January 10, 2015

How About Them Opal's

Have you heard of Opal's? They are apples only better. Grown exclusively in Washington at Broetje Orchards these bright yellow apples that are only available from November through March are naturally non browning. That's what sets them apart from ordinary apples. That and well they are pretty tasty too. These apples are crisp, sweet and tangy. They are a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Topaz and they are the first U.S. apple variety to be verified by the Non-GMO Project. Originally discovered in Europe in 1999 they made their way to the US in 2010. Thanks to Bzzagent I was given the opportunity to try this yummy fruit and be amazed by them. Penelope loves apples but she typically only eats them at home. She likes her apples sliced and since they brown and look unappetizing after a short while I don't usually pack them in her lunch.

When I learned that Opal's do not brown I was pretty excited to see for myself. It's true! You can slice these little guys, pack them in your kids lunches and they will still look good enough to eat hours later. AMAZING! Penelope was equally impressed with these, she thought it was "really cool" and said they were "mmm mmm delicious".

Another thing I love about Opal apples. They are known as the apple with a purpose. That's because a portion of Opal apples sales goes towards their Youth Make a Difference grants. These support youth-led non-profits involving food, nutrition and agriculture.

You can purchase Opal apples in limited stores nationwide. I was able to find them at my local Stater Bros. Check out the list of retailers here. Remember these are available in season November through March and they are grown in limited acreage so once gone for the season, they are gone till next year. So find it, eat it and enjoy Opal while you can!

The featured product{s} in this post were provided to me free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Boursin Cheese Review

I am a member of Smiley 360 and I was given the opportunity to try and review Boursin cheese. Even though I have seen Boursin products in grocery stores for years I had never tried them. . Made only with milk cream and seasonings Boursin cheese is actual cheese not a "cheese product". It has been around since 1957 where it originated in a small town in France called Gournay. Every package of Boursin cheese is labeled Gournay cheese for this reason. Boursin cheese comes in four flavors; Pepper, Shallot & Chive, Red Chili Pepper and Garlic & Fine Herbs. I opted on trying the Garlic & Fine Herbs because it sounded the tastiest to me.

These cheeses are made fresh and formed into a round making it perfect for displaying on a cheese board. It is spreadable but is a little more on the crumbly side. It goes great on crackers or with veggies like celery and cucumber. It is really tasty and I was surprised that I had never had it before. Boursin cheese can also be used in cooking. You can find a bunch of recipes on their website. I will definitely be purchasing this again and am eager to try the other flavors available.

Boursin also makes spreads that are made with different cheeses and seasonings. These are soft, creamy and easily spreadable. You can purchase Boursin products in the fine cheese section located next to the deli in most grocery stores.

The featured product{s} in this post were provided to me free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

*Freebie Alert*

Here is a FREE Redbox code, 45TH8787. This will expire on 1/18. Enjoy!

January 05, 2015

Farm Fresh To You Review


You may recall that when we were living in Alaska it was hard to find good fresh produce at reasonable prices in the one supermarket in our small town. Because of this I decided to subscribe to a produce delivery service I found that would deliver organic produce direct from farms to a local business for customer pick up. I enjoyed the service but unfortunately the produce still had to be flown up from Washington and often times would freeze and not stay fresh very long after it thawed out. When we moved to California it was nice to finally have a variety of produce to chose from but I missed getting my surprise bounty every couple of weeks. I decided to try and find a similar service here. I came across a couple of them but the price and frequency of shipments were not what I was looking for. Then recently I learned about Farm Fresh To You and I was pretty excited about giving them a go.

First of all, Farm Fresh To You delivers organic produce "fresh from the farm" to select areas in California. They offer several boxes; a Traditional CSA box, Mixed Fruit and Veggie, No Cooking, Fruit Only, Vegetable Only and an Office Snack Pack. These boxes come in different sizes to fit your needs. Whether you have a small family of 3 like mine or need to feed a crowd. Their deliver frequency options are also some of the best I have seen. You can choose to have a box shipped to you weekly, bi-weekly, every three weeks or only once a month. My favorite thing about Farm Fresh To You, they will deliver directly to your front door. Now that's convenience! The service I used in Alaska as well as some other produce delivery services I have seen, will deliver to a place of business and then you have to go and pick up your box there. With Farm Fresh To You your produce is delivered early and quietly on your assigned delivery day.

So where exactly does Farm Fresh To You get their produce? They have been farming since 1976 and currently grow more then 60 types of produce. Your produce box will contain items direct from their farms as well as neighboring farms that also practice organic and GMO free farming.

I was given the opportunity to try out Farm Fresh To You for free. I opted on the Mixed Fruit and Veggie box that feeds 2-4 people and is delivered every 3 weeks. Sign up is super easy and their website contains all the information you need to make the most out of your box, from recipe ideas to storage tips to keep your produce as fresh a possible. You can also learn about where your produce will be coming from. A few days before my schedule delivery I received an email saying I could log in to my account and customize my box if I chose to. You can easily omit things you would rather not have and replace them for things you like better. This makes it really easy if you are one of those people that plans meals ahead of time. I enjoy being surprised but I did make a few changes to my box to get the handle of how everything works and share with all of you.

When I finally received my box on delivery day this is what it looked like.

I also noticed this on the top of my box which I find to be another thing I love about this service. They will pick up and reuse your flattened produce boxes. This makes me happy because I will not have piles of boxes cluttering my garage.

Here is a little sneak peek of what I saw when I opened my box. At first it did not seem like much...

Then I spread everything out on my table and it was actually a lot more then I had expected.

2 pounds of bananas
1 bunch of broccoli
1 bunch of cilantro
2 mango oranges
1 bunch nantes carrots
1 pound of sweet potatoes
3 braeburn apples
1 butternut squash
2 kiwis
2 meyer lemons
2 pounds of Satsuma mandarins
1 pound of yellow onions.

The produce looked really fresh, like it was just picked from the earth! All the fruit was gobbled up pretty quick by Penelope and I used up the veggies in several meals.

After my trial with Farm Fresh To You I decided to continue the service. I plan to use my future boxes in Penelope's snack boxes and her school lunches and also plan to get some more use out of my juicer.

If you live in California and would like to find out if Farm Fresh To You delivers in your neighborhood check them out online. If you decide to subscribe to their service you can get $10 off your first box by using my Refer-A-Friend code MZNI8564. This would be a great way to kickstart your new years resolution of eating healthier!
The featured product{s} in this post were provided to me free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.           

January 04, 2015

Snow Day

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and welcome to 2015! We ended the year doing something not seen very often in southern California, playing in the snow! At 3:30 am on December 31, 2014 Chris woke Penelope and I up to tell us it was snowing. Yeah right! Was my first thought, but after realizing that there is no other explanation for him waking Penelope up at 3:30 in the morning other then to witness something extremely exciting, I knew it was true. Penelope was so excited she got bundled up and her and dad went out and built a snowman and played in the snow.

After about an hour of utter excitement we all went back to bed and woke up in the morning to find a beautiful blanket of white.

This was the best Christmas present ever, especially since Penelope and I had been trying to convince Chris to drive us up to the snow. I heard the last time it snowed in Temecula was in 2004, I am so happy that my family got to witness this rare event.
May the new year bring you all some amazing memories!

December 23, 2014

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2014

Children's Books for the Holidays and Giveaway

Every year when December 1st comes around I bring out a stack of Christmas books and movies. As a family we read and watch these while we count down the days till Christmas. My daughter loves this tradition of ours and she was so excited when I received four more books to add to our growing collection.

 Calling All Grammies – A Christmas Tale of Friendship, an inventive story by Flo Barnet features an intrepid grandma and her friends from around the world, who band together to save the day when Santa’s sleigh breaks down and can’t be fixed in time to take to the skies for Christmas. Flo began writing children’s books at age 68 because she wanted to leave her seven grandchildren something special to remember her by.

This is a cute story that has grandma's everywhere saving Christmas. It would be a fun for read for a grandma to read to her grandchild.

Christmas on the Farm, an engaging rhyming picture book by Beau Blackwell, featuring a whole barnyard of adorably illustrated animals, reinforces that the true meaning of Christmas is about the spirit of friendship and giving to others. Beau has two small children who he reads to every night, and his goal was to create a Christmas book that he could share with them and that would also make a great holiday gift for friends, family and beyond.
This short rhyming book is perfect for preschool aged children.
Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis, a charming winter’s tale and the newest addition to the award-winning Captain No Beard book series by Carole P. Roman, finds the daring pirate Captain No Beard and his loyal crew heaving anchor for adventure as they steer a course due north for the icy waters of the Arctic. A prolific writer, Carole’s work is inspired by the antics of her grandchildren and she often features them in the pages of her books.
The latest in the Captain No Beard series is colorful and imaginative. It also teaches children a good lesson! Penelope enjoyed it.
The Christmas Witchling, an enchanting chapter book by D. Byron Patterson featuring the brave 8-year-old Witchling Tulie Flue, who struggles to set everything right after it all goes wrong in a heartwarming tale about courage, friendship and the wonder of the holiday season. Before deciding to indie publish his books, Byron had been telling his tales for years, holding the kids of friends and family spellbound.
This chapter book brings fantasy and magic to Christmas. Penelope and I have not finished the book yet but we are both loving it. The main character Tulie is a loveable little witch trying to save Christmas.
All four of these festive books are written by independent children's book authors and published via Amazon’s indie publishing platforms, CreateSpace for print and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for e-books.
You can get all four of these books in Paperback or e-book via Amazon.
Want to win a special e-book bundle including all 4 books?
To Enter: Leave me a comment telling me one of your family's Christmas traditions. You can get extra entries for following me via GFC and liking me on Facebook.
This will be a short giveaway ending December 23, 2014. I will choose the winner using Random.org. Please leave a valid email address if it is not visible in your profile.
The featured product{s} in this post were provided to me free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

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