Food & Drink

Food & Drink
Food & Drink

SHOP MY FAVES

SHOP MY FAVES
SHOP MY FAVES

STYLE

STYLE
STYLE

Best Online Reads

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

1. Seven things you should never order from room service via HuffPost Travel.

2. Twelve things Ellen Degeneres can't live without via Elle Decor.

3. The difference between introverted and shy via Real Simple.
0

4 Tips For Staging Your Home for a Quick Sale

When you're trying to sell your home, you have the option to hire someone to stage it for you. A home stager typically brings in accessories or even furniture to set up your home so that it's desirable to potential buyers. A home staging service can help your home sell faster, but it can also be expensive, and it's unnecessary if you know how to do the staging yourself.


Family-room-700.jpg

If you want to get the same effect as a home stager, follow these 4 tips for staging your home for a quick sale.
0

What We're Reading

I am finally getting back into a regular reading groove thanks to a few great books I've discovered. The right book makes all the difference. And for me, when a book and I click, I know it immediately. Actually, all three books this month are books that are on MY list to read. I've been getting into young adult books lately. Many are surprisingly good reads and are a nice distraction from some of the adult fiction I read.

Here are the books we are currently enjoying:
0

Help Morris The Cat Celebrate #RespectYourCat Day

Today is pretty much the most  impurrtant holiday of the year (yeah, I just went there!). It's Respect You Cat Day, and I'm celebrating by attending a blowout party on Twitter with Morris The Cat.
Tonight, join me and other cat lovers from across the country for the most cat-tacular evening of the year, filled with informative tips on how to treat your cat like royalty, all the cute Internet cat photos you can handle, and fun surprises galore! For more information and to RSVP, click here: http://tweetvite.com/event/respectyourcatnight.

Come and join in on the fun and furry festivities!

Here's how you can participate:

1. RSVP to this event (http://tweetvite.com/event/respectyourcatnight)


2. Between 8pm & 10pm (ET) / 5pm & 7pm (PT), log on to Twitter and search on the hashtag #RespectYourCat to join the conversation. Tweet along using the hashtag #RespectYourCat. 
Calling all cat lovers: I'm paw-tnering with my pal, Morris the Cat for the most important day of the year: Respect Your Cat Day on March 28!

How do you show love and respect to your cats? Leave a comment below.

 I can't wait to see you all at #RespectYourCat Night on Monday, March 28, from 8-10 pm ET (5-7 pm PT). 

Don't forget to RSVP here to join the fun:  http://tweetvite.com/event/respectyourcatnight
0

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.28.2016

I don't have high hopes for this week's menu plan. The kids have spring break, and the Hubs is traveling a few days this week. Both of which will prove difficult to sticking to a menu plan, but I am putting one together in any case.
Rosemary chicken kebabs
Here's what we will (hopefully) be eating this week.

Monday - Still in Pennsylvania

Tuesday - Lemon broccoli pasta skillet

Wednesday - Dinner out
0

Mandarin Poppy Seed Pancakes

We are gearing up for a spring break that will be a combination of a staycation here in New Jersey and a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania. One of the things we are counting on is leisurely breakfasts spent lingering over pancakes, bacon, and tall glasses of orange juice (maybe a mimosa for me!).

These mandarin poppy seed pancakes are on my list to make. They look divine!
MANDARIN POPPY SEED PANCAKES

Ingredients
1 cup pancake mix
Water (according to package directions)
4 tsp. poppy seeds
 cup canned mandarin oranges (drained)

Preparation
1. In a large bowl, prepare the pancake mix according to package directions.
2. Add the poppy seeds and mix to incorporate.
3. Fold in mandarin oranges
4. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and brush with vegetable oil or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
4. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle or skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top and edges are dry. Flip; cook other side until golden brown.

This recipe and photo appear courtesy of FamilyFun magazine.
0

Friday Fresh Picks: Creative Easter Eggs

Easter really came out of no where this year. As soon as I put away the Valentine's Day decorations, I was pulling out the Easter ones. Easter is one of those stressful holidays for me (ranks up there with Christmas). Eggs to dye, kitchen to clean up, eggs to stuff and hide, baskets to shop for and fill. In a few years when the girls are a bit older, we're going away for Easter and taking a break from the chaos for a year.

Anyway, I'm not a hater. I actually love Easter...when it falls a little later in April, and I have plenty of time to prepare and focus on the reasons I love the holiday. My favorite Easter activity is decorating eggs. In today's Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few creative and innovative ways to decorate your Easter eggs this year.






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.
0

Best Online Reads



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

1. Ten things money can't buy via Power of Positivity.

2. The best slice of pizza in every state via PureWow.

3. Twenty of the best foods to eat for breakfast via Health.
0

March Beauty Buys

It's been a few months since I've done a best beauty buys post. My facial skin has been very angry lately. I've been breaking out and experiencing rosacea flare ups. I decided to do a 48-hour skin cleanse (more about that next week). But needless to say, I haven't been investing in any products for my face except for a great concealer (see below). :D

But...I have been trying a few other beauty products, and here's what I am currently loving.

Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer $7
My sister Holly turned me on to this moisturizer which is applied to wet skin directly after your shower or bath. Since skin is most receptive to moisture when it's wet, this oil-infused moisturizer goes directly on wet skin and is instantly locked in for maximum hydration. I bought the Monoi Oil, and it smells divine and keeps my skin soft and smooth for up to 12 hours.

BareMinerals bareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer $20
I've tried a slew of concealers in my time, and I can never seem to find one that covers effectively and mirrors my own skin tone. But this one by BareMinerals offers remarkable coverage and is a perfect match for my skin tone. I'm telling you...from dark under eye circles to blotches to pimples, this covers it all and lasts all day long. It's a keeper in my makeup bag.

Colgate Optic White Platinum High Impact White Toothpaste $4
Not only does this toothpaste whiten your teeth, it also helps to prevents stains. It's a must for me as I love my iced coffee and iced tea on a daily basis. It promised to whiten my teeth up to 4 shades. I've noticed that my teeth are whiter even though I haven't quite used it for the recommended twice daily for six weeks. But I did notice a difference within 3 days. Combined with other products in the Colgate Optic White family, you can see a difference sooner.

Wet n Wild 1 Step Gel Nail Polish (assorted colors) $5
I love the look and lasting power of gel nail polish, but I don't like the exposure to UV rays. I also don't like how impossibly difficult it is to remove. This polish gives you great coverage just like salon gel polishes without all the other hassles.

Model Cosmetics Bronze Powder $24
I don't use a bronzer often but with the warmer weather months approaching I wanted to add one to my makeup arsenal to give me the sought after fake glow. I like the hint of color this bronzer adds without being too heavy or too dark. Plus, it doubles as an eyebrow powder to fill in sparse spots.

Shop these beauty buys:

0

A New Snack In Town To Satisfy My Hunger

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/MARS. All opinions are my own.

I can pretty much set my clock to my afternoon hunger strike. It comes out of no where, and it comes on strong. While I am not looking to fill up on an entire meal, I do want something that is satisfying and tides me over until dinner time.
My afternoons are hectic. I want to be able to reach for a satisfying snack in a pinch without having to whip something up and create a mess in the kitchen.

SNICKERS® bars have always been a favorite go-to snack of mine. When I recently learned of a new variety of SNICKERS®, I was excited to give it a try. Although it's tough to beat the taste of original SNICKERS®, I was convinced that the new variety would certainly come close.

SNICKERS® Crisper is a multi-textured chocolate confection made up of crisp rice, milk chocolate, peanuts, and caramel. Each individual single pack comes with two 100-calorie pieces so that you can enjoy one now and save one for later. Or if you prefer, SNICKERS® Crisper is also available in a convenient "Fun Size" too.

I love the addition of the crisp rice. It adds a lighter and obviously, crisper element to the SNICKERS® Crisper while still satisfying hunger pangs.


I've been tossing SNICKERS® Crisper into my daughters' lunch boxes and serving them as a transitional snack between lunch and dinner on the weekends with some sliced strawberries.


When I fall into a slump in the mid-afternoon, I become distracted and unproductive. I can't focus. I reach for SNICKERS® Crisper to meet the needs of my hunger. I know that 2 small bars will hold me over until dinner. Plus, they are the perfect pick-me-up at the office. And who doesn't need a pick-me-up as the end of the day draws near?


SNICKERS® Crisper is available at your local Walmart. Grab a few bars or a bag and start satisfying your hunger today!

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/MARS. All opinions are my own.
0

Spring To-Do List

Spring is finally here! Although it doesn't quite feel it, it's officially spring. That's all I need to know to put me in a lighter, brighter mood. Over the past few years, I've grown to really adore and appreciate spring. Although the weather can be unpredictable (chilly, rainy, and sometimes downright hot), spring in the northeast is glorious. I'm excited to get started on this year's spring to-do list.

0

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.20.2016

Waking up to snow on the ground on the second day of spring is a cruel joke. I am ready for mild temperatures and an opportunity to break out recipes that are more appropriate for spring. Thankfully the rest of this week looks promising.

Here's what's on our plates this week.
Southwestern beef chili
Monday - French onion soup

Tuesday - Baked pecorino chicken with sauteed spinach and roasted potatoes

Wednesday - Cherry tomato spaghetti with a side salad

0

Friday Fresh Picks: Gingham

I almost love gingham as much as I love stripes. It's such a fun print that I always associate with summer. This season gingham is cropping up on just about everything from blazers to shoes to bags, and I want everything. For work or for weekends, gingham is so fresh and a welcome change from solid colors.

In today's Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few of the things on my summer wardrobe wish list, and guess what? They all happen to be gingham!
1. Gingham shirt - If you choose to buy one gingham item, it should be a shirt. They pair perfectly with shorts, destructed denim, and white jeans.

2. Gingham bathing suit - Talk about channeling the 1950s. I am obsessed with retro bathing suits right now. Definitely thinking about this one from J. Crew for this summer.

3. Gingham wedges - If you are on the fence about wearing a bold pattern such as gingham, try it on an accessory such as a shoe. This wedge heel is super cute and works with jeans, flares, and skirts.

4. Gingham tote bag - A large tote is a must for summer and this one will take you from the beach to the farmers' market to dinner.

5. Gingham blazer - I've been having a love affair with blazers lately. A white one from Banana Republic has been my go-to for months now. But this gingham blazer is a nice change of pace and perfect for spring.

6. Gingham headband - Much of my summer is spent with my hair pulled back. This headband amps up a ponytail and keeps your hair out of your face.

7. Gingham slide - This casual shoe will be right at home at the pool, beach, or on easy going weekends.

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.
0

Best Online Reads


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

1. High tech kitchen hacks via ForRent.com.

2. Twenty restaurants to visit in New Jersey via Only In Your State.

3. The most beautiful streets in America via PureWow.
0

Splurge vs. Save

Applying a primer is part of my everyday beauty routine. Because I have rosacea, primer is a must for helping to conceal redness as well as other imperfections such as blotchiness and fine lines. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is one of my favorites, but it can get costly due to the amount that I use and how often I use it. When I found a very suitable alternative for 1/6th of the price, I was beyond thrilled.
In the mood to throw caution to the wind? Buy the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer for $36.

In the mood to pinch your pennies? Buy Monistat Chafing Gel for $6.25.
0

5 Tips for Reconnecting With Your Spouse or Partner

I fondly recall the days when my husband and I would come home from work and head out to dinner. You know, to a restaurant of our choosing, with food that we like and requires silver wear. We would linger over a pre-dinner cocktail, a long, leisurely dinner, and dessert and coffee.

These days, our lives are much different. We definitely don't share the quality time together that we once did, with work and the kids often taking top priority. With such hectic lives, it’s easy to lose focus on each other. So lately, I’ve been asking myself what the best ways to reignite the spark are.
I’ve come up with these five ways you can reconnect. You’ll even be able to squeeze them in if you have a hectic work schedule.
0

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.14.2016

This morning was a rough one, but I am determined not to let Daylight Saving Time affect me. In years passed, I would focus on what the time "should be" and I'd constantly wish for that lost hour. But this year, I've tuned it out and am going about my business as if nothing has changed. I have to say. It's made a huge difference, and I am happy with this new approach.

Here's to Daylight Saving Time and starting the week with a new meal plan.

Monday - Steak salad

Tuesday - Slow cooker minestrone soup with a side salad
Wednesday - Tacos
0

A Nutritious and Delicious Cat Food Your Cats Will Love


If you own a pet, you are well aware that they easily become a member of your family from the moment you bring them home. Our two cats, Jade and Sam, are like children to me. So, it only makes sense that I would want the best for them just as I do for my daughters.

From food to toys to shelter, our furry friends deserve the best just as we do. So, when I recently discovered Purina Pro Plan's Shredded Blend cat food, I couldn't wait for Jade and Sam to give it a try. Purina Pro Plan's Shredded Blend is a dry food that combines shredded chicken or salmon, probiotic fiber, and omega fatty acids into one savory cat food that tasty and nutritious.

Since our cats are true poultry lovers, we tried the shredded chicken and rice blend. Chicken is the number 1 ingredient, which is one of the reasons I wanted to our cats to try Purina Pro Plan's Shredded Blend.

Cats are notoriously finicky. I am always hesitant to introduce any new foods or snacks to Jade and Sam for fear that they will immediately resist. But I was pleasantly surprised when I gave them Purina Pro Plan's Shredded Blend cat food for the first time.

They both had to check out the bag and give it a once over before proceeding.
Sam was definitely cautious. He approached the bag and circled it a few times as he smelled it. He most certainly recognized that it was a new type of food, and he was more interested in inspecting it than he was in eating it.


Jade smelled the open bag from across the room and came scurrying to her bowl. She wasted no time digging in and barely came up for air! She loved the Purina Pro Plan's Shredded Blend cat food.


But don't trust my cats' reactions to Purina Pro Plan's Shredded Blend cat food. See for yourself by picking up a bag or by reading the reviews of others who have fed this nutritious cat food to their cats.

I'll be sticking to Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend cat food not only because it tastes good but because of its nutritional value.

  • It's made of high-quality protein such as chicken.
  • It's comprised of crunchy kibble and shredded pieces for a tasty mealtime experience.
  • It contains Vitamin A and omego-6 fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and coat.
  • It contains a natural prebiotic fiber to promote digestive health.

Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend is available at PetSmart, Petco, and Amazon.

SEE WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT PURINA PRO PLAN SHREDDED BLEND.

Stay in touch with Purina Pro Plan by following on social media.
0

Friday Fresh Picks: Favorite Shoes for Spring

The last few days have been glorious here in New Jersey. We've enjoyed summer-like temperatures, and thanks to that, my mind has completely shifted to spring. I am ready to pack away my boots and haul out the spring shoes. And while I am at it, I should probably add a few new pairs to my collection. Ha!
In this week's Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few of my current favorite spring shoes. Feel free to add one or all to your own shoe collection.
0

Best Online Reads

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

1. The healthiest cocktails to order at happy hour via PopSugar.

2. Fifteen foods you should not refrigerate via Food Network.

3. Eighteen words only people from New Jersey will understand via Only In Your State.
0

Red Velvet Pancakes

If you are looking to kick up your breakfast game, red velvet pancakes are a great place to start. I've never been very successful at making these at home. When FamilyFun magazine reached out to me with this recipe, I was thrilled to give it a try.

These pancakes were a big hit! They made the breakfast over the top, and they were so easy to make. The bonus was that I had all the ingredients in my pantry.

0

Menu Plan Monday :: 3.7.2016

I can't tell you how excited I am for this week. No. I don't have anything particularly earth shattering going on. Well, unless you consider the weather to be earth shattering.
Spaghetti with pistachio-mint pesto and spinach
This week, we'll be lucky to have some very spring-like temperatures here in New Jersey, and that excites me beyond belief. I am so much more motivated and productive when it's sunny and warm. I'm looking forward to carving out some time to get out and walk on the boardwalk and check out a new coffee shop in Belmar.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday - Spaghetti with pistachio-mint pesto and spinach

Tuesday - Chicken cutlets, Parmesan risotto, and sauteed spinach

Wednesday - Crockpot minestrone soup with a side salad

Thursday - Sante Fe stuffed peppers (on the grill)

Friday - Dinner out

SaturdaySpicy grilled shrimp, grilled pineapple, BBQ potatoes, and roasted asparagus

Sunday - Roasted tomato mac and cheese

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.

0

Friday Fresh Picks: Favorite Etsy Finds


Hi, Friday! It's good to see you. It's been a full week, and I am ready to put it behind me and kick off the weekend. Lately I've taken to browsing Etsy at night to help me fall asleep. I know. I know. Not the best idea to try to unwind with your face in an iPad, but it's actually been working for me. It can be very tiring once you go down the Etsy rabbit hole.

In today's Friday Fresh Picks, I'm sharing a few of my favorite Etsy finds.

Mimosas Made Me Do It Tee $15
Wouldn't it be nice if we could blame everything on mimosas?
0

Best Online Reads

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

1. The awful reality of working from home via The Daily Buzz.

2. Ninety-year old woman with cancer opts for epic road trip across the US with her family rather than chemotherapy via Bored Panda.

3. Eighteen mouth-watering things to make with Oreos via Good To Know.
0

Happy March ~ Letter From The Editor


What is it that they say? "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb"? I've never found that saying to be very true. By March, my mind has completely settled on spring, but Mother Nature never quite gets the memo. We've had a somewhat mild winter with the exception of a sprinkling of brutally cold days and a couple of snowstorms. It's the mild weather that has spoiled me, and I can't wait for it to be consistently warm and sunny.

Until then, I'll keep plugging away and savoring the days like today when it's 61 degrees.

This month on the blog we'll make the transition from winter to spring in every way. From beauty to food to fashion to travel, I'll focus on spring-friendly content as we bid winter its final farewell (good riddance). This month will see the return of my Save vs. Splurge series where I highlight two comparable items at very different price points. I'll be compiling and sharing questions from readers and of course, the answers. (If you've got a burning question for me, email it to me at piecesofamom@gmail.com).
0