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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Inspiration For School Lunches #RockTheLunchbox + Giveaway!




It's not easy to stay inspired about making your kids lunch day after day, is it?

Rock the Lunchbox is a great resource for those of us who are tired of trying to dream up exciting new lunches to pack for our kiddos.

I was challenged by the site to ask my child to draw their "Dream Lunch" and then turn it into a more nutritious lunch, using some of our favorite organic and natural lunch / snack brands - like Annie's Homegrown, Applegate, Honest Kids, etc.


Annie's homegrown, Applegate Half Time Lunch Kit, Blue Avocado Rezip Bag
Baby O. trying out her new Blue Avocado Rezip Bag (left) & Big Sister H. happy to try Applegate Half Time Lunch (right)


Well, my three year old either knew what was going on, or she's just THAT wise.

She chose to draw herself eating an apple and a cracker. Now that didn't give me much to work with.

Oh, well.


Honest Kids, Stonyfield Yogurt Pouch, Figs, rockthelunchbox.com

























Being that we had just been to the farmer's market, my daughter helped me choose some of her favorite items for a healthy lunch.


  • Fresh, organic carrots with hummus dip
  • PB & J on Rudi's White Bread
  • Fresh Mozzarella Balls
  • Figs from the Farmer's Market
  • Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks
  • Stonyfield YoKids Yogurt 
  • Honest Kids Berry Berry Good Lemonade

Check out this new Bento Lunchbox by Laptop Lunches (pictured above), I love how each little food gets its own compartment.  My daughter loved all the different colors, and finding which foods fit in which boxes. 

Laptop Lunches Bento Boxes are recyclable, reusable, BPA & Lead Free, totally eco-friendly so you can feel good that your child's (or your own) food is safe and secure.

Many of the compartments come with lids as well, so you can keep each lunch item from spilling out onto the others.




You know, according to a national survey, finding variety in packing school lunches is the biggest challenge for parents. Plus, 53% of kids reported they have the same items in their lunch every day!



B-O-R-I-N-G! 


If you need to find ways to make your kids lunches more exciting, go to: www.rockthelunchbox.com and grab some coupons while you're there for great, organic products your kids will thank you for!



reusable snack bag, blue avocado, eco-friendly bag



I will say that I have been using the Blue Avocado Rezip© Bag (almost daily for my kiddos snacks.

I feel seriously green not having to use a brand new plastic zipper bag every day for their snacks!

What was that?

You want to try the Blue Avocado Rezip© Bag for yourself?

Okay. How about we throw in a Laptop Lunch Bento Box, U-Konserve Stainless Steel Container and a bunch of FREE product coupons?


~ GIVEAWAY ~
Win A #RockTheLunchbox Prize Package - Valued at over $70.00!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, October 10, 2014

Pollo Tropical - New Restaurant Review in Frisco, TX


Another exciting local #DFW food outing, documented and written by my sidekick, guest writer, Erica R. 


A few Friday's ago, we had a busy day and were starving for a late lunch. Lucky for us, Pollo Tropical had its Grand Opening that day! I’ve been excited to try this place, as they offer “a uniquely tropical twist on fresh, healthy, hand prepared food.”



Before we ate, we had a little fun at the Grand Opening Events outside. The girls spun a prize wheel and we had fun in the photo booth while listening to steel drum music to set the tropical mood.




They chose paper fans – it’s hot outside!



 
“Momma, it sounds like the jungle out here!”

Then we ventured inside to try our lunch. The girls chose their Kids Meals; one chose the Mac ‘N Cheese Bowl, the other chose the Rice Bowl with Beans & Chicken.  She got to choose from white, brown or yellow rice and black or red beans. 

They have a long list of signature sauces that you could choose with the any meal as well (she chose none, oh well!). The Kid’s Meals come with a drink and a guava bar for dessert.


 
They were so hungry they didn’t want to sit still for a picture! There is a lot of food in those bowls!

I ordered Calypso Beef and Yuca with garlic sauce. Pollo Tropical’s Menu describes the Calypso Beef as “Tender prime rib strips with a hint of light beef gravy, then topped with our Calypso Pickled Red Onions” and the Yuca as “boiled Yuca with zesty garlic sauce”. 


My lunch was so good! 

The beef was very tender and had just the right amount of flavor for me. I have never had yucca before; I decided to try something new. I’ll admit it, I wasn’t a fan the first bite. But once I poured the garlic sauce on, it was delicious! It sort of tasted like a potato.



Yum!

Remember the guava bar that came with the kid’s meals? The girls had no interest in them, so of course I had to try it. It also did not disappoint, light & fluffy & sweet but not too sweet.

Just right.


  
Dessert anyone?

We really enjoyed our lunch at Pollo Tropical and will definitely be back. 

They have opened 2 locations in Frisco. We experienced the one at 9055 John Hickman Parkway, and the second location is at 11440 N. Dallas Pkwy.

Join their email club, Pollo Rewards, and you will get a coupon for Buy One Get One Free ½ chicken with 2 sides to use on your next visit!


For more information visit: http://pollotropical.com/


 


Monday, October 6, 2014

Quick Albondigas Soup With La Morena Chipotle Sauce {Recipe}


Growing up in Southern California, I was exposed to many kinds of hispanic food from an early age. I'd like to think my blood flows salsa red, even though I was born a "Gringa"! 

Latin food is by far my favorite cuisine any day of the week, and I think I probably learned some tricks - or at least my palate did from our closest family friends, which was a HUGE family, that just happened to be Mexican and Colombian (married to each other)!
 

#VivaLaMorena #shop #Cbias



I remember going over to Tia Monica's house on the weekend where her albondigas soup would  be simmering, filling the house with amazing scents and lending itself to memories made through sharing warm soup and conversation around the table.

Of course, the Colombian and Mexican tias would argue about the correct ingredients and way to make their albondigas soup, of which they never came to an agreement about - but it was fun to hear them argue and end up all laughing in the end.


#VivaLaMorena #shop #collectivebias


The albondigas soup I remember eating in my childhood took hours and hours to make, but with three little ones I don't have hours to spend at the stove.  So, I've created a quick and twisted version of albondigas soup using La Morena's Chipotle Peppers & Sauce.

By using the amazingly savory and spicy #VivaLaMorena Chipotle sauce, you can add instant depth of flavor to get this soup where it needs to be in under an hour instead of having to simmer all day. 

As the fall weather started to turn cold last week, I ventured out to my local Food 4 Less store to see if I could rustle up the ingredients I wanted for my quick version of albondigas soup. 

I found Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (which I use in my recipe), Pickled Jalapeno Peppers and Chipotle Sauce in stock. So, figured I'd give them a whirl in my soup pot.


#VivaLaMorena #shop #collectivebias


R-E-C-I-P-E

Quick Chipotle Albondigas Soup


Ingredients:

8 cups chicken broth
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup kale, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1lb ground pork or mixture of 1/2 lb pork + 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-2 La Morena Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, diced finely
1 bunch cilantro

Instructions: 

#VivaLaMorena #shop #collectivebias


Step 1: Add chicken stock to a large soup pot, add onion, kale, carrots, tomato sauce, diced tomoatoes, cumin, oregano and bring to a light boil.


#VivaLaMorena #shop #collectivebias




Step 2:  While soup and veggies are coming to a boil, combine in a separate bowl ground pork, eggs, rice, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper.



Step 3. Roll meatballs into ping-pong sized balls and place on a clean surface (plastic cutting board) while waiting for soup to come to a boil. Once soup is boiling, drop meatballs in carefully, and lower to a simmer.


#VivaLaMorena #shop #collectivebias



 Step 4.  Add 1-2 chipotle peppers, diced finely depending on how spicy you like your soup. feel free to dallop in a few teaspoons of the delicious adobo sauce from the can to intensify the deepness of the chipotle flavor.

Stir and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the rice in the meatballs is cooked.  


#VivaLaMorena #shop #collectivebias



Step 5. Dish soup into bowls and top with fresh cilantro. That's it! You're done!


NOTE: You could also provide radish and La Morena Pickled Jalapeno Peppers as toppings. 



For more information on where to find La Morena products near you, visit:  https://www.facebook.com/lamorenausa


#VivaLaMorena
#CollectiveBias
 

Could it get any easier? Now, take that spoon and dig into that authentic Mexican flavor!
 


Monday, September 29, 2014

Green Scene Mom 2014 Award Winning Prize Giveaway!

How awesome is this? 

You can win the "best of the best" in eco-friendly mom/kid products all in one place with this amazing bundle of products from the 2014 Green Scene Mom Award Winners!
Green Scene Mom 2014 Fall Award Winners


The Green Scene Mom Awards celebrate niche, eco-friendly products and innovative product designs. We are very excited to announce the 2014 Fall Award Winners! Many of these great companies have also contributed prizes to Green Scene Mom's Fall Awards Giveaway. 

Enter to win below!

Baby Buddy Tooth TissuesBaby Buddy Tooth TissuesTooth Tissues make cleaning a baby's teeth simple and easy to introduce regular oral care to a young child. Tooth Tissues are the natural first step to brushing a child's teeth after every meal and they're a simple way to ensure a baby isn't negatively affected by oral bacteria. Award Details »
bambu natural utensilsbambu natural utensilsbambu's natural feeding products are an eco-friendly twist on conventional baby utensils. Each product is created to meet a need within the various stages from infancy to childhood and each item is shaped to be easy to use by kids learning to feed themselves. Award Details »
Bumkins Finer Baby ProductsBumkins Finer Baby ProductsBumkins has a huge selection of eco-friendly products that are available in coordinating prints. Bumkins waterproof bags and cloth diapers are easy to use and clean and help reduce household trash. Award Details »
Buttons Cloth DiapersButtons Cloth DiapersButtons Cloth Diapers make diapering easy and Eco-friendly. Their new prints are so adorable and feature quality details, sturdy leg gussets, and a simple adjustable snap system that allows the diaper to grow with your baby. Award Details »
Cache Coeur Signature Maternity LingerieCache Coeur Signature Maternity LingerieCache Coeur offers elegant solutions for pregnancy and nursing to make life more comfortable and stylish. Their lingerie line includes designs that are functional and embellished with feminine details. Award Details »
Cupcake Organic Nursing PadsCupcake Organic Nursing PadsCupcake Nursing Pads are made from high-quality cotton and are easy to assemble and clean. They offer great coverage in preventing leaks and provide peace of mind while breastfeeding. Award Details »
Cushy CloserCushy CloserCushy Closers are an innovative and streamlined way to keep a door from latching. They are ideal for use on doors to rooms where kids are napping, since the cushion allows the door to be closed but muffles any door closing sounds. Award Details »
Eepples MilkCharmsEepples MilkCharmsEepples MilkCharms are designed to help moms easily label, track, and organize their breast milk supply. The MilkCharm is a reusable dial system that lets moms quickly and easily set and read the day and time when breast milk was pumped. Award Details »
Emily Press Write Your Own LabelsEmily Press Write Your Own LabelsEmily Press waterproof labels are an innovative way to create your own personalized labels. Write on the labels with a permanent marker then seal in your writing with the built-in laminate. These dishwasher-safe labels make it easy to personalize or label your items. Award Details »
It's The Balm Pregnancy Pamper KitIt's The Balm Pregnancy Pamper KitIt's The Balm Pregnancy Pamper Kit includes belly balm, cooling foot scrub, whipped foot balm, and peppermint lip balm, each created with a combination of natural and essential oils formulated to heal and soothe. Organic raw shea butter, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil are among the natural ingredients used in this natural pampering kit. Award Details »
Lotus Everywhere CribLotus Everywhere CribThe Lotus Travel Crib by Guava Family is an everywhere crib designed for easy portability and set up. It has mesh breathable sides all the way down to the mattress and a zipper opening in one side for easy access into the crib. The crib can be set up in 15 seconds and it fits into a compact case small enough for a carry-on. Award Details »
Milkies Milk-SaverMilkies Milk-SaverThe Milkies Milk-Saver collects leaking breast milk as a mom nurses, allowing them to store extra breast milk effortlessly with each feeding. The Milk-Saver collects the milk that is leaked when breast milk lets down. It's slim and portable, minimizes leaks and comes with a durable case. Award Details »
Poncho Baby Roly BlanketsPoncho Baby Roly BlanketsThe Poncho Baby Roly Blanket is a super-soft blanket that rolls into a compact clutch for easy carrying. The blanket is made from a double layer of soft cotton. It rolls up and attaches with a snap fastener. Award Details »
Rubber Ducky & Friends Kids' ShowerheadRubber Ducky & Friends Kids' ShowerheadRubber Duckie & Friends showerheads are a fun way to introduce showering to young children. The character shower heads look like bath toys and help parents transition their kids from bathing in the tub to taking showers on their own. Award Details »
Shaikoo Hands Free TowelShaikoo Hands Free TowelThe Shaikoo Towel Wrap was designed to simplify bath time and make baby bathing a fun, safe and relaxing experience. With a simple and durable Velcro-brand fastener around the neck, parents have both their left and right hands available to safely lift, cradle, and dry their wet baby. Award Details »
Strider Sport BikeStrider Sport BikeStrider Bikes are easy to use by toddlers and kids who can't pedal yet. They also allow kids to "skip" the tricycle stage and advance to mastering gliding and balance skills that will help them eventually ride a standard bike. Award Details »
Tubby TableTubby TableThe Tubby Table is an educational bath play surface for toddlers that suctions in the middle of the tub, giving kids a sturdy and safe surface while keeping water and toys inside the tub. Award Details »
Yummi Gear LunchboxesYummi Gear LunchboxesYummi Gear lunchboxes make it easy to take lunch on the go. They are designed to be easy to open for little fingers and keep lunch organized. Yummi Gear lunchboxes have 3 compartments to keep a sandwich, snacks and fruit separate and ready to enjoy. Award Details »
Zipadee-Zip Wearable BlanketZipadee-Zip Wearable BlanketZipadee-Zip helps a baby have the cozy, enclosed, womb-like feel of the swaddle but it allows a baby push up, roll over, and wiggle around safely and freely. It encourages self-soothing and longer, sounder sleep, prevents scratching, and keeps little hands warm all night long. Award Details »

Enter to win this amazing $400 prize package of award winning products!

Baby Buddy Tooth Tissues Milkies Milk-Saver CupCake nursing pads + insertable liners Eepples MilkCharms set of 3
2 Zipadee-Zip wearable blankets
Bumkins 2 Nixi wet bags, 2 reusable snack bags, and 2 Snap-In-One cloth diapers
2 packages Emily Press Write Your Own Classic labels
It's The Balm Vanilla-Sandalwood Spa Kit Yummi Gear lunchboxes set of 4 Rubber Duckie & Friends Duckie the Duck Bath & Shower Wand Poncho Baby Roly Blanket Tubby Table bathtime play table Buttons Diapers 1 one-size diaper cover and 2 hemp/cotton diaper inserts bambu Hemp Denim baby bib
Fall Awards Giveaway - Green Scene Mom
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Eat Light At Night - Salata Grand Opening Frisco, TX



I wasn't able to attend the grand opening of the restaurant, Salata in Frisco, so I send my trusty sidekick, Erica R. on a mission - to "Eat Light At Night" - and here she goes......................

Salad Bar Concept Frisco Texas

Salata has opened a new location in Frisco, so I grabbed a couple of girlfriends to come with me and try it out! In case Salata is new to you, it's a salad bar concept that allows you to choose everything in your bowl or wrap.

No premade dinners here, only fresh ingredients that you choose!

You create your own salad or wrap by telling the employee what you would like and he doles out an appropriate portion. The cleanliness of the serving line is immediately noticeable; foods are not accidentally mixed together and everything looks very bright & fresh. 

Step 1
You get to choose your base of greens and vegetables.

Step 2. 
Pick a few of your favorite additions like beans, eggs, cheese or even fruit if you like.

Step 3. 
Top your salad with a delicious house-made dressing.

Step 4. 
Go all vegetarian?  Or add some tasty proteins like chicken or seafood.

If at any point, you're not sure what you want? You can have a sample and see what you like best. 


SIDE NOTE: On your first visit, I would recommend walking down the serving line first. We jumped right in and by the time we got to our dressings we realized we were just throwing yummy things into our salad and weren’t planning how these things were going to taste in the end. Oops! Check out all your choices and try any samples you may want. Then go back to the beginning and start your salad once you know what you want on it.

 
Lemon vinaigrette and seafood salad mckinneymommas
Lemon vinaigrette & seafood mix



My salad had an amazing lemon vinaigrette dressing and seafood mix (crab meat, herb marinated shrimp and lobster) with avocado, beans and a lot of veggies. I also added a piece of pesto bread, which was just right to round out my meal.

Seriously, it was the best salad I’ve had in long time.

The store had three types of lemonade and three types of unsweetened tea to choose from, I tried the peach lemonade. I liked that the sweetness of the peach canceled out the tart of the lemonade. Our group also liked the raspberry lemonade. 

Salata has a small dessert selection as well.

balsamic vinaigrette herb marinated shrimp salad
Balsamic vinaigrette and herb marinated shrimp



The menu is priced on whether you choose a salad or wrap, and whether you choose vegetarian, or go the meat route with chicken or seafood. 

The kid’s menu is a smaller price for the smaller portion of the salad or wrap. 

If you are gluten free, let them know when you order and they will take steps necessary to accommodate your dietary needs. 

They sell their dressings in 12 ounce bottles, which are all-natural with no preservatives, so they will last 2-3 weeks once opened.

herb marinated grilled chicken salata mckinney mommas
Fresh Herb vinaigrette & Herb Marinated Grilled Chicken with croutons

 
The atmosphere of Salata is nice, clean & fresh. The hardest part of the evening was deciding what to put in the salad!

Eat Light At Night! 
[Buy One / Get One FREE Salad or Wrap]

Salata is currently having an “Eat Light at Night” Promotion through October 20. The promotion encourages you to eat 500 calories or less at dinner, and include lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. 


You can participate by joining their mobile club; simply text SALATA to 777111. You will receive a buy one get one free salad or wrap after 4PM offer, as well as other coupons and discounts throughout the promotion.


You can learn more about Salata and their Eat Light At Night Promotion by visiting: http://salata.com/


Driving Note:  Salata is located at 3411 Preston Rd., # 14, in The Center at Preston Ridge, just north of Stonebriar Mall. If you are standing in front Best Buy, it is diagonally to your left. Hopefully that helps you find it without too much driving around!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

4 Stages of #SwaddleMe by Summer Infant + #Giveaway

She's my last. The bookend. So why not go out with a bang and try all the products out there to simplify baby life, right?

One more chance at...........sleep. 

For both of us. 

Summer Infant was generous to send me a few samples of their newest #SwaddleMe waddle blankets to try out on my newbie.

Keep Reading to find out how to WIN a Prize Package with all 4 Summer Infant Swaddles!

Summer Infant Wearable Blankets