Momma Told Me

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Freedom To Be Spontaneous And Other Relationship Secrets

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TheMoodStrikes #CollectiveBias
Be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with these 5 Simple Tips For A Healthy Relationship. #ad
Momma Told Me: Relationships are work.

If you've been with Momma Told Me since the beginning (yes, way back in the dark days of over saturated pixelated photos) you may recall this blog's URL was originally "Momma Said Days Like These" yadda yadda Blogger dot com. And back in those days, on my first marriage, it very clearly resonated with where I was in my life. Relationships take work ya'll. In between the unexpected bills, the ups and downs of physical health, natural disasters, an just plain rude ex girlfriends (too personal?) you have to find time to put in the hours. But there's good news, its the kinda job you should always love- yes, fun at work. Relationships, whether they're professional, family, or friends all require nurturing and attention. And romantic relationships, which are ultimately hoped to be life long are no exceptions to the rule. So I've compiled a few of my Top 5 Relationship Secrets for a healthy relationship- no need to take notes, I've even added Pin-Photos!
Momma Told Me: The Freedom To Be Spontaneous And Other Relationship Secrets with The Elephant In The Room Communication Tool. Remove the elephant from the box when you or your partner have something to talk about and practice good communication, listening and taking turns talking with the elephant in hand! #TheMoodStrikes #ad
Communication- It goes without saying (get it?) that communicating with your significant other is the most important task at hand on any given day. Whether this is through a simple gestures, such as making them a cup of coffee before work, or relaying the schedule for the day ahead in physical conversation. Communicating your shared needs, goals and individual feelings are key to great communication. But what if you can't always tackle those more touchy subjects? Have you ever had one of those days where both of you go to bed, one wondering why the other hasn't said a word all evening, the other silently brooding on the far edge of your bed?

That's precisely where The Elephant In The Room comes in. It's not my original idea, but it's a concept that is easily adapted to fit many relationships and has truly worked wonders in mine. The process is simple. 1. Buy a stuffed elephant and an acrylic case (you may even have one laying around from when collecting Beanie Babies was cool in the 90s.) 2. Place the elephant, in the case, in a prominent location in your home. 3. When one of you has something they're generally steamed/confused/worried about, remove the elephant from the case. This will give your partner a clear idea that something is bothering you. 4. When your partner is ready to focus on and discuss the problem with you they should take the elephant and approach you to open a safe grounds for communication. Thus 'the elephant in the room' has now been addressed.
Spend some time pampering yourself every week to help ensure you're ready when #TheMoodStrikes. #ad
Keeping Up Appearances- Studies indicate one of the primary reasons for disconnect in a romantic relationship is one or more of the party's perceived lack of attraction. There's always that one woman at the grocery store looking as though she just stepped off a Cosmo magazine with her two perfectly quiet kids dressed head to toe in L.L. Bean; how can you compare? It's no secret you look your sexiest when you feel your sexiest, but it is a secret how on Earth 'those women' manage to keep up with all the coloring, plucking, and shaving while running a household full time with a job.

If you're like me, and can't afford  a house full of help, and shiatsu massages twice a week, your secret is just this simple; do something. Anything, really, just pick one or two things a week to do for yourself. Can't afford an hour bath by candlelight? Take a 20 minute soak with some aromatherapy oils. Using the excuse "It's Winter" to explain away those scratchy legs? Buy yourself a brand new, nice, razor and indulge in 10 minutes of relaxing shave time. That short time spent on you each week can do wonders for your confidence and mood in your relationship!
Keep your relationship healthy and active- plan low stress date nights that take the pressure off and help you be ready when #TheMoodStrikes. #ad
Now that you've worked on communication and spent some time taking care of yourself, it's time to find time to connect with your partner. Sure the two of you see each other every evening, and there's the week night sitcoms you chuckle together over after the kids have gone to bed- but when was the last time you spent some time reconnecting outside the home? Making time, or the budget, for a date doesn't have to be overwhelming. Staying active and engaged is crucial to a healthy relationship.

Take as much stress out of 'date night' as possible by going low key. Make sure both parties understand that connecting, one-on-one, for any period of time, doing anything, is preferred over any extravagant meals or fancy clothes. For example, resolve to eat fast food (we like to go with kids meals and have a little fun, but Subway or other fast serve value options work just as well,) and wear 'civilian' clothes while the two of you go to a second run movie or visit the local boardwalk/arcade. Just because you have kids doesn't mean you can't enjoy acting like one now and then!
Keep your relationship healthy and active wit this free Daily Love Reminder printable. Put a little something sweet and one of these notes in each of the tabs on a daily pill case and gie ti to your partner so they hae a reminder of your love every day of the week! Be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with more of our relationship tips! #ad
Never Stop Reminding Them How You Feel- This is another one of those things we get 'lazy' on as our relationship progresses. Whether you're in the 6 months slump, or heading towards 10 years of wedded bliss; it's easy to lose track of all that bliss and the singing birds when the real world works its way into your relationship. Always be sure to stop and take the time to remind your partner how much you care, and how much you appreciate them. Just a few moments a day, even repeating something they may already know, let them know that you not only appreciate them and love them, but that you think about it every day. Try filling a simple pill case with a little something sweet and a daily note for them to enjoy every morning, or at the end of a long day. I've included an exclusive Daily Love Reminder printable (my first one ever!) to help you out. Check it out at the bottom of this post!
Be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with K-Y Liquibeads from Walmart, Walgreens, or Target. These easy to use personal lubricant beads provide natural freedom to be spontaneous for up to 24 hours! #ad
Be ready for anything- even when your body isn't as willing as your heart. It's not something women discuss often; certainly not women my age. However, I certainly know that life can get in the way of an active and healthy relationship when it comes to connecting with your partner one-on-one. I, personally, take a myriad of medications that seem to jumble my physical cues with my emotional ones, and I am seldom prepared to join the race when the starting gun fires. It's a personal issue that causes me quite a bit of frustration and missed connections within my relationship.

Thankfully, I discovered K-Y Liquibeads for couples; an advanced moisturizer that acts and feels as organic as my own. They are easy to use and only require 30 minutes advanced placement (via a comfortable applicator similar to a tampon) and can provide intimate moisture for over a day, so your body is always as willing as you when the timing is right. Best of all this revolutionary aid for couples is sold at a number of common retailers, such as Walgreens, Target, and Walmart, near the contraceptives or behind the pharmacy counter, and you can print a special $1 off coupon to try it for yourself.

Let's face it, relationships will always be a lot of work, but the putting the time in doesn't have to feel like a chore with these simple tips for a healthier and more spontaneous relationship!

What Daughter Says: Reclaim your relationship and make it the best job you've ever had!
Curious to learn more about how to be ready when #TheMoodStrikes with K-Y Liquibeads? Check out our fun video below!
A video posted by Jenna Marie's (@mommatoldme) on

Click here for the free Daily Love Reminder PDF Printable

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Ultimate Holiday Wish List With Best Buy #HintingSeason

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Momma Told Me: I lost your father to the store!

Shopping for everyone can be a pain. I refuse to set foot in the mall after December 1st, and I try to have all my gift buying done before Thanksgiving. Thankfully, most of my family members can agree on entertainment and tech as gifts. Whether it's a karaoke machine for Sabrina (12), a new home theater system for my grandfather, the hottest video game for my brother in law, or that new tablet for Momma, Best Buy has an extensive hands on showroom and sales floor to explore it all. Think I'm pulling your leg? One store can't possibly make everyone happy? That's not what my father said when I presented him with his holiday gift; a brand new Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 with Geek Squad protection and extended warranty through Best Buy. That's one gift I receive thanks for non-stop.
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
But he's not the only one who will be enjoying the hottest tech, thanks to the elves in blue and Santa's secret. Okay, so Best Buy's price matching isn't exactly a secret- but it's just one more way I know I'm getting a great value when I choose to shop there for all my holiday needs. And, remember that interactive sales floor? That's exactly where we found an extensive selection of the hottest XBOX ONE games and accessories, complete with a demo station.

What is Xbox One?

Xbox One was built by gamers, for gamers. With the best exclusive titles (Halo, Sunset Overdrive), the biggest blockbusters (Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty) the hottest sports franchises (Madden 15, FIFA 15, NBA 2K15) and top family titles (Fantasia: Music Evolved, Just Dance 15, Skylanders) Xbox One takes gaming to a whole new level.

In addition to being a great gaming console, Xbox one connects consumers unlike any other device.  Xbox One enables access to the latest TV shows and movies through your favorite apps.  With Xbox One all of your media is at your fingertips when you want it. Gift this to one individual and watch the entire family enjoy it throughout the year! If you're anything like us, your gaming center is THE hub of your house!
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Of course, sometimes, Santa can't always hear all of our wish list requests- so it's important that you identify a few special treats to fill your own stocking with as well. I have an older (2000s) car that seems like it's the last without built in GPS. Right now I use my smartphone on a vent clip mount, and it can be very distracting and unreliable when calls and texts try to peek through my map navigation. So I've had my eye on a brand new GPS like one of the several Garmin and TomTom units sold at Best Buy. The hottest units this year feature bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, traffic and weather updates as well as  Lane assist, Lifetime traffic and map updates, Voice Recognition Technology, and more.

I've been particularly eying the TomTom Go 50s with:

  • Lifetime TomTom Traffic: Drive with TomTom Traffic for the lifetime of your device
  • Lifetime Maps (US, Canada, Mexico): Always drive with the latest map
  • 3D Maps. See buildings and landmarks in stunning 3D
  • 5" touchscreen with advanced lane guidance
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Naturally Best Buy has thousands of Blu-Rays, CDs, Video Games and more; but you may have a hard time picking out something so specific for the techie in your life. No fear, wireless audio is super hot this year and Best Buy has the latest from JBL Audio including;

JBL Charge 2- Between the twin passive radiators for deep bass, the massive 6000mAh battery and the hands-free conference speakerphone the key benefit is the Bluetooth Social Mode which allows up to three different users to take their turns to play their own playlists on a single speaker.

JBL Flip 2- Aside from the dual performance-tuned JBL drivers and a built-in bass port, the key benefit of the JBL Flip 2 is the SoundClear echo and noise cancellation combined with the state-of the art microphone system to pick up calls on the speaker.

JBL Reflect Earbud headphones-  Sweat proof ergonomic design.  With a 5 hour rechargeable battery and a reach of about 40 feet, the JBL Reflect BT’s key benefit is the design of the ergonomic eartips along with the built-in magnets which keep your buds on standby without loose cables.

But, personally, I'm crushing on the JBL Pulse speaker which emits hundreds of multi-colored light patterns in a visual display that is as unique as the audio streaming from it. There truly is a JBL speaker for everyone at Best Buy!
Best Buy Holiday GiftGuide 2014
Of course, if you can't quite decide who will love what most, you can always give the gift of choice with a Best Buy Gift Card and know there's something perfect to discover down every aisle. I know I hope to find one in my stocking this year- the only problem? I can never decide what I want most! Thank goodness for Valentine's Day and my birthday! We love shopping at Best Buy all year round, but especially this time of year when I can get so many people crossed off my list in just one place.  What electronics or entertainment finds are on your holiday wish list this year?

What Daughter Says: Leave the men at home, get all of your shopping done in one place with Best Buy's amazing entertainment and tech selection.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Great #FBCookieSwap Apple Pie Cookie Recipe

Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
Momma Told Me: Like cookies and homemade apple pie.

For me, few things symbolize home comfort like the taste of fresh baked cookies and aroma of home made apple pie. It really doesn't matter the time of year, the tastes and smells are tied to countless golden memories from my childhood on up. They didn't even have to be delicious, so long as there was a cookie around there was a memory to be made.

True story; Momma's Momma (grandmomma) had 2 large cookie jars sitting in the entryway, each always equally full. It was a cardinal sin not to have sweets on hand for the grand kids, and this way she could hand them out as she greeted them at the door (and one more out the door for good measure.)
Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
Us grand kids were told numerous times not to go sneaking cookies; and she even had cookie jars that made noise when they were opened just to detour us of this. I recall for years there was a large ceramic cow jar that Moo'd every time she opened it. None-the-less, the promise of cookies is hard to ignore, and I found myself sneaking one when my grandmother went out back to feed the cats one day. Now, I knew that the cow jar my grandmother so often dipped into made quite a ruckus, but the teddy bear jar next to it made none. So off went the head of the teddy bear and in went my grabby little hands.

An odd shaped cookie came out, resembling a bone, but it was slightly pink and looked quite like a cookie so I thought nothing of it as I coyly stashed it in the pocket of my jumper to eat int he bathroom later. Unfortunately, the cookie looked, and smelled much more appealing to the 2 Labradors they were actually intended for. I didn't make it two steps down the hallway when I was knocked flat on my feet with an overzealous slurp and a bark.
Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
I couldn't have been more than 5, and no sooner had my but hit the linoleum did I burst into tears, feeling the cookie crush in my pocket. By the time my grandmother made it back in to explore the cause of the commotion the contents of my romper had been raided and the dogs had long left, having been satisfied with all I could offer. However, I must have been quite a sight, as my grandmother promptly picked me up on her hip and reached into that glorious mooing jar to hand me a real, human, cookie.
Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
It's memories like these that drive me to constantly connect through a passion of baking to share and try recipes of all kinds. So I was especially excited to be included in this year's annual Great Foodie Blogger Cookie Swap- an event in which food bloggers from around the globe pair up and send dozens of cookies to 3 different people, in hopes they will receive dozens back. It's delicious eating these handmade parcels, yet, but it's equally find pinning and printing all the great recipes you are sure to find today with the #FBCookieSwap hashtag!
Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
This year I broke the rules a smidgen and made 2 different cookie recipes, you'll find my Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe here. This was primarily because I had to make so many dozen cookies, and the ones I really wanted to make were simple but quite a time consumer in assembly. That's right, my Apple Pie cookies recipe can be done with rolled (pre-made) pie crusts and incorporate just about any fruit your heart desires. All they really require are a little patience on the lattice work for the top crust. But make these for potluck or cookie swap and they're bound to go fast; just think of them as a mini pie turnover!
Of course I also received my share of delicious cookies; 3 packages in fact. The first one had the least labeling or information but came in an adorable tin and appeared to be delightful lemon shortbread clusters. They were extra soft and full of flavor- a great start! My final 2 packages arrived on the same day and were a great contrast to one another. From La Coquette, Maria sent me Salted Dulce De Leche + Ginger Alfajores, tiny sandwich cookies with a decadent caramel filling and soft crumbly exterior. From Take Two Tapas, Jennifer sent me a dozen Salted Caramel Almond Biscotti (which never made it to an actual cup of coffee.) All were delicious and all were a true treat, and shared among family and friends! Catch my Apple Pie Cookies recipe below, and tell me, do you participate in annual potlucks/parties/ or cookie swaps like this?

What Daughter Says:  Food connects people beyond all languages and boundaries. Eat up!


Baked Apple Pie Cookies #FBCookieSwap 2014
Baked Apple Pie Cookies
Click here for printable Apple Pie Cookies recipe

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe #FBCookieSwap Preview

Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies- Momma Told Me Blog- 2014 #FBCookieSwap
Momma Told Me: Life has many flavors.


The only thing I enjoy more than a great 'of the month' subscription service is a wonderful pot luck/cookie/gift exchange. There is just something so delightful about experiencing the flavors and spirit of the season through the sampling of other's recipes and generosity. I could truly care less about what's under the tree, and more what might be in that crock pot my neighbor's carefully packing into the back seat of her car. The truth is, life is meant to be lived, and the best way to live it is though the collection of experiences. So, naturally The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap intrigued me not just for the promise of delicious cookies sent to my door, but for the opportunity to connect, even if just a little, with 3 fellow bloggers I might have otherwise never known.
Now, you know me, I tend to go overboard on things. I was asked to send a dozen cookies to 3 different people and ended up making 6 dozen or more. The simple truth was I really wanted to try out an idea for Apple Pie Cookies (coming in the official post on December 15th,) but the lattice work alone on the top of the cookies is quite consuming. And then there was my bowling league on Thursday in which I always brought a sweet treat in. The solution was to make 2 different cookies, Apple Pie and Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip.
Caramel bits for baking
Now, for all I know, I was breaking the rules big time by sending 2 different cookies. I did sent a dozen to each person, but the rules were a little unclear about the type or style of cookies, so long as there were a dozen and they were home made. I also am likely breaking a tiny rule in that I am posting something about it before the big reveal on December 15th- I hope not, because you WILL want to come back on December 15th to catch the drool-worthy photos and recipe for my Apple Pie Cookies! In any case, I am very grateful for being included in the event, and hope the #FBCookieSwap Gods don't send their wrath down upon me!
Pecans for baking
Since my 'star' cookie was going to be so time consuming (in design, not recipe) I choose a simple chocolate chip cookie base with a few thoughtful, and hearty, additions to compliment the indulgent home-comfort Apple Pie Cookies. My original 'idea' was to make them look like caramel turtles, with the half pecans sticking out like feet. This worked, and was adorable, but mind you I had several dozen more cookies to make and was up against a holiday weekend. But I digress, with my brand new Red KitchenAid mixer by my side I carefully crafted my Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies and arranged them thoughtfully on a baking sheet.
Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies- Momma Told Me Blog- 2014 #FBCookieSwap
I'd seen a similar recipe (just caramel and chocolate chip) done before, but the baker had used the small 'melting' caramels that come in a bag and are essentially unwrapped balls of caramel. I tried this for the first batch, in an attempt to save time, and noted they did not melt at all. Special Note: Don't skimp, unwrap those caramels and slice generous chunks to press into your cookie dough, you won't regret it! The second batch I forgot to add my pink sea salt dash before placing them in the oven. The third came out just right- don't get me wrong, they were all delicious, but that last batch was masterful with the chewy caramel in the soft cookie, with bits of salty pecans and hint of sea salt.
Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies- Momma Told Me Blog- 2014 #FBCookieSwap
Now, there are 3 types of chocolate chip cookies bases- fluffy and cake-like, chewy, and hard and crumbly. I am a chewy gal, so that's how I've styled this recipe- it just plays well with the caramel and generous chunks of chocolate and pecans. Just remember, as anything with caramel, don't eat them directly from the fridge or you might budge a filling- these are best served at room temperature, if not a little warm. Check out the recipe below, and don't forget to stop back on December 15th for our Foodie Blogger Cookie Swap Apple Pie Cookies Recipe!

What cookies would you make if you participated in a Cookie Swap?

What Daughter Says: While I can't taste all life has to offer I will never turn down the opportunity to try!
 


Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies- Momma Told Me Blog- 2014 #FBCookieSwap
Salted Caramel Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

7 Meals In 70 Minutes With the Ziploc® Brand V200 Vacuum Sealer System

I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network campaign for the Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer System. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with the Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer System Team and do not earn a commission or percent of sales. #sponsored
Prep 7 Meals in 70 Minutes with the Ziploc Vacuum Sealer System and These Make Ahead Meal Recipes!
Momma Told Me: Cheat whenever you can.

Momma always made meals ahead of time. You would always know when you were about to enjoy the same dish, several nights a week for a month, because she's be in the kitchen among gallon size tubs of ingredients with the vacuum sealer at her side. When Momma cooked ahead she cooked a single dish with the enthusiasm of a head chef- an entire freezer shelf would be chocked full of vacuum sealed baggies full of whatever recipe had caught her whim that week. Some of her favorites included (what I fondly call American) tamales, mushu pork rolls, fried rice, and stroganoff. Of course, looking back, I am sure Momma's meal obsessions were more driven by the need to take advantage of some extra hot deal in the grocer's meat department. Today, I utilize her techniques for inspiration to plan entire weeks of meals.
Prep 7 Meals in 70 Minutes with the Ziploc Vacuum Sealer System and These Make Ahead Meal Recipes!
That's right, with the same handful of basic ingredients, you can prepare 7 different entrees in just over an hour, in fact, you can prepare two nights' worth of each in the same amount of time. That's 14 night's worth of meals, prepped and ready in 70 minutes. Talking your toddler out of the reindeer plushie at the grocery store might actually take longer! But first, you will need a Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer, I use the Ziploc® brand V200. For this particular group of recipes I found the Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer Roll, Sealer System Portion Bags, and Sealer System Quart bags especially useful, though there are 7 bag/roll size options for you to choose from for your convenience. The Ziploc® brand of sealer bags/rolls have a 3 layer puncture, freezer burn, and moisture resistant system, and are sold at retailers nationwide (I buy my refills at Target.)
Make Ahead Meals for Food Storage
For your convenience, I've provided an easy printable shopping list itemizing all of the ingredients needed to make 2 bags (meals) worth for each of the 7 Make Ahead Meal recipes. You will want to begin your meal preparation by cutting your main meal bag portions from the Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer Roll; for each 3-4 serving bag portion I found about 14-15" was the key length. Remember to use the heat 'Seal' function on your vacuum sealer to close one of the open ends on your roll portions prior to filling! Prepping your meat in advance of the additional ingredients will help prevent cross contamination- I like to toss each portion of meat into my large Vacuum Bags (made from the roll) before I begin handling any other ingredients. This way I do not have to touch meat again during prep, and can ensure all surfaces have properly been cleaned.
Prep 7 Meals in 70 Minutes with the Ziploc Vacuum Sealer System and These Make Ahead Meal Recipes!
Next you will want to layer all of your vegetables on top of your meat- in some cases you will want to blanche (quick steam) your veggies for optimal freezer storage. In other cases (particularly with broccoli) you may wish to place the veggies in a smaller Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer Tear-A-Portion sleeve. I will often separate ingredients like this in the convenient Quart or Tear-A-Portion baggies to keep them dry and clean during the thawing process. For example for the Chicken Taco assembly I place my taco and ranch season packets in with tortillas and seal them separate. This bag then goes inside the chicken and pico bag, and is sealed within.
Prep 7 Meals in 70 Minutes with the Ziploc Vacuum Sealer System and These Make Ahead Meal Recipes!
Using the Ziploc® Brand V200 Vacuum Sealer System is easy, but you will need to remember that it seals by vacuum- so having meat and veggies that are as free of moisture as possible will help your system function to it's optimal performance. You will also want to allot an extra 1-2 inches at the top of your bags for suction and sealing in the final process. Thicker sauces will do well to marinate meats as they thaw, but, in general, I store my liquid/sauce blends in a separate bag as well- remember not to use suction on liquids. Instead, press the majority of the air out of the bag and gently place the top edge of the bag within the heat sealing zone of your Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer. Press the Silver 'Seal' button and you will immediately have a perfect portion of cooking sauce for your Make-Ahead-Meal!
Prep 7 Meals in 70 Minutes with the Ziploc Vacuum Sealer System and These Make Ahead Meal Recipes!
Having your meals portioned out ahead of time is not the only convenience of Make Ahead Meals with a Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer System; these meals are also designed to be dumped directly into a crock pot and forgotten for 4-8 hours. In fact, most recipes have the option of cooking on high, or low, to fit your schedule during the day. You can even write your cooking instructions directly on the Ziploc® Vacuum Sealer System bags. It is easiest to do this with clean, dry, empty, bags prior to filling. Be sure to mark the preparation date (I do this in Red Sharpie,) and note additional ingredients you may need (some recipes ask you to whisk 2 TBS of corn starch with the juices to thicken the sauce for serving,) as well as preparation time and temperatures. Don't worry, it's really simple!
Prep 7 Meals in 70 Minutes with the Ziploc Vacuum Sealer System and These Make Ahead Meal Recipes!
While my 7 Meals in 70 Minutes menu has several Asian inspired dishes, there's also an elevated Honey Parmesan Pork Sirloin Roast with Brussels Sprouts that is incredibly delicious. I happened to have a tray of sliced mushrooms on hand that week so I dumped them in with the contents of my Make-Ahead-Meal bag and let it cook on High for 5 hours. Not only did my house smell amazing, but the roast turned out full of delicious flavor. I even included a gravy packet, to whisk with the juices just prior to serving!
Honey Parmesan Pot Roast with Brussels Sprouts Make Ahead Meal- Prep 7 Meals in 70 Minutes with the Ziploc Vacuum Sealer System and These Make Ahead Meal Recipes!
Make Ahead Meals are a great way to save time and money when you purchase ingredients in bulk at club stores, or take advantage of an amazing sale in the meat department. They are also a great gift for new mom's- who has time to cook with a newborn in the house?  This is just one of the many uses I've found for my Ziploc® Brand V200 Vacuum Sealer System, and the many sizes of Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer bags and rolls that accompany it. Best of all, the entire system is compact and can easily be tucked away without taking up valuable counter space. Looking for a special deal? Head on over to the Ziploc® Brand Vacuum Sealer website and score an exclusive coupon!

Have you ever prepped a large number of meals/portions at once?  What meal would you like to have on hand for busy nights?

What Daughter Says: A vacuum sealer can truly be your secret weapon in the kitchen!

Pin this then print the Complete 7 Meals In 70 Minutes Shopping List and Preparation Instructions!

Monday, December 8, 2014

What I'm Streaming: Reign (CW- 2013+)

Reign on CW, Netflix, and Hulu
Momma Told Me: It's just a TV show-

By now you know that we don't have cable- our primary source of entertainment is subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. However, viewing this way still presents someone with various networks to follow; it simply may take a day or two for the most current episode of your favorite show to appear. My point is that there are a few networks you love, a few you never use because you simply see no value in them, and a few networks you avoid at all costs because the content is clearly not marketed toward your demographic. The CW falls into the latter for me; I haven't watched it since high school and the days of Gillmore Girls and Smallville. The content is usually over-dramatic, littered with bare skin, and targeted towards the fantasies of teenagers.
Reign on CW, Netflix, and Hulu
In the past few years the CW has become particularly obsessed with supernatural themed spinoffs full of lusty vampires and demon slayers where the main characters  on and off again romance requires 2/3 of an episodes screen time. It's no wonder those shows go on and on, season after season! So, when I recently discovered a newer show, Reign, on Netflix I was quickly shocked to find myself becoming engrossed in the characters and their lives of intrigue. Loosely chronicling the younger years and rise of Mary, Queen of Scotts, this historical based drama is less absurd CG graphics and more scandalously compelling plots.

Reign has a few pros and cons; but I'll admit it quickly became a guilty pleasure for me. This was one I made time to stream straight through! The costumes and sets are gorgeous, as are the actors who portray the characters in them, and the dialogue is authentic enough not to lose its time, yet witty and tongue in cheek at the same time. The believability of these characters being in their early adulthood is plausible, thanks to the time frame, and the CW still manages their pillow talk and steamy scenes because of it. There is plenty of gossip and drama among the court and Mary's ladies, and each episode covers a smaller plot while making progress on the storyline as whole.
Reign on CW, Netflix, and Hulu
In all, I could do without the seemingly continual emphasis of Mary's innocence in Season 1, and find that the recently aired Season 2 premiere promises a much more dark and controlling Mary. I prefer my female leads to be in control of their story, not a pawn, so this will be especially enjoyable. The biggest downside, however, is that Mary's tale has been told as a character in so many programs and films that I sometimes know which road a story is heading. That's the benefit of being 'educated' I guess. Don't worry, having greater knowledge of the characters in Reign doesn't detract from the enjoyment one bit!

Update: 12/8/14- After having watched the majority of the current season airing, I am reprising my opinion that this s a must watch show for fans of intrigue, historical drama, and romance. The most recent episode dealt with some tough topics, but the cast and show continue to surprise with the way they tackle modern challenges across the centuries.

What Daughter Says: Even the History Channel and the BBC take creative rights with historical characters, it's what makes for entertainment. Try to enjoy it for what it is, not a history lesson.