Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink




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Menu Plan Monday :: 1.23.2017

I am so ready to begin a new week. Last week did not turn out the way I expected. Both of my daughters were home sick on two separate days, and whenever that happens, it's hard to get work done from home. So, I ended up playing catch up late at night and over the weekend. Excited for a new week and a fresh start today.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

MondayBuccatini puttanesca. This recipe such is always such a hit that I always have requests to make it again and again. Plus, it's a one-pot meal which means easy cleanup!

Photo credit: Cooking Light

Tuesday Skillet chipotle chicken enchilada bake. Easy, peasy is the name of this game. One skillet, and it all gets piled in. My kind of dinner preparation! And there's plenty leftover for lunch the next day.

Photo credit: What's Gaby Cooking

WednesdayHomemade chicken noodle soup. I don't generally follow a recipe when I make chicken noodle soup. This recipe comes pretty darn close to the one I have in my head, and what's great about it is that you can add any veggies you like and/or swap out the type of pasta for one you prefer. And using a rotisserie chicken makes it so easy!!!

Thursday - Veggie stir fry. We usually have a meat based stir fry, but I decided to try this veggie one. You can always add chicken to it if you want a protein in your meal. I like to serve it over white or brown rice.
Photo credit

- Dinner out

Saturday - Turkey meatballs with my sister's homemade gnocchis. Last weekend when I visited my sister Holly in Pennsylvania, she sent me home with a big bag of her homemade gnocchis. They are soooo good, and I can't wait to eat them.

Sunday - Slow cooker chili. A Sunday favorite that needs no explanation.
Photo credit

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's 
Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For DinnerPasta, and Soups On! Pinterest boards for even more ideas.

Friday Fresh Picks: 6 Shows To Watch On Netflix NOW

No matter what genre of television you like, you can find something to please you on Netflix. Lucky for me, I like a little bit of everything from documentaries to comedy to drama to true story to horror. On any given day, I can find at least 5 or 6 shows or movies to watch depending on my mood.

In this installment of Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing the 6 things I've been devouring on Netflix lately.

1. The Fall - This has got to be one of the most disturbing shows I've ever watched, but it's also a very fascinating, mesmerizing look into the human psyche. Jamie Dornan and Gillian Anderson give phenomenal performances as The Belfast Strangler and the law enforcement official trying to track him down respectively. At times you'll want to both look away and keep watching so as to not miss a single second.

2. The OA - I just started this, but within 10 minutes of the first episode I was hooked. The premise of the plot line is that a blind woman goes missing and returns home 7 years later with her sight completely restored. Many are left wondering if she's a miracle or a danger to society.

3. Chasing Cameron - My oldest daughter Emma had a crush on Cameron Dallas, a member of the internet sensation MAGCON. This documentary follows Cameron's life in the spotlight with close examination of the life of an internet megastar and how quickly tides can turn and stars can fall from grace with little doing of their own. A must-see for anyone in the social media biz.

4. Witness - This documentary follows a brother's quest to get some answers about his sister's death. When Kitty Genovese is killed on New York City street, 38 witnesses stood by and did nothing to help. Forty years later her brother takes matters into his own hands to discover what really happened to his sister.

5. The Lion in Your Living Room - A must-watch for any cat lover. This documentary examines the history and evolution of cats and how they became domesticated as well as our overall infatuation with these adorably furry felines.

6. The Impossible - This movie is based on true events that occurred during the tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004. It stars two of my faves, Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor who deliver stellar performances that make you question whether the action is real or staged. Warning: this movie is frightening at times and can be hard to watch due to the reality of the events.

Thanks for checking out this week's Friday Fresh Picks. Swing by the rest of the FFP gals to see what they are loving this week.
Friday Fresh Picks are hand-picked favorite items, reviews and highlights from the amazing women you see above.

Visit their websites to learn about other amazing picks from this week!

To view all of my Friday Fresh Picks posts, click here.

Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. Another reason to want to move to France via The New York Times.

2. How to get the lingering smell of food out of your kitchen via Woman's Day.

3. Healthy smoothie recipes to kick off the new year via Self.

Snowed In? Turn Your Home Into A Place Of Fun

When the winter gets so bad that you find you are actually stuck at home, it can be a nightmare at first. Most of us have been in this kind of situation, and it is often surprisingly disruptive to our lives. You're a bit immobile due to inclement weather which means you are stuck inside. It could be a day that you expected to be at work and the kids at school, and suddenly everyone is home. Everyone will be looking to you to keep them calm and entertained.

All hope is not lost! Here are a few fool-proof ways to keep your kids occupied so much so that they won't even think to exclaim, "I'm bored!"

Get Creative
Kids, by nature, are very creative. If you provide the necessary space and supplies for them to explore their creativity, they will flourish without much pushing on your part. This is why making your home as creative as possible is likely to go down really well. Stock up on arts and crafts supplies and kits, and your kids will never be bored. What’s more, their creative juices will be flowing, and that is definitely a good thing. If you have the space (such as a spare room or a portion of a basement or attic), you can turn it into a craft room.


Spending = Stressing ~ Tips To Manage Your Money

One of my goals for 2017 is to be smarter about my purchases. My motto is fewer, better things. This means I want to buy fewer items, but the ones I buy are better quality. There was a time when I'd walk into a store and purchase eight $10 items from the sale rack, only to be bored with each item within three weeks. What that boils down to is $80 wasted. $80 that could have been put towards some other expense.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed recently by finances and unnecessary purchases, you’re not alone. Running low on money can cause problems in your home and your life. Here is a list of the ways you can keep on top of your finances, track your spending, and start saving.

Natural Products for Eco-Conscious Moms

I'm a mom who cares about the environment and the materials I use in my everyday life and how they will ultimately affect my family's health. It all started when I began recycling over twenty years ago. But it wasn't until I attended this event that I became fully aware of all the dangers lurking in the products we ingest, use, and wear everyday.

Have you ever wondered exactly what all those ingredients are that go into many baby and children's skincare products or what exactly is in those jars of baby food? If you're uncertain about some of the things you buy, there are healthier and more natural alternatives. Making the switch to more natural products for baby, kids, and even you is a way to be responsible about the environment and make parenting decisions that make you happier and healthier.

Here are some of the things you might want to think about.

Menu Plan Monday :: 1.16.2017

We are kicking off the week with a drive back from visiting my sister in Pennsylvania. Heading back to New Jersey with a full week ahead starting with my cardiologist appointment on our way home. I'm hoping to have enough motivation to pull something together for dinner tonight. I'm just not sure how likely that it to happen.

Here's what's on our plates this week:

Monday - Loaded baked potato skins. After a 3-hour drive and an appointment at the cardiologist, I am going to need something easy to throw together for dinner. These loaded baked potato skins are the best ever, and everyone can top them as they wish. Everyone wins!
Photo credit

What We're Reading

One of my goals for 2017 is to do more reading. I studied literature in college, and books have always been my first love. But with the advent of Netflix and podcasts, I veered off the reading path and got sucked into a binge-watching, binge-listening black hole last year. Although I certainly don't see Netflix and my favorite podcasts going away anytime soon, I do intend to make reading a priority this year.

Here's what we are currently reading on these cold winter days and nights.

Best Online Reads

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week.

1. The unspoken rules kids create for Instagram via The New York Times.

2. How to get a better night's sleep via The Atlantic.

3. The last words of 9 famous people via Business Insider.

4 Family Fun Night Ideas For Winter

It's difficult to get motivated to go out as a family when the temperatures are hovering around freezing, and the house is warm and cozy. Sometimes the best plan is the one where you stay inside away from the frigid weather and crowds.

Here are 4 ideas for family fun night that are inexpensive and provide hours of entertainment.

1. Family Movie Night
Forget the crowded movie theater and the overpriced concessions. Host your own family movie night in the comfort of your living/family room. Choose 1 or 2 movies (We recently watched Ratatouille. It was so cute!) that everyone in the family will enjoy and be entertained by. Prepare finger friendly snacks to munch on while you enjoy the movie. Some of our favorites are popcorn (of course) and Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® crackers. We make movie night even more fun by setting up a mock ticket sales counter and concession stand.

2. Make Dinner As A Family
One of your favorite family activities is our pizza nights. We buy store-made dough, roll it out, and quarter it so that each of us has a section to top as we please. After the pizza is baked, we pass a slice around for everyone to take a bite out of, and then we rank them and choose a winner. It's so much fun, and we've had a lot of laughs from some of the pizza combinations that have been made. For extra fun, make a salad for pre-dinner and a chocolate pizza for dessert.

3. Family Game Night
If a little friendly competition is your thing, family game night is up your alley. You can choose from card, board, or video games or any combination of them. Don't forget the snacks! No game night is complete without fun snacks such as fresh veggies and dip, cheese and Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® crackers, chips and dip, and brownie bites. You can even get creative by using the Goldfish® crackers as game pieces in a game of Tic Tac Toe. Fun!

This is a fun twist on traditional cheese and crackers. Instead of placing a piece of cheese on a cracker, we place the Goldfish® cracker on the cheese. How fun is that?

4. Dance Party or Home Concert
Crank up the music and get moving! We love live music and have amassed quite a collection of DVDs over the years. We love to pop one in and totally rock out. Agreeing on the music selection may not come easily, but all the fun you'll have dancing and jamming will be well worth it.

Looking for more ways to enjoy family fun night? Help your kids create a creative and fun stop-motion video that features Goldfish® crackers for a chance to win $5,000!! Have no idea how to make a stop-animation video. Get the instructions here, and find some inspiration here. Once it's finished, you can submit your full video here. For complete contest details and rules, check out