I’m a Coke girl, but there was awhile there in the ’90s when Pepsi had my heart. As a gawky, poofy haired tween (before “tween” was even a word, they called us pre-teens back in the day), Pepsi had a knack for making me feel like I could be just a wee bit cool(er) if I drank their sodas. I’m such a sucker for a smart ad and good design. Thank god they weren’t selling crack… or butterfly clips.
The “Cool Kids” Commercial. People may have gone gaga over “Pepsi girl” Hallie Eisenberg, but this is my all-time favorite Pepsi commercial. It takes a good ad to make you switch brands, and this was that commercial for me, where I decided to give Pepsi a try. It didn’t last long, but then again neither did Bugle Boy jeans.
Young MC and Pepsi Cool Cans. With entire blogs devoted to drink design like Oh Beautiful Beer, it’s easy to forget that cans weren’t always considered an open canvas. I went bananas for these Pepsi Cool Cans and collected all four in the summer of 1990. Now, a six-pack goes for almost $30 on eBay. Maybe I should’ve kept mine!
Crystal Pepsi. I feel like if I search really hard, there might be a few cases left in some dark corner of the dark continent along with a crate of Kentucky men’s basketball 1992 NCAA Champs t-shirts and hats that never saw the light of day (that one still hurts). And just now — like just this minute — I learned that Crystal Pepsi was re-released a couple of years ago for a brief time. How did I not know this? Well, I’m not going to miss another Crystal Pepsi promo, because I’ve joined the “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi” Facebook page. And while this page, with more than 7,800 followers is still active as of February 2018, its petition is sadly closed. So I’ve brought it upon myself to start the Bring Back the “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi Petition” Petition. Oh yeah, you heard that right. I’m imploring the original creator of the Bring Back Crystal Pepsi petition to open back up his plea to the masses. You can sign it here: https://chn.ge/2HhhAgv. They say you should pick and choose your battles. For me, the choice is clear.
So much of my mom life is spent in waiting rooms, lobbies, and my mobile waiting room (aka, the car). Yesterday, I found myself waiting my way through a doctor appointment followed by a haircut. Between books and sick of scrolling through Instagram, I picked up a couple of magazines. I LOVE magazines. Whoever says print is dead, is dead to me. I love the feel of the lightweight coated paper between my fingers. And my favorite magazines mean talented editors at the mast who curate inspiring, beautiful, and sometimes surprising content in a layout that’s at once striking and flowing. I. Love. Print. Magazines.
When I find myself playing the waiting game, and I actually have time to read a magazine or two from cover to cover (I read from back to front, does anyone else do that?), I devour them like a pint of Halo Top ice cream.
When I find articles or helpful tidbits, it’s not enough for my scattered brain to make a mental note. I might as well ask my three-year-old to write it down for me. I wouldn’t be so gauche as to steal an entire magazine from a waiting room or tear out a page, rather I take photos. Yesterday’s bounty was reaped mainly from the April 2018 Redbook with the exception of one recipe from a winter edition of Real Simple. Not as simple as hitting a “share” button, but I want to spread the love. Here are my finds:
What a friend we have in cheeses. I must admit, I borrowed that headline from an editor I worked for years ago in Charlotte. It’s still my favorite of all time. And it suits these beautiful appetizers that I think I could actually make myself. Look how pretty!
2. Seedy. I can do so well with my diet, but lack of a good snack in the car or at night always gets me in the end. This spin on sunflower seeds sounds so munch worthy.
3. Leaf conquers all. I’m forever in search of a salad that sounds better than pasta or a sandwich. This one fits the lunch bill, plus it makes enough for four days!
4. Something in ramen. This recipe for ramen looks way better than the stuff I made in college (and let’s face it, still sometimes make late night), and it sounds like it could actually live up to its “easy” promises.
5. Shake what your mama made ya. They describe this meditation jar for adults, but I want to do this craft with my kids and make one for each of them as well!
6. Here comes the sun (screen). And I say, it’s more than all right. All this time I’ve been looking for a daily SPF lotion to wear under my makeup. Why didn’t I think of something like this setting mist? Brilliant!
I love websites, but print magazines will always hold a special place in my heart. Do you prefer print magazines or websites, or both?
Anyone who has made the mistake of innocently asking me, “How’s it going?” in the past couple of months has received an earful of potty training trials and tribulations. For those who’ve become emotionally invested, and for those who are just plain curious to see if I’d actually throw a poo poo party (and what it looked like), I’m thrilled beyond measure to share that the deed is done! My 3-year-old daughter pooped on the potty and I’m pretty sure I was happier than I was the day she was born (mostly because I had a full-blown panic attack that day, and let’s face it: childbirth is a miracle, but it’s no picnic).
Right after the kids and I celebrated with a jumping-up-and-down group hug, I put in the call to the Publix bakery for the cupcakes. I LOVE their bakery. You ask them to make a half-dozen poop emoji cupcakes for you at 4pm for 9am the next morning and they say, “OK!” And only for five dollars! TOTALLY worth it.
It so happens my best friend from growing up and her family were visiting this weekend so we had built-in party guests. She was quite amused, but made it clear that I need to get a hobby, a job, or a life of some sort. Point taken. But here she is humoring me with the poo piñata. Oh, yeah. I ordered it from Amazon.
And here’s my big girl, holding up her piñata treasure: unicorn poop, of course! Also from Amazon. (I have a slight Prime problem.)
We slammed a poop piñata with a Louisville Slugger, and ate Unicorn Poop candy and poop cupcakes. A good time was had by all. Now if I can only get her to poop in the potty a second time…
I’m part of a large group of impulsive people who bought the Instant Pot a few weeks back when it was on super sale. I’d heard about all of its wonders, from yogurt making to 6-minute chicken, but I’d also seen the price tag. So when it was half-off, I didn’t hesitate. Now, it’s been sitting on my counter for three weeks, intimidating me with all of its buttons, bells, and whistles. It’s a pressure cooker, not a landmine, but I still can’t bring myself to use it for fear of blowing up my kitchen. So I continue to search for the perfect introductory Instant Pot recipe that speaks to me without saying my last rites.
A lot of the recipes I’ve found come from Skinnytaste. While I’m working up the courage to try her chicken taco chili in the pressure cooker, I did take a stab at the zucchini tots, which merely require a grater and good old-fashioned oven cooking. I can only steam veggies so many times, and all of my favorite frozen sides at Trader Joe’s come in servings of “about 3” which might as well read “not enough for your family, Lindsey.”
Gina describes this side as kid-friendly, which of course it is, but you don’t need kids to appreciate a good tot. When my super picky 2-year-old didn’t want hers, I was exasperated on the outside for show, “Fine, I guess I’ll have to eat them so they don’t go to waste,” and all Homer Simpson on the inside:
Abbie doesn’t like pizza — yet — so I’m confident she’ll come around on these zucchini tots with time. For now, they are a hit with the rest of my household. I will say I should’ve added more breadcrumbs to my batch, but they were still delish. I’m no Beatrice Peltre, but this is how my tots turned out. No filter, no photography skills, no nothing:
Hopefully my next food post will be about my adventures with the Instant Pot…and I won’t be typing it from the burn unit at the hospital.
I know, right? It’s so big. And boxy. But when you live in rural North Carolina, a trip to “the Walmart” is as much a part of your week as going to the post office… or the ABC Store. It may not be as white and shiny as Target, with its “affordable” lines of clothing from high-end designers. The lighting may be depressing, some of the clientele might be equally depressing, and you can’t find specialty items like hemp hearts…
Wait, I had a point. Oh yes. Their new online grocery shopping! If you like the idea of Walmart’s prices, but the idea of going into Walmart depresses the crap out of you or stresses you out to no end, this is the perfect solution. It has changed my life. Let me count the ways:
It saves time. It takes some time to pick out my items online, but nowhere near as much time as it does to walk through the aisles at the store. Especially considering I usually have a kid or two in tow, which leads me to my second point.
It saves my sanity. My 2-year-old daughter can Houdini her way out of any shopping cart seatbelt, so it’s no surprise that she won’t stand right beside me quietly while I compare prices on pasta. I can pick out my items from the comfort of my couch rather than picking up every item she pulls off the shelves as we go. This reason alone is enough to shop online.
No impulse shopping. I admit it. I’m the one who walks by the displays right before checkout and has to have that Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo DVD for 4.99 (true story). And what’s that? Lip balm in a cute ball-shape container? Yes, please!
Two words: Savings Catcher. This feature of the Walmart app finds out if an item you bought is being sold elsewhere for less and puts the difference on a gift card for you. So if you buy Silk Almond Milk at Walmart for $2.98, but it’s on sale at Harris Teeter for $2.50, the Savings Catcher will “catch” that and pocket the 0.48 for you. All you have to do is enter the TC# from each receipt into the app, and let it do the rest. It’s literally mindless and it adds up. This is something you can use whether you shop online or in-store, but I just discovered it and am pretty obsessed.
It’s free! Yes, I know Publix has free online grocery shopping, too. But the closest Publix to my house is 45 minutes away and it’s not quite budget friendly enough to be the go-to store for my weekly basics.
I admit I was concerned about the produce, but I couldn’t have picked out a better bunch of bananas myself. All of this being said, the one thing that kills me is that I can’t use my own shopping bags. But I’m hanging onto the hope that following this whole hand sanitizer ban, the EPA will find that plastic bags are actually good for the planet. In the meantime, reusing and recycling alleviates my conscience enough (oh, the things you can make with plarn).
If you want to try it, use this link. You’ll save $10, and so will I.
My son and I both love the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child. He giggles at the silly things that Lola does, while I love the mixed media illustrations (and the excuse to use my bad British accent when reading aloud).
The one that gets reread the most in our house — because it’s the only one we own — is I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato. As you could guess, it’s about being a picky eater, something most every parent faces. (If you’re a parent and you don’t have this problem, keep it to yourself or everyone else will secretly loathe you. No one wants to hear about how your kid prefers edamame to ice cream.)
In the book, Lola’s older brother Charlie cleverly tricks her into eating the foods she hates most: “Oh this isn’t mashed potato. People often think that but no, this is cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji.”
When we first started reading this book, Jed wasn’t eating half of the foods on Lola’s No Fly List. That’s when I suggested that we have a “Charlie and Lola dinner” one night.
It was a total hit. For the first time ever, Jed ate all of his moonsquirters, orange twiglets, green drops, and cloud fluff (ocean nibbles are an easy sell in our house, but for the record he ate all of those, too).
There’s no recipe to share for this one — it’s just that easy.
Have you tricked your picky eater into trying (and even liking) new foods? Please share!
In the last month,I have managed to drop the ball on my blog, let it roll down the road and into a ditch where I left it for dead. But I’m reviving it… picking it up and washing it off (a mere brushing won’t cut it). It’s been a challenging time, but I’m a silver lining kind of gal and prefer to count my blessings.
If you were to do one of those time lapses of my life over the past month, it would look something like this (minus a few thousand snapshots):
Visiting with great friends and family… and great friends who are family:
With great friends, comes good wine and good food… too much good food.
When I’m not blogging here (which is most of the time), I help small businesses with their social media, marketing and PR needs. One of my clients runs a market that includes a bakery with pastries and breads scratch-made daily. I’ve gained 10 pounds since they opened in February — occupational hazard.
Dave and I love bread. I never even considered the Atkins diet and I pass on Passover. I’m not there every day, but each day that I am, I’m bringing home a different loaf of bread for us us to try. Tonight, it’s a baguette. It’s actually one we’ve both tried before, but it’s just so good. I’ve heard from customers who lived in Paris that it’s the first baguette they’ve had here that’s the real deal.
We are going to eat it alongside a shrimp gumbo… swiping up the the last bits in the bowl with a crusty piece of baguette. Yum!
So, I know that if you aren’t going to go all-out organic that you should at least buy organic milk. But the milk from the Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, VA, was less expensive and it came in an old school glass bottle that I couldn’t resist.
So it begs the question: Is local(ish) milk made with no artificial hormones just as good as its organic counterparts? I found this comment written by Homestead Creamery Co-Owner Donnie Montgomery in a Whole Foods blog post:
“…we are not certified organic however, our goal is to use the resources that we have to sustain our farm in a natural way. Some of our practices include pasturing our cows and raising our crops for feed. We use our manure and waste for fertilizer, practice crop rotations and plant cover crops. These practices help with weed control, fertilization, soil erosion, and also increases organic matter in the soil. We also use natural predators to assist in fly control. Our feed is comprised of the corn…mostly in the form of silage made by chopping the whole corn plant. We also feed them [the cows] hay that is grown on the farm.”
Good enough for me! Now that I’ve gone glass, I can never go back. Homestead has ruined me for other milk. And I hear their chocolate milk is divine dairy decadence.
My husband, while very supportive, is having a lot of fun at my expense with my recent real food fascination. No, Dave, I don’t know the cow’s name who provided the milk or if she was happy while being milked that day. I don’t know whether the milk truck that delivered the milk to the store runs on biofuel. And I don’t know if the milkman personally uses any artificial hormones or antibiotics. We watch a lot of Portlandia.
Today, I made my first trip to the grocery store clean food-minded. Armed with this list of 21 Essentials for Freezer, Pantry & Fridge, I figured I would wing it. I knew not to buy anything with more than five ingredients or that had sugar as one of the top three ingredients (thanks for the tips, 100 Days!) and I did my best to stay out of the aisles. I looked at the meal plans on 100 Days of Real Food, but there were too many meals that I didn’t like (I have an acute aversion to hard-boiled eggs and any salad that’s not really a salad: tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, you get the point).
I went to Earth Fare because that’s where Lisa Leake shops and I had her comprehensive guide specific to that store of what makes the real food cut. I should not have brought my son and I should not have gone on a Sunday afternoon. It was totally overwhelming. I was so busy keeping Jed from shoving his hands in the bulk bins and apologizing to other shoppers for blocking their way (Earth Fare aisles in West Asheville are narrow) that I was too flustered to check my iPhone for my lists. Not to mention I was shopping with a migraine. Surprise.
The tough part about my decision is that I’m doing it for my migraines. My husband and son don’t have migraines so I don’t think it’s fair to expect them to adhere strictly to the rules. Dave is totally on board for making our shared meals “clean”, but he should be able to have his potato chips and Jed should be able to have his Teddy Grahams. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or patience to trek to three different grocery stores each week to get what we need, so I either go to Ingles where they might not have everything I need/want or to a health food store like Earth Fare or Whole Foods and pay out the nose for some organic natural version of Cup O’ Noodles. Then we are members of Sam’s Club so I’d like to take advantage of their discounts, and in Asheville, we are lucky to have this store called Amazing Savings, which, holding true to its name, is ah-mazing. I will figure this out.
What I have figured out so far is that I cannot plan every meal and snack in advance for my whole family for the whole week. It’s just too much to wrap my mind around and I hate the idea of having the whole thing mapped out like the calendar we used to take home from school with the cafeteria meals for the month. Food is still fun for me, and that much planning makes it feel almost institutional. I appreciate that this is a great way to eat clean on a budget… and I might spend more without a specific meal plan (like today), but it’s just not in my gastronomical DNA.
So I went to Kath’s blog to see how she approached her grocery shopping and found this very digestible approach. She calls this her “non-meal” plan:
THE NON MEAL PLAN
Most weeks I take inventory of my proteins (including things like beans and eggs and things in the freezer) in my head and buy vegetables that are in season to go with them. Then I mix and match when dinnertime comes around. Here’s an example of a week’s worth of dinners and lunch/breakfast staples without a plan:
BUILDING BLOCK BASICS
2-3 seasonal fruits
1 bunch bananas (with green tips!)
1 kind of greens (like kale, collards, etc.)
2-3 green vegetables for dinner sides
1 container salad mix or 1 bunch leafy lettuce
Carrots and green pepper for salads (if we’re out)
1 kind of starchy veggie (like sweet potato or squash or corn in the summer)
Mental check on bulk food stock (refill anything we completely used up)
1 meat (we already have salmon on hand this week)
Eggs/milk/yogurt (if we are out of one or all)
Mental check on pantry staples like tomato sauce or sardines (will venture into an aisle if I need it)
1 cheese for salads, 2 if planning to use some in a meal
Occasional Splurges: tortilla chips, pre-made hummus/sauces, extra cheeses, more expensive fruits/veggies like berries, non-bean/grain bulk bin stuff like dried figs, fancy drinks like kombucha
This I can wrap my head around. Of course I need to take into consideration that I’m shopping for three, not two, but the overall idea just works better for me. We’ll see how it goes next time around!