Google Dollops of Diane: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Boston Ballet Presents "Onegin"

After an (always!) successful run of the Nutcracker, Boston Ballet's season continues with John Cranko's Onegin. I was lucky enough to see the show Saturday night along with my friend, Karin. We had a great night out and thoroughly enjoyed the performance!
 
The story itself is based on Alexander Pushkin's Poem also entitled Onegin. It is set in 19th century Russia and is a story of love, lust, betrayal, death, and passion. What's not to love about that, right?








Besides the Nutcracker, this was my second trip to the ballet. I found that I liked this time better than the last since this performance had a story to follow. The dancers did a fabulous job acting our their roles (along with dancing!). The performers were all so believable and kept you entertained the whole show through.

Onegin is playing at the Boston Opera House with tickets starting at $35 each. The show is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes long with 2 intermissions. Remaining dates/times for this performance are:

Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Friday, March 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm
Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Click HERE to find available tickets and to learn more about the show!  

*I received a complimentary pair of tickets to the performance. As always, all opinions are my own. Photos by Gene Shiavone and courtesy of the Boston Ballet.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Lego Americana Roadshow (Providence, RI)

The family and I headed to the Providence Place Mall this morning for some family fun. I had heard that the Lego Americana Roadshow was on display there and figured it would be a win/win for all involved. I'm happy to report that I was right!

That's the U.S. Capitol Building made of Legos!
The FREE display consists of some of America's most famous buildings made entirely of Legos. Each model has a sign with what it is along with the historical significance of it. There was also a trivia question for each model. You can guess who loved that (Hint: She's pictured below!).

Isabelle and the Washington Monument
Along with the historical items they also had several just for fun exhibits that the boys loved. They were creative and full of mini figures.

President Business on Mount Rushmore!
Along with just checking out the models, they have a hands on area where kids can have fun and play with Legos. They also have ramps where the kids spent lost of time building cars and racing each other.


The Lego Americana Roadshow is taking place at The Providence Place mall from now through March 6, 2016 during normal mall hours. If you have a Lego (or American History!) fan in you're family, I highly recommend it. 

*Disclaimer: My family loved this free event so I am sharing it with you. No compensation/perks were received for it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hangman Fun!

Isabelle had a gift card burning a hole in her pocket so we headed out yesterday for her to spend it. She picked out this super cute hangman game which I had never seen before.

Let me tell you, this was well worth the money (which I didn't even have to spend!) since the kids played it ALL day. Then when my husband got home we played together as a family. First thing this morning the kids were back at it. 

We picked it up at the store but (like most things) you can find it cheaper on Amazon. Click HERE to check it out. I bet you'll love it, too!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Brother's Marketplace: Amiamo L'Italia!

Brother's Marketplace in Medfield, MA is hosting a six week celebration called "Amiamo L'Italia" (We love Italy!). They will be highlighting Italian items from February 11th through March 10th all throughout the store. Haven't been to Brother's before and not sure what it's all about? Well check out my previous post HERE with all the info! I was lucky enough to be invited back in to check out some of the fun and exciting things that they will be promoting.


Now when I say lucky, I mean LUCKY because this was what I was served up for lunch.

OMG - So good!
We had chicken parmesan, eggplant parm (my fave!), stuffed shells, zucchini fritters in a lemon dipping sauce, and more. Yum, yum, yum! All of these items are made fresh and available for you to pick up to enjoy with your friends and family at home. Then as if lunch wasn't great enough, next up was dessert.

Cannolis and Tiramisu cake

Snickerdoodle cookies - I DARE you not to eat three!
Again, all baked items are fresh and available to go!

Beyond the great food, the market always is such a great environment with friendly and knowledgeable staff. I can't wait to head back soon for some more eggplant (and Snickerdoodles!).

*Disclosure: I attended a complimentary media event at Brother's Marketplace. No compensation was received for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Clyde's Grill and Bar (Walpole, MA): Review

Ever drive by Clyde's on Route 1 by the Walmart and ask yourself, "Who goes there?!" Well the answer is, "I do and you should, too!" Don't let the lack of windows scare you away, it is totally a great restaurant AND family friendly. Sometimes I go with friends for a night out and sometimes we go as a family.

Last night, my husband had plans of his own so the kids and I hightailed it to Clyde's for dinner. We all love it!

We took this pic last night to taunt my friend, Lauryn, who also loves Clyde's!
The burgers are TO DIE FOR. The pizza (particularly the BBQ Chicken) comes in a close second in my book. The menu ranges from burgers/sandwiches to Mexican style food to traditional favorites to Texas BBQ. There is definitely something for everyone. The portion sizes are amazingly, stuff-your-face large. The staff is also always super friendly and low- key.  You never feel rushed there which I love.

The kids' menu has all the favorites (we went with cheeseburger, hot dog, and grilled cheese last night) and they get Oreos for dessert. Who doesn't love a restaurant that gives out Oreos? The kids also get a little trinket/prize with their meals - last night was a plastic sheriff's badge. Cute, right? The kids also love it there because in addition to a menu that they can color, the tables are covered with brown paper that the kids can draw on. Each table also has a deck of cards at it so you can pass the time playing your favorite game. Daniel MAY have beat me at War last night.

So yes, the main dining room is totally family friendly which I wouldn't necessarily have known just from driving by. Although they did recently have an exterior facelift to the building which gives it a bit more curb appeal. Spoiler alert, the new "windows" out front are fake! There is also a separate bar area as well if that's more your scene.

So there you have it - I give Clyde's two thumbs up. Oh, and I've received no kick back for writing this post. I just drove by the restaurant today while running errands and thought how I always have such a great time there and wanted to share it with you. So if you've been on the fence about going (or never considered it), I'm telling you to go for it!

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. 

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