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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet With Brown + Wild Rice Recipe

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Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet with Brown And Wild Rice #MixInMinute #ad
Momma Told Me: Anything's delicious when cooked right.

Around here, in the offline world, I have a reputation for being the sweet queen- I make creative, colorful, over-the-top treats for our bowling league each week. It started with me bringing a few leftover servings to the alley because the recipes I'd feature on the blog often yielded enough to serve a small army. For the sake of my waistline, and the fridge space, anything featured on the blog was inevitably served to my league. Before long I was no longer baking an innovating for the blog, but, instead, taking special requests from league-mates and being dubbed their official baker.

To be honest, though, it's the pot-lucks I enjoy most- the times when I can share a little bit of home cooking inspiration, instead of all the sugar. Our alley has a strict 'no outside food policy' so baking and bringing desserts (as the snack bar does not sell sweets) is the only thing I get away with the other 50 weeks of the year. That's why I always get excited over the chance to share a savory recipe such as this Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet recipe, sponsored by Minute® Ready To Serve Rice.
bit.ly/2aXKQqk
Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet
Of course some of my favorite recipes are ones that are pretty stinkin' simple- recipes that shine on their own as elevated food, with minimal ingredients, and a great plating impact. In the past few years, for dietary reasons, I've had to cut back on my weekly pork consumption greatly. When Jay and I first met, I would cook pork, mostly chops, at least once a week. I still remember the stories he told me about being forced to eat dry, flavorless, tough pork chops as a child- and how he absolutely disliked pork today, as an adult.
bit.ly/2aXKQqkbit.ly/2aXKQqk
Well, dry pork should be a cardinal sin- pork is such a richly textured meat, with beautiful flavor and endless pairing options. And my favorite cut of pork (no it's not bacon) is a tenderloin, often reasonably priced, and even pre-seasoned, in the local grocer's meat case. Pork tenderloin comes in a variety of cuts- so you can serve a family of 2 to a family of 5, and is often pre-trimmed and quite lean.
My pan seared, shallot stuffed, pork tenderloin fillets are a clear winner- After all it's the recipe that converted Jay back to the 'pork side.' These fillets marinate for 48 hours, inside and out (thanks to the stuffing pockets I slice into them before marinating) and have the most tender, melt in your mouth, full of flavor experience you'll find at about $3 a serving. Even more impressive, they look like they just left the line of a Michelin star restaurant.
Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet
My secret, outside of the marinating process, is to baste and pan sear each side before slow baking them to perfection in the oven. I love a light char on the outside of my meat, and this really does lock in the flavor, and add a great texture experience to each bite of this meal. pan searing also allows me to use any of that leftover marinate to help lock in flavor before the final cooking procedure.
Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet
Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet
If you have a grill pan you can actually take your fillets straight to the oven from the stove- I like to transfer them to a silicone baking mat where it'll be a little easier to turn them during the slow cook process. I find, even with a high quality cast iron skillet my fillets tend to stick from time to time.
Because the pork is the star of this meal I like to pair it with a simple side solution that as both wholesome and nutritious, as it is effortless.
Minute Rice Ready To Serve Cups make a quick and portion ready option when you're grabbing lunch on the go or cooking for one. Look for them in many varieties such as Brown & Wild Rice, Fried Rice, and NEW Basmati Rice. #MixInMinute #ad
Minute Rice Ready To Serve Cups make a quick and portion ready option when you're grabbing lunch on the go or cooking for one. Look for them in many varieties such as Brown & Wild Rice, Fried Rice, and NEW Basmati Rice. #MixInMinute #ad

Minute® Ready To Serve Rice comes in packages of 2 perfectly portioned, ready-in-60 seconds, just microwave cups. It's the perfect on-the-go side, or, in this case, last minute meal companion. Jay and I often are the only ones dining at our table, and I am notorious for forgetting to plan our side dishes. With these Minute® Ready To Serve Rice cups we can eat right from the package, mix in some fresh veggies, or spoon it onto the plate alongside our main entree.
Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet with Brown And Wild Rice #MixInMinute #ad
For my Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillets, I prefer to enjoy a cup of Minute® Ready To Serve Rice in Brown and Wild Rice. It's the perfect pairing of grains and texture for the spinach and shallot filling of the fillets. Of course this particular dish would go good with just about any of the Ready To Serve varieties including, Yellow Rice, Fried Rice, Whole Grain Brown Rice, or the newest flavors; Brown & Quinoa or Basmati. Thanks to the individual serve portioned cups we can even enjoy our own, different, favorite rice varieties at the same meal. No more arguing over whether brown or white rice tastes better!
Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet with Brown And Wild Rice #MixInMinute #ad
When serving alongside Minute® Ready To Serve Rice, you don't have to worry too much about timing your meal. Pork should always be cooked to an internal temperature of around 145F- for this recipe I like to remove them at about 135-140F, and let them rest 5 minutes prior to cutting and serving. The meat will be darker along the edges, as a result of the marinating process, but the texture should be soft and tender throughout- it's also the perfect time to prepare your Minute Rice! I've yet to disappoint with this recipe- and it takes minimal ingredients and effort! Do you have a preferred way of enjoying pork? Tell me a little about your favorite pork dish or pairing!

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Ready to Serve Rice.

What Daughter Says: In my book pork doesn't need any dressing up- this pan seared fillet recipe is the perfect way to enjoy the natural flavor and texture of this classic meal.


Pan Seared Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillet with Brown And Wild Rice #MixInMinute #ad
Parmesan Shallot Stuffed Pork Fillets
***Click here for printable Stuffed Pork Fillet recipe

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A New Generation Of Builders With Magnetic Stick N' Stack

We received complimentary product in order to help facilitate the article below, regardless all photos and opinions are genuine and copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2016.
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt when you step on them! #ad
Momma Told Me: If you imagine it, you can build it.

As a young girl I was considered quite the tom boy. While my cousins were toting around baby dolls in toy strollers, playing 'house', I was often drafting the plans for building block skyscrapers and baking glow-in-the-dark bugs with my Creeper Crawler oven. It wasn't the specific type of activity I craved, it was an opportunity to create or problem solve that I truly loved. From early grade school I found myself spending hours making something from nothing- whether with my mothers' crafting scraps, discarded toilet paper rolls, or rainbow building blocks. If Momma said I couldn't have a dragon, Id' make one- if my father told me I'd have to wait until my birthday for new action figures, I'd make new clothes and personas for the old ones. And I am so glad to say that, even in a few short generations, building is now widely accepted as a gender-less play-time activity.
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #ad
In fact, building blocks are the most popular toys at the after-school daycare I work with on Thursdays. Regardless of a child's age, gender, or background, each can enjoy the satisfaction of bringing their imagination to life, when playing with building blocks.

Of course, as the times change, so do the toys- yet some of the most awesome toys on the shelf remain those with the simplest of concepts, and the most limitless of possibilities. Enter Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles by Shape Mags. Quite possibly the coolest building blocks ever (and yes, I'm comparing them to blocks that glow in the dark, light up, or stick together like Velcro) these translucent colored tiles feature carefully placed internal magnets which magically fasten them to one another in an almost never ending configuration of shapes and patterns.
Now, you may have seen similar toys at your child's school, daycare, or even in advanced learning classes- There are a few other brands out there cornering the magnetic block movement. However, Magnetic Stick N' Stack sets are actually more affordable than those 'other' brands, while also being 100% compatible! They're also incredibly durable, and the perfect size for small hands- great for kids as young as age 3+.
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #adMagnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #ad
And, while we did have several 3 and 4 year-olds on hand to build with these, right out of the box, I have to say the adults and even tweens were also eagerly waiting on their turn as well! So what can you expect if you have littles afoot? Magnetic Stick N' Stack sets are perfect for homes with multi-aged children, or toddlers- children can not only grow with the tiles, but also grow and learn while playing with others as well! Carter is often very reserved, yet extremely articulate in his thought processes- at 5 he built several 3-dimensional structures and even a multi-layer vehicle. His pride was evident, as he'd stop those around him often to exclaim, "Look guys! Look what I made!"
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #ad
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #ad
Magnetic Stick N' Stack pieces are a little on the heavy side, compared to other brands, which gives me confident they will outlast other sets and toys. This also means a more deliberate hand is required in advance structure design. Lynnsey, age 6, was keen to spot structural flaws in her magnetic structures and would visibly light up anytime she happened to solve a 'problem.' Many of the younger kids worked on a 'piece by piece' level, while the older kids (10+) would gather a group of pieces for their design prior.
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #ad
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #ad
I can't lie- I spent my fair share of time trying to sneak away unused pieces to build with. There was something calming as I was taken back to my own childhood of building fantastical structures. I especially enjoyed the more advanced concepts of weights and balances, or structural support. By the time I got my 'penguin' complete, above, I had several pairs of eyes on me. And that's when it officially became a group toy- suddenly the kids were donating their pieces to make one, giant, structure together. And you can't ask much more from a toy than to foster communication, problem solving, and friendship, while remaining wildly fun.
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt wheny ou step on them! #ad
Magnetic Stick N' Stack sets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I highly suggest investing in a Master or Engineer Builder set to start. While you may not seem too keen to leap into the investment at first, I promise you the wide range of shapes will provide endless entertainment. Once children have had a chance to explore the types of structures they can, and prefer to, make, then you can add on supplemental pieces like a dome set, or building plate. And, did I mention- these don't hurt to step on (that's a building block joke for you!)
Magnetic Stick N' Stack tiles come in a variety of shapes that magically connect to build endless shapes and structures. Best of all, they don't hurt when you step on them! #ad
If your child is a little less creative, and needs some inspiration- or prefers to recreate and build based on concepts, Magnetic Stick N' Stack also makes some really durable idea books that tuck right away with the blocks. We often started building one concept, then used the foundation of the idea to make something a little more our own. Before long, the kids were going wild creating their own buildings, cars, bridges, animals and more! This is definitely one toy I could have spent hours a day with growing up!

What Daughter Says: I never outgrew building blocks- now kids can grow with a whole new way to build and imagine.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Brighter Smiles And Sweeter Doggy Kisses With Fuss Free Oral Care For Dogs #BlueStemPets

This post is sponsored by bluestem™ and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to increase awareness of and share my experiences with the bluestem™ oral care products, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Bluestem™ is not responsible for the content of this article.
Just look at that smile! bluestem™ with coactiv+™ water additives and breath sprays can help fight tartar build up and bad breath in your dog. It's a fuss free way to help support healthy oral hygience! #bluestempets #ad
Momma Told Me: Good dog. Bad Breath.

It's widely accepted that dogs require many of the same things as their human counterparts, when it comes to staying healthy and living a full life. From a safe and loving home, to a healthy diet and active lifestyle, it's crucial that we monitor several key elements of a dog's health and hygiene; especially as they age. For example, when we take Nora to the groomer they always ask if we'd like to have her teeth brushed as part of her grooming package. And for over 95% of the canine pet population that may be the only time, if at all, during the year a dog's teeth is brushed. Even more staggering is the knowledge that the best dental hygiene plan for a canine often includes brushing with a pet-safe enzymatic toothpaste, every day. While the momentary escape to a vision of your pup brushing their teeth at the bathroom sink might solicit a chuckle, there really is little to laugh about.
It's hard to imagine an animal needs daily oral care- but their teeth accumulates plaque, bacteria, and even can cause serious gum and dental diseases when left un-cared for. Just like humans.

Not to mention to thought of kissing someone who hasn't brushed their teeth in over a year (or maybe their entire life?) might put a damper on those sloppy puppy kisses!

However, proper dental hygiene in dogs is not just about bad breath- plaque and bacteria buildup (often evident by poor breath in your pup) can result in loose and rotting teeth, infected gums, and even life-threatening health issues. Some breeds of dogs are notorious for being more at risk than others, and small breeds often top the list, while larger breeds can experience broken or cracked teeth. That's why we have Nora's teeth professionally cleaned, at our veterinary office, about every other year- or when it becomes a concern. In addition, we brush her teeth during every bath (it's not the suggested every day, but we work on it,) watch her diet, provide her with plenty of healthy chewing toys, and have recently started a new water additive which will help break down biofilm, where harmful bacteria multiples in the mouth.
4 Ingredient Mint Parsley Pup Treats to help combat bad breath! bluestem™ with coactiv+™ water additives and breath sprays can help fight tartar build up and bad breath in your dog. It's a fuss free way to help support healthy oral hygience! #bluestempets #ad
Many per owners care about their pet's dental health but simply don't have the time to keep up with it, or the patience to brush their dog's teeth. I recently learned about an amazing brand of pet oral care aids called bluestem™, which works to remove the food source bacteria needed to build plaque and tartar.  It's not a miracle product but bluestem™'s active ingredient, coactiv+™, can help to maintain a healthier mouth when used alongside with other good oral hygiene practices for your dog. bluestem™ products come in a few formats to help fit the lifestyle of you and your dog, their Oral Spray can be used alongside their Water Additive for a comprehensive routine that helps battle plaque and bad breath.
Of course, sometimes you just want to spoil your pup- so we're sharing this simple 4 ingredient recipe for Mint Parsley Pup Treats at the bottom of the post as well. Made with fresh mint leaves, parsely, plain yogurt, and pure peppermint oil, these frozen bites are the perfect bad breath buster during those incredibly hot dog days of Summer. We like to put one in an empty food bowl and let Nora lap at it as it melts in the afternoon heat.
4 ingredient Mint Parsley Pup Treats can help fight bad breath. bluestem™ with coactiv+™ water additives and breath sprays can help fight tartar build up and bad breath in your dog. It's a fuss free way to help support healthy oral hygience! #bluestempets #ad
For those days when you're on the go and you can't quite bring bluestem™'s water additive, or our breath freshening pup treats, bluestem™ with coactiv+™'s Oral Spray in Vanilla Mint can be applied directly to the base of the gums, up to twice a day. This unique breath freshener has an awesome no startle nozzle that makes the entire process fuss free. I've actually been noticing Nora fights me less and less when I go to lift up her gums, which is great, because she associates that with teeth brushing, which has always been a battle! I think she genuinely enjoys the Vanilla Mint flavor, and I love knowing that I'm directly helping to reduce up to 23% of everyday tarter when I use bluestem™ with coactiv+™ daily as directed!
Maybe you don't brush your dog's teeth regularly, or at all, because you simply don't like the struggle and dog-mom guilt inevitably creeps in ad you and 2 other family members attempt to hold a squirming dog down and brush. There is honestly no replacement for brushing your dog's teeth every day- but, thankfully, there are still things you can do to help encourage a healthier oral care routine. Providing your pet a wide variety of oral safe (items that are not harder than your dog's teeth) pet toys can help your pets naturally break down residue and buildup from tartar. Our homemade chew toy is not only a simple and fun project to do just that, it's also a great reward AFTER you've brushed your dog's teeth. Remember to always reward good behavior!
D.I.Y Homemade Chew Toy

Supplies:

1 Appropriately Sized Dog 'Tennis' Ball
1 Scrap Fabric Square (Approximately Equal To 15x The Ball Width, In Length)
Scissors

Directions:

1. Place the ball in the center of your fabric. Measure 1/3 up from the bottom, and 1/3 in from the right, and cut an even square of fabric from the corner. Measure 1/3 down from the top, and 1/3 in from the right and cut an even square of fabric from the corner. Repeat on the left side until you are left with a 'cross' of fabric.

2. Cut a small 1/2" slit in the center of the left strip, just where your cuts end, as to create a buttonhole. Repeat with the bottom strip.

3. Pull the top strip through the slit in the bottom strip and tie a knot. Pull the right strip through the left strip and tie a knot.

4. Cut each strip into 3 even strips to about 1/4" from the knot base. Braid each corner to desired length and tie in a knot to fix.

5. Toss around or indulge in a good old-fashioned game of tug-of-war!
Make this dental approved D.I.Y chew toy for your dog as a reward after good oral care practices! bluestem™ with coactiv+™ water additives and breath sprays can help fight tartar build up and bad breath in your dog. It's a fuss free way to help support healthy oral hygience! #bluestempets #ad
Of course our favorite way to fight doggy breath and help keep Nora's teeth clean doesn't involve much effort at all- A little play time in the backyard and she'll help clean her own teeth (fight plaque buildup) when she enjoys a few hearty laps of water from her drinking bowl. For the past 30 days we've been using bluestem™ with coactiv+™'s water additives in one of 3 formulations, unflavored, chicken flavored, or vanilla mint flavored. As a Special Note: The Chicken Flavored, and Unflavored
bluestem™ with coactiv+™'s water additive formulas are also safe for use with cats. Bonus! Truffles enjoys the benefits in her bowl as well! The Vanilla Mint formulation should only be used with dogs, and is not approved for use with cats.
bluestem™ with coactiv+™ water additives and breath sprays can help fight tartar build up and bad breath in your dog. It's a fuss free way to help support healthy oral hygience! #bluestempets #ad
So what does all that fancy talk mean? Well, we first began introducing Nora to bluestem™ with coactiv+™'s water additives by adding a half cap to her 2.5 C water bowl, each time we gave her fresh water. Once we were sure she hadn't caught on, we increased the amount to a full cap, and then in about a week, 2 caps per bowl. Some of you may remember Nora has a slight water addiction, so I never had a fear of her turning her nose, but some dogs might be a little more keen to the change, so a gradual introduction is suggested. The bluestem™ with coactiv+™' water additives are clear, and have no odor, so the process truly is painless!
Nora drinks just as much water a usual with bluestem™ and I honestly can't determine whether she has a preference for chicken flavored or vanilla mint more. Since we use the oral spray in Vanilla Mint, and the Original and Chicken Flavor formulations are cat safe, I think we'll be buying more of those from now on. 

What can you expect to notice in just 30 days using bluestem™ with coactiv+™' water additives in your dog's water? An independent study showed that dogs using bluestem™ regularly had up to a 25.4% reduction in tartar, even experiencing visibly cleaner teeth! Where we've noticed the difference? Nora still has 'breath' after all, her mouth is still a mouth, but her breath is more like one would expect a human to experience throughout the day, and far from the repelling 'doggy breath' we're used to around here. Let's just say I no longer cringe when Jay lets her lick his face endlessly with 'kisses'.
It's important to me that Nora not only has the prettiest smile on leash, on the block, but that her teeth and gums are their healthiest. I still experience 'dog mom' guilt that I don't brush her teeth everyday- but I feel a lot more confident I am doing what's best for her oral care with the introduction of bluestem™ products into her everyday routine.
bluestem™ with coactiv+™ water additives and breath sprays can help fight tartar build up and bad breath in your dog. It's a fuss free way to help support healthy oral hygience! #bluestempets #ad
bluestem™ products are an alcohol, xylitol, and chlorhexidine free, and a potentially delicious way to help support your dog's good oral hygiene routine. Their products are currently sold at a variety of specialty stores and boutiques nationwide, or online through their website. Learn more about the products and availability, and take the 30 day challenge to see results for yourself! Now, be honest, what do you do to help maintain your pet's oral care?

Enjoy 20% off your order with bluestem™ in September (2016) when you use promo code: TRYBLUESTEM

What Daughter Says: Don't fear puppy kisses, take some simple steps to fight doggy breath and help improve your dog's oral hygiene today.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of bluestem. The opinions and text are all mine.



Mint Parsley Pup Treats
***Click here for printable recipe