Saturday, January 31, 2015

January OAMGS Wrap-Up, Try, Try Again!

So January was our first month attempting to do one large grocery shopping trip at the beginning of the month and staying out of grocery stores the remainder of the month. We failed.

Here is my post about getting prepared.
Here is my post about the initial January shopping that was done.

Overall it wasn't awful - it's not like we did any big trips anywhere else in the middle of the month, but as our pile of receipts attests, there were numerous stops to the grocery store(s) in the month of January.

  • 1/3/15 (part of initial OAMGS trips) - Sam's Club (lettuce, eggs, green peppers, baby snacks, dill pickles, minced garlic, bacon, 1% milk, dry ranch mix, roasted almonds, bananas, dry pinto beans)
  • 1/5/15 (part of initial OAMGS trips) - Sam's Club (sausage, chicken noodle soup, chicken broth, spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, creamer, brown sugar, parsley flakes, sausage, cocoa powder)
  • 1/5/15 (part of initial OAMGS trips) - Kroger (soda, canned broth, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, canned corn)
  • 1/8/15 - Bananas, monster and whole milk
  • 1/15/15 - ice cream, 1% milk, whole milk, frozen vegetables (were on sale)
  • 1/21/15 - Whole milk, 1% milk, and grapes
  • 1/21/15 - Apples, vinegar, eggs, creamer, bananas, clementines
  • 1/23/15 - Soda
  • 1/27/15 - Luna bars, soda, bananas, grapes, 1% milk, creamer, avocados 
  • 1/28/15 - Monster and baby snacks
  • 1/30/15 - Chips and ham
We ran out of the last of the fresh produce a little less than a week before January ended which was to be expected, and seemed reasonable to me (we keep plenty of vegetable options via cans and frozen, so I wasn't worried about that). As you can see by what we actually purchased in January, we were using produce that had been purchased in December (towards the end of the month, so we still had enough that I thought most of it would last through at least close to the end of January - mainly the potatoes, onions, etc.).

Positives this month:
  • We used up several items that had fallen to the bottom of the freezer - chicken stock, beef short ribs, etc. I also used some pantry items that have been ignored for awhile - like the tapioca. It was good to make use of items we had already bought but not used in a long time. 
  • It made me more conscientious of the items we do eat on a regular basis and the items I should be focusing our meals around.
  • I got a little better at figuring out what we actually go through in a one month period of time.
  • We drink more milk than I thought we did - and I foresee those weekly trips continuing for bananas / milk / grapes and think that will be the goal, to get shopping down to one initial trip (one to Kroger, one to Sam's Club) and 3 subsequent milk / fruit trips to either Sam's or Kroger, but not both.
I have a long way to go yet, and don't think we'll have it down completely in February, but hopefully it will be better than January!

We'll be finishing up our shopping for February this weekend, and then see how we do for the upcoming month. Fingers crossed!

#TripleSBites ~ Kick-Off, Thank You to our Sponsors, and #Giveaway Details!

Welcome to #TripleSBites ~ Bloggers Sharing SPICY, SAUCY, SEXY Recipes for Valentines and Beyond. Online Event February 2-9, 2015.

The Sponsors

NOT Ketchup

Gourmet Gardens Herbs & Spices

Kitchen IQ

2 Armadillos

Acala Farms

Intensity Academy

Out of the Woods (Dressings and Sauces)

Pirate Jonny's (Caribbean BBQ Rubs and Seasonings)

Voodoo Chef (RED rub)


Mekinita Brands

Spicely Organics (spice-infused chocolates)

The Bloggers

Here's the crew for this party! Stop by and say hello.

Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Cooking In Stilettos
The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

The Pajama Chef

Cheese Curd In Paradise 

Summer Scraps                        

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

From Gate to Plate

A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

A Day in the Life on the Farm
Things I Make (for Dinner)

Eliot's Eats         


Making Miracles          

Curious Cuisiniere

The Spiffy Cookie

The Weekend Gourmet
Amy's Cooking Adventures

Famished Fish, Finicky Shark   

Dancing Veggies          

The Giveaway 

Terms and Conditions

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment (below) and tell me What's your favorite romantic dish to cook for your sweetheart? Many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget [below].

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. This #TripleSBites 2015 giveaway runs from Monday, February 2, 2015 12:00am PT through Monday, February 9, 2015 at 6:00pm PT. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on February 10, 2015. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Disclaimer: All prize packages were provided free of charge. Participating bloggers received complimentary product(s) for their #TripleSBites posts. All opinions stated are my own.

Please click on the arrows in the rafflecopter to scroll through the prize packages!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Omega 3 Fish Oil ~ Supplement for Mind and Body

There is so much information out there about the benefits of adding Omega-3 Fish Oil to your diet: reducing inflammation and increasing immunity, improving mental health, assisting with weight loss, cardiovascular benefits, and so much more. These fish oil supplements from Earth Well Nutrition (each of these bottle contains a 3-month supply) are produced with your health in mind. They are quality pills made from quality products and manufactured with care (not all fish oil supplements are created equal, it is important to know where the oil is harvested from, and how the pills are manufactured). These particular pills have lemon added to them to help prevent any "fishy" aftertaste which is a common complaint with many fish oil supplements as well, but is not an issue with these pills. This is a wonderful, quality, supplement which is great for your body and mind!


Learn more about Earth Well Nutrition here.

Product Description:

You just found the highest quality omega 3 fish oil softgels on Amazon. Because we only use freshly caught wild cold water fish, and these fish are caught from the purest most pristine waters on earth, far from modern pollution. And because we use a world-renowned Norwegian technology to process and extract the fish oil, considered by most experts to be the finest production method in the world.

In each capsule you get 1,360 mg of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil, much more than most suppliers. With highly concentrated Omega-3's (800 EPA, 600 DHA, and 100 other EFAs), our fish oil has the most potent EPA/DHA ratio as recommended by most physicians including the TV Doctor, giving you the most health benefits.

There is absolutely no fishy aftertaste. We use fresh lemon taste to prevent any fishy smell, taste or aftertaste. There is no smell and the softgels do not taste fishy or bitter at all, and all our customers love them.

Our omega-3 supplement has the highest purity level thanks to a production process called molecular distillation. This process ensures that all heavy metals (like mercury) naturally coming from the sea are removed. Through this procedure you get the safest and purest product on the market, only containing the best high grade omega 3's your body needs.

You get our unconditional money back guarantee, because we are sure that you will be pleased with our top quality fish oil omega 3 supplements. But if you are not 100% satisfied for any reason, we will replace your bottle or give you a refund, no questions asked.

Our body needs Omega 3 essential fatty acids to function. But many of us do not get enough from our diet.

Medical experts call omega 3 fish oil the prime natural supplement for humans. No product has been more researched and 1000s of scientific results show fish oil has safe proven benefits. Even the famous TV Doctor includes it in his top nutritional needs.

Documented benefits of fish oil:
  • cardiovascular disease, stroke 
  • mental health, cognitive aging, Alzheimer and fetal development 
  • inflammation and immunity 
  • cancer prevention 
  • vision and eye health 
  • radiant skin and hair 
  • weight loss and obesity prevention 
Get the highest quality today! When you buy fish oil quality is crucial as not all fish oils are made equal. That's why we created this product with the highest quality available (except prescription). Earthwell omega 3 is the highest quality fish oil because:
  • we only use fresh fish from unpolluted waters 
  • we use the #1 processing method to extract fish oil 
  • we employ an advanced molecular distillation process to remove all heavy metals like mercury 
  • we offer the highest quantity of fish oil per tablet (1360 mg) and omega 3 per capsule (750mg per capsule, ie 1500 mg per serving). 
Omega-3 is the most potent supplement, and you deserve to get the best quality there is.

Do not buy any fish oil with enteric coating. This equals to lower quality oils with a slower absorption rate as the pills do not dissolve in the stomach.

We use a proprietary antioxidant including rosemary extract and vitamin E to keep the fish oil fresh at all times. We have no magnesium sterate, which is a potentially harmful additive used by low grade suppliers.

Also note that we provide you with 180 caps per bottle, or about 3 months supply

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Earth Well Nutrition for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own. 

Lindsey Rose is 16 Months Old!

How does time keep flying by SO QUICKLY (see my last update at 14 months here)?!! Here we are - and our baby princess is now 16 months old and definitely keeps us on our toes. She is so much fun to be around - I adore listening to her babbling, her giggles, seeing her play with her toys and climbing stairs and chairs, "helping" in the kitchen, talking to her dolls and stuffed animals, singing when her favorite songs come on, seeing her eyes light up when something she recognizes or likes comes on the radio or in her movies... it is such a joy to see her growing and learning, and watching her figure out who she is, what she likes, what she wants, how to express herself... Of course there are those days where she drives me bonker bananas too, but that's all part of the fun I think. :) It makes me appreciate the sweet, good, and fun moments all the more. 

Lindsey is very, very vocal and constantly babbling - though her only new word I can think of since last month is that she says "I play" or "pway" more frequently now, usually when you're telling her not to do something and she looks up at you with those big eyes and says "pway!" like "I'm just playing here!" She likes to climb up into our stuffed arm chair in the bedroom, after pulling the cushion out, and sit or stand in there with a smile on her face like "I'm such a big girl"!

She also says "boos" (or books) all the time, to me especially because I humor her more than her dad, and we'll pull out book after book from her bedroom bookshelf, and she'll sit with a pile of books around her on her floor, flipping through pages. She LOVES her books! Most nights we'll read one or two before bed - but last night she suckered me into three.

Lindsey has 12 teeth now - her four first molars have all come through - one on the bottom is still finishing emerging all the way, but the worst of it is over. There were some rough, whiny, sad, unhappy days in there with those suckers. Poor baby and poor daddy who stays home with said whiny, sad, unhappy kiddo!

Lindsey loves outside time - I try to take her for a nature walk or at least to go out and play in her outside house at least once or twice every weekend as long as the weather is decent. She loves to pick up nature, examine it, sometimes taste it, and mostly just be out in the fresh air exploring. She really likes playing in her little house - going in and out of the door, pressing the doorbell, sitting or walking around inside and peeking out the windows. She likes to shut the door on me as if to say "no mamas allowed!" I think she likes that it's her special space. :) 

Lindsey also knows what "want to go shopping?" means! Kenneth gives her old cards (gift cards that have been used, etc.) and she brought out a Starbucks gift card and set it on the floor when I was working in the kitchen, so I asked her if she wanted to go shopping. She stopped, looked at me a moment, then when straight to the front door and tapped on it and looked back at me like "ok - let's go mama!" :D Pretty funny girl! :)

Sleeping continues to go well - aside from a few middle of the night fussing sessions where she fell right back asleep during teething, she's been going to bed around 7:00pm and up between 6:30 - 7:00am most mornings (as long as we're quiet and don't wake her when I'm heading out for work at 6:30 with Kent who I drop off at school on the way).

I snap pictures of Lindsey and share them on instagram more and more often lately - I love playing with the different filters available to accentuate a "feel" to whatever was happening at that moment.

I love my baby girl so, so much and the days are passing much too quickly! She's fully switched over into size 24 months / 2T as of the past couple weeks. The last few 18 month sized items are finding their way into the closet / vortex... I really need to get that stuff grouped and sold - it is depressing to see all of the items she's grown out of in the past 16 months!

Until next month...!

World's Largest Peanut Butter Cup

If you are looking for a creamy dreamy chocolatey peanut buttery pie to satisfy your sweet tooth, here is an easy one to make and enjoy! This is the second peanut butter pie variation I've made this month, mainly because we liked the first one so much! I have another version on my radar to try soon. This one was very different than the first one I made; the chocolate really balances the peanut butter flavor so that neither taste is overpowering or very strong. It is very creamy from all the whipped cream, but not overly rich because the whipped cream dilutes the strong flavors of peanut butter, cream cheese, and chocolate. Overall we definitely enjoyed this pie, and I think it would be perfect for a potluck or family get together.

I used one of my "go-to" pie crust recipes, posted below, that I've been using for years now. I love how quickly it comes together - no refrigeration or "special attention" needed, and it comes out great each and every time!

This month has included a LOT of new-to-us recipes; the challenge as an AllRecipes AllStar this month was to "face" as many faceless recipes as we could, and the Pinterest group I'm a part of had a goal of 700 for the month; which is a LOT of new, faceless recipes to make and photograph!

My challenge was ONLY using ingredients I have at home, and not making any special trips to buy something we don't keep stocked. That definitely limited my options, but it did also help ensure that for the most part we liked what I made, because they were from familiar, staple ingredients.

Some of these I have managed to get on the blog already, and the rest that we enjoyed I'll be posting soon, but here are all of the ones I've managed to knock out this month on AllRecipes:
  1. Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate and Almonds
  2. World's Largest Peanut Butter Cup  
  3. Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Pizza Soup 
  4. Turkey Stock
  5. Wild Rice and Leftover Turkey Casserole 
  6. Simple Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole 
  7. Peanut Butter Energy Balls 
  8. Lucky and Rippy's Favorite Dog Food  
  9. Vintage Fresh Green Bean Casserole (circa 1956)
  10. Simple Classic Roasted Turkey  
  11. Ang's Balsamic Maple Chicken 
  12. Corny Oatmeal Waffles  
  13. Arabic Rice 
  14. Green Tea Cupcakes  
  15. Cheapskate Stew 
  16. Fry Bread II 
  17. Easy Cheeseburger Casserole 
  18. Fish Egg Salad  
  19. Macaroni and Cheese Pizza Bake 
  20. Easy Rice Cooker Mac 'n Cheese  
  21. Dad's BBQ Roast 
  22. Easy No-Cook Nutella(R) Smores  
  23. Grilled Smores Sandwich
  24. Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie III 
  25. Chelan Chicken 
  26. Veggie Puree  
  27. Peanut Butter Granola
  28. Hamburger Noodle Casserole
  29. Fast and Easy Slow-Cooked Short Ribs 
  30. Saucy Chops I
  31. Easy Tamale Casserole
  32. Coconut Chocolate Chip Waffles  
  33. Chocolate Hemp Protein Shake

World's Largest Peanut Butter Cup from SNOOKCOOK on AllRecipes

1 single 9-inch pie crust
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup whipped topping (such as Cool Whip®)
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant Jell-O chocolate pudding mix
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup whipped topping (such as Cool Whip®), or more as needed
1/4 cup chopped / shaved milk chocolate (I used chopped chocolate chips)
1/4 cup crushed peanuts, or as needed (I used roasted peanuts)

  1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Press pie crust dough into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Prick sides and bottom of dough with a fork.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and confectioners' sugar together in a bowl until smooth. Fold 1 cup whipped topping into cream cheese mixture. Spread into cooled pie crust. Chill in refrigerator until set, 1 hour.
  5. Mix chocolate pudding mix with milk in a bowl until pudding starts to set up, about 2 minutes; spread over cream cheese mixture in pie crust. Spread 1 cup whipped topping over the pie. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and peanuts. Chill in refrigerator before serving, about 1 hour.

Pie Crust IV from Jan Bittner on Allrecipes

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I like butter flavored Crisco shortening sticks)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 - 1/2 cup cold water
  1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.
  2. Roll gently on a lightly floured surface to about an inch larger than pie plate. Fold carefully in half, lift to pie plate, and unfold. Press into pan. 

Link Party:
What's Cookin' Wednesday

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Easy Stove Top Mac 'n Cheese

This is a quick, easy, creamy, and cheesy macaroni and cheese recipe we enjoyed recently that I am saving for the "favorites" file! I really liked the blend of cheeses and simple seasonings to enhance them. The original recipe suggests cooking this in a rice cooker, but I don't have one and thought stove top would work great - and it did! Great side dish in a hurry to accompany just about any and everything.
Kent is a big mac 'n cheese fans, though he almost always prefers "Old Faithful" - the recipe his grandmother gave me and I've pretty much used every time I've made Mac 'N Cheese over the years, because it's the way he likes it. Thankfully this new recipe got the seal of approval so I get to hang onto this one and pull it out again someday - hopefully in the not so distant future. :) I'm sure some diced tomatoes or bacon mixed in, or sprinkled on top, would be really yummy if you like those types of add-ins as well. 
Easy Stove Top Mac 'n Cheese adapted from on AllRecipes

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Mix macaroni, broth, and milk together in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook about 15 minutes, or until macaroni is tender yet firm to the bite (check frequently, stirring to prevent sticking - add additional broth / milk if the liquid is evaporating too quickly and reduce heat if necessary).
  2. Stir cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper into macaroni mixture until cheeses are melted. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary.

DIY ~ Body Scrub with 100% Pure Adovia Dead Sea Bath Salts

I was very excited to test out a bag of dead sea salts from Adovia. My son suffers from recurring joint pain in his knees and wrist (due to a soccer injury), I have chronic neck / back pain and tension, and my baby girl has a mild case of eczema that pops up on her upper arms and thighs occasionally and I thought we could all enjoy a chance to soak in some waters enriched with these salts.

Some of the information I found when researching dead sea salts:
Stop by and enter to win a 4-oz jar of your own peppermint essential oil at my giveaway here!

Homemade Bath Scrub with Dead Sea Salts

1 cup Adovia Dead Sea Bath Salts
1/4 - 1/3 cup Sweet Almond Oil (or other carrier oil)
1/2 - 1 tsp peppermint oil (add until you reach desired scent)
1/2 - 1 tsp rosehip oil (for skin benefits)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a resealable jar or container (a ball jar works well), shake or stir to combine.
  2. Use daily during your shower to refresh and invigorate your skin!
Product Information:
  • Dead Sea Salts are the Best Bath Salts on The Planet - Much Higher Mineral Concentration than Epsom Salt! with a High Concentration of Minerals which are Essential for Proper Skin Health and Beauty
  • Adovia Dead Sea Salt is Fine Grain for Faster Dissolving - Packaged in a Resealable Zip Lock Bag
  • Provides relief from Psoriasis, Eczema, and Arthritis symptoms. Formulated with over 26 essential minerals the body needs for natural soothing and relaxation.
  • Find Relief from Aches and Pains by Soaking in a Bath full of these Salts. Rejuvenates, exfoliates, and softens while it soothes!
  • Contains absolutely zero additives, colors, or scents. Higher Level of Minerals and Relief than Epsom Salts

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Adovia for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator PLUS #Giveaway!

Visit to learn more about this fantastic product to make clearing your little one's nose safe, quick, and easy!

I have a nosefrida baby nasal aspirator that I've had for about a year and have LOVED - but the filters have to be purchased separately. With the Baby Comfy Nose nasal aspirator, you just use a tissue, then toss when done! I find these nasal aspirators to be SO much more effective compared to a bulb syringe, much easier to use, and most importantly (to me) much safer and gentler for your baby.

When Lindsey was younger and in daycare still she had a LOT of runny noses, and our nasal aspirator got quite the work out, and even though she still doesn't like it, she will tolerate it much better than the bulb syringe and I don't worry about damaging the inside of her sensitive little nose with the aspirator!

I hope you will enter to win your own Baby Comfy Nose Aspirator - you will be so much happier with one of these then with a bulb syringe; better for baby and definitely better for mama too!

See the Youtube instructional video here!

Product Description
Baby Comfy Nose nasal aspirator uses your own suction to quickly and hygienically remove children’s nasal mucus.  Significantly more effective than bulb and battery aspirators because your natural lung suction is so much stronger.  The design of the aspirator eliminates any possibility of contact with mucus and germs.  Insert a tissue into the aspirator as a filter so there's nothing else to buy.  The unit comes with two nose tips: standard and newborn. Medical grade soft nose tip and mouth piece.  The mesh storage pouch keeps all the pieces together in the dishwasher, then hang to dry and it's ready for the diaper bag.  Three color (blue, clear, and pink) options are ideal for siblings and multiples.  BPA and phthalate-free.

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Baby Comfy Care for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own

E-Book "Love Trap" by Amnon Jackont

Source: Amazon

Author Amnon Jackont weaves a tale of mystery and intrigue in “Love Trap” where you follow Daphne Bernstein through her trials and tribulations as she attempts to rebuild her life in Jerusalem after a life-altering decision she made when she was a doctor in the United States.  Hungrily searching for a job she can feel invested in as she starts over, she gains employment with Doctors for Humanitarian Cause.  She soon discovers things are not what they seem though, and that her employment is not by accident!  Join Daphne, and her daughter Tali on their whirlwind through mystery, intrigue, suspense, lies, and more in “Love Trap”! 

I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for my honest review based on my personal opinions.

Stop by and enter to win a 4-oz jar of your own peppermint essential oil at my giveaway here!

Information below provided by Amazon:

About the Author

Amnon Jackont was born in 1948 and grew up in Ramat Gan, Israel. He was a well-mannered boy from a family with a European lifestyle. He slowly learned that in order to survive among Israeli children, he would have to use his fists. Since he was large and very strong, he also quickly learned self-control, so he wouldn’t cause any harm. He took up boxing as a hobby, and during his summer vacations he worked in construction. Before he was inducted into the IDF he worked for an oil company, where his job was to open and close the huge valves that allowed crude oil to flow from tankers. He joined the IDF and was wounded while serving in unknown places, which continue to provide him with material for his books. His first injury occurred when an anti-personnel mine caused a flat tire to the truck he was riding in. The truck overturned and he awoke with a fridge on his back. Four years later he was wounded again, this time in a hostile country, where he was rescued from after quite some time. Jackont was involved in business for many years (mainly in insurance, securities and real estate), along with his diverse literary activities. He has written eight novels, a collection of short stories, a financial-documentary book, and the biography of a Mossad leader. All of his works were best sellers and some were translated into foreign languages, including Chinese and Japanese. In addition, he has edited approximately 200 books of various kinds - from thrillers, to history and philosophy books. 

Book Description

November 23, 2014

Daphne Bernstein did not like Jerusalem. She ended up there by chance, dragging along her young daughter, her useless medical license, her disgraceful past and her desperate hope to rebuild her life that has gone off course.

In an ancient building, in the midst of a stormy winter, Daphne's life crosses paths with an alienated man and an ambiguous co-worker, who are both hiding a secret with heavy consequence. Is this a random meeting or a sophisticated trap?

Love Trap is a fascinating and unconventional story about lies, friendship and love. It occurs in the dark and mysterious domain, between reality and distortion, created by fear and hope.