Thursday, July 28, 2016

Panko Breaded Chicken Tenderloins #sandersonfarms ad

This is a sponsored post, compensation was received all opinions are my own. 

For many, many years I was pescatarian. During college I gave up beef, pork and poultry but didn’t go full vegetarian because I am a lover of seafood. Being a pescatarian was easy, I ate burgers occasionally and the only pork I ate was bacon and ham sandwiches. I didn’t miss it. Except for chicken. I absolutely loved hot wings and the very last time I ate chicken it was a bad experience - a wing had been poorly cleaned and there was something that looked like a claw on it! At the time I had already given up all other meats so adding chicken was a no brainer after that. However, there were many times over the years that I had a craving for Buffalo wings but for over two decades I didn’t go with it. I thought that when I was pregnant I might break my no poultry rule but that didn’t happen. The only thing I ever did was eat some crispy chicken skin from a piece of fried chicken - delicious but not enough for me to actually eat the meat.

A few years ago I started strength training with a personal trainer. I was hitting the weights hard and working on building muscle. Building muscle requires a large intake of protein, to the tune of 8 ounces at every meal. Living in landlocked Atlanta meant that buying fish came at a premium. I was spending money left and right trying to keep up with my nutritional needs and busting my budget! I decided that my physical goals were more important than NOT eating poultry so I decided to add it to my diet once again. I have to tell you that I’ve discovered I LOVE CHICKEN! Love, love, love it! I like it fried, grilled, name it, I like it!

Panko breaded chicken tenderloins are one of my favorite quick and easy recipes. My son is a very picky eater but he too loves chicken and really who can resist lightly fried chicken? Of course, you can also bake the chicken with this recipe but it takes more time and in the summer I try to refrain from using my oven. I served the chicken with a green leafy salad and seafood salad, it was a big hit! For my recipe I used Sanderson Farms chicken. It is always fresh, never frozen with no hidden ingredients like seaweed, broth, salt or water. I really like the fact that Sanderson chicken has only 45mg/sodium per serving as compared to pumped chicken which averages 360mg/sodium per serving. If you are looking for a quick and easy meal this summer, I suggest you try panko breaded chicken tenderloins.

Panko Breaded Chicken Tenderloins

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp adobo
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat oil in skillet on medium heat.

Sprinkle tenderloins with salt and pepper.

Place panko crumbs on a plate, blend in all other seasonings.

Coat tenderloins with panko crumbs and place in heated oil.

Cook until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees and panko is brown and crispy.

Drain on paper towel and serve.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Fun: Lin-Manuel Miranda's In The Heights now playing at the Aurora theatre

I’m a native New Yorker and one of the things I’ve missed about living in the Big Apple is access to great theater. From drama, to musicals, Broadway has it all and in the past I’ve managed to see all of the shows my heart desired. I miss it and for a very long time I’ve wanted to see the Broadway hit Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. To date the stars haven’t aligned to make that happen however I was recently given the opportunity to see his first show, In The Heights at the Aurora theatre in Lawrenceville, Georgia. I have to admit when I first heard about the show I was extremely excited but totally not looking forward to the drive to Gwinnett county. Ladies and gentlemen, I have to say that In The Heights was worth the drive! As a matter of fact, even if I had to drive an hour, this is a show that should NOT BE MISSED!

I don’t even know where to begin. It has been a long time that a musical has moved me the way In the Heights did. This musical is set in the Washington Heights neighborhood in upper Manhattan, New York. The story is about the people who live in this primarily Afro-Latino community, their culture and some obstacles too. The story focuses on two main characters Nina, a first generation Puerto Rican woman who is attending Stanford and is her family and communities HOPE. The second character is Usnavie who owns a corner bodega and struggles with staying or leaving the community he has called home his entire life.

Usnavie raps the entire show and Nina’s character is a salute to musical theater. The music ranges from R&B to hip-hop to the sounds of the Caribbean while sharing the cultural mix of this New York community. I was literally dancing in my seat and if I were in the back row of the theater I would have gotten up and danced!  In the Heights is both educational and refreshing. The singing, rapping and dancing are impeccable and there is no question why this show won the Tony award for best musical! And although I lament about missing Broadway, this Aurora theatre production was on par with the best that I’ve seen in New York - from the actors to the set design, it does not disappoint!

In the Heights is not to be missed! It is playing from now until August 28th and you can purchase tickets on the Aurora theatre website. Get there! Be inspired and experience a taste of New York in Atlanta!

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary media pass for this production, as usual all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Easy DIY Outdoor Lighting

This is a sponsored post.

This summer I’ve really taken to enjoying my outdoor space. You may remember that I did a little rearranging around here and finally placed furniture that used to live on my patio on the deck off of my bedroom. This is such a welcome and practical change. I don’t mind entertaining on my patio but most times when I am alone, I simply go out on my deck to enjoy the night air. My backyard is woodsy and full of all types of animals. I prefer having my feet high off the ground when I am alone enjoying the stars. I’ve invited friends to enjoy my deck with me and I complained that when I am outside despite having citronella candles, I am still bitten by bugs! Well, my friend Tanya informed me that my placement of the candles was slightly off.

I *thought* I was creating an invisible barrier around me and had my candles on the table and in back of me on the railing. She noted that this particular arrangement leaves my legs open and isn’t effective to ward off bugs (hence my bites)! She suggested that we place the citronella candles on the floor and the essence will float up, protecting our entire bodies. Well, she was right! That evening not a single bite! The citronella was effective however, some of the beauty of my outdoor space was lost because I no longer had candles on my table.

I love candles so I decided to make some for my table. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t exactly “make” candles but I did devise a pretty holder for my tea lights that I think are stunning and can actually be crafted for any decor. I used a few Kerr mason jars, artificial flowers and tea lights for my creation. I have to tell you, this is probably the most simple, elegant lighting to change your decor. I removed the flower heads from the stems and placed them in the jars. Next, I filled the jars with water. My final step was to add tea lights.  They float on the water, provide light and the flowers look gorgeous. My mom is visiting and she was impressed! If you are looking to beautify your outdoor space, use this simple inexpensive tip and I promise you will love it!

Check out my video below to see just how easy this craft is to make!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer beauty routine 2016

My summertime beauty routine is a pared down version of my normal routine. Summer is hot, I am ALWAYS prone to sweating and in 100 degree weather, I am pretty much melting. This means I need a foundation that is light, long wearing and stays in place. When I initially went to Walmart in search of the perfect foundation, I looked for CC and BB creams. Unfortunately, at the store I visited I didn’t see one that seemed like the right color for me so I had to go in another direction. I picked up L’oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte foundation in Soft Sable.

I was attracted to this foundation because of the demi-matte finish, air-light weight and most importantly because it says it lasts for 24 hours! I haven’t tested out the longevity but I can say that I like the light feeling of this foundation and the coverage it provides. I have talked about my hyperpigmentation marks that are from my adult acne but I am happy to say that my marks have now faded almost completely. This means that I only need a very light layer of foundation to provide me with even looking skin.

For the summer, I stick to a pretty natural look and for the longest time I’ve wanted eyeshadow that is a golden tawny color for my lids. I found the Black Opal Color Splurge eyeshadow duo in Tawny Tease. I am IN LOVE! These colors are hyperpigmented and give me a pop of neutral color. Exactly what I’ve been looking for and a great bargain at $6.47 price point. Because of my neutral eye, I wanted to make a statement with my lip color. 
I am a big fan of purple so I went with Revlon Super Lustrous lipgloss in sugar violet. This is my least favorite purchase. It is a moisturizing gloss which I like but the color is so light that I might as well be wearing a clear gloss. Not at all the look that I was going for, however it does tie in to the whole “natural” summer glow.

I’d recommend the lip gloss for a teen or pre-teen who is just starting to wear makeup but quite frankly this is not a product I’d purchase again for myself. Overall I am extremely happy with my summer cosmetic routine but I am still on the search for a lip gloss that will pop!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Seafood pasta salad (recipe)

During the summer my cooking habits change a bit. I try to focus on making things that are quick, easy and don’t require during on my oven! We have been experiencing 90 plus degree weather on a daily basis here in Atlanta and the last thing I want to do is make my A/C work harder by generating heat. Summer meals in these parts are pretty light and I enjoy firing up the grill to cook fish, meat and veggies! However, some days I don’t even want to do that, the sweat is real when I am on that hot grill and sometimes I just can’t take it. So what’s a girl to do? I like to enjoy salads and my absolute favorite is seafood pasta salad.

Seafood pasta salad is so tasty, is easy to make and the only thing you have to cook is the pasta! I was able to purchase everything I needed for my salad at Walmart. I started with
Pasta Gourmet Ocean Adventure Pasta 100% all natural ingredients, GMO free, no added salt or sugar, Durum Wheat pasta made with dry tomato and spinach.

I love the shapes, they provide something interesting and fun for my son and the pasta tastes great too! My son is picky so anything I can do to make eating new foods adventurous, I try it!

All seafood pasta salads are not the same, for quick and easy I took several shortcuts. I used imitation crab and lobster meat which comes in a package. Of course if you are having a dinner party or special occasion meal, you can go full out and buy lump crab meat, cook lobster tails and chop into pieces. I also purchased a cocktail shrimp ring. Notice a theme? No cooking on my part, all I had to do was boil water for pasta and cook for 7 minutes! I added chopped celery, fresh dill, mayo, salt, pepper and onion powder to the mix. Chilled and served. Absolutely delicious and ready to be chilled in less than 15 minutes. I suggest placing the salad in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving and this salad lasts so you can actually make it a day ahead of time if you like!

I served up my seafood pasta salad with a green leafy baby spinach and spring greens salad topped with Ristorante Italiano Garlic Parmesan Dressing.  This Italian dressing is a blend of oils, vinegar, artisanal cheeses and spices. Seafood pasta and green leafy salads, perfect for the dog days of summer!

Seafood Pasta Salad

1 package Pasta Gourmet Ocean Adventure Pasta
3 stalks celery chopped
1 tbsp chopped baby dill weed
1 package imitation crab meat
1 package imitation lobster meat
1 cup cooked chopped shrimp (I used a shrimp cocktail ring for my shrimp)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 small onion chopped

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, rinse and place in large bowl.
Mix in all other ingredients.
You can add more or less mayo based on your personal preference.

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