Trader Joe’s ~ Chicken Tikka Masala ~ Yum!

I love tasting new things at Trader Joe’s! When that little kitchen is up and running, the Littles and I are sure to do a bee line. I very often find loads of new favorites this way (um, yea, kinda why they do it…).

Seriously, there are a lot of great looking things on their shelves and in their freezer cases, but I’m not one to buy blindly only to find out our family doesn’t like it. Did you know that the folks at Trader Joe’s will open anything you want to try? I didn’t. I was there a few weeks ago looking at a bag of chips “asking” Addie if they might be something she would like….out of nowhere a helpful Trader Joe’s guy rips open the bag and asks if we would like to try them!

“Why, Yes! Yes we would. And thank you!

All that to say, don’t be afraid to ask if you would like to try something. But do make your way back to their tasting area as they will often pick things that you might not have seen or thought about. For instance….

Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala with Cumin Flavored Basmati Rice

This was such a fun find! I served it up for lunch with my Genius-Sister-in-Law the other day. It took 3 minutes in the microwave, is full of all natural ingredients, VERY tasty (as though I had made it myself). I added a little Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan (1-1/2 minutes in the toaster), and a small salad of fresh greens, lemon juice and olive oil.

The chicken and curry sauce had just the right amount of spice and kick to it.

DELICIOUS, FAST, and EASY!

If you were the calorie counting type, it’s about 300 calories, and 1/2 a Naan is 100. calories. Not a bad lunch! If I was going to serve this to Hubs, he would need 2 servings for sure, otherwise I would add a little poached, cubed chicken to the sauce (as there is plenty) and make up a  bigger salad for him.

Definitely try it out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Trader Joe’s Gluten & Dairy Free Pancakes ~Yum!



Our  Little Punks LOVE pancakes.  Seriously, if all else fails, put a pancake  on their plates and the world is perfect again.  On the weekends for  basically their whole lives, we quite often make homemade pancakes (Honestly, the  best pancakes in the world, with or without the blueberries).

But  I don’t always have the time to make them on the weekdays. Though I’ve never tried it, I would assume I could make extra, freeze them and then we could enjoy on the weekdays too.

But since I don’t always think that far ahead, I was super excited to find the Gluten & Dairy Homestyle Pancakes at Trader Joes. I take the Gluten & Dairy Free part to be a bonus as we don’t have  any particular sensitivities in our house, but the pancakes are TASTY!

These  are not like Homemade Waffles vs. Frozen Waffles. I consider Frozen  Waffles to be a fancier form of toast. These are truly Homestyle  Pancakes. I would not serve them instead of my own Homemade Pancakes to  guests, but I think they make an excellent quick weekday morning option   topped with a little whipped cream & berries. Our Little Punks  completely cleared their bowls this morning.

The  box comes with 4 little packages that each contain 3 pancakes. Pop em  in the microwave for a minute and your good to go. Addie & Hay each  eat 1-1/2 pancakes so the little package is perfect.

Now you CAN really be Supermom! Workout, shower AND make pancakes in the  morning (or at least 2 out of the 3, your choice…) Enjoy!

new favorite trader joe’s find…

Or should I say “Trader Josef’s”??

(Side note: I love that “Joe’s” = every possible name under the sun….”)

Have you tried this yet??  It was at the end of an aisle.

I bit.

I bought.

I baked.

I fell in love.

I STRONGLY suggest you buy this and make it.  It will make your skirt twirl and your husband sign up for at least another 10 years of your marriage.  Not to mention your kids will call you their BFF.  Seriously, it’s THAT good.  Very easy to make, and does not taste like a boxed mix at all.

I just asked hubs what he thought again, “It was GOOOOOOD“. Spoken like a true conessuier.

Honestly, go buy it.

(Hint: if you have a friend that does not have a Trader Joe’s near her, make her day and send her a care package of fun stuff. I have not had a friend yet that hasn’t loved getting that box in the mail!)

new favorite from costco ~ mac & cheese ravioli

Every now and then I spot a new fun thing at Costco and cross my fingers I’ve come across a new favorite.  This of course means that I’ve been able to leave at least 2 kids at home which allows me to really pay attention as I comb the aisles.  In this particular case I got lucky, I had 2 of my 3 kids in my cart and my Favorite guy had our 2 yo somewhere else   What I didn’t know was that our 2yo was entertaining the entire right hand side of Costco.  Apparently there was a karaoke machine that she thought was just FABULOUS, and a rather large crowd had formed.  Give the kid a microphone and she is ready to entertain….

She just can’t be my daughter…

But she IS my youngest sister’s niece!!

OK

Back to Costco.

As I was taking a little more time to check things out, I came across this….

Goldfish Mac & Cheese Ravioli!?!?

Made with natural ingredients. OK, I’ll “bite”. The fish jumped into our cart and we tried them the next day for lunch.  There was a little recipe on the back for cheezy sauce that took a little elbow grease, but no longer than the 10 minutes it also took to cook the pasta, so in the end not a big deal.

How cute do these look???!

Winner, winner for Addie!

Winner, winner for Hay!

OK, so we might have even played with ’em a bit.  But really, when the kids were falling for them “hook, line and sinker” what could I do??

But we absolutely, for sure, certainly DID NOT play with our food at lunch.

Nope.

We did not, I tell ya.

Did not.

I found these in the fresh ravioli. pasta section.  Normally in the back.  Give ’em a try.

They just might be a new favorite for you too!

my favorite basil pesto

This is BY FAR my favorite Basil Pesto recipe.

Truly, it’s hard to go wrong with Ina Garten.  The Barefoot Contessa pretty much rocks my kitchen’s world.

This is such an easy thing to make and packs SO MUCH flavor!  Your kids will love it (mine practically lick the bowl clean).  You can serve it for company and feel like you’ve done something “fancy”.  And it only takes a few minutes to whip up.  If you don’t have an overly abundant basil plant waiting for you to pick the heck out of it, grab a fresh bunch from the farmers market, or Trader Joe’s ($4!)  It’s worth it!

Then grab a bunch of garlic.  I cheat and love to use the frozen cubes from Trader Joe’s.  Each cube is a clove of garlic.  Frankly, this is just easy and quick for me and it still tastes fresh.  But get your garlic anyway that works for you.

Load everything up in your food processor.  (You might also be able to use a blender. I’ve never done this, but it would probably work too…just don’t hate me if it doesn’t work, and well, if your blender brakes…).  Then let your Little help you with the buttons.  Mine get the biggest kick out of pushing that “Pulse” button.  It’s “their job” when the food processor is out.

This particular batch I packed up in Tupperware and took on my road trip to make an easy dinner for friends, so I don’t have a fun dish to show you.  Sorry about that!  But seriously, it tastes yummy over EVERYTHING!

Here’s some ideas….

Mix it in with warm cooked pasta and serve with a little grated Parmesan on top…

I love to make a “Caprese Pasta” dish with it – fusilli, tomatoes (chopped or grape), cubed mozzerella, Parmesan and Pine nuts to garnish….

A friend brought it to me after Piper was born in Chinese food containers with peas and pine nuts, delicious and great packaging!

First time I made this, I toasted little baguette slices, slathered a little pesto on the warm bread, and topped with left over Oven Tri-Tip, and a fresh tomato from the garden….oh HEAVEN HELP ME!  That was good!

Anyway, great pesto, quick and worth making rather than using a store bought pesto.  It has a great salty, nutty flavor… to die for!

Enjoy!

Barefoot Contessa’s Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

1/4 cup walnuts (definitely don’t leave out!)
1/4 cup pignolis/pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt (don’t skimp!)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I use this generously, just sayin….)

Directions:

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

simple breakfast pizza

I have to wonder sometimes if my Littles are really mine.  But then I rememeber being pregnant for the past 3 years, and realize, they are very much in fact MINE.

But if they REALLY are mine, then I’m truly stumped why breakfast goes in and out of favor with them.  Some days waffles and pancakes are ALL they want to eat (ALL DAY!), other days they just want a protein shake with Dada.  So I’m always trying to think up new and fun things for them.  Plus, I really like to use every last everything in the fridge, I’m a sucker for not having anything leftover, so even the food needs to multi task in our house.

This past week we had a little sudo-Greek dinner ~ Trader Joe’s Flatbread, Hummus and Taziki, garden fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and Oven Baked Tri-Tip (you see this dish often on this site as it is so easy and flavorful, and I can use the leftovers for so many other dishes).  But my left over in this case was the flatbread.  I woke up Saturday morning thinking it would make a PERFECT pizza crust!! I’m not a huge fan of Boboli for pizza crust (but LOVE it for cinnamon toast, just sayin…) and most often just make our own or use Bridgeford frozen dough, but sometimes it’s nice to know you can make a homemade personal pizza in a pinch.

Enter Trader Joe’s Flatbread. Any flatbread would work, I just happen to love how soft and spongy their’s is…

In this case we were making breakfast pizza…

  1. I scrambled the eggs (1 for each pizza + another for good measure)
  2. While eggs were scrambling, I threw Costco’s Jimmy Dean frozen Turkey sausage links in the microwave for a minute (and sliced them up after).
  3. Put the flatbread in the toaster to lightly toast (basically to warm it a bit as it had been in the fridge).
  4. Grated a little mozerrella…maybe 3/4 cup??
  5. When the eggs were cooked, I divide them on top of each lightly toasted flatbread using the back of the spoon to flatten a little.
  6. Scattered the sausage among all the pizzas and topped with the shredded mozzerella.
  7. Threw it under the broiler for a minute (kept an eye on it).
  8. Sliced it up and served!

Now I think these breakfast pizzas could work with a number of different fancier morning combinations, but I was using what I had on hand and trying to mimic what I knew my kids really liked (sausage pizza…) But you can use bacon, sauteed mushrooms, leeks, ham, tomatoes….sooo many possibilities…

My guy had his with salsa and sliced Jalapeno.

(Sorry about the half eaten photos!!  Forgot to take pictures until we had all taken a bite and were loving the new creation!)

Start to finish, I think the whole thing took me 10-12 minutes (Not 15.  Not 9….just to be clear….Ha!) And we all gobbled up our plates!

Enjoy!

magic beans!

You may know these as Edamame, but to my Littles they are” MAGIC BEANS!” as coined by my Right Hand.

They are one of my staples from Trader Joes. And definitely in the Favorites Gallery. I probably have 4-6 bags ready and waiting in our freezer at all times.

Great healthy snack for you.

Great healthy snack for your Littles.

Win, win.

AND they are yummy warm or cold. (I salt the water, and then salt them in the strainer – no comments from the peanut gallery please).

But what makes them “magic” you ask?

It’s the fact that they “pop” out of the skins (pods)!

My Littles love to have us “pop” these directly into their mouths,

or watch us “pop” them onto their plates.

So funny!!!

Because my Littles are 1 and 2 they don’t quite grasp how to do this on their own, but if you have older kids, they may love to do it.

And not that we usually have leftovers, but if we do, they pack well for an on the go snack & I can add them to a salad (out of the pods).

Pretty much can’t go wrong with “MAGIC BEANS!!

Watch them disappear into little tummies, PRESTO MAGIC!!!

am I dreaming, or is that dinner in my freezer??

Wouldn’t it be great to just look at a menu of what was in your freezer and be able to pull out 1 of many different dinners you had already made ahead of time and know that in 20 min to an hour it could be on the table with no extra prep work???

Oh well, one can always dream….

Dream Dinners that is!!!

OK that was TOTALLY a corny intro – but the service that Dream Dinners gives people is not corny at all!  The first time I tried Dream Dinners was when they first started about 7 years ago.  It was a great way for my then boyfriend, now husband and I to get some “home cooked” meals when we both worked so late at our jobs.  Then a few weeks ago I was invited to try it out again, it was like being introduced to an old friend, that had had a mini face lift (though you couldn’t really tell what had been done!)

I’m going to keep this simple.

In about an hour, you can have 6 perfectly homemade, yummy, flavorful meals for a family of 3 or 6 ready to put in your freezer for you to cook over the next 2-3 months.  Can you think of another way to make 6 meals in an hour???  I can tell you I tried to do this for a while and it took me ALL DAY, and was back braking when dealing with all the prep and clean up and grocery shopping.

With Dream Dinners:

1. You check the month’s menu online.

2. Select your location. I chose the Tustin, CA location in the Tustin French Quarter.

3. Choose your entrees. (Dream Dinners shops and preps for you, and they will clean up the mess when you’re done).  Here’s what I chose to prepare:

Steak Salsa Verde

Crispy Coconut Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Creamy Chicken Risotto

Chicken Yakitori over Rice

Arroz con Pollo

Chicken Parmesan with Garlic Bread

4. Purchase and show up.

I was shown the different stations where there is a recipe waiting for me along with all the ingredients (including the correct measuring spoon/cup with each ingredient) prepped to prepare the dish I had selected.

So I’m off and prepping… all I have to do is “follow the yellow brick road”…

After a few more steps, my Creamy Chicken Risotto is “in the bag”!

1 dinner down, 5 to go…as you can see,
someone has quite a leg up on me and is SERIOUSLY stocking her freezer!

This darling girl was there for dinners for herself and her finance.  And another cute, young guy was there making dinners for himself and his single dad – he was tired of eating take out.  SUCH a great option for moms, families, single parents, empty nesters…..pretty much anyone short on time that needs to eat dinner…

Ummmm…

I think that might qualify everyone.

You bring a cooler or laundry basket to take everything home in.  Here’s my 6 dinners and a list to remind me of what is in the freezer and how long it needs to cook.  Can you say “Dream” Dinners!??! HONESTLY, this took me just under an hour.  And if you noticed the photo at the top of this post, I was wearing Piper in a Bjorn the ENTIRE time.

OK, so now that I have it all home and in my freezer.  I decide to see how easy (and potentially tasty) this all might be.  I leave the Arroz con Pollo on the counter (Dream Dinners recommends defrosting in your fridge, but I decided to live dangerously…)

I removed the lid and this is what the defrosted dinner looked like….

Following “the yellow brick road” still, I poured on the salsa per instruction…

And then the cheese…

And baked it for 55 minutes…

We’re almost at Emerald City….

The WIZARD!!!  (Except this one is for REAL!)

I made a dinner for 3 and served it with my own spinach salad which fed my husband, me, our 1 year old, 2 year old, and our nanny even tried a half chicken breast .  Overall consensus was “winner, winner, chicken dinner”!  Great flavor, tender chicken, thumbs up for yum factor!

There are some great programs for referrals as well as for hosting parties.  I think a great way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone is to have a Dream Dinners party. You need at least 10 friends and Dream Dinners will do all the work, including sending out the Evite and providing samples to try of that month’s menu.  You can each make 1 meal – yours is free as the host, and everyone else pays the menu cost of their meal.  You all get girls night out (you can even bring wine!), a chance to try making a dinner – and if you like it all, a discount off your first order, plus referral credits for the host!  You can’t go wrong!

I also think this could be a fun way to give a new mom some dinners for her freezer.  Just think, pick a few friends, you each make a dinner, drop off a cooler of yummy, healthy meals for her family to enjoy!  What a fabulous gift! (You just need to make sure she has freezer space – or an extra freezer.)

And just to show you how “DREAMY” they are…Dream Dinners is offering 10% of your order!  Just enter DDNC102010 at your checkout online!!

Now off you go – find a location that works for you start dreaming about your freezer dinners!


(Disclosure: I was given a trial session from Dream Dinners to sample their dinners and service.  I was not asked to review and post about the experience, only to answer a survey for them.  I enjoyed the meals and afternoon so much, I wanted to write about it.   Thank you to the staff at Tustin French Quarter!!  I will definitely go again and am so glad I was re-introduced to an old “friend”!  Hope you try it out too!)

a few fabulous favorite obsessions

I {HEART} Trader Joe’s to the craziest degree!  I just had to share a couple of my favorites with you to start out the week.

The first is an old faithful for me, the second is a new favorite that a friend dropped off with dinner for us and I’m convinced its laced with crack really addicting stuff because I have found myself buying it by the case now…

Fabulous Favorite Obsession #1 is Trader Joe’s Spinach & Artichoke Dip. I have no less that 4 of these in my freezer at all times (I kid you not!).  I also always have either a bag of tortilla chips or a box of Trader Joe’s Pita Crackers on hand.  Not only is it a great snack, but I challenge you to get a “fancy” appetizer for a crowd ready in less time…seriously, it takes 4 minutes!  And it rivals Houston’s Dip!

So here’s the deal….

Pull the box out of your freezer…

Get a ramekin from your cupboard (ignore the lime in the photo – unless you have a beer ready for it).

Free the frozen masterpiece from its confines and drop it into the ramekin.

Microwave it for 2 minutes, stir, and then 2 minutes more.

Place it in a basket with chips or Pita Crackers.

Done.

Serve it to your incredibly thrilled guests!

(Or just eat it by yourself while you catch up on TIVO…I wont tell.)

OK, Fabulous Favorite Obsession #2.

Trader Joe’s Organic Tea & Lemonade.

Seems only fitting to be sharing this favorite since the Masters was this past weekend and this drink is AKA an “Arnold Palmer”.  This is CRACK in a bottle!  A fabulous mom friend (who has 4 kids) dropped it off for us with dinner, and I feel like I know her secret to survival now!!  It is the perfect combination of tea and lemonade and is just sweet enough without being headache causing sweet.  DEFINITELY add this to your next Trader Joe’s shopping list!! I start out my day with coffee and then inject this every other hour…

And if you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s,

well…

I would just cry.

Stay tuned for a fun week!  Good stuff coming up….

Now just cross your fingers I can get to the computer to share it all with you!

friend favorite ~ bravo sports ~ the coolest on the block

Manufacturing over 2000 products used by children and families worldwide, Bravo has some of the world’s most recognized brands in the sporting goods industry.  The products include a broad array of niche product categories including instant canopies, beach umbrellas, trampolines, skateboards, scooters, in-line skates and related products and accessories from cutting-edge brands including Pulse™, Quik Shade™, Moto Shade™, Airzone™, Tony Hawk™, World Industries™, Kryptonics™, Hyper™ and Variflex™ to go along with licenses with outstanding partners such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Mattel and the Cartoon Network. We also just launched our own line of extreme scooters called Pulse Kick ‘N Go scooter  and the Slither drift scooter.

So when it comes to having run outside, Bravo Sports is the world leader in what is hot for kids, tweens, teens and even adults who are kids at hearts.

As the Marketing Director, Kellie always getting asked about what kids like and what they don’t like and realizes that each parent has one goal – they want to get the most bang for their buck when it comes to buying toys and recreational items for their kids. They want to buy products that kids love to play with over and over and over again.

Meet Kellie Swaim, the Director of Marketing at Bravo Sports Corp.,
the global leader in retail sporting goods markets.

Kellie has to be up on trends and youth culture, here are a few of her Favorite things:

1. Favorite Makeup Essential – Maybelline mascara
2. Favorite Magazine – Lucky
3. Favorite Recent Book – “The Time Travelers Wife”
4. Favorite Trader Joe’s Pick – Sweet and Savory Trail Mix
5. Favorite Fashion must have for spring/summer – Dresses, I live in them.
6. Favorite Must have shoe for the summer – Sam Edelman sandals
7. Favorite Place – Bali
8. Favorite Must haves in your bar set up – Blueberry Stoli and Lemonade
9. Favorite something always in your purse – Lip gloss
10. Favorite Sunglasses – Sabre
11. Favorite inexpensive jeans – Blank Denim


Guest Post: If you are looking to have the coolest house on the block


I have coolest job in the world.

Chances are if you have kids, you probably own something from Bravo Sports and you may not even know it.

Here are my  top five FAVORITES from Bravo Sports:

1. Slither: A whole new level fun. Drift around corners, slide side to side, propel yourself without kicking, tear in and out of turns. It is the update to the ordinary scooter. Even though some younger kids can rider this scooter, this is perfect for kids 8 years and up who want to try out some new tricks.

2. Bubble scooter: Who doesn’t like bubbles? Perfect for the younger set, they can watch bubbles float in the air as they scoot down the sidewalk.


3. 12’ Trampoline: Hours of jumping fun for all ages, learn new tricks and exercise at the same time.

4. Tuscany Cabana – A perfect place for an outdoor picnic in your own backyard while protecting the kids from the sun.


5. Skateboards and ramps and rails:
Instead of playing video games, the kids can have their own mini skate park at home.  This is a great way for the neighbor kids to interact and become friends.  It doesn’t matter if you are into Barbie, SpongeBob or Tony Hawk. We have a skateboard for all levels of experience and all ages.

6. Monster Stick Pogo: Do you remember pogo sticks when you were a kid, how fun!  This fabulous updated version as a soft foam exterior and Coil D*Lux bounce technology inside.  It comes fully assembled (great for mom and dad) and is perfect for kids 9 and up.

And guess what???  Bravo Sports is giving one away!!!  Whoo-Hoo!!  I want to win one myself! (Or maybe wait until after the baby weight has left me….) But YOU can win one for your fabulous Little!  Here’s the rules:

  1. Check out the Bravo Sports website and let us know a favorite item. (1 entry)
  2. Check out the My Favorite Everything Facebook page.  (1 entry)
  3. Feel free to post about this giveaway on Facebook! (1 entry)
  4. Tweet about the giveaway “Check out @bravosports on @myfaveverything, enter to win a Monster Pogo!” (1 entry)
  5. Vote for My Favorite Everything on Top Mommy Blogs – your click is your vote, then click again on the next page. (1 entry each day you vote).

Giveaway ends Thursday, April 1st at 5:00 pm, PST and is open to US residents.  Best of Luck!