Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Lime and reorganizing

I know you're wondering what do the color lime and reorganizing have in common? Not much really, but they were both the inspiration behind my recent kitchen cleanup.

It all started with a bowl of limes on the island. The color was so vibrant. I wanted more of it in my kitchen.

I found some tea towels at Target, a really cool utensil bucket and some hand soap at HomeGoods.


On Black Friday, I bought this fabulous Martha Stewart dutch oven at Macy's for a steal, $19.99. It was regularly priced at $69.99. (See, it pays to get to the mall at 4:30 am.) I love this basket for storing my favorite cooking magazines and the utensil pot is actually meant for a plant, but because I end up killing all of mine, I used it more constructively. Both were purchased at Christmas Tree Shops. And the olive pot holder and towel set has been around awhile. Sorry, but I just can't recall where I bought it.


The last thing on my list to buy is a lime green tea kettle. I've had my eyes on one at HomeGoods for weeks. I think it's time to go get it. My red one looks really out of place in my kitchen full of lime green!

Do you have a color that defines your kitchen...either the accessories or the walls? What is it? And where did the inspiration for that color come from? I'd love to know!
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Thankful for...

It's not difficult to be thankful this Thanksgiving season. In a world where so many are suffering, mentally, physically, and financially, being grateful for what I have is pretty simple. So what exactly am I thankful for? Well, so many things including the obvious, my family and friends, our good health, a roof over our heads, and the means to have it.

But what I am most thankful for is something small, laughter. In a world filled with poverty, hunger, war, and grief, the sound of laughter is music to my ears. When so many have little reason to laugh, the sounds of children giggling, women cackling, and big roars from the men are glorious.

As I sat around the table today, sharing a meal with family, I couldn't help but pay particular attention to the laughter. It occurs when we are happy, content, and grateful for that with which we've been blessed. Isn't that the true meaning of Thanksgiving?

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful day with friends and family.
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Tuesday's Tasty Treat: The Bubble Room desserts

No trip to Captiva Island is complete without a stop at The Bubble Room. The famed restaurant is known for its kitschy decor, including toys, antiques, Hollywood memorabilia, and music from the 30's and 40's. What The Bubble Room is also known for is its award-winning desserts. Three words: To. Die. For.

Seriously yummy.

On this trip, we opted for the red velvet cake. The portions are ENORMOUS. One slice of cake easily feeds 4 people. Easily. Who could resist this?

Definitely not these two...

Here are some of The Bubble Room's famous dessert offerings.
Key lime pie, New York cheesecake, orange crunch cake, chocolate strawberry cake and coconut cake. Each one better than the next.

If you ever make it to Captiva Island, Florida be sure to stop by The Bubble Room. If for nothing else, just to browse the restaurant and indulge in a decadent slice of cake is worth the trip!
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Beauty and the Beast

There's gorgeous, and then there's GORGEOUS. Eva Longoria is GORGEOUS. It's not a matter of opinion. She just is.

So when the news hit the wire the other day that Eva Longoria and hubby Tony Parker were headed for splitsville, I was shocked. Who would cheat on her? Oh, wait, Tony Parker would. And what's worse is that he cheated with a teammate's wife. Leaving behind a string of text messages, Parker was busted when Longoria discovered the messages. That's just wrong on so many levels.

Photo credit: Getty Images

As an actress on one of my favorite shows, Eva Longoria feels like a friend to me. You know, like someone I get together with for one hour a week, Sundays from 9-10. You just want to give her comfort. Tell her that she's better off without him in her life.

What is with these men? Brad Pitt cheated on Jennifer Aniston. Gabriel Aubrey cheated on Halle Berry. Certainly these men are not cheating up because that would be impossible. OK, maybe Brad Pitt cheated up. No, it was a lateral cheat. I know, we don't have all the details of these relationships, but what makes men cheat on some of the most beautiful women in the world? Someone please tell me.
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It's BOGO time at Starbucks!

The holiday drink season is in full swing at Starbucks® and what better way to celebrate than a buy one/get one free offer!

Beginning today, November 18th and continuing through November 21st, Starbucks® kicks off the season of giving by giving a little something to their customers. Between the hours of 2 and 5 pm, you will receive a free holiday drink when you purchase a holiday drink. Ohhh, the possibilities.

How will you celebrate? With a friend? Or perhaps you'll skip your lunch break and grab a co-worker at 2:00 today for a pick-me-up at Starbucks®.  What will you order? With drinks such as the Gingerbread Latte, Peppermint Mocha, and Caramel Brulée Latte, it's hard to choose!
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Wordless Wednesday: Butterflies

During our trip to Captiva, the Hubs and I took a leisurely stroll...sans kids. We came across the most magnificent butterfly bush. It was teeming with Monarch butterflies...hundreds of them.

 For more Wordless Wednesday photos, visit 5 Minutes for Mom, Wordless Wednesday, A Beautiful Mess, and Parenting by Dummies.
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CD Review: "...Featuring" by Norah Jones

I've adored Norah Jones and her music ever since she burst onto the scene in 2002. Her soothing, soulful voice and unique, bluesy sound have captivated audiences for years. Jones' latest release, "...Featuring", is a compilation of her collaboration with various musicians between the years 2001 and 2010. The CD is diverse and entertainingly robust. "...Featuring" is chock full of musical giants including Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, and the Foo Fighters, and Jones excels at holding her own alongside each of them.

I received this CD to review just prior to leaving for a vacation in Florida. It couldn't have come at a better time. I had ample time on the plane, at the pool, and on the beach to give it a good listen.

"...Featuring' offers something for everyone. The selections are varied, including country (with Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton), rock (with Ryan Adams, Belle and Sebastian, and the aforementioned Foo Fighters), and hip-hop (with OutKast, Q-Tip, and Talib Kweli). Both avid and new Norah Jones fans will revel in the rich and varied musical offerings of "...Featuring".

Some of my favorite songs include, "Little Lou, Ugly Jack, Prophet John" (featuring Belle and Sebastian), "Baby It's Cold Outside" (featuring Willie Nelson), and "Creepin' In" (featuring Dolly Parton). The CD wraps up with a remake of Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou". It is a perfect way to end a spectacular CD.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of "...Featuring" to review as part of a campaign for the One2One Network. All opinions expressed herein are strictly mine and are based on a comprehensive review of the CD. For more information on my Disclosure Policy, click here.
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Wine of the Week: Bohemian Highway Sauvignon Blanc

I"ll admit that what caught my eye first was the label of this wine. It's colorful and a bit retro with a hint of Grateful Dead. Although the label drew me in, the price kept me there. At $8.99/bottle, Bohemian Highway's Sauvignon Blanc didn't require a whole lot of thought or effort to put the bottle in my basket.


I couldn't wait to try it. Later that evening after getting a good chill on the wine, I opened the bottle, poured a glass, and savored my first sip. I was pleasantly surprised. A wine in this price range can go either way, and in most cases, it goes by way of my kitchen sink's drain. But not this crisp, clean white wine by Bohemian Highway.

The wine description per Bohemian Highway's Web site, "The Sauvignon Blanc strikes the ideal balance between lush, tropical fruit flavors and bright, refreshing herbaceous notes. Its well-balanced acidity and crisp finish make it a great addition to any meal. And its fruit-forward pleasing style echoes the relaxed style of Bohemian Highway lifestyle."

Located in Napa, California, Bohemian Highway takes its name from the famed stretch of Northern California highway that winds through vineyards and redwood forests and stretches to the Pacific Ocean. The award-winning wines are aptly named for the artists and adventure seekers who ventured down the route years ago in pursuit of an easy-going and relaxed lifestyle that defines California.
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Brugo Mug Giveaway - Back by Popular Demand

If you missed out on my first BRŨGO™ Mug giveaway in September, now is your chance to get in on this one. Just in time for winter, Brugo Mug is, once again, generously offering one Pieces of a Mom reader a complimentary mug.

The BRŨGO™ Mug boasts a patented Temperature Control Chamber. The lid has three options: LOCK, TIP & COOL, and SIP.

LOCK seals the mug is perfect for transporting the beverage without spilling.

TIP & COOL gives you the full benefits of the temperature control chamber. Once the beverage in the mug has cooled to a temperature to allow drinking, you simply turn the dial to SIP and enjoy the beverage directly.

Other features of the BRŨGO™ Mug include:
  • 16 ounce capacity
  • Double wall insulation
  • 3-position drink mode selector
  • Stainless steel finish
  • Fits most vehicle cup holders
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Available in an array of stylish colors
PROS
The unique, and, by far, best feature of the BRŨGO™ Mug is its patented temperature control chamber. It truly offers a perfect sip of coffee each and every time.

There is no longer a need to blow on the beverage or add ice to it to cool it down. The mug allows immediate access to coffee or tea at the perfect temperature and at its peak freshness.

The color choices are bright and attractive.

CONS
Because of it's advanced technology, the BRŨGO™ Mug does require a bit of education in how to use it. After a few turns of the lid, it's easy to learn the different settings and acclimate yourself. It doesn't take long before you are filling and using.


BRŨGO™ is offering one lucky Pieces of a Mom reader a complimentary mug.

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment stating what your favorite winter beverage is. Please be sure to include your email address in the following format: {piecesofamom at gmail dot com}.

For additional entries, "Like" Brugo on Facebook and follow Brugo on Twitter. Come back here and add a comment for the bonus entries (up to 2).

All entries must be submitted by November 25, 2010 at 11:59 EDT. One lucky winner will be chosen via random.org and once notified will have 48 hours to respond. Giveaway is open to residents of the United States (excluding Hawaii and Alaska).

For more information about the Brũgo™ Mug and its unique and patented technology, visit the Web site at http://www.brugomug.com/. You can also find Brũgo™ on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Brũgo™ mug for the purpose of facilitating this review. All opinions expressed herein are strictly mine. Other than a complimentary sample, I received no other compensation for this review. For more information on my Disclosure Policy, click here.
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Scenes from Captiva

One of my favorite things to do during our trips to Captiva Island is, surprise, take pictures. Captiva is a wonder for the eyes. There is so much natural beauty. It's breathtaking. So, I thought I'd share some of that beauty with you.




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Outta here!

In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, we will make our annual trek to Captiva Island, Florida. It's been a dreary, rainy, and cold day here in the Northeast, and there's nothing I want more than to feel some warm tropical breezes.

The hubs, daughters, and I head to South Seas Resort every November for a week of some serious rest and relaxation. And I do mean SERIOUS. Our days consist of basking on the beach, followed by lounging by one of several pools, enjoying poolside cocktail service, lingering over lunch, sunning ourselves poolside, watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, and enjoying fabulous dinners. Ahhhhhhh. It is an ideal vacation.

We've been enjoying vacations in Captiva for almost 10 years. After Hurricane Charley struck the island in 2004, the resort underwent a complete renovation. It was beautiful prior, but now it is an amazing 5-star resort with amenities that are hard to beat. There are a variety of activities for the little ones. My girls love it. They go on shelling expeditions, watch hermit crab races, have their hair wrapped, and make crafts and jewelry. For the hubs and I, it's a chance to unwind from the daily grind. Who doesn't need (and deserve) that?

I will be blogging throughout the week, so be sure to check back to see some of our favorite Captiva spots!

If you are looking for a family-friendly getaway, it's worth a look. You can check out their Web site at http://www.southseas.com/. I must warn you, one look at the pictures and you'll be sold!
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Wordless Wednesday: The Princess Pumpkin

While on our trick-or-treat travels, we stumbled upon this oh so pretty pumpkin. I was envious...why hadn't I thought of this?

For more Wordless Wednesday photos, visit Wordless Wednesday, 5 Minutes for Mom, A Beautiful Mess, and Parenting by Dummies.
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Tuesday's Tasty Treat: Flatbread pizza

One of our favorite family meals is "top it yourself" pizza. It's the perfect way to get your family into the kitchen for some fun. Once we roll out the dough, I portion it into four equal parts. Each family member gets his/her own quarter to how we wish. Once the pizza is finished baking, we slice it, serve it, and vote on who made the best pizza.

The one and only bad part of pizza night is the crust. We've gotten crust from our local Italian specialty shop, but unless you're a professional, it's impossible to toss it and roll it out. We've tried the refrigerated crust in the canister. Although it is easy to roll out, the taste leaves a bit to be desired.

Recently, while on a trip to the grocery store, I picked up some flatbread on a whim. What the heck, I thought. I'm game for anything at this point. I was keeping my fingers crossed that the flatbread would make a perfect crust. After all, there was no rolling out needed. As it turned out, it was perfect! The bonus: the kids loved it, too!

What you'll need:
Flatbread
Pizza sauce, optional
Shredded and/or fresh mozzarella cheese
Any other toppings of your choice.

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place flatbread on a baking sheet or pizza stone. I lightly grilled the flatbread before I placed it on the baking sheet. Place heat on medium high. Using a grill pan, grill both sides of the flatbread until grill marks appear, about 1-2 minutes per side.


2. Top the flatbread with sauce, if using, and any toppings of your choice. We love green olives and fresh basil!

3. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Enjoy! It's yummy!!
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Surviving Halloween

Halloween has become one of those holidays that requires a lot of work. Almost like Christmas and Easter. But I do love it. I love the decorations and the whimsy. I love that adults get into it almost just as much as children.

This year, we had a fun but busy Halloween. It started with a parade in our town. We staked out a spot, and the girls were ready to catch the candy!

This was Harper's favorite part of the parade:

Emma's favorite part of the parade was catching the candy:
After the parade, it was time to hit the sidewalks to go trick-or-treating with my ballerina and my butterfly!
The girls had just about had enough after only 1.5 hours. They were done. They wanted to take their stash home and survey it. So we did. Candy. Candy. And more candy.

I survived it. Now, 24 days until Thanksgiving!
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