Leaving pollen behind

Don’t you just love watching all the beauty around begin to bloom?

The birds are singing their beautiful songs as the bees buzz by. Along with all of this comes pollen and dust. For some the thought of pollen is more like this

How do you battles those forces? With an air purifier from Winix America

Why Winix? Because they have an air purifier for every household. And you won’t have to spend a fortune to have something effective!!

I have one in my family room- it’s the room that experiences the MOST traffic in my house!! How do I know it works? When the indicator light is red!! But when it’s green it’s all clean!! And their “smart”, too! I can check the conditions in my room from my phone, I can control whether the setting needs to be on high or moderate.

Remember I mentioned you don’t have to spend a fortune?

You can find these great deals at Bed, Bath and Beyond. For those who are Costco members, you can find them there as well at great prices.

Here is a small sample of the models they have:

Want to learn more and see their other fabulous products go to:

http://www.winixamerica.com

You’ll breathe easy all year ’round!!

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Quick, and fresh Memorial Weekend apps

Got plans for Memorial Day “Weekend”? Grills will be fired up, and kids will be geared up for fun outdoor play!!

Great times to gather together with family, and friends for fun, and food! With the weather warming up no one wants to be sweltering over a hot stove.

I’ve got a quick and easy idea to share with you- and it doesn’t involve hours at the stove!

Some of the best dishes are the ones you can easy pick up with your hands. So, how about a puff pastry pocket? What to put into it?

I stumbled across a Mediterranean pocket recipe, easy to modify if needed- love that I can customize without risking quality and taste!

We’ll start with the filling- clean and fresh ingredients.

Chopped spinach- start with one and a half cups. You can go more or less depending on how many you are making

Fine diced black olives – I used one cup because I was making quite a few little pockets; a little goes a long way. You don’t want it too salty

Finely diced onions- about half a cup, you can also use about two tablespoons of the granulated or powdered onions since this will not be a precooked filling

Fine slivers of sun-dried tomatoes- about one half to three quarters cup

Granulated garlic- two to three tablespoons

Crumbled feta cheese- one to one and a half cups

The star of the dish is the protein- Wild Planet Foods Organic Chicken Breast. I started with one can, because you are going to “crumble” it. You can always add another can to balance it if you are making a large number of puff pockets.

A couple of tablespoons of olive oil will give moisture to the filling and help bind it all together. Mix all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl until well blended. You can add a sprinkle of black pepper, you might need to add just a small sprinkle of salt, remember the olives can be salty.

Time to create the pockets! I started with one box of puff pastry, use the brand you are comfortable with. Unfold your pastry sheet, one sheet at a time. You can also roll it out with a rolling pin to adjust the thickness what will now be your “crust”.

My only special tool is a little cookie cutter that folds in half to make little empanadas. Mine is pretty old, I’m pretty sure you can still find them in stores such as Walmart; or you can pinch the edges, too.

There’s my “special” tool. The box/ 2 sheets of puff pastry yielded about 2 dozen pockets.

I did an egg wash to help seal the pockets on the edges and then on the surface of the pockets before putting it in the oven. Since I was “winging” this I started at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, adding time until the pockets were golden brown.

Here’s the end result:

My taste panel, AKA my family liked that it wasn’t oily, light and enjoyed the taste. And I didn’t have to sweat it out at the stove!!

It surely helped having Wild Planet Foods Organic Chicken Breast in the pantry! Great and easy go to for healthy eating!!

Learn more about them at

http://www.wildplanefoods.com

Pinky’s up Type of Lunch

The new work week is here- Yay (?)

I try to create something on Sundays that can be an easy grab and go type of lunch. Like everyone else we’ve got the jars of peanut butter and preserves at the ready.

Occasionally there are cold cuts in the fridge, but when you have an 18 year old son and a 12 year old daughter that’s in sports; cold cuts don’t last very long. There’s always leftovers, but that can get boring….

As I was going through a magazine that came in the mail, they had a picture of chicken salad. Haven’t had that in a while, but I wanted something different. Time to Google, yes, I said Google.

Flashes from the past are the thing now, and I found one! The Neiman Marcus chicken salad! I’m not sure if Neiman Marcus still have cafes now, I’ve eaten at one a few times and it’s fun and fancy!!

Now, the actual recipe that they used is by Helen Corbett of Texas- that’s the one you look for!!

Since I’m doing this all last minute, I have no defrosted chicken at hand. BUT, I do have Wild Planet Foods’ organic chicken breast

Putting everything together,

Love the grapes, couldn’t find any pecans or walnuts so almonds will have to do. The whipping creme was different, but wow does it make a difference.

There it is! I can definitely say, it’s nothing like chicken salad made with Greek yogurt!

All that’s left is some crackers … it’s a Neiman Marcus lunch on the go.

So pinky’s up!! It’s time to bring a little fancy to your work lunch!!

Meal at The Ready

It seems year after year our lives get busier and busier, by the end of the day it can be a scramble for dinner.

Take out or drive thru feels like settling at times, and frozen meals are filled with ingredients we don’t need. Looking at the clock there’s just not enough time to cook.

So what do you have on your shelves? Here’s what I have, Wild Planet Foods Organic Roasted Chicken Breast!

Yes- chicken in a can!! And it’s amazing!! Just look at the top of the can.

Don’t be hesitant, when you open the can you will not find mush; but chicken that looks like it had just been cooked!

So let’s gather up the basics, onions and garlic are great, fresh starters.

A great starter is soup….. in the mood for some chicken corn chowder?

We’ve got our starters so let’s throw in some celery, followed by carrots once he onions and celery have cooked down a bit.

Don’t forget the corn…

There is chicken broth, it is a soup….with a few dashes of cream to become our chowder.Time to add the chicken! Give it a little time to meld together .Grab your bowl, maybe a few crackers….

Dinner is served!!

Curious? Check them out at:

http://www.wildplanetfoods.com

Timeless Tiffany

Certain things come to mind when you hear Tiffany’s; baby blue box, Audrey Hepburn, and of course, “breakfast at Tiffany’s “.

I recently have had the good fortune to have been invited to..

The breakfast was to launch their brand new collection “Paper Flowers”. The last collection was in 2014 entitled the Tiffany T Collection, born in New York which commemorates Tiffany’s 175th anniversary.

What a way to start the day, or the weekend for that matter, than with the infamous Tiffany & Co.

It’s bright and beautiful once you walk in. Don’t let the “look of it” intimidate you. All of the Tiffany associates are friendly and quite helpful. They don’t prejudge a person when they walk in, they listen and have such great ideas. They talk to you, not down to you!

All is glistening- but not overstated. The Classic beauty side of Tiffany is present all around.

But wait, this is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s “….

Complete with croissants, coffee, and juice…

Feeling a little like Audrey Hepburn, if only for a fleeting moment.

I won’t deny, there were a few pieces I absolutely fell in love with- too hard to decide which to add to my first Tiffany “piece”

What a fun morning!

Thanks for the invite! Until next time….

Don’t Need Fake for a Better Cake

We all love “from scratch ” baked goodies, but there are those instances when time is just not on our side. You need a last minute cake or tray of cupcakes to bring to a social, a meeting or play date. There you are running to the store to pick up the trusty box of cake mix, never mind looking at the nutrition label the clock is ticking.

What if there was a box cake mix that was organic, contained no hydrogenated oils or artificial colors. Was allergy safe with no dairy or soy, plus no GMOs or trans fat! You would grab that one of course and probably say “score”, I know I would!

This hoping is a reality!!! Thanks to Miss Jones Baking Co.

Right off the bat, it’s organic and vegan, part of you starts thinking, is this going to taste like a cake or a box.

Since the neighbors were getting together since we haven’t seen each other for “awhile”…. let’s bake and see.

Love how the kitchen smells when there’s baking going on. Don’t forget the frosting. It is recommended to warm it up for a quick few seconds in the microwave, truthfully when I use frosting in a “can” I warm it up to make it more easier to use.

Here we go, the doorbell has rung and everyone is here.

As expected the kids have gravitated towards the mini cupcakes. We see smiles of approval!!!

I kept the box out so everyone can read up on it and that they won’t think I was pulling their leg that it’s organic!

Very much “kid approved”!! With a double thumbs up from the Moms- this is a winner!!Now, making a quick cake doesn’t mean compromising and settling. There’s now a product that meets our needs and standards as if we baked from scratch.

Not sure if your local stores carry Miss Jones Baking Co.? Just head on over to their website:

http://www.missjonesco.com

Want in on a fabulous community where you not only get to sample great products, but can connect with Moms just like you?!

Go to:

http://www.momsmeet.com

See you there!

Don’t Fear the Little Fishy

If I say let’s have sardines for lunch, will you wince? Some might, I used to when I was a kid. Unfortunately, this petite fish has been given a big bad rep; kind of like it’s cousin the anchovy. Can this “fear” be overcome? I believe, with the right recipe you will get “hooked”.

So, where to begin….. You have to start with a quality product, I didn’t say expensive- just great quality.Over the years, I’ve tried many brands of sardines; some in cans and even some in bottle jars. And like anything, they run the gamut of really good and “why did I open that?!” I have found one brand that, has great quality and is affordable- Wild Planet (www.wildplanetfoods.com). Yes, the ones that make that hearty, non-“fishy” tuna. IMG_5372

Now we have the heart of the dish, what dish do we begin with? Wild Planet offers a mini recipe book, 50 Ways to Eat a Sardine- great ideas! Want something different? I remembered the sardine dish I had when I was young that converted me to a sardine eater- it’s a Filipino dish! It’s called “Ginisang Sardinas”, loosely translated Sauteed Sardines. The ingredients are simple, besides the sardines; onion, garlic, tomato (can also use tomato sauce) and spices. And using Wild Planet’s Wild sardines in extra virgin olive oil lightly smoked.

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So we’ve sliced and diced our basics, now on to the recipe. You can use ripe tomatoes or canned tomato sauce (depends on preference or what you have on hand), a little bit of lemon juice, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste. If you would like more of a Filipino flare, instead of salt you can use a teaspoon of fish sauce which can be found at most Oriental stores.

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The next few steps are super simple, start with sautéing the onions then the garlic. once they begin to brown you can add your tomatoes.IMG_5357

Believe it or not it’s almost done; next comes the sardines, let it simmer in the tomato sauce. Time for seasoning, salt (or the fish sauce) and pepper, and the lemon juice.IMG_5361

A sprinkle of parsley before serving, at times we’ve also added a hard boiled egg to the dish. This is served with steamed rice.

As I was looking at the sardines in a tomato sauce, I remembered that Wild Planet also has Sardines in Marinara sauce! This screams Pasta dish!!

A drizzle of olive oil, finely chopped garlic and onions in to the pan. As it starts to brown, in goes the sardines in marinara sauce.IMG_5350

Final seasoning, maybe a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and on top of some fettuccine or spaghetti and you’re good to go.

Since I was on a roll, I decided to try the other varieties of Wild Planet’s sardines. Okay, I wound up cooking five more dishes using sardines! Yup, time to call the neighbors over for a tasting! I didn’t tell them that I would be featuring sardines, only to be able to surprise them with it’s versatility and dispel the “fear” that some have with sardines.

I stumbled on a recipe that said was sure to be the best one for first time sardine eaters. It’s called “the works salad”. I once again used the sardines in extra virgin olive oil lightly smoked. With all the ingredients; sliced black olives, cilantro, shredded/grated carrots. diced dill pickles, chopped nuts, a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar and salt! because Wild Planet’s sardines are not drowning in salt! The sardines? You “mash” them before you mix them into the other ingredients. Chill before serving, can be served with crackers or on some lettuce.

What about something for appetizers? Tapenade goes well with any refreshment. Some black olives, capers and a drizzle of olive oil into the food processor creating a paste. Mix in the sardines- I used the ones in extra virgin olive oil with lemon. Don’t forget to season, I put a sprinkle of garlic powder.

I wanted to try something really different with the sardines in water with sea salt. But what? How about a four ingredient salad for lunch? Here goes; a few hard boiled eggs, fine diced onions, dice the sardines and a dollop of mayonnaise.

Let’s do something crunchy. Tempura style! IMG_5385

I used the same recipe that you usually use when frying fish. With the sardines in water no salt added, I did a pat dry first. got my flour, “scrambled” eggs and Panko in three separate bowls to begin the dredging. I do like to season the breadcrumbs or Panko as well.IMG_5391

Ok,Ok…. Just one more. Fried rice seems like a fun one to try. This may be surprising, but I’m allergic to rice. It was shocking for my family- my aunts thought it was peculiar for a Filipino to be allergic to rice when that is something that you eat all your life. I need an alternative, and I want it to be an easy assembly.

Any Trader Joe’s fans out there? I love their cauliflower stir fry, you can find it in their frozen sectionIMG_5387

I prepared the cauliflower fried rice as per the package, and added the sardines in water with sea salt. A little bit of fine diced onions and garlic, I used a small sprinkle of soy sauce to taste instead of salt. And it was done in a flash!!

All the dishes are cooked and plated, time to set the table and call everyone over.IMG_E5395

Thank you Wild Planet for cute coloring books I can share with the kids!IMG_5415

A smidgen of everything on the plate.

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Let the tasting begin! What fun! We’ve conquered the fear of sardines! Even the kids liked it!! IMG_5398

It was so generous of Wild Planet to send some coupons to share with everyone!

I love that you can find Wild Planet Foods in the stores I frequent.

P.S. I heard some Costcos carry them too.