Pantry Must-Haves For The Family Kitchen

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How many times have you come home from work to hungry mouths, only to find the kitchen barren and inspiration lost? How many times has that ended up at a fast food joint or with take-out in front of the television? It’s just far too easy a mistake to make. Keeping the house stocked with food for quick, easy meals can seem like a military operation, full of checklists and mason jars. But all it takes is a few pantry staples, and you’ve got easy, healthy family meals in no time. Here are some pantry must-haves, and why they’re perfect for the family kitchen.

Pulses

When you’re throwing a dish into the crockpot, throw some lentils, pearl barley, or chickpeas in, and your meal will stretch further without losing any of its nutritious value. Pulses are a genius addition to the kitchen pantry, especially if money is a bit tight. Fair enough, they take a bit of time to cook, but there is nothing better for bulking out stews, casseroles, and pies. And they’re great, low calories additions which are packed full of protein and fiber, perfect for the whole family.

Tinned tomatoes

When you roll in from an awful day at work, with a headache that makes you want to curl up and cry, and you still have a family to feed, that’s when tinned tomatoes come into their own. Chop up an onion, add some olives, garlic, and capers, throw in the tinned tomatoes and some pasta, et voila, a simple, healthy, and delicious meal which will keep everyone going, and all in all it took about ten minutes to cook. They can go in stews, soups, bolognese, meatball sauce, chili – absolutely anything. They’re the perfect pantry staple.

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Pasta and rice

When you have no time to cook, pasta and rice are like a reassuring, edible hug. Cooked through in less than 15 minutes, with a whole world of different flavors and sauces that can be added, they’re every mom’s go-to carb for a good reason. Try a simple tuna pasta bake, with oodles of cheese on top of course. You could even knock together a simple burrito bowl in less than twenty minutes, cooking chicken and chopping salsa while the rice simmers slowly.

Seasoning

What would we do without seasoning? Not just salt and pepper – however necessary and wonderful they are – but herbs, spices, and all manner of delicious condiments too. When you’re in a rush, but you still want to create a delicious and healthy meal for the family, seasoning is the future. It adds depth of flavor, interest, and spice to a dish which otherwise might just be meat and vegetables. Be sure to have mustard, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, curry powder, and some Italian herb seasoning, at the very least.

Tinned tuna, salmon, and sardines

Finally, when time is of the essence, there is nothing quicker than a tuna mayo sandwich for feeding hungry mouths. It’s healthy, cheap, quick, and you can make it with everything you have in the pantry. They’re also perfect for throwing into pasta dishes, and delicious too!

 

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Go Go Gadgets: Kitchen Time Savers You Simply Can’t Live Without

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It’s great when you’ve got all afternoon to experiment with flavors, listening to classical music as you slice vegetables, stir sauces and cook meat but sometimes we just don’t have the luxury of time. While cooking should always be exciting, interesting and rewarding when you’ve only got twenty minutes to prepare dinner appliances need to be user-friendly, multi functional and fast.  

Mandolin Slicer

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These slicers are perfect when you’re hosting a dinner party, making the family roast or substituting say pasta for courgettes. Instead of spending hours chopping, slicing and julienning vegetables a Mandolin slicer can do it quickly, efficiently and most importantly uniformly. One of the main annoyances when cooking is trying to get slices of carrot, cucumber or tomatoes the same size and thickness. However, mandolin slicers take the hassle out of comparing portions as, depending on the blade size, it’ll cut the same way each time you use it.

Immersion Blender

5608175298_ae74d5fe77_oFlickr Photo From: Soli

Modern blenders are capable of so much more than their predecessors which were often awkward, unwieldy and difficult to use. Nowadays, you can choose from a mains connected, or battery powered one, and they don’t just make soups, sauces, and stews anymore. Stick, or hand blenders can help you make cake batter, smoothing out all the lumps as well as custards, meringues and smoothies thanks to incredibly fast processing speeds and the multiple rotating blades that function seamlessly together.

Garbage Disposal

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While many people use bins, compost heaps and recycling boxes the ultimate weapon in fast, clean and hygienic kitchen maintenance has to be a garbage disposal unit. When you’ve finished your meal, simply scrape any leftovers into the unit and it’ll shred food waste so it’ll pass easily through your plumbing. Be careful not to put anything too hard, large or fibrous into the unit or if you need to, cut the item into extremely small pieces. It’s quite easy to jam, or break a disposal unit and calling out a garbage disposal repair team means time and money so keeping it clean and maintained is key. Do try to run the cold water when you use it as it’ll help items to flow through the system.

Automatic Coffee Maker

2489417096_3c1f1a5d79_zFlickr Photo From: Pimkie

Some of us are barely functional human beings until we’ve had our first cup of coffee in the morning. If you don’t feel ready to take on the day until you’ve had your latte, espresso or flat white then a coffee machine is a must. While coffee makers can’t quite do everything, although they’re getting close, all you need to do is select or pop the capsule you want and it’ll do the rest. There are loads of different flavors, options and even strengths to choose from while designs range from classic, to the contemporary and strangely futuristic.

Handheld Blow Torch

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We don’t always have the time to wait while the oven slowly, carefully caramelizes our deserts, or heats up to give cakes that golden brown look. Perfect for finishing creme brûlées, the torch burns the sugar to create crunchy, delicious toppings. However, blow torches can also be used to grill vegetables, add presentation when cooking meat and give steaks a perfect restaurant quality sear.

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Want To Improve Your Cooking? Here’s What You Need In Your Kitchen

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One of the easiest ways to become a better cook is to stock your kitchen with some key ingredients. You will certainly be surprised at how much top-quality ingredients can improve an everyday dish. And sometimes, they can be very forgiving to cooking techniques that aren’t so professional! So even if you are terrible in the kitchen, some important ingredients can really transform a dish. And after a bit of practice, you may even become confident enough to host your very first dinner party! So what do you need in your kitchen cupboards to improve your cooking? Read on to find out!

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Seasoning

Salt and pepper aren’t so important, right? Wrong! These two little pots that sit on your table are two of the most important ingredients in your kitchen. They shouldn’t just be used to sprinkle salt and pepper onto your finished meal. Move them closer to your hob so you remember to use them throughout cooking. But why are they so important? It’s all to do with flavors! If you add salt and pepper correctly, your food won’t taste salty or peppery. Actually, they can help enhance all the other natural flavors of the food. Especially when it comes to meat. In recent years, there has been a lot of bad press against salt as many people believe it is unhealthy. However, if you season during cooking and not at the table, you won’t be using too much. When you are frying meat or vegetables, add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the pan. After a few minutes, taste the ingredients and see if you need more. But be careful not to add too much, though – you just need to bring out the natural flavors and not make the dish salty.

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Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is very concentrated tomato sauce. It is jam packed with flavor, and just a small amount needs to be stirred into a pan of meat and vegetables to give the meal a rich umami flavor. You can use it with tomato sauce or without. Using it with will add an extra depth to the sauce’s flavor. You don’t just have to add tomato paste to a pan during cooking, though. It also works very well on homemade pizzas. What’s more, it is extremely cheap, and you can find it in almost every supermarket. Once you’ve opened it, remember to keep it in the fridge as it has quite a short shelf life.

Vinegar

There are so many different types of vinegar, it can be easy to lose count! But you will certainly find a type to add to your dish, whatever you are cooking. Vinegar is an acidic ingredient, and its acidity can bring out lots of flavors in a dish. It’s a form of seasoning, just like salt and pepper, and works in much the same way. Make sure you have a number of different vinegars in your kitchen. Each one is perfect for certain dishes and can bring out subtle differences in flavors. Not sure which vinegar you should be using in your dish? Try to go by the vinegar’s color. Red wine vinegar is perfect for tomato sauces and rich beef dishes. Whereas white wine vinegar is best added to creamy sauces and fish dishes. Apple cider vinegar is another common one. This tastes great in sauces and gravies that will be served with pork.

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Condiments

Condiments are things like tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, and other sauces and dips that you put on your meal at the table. Even though you don’t necessarily cook with them, they are still crucial in helping a meal taste great. If you just buy the budget brands, you will find that they lack depth to their flavor. Obviously, the more you spend, the better product you will have. However, that doesn’t mean you need to blow your whole budget on them. Sticking to mid-range condiments is perfectly fine. There are lots of new exciting brands on the market these days, most of which put modern twists on traditional recipes. And certain brands, such as Hampton creek in Walmart, offer quirky recipes that go great with a variety of meals. Are your kids refusing to eat your healthy meals? Let them add a tasty condiment to add some natural sweetness to their food!

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Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Not only does olive oil taste delicious but it also keeps your heart healthy. So there is no wonder why so many people have a bottle in their pantry. When you are out shopping next, try to find extra-virgin olive oil. This type is unrefined and has a very pure color and flavor. However, one thing to bear in mind with extra-virgin olive oil is that it has a low smoke point. This means it smokes at low heats. When this happens, the oil can turn carcinogenic. So remember only to cook with extra-virgin olive oil at very low temperatures. For frying and oven roasting, stick to other oils. Extra-virgin is perfect for making dips and salad dressings, though. Mix it with a drop of balsamic vinegar to create a delicious dip for bread. It’s so tasty; you may never go back to spreading butter on your bread! It also works wonders in cakes as well. There are many baking recipes that use it as a substitute for butter. This gives the cake a fantastically rich flavor and makes it slightly healthier!

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Organic Ingredients

When it comes to all your other ingredients and foods, try to find organic versions. Organic food is renowned for being good for us as it is not exposed to organic chemicals. It is also often fresher than non-organic food, so you can be sure it is always of a high quality. When you are buying meat, try to find cuts and joints that are from animals that were free range and fed on natural ingredients. It is thought that an animal’s diet has a big impact on the flavor of its meat. So for the best flavor, stick to the best cuts of organic meat.

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What I Ate and Drank Week 1 and 2 Post Op From Gastric Sleeve Surgery

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week one post op foodLooks gross I know but the picture above is actually chicken teriyaki pureed and pureed tuna with mayo. I love these small containers that I got at Target. They hold 3 oz which is pretty much what my stomach can hold right now so they are perfect. I’m working on an upcoming post with about items that really helped in the first few weeks after my surgery.

Here’s a peek into my fridge right after I had gastric sleeve weight loss surgery. Ignore the wine in the back. Sadly it is no longer for me. But the protein shakes, jello, protein drinks, and sugar free drinks like Vitamin Water are all mine. 🙂

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Anyone who thinks that gastric surgery is the easy way to lose weight couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s what I wrote on my facebook page to explain to my family and friends what it’s like:

May 3rd- 1 Week 1 Day Post Op

I go back to the surgeon later today. I’m feeling better day by day but this is certainly a tough road. Right now I feel like my life runs around my eating and drinking schedule. I know that it will become second nature soon, I’ll be able to have larger quantities when the swelling goes down, and things will get easier so I’m not worried.

In case anyone is curious…..Here’s an example of what I mean. I have to wait 15 minutes after drinking to eat food and 30 minutes after eating to drink again. I can only take small sips right now and then have to wait a minute or two between sips to get more in. I woke up, had a few sips, and then made an egg for myself. I chewed a few bites (seriously like 4 SMALL bites) with a few minutes in between and then there was a pressure in my chest and my nose started to run. Yup, a new sign that I’m LITERALLY full. From 4 bites of ONE EGG. I didn’t even finish the egg and the whole time I was thinking (great, I didn’t finish the egg do I can’t count all the protein towards my daily protein count).

20160429_092159All my meals are in small baby bowls and plates these days. It makes me feel like I’m eating a whole meal and a little more “normal”. If I ate on a large plate it would make my tiny portion seem even smaller.

It took almost 45 minutes for the feeling to go away and I was miserable during those minutes. I was still full but need to get some of my required 64 oz of liquids in so I sipped a little water after the 45 minutes and pressure was gone. By this time it was already after 11 a.m. so I drank my protein shake (35 g of protein and I need 80 per day). That took about 30 minutes (but at least it adds 11 oz of fluids off of the 64 oz total). After the protein shake I’ve been sipping water but I know I need to eat my lunch soon. So now I wait 15 minutes for lunch and try to get in as much protein in 3 or 4 SMALL bites as I can. The whole meal- just 4 bites- might still take me 30 minutes to finish because everything goes down so slow. Then when I am done with lunch I need to keep drinking all afternoon, squeeze another protein drink in, and then figure out dinner which will be another whole production.

SOOOOOOO no, this isn’t easy. I know when the swelling goes down more, things will go down more easily. It’s tough right now. My appetite is much less but I do still get hungry. I was hoping I wouldn’t get hungry like some people report BUT I’ve also heard that some people are hungry for a few weeks after surgery and then the hunger goes away. I am really trying to figure out what is hunger, what is head hunger, and what satisfied feels like instead of FULL. And the difference between the two can literally be the size of a baby food spoon which is what I’m using to eat right now.

Would I do this to myself again. ABSOLUTELY! But I just wanted to give a little incite into what it’s like. I know most people are quiet about having the surgery, etc. but I want to educate and help people so I’m putting it all out there. The good and the bad. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

Meds-

I only took the pain meds for the first 2 nights at home to help me sleep. Luckily I didn’t need pain meds other than that while at home. For the first 14 days home I have to give myself daily blood thinner injections. I am also taking an acid reducer (Protonix) for daily for 6 months. I start taking a multivitamin 2 weeks post op. 1 month post op I start taking a medicine to prevent gallstones. 6 weeks post op I will start taking other vitamins like iron, calcium, B12, D3, and a few others. I’ll update on those when I start taking them.

Incentive Spirometer-

Post op for 10 days I need to inhale into this Incentive Spirometer to make sure my lungs stay open, I don’t get a fever, and I don’t get pneumonia. My lungs were tight the first few days after surgery but after a few days it was much easier to inhale the incentive spirometer ten times every hour that I was awake.

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My surgeon has his patients start eating pureed foods the first full day home after surgery. Here’s a peek into what I ate the first week home to give you an idea of what my meals consisted of. It was from my own log so sometimes I forgot to record calories, etc. but this will give you an idea.
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What I Ate Post Op Week 1

4/28- Thursday- 3 Days Post Op

Protein shakes-
1 pure protein- 35 g
1 muscle milk- 20 g

Liquids-
1 protein shakes- 11 oz
1 protein shakes- 11 oz
tea- 10 oz

Foods-
Tuna w/ mayo- 1.5 oz
½ hard boiled egg w/ mayo
½ hard boiled egg w/ mayo
Cream of chicken soup (half can)

4/29- Friday- 4 Days Post Op

Protein shakes-
1 pure protein- 35 g
1 tea with protein powder- 20 g

Liquids-
pure protein 11 oz
vitamin water 20 oz
Tea- 11 oz

Foods-
Tuna w/ mayo- 1.5 oz- 15 g protein, 110 cal
Scrambled egg w/ shredded cheese- ½ an egg- 4 g protein, 60 cal
Cottage cheese- 2 oz

4/30- Saturday- 5 Days Post Op

Protein shakes-
Premiere Protein- 30 g 160 cal
Pure Protein- 35 g 170 cal

Foods-
¾ egg with cheese- 4 g protein, 60 cal
1 oz tuna w/ cheese- 10 g protein, 75 cal
Ricotta bake– 2 oz
Eggs drop soup- 2 cups- 6 g protein, 120 cal

Liquids-
Premiere Protein- 11 oz
Pure Protein- 11 oz
Vitamin Water 20 oz

5/1- Sunday- 6 Days Post Op

Cold things don’t hurt any more!!! I can finally drink cold things!!!

Protein shakes-
Shake made with powder and milk- 20 g protein, 200 cal
Muscle milk- 15 g, 80 cal

Foods-

Cottage cheese- 2 oz, 6 g protein, 50 cal
Ricotta bake- 2 oz 16 g, 200 cal
Salmon- 2 oz, 11 g protein, 115 cal
Eggs drop soup- 1 cup- 3 g protein, 60 cal

Liquids-

Milk 8 oz
Muscle Milk 8 oz
Vitamin Water 20 oz

5/2- Monday- 1 Week Post Op

Protein shakes-
Pure Protein- 35 g 170 cal
Muscle milk- 15 g, 80 cal

Foods-

Crab w/ ricotta- 2 oz- 14 g protein, 120 cal
Laughing cow cheese wedge- 2 g protein, 35 cal
Ricotta bake-  1 oz 8g, 100 cal
Salmon- 1 oz, 5 g protein, 50 cal

Liquids-
Muscle Milk 8 oz
Pure Protein- 11 oz
Vitamin Water- 20 oz
Iced tea- 8 oz

5/3- Tuesday- 1 Week 1 Day Post Op

Protein shakes-
Pure Protein- 35 g 170 cal
Pure Protein- 35 g 170 cal

Foods-
¾ Egg w/ laughing cow cheese- 6 g protein, 75 cal
Crab w/ ricotta- 2 oz- 14 g protein, 120 cal
Grilled chicken- 2 oz, 16 g protein, 85 cal
Egg drop soup

Liquids-
Pure Protein- 11 oz
Pure Protein- 11 oz
Crystal Light Fruit Punch- 32  oz

5/4- Wednesday 1 Week 2 Days Post Op

Protein shakes-
Premiere Protein w/ 1 Tablespoon PB2 and SF chocolate syrup- 11 oz- 33 g 175 cal

Foods-
2 ½ oz Greek Yogurt
Bacon Ranch flavor tuna w/ low fat cheddar- 2 oz
Grilled chicken- 2 oz, 16 g protein, 85 cal

Liquids-
Premiere Protein- 11 oz
Water (fruit punch)- 16 oz
Jello- 3 oz

****This is about the time that I started using an app to track my meals. Here are my favorite apps for life after weight loss surgery.

20160430_190641 (1)One of my best tips for not feeling deprived (although I’m really only craving things that are healthy right now anyway) is to make meals for my family that either I can eat, too, or at least have a similar flavor profile so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. For example I made a delicious Ricotta Bake which has ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Italian seasoning, and no sugar added tomato sauce. It was allowed on my diet even when I was on pureed foods but I was able to use it as a base for baked ziti for my family. I just made the ziti on the side and put the ricotta bake on top. It felt like we were all eating the same thing and I didn’t feel deprived or left out.

Read more about my Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery Journey.

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Quick and Easy Recipes, Snacks, and Treats

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Looking for a quick and easy snack? These quick-and-easy recipes yield delicious bites, tasty treats, and scrumptious snacks that are sure to satisfy your appetite. Make sure to check out the Girl Scout cookie and wine parings, too!

Check out Bite Size: Effortless Recipes in a Flash

by Foodie Editor at Mode

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Take a Lunch Making Break with Revolution Foods Jet Packs- Review and Giveaway

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Disclosure- Revolution Foods provided us with several meals to facilitate this post but all opinions are our own.
jet pack varietyEvery mom I know, myself included, has a lot on her plate. We help with homework, make sure the house is clean, take care of the laundry, and so many other things. It sometimes seems like the day flies by and it’s time to do it all over again including figuring out what to send the kids to school with for lunch. Sure, I want it to be something healthy but I also want it to be something my kids will want to eat and if it’s fast and easy, even better. cori jet pack The people at Revolution Foods asked if I wanted to take a “Lunch Making Break” with their Jet Pack on-the-go lunchboxes. When I heard that these meals are not only kid friendly but they have no preservatives, artificial flavors, or artificial colors I jumped at the chance. I love that I am to take a break from making lunches while still giving my girls a healthier alternative to those other processed boxes lunches.popcorn chicken box

So what’s inside the box? There are 3 flavors of Jet Packs- Ham and Cheddar, Turkey and Cheddar, and Popcorn Chicken. The ham and turkey varieties each come with cheddar cheese and whole wheat crackers while the popcorn chicken comes with pretzels. All 3 varieties have between 12 and 14 grams of protein and come with my favorite part- ClifKid naturally flavored organic fruit rope- YUM! All 3 meat varieties are raised without antibiotics. There are no nitrites/nitrates and the cheese is rBST-free. The popcorn chicken is breaded with whole grains and comes with Simply Heinz tomato ketchup.

jet pack chickenThe popcorn chicken is made with full cooked white meat chicken so kids can eat them cold or heat them up.
Jet Pack smileMy daughter loves being able to pick which Jet Pack she wants on her way out the door in the morning.
fruit ropeI’m not the only one who loves the fruit twists!  The results are in and our favorite is the turkey and cheddar with the ham and cheddar being a close second. Which one will be your child’s favorite? My girls are tweens with big appetites so I still send them to school with some extra snacks like fruit and yogurt, but these meals are the perfect size for younger kids and they’ll love being able to pack their own lunch like a big kid.
20160207_183226Inside each box there is a fun word search puzzle for kids to complete. The lid of the box turns into a postcard that kids can send back to Revolution Foods with their pledge to get real such as eating fruit instead of cookies for a week, helping mom make dinner one night, etc. In exchange for sending their pledge, Revolution Foods will send your child a special surprise!

Revolution Foods was founded by moms on a mission to transform the way America eats by providing access to healthy food in schools and in stores.   The company started by serving freshly prepared meals to 1 million students per week in public schools across the US. They have no expanded beyond schools to groceries stores providing healthy, balanced, already made lunches like Jet Packs.
F
or more information go to www.revolutionfoods.com.

Where to Purchase

I purchased these Jet Packs and my local Publix but they are also available at Walmart, Safeway, and many other places. Find a retailer near you on the Revolution Foods Store Locator.

Grab a Coupon

You can receive $1 off Jet Packs and Lunch Bundles by going to this Facebook page to download a coupon.

Want to win a Lunch Making Break? lunch making break

Enter our giveaway to win a “Take a Lunch Making Break” Survival Pack, including a branded lunchbox, water bottle, and a FREE COUPONS for Revolution Foods Jet Packs.

Get Social with Revolution Foods

 

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100 Years at the Dinner Table

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Here’s a fun look at dinner foods from the last 100 years. I think the food from the most recent decades are my favorites. What about you?

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa Restaurant Review #MonkeyKingdomEvent

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sanaa review
Sanaa, which means “Work of Art” in Swahili, is a beautiful restaurant located in Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village.  This hidden gem serves a mix of African and Indian cuisine made with authentic cooking methods and flavors at a moderate price.  I had the opportunity to dine there for lunch a few weeks ago as part of the Monkey Kingdom Event with 24 other bloggers.  We had the opportunity to not only experience the food but also Dine with an Animal Specialist which is something anyone can do.  I suggest going for lunch and try to get a table by the window so you can see all the amazing views as you look outside at all of the animals such as zebras and giraffes.  You won’t be able to see the animals as much if you go at night since it will be dark but they do have night vision goggles outside in the viewing area that you can use after your meal if you do go for dinner. 20150415_121200 (1024x576)We started our meal with a bread flight that had various types of Indian-style breads such as Naan and Kucha.  It was served with various accompaniments such as chutney, hummus, etc.  Some where sweet, some were spicy, all were incredibly delicious.  There was something for everyone with this bread appetizer.

Indian-style Bread Service

Choice of Three Breads – Traditional Naan, Garlic-Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan, Onion Kucha, or Paneer Paratha. Choice of Three Accompaniments – Red Chile Sambal, Cucumber Raita, Coriander Chutney, Mango Chutney, Coconut Chutney, Garlic Pickle, Spicy Jalapeño-Lime Pickle, Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus, or Tamarind Chutney

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Our next course was a salad sampler course that had several salads including chickpeas with cucumber and tomato and my favorite, a watermelon cucumber salad.  All of the salads were delicious and tasted incredibly fresh.

Salad Sampler

Choice of Three Salads: Chickpeas with Cucumber and Tomato; Watermelon, Cucumber and Fennel; Kachumbari; Mango; or Bhel Puri

20150415_124408 (1024x576)   For our main course we were served Basmati rice with 2 different dishes, Goan Seafood Curry and Butter Chicken.  The Goan Seafood Curry was delicious but the Butter Chicken was my FAVORITE!  It was so flavorful and had such a smooth, delicate sauce.  I am craving it just thinking about it.  If you only get one thing at Sanaa make sure it is the Butter Chicken.

Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-seasoned

Choice of Two served with Basmati Rice or Five-Grain Pilaf – Butter Chicken, Goan Seafood Curry, Chicken Vindaloo, Spicy Durban Shrimp, or Beef Short Ribs

11182248_10153168361345027_5134649308128788875_nThanks As Mom Sees It for this picture of the delicious desserts.  I was so excited about the desserts that I forgot to take a picture before I dove in! All 3 desserts in the dessert trio were as delicious as they looked.  They were presented together on a plate with a fancy layer of chocolate to tie the whole dessert together.  Each one was equally as rich and decadent as the next.  The Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse was sweet, rich, and perfect for any chocolate lover.  The Banana Cheesecake was smooth and had just the right amount of sweetness.  And the Kulfi was sweet and delicious.  It is similar to an ice cream and the perfect way to end our meal.

Dessert Trio

Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse, Banana Cheesecake, and Seasonal Kulfi

Here’s a Sanaa menu  sample.  What I love about Sanaa is that I stepped out of my comfort zone and ate things I’ve never had before but loved it all.  The chefs at Sanaa are very accommodating.  If you have a special dietary restriction they work with you to make a meal that you’ll love.  In our group we had several bloggers with allergies and a few vegetarians and the chef came out personally to go over the menu with them, offer them alternative choices, and make sure they had food they would love.  Sanaa is one of my new favorite places to go when I go to Walt Disney World and I can’t wait to take my family there the next time we’re in town. Don’t forget to take your family to see Monkey Kingdom!!! P1240408 Disclosure- I was invited on an all expense paid trip to Orlando for the Monkey Kingdom Event.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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Paddington Bear Inspired Tortilla Chips with Orange Marmalade Cream Cheese Dip

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paddington orange marmalade dip recipeOn April 17th the Paddington Movie will be available on digital download.   Why not host your own Paddington Movie Night Party, complete with fun Paddington inspired recipes like the one I created below.  You can go to Paddington Parties and get a free digital party kit to host your own party.  It includes recipe ideas and free printable activities, games, and more!  One of my favorite things on the Paddington Parties site is the area where you can put Paddington into your pictures:

paddington bear with girlsYou can also find other Paddington Party ideas on Pinterest.  And check out the Paddington Movie site, too.
Here’s my Paddington Bear inspired Tortilla Chips with Orange Marmalade Cream Cheese because Paddington loves marmalade!  It is so simple to make, the kids can help, and it is delicious.  My sister and my daughter couldn’t get enough of it.  If you run out of tortilla chips it is really good with Nilla wafers, too.  Just sayin’!

paddington bear tortilla chips with orange marmalade cream cheese dip

Tortilla Chips with Orange Marmalade Cream Cheese

For Bear Tortilla Chips-
flour or whole wheat tortillas
non-stick cooking spray

For Orange Marmalade Cream Cheese Dip-
1 (8-ounce) package whipped cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup orange marmalade
2 cups whipped cream

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Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and heavy whipping cream together with a hand mixer on low. Stir in vanilla and orange marmalade. Gently fold in whipped cream.  Chill, top with more whipped cream (optional) and enjoy!  It tastes just as yummy the next day IF you have any left over!

 

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Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! Yogurt Key Lime Pie and $15 Paypal Giveaway

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P1240070I’ve been trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the last few months.  I’ve been watching what I eat and have lost over 20 pounds so far.  Part of my “secret” is not allowing myself to feel deprived or missing my favorite foods.  If I am craving something I try to find a similar but healthier version of what I am craving.  Sure, I sometimes have to get creative but that’s part of the fun.  I was so excited to find Yoplait Greek 100 Whips!  Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! are whipped Greek yogurts that come in 4 delicious flavors- Blueberry, Strawberry, Black Cherry, and Vanilla Cupcake.  They are a great snack, easy to throw in my girls’ lunchboxes, and also make a great dessert.

greek yogurt key lime pieYou can eat Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! by themselves or you can get creative with them like I like to do and come up with all sorts of yummy recipes.  I was craving Key Lime Pie the other day so I came up with my own, healthier version using Yoplait Greek 100 Whips! and only a few other ingredients.  I had my sister over so I had her try it.  She normally doesn’t like Greek yogurt and she’s pretty picky about food but she LOVED it and said it really tasted like Key Lime Pie.
Make sure to scroll below the recipe for a coupon and to enter to win $15 via PayPal!

Yopait Greek 100 Whips! Key Lime Pie

doterra lime edited
Ingredients-
1 container Vanilla Cupcake Yoplait Greek 100 Whips!
Lime Essential Oil (I’m sure you could use lime extract but I love my essential oils)
1 graham cracker
whipped cream (optional)


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Mix 2 drops LIME essential oil in the yogurt until blended.  Don’t over-mix as the yogurt will begin to deflate a bit.

P1240085Put graham cracker in a plastic bag and use the can of whipped cream or a rolling pin to create graham cracker crumbs.  Top yogurt with graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream.  Enjoy!

P1240100Yoplait Whips Greek Yogurt Coupon

Want to try Whipped Greek Yogurt?  Make sure to grab this Publix Yoplait Whips Greek Yogurt Coupon so you can try some yourself.  Try all 4 flavors and let me know which is your favorite!

$15 PayPal Giveaway

General Mills and Yoplait are giving away $15 via PayPal to one of my lucky readers to try out all the flavors of Yoplait Whips Greek Yogurt.  Good luck!
Enter to win below:

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