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Monday, August 22, 2016

BTS dinner - Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken (recipe) ad




The school year is rolling along here in Atlanta. Although we start earlier than most, I am now seeing the BTS first day of school pictures of my friends kids all over facebook. The transition can be a bit challenging after the more laid back days of summer but I have an idea for weeknight dinners that can help take some of the stress away. I am so into quick and easy meals, who wants to slave away for hours in the kitchen? I strive to make meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare because that helps make my life easy and fits into a schedule jam packed with homework, after school activities and of course quality time with my son. Grilling is the perfect solution for dinner most nights in my home. I tend to grill a great deal of food ahead of time and that way I have meals for at least a few days of the week. Since it it still summer, I don’t want to turn on my oven or stove top for that matter, so grilling is perfect for me.

One of our favorites is chicken. I love preparing chicken various ways but today I am sharing a grilled Balsamic chicken with you. It is so simple to prepare and you can let the chicken marinade all day or even for a couple of days before cooking it. In this instance, I marinated my chicken for 3 days because I had a family emergency that I had to tend to. I have to tell you, this was delicious and the marinade was fully integrated into the chicken!

To prepare, I placed about 2 pounds of chicken wings in a gallon size storage bag from Walmart (all of the items I purchased for this meal I bought at Walmart). Next I added half a bottle of Lawry’s Balsamic Herb marinade on the chicken. 


I placed it in the refrigerator and turned the back over whenever I thought of it to ensure all parts of the chicken were equally marinated.

 

When I was ready to grill I simply placed my chicken and let the flames do their work! 


I let the chicken cook for about 40 minutes and checked the internal temperature reached 160 degrees before removing it from the grill. I also grilled some asparagus that I’d coated in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.



This meal is a no brainer and perfect for a school night. It is delicious, quick and easy!  





Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to School at Walmart ad



As a native New Yorker, when I was a kid I equated going “back to school” with shopping for clothes that were appropriate for the Fall weather that was soon coming. However, my son is being raised in Georgia where it is still hot when school goes back in session. My son attends a school that requires uniforms and the only days the students can express themselves is Friday. For the rest of the week you can find them in khaki or blue pants with red, white or blue tops. Very patriotic (especially in light of the Olympics) because his school is named after a very special President! Anyhow, I have been pleased with the durability of the uniforms that I’ve purchased at Walmart and highlighted them last year. For this year I decided to show share some fun items that you can find for back to school at Walmart.

For most kids nationwide, back to school coincides with the beginning of football season. Now, I may very well be the only mother thinking in terms of football but I tell you I am a diehard New York Giants fan. Since I live in Atlanta, finding NFL gear for my team is impossible. In the past I’ve ordered online from Walmart but this year I was able to find a great licensed NFL Giants tee($12.88)   for my son on a visit to Walmart in New York! This is my son’s first bit of Giants apparel and I know he is going to go crazy because like me, the Giants are his team! When he goes to class on a Friday he will represent in style!



In addition to clothes, a staple that is needed for back to school are undergarments and I was pleasantly surprised to find Batman v Superman boxer briefs that are moisture wicking, stretch fabric with shape retention. My boy is growing and well, he needs some new drawers! At $6.83 for a two pack, I am sure I’ll be returning for more. With his uniforms, a new Giants tee and some underwear my son is ready for the school year and I’m able to shop while staying well within my budget! Check out Walmart for more back to school finds for your youngsters!




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, barbequed....you 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

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

Method
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!






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