) World’s fastest guacamole.

Add fresh Pico de Gallo to take your guac game to another level! Just mash up avocado’s and add fresh Pico de Gallo and your party guests will be hounding you for this quick and easy recipe!

10) Potatoes never tasted so good.

Toss fresh Pico de Gallo with slightly cooled roasted potatoes, and your family will smile from ear-to-ear!

Yum! These sound delicious.

You can purchase Pico de Gallo at the grocery store (pre-made) or whip it up yourself with a few, simple ingredients. You can Google Pico de Gallo recipe and a lot of option will appear for you.

Are you a fan of Pico de Gallo? Do you utilize it in other ways not mentioned here? Feel free to comment and share your recipe idea with us.

Salsa_mexicana

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. 

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Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania 2

 

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2_BDDVD-23D

Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD is the sequel to the hilarious animated film, Hotel Transylvania.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is a record-breaking film that scored the best September opening of all-time – a title previously held by the original film. Hotel Transylvania 2 was also the #1 family film internationally for eight consecutive weeks.

The original characters are back for Hotel Transylvania 2 including Adam Sanlder (“Drac”), Selena Gomez (“Mavis”), Adam Sandberg (“Jonathan”), Kevin James (“Frankenstein”), David Spade (“The Invisible Man”/Jack), Steve Buscemi (“Werewolf”/Wayne), Fran Drescher (“Mrs. Frankenstein”/Eunice) and Molly Shannon (“Wanda”). New voice characters include Keegan-Michael Key (“Mummy”/Murray – previously voiced by Celo Green), Megan Mullaly (“Grandma Linda”), Nick Offerman (“Grandpa Mike”) and Mel Brooks as Vlad the Impaler.

Hotel Transylvania 2 picks up where the original movie left off.

Mavis and Johnathan are married and shortly there after Mavis announces that she’s pregnant. She gives birth to a baby boy they name Dennis.

For the sake of his daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Drac opens the hotel up to humans, including Jonathan’s family from California.

Hotel Transylvania Screen Shot

Drac is hoping that Dennis is part vampire, but Mavis is convinced that Dennis is just a human boy and her father needs to be accepting of that.

Raising her son around monsters doesn’t bother Mavis too much, but it does interfere with the human life she is trying to help him maintain like going to school. Human boys should not be up at 2:00 AM attending a birthday party for werewolves. He needs to get his rest.

Mavis is determined to help her son lead a human life. She wants to move away to California where Dennis can fully live life a human. Drac, and even Johnathan, are totally against that idea, but they dare not let Mavis know how they feel. They hatch a plan to let Mavis to go to California – but have her experience a lot of bad things so that she doesn’t think it’s a good place to raise Dennis.

While Mavis and Johnathon are in California, Drac and his buddies will take Dennis out to their favorite “haunts” and show him how to be a monster. That way Mavis will have to stay at the hotel.

Their plan backfires – a lot. Mavis loves being in California and can’t wait to move there with Johnathon and Dennis while Drac and his friends are having one misfortune after another trying to teach Dennis how to be a monster.

Hotel Transylvania 2 Dennis

Will Mavis move away from the hotel to help her son lead a human life? Will Drac find a way to keep Mavis and her family with him forever? And what about Dennis? Is he really a human or does he have a bit of monster inside of him? To find out you need to pick up a copy of Hotel Transylvania 2, available where movies are sold.

Hotel Transylvania 2 has a run time of 89 minutes and is rated PG for some scary images, action and rude humor.

The film also comes with plenty of extras/bonus features, worth checking out.

DVD Special Features (also on Blu-ray & Digital*)

  • Fifth Harmony Music Video: “I’m In Love With A Monster”
  • Character Sketch Gallery
  • Feature Commentary with Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel and Allen Covert
  • Feature Commentary with Director Genndy Tartakovsky 

Blu-ray & Digital Exclusives*

All DVD Bonus Features Plus…

  • Sing Along with Monster Scary-Oke!
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Make the Scary, Silly Sounds of Hotel Transylvania 2
  • How to Throw The Ultimate Monster Party
  • How to Draw Your Favorite Characters
  • The New Guys: Meet Vlad, Dennis, Kakie and More!

* Digital Extras only available with iTunes Extras and Vudu Extras+

This film is a lot of fun. My husband and I watched it and we both laughed out loud throughout the film. We both loved the first film, but in a way, we almost like the second one better than the original. There were much more totally hysterical moments in this film.

I sort of wish that the filmmakers made Mavis and Jonathan age ever so slightly. I realize that Mavis can’t really age being a vampire, but Johnathan could have. I still saw them as teenagers – even when Dennis was almost 5 years old. That threw me off a bit.

I would love to see a third film. I know that sequels don’t always fare as well as the original, but in this case I think it did.

If you are looking for a fun, family film to enjoy on a chilly winter night (this would make a great family movie night movie), pick up a copy of Hotel Transylvania 2. Look for it where ever movies are sold.

I have some great movie related recipes and coloring pages you might enjoy. Simply click on the image (below) and a .PDF file will download. Then you can either save it on your computer or print the pages out.

The recipes sound really fun. I’m going to try making some of them.

Kimberly

*I received a free screen copy and “swag” in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Quick & Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

 

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Now that I work two part time job, in addition to my blog and my family, getting dinner on the table on time is easier said than done. Sometimes I get home later than my husband because I’m either working late or I have to pick our daughter up from work (she has a license but doesn’t have a car).

I have to admit that I have been “slacking” when it comes to dinner, and preparing the quickest and easiest dinner possible – which are not always the healthiest options.

What I need to do is find some time to go through my cookbooks and find some great slow cooker/crock pot recipes that I can utilize. That way I can start them in the late morning/early afternoon before I leave for my second job. That way when we get home that night dinner is all ready to go.

A few months ago I reviewed a cookbook called Dump Meals. It’s by Cathy Mitchell. You may have seen the cookbook advertised on television. She also has another book called Dump Cakes.

The idea of “dump” recipes is simply to dump the ingredients in a pan or pot which will result in quick and easy meals that take no time to prepare. Those are exactly the types of meals I need to utilize Monday through Friday.

If you would like to read my original review you can find it here – Quick and easy dinner ideas from Cathy Mitchell’s Dump Dinners. In addition you can find my review of Cathy Mitchell’s Dump Cakes cookbook here – Cathy Mitchell’s Quick & Easy Dump Cakes.

To give you and idea of the types of recipes you can find in Cathy Mitchell’s cookbook, here are a few yummy recipes (shared with permission) that you might enjoy.

Apple and Granola Breakfast Cobbler

Busy-Day Rice

Maple-Glazed Meatballs

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork

Easy Chocolate Pudding Cake

If you click on each recipe it will bring you up to a larger image that will be easier to read (plus you can save it to your computer and print it out).

For more information or to order the book visit here.

What do you think of these recipes? Are you going to try any of them?

Have you ever tried a Cathy Mitchell “dump” recipe? If so, which one/ones?

What is your favorite “go-to” quick and easy recipe? Feel free to share it with me and other readers (I am always on the look out for great recipes.

Dump Meals Cookbook

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I shared this with permission for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Holiday Winter Skin tips on a budget

 

Beauty

The holidays are the ideal time to stretch the dollar as much as possible. For glam girls who want glowing skin, it’s hard to compromise looking good. Rachel Sharoff is a licensed aesthetician at Skintology Medi-Spa in Manhattan. She states that, “there are certain treatments that should only be performed in a medi-spa or in a dermatologist’s office, however, when money is tight there are DIY ways to keep your skin in great condition.”

Below are several of Rachel’s suggestions and tips

Go Home High Tech

I recommend my acne clients buy a high frequency device to help keep their breakouts under control in between treatments. High frequency devices use argon gas to emit oxygen, killing the bacteria below the skin. Technology is now very safe and effective for home use with proper instruction. And they are also very inexpensive

Use Petroleum Jelly 

This common, inexpensive product has several uses for skin care including:

  • Moisturizing rough, cracked feet, elbows, and hands; dry cuticles and lips; and peeling nails.
  • Preventing chafing when running or biking.
  • Protecting kids’ scrapes and bumps; and applying as a diaper ointment.

Consider Dual-Function Products

Examples include a moisturizer plus sunscreen and a lip balm with sunscreen.

Honey

Make Your Own Moisturinzing Face Mask with Home Food

  • 1/3 of a ripe medium banana
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of whole milk

Heat the milk until it comes to a gentle boil and then remove from the heat. Allow the milk to cool until a skin forms on the surface. Skim the skin from the surface and combine with the banana, honey, and egg. Mix to form a smooth paste, and then apply it to your skin for 10 minutes, rinsing away with cool water.

Make Your Own Moisturizing Hair Mask with Supermarket Food

Avocado: avocado is one of nature’s greatest moisturizers, rich in vitamins such as E & B and nutrients. Its natural oils will give your hair the moisture it’s lacking. Use about half an avocado, mash it, use on it’s own or with other ingredients.

Honey: honey is moisturizing and a humectant (has the ability to cling onto moisture) making it suitable for dry hair. Be aware that it also lightens the color of your hair (bleaching effect). Use as much as necessary (not too much or you’ll be left with sticky hair), can be mixed into other ingredients such as the avocado or banana. Apply to damp hair.

Mayonnaise: sounds disgusting, but mayonnaise is made of eggs, vinegar and oil, all three of which have been used for many years to give volume, shine and hydration to hair. For dry and damaged hair it’s best used mixed with avocado, although it can be used alone.

Olive oil: try to use extra virgin olive oil for best results, this has been used for centuries for hair and skin moisturizing as it is nourishing and strengthening, perfect for dry and damaged hair! Can be mixed in with other ingredients such as avocado or banana, OR to use on its own; work it through warm, damp hair as needed (not too much or risk not being able to rinse it) from roots to tips. Wrap either a warm towel or a plastic bag over your hair and leave for 20 minutes, then rinse.

Olive Oil

Give Yourself an At-Home Spa Treatment

For simple in-home hydrotherapy, start out your day with a hot steamy shower and just as you are finishing switch the water to cold for about 15 seconds. Repeat the process for two minutes. This hydrotherapy technique will revitalize your skin and give it a glow by stimulating the flow of blood through the skin. (The approximate price of this treatment at a spa: $95!)

Toning

Use cotton pads or gauze, as opposed to cotton balls, with your toner. Cotton pads remove remaining dead skin, dirt and oil, and this better prepares your skin for your treatment serums. Using cotton pads or gauze also prevents excess product usage, thereby saving you money every time!

The Perfect Sub for Pricey Eye Cream

Slice raw potatoes and put them on your eyelids to reduce puffiness.

Get the Most from your Moisturizer

Apply it to damp skin as soon as you get out of the shower to lock in moisture. For your face, look for moisturizers that say “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic,” as these won’t clog your pores.

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About Skintologyny.com

Skintology Skin & Laser Center is an all inclusive destination for all your beauty needs. Whether it’s laser hair removal, Botox injections or a hydrating facial, our trusted staff is dedicated to making your experience comfortable and pleasant. We offer customized treatments that are specifically designed for your skin type. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we design treatments to produce the best results possible. Experienced Cosmetic Surgeons and Laser Technicians utilize the most advanced FDA approved laser technologies from renowned companies such as Cynosure, Candela, Lumenis, & Deka, to provide the most effective and safe treatments.

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Happy Organic Holiday Tips from Santa Cruz Organic

 

Holiday Food

The holiday season is a time for a lot of things – spending time with family and friends, giving gifts, celebrating the real reason behind the season and of course food. There is a good reason why people tend to pack on the pound during the holidays. With all the delicious foods found in abundance, it’s impossible to resist.

I think the last thing on our minds during the holidays is making “better for you” choices. With homemade chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven staring you in the face it’s hard to think about reaching for a piece of fruit.

Usually we think about making better food choices after the holiday season – right around New Years.

Santa Cruz Organic, makers of delicious organic juice, fruit spreads, peanut butter and more has some great tips for a Happy ORGANIC Holiday.

  1. Get your fruit on – Even though the winter months are ahead, eating a variety of fruits and veggies is still the best way to get a wide range of nutrients. Organic fruit is the first ingredient in Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spreads, making it a better-for-you topping option.
  1. Jump for joy – Get moving this holiday season with fun activities the whole family can enjoy. Sign up for a holiday run or walk in your area or visit your local ice-skating rink.
  1. Go certifiedChoose Certified Organic products to make a holiday meal that’s good for your family and for the planet. Santa Cruz Organic offers more than 60 great tasting  USDA Certified Organic products, so you can create a delicious organic holiday meal from start to finish. 
  1. Treat yourself! – An organic holiday is all about balance. Feel good about treating yourself and your family with recipes like this one for Thumbprint Cookies. A recipe card is included in your package.

These are great tips, and Santa Cruz Organic has plenty of delicious products you could incorporate into your holiday festivities. For example, you can use Santa Cruz Organic’s fruit spreads in your baking recipes. My personal favorite is the Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies made with Santa Cruz Organic Fruit Spread (your choice) and Santa Cruz Organic Dark Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter. They look just like other traditional Thumb Print Cookies made during the holidays, with the exception that these are made with organic ingredients.

Thumb Print Cookies

PHOTO SOURCE: Santa Cruz

Their Cranberry Pomegranate Pears would make for an elegant dessert for your holiday dinner party.

Pear

PHOTO SOURCE: Santa Cruz

And their Apple Sauce Breakfast Cookies would be fun to serve your out of town guests for breakfast.

Apple Cookie

These are all great recipes to make and enjoy during the holiday season (and beyond).

I am a fan of Santa Cruz Organic juices and fruit spreads. I like their peanut butter too, but that is a bit more of an acquired taste for some people (I like it, as does my kids, but my husband doesn’t).

Check out www.SantaCruzOrganic.com for recipes and tips on how to live an organic lifestyle. You can also check out the brand and their products on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Kimberly

*I received free product samples in exchange for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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