Mushrooms? Seriously?

When someone says the word “mushroom”, the first image that comes to my mind is the can of button mushrooms we always had in the house while I was growing up. They were slimy. They were salty. They had a strange texture. I did not like. Now that I’m the grown up, mushrooms have not been a part of my culinary repertoire. There have been times while walking in the produce department that my eye has strayed to the displays of fresh mushrooms. They certainly didn’t look like the ones I ate while growing up. They actually looked pretty interesting. But all I knew how to do with mushrooms was open the can, dump into spaghetti sauce, then pick them back out before eating. So I kept walking.

Recently I was contacted by The Mushroom Council, a group of U.S. mushroom growers. They are promoting National Nutrition Month (March) as the perfect time to “get your plate in shape” with mushrooms.

Mushrooms huh?

The hook? 

“Increasing the intake of lower calorie foods, specifically mushrooms, in place of those higher in calories, like ground beef, can be an effective method for reducing calories and fat while still feeling full and satisfied after a meal. This approach of replacing some ground beef, turkey or other meat with mushrooms is known as “swapability.” It works because mushrooms’ hearty texture and rich flavor allow them to blend seamlessly with meats. The mushroom and meat “swapability” technique is an economical way to make family meals more nutritious and works great in family favorites like lasagna, burgers, tacos or chili.”

Swapping some of the meat? That sounds pretty interesting. 

Mushrooms and Meat: The Perfect Partner

Replacing some of the ground beef, turkey, or other meat with mushrooms is an easy technique called “swapability”

Mushrooms’ hearty texture and flavor make them compatible with meats both as a complement or replacement

Swapping in mushrooms for a portion of the higher-calorie ingredients, like meat, in a dish reduces calories, fat and sodium without compromising on flavor

The “swapability” approach is an economical way to make family meals more nutritious

This simple three-step “swapability” strategy is perfect for family favorites like burgerslasagna pizza, chili – or any dish that calls for ground meat:

o    Chop up your favorite mushroom variety to match the consistency of the ground beef or turkey;

o    Cook and season mushrooms the same way you would meat;

o    Combine the cooked meat and mushrooms and use the mix to complete your recipe.

I think I could try this. It sounds easy enough, and they provided links to several recipes.

RECIPES:

Crab and Mushroom Cakes with Chipotle Aioli

Mushroom Burger Wrap

Cremini and Pork Meatballs

Chocolate Chili

Mushroom Flatbread

Almost Lasagna

Mushroom and Beef Bulgogi Tacos

Chocolate Chili? I am willing to try anything that starts with the word  “chocolate”. Heh heh. Mushroom Council – Your challenge is accepted!

Using half my normal amount of ground beef.

Beefy

Next I carmalized the onions.

While the onions were doing their thing, I contemplated the next step. What do I do with these?

I chopped, and took a deep breath, and added them in.

The mushroom/beef mix. It smells really, really good!

Then I added in the beans, tomato sauce and spices.

Then I did this. Oh yes I did.

I simmered for about 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. That is such an awesome word. Meld. 

Verdict? Total yum! Do you see that happy face? No, really, it IS his happy face. He’s 17, this is ecstatic. Teen boys don’t show much emotion. This is a recipe that will have a solid place in our menus…..and…..I WILL try a few more mushroom swaps. 

Interested in learning more? Join us at a Twitter party on Monday, March 12th at 8:00 PM EST. The event hashtag is #Mushrooms and there will be prizes awarded. (US and Canada, 18+). RSVP is available at: http://resourcefulmommy.com/8634/mushroom-channel-twitter-party/

 

{{Mommy Rambles was compensated for this post by the Mushroom Council and Global Influence, but the yum was all mine!!}}

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like… #Cbias #Searsrealcheer

Several years ago I found an amazing artificial Christmas tree at an after Christmas sale. It was 7 ft tall and so life-like. And it was 75% off. It was poofy and full and green and I love it! At that time we had a house with a huge living room. The tree worked beautifully.

Then we moved. The tree wouldn’t fit in our other house’s living room. But the library! It worked wonderfully there. It fit and looked amazing.

Then we moved again. No library. Our living room is open but oddly shaped. We still made it work by only assembling part of the tree and placing it in a corner. But…it felt pretty cramped and it didn’t look as pretty. We made this work for 3 years.

But this year, I’m just not feeling it. We have to make a change. I usually put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. We usually all pitch in and decorate together reminiscing about the ornaments as we hang them up. It is now mid December and it’s still not done. My motivation has left the building.

We looked at narrow/slim Christmas trees. They look like they would work, but I don’t really want a second tree. I love the one we have, it’s just not working for us right now. We also know this is our last Christmas in this house. I don’t want to buy a tree to fit here, when I know next year we will be living somewhere else.

I have also been missing South Carolina quite a bit this year. I’m missing warmth, and white sand beaches. When I spotted this, I KNEW what we were doing this year!

I’m going in a whole new direction this year! And I can incorporate this palm tree into my year-round decor. Score! But….I need decorations. Not my usual ones. This tree calls for new ornaments. Happy ones. Maybe pink, green and blue. And more lights!

One thing I just found out is that Sears has a huge holiday decorating section. Did you know that? I didn’t. They are also having some amazing sales right now! I also learned about  this Sears website, http://realcheer.Sears.com. It has great inspirations for Christmas decorating. You can even upload your pictures to help inspire others. They have fresh, live trees and greenery and they even have a new Platinum shop that has amazing, unique ornaments.

I’m really excited to get some new and happy decorations for this palm tree. I’ll post again in a week or so to show the final result!

{This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All thoughts and opinions are my own.}

A 2nd look at Lupus from #Clever2ndMD #spon

Thank you to 2nd.MD for providing me with a $200 stipend to test-drive this revolutionary online medical service.

It’s no secret to my readers that I have Lupus.

Lupus is bullshit. In a normal body, the immune system is an amazing machine. It identifies bad stuff (virus, infection…) and attacks it.

Bing. Bang. Pow. Done.

In a person with Lupus, the immune system thinks it’s own body is the bad stuff. The immune system launches an attack on the offender. It’s self. And it sucks. Sometimes it attacks the skin, sometimes the kidneys, sometimes even the brain.

My Lupus, that I have nicknamed “stupid lupus” or SL for short, thought it would be awesome to go after my brain a couple years ago. Whoa nelly, that was some fun.

Seriously, that was a bad time. Luckily I have a really great, traditional doctor that has been on this SL road with me for the last 4 years. He recognized what was going on and quickly sent me off to UW for several other consults with the top docs in the area. They all worked together and halted the damage SL (or in this case Central Nervous System Stupid Lupus) was doing to my brain.

Unfortunately, they way they stopped the attack on my brain was by using a super-strong, ninja-kick-your-butt immunosupessant. Immunosupressants work just like they sound they would. They suppress your immune system. Which is awesome if your immune system is busy kicking the crap out of your brain. Not so awesome in day to day life when surrounded by sneezing kids and coughing adults. The immunosuppressant I am currently on also has the side effect of making me feel like I am always sick to my tummy. Not cool.

I love my doc, I really do, but he is very traditional. He sticks with what he has worked with for a long time and feels comfortable with. It is also somewhat awkward to bring up different therapies with him. I have been on my ninja-kicking immunosuppressants for 2 years. And at times I wonder if I am always so sick because of them. I am ready to try something new, but I wanted to have more information before broaching the subject with my current doctor.

When given the opportunity to try 2ndMD, I jumped at it.

The concept is simple. Video appointments with top doctors around the country. No referrals, no traveling, no long waits. Log on. Make an appointment, see your doctor!

Check out this video: Peace of Mind – http://vimeo.com/24934042

I made my account, logged on and looked at the available specialists for Lupus.

After reading the extensive bios for each doc, I chose Dr. Chaudhary. Making my appointment was simple. I chose the times that would work for ME, then I received an email letting me know which of MY available times would also work for the doctor. Talk about convenience!

I logged in to the virtual waiting room on the day of my appointment and at 2pm right on the dot, Dr. Chaudhary appeared on my screen.

I was having a virtual doctor appointment! Dr. Chaudhary asked several questions and listened to each of my concerns. He was calm, patient and explained several complimentary therapies I could try. He even suggested an antiacid taken with my ninja-kick med. Simple. He brought up a couple supplements I had not thought to try. He asked about diet, about my sun exposure (a no-no for lupus) and exercise. He also discussed a couple other ninja-kick medications that would have the immunosupressant power but might be easier on my tummy. The entire conversation was calm and low key. I felt very comfortable with the process.

I logged out of the 2nd.md website after the appointment and almost immediately received an email notification that Dr. Chaudhary had posted a note.

After my appointment on 2nd.md, I have several new ideas and options that I will be bringing up with my regular doctor at our next appointment.

My appointment had a fee of $120. That seems like a lot until I really thought about it. We live in a somewhat rural area. Most specialists are in Seattle and a trip over to see the specialists = all day trip. Here is a breakdown: Gas $15.00, ferry fee to and from Seattle $25.00, lunch $25.00, babysitter since I won’t be back to meet the bus $15.00, co-pay of $30.00. That’s $110 and a whole day wasted!

I would not hesitate to contact 2nd MD in the future for a specialist consult.

My John Hancock

Thank you again to 2nd.MD for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about 2nd.MD. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #Clever2ndMD #spon

Holiday sendCheer(ios) – part 2

I found them at WalMart!

After learning all the details of the Cheerios sendCheer campaign, I knew we would be participating. We headed out to our local Walmart to try and find them. Our first stop was in the cereal aisle. The specially marked Cheerios boxes were right on the bottom shelf. They were at a great price also, $3.00. Think about that for a moment. By spending $3.00 on a great big box of Cheerios, and sending in the postcard, Cheerios will donate $1 to the USO! That is awesome!

We also found them on the end of an asile.
Cutting this out takes less than a minute!
Easy-peasy!

I asked for the kids help. I wanted to know what we should write to another military family. I think we came up with exactly how we feel, and we let Faith choose some decorations. :)

Ready to go!

If you missed my first post and are wondering what this is all about, here is the quick rundown:

This fall, Cheerios® and the USO are partnering to send “Cheer” to military families to thank and encourage them for their commitment to our country.  Specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal will feature “Cheer” postcards, which can be cut out and mailed to military families through a partnership with the USO.  Even more, for each postcard received, Cheerios will donate $1 to the USO to help support programs for military families.  Cheerios has already donated $150,000 and will donate up to an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received by November 30, 2012.

I had planned on coming up with a fun recipe to make with the Cheerios. Maybe cookies? Granola? Energy bars?

Riiiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhhttttttt.

Do your kids do this?

Cheerios don’t last long in our house. But usually they make it longer than two days. Sheesh. Do your kids do this?

Pretend this is a picture of cookies!

If you would like to find out more about this awesome campaign and find out more about Cheerios and the USO, click below! Keep your eyes open at your local Walmart and pick up a box! Bring a smile to a military family’s face. Do it!

This post has been compensated as part of a sponsored charitable opportunity for Collective Bias. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I switched your coffee #PeetsCoffee #Cbias

Alaskans can tell fine differences in snow.

Wisconsinites can wax poetic about cheese

Texans can tell you all about the finer points of barbecue.

Floridians can spot all the different types of tourists.

I’m in Washington. What do we know?

COFFEE!

We know the coffee. And the rain, but this particular post is about the coffee.

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I love coffee and hate when I run out. Coffee is my mommyjuice. It gets me up in the mornings, it keeps me company in the afternoons, it keeps me awake in the evenings. It is my love. My muse. My get up and go. My hand warmer, my forehead cooler. If you were to take a DNA analysis of me, I’m sure at least one part would be related to the coffee bean.

I was pretty excited when I was given the chance to try Peet’s Coffee.Peet’s is a brand that we have not tried yet. I was planning on pulling an old-fashioned coffee switch on my husband. I wasn’t going to tell him when or how, I just was.

But, as is often the case in our family, things took a different turn.

Faith has not been feeling well. Her Familial Mediterranean Fever cycle began. She was grumpy and feverish.  One of the few things that help her feel better during the cycle is hanging out in the bathtub. Since she can not run a bath, or even undress herself, she can’t be left alone in the tub. What that also means is that I spend my time hanging out in the bathroom also. Whoo-hoo. Not.

One morning she woke up extra grumpy. She wanted to rest in the tub NOW. Not after my coffee and breakfast. Not after I had a chance to get out of my jammies. NOW. So I got the water running, got the kiddo in the tub, and yelled down to Jimmy to please….please….PLEASE….bring me up a cup of coffee.

Little did I know, Jimmy had a Peet’s Coffee “Coffee Switch” of his own planned.

Jimmy made my coffee exactly how I like it. With one pump of sugar free caramel syrup and a hearty splash of creamer. I knew right away what he had done! The Peet’s coffee was a bigger, bolder flavor than my usual K-Cup. I usually drink Coffee People Donut House. It’s a medium roast that tends toward the lighter side. The Peet’s was a more intese, richer flavor. I really enjoyed the taste and it was a perfect start to our day.

What fun! I thought I was going to switch his coffee, and instead, he switched mine!

Follow along as I go on the hunt for Peet’s Coffee.

How do you usually take your coffee?

If you are interested in trying Peet’s Coffee for yourself, here is a $3 off coupon. http://bit.ly/peetscoupon

{This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All thoughts and opinions are my own.}

My John Hancock

Guest Post by JustPlainJ – Neutrogena ® Wet Skin Sunscreen Review {can be applied to wet skin}

I was recently given the opportunity to try the new Neutrogena® Wet Skin sunscreen.  The name alone immediately grabbed my attention since for me sunscreen has been a bit of a frustration. I sweat, and not just a little and always. I know I should be using sunscreen but since it has always been such a hassle (apply to dry skin) I have more often not been remiss in my use.  And then comes the reapply after swimming, excessive perspiration, or extended sun exposure.

Why Do I Need Sunscreen At All, I Don’t Burn

Let’s start out by pointing out that sunscreen is needed to protect the skin from damaging UV rays from the sun.  From the American Cancer Society, …research studies link skin cancer with sun exposure on unprotected skin.  Now there are two types of UV rays that are responsible for this damage – UVA and UVB.  UVA rays penetrate more deeply than UVB and are the cause of premature skin agin while UVB are the primary cause of sunburns.  “To reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging, dermatologists continue to recommend generously applying a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen – that protects against both types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) – with an SPF 30 or higher, in conjunction with other sun-safe practices…” said Ronald L. Moy, MD, FAAD, president of American Academy of Dermatology.

What Makes This Neutrogena® Sunscreen Different From The Rest

Paraphrasing from the Neutrogena® website; All sunscreens are not created equal.  In some sunscreens, UVA protection begins to break down the moment your skin is exposed to the sun.  Avobenzone is one of the best FDA-approved UVA blockers, but it is highly unstable when exposed to sunlight.  Neutrogena® was the first in the US market to introduce sun protection in which the Avobenzone was stabilized using Oxybenzone and DEHN, providing better, longer protection from those harmful UVA rays.  This was the beginning of their Helioplex® technology.  Today it encompasses additional technologies and ingredients while continuing to provide the same benefits of stabilized sun protection.  Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena is the only line of sunscreen utilizing Helioplex® technology.

And now they have gone beyond that with the new Wet Skin line – the first line of sunblock designed to be applied directly to wet (read sweaty also) skin.  It sprays on easily, cuts through the water and forms a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protective barrier.   With this I have very little excuse not to apply the sunscreen, before, and even during, my times outside.  It is simple enough – a quick spray and then I’m off.  The new Wet Skin line works both on wet and dry skin, does not drip or turn white when applied to wet skin, contains broad-spectrum UV protection, and has a gentle hypoallergenic formula.  You can see that the protective barrier is there as the water beads up and rolls off.  Seems that Neutrogena® is onto something with their new line.


 The Review

Right after I purchased my Neutrogena® Wet Skin at our local WalMart I had a perfect opportunity to give it a try, I was manning the VIP gate at the local rodeo.  (You can walk with me through my shopping experience at WalMart by following my link to my This Moment (This WILL open in a new Window))  The Wet Skin is a spray sunscreen, and that is also something new to me.  The bottle is very easy to operate, sprays out consistently and has very good coverage.  The spray smelled different from most other sunscreens I have tried; and it dissipated rapidly.  I suppose that could just be the smell of the propellent combined with the scent of the sunscreen.  The sunscreen absorbs in quickly leaving behind a slight sheen.  You can “see” the protective barrier it forms and feel a slight residue without the greasy feeling that oils give.  Rather than spraying on the face, I recommend spraying a bit on the hands and then applying that to your face.  It applies very easily to the top of the head for those of us with follicle-free zones (or a standard military high-and-tight).  Over the last five days it has performed very well.  It offers long-lasting protection even though there was quite a bit of sweating going on.  Overall I am highly impressed with this new product and I highly recommend the new Wet Skin sunscreen the next time your life takes you out into the sun.  Remember that sunscreen is important even on overcast days to protect you from those UVA rays and their skin damaging effects.  My thanks to Mommy Rambles for giving me this space.

As of this writing Neutrogena is offering $2 off Wet Skin, so be sure to sign up on their web site, get your coupon and share with your friends.  Register at this link:

https://www.neutrogena.com/sp/specialoffer/sun_save2/coupon-register.do

LIKE Johnson & Johnson on Facebook

LIKE Neutrogena on Facebook

LIKE WalMart on Facebook

**This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions stated are my own.**

Saving pennies.

Today, as I was in the shower, I started to reach for my shampoo, I stopped myself remembering that it was not my shampoo day.

Huh?

Let me explain. 😉

Financially, things are always tight around here. I think that is becoming a common theme in many households.

I have made some small adjustments lately to stretch our budget just that tiny bit further. Some are actually a bit silly, and really may not save us a whole lot of money, but I feel better doing them. A couple of mine are:

I have a favorite shampoo and conditioner, and I can’t imagine not using them. But….they cost an ever-loving fortune. I have started only washing and conditioning my hair every 3rd day. The way I look at it, my shampoo and conditioner cost $40 and I used to use a bottle a month. So, that was $480/year! By using every 3rd day, I can save about $320 a year, and still get to use my favorites.

I have stopped wearing socks inside as often. We live in military housing. And while this is by far the nicest military housing I have ever been in, it still has very cheap, poorly grouted ceramic tile. The tile is like sandpaper to my sock. I would go through about a pack of 6 socks every month. By cutting back on wearing them inside the house, I have made this last pack last over 5 months! At $16 a pack, that is $160/yr I am saving.

What is a small change you have made to save a little bit of money?

My John Hancock