HelloFresh + Our First Box

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Let me tell you, I was so nervous to get our first Hello Fresh box. It sounded way too easy and hell, just too much of a great idea. But we got our first box yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. So let me tell you about my new best friend…

For those of you who have never heard of it, Hello Fresh is an amazing company that wanted to bring the deliciousness of gourmet meals to your doorstep, with the ease of a few button clicks. Choosing from two different types of boxes, for the herbivores or omnivores, you can then choose how many folks you’ll be feeding. You then get to scroll through the mouth watering menu options to choose what will be in your box on your next week’s delivery. Every item, from cloves of garlic and spices to meats and veggies are measured out and come with an easy to follow recipe card for meals you generally wouldn’t attempt on your own. For this week’s delivery, we received three options – Panko Crusted Trout with Lemon Butter Sauce, Parsnip Mash + Broccoli, Homestyle Chicken Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes + Peas, and Crispy Chicken Biryani with Spiced Basmati Rice, Golden Raisins + Peas.

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Each meal is separated into it’s own box and delivered with ice packs to spare! The ice was still frozen as we unpacked it and our meats were frigid and fresh. Every item was in great condition, no bruising or rotten produce, and the meats and seafood were tightly packed to ensure no openings or leakage.

If you’re still not totally convinced, here’s a couple fun things to think about…

If you need to pause your orders (be it vacation or you just don’t have the funds), do so the Wednesday before your next delivery and you won’t need to worry about being home to receive it or paying for a box you can’t/won’t use.

Take advantage of this offer – $40 off your first box! Try it out, see if it works for you, and save money – what could be better? Click here to take advantage of this deal. Through the site, you save $20 on your first box, but through this link you save $40!

Be adventurous, try this out! It’s a great, easy way to jazz up your eats and a simple way to make date night even more amazing. Check back for how we made our meals and just how tasty they are!

5 Amazing Mugs for Back to School

School’s back in session. For so many of us, it means a new wake up time that throws off our summer senses and plunges us into the harsh reality that is bus schedules, back packs, and early mornings. Such occasions require a pick me up, and believe me, coffee is at the top of my list. Not only do I love my strong, caffeine packed drink that takes me from mombie to functioning human, but I love the mugs and travel cups that I carry it in.

I’ve put together a list of some of the best cups, mugs, tumblers, and travel thermoses to help you find the perfect accessory for your morning (and let’s be honest, afternoon and evening too) brew.




TinyHumansMugNoCream_1024x1024WeeStructed Tiny Humans Mug – the perfect statement to sum up so many of our lives. A California based company that keeps mamas and littles in style, WeeStructed sure knows how to win us over with simple, sweet, and versatile ways to make coffee cups the new “it” accessory. This awesome mug is available in two colors and as a travel option as well!


ENOUGH_MUG_grandeMulberry Press Co. YOU ARE ENOUGH Mug – Oh my love for this sweet company is unparalleled. For a motivational spin on your morning beverage, consider this wonderful reminder that you do enough, you have enough, you are enough. Mamas everywhere, this is a battle cry; a message of strength. Mulberry Press Co. also has numerous other mugs that may tickle your fancy, or hey, get one of each!


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MODCLOTH A Way With Crosswords Mug – For all of you who need a little intellectual stimulation, why not kickstart your day with this mug? Start your caffeinated day with hot coffee and a crossword puzzle. When you’re done, pop this baby in the dishwasher and voila! You can start over. Every month, log onto the site provided when you receive the mug for new puzzles.


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Cognitive Surplus Coffee Chemistry Mug – Science, ladies and gents. The wonderful bond (get it, bond!) between a parent and their morning coffee… a covalent relationship predicated on the beautiful chemistry that keeps our eyes open and our minds alert. Novelty is an amazing thing, why not have it on your morning coffee? And heck, teach the kids the most important chemical makeup that helps the world keep spinning.


travel_mug_grande_fc3f43e5-d686-44d8-aa69-6cd738b7a168_1024x1024Death Wish Coffee Travel Mug – 16 oz. Double-walled. Vacuum insulated. This babe is the perfect companion from the moment you wake up to when you drive your little ones to school. This travel mug boasts an ability to keep coffee hot for up to 6 hours and keep your iced drinks frosty for more than 24 hours. I first came across Death Wish Coffee in January and let me tell you, the coffee has magical properties and 200% more caffeine than your average cup. Go get some, like now.


So there you have it folks, five completely kick ass, awesome, and perfect mugs to get you ready to take on the fall semester. Whether you or your kids are heading back to school, you’ll be caffeinated, hip to the core, and ready to take on the day.

Check out How to Host a Mug Swap for tips and advice on how to have a unique gift exchange for all you coffee + tea lovers out there!

Have a favorite morning brew or mug/tumbler you love?

Comment below and tell us about it!

The Little Chief Turns One!

On July 20th, just two days ago, our little Ronin Riot turned one! Amidst one of the most hectic months, I planned a party on a budget and made almost everything involved. I’ve been asked by many to share how to get your prices down, still stay with a theme, and have fun for kids. I wanted to share this with you today and give a sparkle of inspiration for your little one’s first birthday. Ronin was decked out from head to toe in his favorite brands… Dear Cub tee, Potatofeet moccasins, and Hoonana shorts! Though he wouldn’t sit still, his one year old photos will follow in another post for you to see the cuteness. Remember, your babe is going to need a second set of clothes, so plan ahead!

Chances are your one year old isn’t going to remember their first party, be it with family or friends, at home or your favorite pizza place! Turning one is a milestone mostly for mum and dad more than anything. With that being said, you don’t have to break the bank to have a great time. We held Ronin’s birthday in a pool clubhouse. There was no cost to book, simply a check deposit left through check in case something when extremely wrong. By using a community room, we had access to chairs and tables, as well as a mini kitchenette to facilitate our needs.

image.jpgThe smash cake was a marvel. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this cake. I scrolled through Pinterest trying to find the perfect pan for the cake, but instead, I stumbled across this. Amazing idea – cook your cake in an empty formula tin! Whatever batter you choose to use, fill it about 1/3 of the way full (or more for bigger, but be careful, the inside will take a while to cook). Cook at 350 degrees for roughly 30 minutes, the time varies as the cake size does. Let it cool COMPLETELY! I can’t tell you how important that is. You can pop it in the fridge if you’re short on time. Once cool, take a can opener and cut off the very bottom of the tin. Your cake will slide right out! Frost and decorate as you please. I was a bit wary about candles on a first birthday cake, so I used a couple dowels I had in my craft box, Kraft paper, and string to make this super easy cake bunting. You could always use wooden chopsticks and white or construction paper to lower the cost even more. Etsy has listings for cake toppers as low as $5 too!

Slow start to eating the cake, I had to bribe him with fruit first!

I swear, my child is the only one to choose watermelon over a cake.

I swear, my child is the only one to choose watermelon over a cake.

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Food was simple, since the party was mid-afternoon, we decided to have sweets galore. Peanut butter kiss cookies, Rice Krispie Treats, watermelon, banana bread muffins, and of course, cupcakes! I chose cupcakes over cake because I wasn’t quite sure how long the smash cake would take for Ronin to demolish. I set everything out on the table and had kids and parents alike just grabbing what they needed! Food cost, all together, cost about $12 (this does not include things like oil, water, spices, etc. that are found around the house already).

Decorations were minimal, all wood platters, handmade garland, antlers, and color coordinating disposables. Dollar Store visit yielded $1 for 24 pack red plates, $1 for white tablecloth, $1 for red napkins. No cups were needed since we got drinks in bulk from BJs and we had no use for plastic ware since we had finger food. That was our biggest cost at $23! We definitely should have gotten smaller packs of pop, but it won’t go to waste. Koolaid Jammers cost $5 for a total for 30 pouches. The feather garland was super simple, another feather tutorial from Pinterest. The feathers were a made from two sheets of red felt and 6 ft of twine. image.jpg

The invites were another item that I made myself with the help of photoshop and seem tutoring from my fella. Invites can be as simple or complex as you like, handwritten or pre made. The cost for the invites ended up being the cost of a package of card stock, which we already had.

Last but not least, goodie bags. I wish to goodness I had thought to have a photo taken of these. But alas, I did not. Each one was in a small brown lunch bag with a mini red clothespin (found in the scrapbooking section) to hold it shut. Here’s the rundown of what was in each one.

(1) Pin from Dear Cub
(1) Melted Crayon Block
(1) Coloring Page
Assorted candy – smarties, tootsie pop, etc.

And there ya have it! A huge thank you to Chris Lampkins for coming out and snapping photos of the big day… Check out his photography page here!

To help celebrate his birthday, we have a wonderful giveaway put together for you. See below for how to enter and check Instagram for one more way to enter! Check out the prizes below…

Hoonana – Coral Blue Shorts and Jeans
Carolinakeiki – Tribe tee
Monkey bug – Headdress tee
Sweet Bestitos -Handmade Poncho
Potatofeet – $25 store credit
Alice&Ivory – Little Chief print
Minnie and the monster – Fox and Chieftess  Wooden figures
Petunkalunka – Handdrawn Buffalo journal
Caribbean Gypsy – Store Credit


Original Post on July 23, 2014 on http://www.atlanticdaydreams.com

Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

With the holidays in full force in our home, it was time to break out the baking gear. We love making everything from family dinners to ridiculously sweet desserts, but I wanted to make something that could be enjoyed by everyone this year. My dad has, over the past couple years, taken a break from glutens and starches as part of a lifestyle change. That means no rice, potatoes, wheat, etc. When it comes to sweets, there are always the standard chocolate, nut, and hard candy options, but what about brownies, cakes and pies?

I fell in love with black bean brownies while I was pregnant – they’re the perfect treat for eating healthy, and it was completely allowed on my gestational diabetes diet. If made right, they’re smooth and fluffy, flavorful and filling. After trial and error, I’ve come up with my favorite recipe and want to share it with you! This is a wonderful dessert to make with your little ones and has not only a simple recipe to follow, it also has a deliciously easy cleanup.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can black beans (drained + rinsed)
  • 3 eggs (3 flax eggs for vegan)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (you may sub any oil here)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Optional: Peanut Butter, Nuts, Chocolate Chips, M&Ms, etc.

I absolutely love my NINJA mixer and quite frankly, its the best for making sure my beans are pulverized to the smoothest state possible. You can use any food processor or high powered mixer, heck even a blender would work just fine.

Start by preheating your oven to 350F.

To achieve the smoothest, lightest bean mix, pour the drained, rinsed beans into your mixer of choice. Next add the three eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Run the mixer until the mixture is reminiscent of a buttery texture (keep in mind it won’t be perfect since the skins from the beans will be in there as well).

Next, add additional dry ingredients – cocoa powder, sea salt, baking powder, sugar. Mix until it is regular brownie consistency.

Pour the mixture into greased muffin tin (I usually use canola oil spray to save the flavor of the brownie). You can use a small tin or large, completely your preference here. In my opinion, large just looks delicious. Fill the individual cups about half full. Add roughly a teaspoon of peanut butter to small cups or 1 tablespoon to large ones.

In preheated oven, let small brownies bake for 7-10 min, large brownies for 13-15 min. Make sure to check your first batch since not all ovens heat evenly. To see how far along your brownies are, use a clean knife or toothpick to pierce the center of a brownie. If it pulls out with batter still, bake a few more minutes and check again. When it comes out clean, take them out and let them cool.

    

Original post on November 30, 2014 on http://www.atlanticdaydreams.com