Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jul 30, 2015

Check Out The All New Food Lion Recipe Portal #LifesBetterWithTheLion


Do you ever feel like you keep cooking the same exact meals over and over again? I'm pretty sure most of us feel this way and get stuck in a rut. I am always looking for ideas online and sometimes even that can be overwhelming. I recently was introduced to the new Food Lion website with their recipe portal. The site is super clean and easy to maneuver and find things. You can sign up for a Food Lion MVP card either online or in-store. I created an account on the website using my MVP card. Once you're logged in, you are open to a host of tools at your fingertips. The recipe portal is broken down into categories ranging from main dishes, vegetables, sides, desserts and more. Once you find a recipe you are interested in, you are able to click on the individual ingredients and add them to your shopping list. How convenient is that? You can even find recipes according to a specific ingredient.

If you have a recipe you would like to share, you can easily submit it into the portal. All you need is a couple photos, a list of ingredients and the steps to prepare. I submitted one of my favorite recipes for my Easy Cheesy Zucchini and it took me under 10 minutes. I love the fact that the recipes on the Food Lion site are from home kitchens like yours and mine.
My zucchini recipe is a big hit and I know it will be for other families. The recipe is so easy and doesn't require any outrageous, hard-to-find ingredients.
Want the full recipe? Go check it out here. While you're there, be sure to browse other recipes and submit your own. Be sure to sign up for your MVP card so you can take advantage of their low prices. You can even track your savings on your dashboard when you are logged into your account.

Be sure to connect with Food Lion on the web, Facebook and Twitter for promotions and updates.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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Jul 27, 2015

Double-Dipped French Toast at IHOP® for a limited time

The end of summer just got a little sweeter with new Double-Dipped French Toast from IHOP® Restaurants. This twist on the breakfast classic features soft brioche bread first dipped in vanilla batter, then dipped a second time in a coating of corn flakes and oatmeal and griddled perfectly to a crispy golden-brown. Guests can choose one of two flavor combinations to top off this hand-crafted treat:
Cinnamon Sugar Double-Dipped French Toast – Soft brioche bread is first dipped in vanilla batter, then dipped a second time in crispy corn flakes and oatmeal, griddled, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and whipped topping.

Lemon Strawberry Double-Dipped French Toast – Soft brioche bread is first dipped in vanilla batter, then dipped a second time in crispy corn flakes and oatmeal, griddled, then topped with cool lemonade cream and glazed strawberries.

This newest take on the breakfast classic is backed by a long history of French Toast favorites from IHOP restaurants, including mouthwatering Stuffed French Toast and the popular Brioche French Toast.

Guests can enjoy two slices of hand-crafted Double-Dipped French Toast as part of a combo with eggs, done the way they like them, their choice of crispy bacon, pork sausage links or a slice of grilled ham, and IHOP restaurants' signature golden hash browns, or stacked high as an entrée of three slices at participating restaurants.

Double Dipped French toast will be available at participating IHOP Restaurants between July 27 and September 20.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANCAKES, LLC 
For over 57 years, International House of Pancakes, LLC has been a leader and expert in all things breakfast and a leader in family dining. The chain is highly competitive in its menu offering, serving 65 different signature, made-to-order breakfast options as well as meals under 600 calories. Beyond offering “everything you love about breakfast,” IHOP® restaurants have a wide selection of popular lunch and dinner items, as well. IHOP restaurants offer guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of March 31, 2015, there were 1,650 IHOP restaurants in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Philippines and the U.S. Virgin Islands. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc.
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The Benefits Of Red Wine

People have known about wine for a very long time. Just as much are known the benefits of red wine: in Asia, where about 7,000 years ago appeared winemaking, and in Egypt, and in ancient Greece, who had heard about this divine drink a thousand years before our era, red wine was drank primarily for health promotion, preservation of beauty, physical and mental strength. And only secondly the drink was considered as means of entertainment and relaxation.

The benefits of red wine are not surprising - it is an absolutely natural product conceived by nature. According to Canadian historian Rod Phillips in "A Short History of Wine" - each grape is a small winery, in it - inside or on the surface - there are all the chemical elements that will turn a berry in wine.

This feature of grapes – to be transformed and to transform - was the reason for its deification and special reverence in different religions - from pagan to Christian. In ancient times, red wine was consumed with meals, it was considered to be a necessary condition for healthy life. Doctors prescribed to drink it little by little, but constantly; patients should increase the dose to drinking half a liter 3 times a day.

The benefits of red wine are caused by a unique combination of substances in it. Magnesium, iron, chromium, zinc, rubidium, potassium, sodium, calcium, selenium, copper, flavonoids, polyphenols, tannins in it are good both by themselves and because of their special biological activity. A set of substances and elements like specially intended for recovery, purification and as a result rejuvenation of the body!

If you are among those who love wine then you will definitely like this informative wine infographic I recently stumbled upon:
Wine Infographic Ocado
Infographic brought to you by Ocado - Wine Infographic
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Jul 24, 2015

Get A Healthy Smile With New Colgate Total Daily Repair Toothpaste #ColgateDailyRepair

Colgate has rolled out their latest toothpaste from their line of oral care products. Introducing, New Colgate Daily Repair Toothpaste. 

This special formula of toothpaste offers these benefits: 
  • Repairs early teeth and gum damage
  • Strengthens teeth by re-mineralizing weakened enamel
  • Fights plaque to keep gums healthy

Helps prevent:
  • Plaque
  • Gingivitis
  • Tartar Build-Up
  • Cavities
  • Bad Breath


I have been using Daily Repair for a week now and it works well, leaving my mouth feeling fresh and clean. I particularly like Colgate Total toothpaste because I experience a longer lasting freshness. Who wouldn't want that? The Colgate brand has been a part of my life since childhood. I can remember family members coming to America from Guyana (my birthplace) and referring to toothpaste as "Colgate". You can't go ever wrong with such a trusted brand!

Colgate Total Daily Repair just hit the stores this month and is available in 2 sizes-- 4.0 oz ($2.47-$2.97) and 5.8 oz ($3.47-$3.97) at most retailers nationwide.

To learn more about Colgate Total Daily Repair, you can check them out on their website and be sure to connect on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates.

I received product samples for review. All opinions are 100% my own as always.
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Jul 23, 2015

Make the most out of your adventure in Japan with HealthyTokyo.com

This article is a guest post provided by HealthyTokyo.com

Have you ever dreamed of packing up and going to the other side of the globe to explore a new country with your family? While being one of the most modern and developed countries in the world, Japan is also an ideal destination if you enjoy doing sightseeing. Temples, shrines, castles, mountains hot springs, but also huge shopping malls, amusement parks and very modern buildings… There is so much to discover in Japan and every member of the family will find something that fits their tastes.

Living such an adventure with the family is very exciting, but it can also be a bit scary. What if one of you falls sick? What if we do not like the food? How about the language barrier? As an answer to these questions the website HealthyTokyo.com was created. HealthyTokyo is a really convenient website and app that helps to make Japan a more foreigner-friendly place.

The website provides you with a list of the best health and wellness providers in Japan split into three different categories:

Medical Partners: English-speaking doctors and dentists…
Wellness Coaches: fitness trainers, nutritionists, yoga instructors…
Healthy Partners: Organic restaurants, nail salons, spas, massage salons, gyms…


By becoming a member for free, you can check the list and get all the information to access these places; locations, language spoken, phone number and email address…HealthyTokyo also offers a premium membership plan that will allow you to use the concierge who will help you to make appointments and find the places you need. Premium members also benefit from promotional offers with the partners.

Living the adventure with your family has never been this safe and easy. HealthyTokyo.com is dedicated to keeping you and the whole family healthy in body, mind and spirit to make the most out of your trip to Japan.
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Jul 21, 2015

Fuel Up For Your Next Adventure With Nature Valley Simple Nut Bars #simplesnacking ($15 Paypal Giveaway)


**Closed**
Winner is Charlene Davis- Congrats! 

Are you getting ready to hit the road with your family or even stay close to home and explore your local parks, zoo or other attractions? If you are like me, I'm sure packing extra snacks and drinks is on your list. With a family of 5, I look for convenience as well as nutrition. One of the newest snacks on our list of favorites is Nature Valley Simple Nut Bars. They are simple because they only have 7 ingredients! Just nuts, seeds, tapioca syrup and sea salt.
Look at all that nutty, wholesome goodness! Be sure to check out these and other varieties of Nature Valley Nut Bars. 
I just love that they are not sweet. It has just the right amount of salt and a great chewy and crunchy texture that is very satisfying. These bars come in: 
  • Almond Cashew Sea Salt
  • Roasted Peanut Honey 
They are perfect for road trips, hikes, camping or even to keep stashed in your purse or desk at work for a quick, wholesome snack. You can even enjoy it with a cup of your favorite yogurt as a quick breakfast or lunch on-the-go.

Right now you can download and print a high value coupon for .75 cents off one box of select varieties of Nature Valley Bars from Publix, while supplies last (hurry!). You are going to want to stock up with back-to-school just around the corner!

To give you a little help with stocking up on Nature Valley Simple Nut Bars or any other of their nut bars, I have a $15 PayPal prize up for grabs. It's easy to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway ends August 10, 2015 and is open to U.S. and Canada Residents. Be sure to follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget for all entries to count. Good luck!
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Jul 20, 2015

Make Your At-Home Manicure Last With CND® VINYLUX® Weekly Polish

I am such a fan of polished nails on a woman. The hard part for me as a homemaker is that it is almost impossible to have a proper manicure that I can do at home that won't chip after the first day. I received a few weekly polishes from CND® VINYLUX® to test out. Seeing the words "Weekly Polish" got me a bit excited. Could it be? I use my hands ALL. Day. Long. I can't imagine any polish being able to keep up with my active homemaking lifestyle. 
Pictured above is CND VINYLUX Weekly Polish in Scarlett Letter #145, Cream Puff #108, and Cerulean Sea #171
I decided to give the blue color a try. I'm a sucker for bright blue nail polish. I applied my first layer of weekly polish and was very pleased with the formula. It was very smooth, somewhat thick, and if I was in a hurry, I could have gotten away with just one coat. It dried super fast and I did do a second coat. I was really impressed with how vibrant the color was and the quick drying time. Now the real test was how long it would last. I did NOT use a top coat so this was really going to show my how long this product would last. I was so shocked to see that I went 5 full days with no chips. I did have one small chip by day 6, but that was expected with the type of week I had. Another positive thing is that it was very easy to remove. Overall, this polish really impressed me and I look forward to purchasing some other colors.

You can purchase CND® VINYLUX® Weekly polish and CND® VINYLUX® Weekly Top Coat retail for $10.50 per bottle at select salons, or visit cnd.com/VINYLUX, loxabeauty.com, ULTA or ulta.com.
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6 Natural Alternative Cleaning Solutions (Guest Post)

As much as we can, we want to save up on money and find thrifty ways to lessen our spending for the month. While cleaning agents can also take up a part of your budget, you’d be happy to know that you can actually save up a few if you know some natural cleaning alternatives.

Every homeowner’s advantage is stocking up on good natural cleaning solutions as a substitute to the products you see in television. Besides that, you can also make your own home cleaning solutions. In this article, here are some effective alternative to home cleaning products.

Lemons and Oranges
When you want to clean your dishes or utensils, a good alternative for dishwashing liquid are lemons and oranges. Any kind of citric fruit are effective disinfectant because of their citric and acidic attribute that can sterilize and kill bacteria.

Vinegar
Vinegar is great for cooking and also for cleaning! It is probably the most commonly used cleaning solution for greasy pans and stoves. They are also great for removing stains which is why carpet cleaning in Sunshine Coast has never been more easy and hassle-free!

Isopropyl Alcohol
This medicine-cabinet native has actually a lot of practical uses. Other than it being used for disinfecting, it is also used for cleaning grease and grime off mirrors, shower stalls and door knobs.

Cornstarch
Cornstarch is a good absorbent of oil. It is mostly used with alcohol. Combining the two, alcohol and cornstarch, into a really effective cleaning mixture will be an effective cleaning agent for removing grease off countertops and other greasy kitchenware. Cornstarch is also a great deodorizer as well as an effective window cleaner.

Salt
No kitchen will be complete without it! Salt is a natural condiment that’s commonly used for cooking but can also serve for cleaning purposes. Salt is actually used in helping scrape off those burned-food and dried stubborn grease in cookware. Aside from that, they are used for polishing those pots and pans.
 
Baking soda
A handy thing to have when cleaning the bathroom! Baking soda can effectively help you scrape off gunk and grease found inside your bathroom and in every corner of your shower tile. Baking soda with a mixture of distilled vinegar will help you remove that bad toilet odor and any lingering stink as well as properly clean the toilet bowl.

It’s best to stock up on these amazing natural ingredients, then. That way, you don’t have to spend too much on your housekeeping budget. All you need are these six natural cleaning agents!

Author Bio
Sean Si is the Marketing guy of Electrodry Carpet Cleaning. He is the go-to guy when it comes to the latest home improvement tips. When he's not busy, he writes about healthy home and life, and spends quality time with his family and friends.

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Jul 10, 2015

Prepare Tasty Meatless Summer Meals

Summer is the season for easy living and cool foods. When the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, no one wants to be slaving over a hot stove in the kitchen. This is also the time of year when farm fresh fruits and vegetables are in abundance. If you are embracing the meatless lifestyle, there are plenty of delicious meat-free dishes to prepare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Breakfast

Breakfast has been called the most important meal of the day. It can set the tone for your mood and energy, so feed yourself healthy items that meet your protein needs and tantalize your taste buds. For example:

  • Smoothie: The beauty of smoothies is that you can alter them to suit your taste. First, combine fruits such as frozen berries and sliced bananas to create your smoothie base. Next add a protein source, such as nut butter, nuts, or protein powder. You can also toss in some coconut or chia seeds, too, and then blend and drink. 
  • Smoothie bowl: You can also create a smoothie bowl by keeping some of the ingredients whole and topping them with a smoothie-base dressing. Yum!

Lunch

For lunch, use the bounty of the season to create delectable salads and wraps. Try this meatless midday meal:

  • Greek Salad Wrap: Make a salad with romaine, spinach, cucumber slices, and crumbled feta. Heat either tempeh or chikn strips in oil until browned, and then mix up a dressing of plain yogurt, Italian seasoning, and lemon juice. Layer in flour tortillas, and there you have it: a cool and satisfying summer lunch.
  • Hearty Salad: Combine quinoa, black beans, avocado, and corn. Layer over lettuce and add citrus slices. Top with orange lime vinaigrette.

Dinner

You can create filling meat-free dinners without heating up the kitchen by stir-frying, grilling, and cooking up pasta dishes. Some favorites for dinner are:

  • Spaghetti with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: Buy multicolored tomatoes from your local farmers’ market, or grow your own. Sauté them in olive oil, basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Boil four quarts of water, toss in eight ounces of uncooked spaghetti, and cook until soft. Drain the pasta, mix with the tomato mixture, and add some crumbled goat cheese. This is a beautiful, colorful dish!
  • Stir-fry veggies and tofu: Pick up the freshest looking veggies at your grocery store or farmers’ market. Some great vegetables to stir-fry are mushrooms, broccoli, onions, carrots, zucchini, and bell peppers. Buy the items that attract your eye with their bright hues and freshness, like orange/red bell peppers, golden zucchini, and deep green broccoli. Chop, slice, and dice the veggies, sauté in olive oil with chunks of tofu, and serve with steamed brown rice. Sprinkle nuts on top for additional grams of protein.
  • Veggie burgers: Grill veggie burgers on your BBQ, just like you would barbecue hamburgers. Serve on whole grain buns with an assortment of fixings, and you’ve got a classic summer meal.

Summer is the time to relax, slow down, and enjoy the season’s bounty of fresh produce. You can make meatless dishes that will satisfy your taste buds and nutritional requirements. Take advantage of all the fruits and vegetables that are ripe and ready to be cooked into recipes for your dining pleasure.

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Amaize Sweet Corn- Truly The Best Corn Ever!

Today's post is sponsored by Amaize Sweet Corn. All opinions are strictly my own. 

It's summertime and we are all about the summer veggies. One of our favorites is the classic, fresh corn on the cob. I was watching a segment on a health-related news show a while back and was blown away to find out that close to 90% of our corn is genetically modified. I find that really scary to say that corn is such a common go-to vegetable for families. I was thrilled to be introduced to Amaize sweet corn. Amaize sweet corn is bred using traditional methods through hybridization and is not genetically modified. Amaize is grown locally using conventional farming methods.

So why is this corn so special? It is the sweetest, most crunchy corn I have ever tasted. Some corn tends to get mushy once its cooked. Not Amaize. It stays so crisp and pops in your mouth when you eat it. My family is pretty traditional when it comes to how we like our corn cooked. One of my favorite ways to prepare fresh corn is parboiled in some plain water and then seasoned and grilled on my stove-top cast iron grill. 
I love adding a little something extra to my grilled corn and either grated Parmesan or crumbled feta is a great addition. You can transfer your grilled corn onto a piece of aluminum foil and sprinkle lightly with your choice of cheese and a small pat of butter if desired. Put it back on the grill just for a couple minutes and you will have the most perfect corn on the cob! 

Feta adds a nice salty flavor that pairs perfectly with the abundant sweet taste of the corn. My family raved about how sweet and tasty the corn was. My husband insisted that I must have added sugar to it and I had to ensure him that I did not! It is just that delicious. 

Amaize sweet corn is only available for a limited time-- from June- September in select stores. I am so happy that it is available at my local Food Lion stores. I will be purchasing some to freeze so that we can have some extras for after the summer ends. Check out some of the cooking tips and recipes here and be sure to follow Amaize Sweet Corn on Facebook and Youtube

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some Amaize sweet corn, let me know how you liked it! I am pretty certain that you will LOVE it :) 
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Jul 6, 2015

Ordering Trees Online- Is it Legit?

Have you ever considered ordering trees or plants online before, but was a bit skeptical? We have been planting trees in our yard since removing the old, overgrown ones. Thankfully for us, we were super lucky to score trees on clearance at our local home improvement stores. So far we have several evergreens, a corkscrew willow and a weeping cherry. Now that the pretty trees are in the ground, we decided on a pretty shade tree. I did many hours of research online and read probably close to one hundred reviews.

We finally settled on getting a Tulip Poplar tree. I went to a few local places and they wanted anywhere from $109-$170 for one. This didn't include delivery or planting. I'm sorry, that was just way too much for one tree. After getting the other ones for so little, I got spoiled and didn't want to spend a lot. I decided to take a chance and order a tulip poplar online for way less than half the cost of what I found locally. The company I used is actually located in SC about an hour from where I live, so this made me feel a little better. I figured if the trees are grown and harvested in SC, then they should be able to thrive. Here is what I got...

I was so thrilled to see how well the tree was packed and that it arrived in excellent shape. I ordered a 4-5 foot tree and got exactly that! The tulip poplar is expected to grow up to 30-50 feet with about 5-7 feet of growth each year. In the spring, it will have bright yellow tulip-like flowers that attract hummingbirds. The leaves will be big and broad, perfect for shade all summer long. In the fall, the leaves are supposed to turn a very bright yellow. It will be beautiful for all seasons! If you want to know where I ordered the tree from, send me an email.

My little guy was so excited to help his dad plant the tree while I supervised. Now we just have to keep it watered and watch it grow. I will post an update later in the year to let you all know how she's doing :)
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Jul 2, 2015

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

I am a huge fan of all things vegetables, but unfortunately that's not really the case for my family. We try to have vegetarian meals a couple times a week and I feel like I get stuck making the same old things. One of my favorite summer vegetables is zucchini. I can eat it prepared in any way-- sauteed, baked, in soups or stews, and even raw with dips. My husband and daughters do not share my love of zucchini at all. I decided to come up with a way to make them at least give it a try again. I figured a little cheese and savory flavor would help with those picky eaters. I came up with the perfect dish that is big hit with my family. My husband had to admit that zucchini isn't as bad as he thought it was. 

Check out my delicious recipe for Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini...


Ingredients: 
3-4 small zucchini 
4 ounces (half pack) of cream cheese 
Grated Parmesan cheese 
Garlic powder
Cracked pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional) 
Feta cheese
Seasoned bread crumbs 
Olive oil for your baking dish

Directions:
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly in the zucchini halves (layer will be thin). Sprinkle a little bit of feta on top of cream cheese mixture and then follow with the bread crumbs. Just a little of both will do. Bake in oven uncovered about 35-45Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a baking dish with your favorite olive oil and set aside. Cut the ends off each zucchini and then slice lengthwise in half. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds without taking away too much of the flesh. Mix cream cheese with a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste.  minutes depending on how big your zucchinis are. You can insert a fork to check for doneness. Enjoy!

You can serve this recipe as a side dish or even a main dish. Feel free to add or take away any ingredients to make it your own. Let me know if you try it!
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