Infusion Part One

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Have you ever made your own infused vodka? We recently had a fabulous martini during our travels. It was pink, it was sweet and it was SPICY! We walked out of the restaurants and our gears started turning. How could we come close to recreating that drink? I believe we succeeded!

Have you ever had Tito’s Vodka? It is from Austin, Texas. We were introduced to this vodka about a year ago. We are in love! It’s not expensive, about the same price as a bottle of Captain Morgan rum, but it’s so good. In fact it’s so good that you won’t realize you are drinking vodka! (Do you have a favorite vodka?) Ok, back to the drink…

So we had some strawberries from our farm share that were looking a bit on the sad side, but we didn’t want to throw them out. What did we do with them you ask? We put them in the vodka. Our bottle was pretty empty, so we decided to just make it all in there, it even has the easy pour cap. In order to add spice to it we tossed in some Serrano peppers, which are hotter than jalapeños. Then we waited.

The strawberries gave it a beautiful bright pink color and the peppers gave it some flavor.

Do you like spicy things? My husband likes more spice than I do. But I must say we both loved this drink. You should try it, you won’t know what hit you… Some sweetness them boom the spicy. It tickles the back of your mouth, but you can’t stop drinking it. To sweeten it up and tame the peppers down a bit you can add some simple syrup.

Do you like coming up with new drinks? What is your favorite summer drink?

Until next time!

Mariel

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Who Doesn’t Love a Freebie

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Happy Monday everybody! I finally got my mail from when we were on vacation and aside from the boring bills I received a small box that really brightened my day. A while back Target had a promotion that if you liked their Target Style Facebook page you would receive a free Target Summer Beauty Bag full of samples.

The samples came in a very nice cosmetics bag. The bag included coupons, Garnier Fructis Color Shield Shampoo and Conditioner, one time use Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 70 Sunblock, a new Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Detoxifying Scrub and TRESemme Split Remedy Shampoo and Conditioner.

Are you a Target fan? I know I love that store! This is the first time I have received one of these from them, but I know they send these out from time to time. So if you want your own Target freebie bag make sure you check on their website and Facebook page. If I hear of another one I’ll be sure to let you know.

Hope you are having a good Monday!

Until Next Time!

Mariel

Kid’s Quotes – The Career Consultant

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Today we were eating lunch and my four-year old and two-year old started talking. Have you ever just sat there and listened to kids talking to each other? They come up with the funniest things.

So if you are having a rough day just sit and listen, I’m sure you’ll smile at least once.

Today’s lunch topic…. Future Careers

4-year old – “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
2-year old – “I want to check my email.”
4-year old – “Oh so you want to be a programmer.”
2-year old – “Yes!”

Glad to know my daughter’s future has been all sorted out. Now we all know what programmers REALLY do. 🙂

Until next time!

Mariel

Cheesy Kohlrabi Bake

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Dear Kohlrabi, where have you been all my life? You are so funny looking, intimidating, yet taste so good. (If you didn’t know it by now, yes, I tend to be a little on the dramatic side.)

So I got my first ever Kohlrabi in my farm box last week. I had never seen one in my life. They are green (they also come in purple), round (about the size of a softball) and have stems sticking out from all over making them look like small alien heads. So fun!

I finally decided to tackle the Kohlrabi. When cooked it looks and tastes like broccoli stems, but it’s white instead of green. I made a cheesy Kohlrabi bake, I only had one so I tweaked the following recipe by Jennifer from Mother Thyme that I found on the Tasty Kitchen website.

http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/sidedishes/kohlrabi-and-cheese/

My tips (and I am no expert) for cooking Kohlrabi…

  • Make sure you peel it well. If you leave some of the peel on you’ll notice harder spots when biting into it. It’s not bad, just a weird, unexpected texture.
  • It takes a while in the oven, check it to make sure it is tender. I kept adding time to my oven.
  • Enjoy!
Here’s a picture of my Cheesy Kohlrabi Bake.

Cheesy Kohlrabi Bake (MW)

Do you have any favorite Kohlrabi recipes? I will be getting some cabbage and red beets soon and would love to hear how you prepare them.

Until next time!

Mariel

Kale Chips

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Hello everybody! We just got back from a fabulous vacation and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Unfortunately coming back from vacation is a lot of work so for now I will share this recipe with you and will share my vacation later.

We just joined a CSA. It’s our first time doing this and we are super excited. I’m also a bit nervous. I know I’m going to have to get creative in the kitchen and my monkeys (including Dad Monkey) are very picky about what they eat. This will be a fun adventure for all of us, hopefully I’ll find lots of good recipes out there I can share with you guys.

This was our first week getting a share. Among other things we got some Kale and Kohlrabi. Have you seen Kohlrabi before? They are funny looking vegetables, my first thought was an alien head.

kohlrabi

kohlrabi (Photo credit: Lawrence Farmers’ Market)

Today I made the Kale, which isn’t as crazy looking. I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it. I had heard a lot about Kale Chips and couldn’t wait to try them out. I searched online and found a recipe from a great website:  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com

The chips were so easy to make and you only need 3 ingredients: Kale, Olive Oil and Salt. I pretty much followed the recipe but didn’t really measure the ingredients. I also added a little salt to the Kale before cooking. They taste very different but kind of addictive.

Basically all you do is clean the Kale and tear it up into pieces getting rid of the stems including the one in the middle of the leaf. Warm your oven to 375. Sprinkle olive oil and salt on the Kale and mix. Spread on a cookie sheet so it’s a single layer then cook. I cooked it 5 minutes at a time flipping them before putting them back in. She warns that it is easy to over cook.

Here’s a link to the recipe, enjoy!

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/30/recipe-kale-chips-a-surprisingly-easy-and-delicious-veggie/

Do you have a favorite Kale recipe? Any suggestions as to what I should make with my alien looking Kohlrabi?

Until next time!

Mariel

 

Trader Joe’s

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I feel that this is a “hot” subject to write about as most of the people I know, that have visited this store, have very strong feelings about their favorite foods from Trader Joe’s. The bottom line though, everybody loves this store.

Trader Joe's next to the Hampshire Mall Hadley...

Trader Joe’s next to the Hampshire Mall Hadley Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we made the trip out to Trader Joe’s. We are lucky enough to have one relatively close. The only thing is that, it’s not easy to get to, so we only make the trip out there about once a month.

It took me a while to check it out. I have heard many people talk about it and how wonderful it is. I have one VERY picky eater, which is part of the reason this trip is worth it for me. My 4-year-old will only eat Trader Joe’s cheese sticks and fruit snacks, he also really likes their breakfast bars and mac and cheese. One of the reasons I love shopping there, aside from their great prices, is their promise to offer quality products. (this is quoted directly from their website – http://www.traderjoes.com/about/product-faq.asp)

“If you see Trader Joe’s on a label, then you can know that the product contains NO artificial flavors, colors or preservatives; NO genetically modified ingredients; NO MSG; and NO added Trans Fats.”

They have a great selection of “gourmet” frozen foods. These are great if you need a quick meal, especially if you are “cooking” for one. Their frozen mac and cheese is the closest I have found to “homemade”. They use a mix of cheeses including Havarti and Gouda making it stand out from your normal microwave mac and cheese.

Unfortunately I live in Pennsylvania so the liquor laws here don’t allow the store to sell alcohol. Have you tried their $2 wine? I believe it’s nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck”. It really isn’t bad, especially considering it’s only $2!

Have you been to Trader Joe’s? What are some of your favorite Trader Joe’s foods?

These are some of our favorites…

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time!

Mariel

*Please note that this review expresses my personal opinions on this subject. Trader Joe’s in no way sponsored my shopping trip today.

The Library

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Have you discovered all the wonderful things your library has to offer? I love our library, but I must say it took a while for me to realize how wonderful libraries are.

Growing up the only library I knew was the one at my school. I found it so intimidating and somewhat uninviting with rows and rows of tall stacks full of all kinds of books. If I thought that was intimidating I should not even mention my college library. There are even super spooky stories of the basement stacks being haunted by the ghost of a girl whose murder was never solved. Not to mention librarians patrolling the aisles making sure we are being quiet.

That being said my feelings about the library changed after I had kids. The library is truly a wonderful place to spend cold winter days with your kids. They have everything from toys to story time, and while the librarians still like some level of quiet, they don’t mind kids being kids. Our library has such a big selection of children’s books that we rarely walk out with the same book twice.

Libraries have everything from the newest movies (VHS, DVD and Blu-ray), CDs, magazines and audio books to the classic novels. The best part is, at least in most cases, you can find the book online from the comfort of your own home and if it’s not available at your library you can request it and pick it up when it’s ready. They will even send you email reminders when your book is ready for pick up or when you need to return a book and you can renew your books online.

The newest thing I have discovered is that I can even borrow Kindle books from the library. This process is all done from home, all you need is a Kindle and a computer.

If you are not sure what the closest library is, here’s a link that lists every library by state and city.

http://www.publiclibraries.com/

So needless to say, I’m in love with our library! My kids love the big fish tank and the little hamster that lives in a tank in the children’s section. They have a table with printouts and crayons for them to color, a kitchen and a puppet theater area. I love all the wonderful programs they offer the kids from story time to craft time.

When was the last time you visited your library?  What’s your favorite thing your library offers?

Until next time!

Mariel