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Friday, February 5, 2016

The Perfect Portion Cookbook Review


A healthy lifestyle is always something that I'm striving towards. Admittedly, sometimes I'm working harder at it than others! On my best days, I exercise, make healthy food choices and substitutions, and feel great about myself. My goal is to have more good days than bad days so I was excited when I received an advanced copy of The Perfect Portion Cookbook which goes on sale to the public later this month. I can always use some new, easy recipes to add to my (admittedly limited) rotation.

The Perfect Portion Cookbook is written by NY Times best-selling cookbook author, Bob Warden and food and nutrition expert, Mona Dolgov (of Natick, MA!) and was just featured on the TODAY show and on The Doctors as a new way to think about portion control and nutrition. The featured recipes are all divisible by 100 so you can eat what you love and enjoy 100, 200 or 300 or 400 calorie portions.  Yummy recipes like French toast, chili, chicken pot pie, and lasagna swap out better-for-you ingredients that don’t sacrifice flavor and might even taste better than the originals!


I decided to try out the Ratatouille & Sausage Bake Recipe which includes eggplant, zucchini, squash, peppers, and more! This dish is roasted in the oven to give it a robust flavor and has chicken sausage in it to make it a complete meal. I loved that it was easy to put together and I could prepare it ahead of time while the kids were at school. That meant when it was dinner time I could just pop it in the oven and be done!


Voila!
So how the cookbook works is that it tells you exactly how to slice/portion the dish so that each serving is 100 calories. Here is the breakdown for the dish that I made:

The idea behind the cookbook isn't simply about counting calories though. It's about understanding portion control. It's being aware of what a true serving looks like that so that you can make decent size choices in the future. The end of the cookbook is also filled with useful charts and information ranging from sample menus to 100 calorie portion cheat sheets for fruits, veggies, and snacks. Did you know that 100 medium radishes has only 100 calories? If only I liked radishes! 
 
I'm excited to try out some more recipes (especially desserts!) from the cookbook. Interested in buying your own copy? The Perfect Portion cookbook launches Feb. 7th on QVC. You can get a special pre-order price by clicking HERE. You can also pre-order on Amazon by clicking HERE
 
*Disclosure: I received a free copy of the cookbook in order to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Family-Friendly, Organic Stonyfield Products Available at Walmart!

I must admit that healthy, organic food is not the first thing that I think of when I think of Walmart. It's probably not even in the top 50 things that I would think of. That's one of the reasons I was excited to hear that Stonyfield Organic Yogurt is now available in more Walmarts than ever before.


Say what you will about Walmart, you can't beat the prices. Knowing that, Stonyfield has been working hard to make organic food more affordable and available to a larger market. After all, everyone deserves access to healthy, organic food.




I stopped in my local Walmart store today to stock up on some of my family's favorite Stonyfield products. I always try to hit up Walmart kid-free and while most people are at work since that's when it is quietest there and it works best for my sanity. The thought of going to Walmart on a Saturday gives me hives. I'm not meant to shop in crowds. I realize kid-free, daytime trips are not possible for everyone and trust me I thank my lucky stars that I only work part time and can squeeze trips like this in!

Here's what I walked away with today...


Daniel loves to have yogurt with granola just about every morning for breakfast so we buy the quarts for that reason. The squeezers I like to freeze and then pop in their lunch boxes so they are ready to eat for lunch time. This is my first time buying the YoKids Smoothie but I have no doubt that they'll love them, too. I was able to pick up these items and 3 large packs of gum (I'm on a gum kick!) for less than $25 at Walmart. Not too bad!

*Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Stonyfield and Walmart. As a YoGetter Ambassador, at times I receive free product and/or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Happy 7th Birthday, Henry!

Today's the big day - Henry turns seven! He's still as sweet, clueless, and loveable as can be!

Henry and "Teddy" - The #1 item on his Christmas list.

Henry's 7th Birthday - 12/27/2015

Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Show/Movie: Jumanji
Favorite Thing To Do Inside: Play with superheroes and "Teddy"
Favorite Thing To Do Outside: Play firemen
Favorite Snack: Pirate's Booty and Cheez-Its
Favorite Meal: Pancakes, Waffles, and French Toast
Favorite Song: "Stitches" and "Honey, I'm Good"
Favorite Thing To Do With Dadda: Play football
Favorite Thing To Do With Mamma: Go to the theatre
What I Want To Be When I Grow Up: A lifeguard
If I Had Lots of Money I Would: Buy a mansion, go to Great Wolf Lodge, Disney World, and Disney Land.

You can check out Henry's answers from last year HERE and from when he turned five HERE. And if you really feel like heading down Memory Lane, you can check out his birth story HERE.

Happy Birthday, Buddy! We love you!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Boston Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Boston Ballet is delighted to present the timeless holiday classic The Nutcracker— a favorite Boston holiday tradition that brings family and friends together to cherish the season and special moments with one another. Delighting audiences of all ages with a sense of youthful imagination, The Nutcracker will run November 27–December 31, 2015 at the Boston Opera House.


Since its world premiere in 2012, Mikko Nissinen and Robert Perdziola’s re-envisioned production has gained record-breaking popularity. With more than 350 handmade costumes and a series of elaborate sets featuring extensive amounts of moving scenery, the production has transformed into a uniquely magical experience for audiences of all ages.


The Nutcracker includes the full company of 57 dancers, 11 Boston Ballet II dancers, and 217 Boston Ballet School students. The 42-performance run will feature many never-before-seen casts, showcasing the vast talent within the Company, and providing many opportunities for dancers to shine in Soloist and Principal roles. Each performance will be accompanied by Tchaikovsky's renowned score, performed by the Boston Ballet Orchestra, led by Principal Conductor Jonathan McPhee.


All performances of The Nutcracker (approx 2 hours with one intermission) will take place at the Boston Opera House (539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111). Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased online HERE. For more information, visit www.bostonballet.org or call 617-695-6955

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary pair of tickets to The Nutcracker that I'll be using later in December. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pay It Forward Challenge and Giveaway from Stop and Shop

So far in 2015, Stop & Shop has donated over $12 million and 300,000 holiday meals to hunger relief organizations and to those in need. They kicked off the 2015 holiday season by encouraging their neighbors to give back and create a stronger community throughout New England. By learning more about Stop & Shop’s commitment to being a better neighbor, they hope customers and families will be encouraged to bring back random acts of kindness and turn neighbors into friends, and neighborhoods into communities. Stop and Shop reached out to me to see if I would like to be a part of their Pay It Forward Challenge. They offered me a Stop and Shop gift card to use in any way that I saw fit to help benefit my local community. So cool, right?

I took this opportunity to support LYNN Ministries which stands for Love Your Neighbor Now. LYNN Ministries assists the local homeless population in the Foxboro/Attleboro/Brockton area. Each month, they deliver a hot meal, fresh fruit, fresh baked items, clothing, blankets, and personal care items to those without a permanent home. They also help facilitate a connection to resources, local churches, and provide one of the best gifts of all - hope.

I reached out to Debbie Snow, who runs the organization along with her husband, to see how Stop and Shop's donation might be able to assist them best. I know with charities they sometimes have an abundance of one item but are really low on others so I wanted to make sure that our donation was truly useful at this time. Debbie agreed to meet up with me and the kids after school at Stop and Shop (she must be a saint, right?) in order to tell us more about the organization and help us pick out items. The kids were really excited to be a part of the purchase and donation. 

We learned that LYNN Ministries hands out 150 baggies each month with necessary toiletries and supplies for the homeless. These individuals and families do not have a permanent place to put their things so travel sized items are what are needed most. Currently, the ministry was very low on toothpaste so we were able to pick up a bunch for them.
The kids were fascinated to hear that some people live in tents (year round) so Debbie was kind enough to share this photo with me of one of her friend's homes. I say friend's home because that is exactly what the people she supports are to Debbie - her friends.

The picture really helps put it in perspective.
LYNN Ministries also provides a meal each month that they cook fresh, package up in individual containers, and deliver to those in need. We were able to purchase pork for them to serve at their holiday meal. The money they save from not having to purchase the meat themselves, they will now put towards winter coats, gloves, and socks. I loved hearing how Stop and Shop's donation of toiletries and meat would then have a trigger effect of allowing them to purchase other items that are desperately needed.

Here we are heading to the check out - bunny ears and all!
Debbie and John Snow with the donations that we purchased courtesy of Stop and Shop's generosity (WOW!!)
If you are interested in learning more about how you might be able to help, you can check out the supply list of items that LYNN Ministries is in need of (year round) HERE. If you are local to Foxboro, MA, I'd be happy to help coordinate with you a pick up/drop off of any donations. This really is such a great, hands on ministry where donations go directly to those in need.

Feeling touched and moved? Awesome, because it's your turn! I am giving away a $50 Stop and Shop gift card so that YOU can help pay it forward this holiday season. You can choose to spend the gift card on however you see fit - donating to your local food bank, buying toys/books for children in need, the list is endless! Once you do spend your money, we would love for you to share your donation story with others so that they might be inspired to do the same. Share your story and photo using the hashtag #PayItForwardwithSS on Facebook, Instagram, etc so that we can all enjoy them!

Best of luck - I can't wait to hear how you're sharing the love this holiday season!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

prAna: Review, Giveaway, and Discount Code! #JustBeYou

Being part of the Stonyfield team, I recently was offered the opportunity to receive and review an item from prAna's organic cotton line. It's no mystery why Stonyfield and prAna pair so well together. They are both committed to creating quality products in earth friendly ways. They seek materials from sustainable sources, treat people fairly, and seek to improve industry processes. They do their best to recycle resources, reduce packaging, and help to jump start the next generation of organic farmers.

prAna prides itself on the fact that you can wear their clothing during every activity on every day. Their catalog is filled with amazing looking people doing awesome things.


I was asked to #JustBeYou while wearing and reviewing my item. So I wore the Peppa Jacket doing things that I do best. Now I want to say that I sported it while climbing a mountain or sailing the seven seas but my life is not quite as exciting as that. You know what? That's okay because the Peppa Jacket was soft and cozy for everything that I needed in my regular life!


I rocked it at the bus stop...

Look at those cuties!
and while out running errands.

Target, here I come!
It also kept me warm, comfy, and cozy while I (unfortunately) battled a cold!

Booooo!
I also enjoyed an Apple Cinnamon Oh My Yog! while recovering on the couch that day. The apple/cinnamon flavor is perfect for fall and it tastes like a treat even while getting vitamins!

My prAna item is soft, fun, wears well, and comfy! Want to try something from the prAna organic line yourself? One lucky Dollops reader will win one prAna organic item valued at up to $99. Don't fret if you don't win because everyone can benefit from the discount code below!

Discount: 15% off* at prAna.com
Discount Code: JBYF15DOD

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Discount code not valid for prAna Influencers, on Gift Certificates, or with any other offers. Ends  Dec 15, 2015.

***Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Stonyfield. As a YoGetter Ambassador,  at times I receive free product and/or compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015!

Happy (early)  Halloween  from Henry the wolf, 
Batman Daniel, and Isabelle the slice of pizza!

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