June 29, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Ok, so technically it's not Friday anymore
but we will just pretend so I can keep up 
my Friday Food Focus:
GMO Free - A to Z.

Today's letter is E.

We like Eden Foods beans 
because they are organic, 
AND their cans are BPA Free!

It is amazing how many companies still use
BPA can linings!

I try to cook with beans whenever possible
especially when I get into my
"I'm going to become a vegetarian" mood.

In addition to beans,
Eden Foods makes many other food products.
I have also tried their Quinoa and Edensoy Soymilk.

As I have mentioned before,
I am not compensated in any way to mention this company.
I am just listing Non-GMO foods that I recommend.

Here are the links to the rest of my list:

A
B
C
D

Have you tried any Eden products?

June 25, 2013

Simple Summer Salads - Arugula 3 Ways

I could eat arugula everyday.
Actually, I practically do.

In the summer, when I don't feel like cooking as much
an arugula salad can make a great lunch...or dinner!
Simple Summer Salads - 3 Ways to do arugula

After playing around with many different combinations, I have come up with my 3 favorites. (in no particular order)...

"The Mango"
Mango and Arugula Salad
Arugula, mango, avocado and goat cheese sprinkled with sliced almonds.  Splash on some olive oil and lime juice to make it a refreshing summer salad!  This salad also uses some ingredients from my favorite Mango Avocado Salsa.  Just make sure you use a ripe mango because the mango is really the star of this one!

"The Cranberry"
Cranberry and Arugula Salad
Arugula with dried cranberries, feta cheese, walnuts and olive oil.

And if you want more of an Italian spin...
"The Parm"
Arugula Salad with Parmesan
You can't go wrong with Arugula, tomatoes, shaved Parmesan Cheese, toasted pine nuts with lemon and olive oil.  I am not a huge fan of dressings, but my husband likes it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

If you want to turn any of these salads into more of a main course, you can add grilled chicken or shrimp.

You might have noticed I didn't give measurements for any of the ingredients.  Just cut up the amount you like and throw it in!
It's summer - get out of the kitchen and enjoy!

What do you like in your arugula salad?
3 Simple Ways to Make an Arugula Salad - Perfect for Summer

June 24, 2013

Door Decor for the 4th

Our front door was looking a little empty.

Then while digging through the basement,
I came across a patriotic looking hanging basket
that I bought from Michael's last year.

Simple Door Decor for the 4th of July
I decided to throw some in some fake greens
and a couple flags
and call it a day.

Can't get much simpler than that!
Front Door with Flags - Simple Decor for the 4th of July
I think it is fine for now,
considering the 4th is next week.
But I am definitely on the look out for a similar basket
in a larger size to fill the space better.

June 21, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Between dealing with the festivities of the last week of school,
and mourning the loss of our dear Jersey guy, James Gandolfini,
I have been crazy busy.

But not busy enough to remind you 
how much I hate GMOs!

This week to focus on the letter "D",
I would like to introduce you to an awesome brownie mix!


Dr. Oetker  makes an organic brownie mix
that will change the way you may feel about boxed brownie mixes.
With my chocolate addiction "expertise",
I feel that I can be an excellent judge of chocolate desserts.
I was pleasantly surprised how delicious this mix was!
The chocolate had a very rich taste 
and my kids devoured every last brownie
(well, except for the few I set aside in my secret stash!)

And if you want to stay completely organic when making these,
remember to use organic eggs and organic canola oil!
After all, canola oil is one of the top genetically modified foods.
(Ick - we don't want that now do we?)
Actually, I think the recipe called for butter,
not canola oil....either way - go organic!

Can you recommend any non-GMO dessert mixes?

Have a great weekend everyone!



June 18, 2013

Seaside on the Bachelorette

As you may know, I am a huge fan
of the Bachelor/Bacholorette shows.

I don't know why because normally I am not into that kind of reality TV but I continue to watch the show every season!  When the show takes its cast on trips to exotic locations, I love posting pictures of the resorts for you to drool over with me!

In last night's episode, the Bachelorette, Des and her group of hopefuls traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey.  On one of her dates, they took a helicopter tour along the Hurricane Sandy devastated shoreline focusing on the town and boardwalk of Seaside Heights.  They even visited a sweet couple whose home was destroyed in the storm.  Now, I know this episode was taped a couple months ago - March I believe, so obviously the shoreline doesn't look as wiped out now, but seeing it all again just took my breath away.  These are the beaches I grew up on. These are the beaches we still take our family to during the summer.  And that boardwalk!  Seeing it from the air gives it a whole new perspective.  At that time the ferris wheel hadn't been pulled down yet and the famous roller coaster was still in the ocean so things are progressing.

Just last month, I took these pictures along the
Seaside Heights boardwalk.
As you can see, they still have a lot of work to do!

This is looking out to where the ferris wheel and many rides used to stand.

I still can't believe this terrible storm
 could have demolished so much!

You can see more of my pictures
 from our Memorial Day Weekend trip to Seaside

I would like to say thank you to ABC for highlighting some of the areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.  I am not sure the rest of the country has seen the devastation and I don't know if everyone is aware of how much work still needs to be done.  I also enjoyed seeing commercials for New Jersey with our Governor Christie and his family.  I am assuming the commercials ran all over the country and were not just local.  

Often, after time has passed and the news stories have moved on to different areas, we tend to forget about the people who still need help.  It is a reminder to all of us to think of those affected by disasters such as tornadoes in Oklahoma, attacks in Boston as well as victims of Hurricanes like Sandy, Irene, Katrina... I am happy to see the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows have made efforts to bring awareness to those in need.  

In last night's episode Des and her date met the Seaside couple and decided to give them their dinner date in Atlantic City.  Sure it was probably staged by ABC to look like a nice gesture on the couple's part but it shows how just doing something thoughtful for someone can give them hope.  The couple was very sweet and I was even hoping they would spring a "fantasy suite" option on them!  LOL.. 

Anyway, I hope you got to see last night's episode.  So far I think my favorite guys are Bryden, Chris, Drew and Brooks.  Who is your favorite?  I know there are spoiler websites out there so if you have read any, please don't give anything away to me.  I enjoy trying to figure out the "winner" myself!

If you want more of a Bachelorette discussion along with full recaps of the episodes, head over to Office Stace blog.  Stacey does an awesome job writing about the episodes each week and you will love her humor and insights.  She really does an "amazing" job...(a little Bachelorette humor for you...)

Did you watch any of the Bachelorette last night?
If so, what were your emotions after seeing that shoreline?




June 14, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Welcome back to the Friday Food Focus!

Because my latest obsession is avoiding GMO foods,
each week I will highlight some brands
that do not use GMO ingredients.

This week, the letter is "C".

We love Cascadian Farm for their delicious cereals
and that they are now enrolled in the Non-GMO Project!

Here are just a couple that we have in the house right now.  We have tried several varieties and have been happy with the taste of all of them.  I especially like the granola cereal and my kids also love their chewy granola bars.  Check out their website for more products to try!

And a shout out to a company who is on their way to being Non-GMO....I stated in my post a couple weeks ago that Chipotle Mexican Grill recently announced a goal to eliminate GMOs from their food.  In the meantime, they have provided a list of ingredients on their website including those menu items that currently contain GMO's.  Gotta love Chipotle for responding to the concerns of the health conscious public!

Do you eat any Non-GMO brands that begin with the letter "C"?





June 12, 2013

A Rosie Hello

Every now and then,
someone will ask me how Rosie is doing...

And since I have a million things going on today,
I thought it would be a good day for her
to pop in and say hello....

I just took this picture a few minutes ago.
I don't know if you can see the cut on her nose or not
but this morning she was playing with a snapping turtle...

And yes, it bit her in the nose!

I frantically called the vet but she was not concerned.
Of course I had to then get a shovel and carry the nasty turtle 
out of my yard.

Another example of why I can't get anything done around here...

So to answer your question...
Yes Rosie is fine - just up to her usual mischief!
How is your day going?

June 11, 2013

Desk Shopping

Ok, so now that I have my office painted 
and the new floors installed,
I guess I better get moving on the furniture!

Right now I am focusing on the desk.
Originally, I thought I would go with a white desk
in front of a white bookcase or built ins.

Here was the inspiration board I made with that idea in mind...
See my Office Inspiration from Ballard post for more details.

Then I started thinking that I wanted a stained desk to break things up a bit.
There will be an area rug in there
so the stained desk would not sit directly on the wood floor.

I love this one from Ethan Allen.  It is traditional, not bulky looking and has a bit of a British Colonial look to it - which I love since I love touches of the Caribbean in my home.


It is only 52 Wide X 22 Deep X 30 High though, so it might be a bit small for the space.  I think I need something a little larger since my plan is to float the desk in the center of the room in front of the bookcases.  I do really love the look of this desk though!

Here is another option:


The Paula Deen Working Desk from Universal could work in the space at 58 Wide X 28 Deep X 31 High.  It's a little bigger than the Ethan Allen one and has a similar look.

Here was my original layout for the room.
The Ballard 3 Drawer Desk in my original plan measures 64 1/4 Wide X 28 1/4 Deep X 30 1/4 High which is significantly larger than the Ethan Allen one.  The Ballard Desk does come in a Tuscan Brown color so that is definitely an option for the space.

The Printer's Writing Desk from Pottery Barn has some potential.



It's definitely large enough at 64 Wide X 32 Deep but I am not sure the stain is dark enough.  I will have to see it in person.

And if I am going with Pottery Barn,
I could take a whole different direction with a two tone desk:

I love the Whitney Shuttered desk but I have to check to see what the back of the desk looks like it I want to float it in the room...then again I could change the layout again...ugh!  I know I'm crazy!

So that is where I am right now with my office.  I know I should be much farther along but I have been doing tons of "behind the scenes" stuff like organizing the closet, donating old things and generally getting everything in order so I can actually use this room as my office.

So, what do you think?  
Any thoughts on my desk options?

UPDATE -Click HERE to see the desk I chose!

June 7, 2013

Friday Food Focus

Last week I recommended some brands of food that are GMO-free
and start with the letter "A".

This week I am focusing on a couple brands we like
 that start with the letter "B".

One of the cereals we eat is made by the brand, Barbara's.

So far we have tried the Shredded Oats
 and the Shredded Oats Cinnamon Crunch cereals.
I like a good crunchy cereal and both of these don't disappoint...
plus they are high in fiber - and my kids love them!



source - Barbara's.com

Many of Barbara's products are verified by the "Non-GMO Project"
 and they are adding more all the time.
You can read all about the Non-GMO Project at


Now, I can't mention the letter "B"
 without including a company that recently announced
 that they have committed to sourcing non-GMO ingredients
 for all their products by the end of 2013!

source - www.benjerry.com

According to their website, currently 80% of their
 "ingredients by volume are sourced non-GMO" in the US and Canada.
Their European products are already non-GMO.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me!
I am a huge ice cream eater.
In fact, ice cream doesn't even last in my house
 and not because of my kids...
but because of me.

I have to admit, that I switch back and forth between
Ben and Jerry's and Haagen Dazs.
But this new GMO announcement 
could make me commit to Ben and Jerry's!
Way to go guys!

You can read all about the updates
on Ben and Jerry's GMO position

If you missed my recommendations from last week, click HERE.

Do you have any Non-GMO brands to recommend?


June 5, 2013

A Quick Peek and World Environment Day

When we painted my office,
I also got the bright idea to paint my laundry room.
I was getting a little tired of the dark Providence Olive walls...
While I did love the way the Providence Olive looked,
I wanted something a little brighter in here.

I decided on Navajo White by Benjamin Moore.
Here is a peek of the room with the new color...
(and the edge of the new clock)

At first I panicked and thought I went too light and boring.  I actually cried.  I know...pathetic.  But now it has grown on me and as I have added back the accessories, I am liking the color more and more.

As soon as I add everything else back, I will give you a full reveal.  

And since today is World Environment Day, I thought I would mention that we used No-VOC paints to paint my laundry room and my office.  Benjamin Moore makes a line called Ultra Spec 500 which is cheaper than their Natura line and supposedly just as good.  As long as it is NO VOC, I am happy!


Like I said,
As soon as I actually finish the laundry room tweaking,
 I will give you more than just a peek.  

Have you done any painting lately?

Linking to:

June 3, 2013

Office Progress - Walls and Floors

We are making some progress in my office renovation....

The hardwood floor and crown molding is installed
 and the room is painted!

I mentioned this room was once an office when we first moved in.  It was never fully decorated.  I had a desk and bookcase from Bombay Company and the walls were still builder white.  At that time, it was a purely functional place to keep my things.  Then it became a playroom, turned dog-crate room.  But as you can see, it is now on its way back to becoming my office!

Here is how the room looked 
after we cleared out most of the playroom furniture
in preparation for my darling doggie's arrival!

I have no idea why I cannot find a picture of the room with furniture.
Maybe I never took any pictures of it. 
What's wrong with me?


This was all the furniture left when we started using the room for the dog.  Anyway, as you can see, it was a colorful room.  The walls were painted Philadelphia Cream by Benjamin Moore.  And yes, I had white carpeting... (obviously, not the best choice for a kids' playroom - or a dog!)

The kids dented up the walls with their toys but the carpet wasn't in terrible shape.

Then the puppy arrived and took over the room...
Oh, I miss that puppy fluffiness!

If you want a cute puppy fix - watch this video of Rosie's first day with us.
You might have noticed she squatted on the rug
right at the end.  Yeah, we needed to replace that carpet!

 But for more reasons than one...
Last summer she got a little rambunctious!
Although it was a mess,
 I thanked her for forcing us to change that carpeting!

So, this is how the room looks right now.
 I chose hickory for the floors
 because of the hardness and the variation in color.

I figured with kids and a dog, the floors might get a little beaten up.
This way the dents and scratches won't show as much...hopefully!

I wanted to keep the walls light.
Originally I wanted a gray tone but ended up with
Bone White by Benjamin Moore.

 I love how the floors look with the wall color.  

Here is a close up of the floor.
It's from the Character Collection of Somerset Floors.
The color is Hickory Saddle.

Now I am in the process of choosing furniture.
No final decisions yet but I am getting there!

Are you working on any rooms now?

Linking to: