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9.27.2012

KLUTCHclub Box Review


I have an interesting review for you. I was recently given the opportunity to receive a KLUTCHclub box to review. This club allows one to subscribe to receive a monthly "themed" box filled with goodies from a variety of companies.

Each month, the subscriber pays $16-18 for $50-100 worth of products that are focused around health, fitness, nutrition, beverages, supplements, and skincare. These products might be some that the subscriber might not have heard of, even products that are high-end.

What did I get? For the month of August the theme was "Health-On-The-Go" On-the-go is my middle name nowadays so the contents of the box seemed very attractive when I first opened it.


As some may know, I am now 5 months pregnant and lots of things have changed in my life again. Since moving to a new location, working out at a local gym is pretty non-existent. The other thing is finding close natural health food stores that do not break the wallet.


I was glad to see that some of the items in the box were going to help with these current issues. In the box of several items to test and try immediately, like the vitamin supplements called BioPharma Supplements. Unfortunately since I am pregnant I am not taking any other supplements other than my prenatals, flax oil and safe supplements, so I could not tell you how these were.


The same thing goes for the aloe vera juice. Aloe vera juice can cause uterine contractions and even lower blood sugar levels so I decided not to risk it. 

Side note: I had a chance to see what items I was receiving this month but it did not dawn on me that I would not be able to try or test some of them until I received the box. Blame it on pregnancy brain.






I did however enjoy the fact I got to try this new online program. Seeing that I have that issue of not going workout classes, they could come to me. I have viewed some and plan to use them. I can watch them from my TV and vary my exercises.


 How about the edibles? I received Popcorners Corn Chips in Sea Salt. I am totally digging the corn chip flavor nowadays and I could not believe these were not fried. All air popped and gluten-free too.

GoNola in the Wild Blueberry flavor was also included. I like granola anytime. Pour it over yogurt or oatmeal and I am happy. The size you see in the picture is how the company supply's this product. Even though they sell this product in some stores you can buy a package of 24 for $25. 


I leave the last two items last because I liked them the BEST!  Every time I go to a Japanese restaurant, I always order their seaweed salad. It is fresh and healthy and addictive.

I was super excited to try this Seaweed Salad On the Go. All I had to do was add water to the seaweed, let it expand for 5 minutes and then add the seasoning pack.All healthy ingredients with no MSG.


The last item I enjoyed was the Twistband. I quickly visited the site and learned that it was created by a mother who needed to hair pulled up and away from her babies. No scrunchies or uncomfortable twisties were needed but a stylish twist band that still was able to hold up the hair in a ponytail. I loved it and it was gentle on my cranium. Ha! Anything pulled too tightly on my head gives me headaches. 

Go check them out.


There are several items I did not picture but are all mostly vouchers or coupon codes to try products. Yet again, this is totally my fault for not really looking at what I was getting. I received a voucher of $50 to go towards the purchase of Tieks, which are stylish, trendy, and and high-quality flats. After using the voucher the flats would still be $100 and that certainly is not in my budget even though they are SUPER cute, I would never shell that much money. If anyone is interested I can send you my voucher by mail. Let me know!

Even though these boxes have received great reviews from others, like Shape and Glamour, I have to say that I was not THAT impressed with this box. I liked all the edibles so that is a plus. 

Do not get me wrong. I am going to be on the lookout for some other KLUTCHclub boxes in the upcoming months. If anything I totally would have gone for the KLUTCHclub box in May:


Check out KLUTCHclub on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Go to their website and peruse boxes for women and men in the up and coming months. They might be of interest to some of you. Order your first month HERE


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9.25.2012

Spelt Choco-Peanut Butter Cookies + GIVEAWAY

Spelt Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Guess what I did last night? I baked! I am starting to get a hold of this multi-tasking in the kitchen. While I am preparing dinner or waiting for it to cook, I work really fast with some sort of dessert.

This coming week marks the LAST week of Whole Grains Month. This does not mean you have to stop eating while grains now but it only stops emphasizing how great grains are in one's life. Hopefully there have been plenty of recipe to inspire healthy eating.

PB&Choco Cookies

I realized that all my recipes during this month's weekly giveaway were all sweet recipes. I cannot help myself but then you can;t blame me right?

I DID make savory spelt recipes but I posted these before the giveaways started. Do you remember?

Here are the recipes:

Veggie Spelt Pasta Salad

Savory Zucchini Spelt Pancakes

PB & Choco Cookies

I also made a Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread that was super delicious! I feel like I do my best at creating dessert recipe than anything else so then I concentrate on these.

This week I decided to use one of the newer recipes posted on Nature's Legacy that was posted in August. There is nothing better than trying a recipe that is simply perfect like these Simply Perfect Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Spelt Cookies

I used the author's base recipe and veganized it and then I added some more mixin's to it. What was the result? A delicious and even more simply perfect cookie. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter is crazy good and the walnuts make a delicious depth.

Feel free to leave out the nuts for allergies. The cookies came out nicely golden and not dry at all. These were quick cookies to prepare and they went PERFECT with a cold glass of coconut milk. YUM

Do not forget to enter this next week's giveaway if you did not win. See below and good luck!


Who won last week's giveaway?  CLAIRE,  I will be emailing you! You won the goodies.

Spelt Choco-Peanut Butter Cookies

by Noelle Kelly / Torye Santucci
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes


Ingredients (2 dozen)
  • 2 cups Vita-Spelt white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) Earth Balance, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 flax seed "eggs" (2 TBSP +6 TBSP warm water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Sunspire vegan peanut butter chips
  • 3/4 cup walnut bits
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together spelt flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using a whisk, beat the melted butter and brown sugar until combined. It will turn into a caramel color(1-2 minutes). Mix in the vanilla and flax "eggs" until combined (about 30 seconds).

Using a spatula, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just smooth (about 45 seconds).

Mix in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and walnuts bits.

Using a small scoop portion out 12 cookie dough balls onto each baking sheet. Space dough balls 2 inches apart.

Bake until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft and puffy for 12 minutes). Repeat with the rest of the batter to make 2 dozen cookies.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer parchment paper and cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway


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9.24.2012

Quick Cuban Food for the Busy Mom


Happy Monday! Did everyone enjoy their gorgeous weekend? Fall is definitely settling in especially since Saturday was the first day of fall. How timely!

We had a beautiful Sunday going to church and learning more about our church family and getting to know more about our Creator, God Almighty. There is something about a gorgeous day and knowing that your life is secured.


We had a busy Sunday. We were invited over to a couple's home for lunch then Ryan had a convocation at his university. Meanwhile Julianne and I walked around the West Chester downtown. People were eating outside at almost every restaurant. We saw lots of dogs and people kept gawking and saying hello to Julianne. She is SUCH a people person. She looks at everyone in the eye and give them a toothy smile. It is the most precious thing!


I was kind of nervous with the fact she had only had one 30-min nap. I tried keeping her in the stroller but she just wanted to see the action. I tried holding her and keeping her in the Ergo carrier but she would not have it. I have to say that she is very much like her mother. Despite being tired, I know I can keep myself awake so I can make the most of every moment. I am not surprised that my child is the same way. I see other parents walking their babies, all asleep in their strollers but mine forces herself to stay awake. Oh well.

We got home at around 4:30pm and well we ALL wanted to take naps. I was afraid of keeping Julianne up another 2 hours even though she had been in the BEST mood all day. I figured she needed a nap even if her bedtime was a little later than usual. I fed her and put her down. I rested realizing I could not nap but I stretched out and relaxed. 



One hour went by, then two hours, three hours, and then four. I then realized perhaps Julianne would not be getting up. I felt nervous because I thought she would get us in the middle of the night thinking it was early morning and it would make for a crazy start to our week. Guess what though? Julianne fell asleep from 4:30pm to 6am this morning! I was shocked but seeing her happy face made me realize she really needed that sleep. Poor baby. She looks like she grew a half inch too. 

So what did I do with all my free time yesterday evening? I watched a bit of the Emmy's red carpet, did my bible study for my women's study group next week, and I decided to make Cuban food.

I know some people know I have had a hankering for Cuban food the last few weeks. The closest restaurant is 45 minutes away so I knew that was not going to happen. I had been looking near and far for plantains to make my own fried platanos or platains but I could not find them ANYWHERE! I was getting very frustrated. On Saturday, while we were driving around West Chester, we found a Mexican grocery store. We stopped and I stocked up on goodies I knew I have not been able to find. 

Platanos

What else did I find? Plantains!!!! Yes, I get happy seeing bananas. What can I say?

Last night then I worked on frying one of the five plantains. I cooked up some white rice and I prepared black beans. It all took me about 30 minutes. how about that for some quick Cuban food?

Here is what I did. The plantains have to be VERY ripe and almost black to prepare and fry. I sliced them up, heated the vegetable oil and fried for 10 minutes.

They then were placed on a plate for the oil to soak into paper.

white rice

During that time I prepared the rice which cooked for 30 minutes.

Moros y Cristianos

After the fried plantains were cooked I drained the hot oil in another pan and heated some olive oil. I chopped up some onions, peppers, garlic and fried it in the pan. I added one can of black beans and added spices, like one bay leaf, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, a little vinegar and some broth.

The bean mixture simmered for 15 minutes and then I added a 1 1/2 of cooked white rice and cooked for another 5 minutes and turned off the heat. The rice soaked it the rest of the broth and flavors. 

Cuban food


I decided not to just make rice and beans but instead I decided to make a another popular Cuban dish called Moros y Cristianos or Black Beans and Rice dish.

My craving or hankering was finally satisfied. The beauty of the this dish is that you have leftovers for the rest of the week. I have at least 2 lunches prepared and ready for me to eat. The only thing I need to do is fry some more plantains, or sweet bananas. I only had ONE ripe banana so I was somewhat sad to share them with my husband. Hahahahaha

Ryan is not a black bean eater but he came home for dinner last night and asked if I left him some plantains. Of course and some black beans too! He ate it all. How nice right?

The recipes are all found through a fabulous site called Three Guys From Miami.

How to make Fried Sweet Plantains and Moros y Cristianos (Black Beans and White Rice Dish)

Don't forget, today is the LAST day to enter the VitaSpelt Whole Grains Giveaway Goodie Package.  

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9.18.2012

Raspberry Lime Bundt Cake with Lime Glaze

cake 3

Today marks the 3 week in our Whole Grains Giveaway for the month of September. I received an email yesterday from our first winner letting me know that she received her whole grains giveaway package yesterday and that it looked awesome!

Today I am announcing who won last week's giveaway and I am starting a third week package. Thanks to Nature's Legacy, they have donated a goodie package for one person to win each week. Thanks a bunch!

cake

This week I am featuring a new / old recipe I created using white spelt flour. I took this bundt cake to a choir party at our church a few weeks back. It was a hit. I was very shocked to find out that out of the 8 desserts, mine was the only homemade dessert. What is going on with this world? I was very surprised!

We were later invited to a dinner party a week later and I was asked to bring this cake again. Ha! Whoa. I actually have not gotten a request that quickly before.

I am sorry that my pictures are inconsistent. I hardly had time to picture this dessert because time is so limited around here. I was able to take a picture of the finished bundt right out of the oven but then the other pictures are at the party with my camera phone. Hope you can overlook that. :-)

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How did this recipe originate? I made Raspberry Lime Cupcakes about 2 years ago and those happened to be one of my husband's favorite. He requested I make it for this party but then I let him know I had decided to make it into a cake for convenience. 

The cake came out so moist! I doubled the cupcake recipe and adjusted the baking time and the glaze and voila! Cupcake to bundt cake. Has anyone ever done that before? Let me know.
 A bundt cake usually feeds 16 people with good size able portions but somehow everyone wanted a slice so I managed to get 24 slices. Boy was that stressful! Haha but it worked cause everyone got a slice. How about that?


cake 1

So who won last week's giveaway?

Kelly Rothermel from Leafy Not Beefy! Thanks for entering!

Here is the recipe for bundt cake but make sure to enter this week's giveaway!

Raspberry Lime Bundt Cake with Lime Glaze

by Noelle Kelly
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


Ingredients (16 slices)
    Cake Mix
    • 2 cups So Delicious coconut milk or other brand
    • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2/3 cup oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp lime extract
    • 1 cup raspberry puree
    • 2 1/2 cups Vita-Spelt spelt flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    Raspberry Puree
    • 2 cups fresh or previously frozen raspberries
    • 1/2 cup agave nectar
    Lime Glaze
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 8-oz tub of Tofutti vegan cream cheese or regular cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon lime extract
    • 1/2 Tablespoon lime zest
    • 1 lime, juiced
    Instructions

    Raspberry Puree
    In a food processor, blend raspberries. Press puree through a sieve to separate seeds from puree. Makes 1/2 cup raspberry puree. Add agave nectar and mix well.
    You do not have to do this if you use a high-powered blender like a Vitamix.

    Cake Mix
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a bundt cake.
    In a medium bowl, mix coconut milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes for mixture to curdle.
    Add sugar, oil, vanilla and lime extracts, and raspberry puree and blend well.
    In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.
    Pour batter into bundt pan and place in oven.
    Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare icing.

    Lime Glaze
    Blend and mix 1 cup powdered sugar, lime juice and cream cheese with an immersion or hand mixer until well combined. Add lime zest and mix again.
    After the bundt cake has cooled 15 minutes, glaze the cake with the lime glaze until covered.
    Best when consumed the first day, otherwise refrigerate in covered container.
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    9.17.2012

    Friday Night Under the Stars + Brandywine Polo

      

    I hope everyone had a great weekend like we did. I felt like we were able to pack it in with fun activities. I find that we always enjoy finding new things to do when we live in a new place. 


    If you had not noticed I recently joined a new group called Philly Social Media Moms. I think the title fits everything that is my life plus much more that a lot of people do not know about me. I thought it would be a great fit for me because it would be a great group to meet other mothers like me. Well, I did not waste any time. One mom posted a great promotion to attend a polo match during a summer series called Friday Night Under the Stars.


    This series started June 1st and ends September 21st. What was pretty amazing to learn is that the proceeds from June to August go to a non-profit charitable organization called All Riders Up, and organization that provides area residents with special needs a way to exercise. What a wonderful opportunity! Included with each ticket entry is a spot on the field to watch the games, music, and parking. You can eat on the grounds but that is an additional cost. The real great option is to bring your own food and have your picnic. 


    This event was definitely family-friendly and a very unique experience. Neither Ryan or I had ever been to a polo match so we eagerly agreed to pack up picnic items and blankets to make our 30 minute trek to the polo grounds.


    When I say picnic items I only meant blankets, sweaters, baby food items and miscellaneous items. We decided we would try the food on the grounds which we later regretted. There was little tent that offered wine and beer along with some grilled foods, like hot dogs and hamburgers. I was excited to try the BBQ. Note to self, I am from Texas and BBQ in the East is so not like Texas BBQ.


    I took one bite of the beans and said NO! It was full of cinnamon and too gooey. Gross. The pulled pork sandwich, well it was pork and gross. I prefer brisket. The corn was probably the best thing on the plate. That food went to waste I have to say. Chipotle was consumed a few hours later. :-)


    The polo games were quick but fun to watch. What was great was watching Julianne enjoy the horses running back and forth on the field.

    She was easily distracted with the kids running around but as soon as the players came by our area, she was flapping her arms like crazy. Oh, the plus was getting to meet 3 other Philly moms from the group. It was nice to have a social gathering meeting total strangers which is better than going and not knowing anyone, right?


    I would totally go again! Another plus was the 2 hours of music after the polo matches were over. We stayed for another 45 minutes despite the baby's bedtime. She loved seeing the stars, the dogs running around and the band playing.


    The group playing is called 2UESDAY NIGHT BAND. They were pretty decent for a party and dance band. There were kids dancing and adults getting up and doing the boogie dance. It was a lovely ambiance. After 2 hours, we headed out and called it an evening.

    This event was a great start to our weekend and I recommend anyone to try it once. :-)

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    9.14.2012

    Buddy Fruits Review

    While we were making out trek from Michigan to Pennsylvania I discovered this fun company while shopping in the early morning at Wal-mart when Julianne woke up real early. I first thought I would not be that mother that bought prepared foods but then I quickly found out that I kept running out of time and we found ourselves traveling a lot.

    Food pouches to the rescue! 


    What intrigued me about Buddy Fruits? This company has a lovely story behind it. The owners, Fabian Milon and his wife, are French and when they found themselves in the US, they found it hard finding fruits and fruits pouches for their child. He was a restaurant owner in France and his wife a banker. Apparently, fruit pouches are very popular in France and so they decided to make it popular in the US.

    Buddy Fruits does not only make fruit pouches but they also make smoothie pouches made from coconut milk and skim milk. They superfruit pouches and gummy candy too.


    Did I feed Julianne the gummy candy? Of course not! Those were for me! Hee hee. They are dairy and gluten-free and under 100 calories. ALL-NATURAL gummies or fruit bites. So delicious!!


    What did Julianne like? Well, every time she see a pouch she get so excited. She KNOWS it is food and demands it at once. It is quite hilarious. DO you know that she can finish a pouch in 1 minute? Each pouch contains 3.2 ounces and sometimes it takes 2 pouches to satisfy her. :-)


    Do you know that Chick-Fil-A carries these pouches? It is quite exciting! Even though they sell fresh fruit I give her the pouch because it is pureed and easier for her.


    These are all 100% fruit with no added sugars so I know that my child is receiving full nutrients. Even though we received some pouches with skim milk, I did not feed these to Julianne. I am not feeding her dairy so I could not try these. 


    I chose to let someone else to try them. Now I need to find the pouches with coconut milk. Yum!

    If you get a chance, go to Wal-mart, Wegmans, Acme and more markets by checking out more locations HERE.

    Thank you Buddy Fruits for making our feeding experience delightful and healthy!

    Disclaimer: This review is entirely my own opinion. I was not compensated but only received the product for general review.

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