Latte Love

Latte face

This was my SM avatar for a long time :-)

I am not shy about my love for lattes. Even in the height of summer I need a hot latte in the morning. I drink cold for my afternoon bevvie, but always hot in the morning.

My love affair with coffee started out pretty tepid if I remember correctly. I drank it regularly for the first time in college. I drank instant my freshman year finally understanding it’s full awesomeness by senior year. I had my own mug from Bruegger’s.

At one point I even entertained a career around my beloved, I managed a Seattle’s Best Coffee. The hours and the low pay couldn’t balance out the free lattes so I went in another direction.

I turned my husband from a drip coffee drinker to an espresso drinker with ease. Just before my first child was born we bought an expensive home machine. After it paid for itself a million times over  for the 6 years and the three kids that followed, we bought this Breville machine.

When this one dies we are going full on. I wouldn’t bat an eye spending over $1000 on a machine.

Yep.

I’ll let you quickly add up your coffee habit at DD or Starbucks in your head. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Yup. THAT much. $1000 seems cheap now doesn’t it? We never buy coffee out and people often come over to my house in the hopes I will make them a coffee. I don’t mind. I totally get it :-)

I love me some latte.

What’s your beverage love?

 

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I’ve joined NaBloPoMo this month. NaBloPoMo is a daily blogging exercise centered around a theme. For August 2013, it’s HOT. The daily writing prompts can be found hereDo you like hot drinks such as coffee and tea?

Also that’s an affiliate link up there, FYI.

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Smoothies are Green

SmoothieCollage1

I love that, in our house, smoothies are green. They started out all pink and pretty. Somewhere along the line it all changed and we never looked back. Someone, somewhere told me they put spinach in their kids smoothies and that they couldn’t even taste it. Really?

Intriguing.

So one day I said “How about we make our smoothie green today? Who wants to help?” They jumped up on the stools and said “Let’s do it!”

All I did that day was add some baby spinach to a smoothie that they already liked and the rest is history.

It has evolved to include kale, swiss chard, and avocado. And yes they still drink it. They ask for it. They ask for seconds. It makes me so happy.

I promise your kids will love it. I make this smoothie at least three times a week. When we are pressed for time and I want them to have something I know is healthy and quick. Smoothie it is. Make a batch put it in some mason jars (pro tip – mason jars are great for shake and serve leftover smoothie). Always on hand. Awesome and easy.

I don’t measure these things so all of these are approximate.

Nate’s Green Smoothie
1 cup Plain Kefir
1 cup Orange/ Banana/ Strawberry juice
2 tbsp Vanilla Protein powder (why not) I have used both whey and hemp
baby spinach
baby kale
baby swiss chard
1 Banana
half an avocado
1/3 cup frozen strawberries
1/3 cup frozen mango

I load the blender with the greens all the way to the top. Then I pour the kefir and juice over the top. Add banana and avo, protein poder and fruit. Add water or ice as needed for the consistency you or your kids like. We like it a little thick.

A few weeks ago I headed on out to Whole Foods at Fresh Pond for a #SpringSmoothieSummit and introduced everyone to Nate’s Green Smoothie. The nice folks there gave us all some gift cards to do some serious fruit and veggie shopping. We all came back and made our smoothies. It was a hit there and it will be at your house too!

 

Maybe some of my bloggy friends who were at Whole Foods that day will share their recipes too!

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Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a Chickpea!

We call them crunchy things in our house. The yummy crunchy, usually salty, snacks that we know aren’t good for us but we love anyway.

“Do you want some crunchy things?” I say.

We buy healthy crunchy things. But they’re not what they are KWIM? Like vegetable chips or sticks. The kids just think they’re eating chips.

I’ve tried to make healthy crunchy things. The kids are “Meh” about Kale chips. Chick peas? Every single time I try to roast them they come out all wonky. Some are soft, some are too crunchy. Then I put too little spice or not enough. I’ve never gotten it right. Never. But the few that I find in there that are good, I love. So I keep trying.

I was walking down the natural food aisle of the supermarket the other day and I see these little packages getting no love on the bottom shelf. Does that say “Chick Peas”?  And there are four different bags! Four different flavors?! I was a little too excited about the chickpeas. I think my 3yo actually shushed me.
Biena Foods Erb Photography

I bought all four flavors of the Biena Food Roasted Chickpeas. I have to confess, I did not have high expectations. I mean come on – they’re chickpeas.

Clearly because I’m posting about them I liked them. I wouldn’t tell you about something that I thought was yucky. But I didn’t just like them, I loved them! The honey roasted were my favorite.

I feel like these snacks could be your grandmother’s ;-) They are made with all-natural ingredients that you can feel good about putting in your body. That includes the actual chickpeas, which are non-GMO and come from American farms! For centuries, chickpeas have been prized for their protein, fiber and nutrient content. They’re satisfying and help keep you energized all day. People worldwide love them, like me! And you know what else? If you’re in Massachusetts – they’re LOCAL. Gotta love giving the love to local.

These things are what our grandmother’s snacked on, I’m sure of it. But I know they didn’t taste this good! Poorvi and her team went through 500+ test bathches to get the flavors right for me, I mean, us.

So you wanna try ’em? The good people at Biena would like you to try them too! They want to send you that sampler pack above. Awesome right?

Visit the Biena website and tell me which flavor you’d most like to try! Just leave a comment below.

You can get extra entry by:
Liking ViolaCay on Facebook Leave a separate comment.
Liking Biena on Facebook. Leave a separate comment.

Maybe if we all love them enough they’ll move them off the bottom shelf to the money spot at eye level ;-)

The winner is Julia M. – Congrats!

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Winner has 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. This giveaway will close at 11:59PM ET,  May 21th, 2013. Please leave a separate comment for each entry and remember to use a valid email address. The winner will be chosen via the WordPress plugin “And the Winner Is” and will be notified by email and announced here on the blog. All opinions are my own.

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My not so resolute New Year’s ideas

Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it. You don’t like it, well how are your resolutions going? Hmmmmm? Still at it? Well I hope you are! Me? I never made it past the first week. I gave them up years ago.

So it’s the first week in January and I have some very definite ideas about what I’d like to accomplish this year. Goals, if you will. I’ll work hard towards them, but I will not name them resolutions. Nuh uh.

I’ve been spending some time with this be-atch the past couple of days…

Gaaaaaaaah!

Gaaaaaaaah!

I’ve also started eating the 4Hour Body way again. Which means my husband is all 4HB again. He’s grouchy ;-) Two years ago I had amazing results from 4HB and I really loved it. I made some modification and kept on with it. Then I started eating chips and bread again, and my tummy is back. Sigh.

I feel stronger already. I have more energy already. Why do I always forget how GOOD eating right and exercising make me feel. WHY?

Being healthier also makes me a more patient mother and wife. And a happier one.

Professionally, I’d like to build the blog more, Hence doing a course called 30 Days to Build a Better Blog. I started in in December but it fizzled out because I had the flu. In case you didn’t notice I was absent over the week around Christmas. Holy Hell was I sick. So I’m starting it again this week. We’re building here people!

I’d also like to do some more video work now that I have a new camera. Wooohoooo!

So there you have it some stuff I’d like to do.
What are you doing with the New Year?

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Chop Chop Magazine Mingle and a Giveaway

Not too long ago I got to go to Sofra Bakery after hours. Yes, a bakery after hours. There was no bingeing don’t worry, well maybe a little. The fabulous umommy gathered some bloggers together to visit with Chop Chop Magazine. We were there to taste, learn, and mingle.

We tasted plenty of hors d’ouvres from the chef at Sofra and these two lovely kid friendly dishes:

Chop Chop Magazine Recipes

Then we learned how to take pretty pictures. We received some awesome tips from the food stylist at Chop Chop Magazine. I heart her. She helped us make crackers look good. See.



I can hear you guys “Girrrrrl, you make crackers look good!” Right? No just me again, ok?

As we mingled we talked about our kids, and food. Because that was the overarching theme of the night – kids and food. Which is what Chop Chop is all about too.

My kids love when I bring the magazine home. Often I’ll just have them pick something out the magazine that looks good to them and we make it. Making food with your kids, cooking and baking, is a sure fire way to get them to eat more food. And by more I mean different food. And by different I mean NOT chicken nuggets. (No judgement here people. My 2yo will currently only eat Lightening McQueen chicken nuggets. I’m trying. I really am.)

It’s hard for me sometimes to get the kids in the kitchen because, let’s face it, it’s easier to NOT have them involved. Plopping them in front of the TV while I run around the kitchen making 4 different meals is easier. But I’ve come to realize that for my kids, unless they’re involved, they’re not going to change their ways. It’s also about quality time with me. AND quality time with food. I want to nurture a love of food in them. A healthy love of healthy food. I’m not going to get that done if they’re watching Mickey while I cook. So back to the kitchen we go.

With the Holidays coming ChopChop is also a terrific gift for kids, foodie families will love it! It’s also a great “Under $25” gift for those elusive “Hard to Buy For” on your gift list. A two-year subscription costs $24.95 (Bonus:each subscription helps pay for a subscription to families in need).

To help you out in your own kitchen creations and gift giving, the lovely people at Chop Chop have offered a free year long subscription for me to give away to YOU!  Yay :-)

The Giveaway: The winner is Lara!
Just leave a comment below telling me one food you love making with your kids.

Want more entries?
Follow me on Facebook and let me know in a separate comment.
Like me on Twitter and let me know in a separate comment.
Follow Chop Chop on Facebook and let me know in a separate comment.
Like Chop Chop on Twitter and let me know in a separate comment.

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Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. This giveaway will close at 11:59PM ET, Wednesday, December 12th, 2012. Please leave a separate comment for each entry and remember to leave a valid email address.The winner will be chosen via the WordPress plugin “And the Winner Is” and will be notified by email and announced here on the blog. I received no form of monetary compensation for this post. I received some yummy food and awesome tips ;-)  All opinions are my own.

 

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Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry

So do you have $20 bucks burning a hole in your pocket?

See this thing? You could get this. It’s $19.95.

Dog Wreath

 

See this? You could get this. It’s actually a bit cheaper.

You could donate a breakfast (or 10! or 180!) to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

Your $1 donation can help connect a child in need with 10 breakfasts; and an $18 donation can help a child get breakfast every day of the school year (180 days). See how that works?

So remember that $20 bucks burning a hole in your pocket? $18 of it can buy a kid breakfast EVERY DAY OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!

Or you could go with the dog wreath thingy. I mean, it’s totally your choice.

Happy Holidays ;-)
No Kid Hungry

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