The Drunken Chef Party

Last weekend I had another ladies night gathering, this time a triple header with a fashion truck, Pampered Chef demo and drink mixes by Minute Mixology.

I deemed it “The Drunken Chef” party and then found this awesome/ridiculous photo on Google. I think everyone needs one of these for Christmas:

drunkchef2

I set up a mix-your-own drink station, prepped the ingredients, cleared the driveway, and then it was party time!

Belle of the Boulevard

If you have’t had a fashion truck at your party, I highly recommend it! I loved the way she set it up so it’s not just a truck you can shop in, it’s a full on mobile boutique complete with a little sitting area!

It’s been so hard for for me to actually get to a boutique lately that it was a total treat to have the boutique brought to me. Everybody had a lot of fun shopping in my driveway.

It’s a ten person minimum to have the truck set up and you get a great hostess discount! If you are in the Jacksonville area and interested, check out their Facebook page and send a message:  https://www.facebook.com/BelleBlvd

Minute Mixology

These handy little drink mix packets are perfect for busy people who like fancy cocktails with natural ingredients. They sent me six flavors to try so I put together a sampling bar where people could try some premade cocktails or mix their own. Each drink takes about 6 oz of a liquid and 1.5 oz of booze, pour packet in and stir.

The margaritas were really popular and the spicy margarita was Spicey! The Moscow Mule and Coconut Mojito tied for second, but the Old Fashioned got no love because bourbon wasn’t really a drink of choice for the ladies. The Michelada was also a tough sell since nobody wanted to mix beer with their liquor.

Check out Effie from Project_Mom_Strong showing how easy it is to mix up a cocktail!

My only question for them was if a cosmo was on their to-do list, and the answer is yes! The place to get these locally is Lucky’s Market or shop online at MinuteMixology.com

Pampered Chef

I love cooking so I always wanted to attend a Pampered Chef party and try out the products. I got to choose two recipes and then the consultant Kay gave me a grocery list for the food and she brought everything else.

She set up two stations, one for chicken nacho dip and one for brownies. Then we got to cooking! I had been eyeing the Simple Slicer in the catalog so I was excited to see that was one of the things we got to use.

We had a moment of excitement when the stoneware pan we cooked the chicken on broke apart as I was pulling it out of the oven. And then broke again when I set it on the counter! I just read the reviews for it on the website and apparently this is a common complaint.

Thankfully everything else worked great and the nacho dip and brownies were delicious.

Brownies with peanut butter drizzle ready for the oven!
Brownies with peanut butter drizzle ready for the oven!

If you are looking to set up your own party, just click here to contact Kay. You can even do a virtual party on Facebook! The only drawback is you have to have $200 in sales at your party to get any kind of discount. So Facebook is probably the best way to go anyway since you won’t have to spend any money on food or entertaining.

Overall the party was a lot of fun! And big thanks to Minute Mixology for sending the drink mixes, Belle of the Boulevard for the private VIP shopping experience and Kay from Pampered Chef for setting us up with some yummy treats.

Let’s Get Popping with Malaysian Palm Oil

I use a lot of different oils in my cooking so I was excited about the opportunity from Moms Meet to try a free bottle of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and see what it was like. I learned the palm oil has very high smoke point and won’t break down into harmful chemicals when used at higher temperatures so it would be perfect to replace some of my other cooking oils. It’s also packed with potent phytonutrients like carotene and tocotrienols (an ultra-potent form of vitamin E) not found in other oils.

The suggested recipe was for popcorn and I admit I was skeptical about making it in a pot! I guess I thought you needed some kind of special air popper, old school tin foil bubble or microwave package to make it, but nope! All you need is a pot, oil and kernels.

I used a 6 qt. pot, 3 tbsp. of palm oil and just under 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels. The recipe called for 1/2 cup and an 8 qt. pot, so I adjusted for my smaller pot. I poured the 3 tbsp. in the pot, added three kernels, covered it with the lid and turned the heat to medium-high.

malaysian palm oil

It felt like it took forever to hear those three little pops, but really it was probably less than five minutes. After that I remove the pot from the heat and scooped the popped pieces out with a spoon. I then poured in the kernels and gave them a good shake to distribute the oil and heat evenly and ensure that everything pops at the same time. It’s an important step because otherwise it will pop unevenly and you will end up with burnt popcorn and leftover kernels.

I then put the pot back on the heat with a lid slightly askew so steam could escape. When it started popping, a few kernels escaped too!

The popping started pretty quickly and I had to adjust the lid a couple times because it kept slipping down. After a couple minutes I peeked in and there was a beautiful golden pile of popcorn. The palm oil is a rich red color from the same carotenoids found in carrots, oranges, squash and apricots and is loaded with provitamin A. The red color of the oil gives the popcorn a golden hue that makes it look like it’s right out of the movie theater.

I poured it into the bowl and found that almost every single kernel had popped and this was possibly the most perfect bowl of popcorn I had ever made. I didn’t even feel like I needed to add butter and just tossed it with a little bit of sea salt and it was delicious!

Popcorn made with palm oil

I’m really looking forward to trying the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil in other recipes like pan frying and stir fry, and making popcorn like this again! If you’d like to learn more about palm oil and its many benefits, check out www.PalmOilHealth.org .

Watch out Betty Crocker!

My son surprised me by asking to bake cupcakes this week. He usually has no interest in helping out in the kitchen so I immediately dropped everything and got to baking! In full disclosure, I was doing yardwork and it was hot and any excuse to take a break sounded like an amazing idea.

Trying to do anything with a toddler is an exercise in patience, mostly me trying to teach him to have some and let the muffins actually cook. But we both had fun, the kitchen didn’t get splattered by batter (at least not too much) and I got to share a great new experience with my son. I loved how excited he was when I popped the beaters out the mixer and told him he could lick it! Probably right now someone’s going “ewwww raw eggs, he might get sick….” but whatever, I loved doing that as a kid!

The cupcakes were delicious and I was happy to get to use some leftover Miss Jones frosting from the sampling party I did last month.

I was starting to sense a theme when later in the week he asked to make cookies. We ran into a problem when he wanted the star cookies just like on the box. I’m starting to hate pictures on boxes and the high expectations that follow! I had no rolling pin and no cookies cutters so I improvised with a glass. Guess what I learned in a very loud screaming freak out way? Circles are NOT stars. Also squares and any other shape I may have had on hand do not equal stars. So I took that dough and squashed and pinched and made that kid some stars! The results were as supurb as expected:

star cookie fail by geekmama.com

So what do you guys enjoy making with your kids? I hope your results were as spectacular as mine. (haha) They may not be pretty but at least they taste good!

Gift Crushes for Mother’s Day – or Just Treat Yo Self!

Mother’s Day is coming up fast! Maybe you’re trying to figure out something really good to ask for, or what to get your own mom this year besides the usual flower bouquet. Babbleboxx has assembled an impressive collection of gifts sure to please any mom on Mother’s Day. (or really, any woman, any day!) Read on for product details and special discount codes from Sandisk, Dermaflash, Maidenform, Bellame Skincare, Davina by Vince Camuto and Edible Arrangements.

mothers day gift ideas

1) First up is the iXpand Flash Drive from Sandisk
I think I took about 50 photos a day after my son was born. Photos of EVERYTHING! I would burn through my phone’s memory and have to find time to download them all the computer. The iXpand Flash Drive for iPhones makes it super easy to save all your photos and back everything up! The little device plugs right into your phone and works with an app to quickly free up your phone space so you can take even more photos and videos. And if you don’t have an iPhone, there’s also the Ultra Dual Drive m3.0 for Android users so every mom is covered!

2) When mom’s skin needs a little pampering, look no further than the Dermaflash 2.0, which is a unique tool for an exfoliation process called dermaplaning. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells and peach fuzz, leaving a smooth prepped surface that lets skincare products absorb more easily and make-up glide on smoothly. My skin felt super smooth after just one use!

Click here to shop the Dermaflash website and use code MOTHERSDAY to save 20% on your purchase!

3) After mom gets done dermaplaning, she’ll need to pamper her skin with some luxurious skincare products and Bellame Skincare has just the thing – the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Cleanser and Hydrating Serum. The ultra-luxe European style cream cleanser is known as the “dream cleanser” because it packs a powerful punch from a high-powered hyaluronic acid to lift away impurities and omega-rich oils to nourish and hydrate. It’s so luxurious it even doubles as a moisturizing mask! Bellame also has the softest bamboo washcloths great for massaging the cleanser into skin and wiping away all make-up and impurities lifted by the cleanser. Right now you can receive a FREE set of six luxurious washcloths with the purchase of the Acqua Lumiere Collection on Bellame.com.

After cleansing, follow-up with the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Serum, a liquid anti-aging powerhouse that delivers a highly concentrated dose of mineral anti-oxidants, collagen, omega-rich oil and Vitamin C to boost firmness, block inflammation and repair sun damage while targeting fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration. The very definition of “good things in small packages!”

4) Next up is something way better than flowers – a gift basket from Edible Arrangements! I absolutely LOVE getting these. I don’t know how they do it, but their fruit tastes better than anything I get at the grocery store, and not just because some of it is drenched in chocolate. It’s all so ripe and perfect – this fruit basket actually made me like melon! So not only is it delicious, but it’s good for you too. Our whole family has been eating fruit all week.

The fruit arrangement shown here is the Mother’s Day Swizzle Bouquet and it makes an impressive gift! Packed full of fruit, including melons, grapes, cantaloupe and chocolate covered strawberries and topped with a special Mother’s Day Gourmet Belgian Chocolate Pop. This is all sorts of YUM! Use code BESTMOM for 15% off $65+ purchases until 5/11. And if you wait until the last minute – no worries! They can deliver treats the same day!

5) Now that mom has transferred her photos, taken care of her skin and has a belly full of chocolate dipped strawberries, she’s ready to lounge around in her new Maidenform Loungewear Cami and Tap Pant Set. The cute and comfy microfiber and lace set is soft and easy to wear with an elastic waist and adjustable cami straps. The collection also comes in five different versatile options and is currently on sale!

6) And finally top it all off with a spritz of Divina by Vince Camuto. A summer scent that evokes a bright cheerful day with lots of floral notes. This long lasting fragrance is a blend of grapefruit, mimosa blossom and musk but had me thinking of gardenias in full bloom.

Hope you all have a very happy Mother’s Day!

What are you hoping to get this year?

* Post sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com  * SanDisk provided by Western Digital*

Ready to Cook from Publix – Harissa Chicken

Last night I made Harissa Chicken, a fancy but easy meal from Publix’s ready-to-cook section, and added a spiced green bean dish on the side. Total cook time was about 30 minutes and everything was delicious!

harissa chicken ready to cook meal

On the menu: Harissa Chicken over Rice with Bhindi Masala Green Beans and Onions

I started by laying out all my ingredients. The meal clearly says it comes with asparagus, but on closer inspection, I noticed Publix seems to have forgotten to add that. Funny thing was, I was actually going to leave that out because I don’t like asparagus. However, if it is in the photo and the first ingredient listed on the package, I do still expect to see it in the box!

harissa chicken from publix
Hey Publix! See? No asparagus!

Next I chopped half a Vidalia onion in small slices  and prepped the green beans, oil and spices for the Bhindi Masala dish from Arora Creations.

indian green beans and onions

Easy Cooking Instructions: 

First pan fry chicken and cut into small pieces. Then add them to the sauce and let them simmer on low.

Next mix together zucchini and squash mix, rice, dried apricots and 1/2 tbsp of butter. Microwave 3 min.

While that’s microwaving, put 1/2 cup olive oil in a big pan with the green beans and cook them for 4 min on medium heat before adding the spice packet. Then cook them for 5 more minutes so they get good and flavored with the spices. Remove beans with tongs so you leave the spiced oil in the pan.

Next add the onions and sauté until soft. When the onions are ready, add the green beans back to pan and fold into onions. Give them a couple minutes to meld flavors.

Now take the rice mix out of microwave and top with chicken and sauce.

Add green beans on the side and sprinkle everything with the sliced almonds.

And done! Yum!

I have really liked all the meals I’ve gotten from the Publix Ready-to-Cook section. Have you guys tried any? Let me know! I’m curious if the chicken and dumplings slow cooker one is any good.