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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Turkey Anxiety? Ultimate Guide To Turkey From Whole Foods

If you haven't already picked out your turkey, it's time to start thinking about which "Tom" is gonna grace your table, this #Thanksgiving holiday. 

As the weather starts getting cooler, I start to get "TURKEY ANXIETY."  

What's that you say? Well, since I only cook one turkey a year, I always forget what works, how big of one I need, what temp and cooking method, etc. 

#WholeFoods, turkey, thanksgiving, how-to pick a turkey
Here's one of the birds my hubby and I worked on a few years ago! Delish!

Luckily, Theo Weening, the Global Meat Buyer at Whole Foods, has some awesome tips to lessen my "TURKEY ANXIETY" this year.  

Here's a handy dandy guide to help you along as well:

Whole Foods Ultimate Guide To Turkey

#1. Picking your poultry:
  • Weigh your options: Go for turkeys that allow at least one to one-and-a-half pounds per person. Add an extra half-pound per person if you want leftovers. (Your guests won’t eat a full pound of meat. That number takes bones and skin into account, too).
  • Get fresh: At Whole Foods Market, our fresh turkeys are raised to reach the perfect size just before the holiday season, then processed and stored just above the freezing point so you get juiciest, most flavorful meat possible. 
  • Start early: Reserve your turkey ahead of time to make sure you get your pick of the flock! You can even order your turkey online at
  • Consult your butcher: From organic to heritage turkeys, there are a lot of options to consider. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Whole Foods Market’s classically trained butchers can help you pick the perfect gobbler for your gathering. Just ask!

#2. Prepping:
  • Factor in defrosting time! For best results, your turkey should be as close to room temperature as possible before roasting. Frozen turkeys take about 24 hours per five pounds of meat to thaw in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly (or save on time with a fresh turkey).
  • Brine like a boss: Brining — soaking the turkey in a saltwater solution for four to 24 hours before roasting — makes for a tender, juicy bird. Our 365 Everyday Value® brine kit and adaptable basic brine recipe are two great picks for first-timers. If you want to earn the wows without the work, order an oven-ready, hand-brined turkey for pick-up at

#3. Roasting: 
  • Don’t wing it: Cooking guidelines are printed on the packaging for a reason. Each turkey type cooks a bit differently, so follow instructions carefully.
  • Check for doneness: Use a meat thermometer to test the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone. When it registers 165°F, the turkey’s ready. If you stuff your turkey, plan for an extra 5 to 7 minutes cooking time per pound.
  • Let someone else do the work for you: Not up for the whole roasting thing? Order a fully cooked turkey for pickup at Reheating instructions are included.

#4. Post-roast tips:
  • Give it a rest! Once it’s done, let your turkey sit for 30 minutes before carving so the juices can redistribute. This locks in moisture and makes for smooth slicing.
  • Sharpen your knife skills ahead of time so you can carve with confidence. When the big moment comes you’ll want to create a plate, not a crime scene. This great step-by-step carving guide will help walk you through the process.

Of course if you choose to buy your turkey at Whole Foods, you'll know your meat will come to you the way nature intended it to... with no antibiotics, no added hormones* no animal byproduct in feed, and on farms that have achieved certification to the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating System.

I hope you enjoyed those turkey tips and that you can kiss your TURKEY ANXIETY goodbye this year!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Epic Mess? Be Gone! With #EurekaPower Suction Seal

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart and #EurekaPower Suction Seal 2.0. All opinions however are 100% my own. 

Epic Mess?

I've got that.

Scratch that. I've got LOTS of that.

#shop, #cbias, Eureka Vacuum, McKinney Mommas

I'm picky when it comes to my vacuums. They have-to-work. Wait, is that picky, or totally normal to want a vacuum to clean?

I should probably just invent one that I can carry in my pocket, or dangle around my neck as an accessory since I'm vacuuming more times during the day than I get to go pee.

I don't have a pet (besides a fish), so it's not pet hair, or a husband that wears muddy boots (he's an academic). I do however, have these incredible specimens living with me:

  • Big Sister H. (3 yrs old) aka. painter extraordinaire & play-dough enthusiast
  • Baby O. (2 yrs old) aka. crayon wrapper shredder, cornstarch interior designer
  • The Bookend (7 mo. old) aka. baby wipe ripper-upper, cheerio disbursement machine

I love these kids like crazy, but not being able to count even on two hands, (yes all my fingers are intact) how many messes I have to clean up each day can be, shall we say..............tiring?

#shop, #cbias, vacuum
When we got married, back in 2003 my hubby and I decided to make a "big purchase" and get a big name brand vacuum, prior to this we always had some cheap sweep/broom/vacuum sort of thing.

Within a few months, this, shall we call it "tYSON" vacuum started making crazy loud, scary sounds and totally lost it's suction power.

We still have it. We still use it. We couldn't bear to give it up after spending real, grown-up money on the stupid thing. But, it takes me 6-7 passes back and forth to suck up any kind of dirt or paper bits. L-A-M-E. 

I was in the market for a vacuum that would save me time, one that would make me not work harder than it was working for me. So, I was excited at the chance to test the Eureka Suction Seal 2.0, available at Walmart during the month of November for a rollback price of $129 (normal retail: $148.88).

#shop, #cbias

It wasn't too hard to find the Vacuum Section of my local Walmart. 

I lie. 

Well, I had three kids with me, and I didn't want to wander forever, so I did ask an employee.  

She pointed me to the Home Living Section, and under the Storage & Laundry Sign was where I found the vacuum motherload at Walmart.

Walmart, #cbias, #shop,

 Take a look at that hot, shimmering pink vacuum! 

That's my new Eureka, baby!

Not to be gender role stereotypical, but I think someone has finally figured out who does most of the vacuuming in the house.....well our house anyway. 

Honestly, pink is personally my least favorite color. I'm just not a girly, girl, but this hot pink color is really cool - and this machine has some massive power to it.

It's not a joke that I seriously appreciate cleaning tools that work. Just look at what my 2 year old did in a matter of minutes while I was fixing lunch....


Baby O. (now 2 years old) somehow got into my desk drawer and found a tape, yes audio tape from some recording device I used to use for taping lectures in college and managed to simultaneously, pull the tape to shreds, while scattering a box of business cards I kept from blog contacts all over my bedroom floor.

Thanks, Baby O. 

Oh, wait. You're not done yet? You found the baby wipes and have decided to squeeze the "juice" out of them and shred them to bits on our carpet? 

Still not finished with the chaos? How about tearing some of my mail into tiny pieces? 

Solution? Get the vacuum out, mama! Which I did.

....and it works like an epic mess genius! 

Then, I found THIS video showing an "actress mom" encountering an "epic mess" which is pretty funny, but I'm not joking when I say that this kind of stuff happens to me x5 daily, seriously! 

One of my favorite favorite part of this vacuum was that I didn't have to bend over, winding the cord around and round when I was finished.  There is a simple button to press that ZIIIIP, winds the cord up for you!

Also, I found that it transitioned easily from my carpet to the linoleum in the kitchen. It was able to have great suction with both surfaces, due to it's suction seal design which raises and lowers based on the structure of the floor. 

Until these kids (below) find some way to break it, it's gonna be my new BFF!

#shop, Eureka, #EurekaPower

Well, the Eureka Suction Seal 2.0 may not be able to sort out the marker, peanut butter and paint-in-the-hair messes of my kiddos above, but it can at least give me a clean floor to sit them on for their TIME OUT's (hee, hee). 

Please share with many times a day do YOU have to pull out your vacuum to clean?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Is Your Laundry Room Relaxing? Purex Crystals Aromatherapy! #Giveaway

I studied aromatherapy in high school and even wrote a few papers on the health benefits of the practice, as well as it's alternative healing properties.

I found many of the essential oils really calmed my mind and body, and heck even if it didn't heal my every woe, there wasn't anything bad about smelling something really good!

Laundry is one of the least relaxing things I can think of.

I'm always in a rush to get this load in the washer, that load out of the dryer, this load bleached, and it begins again the same each morning.

I received a sample of Purex® Crystals Aromatherapy and 

WHOOSH, I was whisked away to a calm place in my mind. 

Seriously, the scent is called "Well Being" and after I poured a little cap full into my load of laundry, I felt the scent wash over me and fill me with a peaceful feeling...........

until my daughter called "Mom, I pooped. Wipe me", from the bathroom down the hall.

Well, one moment of calm is better than none, right?  

Just pour a little or a lot of this in-wash scent booster to your laundry and you will easily eliminate laundry odors from your clothes with the citrus & floral scents blended with essential oils.

Purex® Crystals Aromatherapy comes in three varieties:
  • Energy (I want to try this one ext)
  • Well Being (the one I tried, and loved)
  • Serenity

I could use a little of all THREE of those things in my life  - could you?

The cool people Purex are offering one of my lucky readers the chance to try some yourself!

Win (3) coupons for a FREE  bottle of Purex® Crystals Aromatherapy 
Ends 11/22/14

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Diaper With Best Leakage Protection? Huggies Snug & Dry #MC

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I'm on my third and last bambino over here in McKinney Momma-land, and I after changing literally thousands of diapers over the past three years - I'm still sticking to my original brand - Huggies Snug & Dry diapers.

Now, please don't think I'm so close minded that I never ventured out and tried other brands.

I did. Probably most of them, but my babies bums keep wanting just one brand - Huggies.

huggies diapers, snug & dry, natural care wipes, baby holding banana
Baby # 3 aka."The Bookend" - 6 months old
It's probably the SureFit* 12-hour leakage protection design, with a totally flexible waistband that keeps me depending on these diapers - since my babies are super squirmy.

Or, maybe we just like the cute Mickey Mouse graphics (hee, hee) but either way, I can count on one hand (maybe two) how many blow-outs and leaks we've had over the past 1,305 days - yes, that's how long I've been graced with the title, "MOM." 

Now all I need is for the diapers to be delivered to my doorstep.  Oh, wait it looks like Target is ON IT!  

Check out Target's new subscription service for diapers, wipes and other baby essentials to be sent to your home right when you need them most! 

baby, diapers, huggies, natural care wipes
Baby O. in Huggies (now 2 years old)
I'm not joking, I can pick out the Huggies from a lineup. 

I was at the park last week, and I noticed a mom of a young baby (maybe 10 months old) scurrying her daughter off the play equipment, with a trail of baby pee behind her.

I then overheard her telling her other mommy friend that her daughter's diaper wasn't even full and couldn't figure out why it was leaking.

One look at that baby bum, and I could pick out the wasn't Huggies. I almost went over there to give her a little whisper about my favorite brand of diaper, but decided to not be....THAT type of mom. 

Let's hope she figures it out on her own, or maybe a mom closer to her will tell her. 

Huggies, Target, Natural Care Wipes

I don't mind brand jumping!

If another product from a different company works better - for example just since I like the Snug & Dry diapers doesn't mean I feel obligated to also choose their wipes.

Just so happens to turn out that my favorite wipes are also Huggies - the Natural Care line. 

Big Sister H. (my 3 year old) has always had sensitive skin and deals with eczema. I've found that she often reacts to anything with fragrance or certian other ingredients, but Huggies Natural Care wipes have always worked for her. 

Plus, the wipes come in designer tubs that are made to match any room without screaming BABY OVER HERE! Well, they also have Pooh bear, but that's just classic cute! 

#mc, huggies, snug & dry
"The Bookend" Queen of the House - 6 months old

Your job.....if you choose to accept it: 

Do me a favor, and if you haven't tried Huggies yet, print out the coupon below and next time you are in Target, pick up a pack of Snug & Dry diapers and Natural Care wipes.

I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me that they provide the best coverage against leakage when it comes to your baby's bum. 

For more information, and to get the latest coupons and deals, follow Huggies on Facebook and Twitter.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Have You Bought Her Holiday Dress Yet? 25% OFF Tea Collection

My daughter's outfits for their Christmas photo last year were from Tea Collection.

I just love their unique fabric prints and quality.

Anyway, here's a great sale, 25% off everything only today and tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Inspiration For School Lunches #RockTheLunchbox + Giveaway!

It's not easy to stay inspired about making your kids lunch day after day, is it?

Rock the Lunchbox is a great resource for those of us who are tired of trying to dream up exciting new lunches to pack for our kiddos.

I was challenged by the site to ask my child to draw their "Dream Lunch" and then turn it into a more nutritious lunch, using some of our favorite organic and natural lunch / snack brands - like Annie's Homegrown, Applegate, Honest Kids, etc.

Annie's homegrown, Applegate Half Time Lunch Kit, Blue Avocado Rezip Bag
Baby O. trying out her new Blue Avocado Rezip Bag (left) & Big Sister H. happy to try Applegate Half Time Lunch (right)

Well, my three year old either knew what was going on, or she's just THAT wise.

She chose to draw herself eating an apple and a cracker. Now that didn't give me much to work with.

Oh, well.

Honest Kids, Stonyfield Yogurt Pouch, Figs,

Being that we had just been to the farmer's market, my daughter helped me choose some of her favorite items for a healthy lunch.

  • Fresh, organic carrots with hummus dip
  • PB & J on Rudi's White Bread
  • Fresh Mozzarella Balls
  • Figs from the Farmer's Market
  • Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks
  • Stonyfield YoKids Yogurt 
  • Honest Kids Berry Berry Good Lemonade

Check out this new Bento Lunchbox by Laptop Lunches (pictured above), I love how each little food gets its own compartment.  My daughter loved all the different colors, and finding which foods fit in which boxes. 

Laptop Lunches Bento Boxes are recyclable, reusable, BPA & Lead Free, totally eco-friendly so you can feel good that your child's (or your own) food is safe and secure.

Many of the compartments come with lids as well, so you can keep each lunch item from spilling out onto the others.

You know, according to a national survey, finding variety in packing school lunches is the biggest challenge for parents. Plus, 53% of kids reported they have the same items in their lunch every day!


If you need to find ways to make your kids lunches more exciting, go to: and grab some coupons while you're there for great, organic products your kids will thank you for!

reusable snack bag, blue avocado, eco-friendly bag

I will say that I have been using the Blue Avocado Rezip© Bag (almost daily for my kiddos snacks.

I feel seriously green not having to use a brand new plastic zipper bag every day for their snacks!

What was that?

You want to try the Blue Avocado Rezip© Bag for yourself?

Okay. How about we throw in a Laptop Lunch Bento Box, U-Konserve Stainless Steel Container and a bunch of FREE product coupons?

Win A #RockTheLunchbox Prize Package - Valued at over $70.00!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pollo Tropical - New Restaurant Review in Frisco, TX

Another exciting local #DFW food outing, documented and written by my sidekick, guest writer, Erica R. 

A few Friday's ago, we had a busy day and were starving for a late lunch. Lucky for us, Pollo Tropical had its Grand Opening that day! I’ve been excited to try this place, as they offer “a uniquely tropical twist on fresh, healthy, hand prepared food.”

Before we ate, we had a little fun at the Grand Opening Events outside. The girls spun a prize wheel and we had fun in the photo booth while listening to steel drum music to set the tropical mood.

They chose paper fans – it’s hot outside!

“Momma, it sounds like the jungle out here!”

Then we ventured inside to try our lunch. The girls chose their Kids Meals; one chose the Mac ‘N Cheese Bowl, the other chose the Rice Bowl with Beans & Chicken.  She got to choose from white, brown or yellow rice and black or red beans. 

They have a long list of signature sauces that you could choose with the any meal as well (she chose none, oh well!). The Kid’s Meals come with a drink and a guava bar for dessert.

They were so hungry they didn’t want to sit still for a picture! There is a lot of food in those bowls!

I ordered Calypso Beef and Yuca with garlic sauce. Pollo Tropical’s Menu describes the Calypso Beef as “Tender prime rib strips with a hint of light beef gravy, then topped with our Calypso Pickled Red Onions” and the Yuca as “boiled Yuca with zesty garlic sauce”. 

My lunch was so good! 

The beef was very tender and had just the right amount of flavor for me. I have never had yucca before; I decided to try something new. I’ll admit it, I wasn’t a fan the first bite. But once I poured the garlic sauce on, it was delicious! It sort of tasted like a potato.


Remember the guava bar that came with the kid’s meals? The girls had no interest in them, so of course I had to try it. It also did not disappoint, light & fluffy & sweet but not too sweet.

Just right.

Dessert anyone?

We really enjoyed our lunch at Pollo Tropical and will definitely be back. 

They have opened 2 locations in Frisco. We experienced the one at 9055 John Hickman Parkway, and the second location is at 11440 N. Dallas Pkwy.

Join their email club, Pollo Rewards, and you will get a coupon for Buy One Get One Free ½ chicken with 2 sides to use on your next visit!

For more information visit: