Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Book Review: Alexander Hamilton - The Graphic History of an American Founding Father

Special thanks to Blogging for Books for sponsoring this post!

Here's a wonderful book for the Alexander Hamilton fan in your life:

Alexander Hamilton - The Graphic History of an American Founding Father tells the story of one of the most influential figures in United States history in a format that makes for easier comprehension and more engagement for the reluctant reader.

Follow along with this page-tuner that shares the story behind the man who not only fought in the Revolutionary War but also helped develop the Constitution. He's not just the star of everybody's fave musical: he was the first Secretary of the Treasury, establishing landmark economic policy that we still use today. This book goes in depth on the amazing history of the man behind the face on the ten-dollar bill. The illustrations are engaging and move the action along swiftly in this well-researched tome.

Check out Alexander Hamilton - The Graphic History of an American Founding Father, now available at your local independent bookstore or library!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Salads with Stonyfield and Taylor Farms: Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

Disclosure: I created this post in partnership with Stonyfield. Thanks to Stonyfield and Taylor Farms Organic for providing the products featured in this post.

I love salads. In my family, I'm known for making hearty, healthy salads. One of my favorite restaurants in the world is Insalata Ricca, a salad-centered bistro in Rome. Most days, I eat a big, bountiful salad for lunch. And I'm always keeping my eyes open for new recipes for salad combos and dressings.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Vibrant India

One of my favorite escapes within the city of Chicago is a trip to Devon Avenue's Desi Corridor. I stock up on tea and cardamom - I make fresh, homemade chai tea every morning and the spices and bulk orange pekoe tea at Patel Brothers on Devon are fresh and affordable. I tuck into one of many restaurants for Bhelpuri, one of my favorite Indian treats, and I window shop and just enjoy the sights and sounds. It's like traveling to a different country and yet it's only about a fifteen minute drive from my home!

Here's a new book that promises to bring the flavors of India into your home:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: The Book of Greens

I love my greens! Give me a big bowl filled with turnip greens sautéed in garlic or a pizza stuffed with broccoli rabe or a bowl of dandelion greens dressed with lemon and olive oil and I'm in heaven!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Home Movie Nights with G.H. Cretors #GHCretorsMovieNight

Disclosure: Special thanks to G.H. Cretors  for sponsoring this post. 

Nothing beats a Friday night cuddled on the sofa with my kids watching a great movie...especially after a hectic work week. A bowl filled to the brim with G.H. Cretors gourmet popcorn is an added (and necessary!) bonus!

This past Sunday night, the kids and I cuddled up on the sofa with a big bowl of G.H. Cretors The Mix (!!!) to watch Arrival.

Have you tried G.H. Cretors? G.H. Cretors is a Chicago original, with a history dating back to 1893 with Charles Cretors, confectioner and inventor, who unveiled the first popcorn machine at the Chicago World’s Fair. Great-great granddaughter, Claire Cretors, popped the first batch of “obsessively delicious” flavors four decades later, to what we know today as G.H. Cretors Popped Corn. G.H. Cretors artisanal popcorn is made in small batches using only the highest quality ingredients and is popped just outside Chicago in Waukegan, Illinois. G.H. Cretors uses non-GMO ingredients and popcorn and is 100% gluten-free. It's almost impossible to choose between the many savory or sweet flavors which include...

o The Mix (cheddar cheese and caramel)
o Organic Chile Jalapeño White Cheddar o Organic Dill Pickle
o JusttheCheese
o JusttheCaramel
o Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
o NEW Organic White Cheddar
o NEW Organic Honey Butter Kettlecorn o NEW Organic Salted Butter

Our family loves "The Mix", which combines savory cheddar with sweet caramel. I appreciate the top quality taste and unbeatable freshness of G.H. Cretors. I do have to warn you, however, that once you start eating it you might not be able to stop. Wear a pair of stretchy pants to your movie night date in front of the home television just in case.

Want to host your own #GHCretorsMovieNight? G.H. Cretors can be found nationwide in Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid, BJs and more. Invite your family, invite your friends, or make it a #GHCretorsMovieNight for one - you!


Celebrate #TheWholeYou with PrAna and Stonyfield!

How do you celebrate YOU? How do you take care of YOU?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Can a dairy cow save a penguin?

Disclosure: Special thanks to Stonyfield for sponsoring this post. 

If you're local to the Chicagoland area, you can't miss a visit to Cosley Zoo. This AZA-accredited zoo, located in Wheaton, Illinois, promises plenty of up close and personal encounters with our animal friends. Cosley Zoo is more of a farm-style zoo, and this spring, Cosley is welcoming so many sweet baby animals. This beautiful baby lamb was born just a couple of days ago!

If you love animals, here's a question for you to consider: Can a dairy cow save a penguin?

That’s the question Stonyfield YoKids is asking today, April 25, World Penguin Day. 

Stonyfield YoKids, one of our family's favorite brands, is sponsoring the AZA SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) program; together on a mission to help save endangered species. As part of a year-long effort, Stonyfield will not only be contributing funds to field work but aiming to drive kids and their families to see animals and conservation projects first hand at zoos, aquariums, and on the ground where the research is happening!

Now through the end of August, families who buy two YoKids yogurt packs will receive a free kid’s admission to their local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium! Take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy your YoKids yogurt with your favorite animals at Cosley Zoo! (Admission to Cosley Zoo is always free for kids!).

As the country’s leading organic yogurt maker, Stonyfield has long been focused on conservation and sustainability. Each year they keep over 185,000 pounds of toxic pesticides out of the environment, helping to safeguard species and their eco-systems. Stonyfield YoKids’ sponsorship of AZA SAFE will support conservation efforts for 10 endangered species, including the African Penguin.

Stonyfield believes the wonderful optimism and imagination of kids can inspire us all to believe that a cow can indeed save a penguin. Stonyfield kicks off the year of adventure and learning with a Facebook Live from Mystic Aquarium TODAY, National Penguin Day, 4/25 at 12 PM ET! During the broadcast a penguin trainer will provide insight into the care, behavior and conservation of African penguins, and viewers will also have the opportunity to see real African penguins firsthand as well as ask the trainer questions in real time. Tune into the @Stonyfield Facebook page at 12:00 PM today to catch the broadcast!

You can learn more about AZA/SAFE by following on social media! Facebook: The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Instagram:@zoos_aquariums Twitter: @zoos_aquariums

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Elevita: Gifts That Improve Lives Worldwide

Looking for a gift that says I love you in more than one way? With Mother's Day on the horizon, I'm so happy to share about a new-to-me company with a lofty mission: to alleviate poverty worldwide by helping artisans in developing countries find a greater world market for their products.

Elevita is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with 100% volunteer management. 100% of the profits from sales to fund meaningful humanitarian projects, especially in education.

The artisans that make Elevita's beautiful gifts include:
- Artisans who have limited access to markets
- Artisan groups that work toward educating women and girls
- Artisans in distressed areas
- Handicapped or otherwise marginalized artisans

From beautiful purses and bags to stunning accent jewelry pieces, Elevita's gifts are more than unique. A monthly subscription is a gift that keeps on giving, with a surprise selection of fair-trade goodies arriving in-mailbox every month. But the true value is knowing that you are giving a gift that was made with care by someone who was treated and paid fairly for their handiwork, and that the profits are going towards projects that are making a difference in the world around us.

Check out the beautiful selection of fine, fair-trade gifts at Elevita today!

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Walmart as an organic foods destination? Check out their wide selection of affordable organics, online or in-store.

Disclosure: Special thanks to Stonyfield for sponsoring this post. 

In a dream world, organic foods are affordable and in abundance, easily accessible to everyone. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My Life to Live: How I Became the Queen of Soaps When Men Ruled the Airwaves

Special thanks to Blogging for Books for sponsoring this post. 

I've never been a soap opera fan, but I enjoy reading about the behind the scenes action in the television industry. So I was fascinated by my latest read, My Life to Live: How I Became the Queen of Soaps When Men Ruled the Airwaves by Agnes Nixon.

Nixon is the Emmy-winning creator and writer of All My Children and One Life to Live. She rose to the top of the television industry, from a young girl who dreamed up stories for paper dolls to a woman who experienced just as much drama as the soaps she wrote, at a time when women were rarely taking serious in the biz. This fascinated memoir shares the soap opera that is her own life, and covers personal experiences outside of her writing career as well, including the loss of her fiancé in World War II. But it's the story behind her struggle to rise as a behind-the-scenes star that fascinates: she dealt early on with a father intent on crushing her writing dreams, later the jealousy of her male colleagues tried unsuccessfully to get in her way as she worked to become one of the most successful names in television.

If you indeed love soaps, you'll love her behind-the-scenes insight into her most popular shows, including her inspiration for Erica Kane and how she cast Susan Lucci in the role; an excerpt from the never-before-seen All My Children story bible; entertaining anecdotes about her shows’ beloved casts and special guests, including Carol Burnett, Kelly Ripa, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffett; and more.
Learn more about television legend Agnes Nixon in My Life to Live: How I Became the Queen of Soaps When Men Ruled the Airwaves, now available at your local library. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review: Road Food by Jane and Michael Stern

Special thanks to Blogging for Books for sponsoring this post.

Road Trip!

Ahhh....music to my ears! 

Who doesn't love a good, spur-of-the-moment road trip!

Here's a book to take along on the ride:

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stonyfield Organic is now a certified B Corporation!

Special thanks to Stonyfield Organics for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

I'm so pleased to announce that Stonyfield Organic is now a certified B Corporation! A B Corporation is a for-profit company that is certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Simply put, B Corps are better companies for our environment, our communities, our world. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants

Special thanks to Blogging for Books for sponsoring this post!

Spring is finally in the air, and my city garden is calling my name!

Review: Good Food Made Simple

Special thanks to Good Food Made Simple for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Life can get so incredibly busy these days, between school and work and everything else on my plate, that I always tuck a few frozen meals into the shopping cart so there is always something to eat in a pinch. It can be difficult, however, to find frozen foods that are healthy among the over-processed junk that fills the shelves.

Here's a new solution in the frozen food aisle:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: New Stonyfield Whole Milk Smoothies

I am a official Stonyfield blogger; that said, all opinions, as always, are my own.

Yogurt is a big part of our family's diet. We love it for breakfast, blended into salad dressings, smoothies, scooped over fresh fruit for a snack. Here's a new product that we are loving for on the go: Stonyfield Whole Milk Smoothies. Available in Strawberry-Banana, Wild Berry, Peach and Strawberry, these ready-to-drink smoothies are perfect for breakfast or as a snack on the go.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner; illustrated by David Catrow

Special thanks to Blogging for Books for sponsoring this post.

YOU, you… God thinks about you.
God was thinking of you long before your debut.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Healthy Meals in a Snap: SNAP Kitchen @SNAPKitchen #SnapKitchen

Yesterday my daughter and I headed to a new-to-us dining option in Lincoln Park: Snap Kitchen. We visited the Lincoln Park location, but there are several convenient Chicago locations.

Snap Kitchen provides healthy, ULTRA CONVENIENT, pre-packaged meals for everyone. Everything is fresh and never frozen. You will find meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even drinks, making this a one-stop shop. Meals are easily re-heatable. If you follow a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo or Vegan diet, you're sure to find plenty of meals to fit your lifestyle, too. 

The period between after work/school and dinner is always hectic in our home. Our visit to Snap Kitchen was quick and easy: we pulled up - parking was available right in front! - and had a fun time picking up some healthy meals. Everything was healthy...so there was no arguing with my daughter about what to choose - she had fun picking out some breakfast and lunch items on her own. We planned on enjoying some items for dinner that same evening and my daughter chose some lunchbox items for the next few days.

For dinner, my daughter and I both chose the almond crusted chicken with kale pesto carrots. We loved this healthy take on fried chicken! Satisfying and healthy, it was a wonderful weeknight meal that two me literally 30 seconds to prepare in the microwave!

I also picked up a few breakfast goodies for myself. This strawberry coconut almond parfait was an absolute delight! So healthy and yet I felt like I was indulging in dessert for breakfast!

Snap Kitchen's meals are prepared from scratch daily using organic and locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. The Chicago locations also offer a selection of cold pressed juice ($7.99-9.99); a host of snacks ranging from $2.99-4.99, desserts ($2.49-$3.99). 99 percent of the menu is gluten-free.

While it was easier than ever to pull up and pop into Snap Kitchen to grab our meals to go, you can also opt to order your meals for delivery or have them ready for you for easy pick up thanks to Snap Kitchen's convenient app. Download the app today!  

Have you tried Snap Kitchen? I'd love to hear your thoughts and fave meal picks! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Amazing Animal Facts Postcards

Special thanks to Blogging for Books for sponsoring this post. 

At age six my daughter is like a sponge, soaking up any information she can get her hands on. One of her fave subjects is animals. While most nonfiction children's books on animals focus on the very basics, the beautifully illustrated, amazing book, taught this mom a thing or two, too!

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts  by Maja Säfström.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Paying It Forward with Stonyfield #sp

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield. I am a Stonyfield Ambassador, but all opinions expressed are my own.
How do you pay it forward?

This past December, Stonyfield invited its ambassadors to participate in a Pay It Forward campaign. I received a $50 giftcard from Stonyfield and was invited to think of a way to pay it forward in my community during the holiday season. 

As a teacher in a public school, I know that many of my students' families struggle during the holiday season. I paid it forward by surprising my students with a holiday party that featured a hot chocolate bar where they could load up their hot cocoas with marshmallows and sprinkles and whipped cream. I set up a little Christmas tree and greeted each of my students - 150 in total!!! - at my classroom door. Holiday music was in the air. It was very special to share a moment of good cheer with my students.

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I also made a Buche de Noel, a special French holiday cake.
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I'm so thankful to Stonyfield for sponsoring my little in-class holiday party. A cup of hot cocoa, marshmallows and a moment to sit, relax and just talk together was a very special way to celebrate the holidays with my students.

How did you pay it forward this holiday season?
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: Eat Beautiful Food and Recipes to Nourish Your Skin from the Inside Out

Special thanks to Blogging for Books for sponsoring this post. 

We truly are what we eat. What we put into our bodies can give us energy or drag us down. Nourish or deplete. Make us beautiful? According to author Wendy Rowe, a few diet additions can up your beauty factor. Here's a new book that promises to help you care for your body from the inside out, highlighting ingredients and recipes designed to make your skin glow: Eat Beautiful by Wendy Row. 

Informative Details About The Differences Between Slow Cookers And Pressure Cookers

Slow Cookers can save time and money when it comes to weekday dinners. Read on for everything you need to know on slow and pressure cookers.

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