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7 Low-Cost and Fun Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching.  I’m not one that gets very excited about Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday.  However, I enjoy celebrating the holiday with the kids.  They still get excited over the little things, so I have to take advantage of it while I can!  And that’s what really makes parenting and celebrating most holidays special. I’m not one though to spend lots of money on candy-filled hearts and stuffed animals for the kids.  Like I said, for me it’s all about the little things.  Here are seven low-cost but fun ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

1. Decorate the house – Hand up red, pink and white streamers and/or balloons.  Or keep it simple and cut out construction paper hearts.   We have an outdoor heart flag that we hang up outside as well as some Valentine heart kitchen towels.  Remember, little things.

Red clothes

2. Wear red or pink!  –  I’m sure most of us have at least one piece of red or pink clothing.  This is the time when I pull out the red sweater, that I might have also worn at Christmas time!   I stopped buying those cute, holiday-themed shirts for the kids years ago, when I realized that they only got worn a handful of times.   So, on Valentine’s Day, they wear the red graphic shirts that they already own.

Heart Cookie Cutters

3.  Have a heart shaped breakfast  – Break out the heart shaped cookie cutters and make heart-shaped pancakes.  Or shape them free-hand if you’re really good! You can serve them with sliced strawberries and strawberry yogurt for a festive breakfast.   To continue the heart-shaped food theme, you can use the cookie cutters to make heart-shaped sandwiches to pack for school lunch.

4.  Make (or buy) a Valentine’s treat – This year Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday….a school day.  So I’m a bit hesitant with this one myself.  I know that there will be parties at school and lots of candy attached to those Valentines that they give and receive.  However, it’s a special occasion.  So heart shaped cookies or brownies will most likely be making an appearance after dinner.

5. Have a scavenger hunt – The kids loved this the year we did it.  I took Hershey Kisses and hid them around the house, giving little clues as to where the next set was hidden.   The Valentine’s Day bags of Hershey Kisses have red, pink and silver wrappings.  You can assign each child a different color and match hiding spots and clues accordingly.

6. List reasons why you love your kids – Or better yet, you can make it a family activity.  Each family member writes down reasons that they love the other members of the family.  You can do this before dinner and then read them aloud while you’re eating.

7.  Give the kids coupon books – We did this one year as a Valentine present for the kids.  We made coupons that entitled them to things like extra screen time, or a free pass on one of their chores.

Bonus:  To help you prepare for next year, hit the stores the days after Valentine’s Day and stock up on decorations and items for next year!!

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids?

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 63}

2017 calendar

Happy Monday.  I hope everyone had a nice weekend!  It is time once again for another weekly meal plan.  I hope our menu gives you some dinner inspiration.  It’s always fun to try a new recipe or cuisine.  If you haven’t in awhile, I challenge you to give it a try!  Here’s a look at what was on our menu this past week.

Saturday – My husband and I got a rare date night out and met up with his brother for a long over-due dinner.  We went to Rivermarket Bar and Kitchen.  I had these Scallops with Wild Mushroom and Butternut Squash Risotto.

Sunday – My husband “made” fish and chips.  Actually, he heated up some Gorton’s fish patties and fries.  It was a quick and easy meal and I didn’t have to cook.  So, a win for me!

Shrimp Scampi Garlic Bread Pizza

Monday – I made Shrimp Scampi Garlic Bread Pizza from I Wash You Dry.  This dinner was so good!  My daughter, who says she doesn’t like shrimp had seconds of this and complimented me on how good it was!  Instead of using grated parm, I sprinkled shredded mozzarella on top.  I served this with Caesar salad.

Reuben Grilled Cheese

Tuesday – I made Reuben Grilled Cheese from Damn Delicious.  I didn’t make these in a waffle maker, like the recipe recommends.  They were still delicious and another dinner winner this week!  These were so easy to make too.  I served them with fries.

Potsticker Noodle Bowls

Wednesday – I made Potsticker Noodle Bowls from Iowa Girl Eats.  I used some rice vermicelli noodles that I had instead of the noodles recommended.  I’ve made Egg Roll in a Bowl before which, I’ve posted on the blog.  I think the Egg Roll in a Bowl is more flavorful than this recipe.  However, the kids really enjoyed this.  This is another quick and easy recipe.

Crockpot Creamy Cashew Chicken

Thursday – I made Crockpot Creamy Cashew Chicken from Half Baked Harvest.  This required a little bit of prep in the morning, have to make the seasoning paste.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t wowed by this.  Overall, I found it just okay. I was happy that both kids both ate it without complaint.  I served with rice and naan.

Lasagna Soup

Friday –  Instead of our usual homemade pizza, this week I made Lasagna Soup from Cuisine at Home.  I added a bit more pasta than called for.  The kids and I had soup but by the time my husband ate dinner the pasta had soaked up most of the “soup” liquid.  Regardless, it was a tasty dinner!

What is on your menu this week?

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Five on Friday {The Last in January}

Happy Friday!  Can you believe that January is almost over?  I feel like so much has happened already in 2017!  I am This week the kids had no school Tuesday because of ice and sleet.  It was actually a great day to have off, since my daughter was super sick.  She has a bad cold and she really needed that day to rest.  She was feeling well enough to go back to school Wednesday but even today she’s still not feeling that great.  Luckily, the weekend isn’t too busy.  My son has a basketball game tomorrow and then my husband and I have supper club tomorrow evening.  The theme is Chinese New Year.  It should be a delicious dinner!  Here are five from this week:

Duck Confit Pizza

1. Date Night – Last weekend my parents were in town and watched the kids so my husband and I could have a rare date night…..plus one.  We’ve been trying to get together with my brother-in-law for ages to go out to dinner.  He lives in NYC so we met half-way in Tarrytown.  He took the train up and we drove down (about 40 minutes away). We went to Rivermarket Bar and Kitchen, a restaurant that’s been on my to try-list for awhile.  We had a great dinner, which included the above Duck Confit pizza as an appetizer.  It was a really good dinner!

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2. Reading – I just started I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.  I’ve heard a lot of great reviews of this book from the Show Us Your Books linkup and it’s been on my to read list for awhile.  I’ve just started it and it’s moving a bit slow. I’m hoping it picks up soon!

3. Watching – This past weekend we watched The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe from the Chronicles of Narnia.  My son and I recently finished reading the book and whenever possible, we watch the movie after we read a book.  Both book and movie were really good!

Shrimp Scampi Garlic Bread Pizza

4. Eating – Lots of yummy food this week, including this Shrimp Scampi Garlic Bread Pizza.  Yes, it was as good as it sounds!  You can check out the rest of our menu this past week in Monday’s weekly meal plan post!

5. Listening – I’ve been catching up on finishing the last season of Scandal since TGIT came back last night (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder!).   In one of the last couple of episodes of last season, I heard this song playing in the background.  I hadn’t heard it in forever and didn’t realize that Diana Ross sang it.  But I was quick to look it up on Youtube and have been listening to it a lot this week.

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Bonus:  Today is Multicultural Children’s Book Day!  Over 300 readers will be linking up their reviews of diverse literature that we have received specifically for this event.  I read the book Nowhere Girl and thought it was a really great middle grade fiction book (there’s a link below to my review).  I’m so happy that I was able to participate in such a great event.  I think that it’s really important that children have access to and read books that celebrate diversity.

ICYMI this week on the blog:
Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.
Tuesday I posted a recipe for Asian Meatloaf.
Wednesday I posted a review of the book Nowhere Girl for Mulicultural Children’s Book Day.
Thursday I wrote about Chinese New Year and also shared where you can celebrate Chinese New Year in Westchester County.

Linking up with Tif, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!

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Celebrating Chinese New Year in Westchester County

Chinese New Year begins this Saturday, January 28th.  This year is the year of the Rooster.  There are several events where families can celebrate Chinese New Year in Westchester County and the surrounding areas.  Although we are not Chinese, I am fortunate that we live in an area where there are many opportunities for families to experience different cultures and experiences.  You can read all about Chinese New Year in this post.

Although this information was accurate at the time of posting, please check individual websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.  

Free:

Saturday, January 28, 2017 (Chappaqua, NY)
The Chappaqua Library  is hosting an all ages Chinese New Year celebration from 3-4:30.  The event is free but pre-registration is required.

Saturday, January 28, 2017 (Carmel, NY)
Although the Chuang Yen Monastery is not normally open during the winter for visitors, they will be open on January 28 for a Chinese Lunar New Year Blessing Ceremony from 9 AM – 5 PM.

For a Cost:

Saturday, January 28, 2017 (Greenwich, CT)
The Chinese Language School of Connecticut is hosting their 15th Annual New Year’s Celebration.  This event will take place from 11 AM to 3 PM at the Greenwich High School Student Center in Greenwich, Connecticut.  Festivities include a dragon dance, a Chinese Buffet, music, crafts, demonstrations, performances and more. Tickets cost $30/child, $45/adult.

Saturday, February 25, 2017 (Purchase, NY)
The Westchester Association of Chinese Americans (WACA NY) is hosting their Chinese New Year Celebration on February 25, 2017 at SUNY Purchase College.  The theme this year is “Culture and Traditions of the Chinese New Year Festival” and will include food sampling, calligraphy, paper crafts and more as well as dance, martial art and musical instrument performances.  Early bird tickets are available until February 13 and cost $15/child, $20/adult.

Saturday, March 11, 2017 (Mahopac, NY)
Dragon and Crane, an “American Chinese Cultural Center” located in Somers, NY is hosting their Chinese New Year Celebration on March 11, 2017 at the Putnam National Golf Club.  This celebration includes an appetizer and cocktail hour, performances, buffet dinner, dessert and awards ceremony.  Non-member tickets cost $43/child, $75/adult.

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Chinese New Year 2017: Year of the Rooster

This Saturday, January 28 is the start of the Chinese New Year.  The date changes every year since it is based on the lunar calendar.  Over the next fifteen days this holiday will be celebrated with parades, lion dances, firecrackers and lots of good food!

There are many myths and traditions associated with this holiday.   Prior to the new year, families often do a thorough cleansing of their houses to sweep away any bad luck.  Plastic firecrackers are often hung inside houses. They symbolize the loud noises that real firecrackers make and are intended to frighten evil spirits away.  The color red is the main color of the Chinese New Year and is associated with joy and happiness.  Children receive red envelopes with “lucky” money.

Each year in the Chinese New Year is an animal from the Chinese zodiac.  2017 is the year of the Rooster.  Roosters, those born in the years 1933, 1945, 1957, 1981, 1993 or 2005 are considered to be loyal, hard-working and brave.   However, this year is believed to be unlucky for those born in a year of the Rooster.

Food plays an important role during the Chinese New Year.  Different foods are thought to bring luck into the new year.  A new year’s feast may include fish, which symbolizes abundance and prosperity,  golden, fried dumplings since gold symbolizes wealth and prosperity, long noodles, which represent longevity and mandarin oranges, which are considered to be lucky.

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Although I am not Chinese, I think that it’s important to educate and acknowledge my children about other cultures. Last year we read several books about Chinese New Year.  In previous years we have made a Chinese dinner together, complete with egg rolls and homemade dumplings.

 

There are many ways that you can celebrate Chinese New Year with your family!  You can make a Chinese lantern, wish each other Happy New Year in Chinese,  read a book about Chinese New Year, have a meal that includes some of the lucky foods, or even attend a local celebration.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!  How are you celebrating Chinese New Year with your family?

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Nowhere Girl {Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review}

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle,Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawDelores Connors, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation,Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:

MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use their official hashtag#ReadYourWorld.

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Nowhere Girl by A.J. Paquette
Published by:  Walker & Company (imprint of Bloomsbury), September 13, 2011
Genre:  Children’s Middle Grade Fiction, Asian culture
Pages: 256
Price:  $16.99
Source: Provided by the author/publisher for a review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day

From Bloomsbury:

Luchi Ann only knows a few things about herself: she was born in a prison in Thailand. Her American mother was an inmate there. And now that her mother has died, Luchi must leave the only place she’s ever known and set out into the world. Neither at home as a Thai, because of her fair skin and blond hair, nor as a foreigner, because of her knowledge of Thai life and traditions, Luchi feels as though she belongs nowhere. But as she embarks on an amazing adventure-a journey spanning continents and customs, harrowing danger and exhilarating experiences-she will find the family, and the home, she’s always dreamed of. Weaving intricate elements of traditional Thailand into a modern-day fairy tale unique unto itself, Nowhere Girl is a beautifully rendered story of courage, resilience, and finding the one place where you truly belong.

My Review:  13 year-old Luchi was born in a prison in northern Thailand, where her American mother was imprisoned.  This prison is the only life Luchi has known.  When her mother passes away, Luchi decides that she needs to leave the prison.  With her mother’s ashes sitting in a small canister  tied to her back and an old list of names of people in Bangkok, Luchi is escorted to the city by the Chief warden’s nephew.   Luchi with her blond hair and gray eyes looks American but has only known Thailand as her home.  She’s always, “felt like a monkey in the middle” but feels it even more so, as she discovers the world around her for the first time.  When she sees Thailand for the first time she is amazed by all the sights and sounds.  We as the reader, get to experience Thai culture along with Luchi as she tries new foods and sees the sights of Bangkok.

As Luchi’s journey unfolds, we learn secrets about her mother’s past and her family back in America.  Luchi realizes that she can reinvent herself and be anyone she wants.  We accompany her as she heads to America to find her grandmother, the only family that she has.  Will Luchi be successful in finding her mother’s family?

Having never been to Thailand before, (but hoping one day to visit!), I thought that Paquette captured the Thai culture well.  I also liked how Thai words are interspersed throughout the text but are understandable in context.

Luchi is such a likable character who shows such resilience and perseverance on her journey.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the story, I found it to be a little rushed at the end to tie up all the loose ends.  (**Possible spoiler alert ahead!)  And I’m still left wondering what happened to Helena when she went missing for four days.

This book is such a  great read and I highly recommend it.  It is unfortunate that this book has been published for over five years now and this is the first time that I have heard of it.  I really appreciate the efforts of Multicultural Children’s Book Day to bring awareness to diversity in children’s literature.  I am happy to be passing this book along to my ten-year-old daughter to read.

Overall Rating: Recommended Read.

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Asian Meatloaf

As much as I enjoy cooking dinner each night for the family, I usually want something quick and easy.  So, I’m warning you right now, if you are looking for quick and easy, this is not the recipe for you.  Unfortunately, meatloaf needs to cook for awhile.  But this recipe is really tasty!  So I recommend either prepping the meatloaf the night before, so its ready to just cook in the oven.  Another option is to either make this recipe in muffin tins or form into burgers, to cut down on cooking time.  I plan on trying out both of these alternatives soon since this recipe is so tasty!

Chili Garlic Sauce

This is the chili garlic sauce that I used on the sauce.  We buy this at HMart but I’m sure it’s available at most Asian grocery stores.  I served the meatloaf with roasted potato wedges.

Asian Meatloaf

Asian Meatloaf
Prep Time:
 20 minutes
Cook Time:  1 hour

Ingredients:
Cooking spray
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp milk
1 1/4 pounds ground meatloaf mix
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
4 ounce can drained, chopped water chesnuts
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tsp chili garlic sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the milk and let sit for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the panko crumbs, ground meat, scallions, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water chestnuts, garlic, salt and pepper. Once it is well mixed, shape into a 5-by-8-inch oval on the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, brown sugar and chili garlic sauce.  Spread half of the mixture over the meatloaf, spreading to cover. Bake  in the preheated oven for one hour, or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 165 degrees F.  Halfway through cooking, brush remaining glaze on the meatloaf and continue cooking. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray.

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 62}

2017 calendar

It’s Monday again and time for another meal plan!  If you haven’t tried meal planning, I highly recommend it.  You can read all about my meal planning process to help you get started.  It really helps in making your evening routine run smoothly as well as keeping your food budget in check!  Here’s a look at what was on our meal plan this past week:

Saturday  –  My daughter spent the night at her friend’s house.  My husband and I ordered Chinese takeout and watched movies with our son.

Sunday –  We loved the latkes my husband made last week and since he didn’t make nearly enough, he made some more for dinner Sunday evening.  He picked up a rotisserie chicken to have with the latkes.   We had our fill of latkes and this time there were leftovers!

Spinach and Artichoke Tortellini

Monday –  I went to  the gym Monday evening.  My husband, who was home from work, made the Spinach and Artichoke Tortellini from Rachael Ray’s Express Lane Meals cookbook that I had planned to make, while I was out.  Of course the kids liked everything……but the spinach and artichokes!!  So, they basically had tortellini in a cream sauce, as they ate around all the “stuff.”

Potato Latke Rosti

Tuesday  – I made a Rosti of sorts with the leftover latkes that I served with sauteed zucchini.  Rosti is a Swiss potato pancake dish.  I added a slice of ham, a slice of swiss cheese and two fried eggs on top of some latkes. When I tell you that this dish was a hit with the kids is an understatement.  I’ve never seen my son eat his dinner so quickly and offer so many compliments!

Simmered Cabbage with Beef

Wednesday – I made Simmered Cabbage with Beef, Shan Style from Cooking Light, November, 2011.  This was fairly easy to make.  I didn’t add the red pepper to the main dish, for fear it would be too spicy for the kids.  Unfortunately, I found the dish as a whole to be lacking in flavor.  This was even after I added the red pepper to my own bowl.  The kids weren’t big fans of this dish and my daughter commented on the neon color of the dish (from the turmeric).  This is definitely not a repeat dish for us.

Crockpot Creamy Lemon Chicken

Thursday – Thursdays are currently our busiest evening of the week.  I made Crock Pot Creamy Lemon Chicken from i heart eating.  During the day I made Spaghetti Aglio E Olio (spaghetti with olive oil and garlic and I added some broccoli) to go with it and we just warmed it up when it was time for dinner.

Friday – Friday was a busy night.  We picked my daughter up from her Girl Scout meeting and then went to my son’s tae kwon do board break-a-thon at the elementary school.  I made our usual homemade pizza.  My son had to eat his dinner super early and my daughter had to eat her dinner late….but everyone got fed!

What is on your menu this week?

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Five on Friday {Good and Bad}


Happy Friday!  I hope everyone had a great week.  Before we get on to some good things from this week, here are a couple of bad things.  First, I don’t like talking politics with anyone besides my immediate family and very close friends.  However, seeing clips from the Betsy DeVos hearing really had me fired me up.  As a former special education teacher, I am in disbelief that this woman is going to be running our country’s education system. Second, on Monday my daughter and I both got haircuts.  We both just got a couple of inches trimmed off.  But I also had the hair dresser cut me bangs.  Well, they are not quite what I was envisioning and I’m not very happy with them.  It’s just hair though and I’m dealing.  Hopefully, they will grow out sooner than later and I can brush them to the side, which is what I was previously doing with them.  Here are five from this week:

1. Blog Updates –  I have just started using Canva and can’t believe what took me so long to try it!  As you may have noticed, last weekend I updated my blog header and social media icons.  It’s not a big thing, but everything that I’ve done with this blog has been self-taught.  So, I’m giving myself a little pat on the back!

Bowling

2.  Bowling – With the three day weekend we decided to take the kids bowling Sunday night.  They were super surprised and we had a great time!  I posted this pic on Instagram and noted that yes, I have my own bowling ball…..but I’m not a very good bowler!  When my husband and I were dating (and pre-kids) we would go bowling a lot.  So, we both ended up getting our own shoes and bowling balls.  Unfortunately, nowadays, they only get used every couple of months or so.

One True Loves

3. Reading – After reading so many great reviews about this book, (and all of her other books!) on the Show Us Your Books linkup I decided I had to give it a try. So far, it’s really good!

4. Watching – I am of course watching The Bachelor (instead of listening to a podcast recap, I’ve opted to just read Sheaffer’s recaps instead, which are hysterical and spot-on!). Over the three day weekend we watched the movies Matilda and The BFG since my son and I had read both books together this summer.  Both movies were a bit different from the books in parts but were enjoyable.  I also saw this video on my Facebook feed this past week.  Rachel blogs at The Stay At Home Chef and also has a Youtube Channel.  She received a comment from a reader about her gray hair and this video is her response.  Its brave, beautiful and empowering.

Izla

5. Eating –  After our haircuts on Monday, the family went out for lunch.  My husband suggested Izla, which we hadn’t been to in a long time.  We shared Churrasco, Ropa Vieja and roasted chicken with rice & gandules, tostones, salsa stuffing and cinnamon baked yams.  It was so good!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
2017 calendar

Monday I posted our weekly meal plan.

Kombucha

Thursday I shared our thoughts on kombucha.

Linking up with Tif, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!

 

Kombucha….We Tried It!

Kombucha

Kombucha.  I’m sure you’ve heard the word, though you may not know what it is.  Although around for centuries, Kombucha has started really trending over the past couple of years.  But what exactly is it you ask?  Kombucha is a sweetened tea fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).   The beverage is available at health food stores like Mrs. Green’s and Whole Foods and I even spotted it at my local Shoprite.  Many people even homebrew kombucha.  So why the popularity?  Kombucha is alleged to have many health benefits.  As with other fermented foods, kombucha has probiotics, which help to increase good bacteria in the digestive tract.   However, according to the Mayo Clinic, there is no scientific evidence to support the alleged health benefits of kombucha.  As a result of the fermentation process, alcohol is a natural by-product of kombucha.  A University of Maine test sampling of several different kombucha brands found alcohol amounts ranging from 0.5% to 2.5% by volume.  The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) considers anything greater than 0.5% to be an alcoholic beverage, and regulated and taxed as so.  This of course has created controversy with kombucha producers who are altering formulas to attempt to adhere to regulations while regulators continue to crackdown on kombucha producers.

Eager to try Kombucha I took a trip to my local Mrs. Green’s to buy a bottle.  They had several different brands and varieties of kombucha for sale.  I picked out GT’s Synergy Organic Kombucha in Cosmic Cranberry.  A 16 ounce bottle cost $3.99.  I brought it home and had the family try it and here are the reviews:

I first smelled the beverage and was hit with a strong, vinegary smell.  I found the flavor of the kombucha to be tart and vinegary.  The tartness could be from the cranberry flavor that I had chosen. The taste wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t enjoy it and would not be able to drink an entire bottle of the stuff.

My eight-year-old son gave it a taste and said, “this tastes like the stuff you put on the cucumbers.”  He’s referring to the rice vinegar that I marinate cucumbers in.  This made me laugh since the vinegar flavor was spot-on.  He did not like the kombucha at all.

My ten-year-old  daughter tried it and thought it smelled like beer.  Could she smell the alcohol in it?!!  I couldn’t!  She thought it tasted like cranberry and was very strong tasting but okay.  She didn’t have more than a sip though or ask for more!

So, that left my husband to drink the kombucha!  And he liked it!  He liked the sour flavor of the beverage and the tartness from the cranberry.  He liked that the drink was fizzy, but not super carbonated like soda.   He would drink kombucha again and would like to.

Kombucha

I wasn’t a fan of kombucha.  Since there are no proven health benefits of drinking the stuff, I’m going to pass.  I can’t see forcing myself to drink something that I don’t really like the taste of.  I’ll get my probiotics through other fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, which I actually enjoy eating!  My husband on the other hand will continue to drink kombucha because he enjoys it!