Recipe – Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad

Ok, these recipes are ones that I have made up on the fly. They are the ones that seemed to go over well with the family and I want to try to remember how I made them. I am sure that they are similar to someone聽else’s聽recipe, probably your great-aunt twice removed on your dads side. 馃槈

I don’t claim to own the recipe, I just want a way to keep track of what my family likes.

Maybe you will like them too!

Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad

1/2 store bought聽rotisserie chicken – shredded (save other 1/2 for dinner tomorrow)

1 C sour cream

1 red pepper, diced

2 tbs Franks Wing Sauce

1 pkg dry ranch dip mix

4 slices bacon – cooked crisp, chopped

1 C shredded cheddar cheese

Mix sour cream, ranch mix and wing sauce in a large bowl聽until聽smooth. Add remaining聽ingredients聽and mix. We served this with warm tortillas for the family, and wrapped up in a lettuce leaf for me. I could also see it working very well on bread or even mixed with cold cooked pasta for a quick salad.聽

Water towers and off days.

I admit it.

I’m having an off day (week, month…). Things seem much harder than they really are. I have no energy to be creative or even friendly. I would actually just like to stay in my yoga pants, curl on the couch and watch a marathon of An Idiot Abroad.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere.

Like I said, I’m having an off day (week, month…)

I just spotted聽something聽on聽Facebook聽that brought back a flood of bittersweet memories.

Two words.

Water Tower.

Many moons ago, we lived in the tiny town of Smithfield VA. Known for Ham, History and Hospitality. (…and for the reek of the slaughter houses a few miles up the road….but you didn’t hear that from me.)

The two years we lived there were pretty darn rough. Hubby was聽deployed聽most of the time and Faith was sick quite a bit. Not like “cough, cough” sick. I mean “first name basis with the PICU nurses, inpatient for weeks at a time” sick.

It was also during this two year stretch that Faith was diagnosed with autism.

With 6 years between now and that moment….

…..the time standing still, I know she’s a little quirky, and for the most part only repeats lines from TV, and spends a lot of time聽flapping聽her hands and rocking, vomits when she touches anything with the texture of yogurt, and she poo paints, a lot, but what the heck do you mean she has autism moment?

Anyway, looking back, I can finally see some humor in our time in Smithfield.

Faith has had some pretty interesting obsessions over the years. Some memorable ones have been a spatula, a bar of soap and water towers.

Oh she loved聽water towers. Any size, any shape. Water towers were the highlight of her day. Luckily we had one right by our house.

When she would spot a tower, she would begin flapping her hands and making “Eeeeeeeee! Eeeeeeeee!” sounds. She would smile so huge that you couldn’t help but smile with her. She was 3. She had almost no communicative speech. But she could make everyone in the car with her laugh at how excited water towers made her.

During the time we lived in VA, we became water tower experts. We could plan a trip anywhere in area making sure we passed at least 3 towers each way.

Anyway….

The time we lived there I was miserable, depressed and always felt like a black cloud hung over my head. I was so happy to leave聽Virginia. I just plain did not want to ever look back on our time there.

Yet today I did. When I spotted the words “water tower” on Facebook.

Not only did I look back, I looked back and felt a flood of good memories.

The girl, she loved those towers. And she was so damn cute when she spotted one.

So maybe, just maybe, at some point in the future I will look back on this time fondly also.

Tillamook Light Yogurt. Really.

Mornings in my house are a wee bit crazy.

Ok, that may be an聽understatement.

My breakfast often resembles coffee.

Maybe because it is coffee.

I know, I know….I need to eat in the mornings.

I love yogurt but have you seen how much sugar is in a serving of flavored yogurt?

26 grams of sugar in a single serving of a leading blackberry yogurt.

Dude.

I was聽recently聽given the聽opportunity聽to try a new yogurt.

Tillamook Light Yogurt.

A serving contains 15 grams of sugar. That is much better

But….

Light? Ewwwww. Have you tried light yogurt? It always has a chalky taste and a yucky mouth feel. Right?

My samples arrived – vanilla and strawberry聽– and well….it’s light yogurt. I put it in the fridge and avoided it for a few days.

Because it is light yogurt.

But….I love all things Tillamook. Cheese, ice cream, sour cream, butter? Yummmmy!

Finally, I knew I just had to take the plunge and try it. Even if it is light yogurt.

When I opened it, it smelled pretty good.聽Consistency聽was nice – not watery like some other light yogurt I have tasted.

And this made me smile.

You can see the little vanilla bean specks in there….. nice touch Tillamook.

I’ve never been a big fan of plain vanilla yogurt so I added some fresh berries.

You know what? It is awesome. No chalky mouth feel at all. It is smooth, creamy and delectable. Vanilla is a huge hit!

I actually looked forward to trying the strawberry!

But it disappeared.

My kiddo says it was fantastic. 馃槈

I will be adding this to our shopping list with no hesitation.

{Mommy Rambles was provided a sample of Tillamook Light Yogurt. All opinions and yummy yogurt are mine. Except when stolen by my kiddo.}

Brush it off

I need your help.

Imagine you have a special needs child.

She has autism.

She has some pretty severe sensory aversion.

She has some fears.

She has super, crazy, thick, wavy hair.

She is going through a “water near the head equals screaming unless I’m in a pool” phase.

She also has severe dandruff.

And her hair is black.

Faith has been in a bit of a聽challenging phase lately. She does NOT want her hair washed.聽By that I mean that the sight of the shampoo can result in screaming, thrashing and throwing. I have tried almost every trick I know of. We have washed Daisy together, we have washed her stuffies, I have brought her in the shower with me. We have tried using the sink. We have read social stories. We have watched cartoons. We have watched Elmo’s world. We tried “dry” shampoo.

I KNOW聽eventually we will move out of this, but I need some advice for the here and now.

Her hair is a mess.

The dandruff is awful.

How awful?

This.

I brush her hair several times a day hoping to help loosen it and help it fall out. We have had a nylon bristle brush, but she said it was too scratchy and hurt. It also didn’t seem able to penetrate the聽thickness聽of her hair. She is ok with my using a plastic ball tipped vent brush, but it does not seen to help bring the flakes out of the hair.

Has anyone ever used a boars hair bristle brush. Are the bristles softer than the nylon bristles? They are kind of expensive but if they can get through the hair and help get the flakes out, I’m willing to buy one.

Get Clean! Plus a giveaway!

I am going to be honest. I went into this review聽opportunity聽thinking that I was smarter than the average bear. I already knew that there are聽things聽in the average cleaners. Yucky things. We had already made the move several years ago to cleaner cleaners. Our family learned the hard way that the stuff lurking in cleansers can be nasty.

At one point in our daughters young life, it was thought that she might have Kawasaki Disease.聽At that time, one of the possible causes of this disease was thought to be exposure to cleaners. As soon as Kawasaki Disease was on the table, I went on a mad rampage, purging nasty chemical cleaners. Pine-Sol? Gone. Lysol? Tossed. Windex? See ya. In their place I bought wonderful, natural聽cleaners. Like Method, Caldrea, and Mrs. Meyers.

Time passed, and it turns out that Faith’s mysterious fevers and illness’s are from a rare genetic disorder called Familial聽Mediterranean聽Fever Syndrome. My revamp of our cleaners stayed, but I will admit, I haven’t looked too far into the聽implications聽of all those chemicals since our first purging. Have you ever looked at the Household Database? That is some scary stuff.

Meet my cleaner cupboard.

Ok, here is the reality of this shot. I have lots of help.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you also know I have lupus. What does that have to do with anything? Well, it’s twofold. First, I have limited energy and second, my skin is extra, super, crazy sensitive. Even when using the聽natural cleaners, my skin breaks out. My hands literally split and rashes creep up my arms. Because聽obviously something that does that to my skin is ok to be around my kids and pets, right? Right?聽聽Add in the fact that with kids and pets, I’m doing a lot聽of cleaning. Not only does that hurt my skin, think of the waste. Empty plastic bottles. Landfills. Bad.

Where am I going with this? I’m glad you asked.

I was recently given the聽opportunity聽to review the Shaklee Get Clean system.

I figured I would be one tough cookie on this.

Meet the Get Clean system.

One of the most important things is what you won鈥檛 find in the Shaklee products, which have been reviewed and endorsed for their safety by Healthy Child Healthy World {http://healthychild.org}. 聽They believe that health isn’t just about what you put in your body; it’s about everything around you. They bring you a full line of聽natural and nontoxic cleaning choices that are Safe for You, Your Home, and聽Your Planet庐聽called Get Clean庐.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽No harmful fumes or hazardous chemicals.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Outperforms 20 national leading brands.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽You would spend $3400 for ready to use cleaners to get the same amount of clean found in the Get Clean Starter Kit!*

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Features Basic H2庐 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate – just 1/4 tsp. makes 16oz. of all-purpose cleaner for only 3 cents.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽And when you purchase the Get Clean Starter Kit you also make a positive impact on the planet:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Keep 108 pounds of packaging waste from landfills.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽Eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas.

M’kay, that’s good to know, but…..do they work? I was聽originally聽going to focus my review on just one product in the Get Clean line, giving y’all the low down truth on how it performed. I took all the yuck聽cleaners out from under my sink and started using every part of the Get Clean line. By golly, I was going to find the weakest link in this and use that for my review.

This looks better. Now on to the flaw in my review plan. They all work. Not only do they work, they work great. Scratch that, they work amazing.

Laundry? Clean and soft.

Dishes? No spots or haze.

Bathroom? Fresh and clean.

My car? Dust and Cheeto free.

Windows? Streak free.

My review plan? Tossed out like those yucky cleaners. So instead here is what I want you to take away from this review:

My skin is rash free and soft.聽

I have been using every single part of the Shaklee Get Clean System for over two weeks and my hands are perfect. I have (almost) begun to enjoy cleaning. Now, the products I was sent to review are part of the Get Clean unscented line, but after using them without an incident for a week or so, I took an additional step. I added a few drops of essential oil to my spray bottles. I added sweet orange to my window cleaner,聽lavender聽to my degreaser and orange,聽lavender and聽chamomile聽to the all-purpose聽cleaner. The aromotherapy was fantastic.

And my hands are fine!!!

A bit more about what you will and won’t find in the Shaklee Get Clean system.

The next thing I would like to point out is the lack of waste in this system. A little really does go a long, long way. The Super Concentrate? You literally use just drops of it to make the window cleaner. Drops! I have made and used 2 full bottles (in the provided spray bottles) of the All-Purpose, Window and Degreaser sprays and I have used almost none of my Super Concentrate. Let me put it this way:

To get the same amount of clean as one 16-ounce bottle of Basic H2, you would聽have to spend:

鈥 Nearly $482 for the equivalent amount of all-purpose cleaner

鈥 $12,250 for the equivalent amount of window cleaner

鈥 $144 for the equivalent amount of degreaser

In terms of聽environmental聽savings, there is the聽waste saved from the landfills and elimination of聽248 pounds of greenhouse gas with just One Get Clean Kit! Passing on one Get Clean kit to a friend is equivalent of planting 10 trees!

For more information about the system, check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTpBru2Oaj4

Remember way back in the title where I mentioned a giveaway? Of course you do!

How would you like to win a Shaklee Mini Household Kit? Shaklee is giving one lucky reader from each blog a Mini Household Kit!!聽{$46.95 retail value}. Want one? I knew you would!

  • To enter the blog giveaway I want you to look under their kitchen sink to see if you find any of these ingredients in your cleaning products:聽kerosene, phenols, cresol, lye, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, sulfuric acid, petroleum distillates, ammonia, sodium hydroxide, butyl cellosolve, phosphoric acid, formaldehyde, chlorine bleach, morpholine, and phthalates?

Did you? Leave a comment on what you discovered and why you need a green cleaning makeover! (Mandatory entry)

Additional entries,聽separate聽comment below for each entry: (Limit 5 entries TOTAL per person please!!)

Liking the Shaklee Facebook Page聽http://facebook.com/shakleecorporation聽(One extra entry per person)

Following @ShakleeHQ on Twitter聽http://twitter.com/shakleehq聽(One extra entry per person)

“Share” this review and giveaway using the buttons below on either Facebook or Twitter (Two extra entries per聽person聽total)

Official rules:聽http://blogger.myshaklee.com/us/en/about_giveaway_rules.html聽Giveaway ends April 19th at 11:59 EST. One winner will be chosen from all eligible comments via random.org.

**************WINNER**************聽

This review and giveaway was made possible by the Shaklee Corporation & Mom Spark Media. Incentives, product and support were provided. Thoughts are my own.

 

 

Responsibility? Really?

I will be the first to admit that I have been pretty vocal about a聽certain聽business’s lack of what I see as聽responsibility.

The lack of stepping up. Saying, “Dang, something is not right here.”

Today I would like to tell you about a different company.

In 2005 I bought a Tempurpedic Mattress. It was a huge splurge for us. We聽agonized聽over it for MONTHS. Shortly before hubby was deploying to the聽Mediterranean, we took the plunge and bought it.

Can you say “Totally worth every penny!”?

This was such a huge investment for us that we wanted to protect it. Tempurpedic has a special protective cover for the聽mattresses that when purchased at the same time as the聽mattress聽itself, has a 10 year聽warranty.

Fast forward to June 2011.

Faith, as she does every night, crawled into bed with us. But this night she had an accident. Ok, no biggie, everything is protected and washable.

Except it wasn’t protected. The protective cover didn’t protect. Oh nos. :(

We called Tempurpedic and we were told that there had been a few production issues with the protector we had, but they would send us out a brand new, much improved protector.

M’kay, sounds good.

New one arrived and whoa nelly it was different! We put it right on the bed and life went on.

Until a couple of weeks ago when Faith once again crawled into bed with us and had an accident.

The super-duper new and improved protector didn’t work. AT ALL.

Ewwwww.

We called Tempurpedic once again because….THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

And do you know what they told me???

Ready?

Grab a coffee so you have something to spit on your keyboard when you read what they told me.

Got it?

Ok, they told me….

We made a mistake.

Can you imagine? A huge聽company聽admitting that something got past聽their聽careful vetting. That an error happened.

It turns out that the super-duper mattress protector we were sent was actually a bed cover and is not designed to provide any protection at all.

What is Tempurpedic doing to fix this?

They are not only sending us an entire new bed, they are upgrading the bed.

Admitting a mistake AND fixing it?

You spit your coffee didn’t you?

Seneca Oatmeal and Fruit cups, revisited. Plus a giveaway!

聽WINNER!聽

Last year I was given the聽opportunity聽to review Seneca Oatmeal and Fruit Cups.

I thought that they were a great choice for morning when there is not time for a sit down breakfast, but I did find a few drawbacks.

(Full review here)

I recently had the chance to try the two new flavors, Maple & Brown Sugar and Cranberry Apple.

Both new flavors have a very short聽ingredient聽list, which makes the “mom” in me very happy.

We tried the Cranberry Apple first. Just 45 seconds in the microwave and it was the perfect聽temperature.聽Peeling back the top, I could smell cranberries! The聽consistency聽was聽聽perfect. Not too thin, not too thick. Big cranberries and apples were visible in each spoonful. Love love love this!

Next up is Maple & Brown Sugar. I wanted to like this. I tried to like this. I even added a bit more maple syrup attempting to like this. I just聽couldn’t. The texture seemed a bit off and while I could smell maple, I didn’t taste any.

Am I an oatmeal snob?

Final verdict for Seneca Oatmeal Cups? LOVE the Cranberry Apple. LOVE. And I can’t wait to find them in stores, because I will be buying them all up. Mine!!! This will live in my pantry right next to the Vanilla Peach from the last taste test. :)

Skipping the Maple & Brown Sugar.

Want to give them a taste for yourself? Of course you do!!

One聽reader will win a 2-pack of each new flavor of聽Seneca聽Farms聽Oatmeal & Fruit!

Mandatory Entry聽

Leave a comment below telling me about your child鈥檚 favorite breakfast food (1 entry per person)

Extra Entries聽(1 comment per extra聽entry)

鈥淟ike 鈥澛燬eneca聽Farms聽on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/SenecaSnacks).聽Then come back here and tell me you did so. (1 per person)

“Share” this post via Facebook or Twitter and let me know you have done so by a comment bellow. (2 extra entries per person)

This giveaway is available to US residents only and will end on March 28th at 11;59 PM EST. Winner will be drawn from all comments by Random.org. Winner will be posted March 29th, and they will have 48 hours to contact me or a new winner will be drawn.

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聽repertoire. There have been times while walking in the produce department that my eye has strayed to the displays of fresh mushrooms. They聽certainly聽didn’t聽look聽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聽spaghetti聽sauce, then pick them back out before eating. So I kept walking.

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

Mushrooms huh?

The hook?聽

“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 鈥渟wapability.鈥 It works because mushrooms鈥 hearty texture and rich flavor allow them to blend seamlessly with meats. The mushroom and meat 鈥渟wapability鈥 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聽of the meat? That sounds pretty interesting.聽

Mushrooms and Meat: The Perfect Partner

Replacing some of the ground beef, turkey, or other meat with mushrooms is an easy technique called 鈥渟wapability鈥

Mushrooms鈥 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 鈥渟wapability鈥 approach is an economical way to make family meals more nutritious

This simple three-step 鈥渟wapability鈥 strategy is perfect for family favorites like聽burgers,聽lasagna,聽聽pizza, chili聽鈥 or any dish that calls for ground meat:

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

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

o聽聽聽聽Combine聽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 聽“chocolate”. Heh heh. Mushroom聽Council聽– 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.聽

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.聽

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

 

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

 

“What is it” and a giveaway

The Pepsi Pups stuff is so frustrating. I think I need to switch gears for today’s post.

How about we play a guessing game. Just for fun let’s toss in a $15 Amazon gift certificate.

This currently lives on the bathtub walls. (Mostly) drawn by Faith.

What is it?

What am I?

(It was Sandy from SpongeBob!!)

Leave your guess in a comment below. One guess per comment. Three guesses per person.

Tweet or share on Facebook for one additional entry per person. (Total of 4 per person – one comment per entry)

Comments open until 9pm EST on 02/28/2012. I will use Random.org to chose a comment and the lucky person will get a $15 Amazon gift certificate as my gift to you.聽Recipient聽will be posted on 02/29/2012. Please use a valid email in your comment so I can contact you!聽

(This post is not compensated by anyone, the gift certificate will be my gift to the lucky聽recipient. I’m bored.)

WINNER! #8 – Ashley!聽Winner winner chicken dinner.

Lost – Possible Reward

There has been a feeling creeping in on me for a few weeks now. It has been coming closer and closer. Until this morning I didn鈥檛 have the exact wording for the feeling.

I feel lost.

Not in a 鈥淲here did my GPS lead me this time?鈥 way. (Mine has a sexy Australian voice. I tend to just listen to him talk, not actually pay attention to where he is leading me鈥ut I digress)

In a 鈥淲here is Allison?鈥 kind of way.

I have spent so much time over the last 20 years being what I thought everyone else wanted and needed me to be that I have lost sight of what I want to be. Of who I am.

A mom? Well yes, I am a mom. I enjoy being a mother most of the time. But that is part of who I am, not who I am.

A wife? Well yes, I am a wife. I have a wonderful husband who is my partner in almost every sense of the word. But that is part of who I am, not who I am.

A daughter? Well yes, I am a daughter. I have parents, step parents, in-law parents. I am certainly a daughter to many. But that is part of who I am, not who I am.

A sister? Aunt? Cook? Housekeeper? Friend? Blogger? Tweet-a-holic? Teacher? Tired? Lupus patient? Failed gardener? Reader?

I have lost me. If asked to define who I am, I would only have a blank stare to offer as my answer.

If you find me, please leave a comment. Possible reward.