The Perfectionista Does TV

Yes, I know…its been awhile.  Again.

But there is a lot in the works, and soon you will hear all about it!  But until I reveal all that ‘s been happening, I wanted to share my TV Debut as a healthy cooking expert.  Yes, me!  Woo Hoo!

So here it is:

Despite being nervous about this last-minute appearance, I loved it! Things have been a little batty lately, and this brought me back to how much I love to cook – even the simple things.

I think I’m going to start making simple cooking videos for the blog… but I need some ideas! Let me know what you would like to see for cooking videos!

Top Dish D-Lish

Before I talk about what a delicious time we had Friday night, I’m going to address the lingering question…where on earth has the Perfectionista been, and when do we get to hear all about the adventures of the past month?  Well…life has once again taken me captive, but I will say, although its been crazy, much as been enjoyable! There are a number of blog posts coming – most exciting of which is all about my half marathon experience in the happiest place on earth!!!  But, for now, you NEED to hear about last night!

First, I have to say that Exhale Magazine and the Banner Publications are great media partners with the American Heart Association.  In addition to featuring AHA recipes and survivor stories in their publications, they invited us to join them at Top Dish, a fundraiser for the Greater Boston Food Bank, to give out our new Simple Cooking with Heart dinner party kits.

    

Patti and I brought Larry and Jason and made date night out of it – we shared 120 kits with people AND had a great time. So let’s talk about what there was to love…FOOD. Lots of luscious, local food…and friendly faces sharing it!  Oh yes, and Patron…

Lolita prepared the most amazing tacos – Lobster Tacos.  Oh my… this was the first thing we sampled, and Jason, the Mainer that doesn’t do lobster, had a smile from ear to ear…

  

Then, I tried Bokx 109’s scallop with a seasonal fresh veggie salsa and reduction…again – total home run.

Other favorites included Goat Cheese Gnocchi from Tuscan Kitchen and a three bean salad with quinoa (and pumpkin whoopie pies!) from Babytrain barBARq.

    

But I have to say that our favorites were our neighbors at the event, Wilson Farm from Lexington. Not only were they THE nicest guys, they had pumpkin biscuits with turkey and a cranberry chutney that have already made it on to my Thanksgiving Weekend menu. They also had a pumpkin hummus AND mushroom and kale little stuffing/bread pudding bites.

  

I think we may have to make a stop there when we go hiking in the area over the next few weeks…before it snows!  Now I just have to find time to schedule a hike…

What, if anything, has already made it on to your Thanksgiving menu???

What to feed the kids…and how!

Not a very exciting title, I know, but its practical!

Today started like this:

Quick cook organic oats with a spponful of Teddy’s Natural Unsalted Smooth PB and a banana.  And my coffee.  Dont forget the coffee.  Check out the size of this mug I got with Jason in VT…

I should probably eat the oatmeal out of the mug, and drink my java out of the bowl…

This is what it looked like outside…

And this is what it looked like around me inside…

   

It was all around quiet and gloomy. Until I checked Facebook! A friend had commented on the link to yesterday’s post with questions! And that, my friends, is how the Perfectionista wishes every day here at Perfectionistamamma.com would go!!! Yes, that is an open invitation to comment, share, and ask away here on the blog! After all, if my adventures can’t be useful…well, then, I’m just rambling!

SO…the topic of the day is what healthy (easy) things can we make for our kids and how we can get them to eat it at school.

Let’s start with the latter…my girls are like me. Its all about the vehicle in which the food comes. If it looks good and has options…and is environmentally friendly, they like it. And if its pink or purple, even better! I found these great containers at the geeky organizer’s dream emporium, aka The Container Store.

    

The first 3 are the Slimline Quaddie by sistema, and the second 2 are of the klip it lunch cube, also by sistema. Which one you use really depends on how much and what your kids will eat, what you’re making, and what they’re putting it in to get it to the cafeteria. The first takes up an entire traditional lunch box, where the cube still lets you put other things in there!

Now, the important part…what to fill it with. Here is a list of some things I have either put in there the past 2 days, or plan on filling it with in the days and weeks to come!

  • Corn, tomato & black bean salad
  • Turkey, cheese and avocado on a mini pita (half)
  • PB&J Sushi Roll Up (just roll the wrap, and cut like a sushi roll!)
  • Chobani plain 0% greek yogurt with blueberries and homemade granola (separate the granola to keep it crunchy!)
  • Annie’s bunnies – either the crackers or the cookies
  • Unsweetened Apple Sauce (cinnamon works better when you go for the unsweetened)
  • Clif Z Bars
  • Salad with dried cranberries, fresh nectarine, and goat cheese
  • Low fat string cheese, whole wheat bread stick (crostini) or asparagus wrapped in turkey
  • Hummus or black bean dip and veggies or healthier tortilla or pita chips
  • And a sweet treat now and then!
I hope this helps in making lunch fun and healthy for all the kiddos out there! When you get out of the sandwich and a snack rut and start thinking things up, its actually a lot of fun to pack lunch!
What are your favorite things to pack for school or work lunches?
*this post was not influenced or sponsored by anyone or anything, i just really like to write about the things i love!

Is this the Beginning or the End?

Its both. And actually, I think it might be easier to deal with them simultaneously…

Yes, I have come to accept that it is the end of summer. I’m sad, but it went so darn fast this year, that I’m not sure we even really had it…except for the slight good-enough-for-a-half-Irish-girl tan that I got!

However, its also the beginning of the school year…

…the return to chaos, dance, gymnastics, soccer, CCD, Daddy and his busy work schedule, me and my crazy fall work season…a schedule. Ah, yes. A routine. God’s gift to busy families is the routine. Kids seem to fall into them after about 2 weeks, and I can mentally pretend to be in one so that its not such a tough adjustment. Once you’re in one for a bit, you occasionally hit a very smooth patch where everyone seems to work seamlessly together, like in the BSO or something. Usually, just in time to switch it up with the seasons.

But for now, I’m going to focus on the positive. On the good things that going back to school means for my kids and our family. You know, tired little ones in the early evening. The “not until your homework is done” mantra that buys me some time to blog when there doesn’t seem to be a spare minute. Making happy healthy lunches for the girls and getting back to planning ahead for our  meals. A routine I can (hopefully) really sink my teeth into.

  

Here’s to sinking…

For the Love of Humanity…

Jason and I are so proud of our girls. This year, after a answering some tough questions about why and how not everyone who works hard has a house, the girls decided to make their birthday party a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of MetroWest/Greater Worcester. They were bummed they weren’t old enough to actually help build, but wanted to help anyway. I couldn’t have been more proud, and quickly went to work putting the pieces together.

We decided that this was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, although not really because that wouldn’t be very humane, but we could manage to plan our End of Summer Kegger to immediately follow the kids’ birthday party, right? Ahhh, yes. Party perfection! Although, every time the girls said “we’re helping humanity” I had to giggle.  Such big girls…yet so little 🙂

So invites went out to everyone – kids, adults, friends, neighbors, etc.  We asked that instead of presents they bring donations to Habitat, and as a thank you, we gave them cute little inflatable hammers!

We grilled, and by we I mean Jason, and everyone brought something delicious.  Of course, I had to have veggie burgers, wheat buns, and nitrate free hot dogs in addition to the “normal” cookout foods. Yes, I’m that lady. And proud of it, dammit. However, the favorite burger of the day – Amy’s Hamburger Cookies. How genius!!!! Look at these adorable and super tasty treats!

We had facepainting and sand art for the kids thanks to Julia and Kayla – our awesome helpers, and thank heavens we invested in that play/swing set. Instant kid party entertainment!

  

The cake was delish and we’ll be trying to give it all away for the next few days. (note: I succeeded! Repurposed sheet cake = cupcakes! Just wait and see…)

And the biggest hit of the day may have been the lawn games (thanks to Sean and the Seymours) that lasted well into the night. I actually researched getting our own Cornhole set, and in the process, learned that there is actually an American Cornhole Association. I’m going to have to save up for a regulation board. Really?

  

While the day flew by and was crazy busy for hours, its was perfect to end our summer with friends and family – some we hadn’t seen in AGES! And so what if the keg didn’t get kicked.  Next time, we don’t put good beer in the keg. Instead of Wachusett Country, we go Bud Light next time – although I think that’s against every fiber of my husband’s being. Then, we should kick it. I guess we’re not as young as we’d like to think…

Llamas and Tractors and Sharks(?), Oh My!

Nothing is as adorable as watching a little boy’s face light up at the sight of “boy” things. At least, as the mom of two girls, nothing is as exciting for me as watching my nephew become ecstatic at the sight of random animals, John Deere and sharks in a tank in the middle of a hot, sunny fairground. Yes, that last one threw me for a bit. And honestly, if I were one of those sharks, I would have eaten that diver for lunch. They must have been sedated…but I digress.

On Friday, Mom, Mary Beth and I went with Bridget, Desmond and Clara to the Bolton Fair. Despite a rough nap and a doubly rough wake up, Des rallied at the thought of seeing all kinds of animals and other exciting things. I’m not going to lie – some fresh raspberries and some Annie’s bunny cookies helped matters, too.

We saw lots of animals. Some cute, some ugly, some that looked like they wore more makeup than I do to a Heart Ball… but Des loved them all.

We even saw local firefighters in a dunk tank. That may have been the grownups favorite booth, but we’re not here to talk about that.. nor did I capture a photo. That would have been too awkward…really.

So instead, we decided that the carousel would be a great idea. Because no matter how crazy woozy spinning and swinging things make me, my nephew’s smiles are totally worth it!

While we were walking by and talking to the sheep (who I think were competing for something, so this probably wasn’t a good time for Des to start a conversation in “sheep”), I came across a non-profit I could see myself associating with at some point. Think of the PR campaign…

Awesome, huh? I almost bought their shirts and mugs to hand out to some people as a bit of sage advice…but it might have be an unfortunate waste, so I held off. Next time…

After we left the long eared cuties, it became clear that our adventure was quickly approaching its end and it was time for dinner and a cocktail on the porch.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Wanna Wasabi?

Who doesn’t love date night?!?! Especially when life has been a bit hectic, there is nothing that says reconnecting like cat paws and a little wasabi. Seriously.

Cat paws. Yes, cat paws.

A few months ago, I bought a Groupon to Sea To You Sushi in Brookline. I am a sushi junkie, and have always wanted to be able to make it on my own. After last night, I now have added a rice cooker to my list of must-buy-soons.

It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E

 First, we watched…then, we played! Starting with a ball of rice…I eventually made this roll!

For a guy who doesn’t eat a ton of sushi, Jason showed some serious talent in the maki making department…

     

But most importantly, he enjoyed the end result!

I tried to get all showy and make the “fancy cut”…  Introducing, the Perfectionista’s sushi!

The other students were great, and some of them had some serious skills when it came to rolling and presenting their delights. I’m hoping we get to see some of them again in the second level class…when we get the time to take that one! Check these out!

    

Although I tend to get a little competitive with Jason, you know, for kicks, we presented our dinner together (smiling) and honestly, I think his tasted better.  He even wanted to take me out for a beer after.  Charmer…

One last expression of thanks, a photo, and our leftovers, and we were off to the Publick House for a quick cold one! Something had to wash down all that rice!!!
My leftovers and our fearless leader!

Have you ever taking a cooking class? What, where, & would you recommend it?

Hot & Spicy Italian…

No, seriously. I’m pretty psyched its Friday. I could, however, do without the ridiculous heat and humidity that has my house and my head surrounded in a thick, soupy fog that I can’t even see through!!!

While this week has been a bit crazy, though not unusual, I did manage to sneak in a few good, creative meals with delish fresh ingredients from Springdell Farm in Littleton. Top on my fave list: Hot & Spicy Italian Quinoa.  OK, it needs a better name, but just look at it!

Its pretty easy, you need: quinoa, an onion, garlic, low sodium vegetable or chicken broth, an eggplant, leftover hot Italian sausage, corn, olive oil, curry powder and some shredded cheese to top it all off.

First, I prepped some basic quinoa by putting some olive oil in a short stock pot, then some diced onion, chopped garlic – let it cook down for a few minutes, and then I added the already rinsed quinoa and curry powder.  Follow it up with the stock which I like to dilute with water (1 3/4C broth for every cup of quinoa) and let it boil.  Then cover it, turn it down, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Easy.

Even easier, dice up an eggplant, add it to a saute pan with some olive oil, garlic (of course!), corn, and some chopped up leftover hot Italian sausage…and done!  Put it on top of some cooked quinoa, top with shredded mozzarella or the cheese of your choice, and you’ve got dinner!

Life’s a Beach

There is nothing like meeting new friends on a perfect beach day! Maddy and Emma made some new friends, and they’re so sweet! Since they are on the Cape for the summer, we’re hoping to run into them again when we head back for vacation in a few weeks…

Fun in the sun is always good – fresh air, lots of running around, and what every parent hopes for – a good nap or at the least a solid night’s sleep is ahead! Fingers were definitely crossed. But in the meantime, my little monkey and I snuck in some snuggle time…

A while after we had our beach lunch of tomato and cheese sandwiches (mine with avocado and dijon!) we had a silly walk home with Daddy and lots of pretty flowers…

                              

And then, after a fantabulous dinner of pasta, pasta salad, steamers, lobsters and sausages back at Mary’s with Marisa, David, Nicholas and Daria, we headed for the perfect closer – Ice Cream!!   But of course, its not a 36 hour (or any length of time, really) trip to the Cape without a visit to the Sundae School!

The three big kids having their ice cream!

This little adventure is chock-full of foreshadowing. Some day, these two innocent girls will have a knock down, drag out fight over a boy. If the universe could kindly let me know in advance when this will happen, I will be on a momcation somewhere far, far away. Luckily for all involved, Emma was too tired to fight.

We crashed at Mary’s house (thank you!!!) and I managed to run off that ice cream with a 4 mile run the next morning…right past the Sundae School!  This week’s Magic Mile came in at a 10:32 pace. Not bad for having a full belly and barely managing to get my butt out of the house at 6am!

After breakfast, we headed home to get ready for the week. Just as we arrived back in town, the littlest one looks at her big sister, and with a smirk chants, “Nicholas lo-oves Maddy, Nicholas lo-oves Maddy…”

…and the peaceful trip came to an abrupt end…

New digs!

The Perfectionista has new digs!!!

I am not a tech guru, and this has taken me a while – I will admit mostly because of fear – but, the Perfectionista is now coming to you via WordPress.  Phew.

Now if only I can manage to redirect to http://www.perfectionistamamma.com and get my page looking just right…I will be one happy little camper.  Oh yeah, and learn the ins and outs of this platform…  But until then, I’m posting anyway.  After all, this is all about the “new” Perfectionista – you know, how to pretend you’re still one after you have kids and a life in progress, right???

So, please forgive the ever changing look that you will see over the next few weeks, and know that I have missed blogging terribly these past 5-6 weeks of craziness.  That won’t happen again…I’ve felt naked without it.  And as someone who often had that naked-in-school dream…yikes!

All it took was a little me time on the dock…and she’s back!