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Five on Friday {Happy Passover and Easter!}

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Happy Friday!  It’s finally starting to feel like spring around here.  After all the winter storms, my kids lost the majority of their Spring break and only had yesterday and today off from school.  Altogether, they lost five days of their break and will be in school all of next week.  It’s a bit of a bummer since they were supposed to go visit my parents in Rhode Island, since my husband and I have to work.  My parents were really looking forward to spending time with the kids.  This weekend is busy and we will be celebrating both Passover and Easter.  Saturday we will celebrate Passover with my mother-in-law’s side of the family.  Then we will host Easter Sunday and also celebrate my daughter’s birthday with our parents and siblings.  I hope everyone has a Happy Passover or Easter, depending on which you celebrate.  Here are five from this week:

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1. Reading –  I am almost finished reading The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn.  I think I already know what’s going on and am only 1/2 way through.  It has my interest peaked though to see if I’m correct but I’m not overly wowed by this one.

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2. Watching – This past weekend I watched two movies.  My husband and I watched Get Out and Baby Driver.  I feel like Ansel Elgort has been in so many movies recently.  I had heard good things about Baby Driver but didn’t really have any idea of what it was about.  It’s an action adventure movie, which usually isn’t my thing.  I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the mix of music as well.  I knew they’d have a soundtrack for the movie and I’m curious as to which songs they put on it! Then there was the movie Get Out.  Again, this was another movie that I had no idea what it was about.  I put it on hold because it was nominated for many movie awards and won Best Original Screenplay.  It’s categorized as a horror/mystery/thriller film and I do NOT watch horror movies.  It wasn’t very scary, but wasn’t my thing.

3. Fixing – This was a very expensive week.  I mentioned my car troubles last week.  Luckily, it was just some valve and intake issues that required some new parts and labor but nothing outrageous.  When we were heading out to pick up the car over the weekend, my phone fell out of my coat pocket and fell on the driveway, face-down.  The screen did not crack, it shattered.  My husband was able to bring it to the Apple store this week and within an hour, the screen was replaced.  All for just $149!  Like I said, an expensive week.

4. Family Time – Last weekend we had our March family dinner.  We decided to go back to the alphabetical country list and we chose Belgium.  We made Mussels in white wine sauce and homemade frites.  For dessert, we made waffles.  We had to dust off our waffle maker and wasn’t even sure it still worked.  But, it did and made some delicious waffles.  Unfortunately, we have a single waffle maker, so it’s a little slow going to cook a bunch at a time. But, homemade waffles are so much better than the frozen kind!

5. Supper Club Dinner Out – This month our Supper Club went out to eat during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, rather than cook.  We went to Brothers Fish & Chips, a local seafood restaurant.  This was the first time that my husband and I dined at the restaurant and everything was delicious!  Pictured is Wild Shrimp over Squid Ink Risotto.

ICYMI this week on the blog:
What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

I brought back a weekly meal plan and Monday I shared What’s Cooking?


Wednesday
I shared what was Rocking My Happy this week.

A review of some of the newer foods on the market.

Thursday I posted Food Tries and Buys.

Linking up with Andrea, Katie and April!  Hope you have a great weekend!

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Food Buys and Tries {March 2018}

A review of some of the newer foods on the market.

There are so many new food and beverage products out there it gets pretty overwhelming.  I love trying new food products and the latest varieties of favorite snacks.  Variety is the spice of life, right?!  Expect to find all kinds of food products from beverages and snacks to more healthier food choices as well.  Here’s a look at some of this month’s food buys and tries.

Winners:

Pillsbury Caramel & Coconut Blondie Mix – Who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? And I have to admit, Samoas are my favorites.  When I saw this Blondie mix on sale at the grocery store, I had to try it.  My son actually  made these, with some supervision from me.  The bars were soft with lots of pieces of chocolate, caramel and coconut flakes.  Different and nice for an occasional treat.

Popcornopolis Organic Nearly Naked Popcorn – (popcorn sample provided by Popcornopolis) I am a big popcorn lover and was excited when Popcornopolis sent me their Organic Nearly Naked Popcorn.  The 14-oz. bags are being sold in Costco stores for $5.39 each.  But from April 19 – May 13, they will be specially priced at $3.49.  The popcorn is lightly salted and tastes great.  This has been a favorite family snack!

Sabra Mediterranean Black Bean Dip –  I found this dip next to the hummus at the grocery store.  The texture and taste is very similar to hummus.  The roasted tomato & smoked paprika flavor was tasty and was great for dipping veggies and pretzel thins (basically anything you’d dip in hummus!).  Other flavors in the bean dip line include Mediterranean Red Bean with Sundried Tomato & Basil and Mediterranean White Bean with Spinach & Roasted Garlic.

Snyder’s “Wholey Cheese!” Crispy Baked Crackers (Swiss &  Black Pepper) – These crackers are light, puffed, crunchy squares baked with real cheese.  I found them in the chip aisle, next to the Snyder’s pretzels.   I debated whether to put these crackers on the loser list.  Flavor-wise, these crackers are tasty and fill that salty, crunchy craving.  However, they are super fragile.  I don’t think that we were overly rough with the bag but when we opened it, it was mostly crumbs.  So, very disappointing in that respect.  I’d try these crackers again, but know to be super careful with the bag! Other flavors in the “Wholey Cheese!” line include Mild Cheddar and Smoked Gouda.

Losers:

Alexia Crispy Truffle Fries – I had such high hopes for these fries because truffle fries are my fave.  Unfortunately, these were a big disappointment.  They crisped up nicely in the oven.  However, there was absolutely no noticeable truffle flavor.

Baru Swirly Hot Chocolate PowderBaru is a Belgian chocolate company.  We were excited to try this chocolate powder, which we received as part of a Christmas gift.  However, we recently tried it and were a bit disappointed.  Believe me, it’s not bad.  However, we weren’t wowed, like we thought we’d be by the chocolate-y taste.  The company makes other chocolate products like chocolate marshmallow bars and chocolate hippos that I’d like to try.  So not giving up on them yet.

Nestle Coffeemate The Cheesecake Factory Strawberry Cheesecake creamer – I am a flavored coffee creamer user.  I love trying new flavors so of course had to try the recently released  The Cheesecake Factory Strawberry Cheesecake flavor.  Let’s just say strawberry is not a flavor that you normally associate with coffee and there’s a reason why.  It just doesn’t go.  It’s unexpected and not necessarily in a good way.  I’m glad I tried it, but will not be buying this flavor anymore.

Tiki Gold (Hazelnut and Coconut Craze) – These chocolate bars come from Trinidad & Tobago. However, I found them in my local Shoprite.  These are wafer bars, similar to the texture of a Kit Kat.  However, the chocolate is “eh” and the coconut and hazelnut flavor tastes artificial (because it is).  If I’m going to eat chocolate, I want it to be good chocolate!

What new food products have you tried recently?

What’s Cooking? {A Weekly Meal Plan – Week 1}

What's Cooking {A Weekly Meal Plan Week 1}

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Back in October I stopped posting a weekly meal plan on the blog.  However, since I started working full-time I’ve realized what a useful resource this can be.  Although I occasionally post recipes here on the blog, I don’t consider myself a food and recipe blogger.  So, I’ve decided to bring back a weekly meal plan, called “What’s Cooking?”  Expect a Monday through Friday meal plan where you find mostly new-to-me recipes that I’ve cooked along with photos and my family’s reviews.  I’m hoping that this weekly meal plan will help you find new recipes to add to your dinner rotation! If you are interested, you can read all about my meal planning process!

MONDAY– I made Apple-Cheddar Turkey Burgers from Everyday with Rachael Ray, December, 2011.  This is actually a recipe that I have made before.  I used regular-sized english-muffins and only a little over a pound of ground turkey.  I ended up with five smaller-sized burgers.  My son doesn’t like whole-berry cranberry sauce, so I bought a can of regular cranberry sauce.  I think the flavor of the burgers depends on the grill and poultry season you use.  I used this poultry seasoning and a dash of Old Bay and  I served the burgers with seasoned curly fries.

TUESDAY – I made Corned Beef and Hash with the leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day.  I didn’t use a recipe.  I sauteed an onion in some oil in our cast iron skillet.  Then I added some peeled, diced potatoes and cooked for about 20 minutes, flipping them a couple of times.  Once the potatoes were cooked and browned, I added the diced corned beef.  I heated through for a couple of minutes and then topped with some fried eggs.  This was a quick and easy dinner.  It used up leftovers and the kids loved it.

WEDNESDAY – I made Egg Roll in a Bowl from my own blog.  I make this once every couple of months but should make it more often.  It’s so quick and easy and it’s really tasty!  I serve it over rice, but you can eat it as-is for a low-carb meal.

THURSDAY – I made Sausage, Egg, Cheese and Croissant Bake from Diary of a Recipe Collector.  This recipe takes an hour to cook, so not a quick recipe.  However, it can be prepared the night before.  I actually made this on a snow day, when we were all home, so I prepped it in the morning.  It was nice not having any dinner prep later in the day and just had to stick this in the oven.  This wasn’t bad, as far as breakfast casseroles go.  My husband even mentioned this dish as a possible Christmas morning breakfast.

FRIDAY – My husband and I had dinner plans with our Supper Club and my daughter was eating with her troop at a Girl Scout event.  It was just my son who needed to eat dinner and he wanted grilled cheese and ramen.  Yes, we made him the store-bought, super-cheap ramen packets.  We always put in half the seasoning packet to cut down on sodium. They are just so quick and easy!  While I don’t have a picture of his dinner, here’s a picture of the duck fat seared octopus I had as a starter at our dinner out!

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Five on Friday {Happy Spring}

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It’s finally spring……although you wouldn’t know it with the snow we got this week! The weather forecast made it sound like we were getting a foot of snow, when in fact, we barely got about 2 inches or so.  We had another snow day for nothing, but it’s better to be safe.  This has been a busy week, and I was actually happy for the day off.  This week ended on a not-so-great note when my car had engine problems on my way home from work last night.  Luckily, we have AAA and I got the car towed to a nearby auto repair shop.  I was also fortunate that my husband was able to leave work and come pick me up.  I’m really hoping it’s an easy (and cheap!) fix.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  We are going out to dinner tonight with Supper Club for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week (HVRW) to a new-to-me restaurant.  Otherwise, we have a pretty open weekend for now.  Here are five from this week:

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Reading – I started reading The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher this week.  It’s moving a little slow for me but I’m curious enough to finish it.

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Watching – This past weekend I finished watching the first season of Big Little Lies. They did such a good job with this show!  I’m curious to see what season 2 will look like, since the first season followed the book.  I also started watching the new television series Rise on NBC.  I swear I was a theater nerd in another life.  I love watching musicals, although I can’t sing for the life of me!  Rise is a musical drama focusing on a high school production of Spring Awakening.  I actually saw Spring Awakening on Broadway, so it has me interested.

Eating – St. Patrick’s Day is not complete without a traditional corned beef dinner.  My husband cooked the corned beef in our Instant Pot and it was delicious!  I grew up with eating boiled potatoes and cabbage with our corned beef and I’m not a big fan.  So we did mashed potatoes (also in the Instant Pot!) and I sauteed the cabbage.  All the deliciousness was accompanied by my mom’s homemade Irish Soda Bread.

Family Fun – My son was one of the leads in his school play/musical.  He did a great job in both performances.  We didn’t get him flowers because he wanted sushi! And not any sushi, conveyor belt sushi.  So, Sunday we went out for lunch so he could have his fill of sushi!  Here’s a small sampling of some of the dishes.

Workout of the Week – I know exercise is so important for overall physical and mental health.  I also think it’s a big part of my self-care.  But I’m going to be real here.  I’ve fallen off the gym wagon.  With my son’s play practice these last few weeks going every night until 6 PM and/or meetings, getting to the gym was the last thing I wanted to do.  I’m debating whether to cancel my class membership and pay less money for just access to the machines.  This week I did a couple more True 30 Days of Yoga (from Yoga with Adriene) videos and I also did this POPSUGAR Fitness Barre Sculpting Workout.  I’m finding doing YouTube workouts fits better in my schedule since I can do them whenever I want and not work around a gym class schedule.  We’ll see how it goes.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I shared Westchester County Staycation Fun.

Wednesday I shared what was Rocking My Happy this week.

Thursday I re-posted and updated a recipe for Egg Roll in a Bowl.

Sharing with Friday Favorites! Have a great weekend!

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Egg Roll In a Bowl

 

Even though they are fried and very bad for me, egg rolls are a mandatory part of any Chinese take-out order.  I love the crunchy shell with the pork and cabbage filling.  In honor of Chinese New Year we had posted the Awesome Egg Rolls that we had made for our celebration dinner.  That was our first time making egg rolls.  As much as we enjoyed them, they were deep fried in oil….which is fine, as long as we don’t make them too often!  This dish is so much healthier since it’s not fried, but still has most of the flavors of the appetizer that I enjoy so much.  We served this over rice.  Both kids loved this dish and have been asking for it again!

Egg Roll in a Bowl
Inspired by this recipe from Mostly Homemade Mom

Ingredients:
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Thai style chili sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounce bag coleslaw mix
scallions, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground pork and brown 7-10 minutes until pork is no longer pink.  Drain any fat.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine soy sauce through Thai style chili sauce, whisking together to combine. Set aside.
3. Add minced garlic and coleslaw mix to the ground pork in skillet.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage wilts.
4. Add in the sauce, mixing to combine with all ingredients. Cook about 5 more minutes.  Sprinkle with scallions if desired and serve.

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Rocking My Happy {3.21.18}

Just a few things that have been rocking my happy this week…..as we are hit with another snow storm today!

*Seeing my son perform as one of the leads in his school musical.

*Ruby Red Grapefruit Sorbet from TCBY!

*My mom’s homemade Irish Soda Bread.

*A traditional St. Patrick’s Day dinner!

*Visiting with family this weekend.

*Conveyor belt sushi.

*Dinner with me and the kids with enjoyable conversation and no fighting.

*No lines at Walmart the afternoon before a big storm.

 

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Westchester County Staycation Fun {For Tweens}

With all of the recent snow storms we’ve had, for many Westchester County families, this upcoming Spring break has been significantly shortened.  Some of you may have booked your vacations weeks ago.  However, for those of you who have not, here are some ideas to make the most of those few days off.  There is lots of fun to be had close to home.  Enjoy some Westchester County staycation fun with some of these great ideas, especially useful to entertain the tweens!

A Maze in Pottery – Spend some time painting pottery!  With over 300 different items to paint, everyone in the family will be able to find something!

Bounce & Trampoline Fun – Sit and watch your kids tire themselves out as they bounce and jump.  Local venues include Bounce (Poughkeepsie), Bounce U (Elmsford) Rockin’ Jump (Yonkers), Rockin’ Jump (Mount Kisco), and Sky Zone (New Rochelle).

Bowling –  Westchester County has several bowling alleys including Bowlmor (White Plains), Cortlandt Lanes (Cortlandt Manor), Homefield Bowl (Yonkers), Jefferson Valley Lanes (Jefferson Valley), Roc ‘n’ Bowl (New Rochelle) and Spins Bowl (Mount Kisco).

Escape the Mystery Room – With nearby locations in Yorktown Heights at the Jefferson Valley Mall and in West Nyack at the Palisades Center, this is a fun family outing for older children.  You can get more info and read about our family’s experience.

Hudson River Museum – Enjoy a trip to the Hudson River Museum.  April 2 through April 6 students on break are welcome to enjoy a FREE planetarium show when accompanied by an adult.

Ice Skating – If you haven’t had enough cold weather fun, Westchester County is home to several ice skating rinks. Check out our guide to ice skating in Westchester County for all the info.

iFLY –  Do you have adventurous kids?  They might enjoy indoor skydiving!  iFLY Westchester is located in the Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers.

Muse Paintbar – With locations in White Plains and Yonkers, at Ridge Hill), enjoy an afternoon of painting.

Palisades Climb – Inside the Palisades Mall, your kids will enjoy exploring the 75 elements that make up the world’s tallest indoor ropes challenge course.  Read all about the fun that our family had!

Spins Hudson – Recently opened in Peekskill, Spins Hudson has laser tag, a ropes course, arcade and bocce and shuffleboard.

Sporttime USA – Although a little dated, there is a lot of fun to be had at Sporttime USA.  There are lots of video games, batting cages, lazer tag, and even a couple of rides (Bumper Cars, Himalaya Roller Coaster and Mini Twister).

 

 

 

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Five on Friday {St. Patrick’s Day Weekend}

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Happy Friday! This has been a super busy week.  The kids ended up having a snow day on Tuesday.  My son had his science fair.  I am super nervous excited because tonight and tomorrow my son is starring in his school’s 3rd and 4th grade school play.  They are doing a production of the Magic Tree House Knight at Dawn and he is Jack for the first half of the play/musical.  Our weekend will be filled with the play and seeing family who are coming to watch it.  And of course hopefully enjoying some corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day!  Here are five from this week:
Watching – We don’t get HBO.  But I recently discovered that season one of Big Little Lies was available from the library.  So, I’ve been binge watching this since it’s due back to the library on Monday!

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Reading – This week I finished up Still Me by Jojo Moyes.  This was a great book and I really enjoyed reading more of Lou’s story.

Family Time – Much of our family time revolves around food!  Last weekend we drove to a town about 45 minutes away to go out for lunch.  We made two stops, one to a dumpling restaurant where we had two kinds of dumplings (the fried beef and onion are showed above and we also had steamed pork and seafood ones).  My kids LOVE dumplings and these were some of the best dumplings we’ve had.  Then we went to a Vietnamese restaurant, where we shared some pho, a bahn mi and some pork bun moc.  Both of these places were recommended to me by an Instagram follower who lives near me.

A Wrinkle in Time

 

Mother-Son Date – Last weekend the movie A Wrinkle In Time came out.  Since we read the book together, the two of us went to go see it.  I cannot tell you the last time that I went to a movie on opening weekend!  The movie was alright.  It was a bit different from the book.  But I enjoyed the cast.

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Ice Cream – Breyers Ice Cream Cake ice cream has become a recent favorite. If you like Carvel ice cream cake, you will most likely enjoy this ice cream flavor as much as I do.  It is vanilla and chocolate ice cream, but the chocolate ice cream has the little crunchies.  I may buy this ice cream and a flavor I don’t like, and don’t let the rest of the family eat my ice cream!

ICYI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my February 2018 reads.

Wednesday I posted what was Rocking My Happy this week.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Rocking My Happy {3.14.18}

Here are some things rocking my happy this week:

*Giving our bedroom a deep clean including a major dusting and vacuuming and clearing off my nightstand.

*Eating the most delicious dumplings.

*A mother-son movie date.

*Getting to bed early on the weekend and not feeling affected by daylight savings.

*Signing up again for the Ipsy Glam bag, even though I’m wait-listed.

*Getting back into Yoga with Adriene.

*Steph and Jana’s Show Us Your Books linkup.  I love finding new books to read!

$2 medium beverages at Dunkin Donuts Happy Hour.

*Getting to sleep a little later on a work morning because of a 3-hour delay!