Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kelly Corrigan's new piece

If you get the chance watch this. It is very moving and special. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thomas The Train - bargain shopping

I am new to the Thomas the Train world and am going to start buying for Christmas. My step-mom gave my a great hint: Michael's Crafts, AC Moore and maybe some of the other rag shop type crafty place carry them. And each week in the newspaper they usually have a 40% or 50% off of one item coupon. I have two of the 40% off coupons for Michael's and plan on buying a starter kit and who knows what else...its not a bad way to pick them up here and there on the cheaper side. And for the locals - there is a Michaels next to Target in Ocean.
Happy shopping!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simply Dish/Studio Gourmet

Do you ever feel exhausted by the end of the day - from being at home all day with the kid(s) or from a long day at work? And the last thing you want to think about is prepare dinner? 

I like to cook/make recipes, but some days I don't have the time to get to the grocery store or prepare a gourmet meal.

There are a couple places I have found through friends that I have been to several times that help solve the "what's for dinner?" dilemma...

Simply Dish located in Wall, NJ and Studio Gourmet located in Yardville, PA can help!

There are three ways you can prepare your meals - 
1. You can put your apron on, come on into the store and prepare your meals from the menu of the month. (Each month offers different menu options.)
2. You can order ahead from the menu of the month and have the meals prepared for you at an additional cost. All you have to do is pick the meals up.
3. You can book your own private party for a group of friends. Bring your favorite bottle of wine and some snacks, get together to catch up and prepare your meals at the same time. (This is what I usually do.)

Depending on the size of your family you can prepare anywhere from 4-12 meals (each meal serves 4-6 people). Prices vary/meal depending on the place you choose to go. 

I usually split some of the meals up into smaller portions so that I get an extra dinner for my family out of each prepared meal.

I have been to both places and have liked each one. I have not been disappointed with the meals! And each prepared meal can be frozen. There are instructions on how to thaw and cook the meals when the time comes.

So, the next time you find yourself looking in the fridge wondering "what's for dinner"?  you have a solution! 


Free Starbucks Coffee when you vote

Visit any Starbucks on Election Day (Tues, Nov 4!) after you have voted and receive a free brewed coffee. vote! vote! vote!

Get Out and Vote

This is a great short video - inspiring! Get Out and Vote! 42021

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Teachers Gifts etc

Costco is selling 5 $20 Starbucks gift cards for $80, basically you get one free...not a bad idea for teachers gifts, doormen, whatever :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Imagination Movers

My son absolutely LOVES the new show on the Playhouse Disney Channel- Imagination Movers. It is on weekdays at 10AM. And this Saturday there is an episode marathon. 

They are coming to the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on 2/14/09 at 1PM. Tickets are on sale now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No Cold Meds for kids under 4

Once again the FDA is recommending no cold meds for kids under 4. They rejected an immediate ban on the meds but will add warnings to all meds sold. The strange part is the reason for not banning the meds altogether is they are concerned that parents will then just use adult cough and cold meds for babies. But anyway, it seems there is sufficient evidence of dangerouse side effects and no evidence that the drugs actually help in any way. Real the full story by clicking here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two GREAT websites

Tara I turned me on to both of these and they are great: - the best part: free and fast shipping! I compared the price of my pampers from babies r us and; babies was about a dollar cheaper but you've got to drive to babies r us and of course, actually go inside. yuck.
There is an ad running on Facebook - put FACE in the promo code spot and you get $10 off of your first order. - get your groceries delivered :) I havent actually used this yet but I checked it out and they have a huge selection and deliver very quickly - next day. Tara has used and loves it...
She spoke to them and if you type peapod1 in the promo code you get $15 off of your first order and $5 off of your next 4 orders - can't beat it. For those of you who live elsewhere this may not seem like a big deal but this is huge for us :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Delicious Bread Recipes

Here is a great sweet bread recipe. My two year old loves this!

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

3 eggs
1 cup oil (or lower the fat sub = 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
1/2 cup milk or soy milk
1 1/2 cups sugar (or substitute Splenda baking blends)
2 1/2 cups flour (can use 1/2 whole wheat if desired)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 small boxes of french vanilla pudding mix (can buy sugar-free)
1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes
Optional: add 1 cup raisins and/or 1 cup chopped nuts.

Mix all ingredients together. Spray 2 loaf pans or 5 mini-loaf pans liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pans.


1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar (or Splenda blend)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (or Splenda baking blend)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter/margarine or reduced fat margarine, cut into small bits and chilled
2 oz almonds or other nuts
Place first 6 ingredients into food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture has pea-sized pieces of butter mixed in. Toss in nuts and pulse until finely chopped. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle topping over bread batter. Bake in middle rack for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Slow Cooker Season

Here are two ridiculously easy slow cooker recipes (courtesy of Kristin R):

Fiesta Chicken:
Chicken breasts
1 can black beans, drained
1 jar salsa
1 can white corn, drained
Layer the chicken and dump the rest on top. Cook on low 6-8 or High 4-6 or however your cooker works. Cant mess this up and it is yummy.
Delicious with brown rice or made into a burrito etc...the chicken shreds so it is perfect for mexican dishes...

Pulled Pork:
1 jar BBq sauce
water (maybe 1/2 cup?)
Dump it all in the slow cooker and cook as above. It shreds and is delish (apparently, not my style but the hubby loved it) as a sandwich or however...

Great Website for things to do with your kids

I found this website when I moved back to NJ recently.

It lists lots of fun things to do with your kids. With the Fall approaching and Winter not too far behind, having some indoor activities will keep the kids entertained.

Enjoy! and Happy Fall!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Makes a Good Mom?

What makes a good Mom? 

How do you raise kids that are happy and successful? 
I ask myself these questions over and over again now that I am a Mom. In my quest to find an answer I came across a book, Mother Nuture, written by Stephanie Hirsch. In it the author interviews Mothers of successful people - Matt Lauer, Lance Armstrong, Cindy Crawford, Uma Thurman, Justin Timberlake and Steven Spielberg - just to name a few that are included in the book. As you read the book, you can gain "Life lessons from the Mothers of America's Best and Brightest". Hmm...I thought maybe I can learn something I didn't know. Maybe I will get my answer.
After reading the book, I did get my answer...
Every child is unique and special in their OWN way -Each has his/her special qualities; likes and dislikes, set of gifts and talents. And every Mom has her OWN way of raising a happy, successful child. There is no PERFECT way. What may work for one kid, may not work for another. And what may work for one family, may not work for another.
At the end of the day you do what you think is best for your child - mistakes and all. Trial and error.
So, am I a bad Mom because my son gets to be late a few nights? Or am I a better Mom if he plays all day and does not have to run errands with me? Am I neglecting him if he goes to his Grandparents so I can get a break once in awhile? Or am I a better Mom if we spend the entire day together? 
No - I do what I need to do to get through each day - and by bedtime as long as my son is HAPPY I can go to bed knowing that I did the best I could that day as his Mom. :) 
We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves....lesson learned and some knowledge gained.

Upcoming kid fun events

OK, Fall is here so I will start posting again! And if anyone has anything to add, please post! I'm not interesting enough to keep this going on my own...

1) Allaire Village Fall Festival: Sunday, September 21st. 1:00-4:00. Hay rides, puppet shows, apple cider etc

2) Pirate Ship Trip: Friday, September 26th. 3:30-5:00. Meet at the Sand bar restaurant in Brielle. The Manasquan Water taxi daecorates their boat and hosts The Pirates of Treasure Island Trip. We reserved the whole boat so anyone who wants to come, please do! Just let me know if you're in...the boat can hold 30 people and if we have more (which it looks like we do at this point) they can do a second run so we can have 60. It sounds really cute - they cruise over to Treasure Island and do a Treasure Hunt tour. You land back at Sand Bar at 5:00. Its $20 per person (including moms unfortunately)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Michael Phelps has an inspirational story beyond the gold

I love this article. It was in the NY Times this weekend. I don't know about all of you, but as a parent I worry constantly about my kids and how I'm doing at raising them. Michael Phelps' mom was told by a grade school teacher that he 'will never be able to focus on anything'. After he was diagnosed with ADHD he needed his mother's support since he wasn't getting it at school for the most part...As I'm typing this he is one gold medal away from breaking a world record.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Friends of Randy Marks Family BBQ

Friends of Randy Marks Family BBQ

Saturday, August 9th from 12-5 pm
At Marucci Park, Spring Lake

3 Bands - Blue Highway
Green Underground
Eight Balls
Great Food
Beer Garden
Pony Rides
Cotton Candy

Tickets: $25.00 Adults/$10.00 kid (6-12)

Skate and Paint a skateboard deck

All - I got the following email from Om Baby Yoga studio in Pt Pleasant Beach. It's a great studio and the owner is awesome, she is always doing funky clinics like this for sounds like a ton of fun for the right age group...

Skate and Paint a skateboard deck
With pro-skater Danny Morin.
Skate films, snacks, ramp outside,
stations to express yourself on your deck, stickers, paint, markers, etc.
All ages!
(don’t have to be a skater or an artist to have a great time.)
$55 includes the event and your deck
Saturday August 30th 12-2 p.m.
Inside Om Baby World Arts Studio
726 Arnold Ave Point Pleasant Beach 732-899- (YOGA)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

U.S. Open Tickets

FYI: My sister's friend has U.S. Open tickets that she wants to sell. I copied the email below. Please let me know if anyone is interested.

Hi Erin - Please pass along the following information to anyone you think may be interested in attending evening sessions of the US Open in NYC. The tickets are part of a ticket package purchased by a friend of mine in Atlanta. She is not able to use all of the tickets and is offering them at face value, first come first served. Basically she has 4 evening tickets for sale for Sunday, August 31st, and Monday, September 1st - this is Labor Day weekend. This is an ideal time to go to the Open as there are always lots of great matches to see before Championship weekend. Her message to me is shown below. Thanks! Colleen

I have four tickets to the US Open tennis tournament available for sale
for Labor Day weekend. The tickets are for various sessions and allow
admission to the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, including: 22 side
courts, The Grandstand stadium (unreserved seating day and night), Louis
Armstrong stadium (unreserved seating day and night) and reserved
seating for both day and evening sessions at Arthur Ashe Stadium
(Section 323, Row S, Seats 15-18).

The only sessions I have left are as follows:
Evening session, Sunday, August 31, 4 p.m., $70/ticket
Evening session, Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 1, 4 p.m., $70/ticket

Please let me know if you have any interest in them or please feel free
to pass on to anyone whom you can think of who may be interested. The
tickets will be overnighted to me at the end of July, and I can in turn
send them on.


So if you are addicted as I am you will be happy to know that when you visit a Starbucks in the mornings now thru September, you keep your receipt and bring it back in an afternoon before Sep and get any grande iced drink for 2 bucks. Unfortunately, that is a deal (at least for my drink, and many others).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Danielle (de Stephen) de Mancinelli had a baby boy!

Leonardo Marcus was born this AM, ultimately via C-section, weighing 7 lbs, 4 ozs...all are doing well!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lessons from a Rapist

This is somewhat lengthy but worth reading.
A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:
1) The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed . They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair .. Women with short hair are not common targets.
2) The second thing men look for is clothing.. They will look for women who's clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.
3) They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse, or doing other activities while walking because they are off-guard and can be easily overpowered.
4) Men are most likely to attack & rape in the early morning, between 5: 00a.m. and 8:30a.m.
5) The number one place women are abducted from/attacked is grocery store parking lots. The number two: office parking lots/garages. Number three: public restrooms.
6) The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.
7) Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.
8) If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.
9) These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.Keys are NOT a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.
10) Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it?, or make general small talk: 'I can't believe it is so cold out here,' 'We're in for a bad winter.' Now you've seen their face and could identify them in a line-up; you lose appeal as a target.
11) If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell STOP! or STAY BACK! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.
12) If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes), yell I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.
13) If someone grabs you, you can't beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the Arm (between the elbow and armpit) OR in the upper inner thigh VERY VERY HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands - the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it - it hurts.
14) After the initial hit, always GO for the GROIN. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy's parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you'll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and he's out of there.
15) When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.
16) Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, go with your instincts!!!You may feel a little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do : The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans : If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5 A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, preferably in a zigzag pattern!
8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP! It may get you raped or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
9. Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The police told her 'Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.'The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.' He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby --- This should be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The newest Vitale has arrived!

Stephanie Anne Vitale arrived Thursday am at 8:59 weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Jeff, Stacy and big brothers are thrilled :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Two and a half Chicken Recipes

Since "Recipes" is in the title of this blog I think it's high time I post one, or two...I actually combined the below two and the dinner got rave reviews by the hubby and in-laws. and me. and the kids.

Beth's Chicken Recipe:
4-6 Cutlets, pounded thin
Boursin cheese spread (Garlic & Herb)
Chicken Stock
Juice of 1 Lemon

Season Chicken w/Salt & Pepper
While chicken is flat, put a mound of Arugala & Boursin in the center.
Roll up & stick w/toothpick
Have a hot saute pan with some olive oil ready.
Sear the chicken, and brown on all sides.
Once the chicken is browned, take them out, and add Chicken stock....
I guess about 1/2 cup to 1 cup depending how many cutlets you had.
Add lemon, put chicken back, cover & cook for about 15 minutes.
Add fresh parsley!
I served mine w/rice & arugala & watercress salad. Yummy...bon app├ętit

Michelle's Chicken Recipe
(wing the amounts. If I can, anyone can):
Cutlets, pounded thin
Sundried tomatos
Olive oil
Fresh Smoked Mozzerela

Throw the sundried tomatoes, and mozz cheese and olive oil in the cuisinart. Puree.
Spread the Puree on the chicken
Roll up and stick with toothpick
Wrap in parchment paper
Bake - assume 350, I forgot to ask

I combined the above two recipes -
My Version:
Followed Michelle's recipe up until the parchment paper...I instead seared in olive oil then removed from pan. Added chicken stock to the pan (as Beth did minus the lemon) and when hot, put the chicken back in, covered and cooked for about 15.
Served with arugala and shaved parm salad with Olive oil/lemon dressing. And sauteed red potatoes
My cooking is inconsistent, pretty good at best and this one was good.

Monday, July 28, 2008

So now I'm a YouTube Fool but this one might even beat the earlier one.

Click here to see Christian the lion reunited with his (groovy) human friends (and listen to a sappy song as a bonus, an oldie but goodie!)

This is sooooo sweet, click here and get some goosebumps!

Friday, July 25, 2008

HUGS (Helping Ugandans Grow Stronger)

Please see the below from my sister-in-law, Courtenay, who is reaching out to help a cause that a good friend is working to assist:

I have an incredible friend that just returned from Uganda who had the heart to spend over a month there, working with an organization called HUGS (Helping Ugandans Grow Stronger) - orphans whose parents have died of AIDS!
Needless to say, it was life changing experience for her. Her heart for this missionary work there admiration is immeasurable. I am trying assist her (with your help) in being part of next year's mission team and help this incredible cause once again.
HUGS (Helping Ugandans Grow Stronger)
Currently more than 50,000 orphans live in Rakai alone. These children must do for themselves. Many homes in the Rakai District are “child-head-of-household”. The struggle to survive results in an inability to grow crops properly to sustain life, and an inability to obtain basic medical care when needed and attend school. In a child-run home, no one is there to provide support for the emotions left after the parent dies, and no one is there to guide the child into adulthood. This is just a small piece of the devastation that this country has seen (the website goes into detail)

If you are so inclined, please give what you can!! A small amount will go a very long way.

Donations can be mailed to:
Staci Thornton for HUGS 1015 Cedar Lane
Brielle, NJ 08730
Checks can be made payable to Staci Thornton HUGS

Please forward this along.
Thank you in advance for your help!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NJ Coalition For Vaccination Choice

We have posted about this before the reality is this - the mandating of MORE vaccines in the state of NJ is scheduled to take effect in SEPTEMBER, 2008. There is a petition that we can all sign. The petition's goal is to provide parents with a Conscientious Exemption to Mandatory Vaccinations, that twenty other states currently allow. The petitions group believe it is medically, ethically and scientifically irresponsible to mandate vaccination.

A little bit of info:

New Jersey now mandates more vaccines than any other state in the country or around the world: 35 doses of 13 different vaccines. New Jersey also has the highest rates of autism: 1 in 60 boys; 1 in 94 children. Sadly, 1 in 6 children in our state is diagnosed with learning disabilities. NJCVC does NOT believe this is a coincidence.
Regardless if you believe this is a coincidence or not, this petition is worth signing. The Governor or anyone else should NOT be able to force me to give my babies a flu shot. Full stop.

Sign the petition! It just takes a few seconds...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

NJ Summer Rentals

Hi Everyone,
My family and I are looking to rent a house for a week or two next summer on the NJ Shore. I thought I'd put up a post and ask if anyone knows of someone that has a rental that they'd recommend. We would consider most towns - Avon, Belmar, SL or SLH, Sea Girt, Manasquan, etc... We'd like about 4 bdrms and something fairly nice but not too crazy expensive. If anyone has any ideas please either post or email me directly at Hopefully we'll see some of you next summer!

Friday, July 11, 2008


For those of you who have not checked out Facebook I think you should! it is quite a riot. It is easy to get started and when you start finding people and poeple find you it gets really fun! I have reconnected with people that I wouldn't have otherwise. I was skeptical at first but there is a reason why so many people are on it...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Book Swap for the library challenged

All - I just read a good book, Wonderful Tonight, an autobiography by Patti Duke. Patti is called Rocks most infuential muse, or something like that. She was married to George Harrison, who wrote 'Something' about her and then she left him for Eric Clapton, who wrote "Layla" about her, as well as "Wonderful Tonight"...
Anyway, it was a good book. The story is interesting so it was definitely good, the writing isnt going to win any Pulitzers (that is the literary award, right?) but the story is interesting - Sex, Drugs and Rock& Roll.

I finished it and just bought Clapton's autobiography, looking forward to hearing his side :)

If anyone has any interest in reading Wonderful Tonight, let me know and i can pass it along.
Most of the other books I have read recently I have given away.

So - if anyone else is interested in either lending or borrowing books perhaps we can organize. If you are looking for any in particular just ask and if you are willing to pass some along pls share.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Organic Farmers Market in Bradley Beach

Ladies - every Wednesday at least in July, maybe the whole summer, will be an organic local farmers market in the parking lot of Giomanni's (sp? - 301 Main St) restaurant in Bradley Beach. Produce, fish, cheese and maybe more. I'm clearly missing some details, it was in the paper but I missed it, my step mom told me about it. I think it sounds great. Everything you read promotes buying locally even above buying organic. The fuel etc it takes to get the produce here from Chile or FL or wherever is 1) expensive and 2) not enviro friendly. I dont always do this as I have no idea what NJ farmers spray on their crops...and I have not been able to find an organic local market until now. I plan on going tomorrow, will add a comment with feedback!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bottle Exchange at Babies R Us

So I found this out two weeks too late - I just chucked bag loads of baby bottles. NJ is issuing a bottle recall of all baby bottles that contain BPA (see earlier post on this issue). Bring all your old Dr Browns, even flo, etc etc and exchange them for Born Free or other brands that are BPA free. Your bottles can be from your 6 year old and you can turn them in for brand new ones. You do have to pay the price difference between the bottles if there is one. I guess up until two weeks ago we could have gotten store credit.
If you don't need new bottles do it anyway and give them away when friends have babies!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reminder - Denim etc party

All - just a reminder that Thursday is Courtenay's Denim, Pocketbook, Jewelry etc party... It should be a fun girl's night out, fun shopping for a great cause. Its of the details in an earlier post below, all are welcome!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Warning of purse snatchers in Wegmans, BJs etc

I rec'd this email - everyone should just be careful while shopping. I will never again load the kids and then return the cart...too many freaks out there.

I'm passing along a letter my girlfriend Melanie sent out in reference to her purse being stolen from BJs in Ocean Twp (NJ) last Thursday (6/12/08). I know some of you don't live in Jersey , but apparently this is the new thing (read her story). I know Melanie mentions not taking your purse into stores, but I'd be more afraid of leaving it in the car. I'm as guilty as the next person with putting the kids and my purse in the running car, putting the groceries in and then walking away to return the cart. Well, no more of that. This happened on Thursday and then again on Friday morning at Wegmans (also Ocean Twp). It's not just in Ocean, it's all over. Brian has said that Neptune 's had a couple of those incidences at the Quick Check and I've read it a few time lately in the paper. One thing I know for sure, I'll never go shopping at night alone again, unless it's an emergency. Or, I'll go to Shop Rite in Neptune and have the officer working (one there every night) walk me out. Please pass this info on to others, especially women. Stay safe and WATCH YOUR EVERY MOVE. These assholes obviously aren't just looking to rob or kill someone at night anymore. Now, broad daylight, people around and these braising ass' will do anything for a few bucks. Oh, and Melanie's guy only got $4. She hadn't gone to the bank yet that day. All that for $4. Thank God it was only the car window and her purse and not her. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a store, go back in and ask someone to come outside with you. Just PLEASE BE CAREFUL.

Last week, at 2:30 in the afternoon, on a sunny day, my car window was smashed and my purse was stolen from my car. The short version is this: a man approached me as I was loading my items into the passenger seat of my car and asked if he could have my cart. I said yes of course, who wants to push that thing back to the corral. He then told me that I my receipt had blown away and that someone had it at the front door (perfectly rational as I was at BJs in Ocean Twp. and they have the "doorman"). As I rounded my car to get my keys, he followed me. I reached in, grabbed my keys and walked back inside. As I turned around, I saw him walking (yes WALKING!) away with my purse and my passenger window smashed. The police came and in hindsight, although it totally sucks to make the calls and do the running around it takes to replace the necessities in my bag (drivers license, bank accounts, etc.) I did the right thing - got away. This guy thought nothing of smashing in my window in the middle of the day, would he have thought twice about smashing my head in? I'll never know. But here is the thing - NO ONE in the parking lot - and there were a solid 15 - did anything to attempt to stop or catch him. No one yelled or called 911. This man walked over to a waiting car and no one got the license plate number. And I have since found out that similiar incidents have been happening at other stores in the area. They are watching woman walk to their cars, and as they are loading the packages into the car, are either stealing their handbags out of the shopping carts or open car doors/windows. Here is my advice - DO NOT take your purse or bag into the store - if at all possible, slip your credit card or cash into your pocket - either stash your purse in the car BEFORE you get to the store or leave it in your trunk - remember that they are watching people - so don't put it there when you are in the parking lot. Keep your keys and cell phone in your pocket. And keep your eyes out for each other - don't try to physically assist someone - but get out that cell phone - and we all have them - call 911, push the panic button on your car alarm and yell.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Your latest favorite thing that doesn't break the bank :)

Hi there. I thought this might be a fun post. It's not green nor does it take much thinking :) it's about products. Cosmetics, perfume, hair products etc whatever you feel fits in here. I just know I love when I have a friend that turns me onto something new that might help make me look 10 yrs younger (still haven't found that one product yet so please do share if you have the secret) :) or smell a yummy perfume or oil or even a lipgloss that stays on but, mositurizes..whatever. Also, it even could be something that you found on your own or have been using successfully, loving for years and would never think of switching on. I have a few things I use always but, in the last 6 months I came across 2 things that are now my mixed in with my favorites.
Having 3 boys and one of them being 11 weeks old I'm not sleeping much (oh and add that I'm 40 now) I just look sooo tired. That intro leads me to my latest purchase it's a liquid highlighter that I found at Beauty Plus in Belmar. I had no idea they were even still open and they definitely are and they have some really good stuff now. It's called EMANI Professional - Flex Minerals Liquid Highlighter to be exact. It's a faint shade of pink that you can mix with your moisturizer or your foundation to give your skin a healthy glow. It's not glittery it just looks real and healthy. I always wondered how the stars skin always have that glow and I assumed dermabrasion but, it could be this :). It was about $16 and worth it. So if anyone has something that they want to share please do it's always fun to see what other people love or swear by. :)

My Bookclub

Hi all. A few months back a few of us up here in Hoboken started a little bookclub. So far we have read 'The Book Thief' by Marcus Zusak, 'The Glass Castle' by Jeanette Walls, and 'Into the Wild' by Jon Krakauer. Our latest read, 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' by Michael Pollan is going to be discussed on Tuesday, July 22nd. It is non-fiction and is about the history of our food and the ramifications (physical, environmental, and even spiritual) of our current methods of obtaining and producing the foods we eat. I have already started it and it is really interesting. It sounds like a totally boring topic, but the author somehow manages to weave it like a story to keep it from reading like homework. If anyone wants to read along and post comments, I would love to share them at our next meeting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Benefit for the Marks Family

On Sunday, July 13 from 4:30 to 8:30, a Benefit Cocktail Party will be held at the Spring Lake Manor to commemorate Randy Marks' 41st Birthday. Proceeds will aid the memorial fund established to provide for Randy's wife, Susan, and their six young children. Entertainment donated by The Pat Roddy Band, Chikaboom, Billy Lawlor and other special guests. Food, drink, and more... including gift baskets in a combination Silent Auction & Raffle. The donation, which includes two free drinks courtesy of The Spring Lake Manor, is $50 per person ($60 at the door) payable to the "Keeping the Faith Foundation". Please send checks to: C/O Tom & Anne Considine, 1084 Hawthorne Parkway, Spring Lake Heights, NJ 07762 Please indicate with your check the names of those attending the event. For more information, or if you are interested in donating a Gift Basket or items for a basket, please call Anne Considine @ 732 974 7509, or via e-mail .>

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Olive Oil Tasting Party

I'm bringing the olive oil to Manasquan!

My bother and sister-in-law are being kind enough to host an olive oil party. You'll be able to savor the best olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world. I will be preparing dishes made with our oils and vinegars.

I promise it will be a lot of fun. Bring spouses, bring friends. Drinks by the pool if weather permmits.

Here's the info:

Friday, June 27
7:00 pm

Please Mercedes for more information at


Monday, June 16, 2008

A Taste of the Old World

Olive Oil... It's been called "liquid gold" and my family eats, breathes and even bathes in it. Never in a million years would I have believed that my life would lead me to selling olive oil. Most people think we're crazy to do what we're doing, but you see there's so much behind it all. I wouldn't change my life for the world.

Ten years ago my husband Chris and I were dating when we decided to go backpacking through Spain in account that tickets to Spain were only $300 round trip, as opposed to the $600 tickets to California, which was were I originally wanted to go. Remember those days? Well, am I ever glad we never went to California.

At the time Chris was going to law school and had met someone who knew someone about a house being rented somewhere in the middle of Spain. Well, we had never been to Spain before and we were told the house was somewhere deep in the heart of southern Spain on some remote mountain range. All we had was a rough description of a four hour drive through the country and the name of a person to find once we got to town... for the keys, of course. Well, we were thrilled!

Our journey to where we are now began with that very first trip. As we drove through Spain we came upon some incredible sights. First the incredible city that is Madrid, then the beautiful flat lands as we headed south and finally we hit the Sierra Morenas, the rugged mountains that mark the entrance to a very hot and fertile part of the country.

As we got closer to our destination we noticed small twisted looking trees... thousands and thousands of them as far as the eye could see. We drove for miles and we thought they would never end. I had to stop and take a look at what these farmers were growing. I remember getting out of the car and hoping someone wouldn't decide to take a shot at me for picking his crop. I looked back at Chris and with an incredulous look on my face I yelled, "They're olives!"

And that was the beginning... We have yet to visit California.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Alex's Lemonade Stand

All - this is an email that is circulating - this Saturday is the Lemonade Stand, please make time for it - see below for details!
Hi Guys, I am sending this email out as I know you all have a good email list and network of local people who might be interested in showing some support for local folks in need. Below is an email excerpt I got from a good friend Denis Smith From Spring Lake who's Daughter has been battling Cancer over the past year or so. Let's circulate this around and see what kind of support we can gather to stop by their lemonade stand on Saturday. I plan to bring my kids by. I also think it is a great way to show kids how to give back to their community and those in need. Spread the word. I am glad he asked. Lets blow them away with spreading the word as far as possible. Thanks, Chris
On a side note, I need you and the family to stop by the corner of 4th and Worthington Aves. (Spring Lake) this coming Saturday for a glass of lemonade from our lemonade stand. It will be an Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Here’s the story…A child named Alex Scott was four years old in 2000 when she decided to have a lemonade stand in her front yard to raise money to “help her doctors” find a cure for kids with cancer. She had the same type of cancer as Bridget and lost the battle in 2004. Her legacy lives on in many ways…none as much as helping me put travel soccer in perspective. I need a dose of this stuff every once in awhile. I’ve attached the link to her site below. Tell as many people you can think of to stop by our house on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thanks…

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jeans etc Party

My sis-in-law Courtenay is having a jeans, accessories etc party on Thurs, June 26 at 7:00 pm. Below are the details. The more the merrier so please spread the word, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Marks Children Fund.
Please let me or Court know if you want to come by the 20th so she can plan the inventory.

Please join us for a girls night with kate spade, fendi, coach, rock the republic, seven for mankind and chanel to name a few. bags, shoes, sunglasses, jeans and other accessories!
cash and checks only

Thurs, June 26th at 7 pm
705 Brooklyn Blvd, Sea Girt

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oprah is a vegan!

Oprah had a guest on her show the other day named Kathy Freston. She wrote a book called Quantum Wellness which seems like your basic run of the mill self help book. Body, mind, spirit-blah blah blah. However she has a chapter dedicated to health and nutrition and talks about conscious eating. She is a vegan and talks about her reasons for doing so and how it changed her life. Oprah was so inspired by this that she herself has decided to do a 21 day cleanse that is outlined in the book. This cleanse eliminates all caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten, and all animal products. She of course got a personal chef to come in and cook all of her meals(must be nice) and all of the recipes are posted on her website. I really want me and Patrick to try it but I think Patrick might freak out if I take away the gluten. He has started his bar review class and it is very intense so now might not be the time to take away tortillas and tofutti cuties. I will however be making some of the recipes. I think tonight I will make the Black Bean Cakes with Cilantro Pepper 'Mayo'. I will let you know if they are any good. If anyone is interested in making any of these recipes I am including the link.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

must miss movies seen on plane

hi girls,
it is my first attempt at a "blog" and i must be honest in saying that i really wasn't even sure what one was until further informed by julie and i read it for the first time. however, the "stream of consciousness" typing rants totally suit me (so hope i don't get annoying)... anyhow, i wanted to share with you a couple of tidbits since i had a couple of minutes this evening. firstly, since all of our time is so precious, spent with kids and other, i wanted to point out 2 must miss and 1 only if you are desperate movies rentals:
"the bucket list" - are you kidding me??? jack should stop letting his ego collect a paycheck and know better than to take these stupid roles. i was able to bare "something has gotta give" and the helen hunt waitress flic (whatever it was called), but this was one bad and he didn't seem to have any real chemistry with good ole morgan. a weak storyline like that atleast needs chemisty...
"p.s i love you"- again, are you kidding me? hilary swank, although an amazing actress is so unappealing as this grieving, 29 year old lost soul that follows a string of staged love letters around to find "closure," the that i almost could not watch. and gerard butler as the match for her? yikes no sparks... although he is hot. the endless cast of cameos and bit parts was also annoying; kathy bates, lisa kudrow, harry connick jr., gina gershon and jeffery deam morgan (aka. denny duchet), all seemed a little grandiose for parts and a plot that did not amount to not much... i am a+ emotion chic and cry at everything, and this one did not move me (and i was bummed)
"27 dresses" - kinda funny and cute storyline, katherine heigl and james marsden cute together, but just overall cute, and kind of predictable, but worthy of rainy saturday night.

lastly, i am debuting my "sugarbaby vintage" line at the westfield art& craft show on june 7th... for those that do not know, i design and handmake a line of vintage baby quilts, as well as pretend play baking aprons with utensils, art smocks and bibs. everything is one-of-a-kind and has a retro flavor, but is interpreted in a modern way. i use mostly vintage fabrics, supplemented by vintage repro fabric... ie. "modern baby, vintage inspiration." so, if anyone is interested in just taking a look or if you need a gift and would like to drop by anytime , please just call or email me. hopefully my website will be up sometime this summer. 974-3581 or

thanks for reading my first "blog," i am off to enjoy the end of american idol.... GO david cooke (i am sorry, archeluta is a beautiful singer, but is that really an "american idol"?) i am petrified that he is going to melt into a puddle after every peformance or maybe i am just a 80's/90's rocker chic at heart and i enjoy a little more grit ???...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Susan Marks

As most of you know, Randy Marks passed away on Sunday. Susan has 6 kids to raise now as a single mom. The obituary was in the APP today. It is so incredibly sad...I think there are some dinner drop offs being organized by St Catharine's and Mountz schools, as soon as I hear more I will post. I think there is also a fundraiser in the works, again, I will post info as I get it.

If anyone does have any more info, please feel free to add here.

There is a fund set up for the 6 children, see below from the obituary:
In lieu of flowers, the family specifically requests donations to a memorial fund that is being established in Randy's name for the benefit of his six children. Donations may be sent care of his brother-in-law, Tim McAloon, 26 Myrtle Ave., Chatham, NJ 07928.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Who can afford to go to Disney.... You can!!!

Hi everyone, my name is Keith and I work with the Lovely and Fab Julie L. Great to join this fantastic crew. As i am a huge Disney Fan, I wanted my first Blog to be about some of the tips i have learned about planning a trip and going to Disney World. Hope you like it.

OK! So I really wanted to go to Disney World and I really wanted to take my sister and her two kids. "I have got to be kidding myself." or is it really a possibility? I kept seeing the Disney commercial with the parents looking at the computer screen as Cinderella's coach drove up to the door and the kids are looking out the window……… I want that too. So could it really be affordable, I mean doesn't it cost $10,000 for a family to go there and stay in Disney?????????? Here is what I learned, IT IS and I wanted to share my experience with everyone.

Step 1: Make calls or go online to the Disney site.

I called around and just asked some questions. The coolest thing ever is that if you call Disney travel they will do a complete pricing for you with no commitment.

Step 2: Research (You won't have to do it to much as I have most of it covered below.)

Hotel: I bet you didn't know that Disney has hotel's called "Value Resorts". They are just basic hotel rooms and the each have theme's like Music or Sports. These are the best choice hotel for kids as they cater to the visuals that are so important (colorful and lively). The value resorts come with all of the fun of staying at a Disney resort, but no-frills. The pools are great, they normally have a basic food court. So why do I recommend these? Well you are never at your hotel, you will be running around at parks or at the pool so why pay a fortune for a fancy room when you will only be sleeping and showering there.

Dinning: The best kept secret is that Disney actually has a dinning plan option for families or individuals that are staying at a Disney resort. For around $30 dollars a day per person you will receive the below.

1-Counter Service Meal each day (These are the lunches where you grab a burger or chicken fingers or to be honest many of the counters have more elaborate meals.
1-Snack- This can range from an ice cream to popcorn to even a bottle of water or Soda.(For each person and perfect for a mid day pick me up.)
1-Table Service Meal (This allows for you to eat at almost every Disney Restaurant in any park.) With this you will get a full course meal, a drink, and a desert for each person. So cool. . (PS. You will be responsible for the tip at the table meal.)

So here's the math. For the 4 of us each day I estimated it would have cost me. $40 for lunch (Counter Service about $10 each); $40 for snacks and soda/water; and a sit down meal came to about $120 plus tip. Well with the plan it cost me $120 a day and I saved about $80 per day. Trust me you will feel the difference and have your fill of food. Plus they work it right into your total package.

Transportation: Don't worry about it.

Flight: You an book it on your own or through Disney. I have found it cheaper both ways so I always recommend you look around all of the travel sites.

So cool, Disney has this cool thing called Magical Express. You basically give them your flight number and carrier and they do a lot of the work for you. They will send you luggage tags so that when you arrive they can pick up your bags from the airport and deliver them to your hotel for you. (Love it) Next, once you get to the airport you will have a transport book that will give you access to a shuttle bus that will take you directly to your hotel. (Love it) Then, once you get to your hotel they will give you your room key, park passes and food plan all on the same card. (LOVE IT). Now best of all, once you are checked in you can hop on one of the many buses that leave from your hotel (almost every 15 min) to any of the parks and begin you Disney Adventure( LLOOVVEE IT).

Here is the topping on the cake. I booked the trip 4 months in advance and was able to only provide a $200 down payment. I then had 3 months to pay it all off slowly.
So the whole trip cost me……………………….. And remember that includes Air, Hotel, park passes (I included the water parks too), Meals……………..$3400.

It gets better. I applied for a Disney Chase Visa Card and was approved. If you put your full vacation cost on the card they will not charge you any interest for 6 months. That's right 6 months after the trip, you can still be paying it off without extra fees. Plus you get many other cools Disney offers with it.

Step 3:
Start booking and have a Magical Day.

Thank you Julie L. for inviting me to post.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Thanks for the invitation to join your blog!


My name is Mercedes Wall. I'm a stay-at-home mom from Brielle. I'm so glad I ran into Julie. This blog seems to be right up my alley. My husband's name Chris and I have two small kids, Christian and Sofia. I started a small home based business during my spare time (yeah right?! It actually keeps me from losing my mind). I make children's hair bows and headbands. I started last year at the end of the summer out of curiosity. I wanted to see if I could make a hair bow for Sofia. Well, I had so much ribbon left I started making them for friends and family. Next thing you know I'm selling them at Brielle Day. Now, I do home parties and I sell to Coppelia Dance Wear in Spring Lake and to an online children's boutique. Things are going great except that now I'm feeling guilty that I'm not spending enough time with my kids! I guess the grass will always be greener.

My husband and I also own a gourmet shop in Red Bank where my husband works full time and I help out on the weekends. It's called Carter and Cavero Old, World Olive Oil Company. We're going on six months now and it's been a lot of fun (and incredibly hard work)! We have about 20 different kinds of extra-virgin olive oils and vinegars from around the world. So, needless to say I love to cook with olive oil! Got any good recipes you'd like to share? I've been instructed to come up with recipes for all the oils and vinegars in the store.

If you're curious the website for the bows is and for the olive oil store it's

Thanks again Julie!


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Thirsty for Change

Cindy Crawford isn't just another pretty face.
She is launching a campaign to supply safe drinking water to children in impoverished countries. You can help! Cindy designed a Sigg (which you can read about in an earlier post) water bottle and ALL proceeds go to the campaign. Click on the title of this post to read more and join in.
By posting this info on this blog I have also entered a contest to win a Pur water filtration system.
I have posted this link before, it is a great blog to check out and even better now since you could win a prize!

As a mom I think my worst fear is to not be able to provide food and water to my kids, let's try and help remove that fear for other moms!

Living with less...last day

Well it is the last day of our living with less challenge and the truth is we sort of fell apart at the end. It all started when my friend sent me this email about a company that is selling makeup and each item is only $1. The way I looked at it was that it wasn't frivolous as I needed some new makeup any way and in the end I was saving money. Then came the Hickey Freeman sample sale. As some of you may know, Patrick will be starting a new job in September and some of his suits are a little worse for the wear and tear. I couldn't find him any new suits, but I got him a 100% cashmere overcoat for a song. I mean really-100% cashmere. I would have been an idiot to pass that up. His other coat was practically threadbare so I justified it by saying that it was an essential. But then last night I was so tired after work and we didn't have one single vegetable left in the house so we ordered Thai food. I mean technically we didn't eat out right? Today I was supposed to run a 5k in Newark but we decided that walking to brunch would be good exercise so we are doing that instead. All in all I think we were much less wasteful. I spent $100 less at the grocery store this past week and we didn't have any food leftover. We will not be using paper towels any longer and we both agreed that we liked the quiet of not always having the TV going. We will eat dinner at the dining room table from now on (unless the Red Sox are on) and will continue to be more frugal with our electricity. Although we didn't score 100% it was a valuable exercise in scaling back.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Living with 5

So this is getting much easier. I dont see why we will ever use paper towels again now that we have a set up like this. These T-shirt towels are better than paper towels anyway. Also here is the completely homemade gift for Kyle. Other than the butter and eggs we had every item in the house to make this gift. By the way these are Martha Stewart's recipe for extra thin chocolate chip cookies and not eating one was torture. I even chewed one and spit it out (just to make sure they were ok for Kyle).

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Family Fun

Ladies - if anyone is looking for a fun family outing, check out this link to the Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair, this Saturday May 3 from 10-6. We were planning on going to the Central Park Zoo but we are going here instead, zoo isn't going anywhere.
Just a thought for anyone looking for something different to do...I have also heard that the Children's Museum in Philly is great (hands on) and of course Cape May Zoo. Haven't done either yet.

Living with 3

Hi everyone. I have to type fast as I am cutting into my one hour of internet/tv time per day. Patrick and I feel like John and Abigail Adams. Patrick was being funny and walking around in the dark with a candlestick in his hands while he was trying to find our cloth napkins the other night. So far the challenge hasn't been too hard yet.I like not having the TV on at night and Patrick and I eat dinner at the dining room table and talk about our day. I had to give up my hour of entertainment yesterday so Patrick could watch the Red Sox on the internet. Our apartment has never been more tidy as all of my TV time is used to clean up and we go to bed a little earlier because we aren't all keyed up from watching CSI and such. I thought no paper towels would be hard but I just replaced them with cut up Tshirts of Patricks that he never wore. Not buying anything has posed a little bit of a problem. It is a friends Bday this Friday and we don't have a gift for the party. I have decided to make him chocolate chip cookies. I will present them in coffee cans wrapped with fabric (I don't have cookie tins). I made the card already. I took a piture of my scrabble board with the words Happy Birthday and printed it out on my picture printer. I then glued it to a note card that I already had. If I can figure out how to post pictures I will show you the final product when I am done. If anyone else has taken the challenge I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shoot I did it again.

To take the challenge just click on the title of my last posting. It seems I have hidden the link in there again. I am a bad blogger.

Take the 'Live with Less' challenge

Just in case you were not a part of my mass email this morning I am posting here too. Starting this Monday, April 27th, Patrick and I will be taking this challenge. I thought it might be fun to hear feedback from anyone else who is intrested in taking this challenge too. Good Luck.

Greening our home

I recently read Healthy Child, Healthy World and highly highly recomend it. It is easy to read and offers tons of do-able suggestions to live a cleaner life. There is tons of info in the book but one of the most alarming statistics to me was from the American Cancer Society - they estimate that 75% of all cancers are due to environmental factors. That is scary!

Here are some ideas to live a greener life - healthier for us and the environment.

Things we can do now:

1) When replacing shower liners, remove the package and leave outside for at least a day before bringing in and hanging up. I actually knew this one, when you open the liner packaging that heavy smell is toxic. If you smell it, you are breathing it in.

2) I am not ready to completely give up dry cleaning (although my dry cleaner up in K Mart plaza is going green in August which is great) so for now - remove the plastic and leave behind with them. Most toxins can then also stay behind. Leave clothes hanging ideally outside or someplace other than your bedroom for a day before putting in your closet.

3) Don't eat microwave popcorn. The lining leaches into the oils and are a known carcinogen. They say the amounts ar small enough so the govt wont outlaw but the problem is they stay in your body for years so they build up. Not worth it. (this was easy for us, cant think if the last time I did eat it! My sister on the other hand...

4) Use non-stick (teflon) pans sparingly (if at all). I would rather clean a messy pan...the govt did get involved here and Dupont and others agreed to eliminate by 2015. The EPA lists Teflon as a "Likely human carcinogen". Why wait until 2015?

5) Stop buying plastic containers. I went to Target and bought the box of Pyrex storage glass containers with lids. Completely reasonable. I now feel bad about chucking the plastic crap we do own but we have. This is obviously for the environment as well as our health.

6) Replace light bulbs with CFL bulbs. They are more expensive upfront but use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer. This is ongoing ,we will replace as incadescent bulbs blow.

7) We buy California Baby products for the kids then dump Pantene etc on our own heads. There is a GREAT website that lists almost every known product out there and rates each on a healthy to hazardous level. The books says our skin is very porous and absorbs approximately 60 % of what we put onto it and many of these chemicals then go directly into our bloodstream.

It is eye opening to see where all the products fall out...

Next level - (More money)

1) Replace crib mattress with organic one. My son sleeps half of his life right now. You know that tag that is the butt of jokes at times, threatening jail time if you remove from the mattress? It is because it tells you that it is up to fire code, meaning it is covered in toxic flame retardent chemicals. As well as others...(its all in the book). If you dont want to spend the money, the next best thing is to cover the mattresss with a natural organic wool pad.

2) Eventually replace all mattresses is house...

Third level - (Steps to take when we re-build our home)

1) Install water purifier, either under sink or whole house filter. The worst types of plastics are labeled by the numbers 3, 6 or 7. The 5 gallon water bottles that we get delivered are 7's. I cannot find a water delivery company that uses glass bottles in NJ. There is a whole section on bottled water, the best option by far is to purify tap water.

2) Either skip carpets entirely or go with natural fiber carpets. I had no idea how many chemicals are in carpets !

3) Paint with only VOC free paint. Most mainstream paint companies offer either low or no VOC paints now.

4) Same for floors - Low or no VOC finishing is a must for hardwood floors. And if ambitious go with bamboo (rapidly renewable, 4 years) or cork

Those are my thoughts for now, just in time for Earth Day :)

Please share your own ideas!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Recipes for ground meat?

Anyone have good easy recipes for ground meat (turkey in this case)...we have had tacos, turkey chili and the taco potpie (recipe below) A LOT in the last few weeks. Oh, and meatballs too. any other ideas? Besides hamburgers...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Donate Used Books?

Does anyone know where to donate used books? I had heard of a program where you can donate to the troops which I wanted to do, but from I can find online I think I have to actually ship them. Which makes sense I guess but I was hoping to either just drop them off somewhere close or have someone pick them up...let me know if anyone has any ideas, thanks!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Michael James Murphy

Mike is two months old today and I finally got his pix! Congrats Beth :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Increasing Breast milk?

Does anyone have any ideas to increase breask milk? If so, pls post here or E-mail Tracie at

Chase Patrick LeMoult (Janine's new baby) has arrived

Congrats, he is a beaut!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BPA Free sippy cups and bottles

I read about this topic a lot but there is so much info and sometimes conflicting so I haven't yet been able to take the plunge and chuck all of our cups and bottles and replace with BPA free ones. BPA stands for Bisphenol-A which is a toxic byproduct found in most plastics. Basically the chemical has the ability to act like a hormone. Ever wonder why girls today walk around looking incredibly advanced at earlier and earlier ages? I have always attributed it to hormones in meats and dairy but perhaps this is a can go online and read all about the different studies that have been done.

Anyway, a popular BPA free option seems to be Born free (this is the one that we are going with)

They make cups and bottles, they can be purchased at Whole Foods and Babies R us...some of the sippy cups brands that you have in your cabinet now also make BPA options.

It seems crazy to take such care with what we feed our kids to then put it into a toxic container!

Those without kids should also take care in purchasing water bottles for the gym etc that are safer...

Anyway, for more options I copied the next piece from another website:

Sigg Baby Water Bottle (Price $14.95-16.95) - This great product is made by a Swiss company. This sippy bottle is made from aluminum and has a completely inert, water-based epoxy lining that does not leach harmful chemicals. Instead of an actual sippy spout it has one more like a sports bottle. It has a lid that clamps down over top of it to help avoid spills. They come in a variety of child pleasing styles so this bottle is anything but boring. My kids love the different choices available and overall they like this bottle. Although I have not had a problem with leaking I have some friends that have had issues. It is also pretty commonly known that these bottles will dent and chip if dropped a lot. My kids gave this cup an A+. I would give it an A-.
Avent Naturally Sippy Cup (Price $6.95)- Yes, it is made of plastic but not a variety which contains harmful chemicals like BPA. Although because it is made of plastic I knew this sippy cup would not be a favorite of mine. Plastic is always going to be slightly suspect to me…I can’t help it. We picked up this particular cup at Whole Foods. The cup is rather plain and ugly and we did have a few leak issues so I can’t even say that it did the job all that well. The lid also got lost pretty fast. My children would pass this one up in favor of one of their “cool” cups. They gave it an D. I gave it a C… it is BPA free and low in price.
Klean Kanteen Sippy Bottle (Price $16.95)- This sippy bottle is made of stainless steel which will not leach harmful chemicals. I use this bottle myself (the adult version of course) and I REALLY like it. For the kids bottle you have two choices. You can get a sports bottle spout (with a detachable lid) or an actual sippy spout AND you can get a sippy adapter to make the transition yourself which is a nice feature. The sippy spouts are made by Avent and are BPA free. You can also easily get replacement sippy spouts. The bottles are nice and shiny but they do get kind of dingy looking once they have been smeared by tiny fingerprints. Maybe it is an OCD tendency but I am often grabbing them and cleaning them to make them look shiny again, LOL. My kids really like this bottle and they especially like that it is a mini version of my water bottle. They give Klean Kanteen an A. I did too.
Born Free Sippy Cup (Price $10.99) - This BPA free sippy is made the same company that is widely known for making BPA free baby bottles. Their sippy cups are made with safe plastics and they come in green, blue, peach and yellow (that I have seen anyway). They are fairly attractive for a plastic cup with their translucent and delicate colors. They have a detachable lid (this one got lost too) and handles on either side. They have a low vacuum valve designed to create free flow of liquid but unless your child is just learning to use a sippy cup the flow may be to slow, so the drinking cup model for older kids might be a better fit. We had no leaks with this cup but there was a big drawback for me. This cup breaks up into six different pieces…the cup, the handles, the vacuum valve, the top part that houses the valve, the spout, and the lid. I guess this is good for an extra good cleaning but sheesh…there are just too many pieces to keep track of. My kids gave it a B. I gave it a C.
Thermos Foogo Sippy Cup (Price $14.99-17.99) - This cup is also stainless steel like the KK and it has a soft plastic spout. You can also get it with or without side handles. There is even a taller cup with a straw available. The colors are quite attractive with blue/yellow and pink/purple combos. I have one friend that claimed to have a few small leak issues but so far we have not. One BIG advantage that this cup has over the KK bottle is that it is also a thermos. Warm drinks stay warm and cold drinks stay cold. It is good, sturdy cup. I love that it is made of stainless steel, I love that it is also a thermos, and I REALLY love the ultra stylish design. It is one gorgeous sippy cup (did I really just say that). My kids gave this cup an A and I gave it an A+.
Just a quick side note: I hand clean all my sippy cups and water bottles but of the ones I have reviewed here the only ones you can put in the dishwasher are the Born Free, the Avent Naturally, and the Foogo (although it is not recommended for this one). So if using the dishwasher is a sticking point for you keep that in mind.
So…what is the verdict? Who wins the safe sippy cup celebrity death match….muhawaaa! The Foogo by Thermos wins the first round in our household but the Klean Kanteen is very close behind. My kids really liked the kid friendly design of the Sigg bottles but mom likes durability more. Born Free is a good option in plastic but a little to high maintenance for me. Avent Naturally came in last but it is the most affordable option so parents with more limited budgets can feel safe with it.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Katie (Deignan) Boemecke's new baby girl

Beautiful Claire Ryan Boemecke - congrats Katie!

Friday, March 28, 2008

5 Mile Run 6 week Training Program

I am going to attempt to run the Spring Lake 5. Most people can just walk out the door one day and do this, I cannot. I have really weak cardio strength. I just do, dont know why, but I do. If I wanted to run the boardwalk one day I couldn't . I would need to train for that. So I searched the web for a 5 mile training program. Not too easy to find, again, probably because people can just do it. There are lots of 10K, half marathon and marthon training programs. Not this year. So, if anyone is anything like me and has an interest here is the program (the link is at the bottom):

Training Tips - 5 Mile Schedule

How much do you need to train to be able to run a 5 mile race? Some people, who have a reasonably good level of fitness, because they work out regularly or participate in other sports, should probably be able to go out and run 5-6 miles on very little training. (Not me!) They might be sore the week after the event but they could still finish.

But if you make the decision to run the 5 mile race you might as well do it right. Below is a 6 week training schedule to help get you to the finish line. To participate in the programme you should have no major health problems and should be in reasonably good shape.

If you find some of the workouts too difficult you might want to walk some the route instead of running. That's fine.

Week 1
Day 1 - 1 mile run
Day 2 - 1 mile run
Day 3 - 2 mile run

Week 2
Day 1 - 1 mile run
Day 2 - 2 mile run
Day 3 - 2.5 mile run

Week 3
Day 1 - 2 mile run
Day 2 - 2 mile run
Day 3 - 3 mile run

Week 4
Day 1 - 2.5 mile run
Day 2 - 2 mile run
Day 3 - 4 mile run

Week 5
Day 1 - 3 mile run
Day 2 - 2 mile run
Day 3 - 4 mile run

Week 6
Day 1 - 2 mile run
Day 2 - 1 mile run
Day 3 - 5 mile run (Race)

Running work outs
Ideally put 1 foot in front of the other and run. It sounds simple and it is! Don't worry about the speed just cover the distance. Ideally you should be able to talk comfortably while you do so. Under this programme you run 3 days a week I would suggest Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday with Sunday being the long run day.

You can, of course, schedule the runs for other days but have a non-running between work outs. You will find the local park an ideal place to run. Use the grass if possible. Feel free to walk during your runs at any time if you feel tired or need a break.

Nobody cares whether you run the full 5 mile race - they are more concerned that you finish. If this means walking every step of the way in training and in the race then do it!

Stretching and strength
Monday is the day I advise you do some stretching and strength training. Easily stretch the running muscles. Strength training could consist of sit-ups, push-ups or use of free weights.

1 day a week try some cross-training. It could be swimming, cycling or an aerobic class, even a visit to the local gym. What cross-training you do depends on your personal preference, but don't make the mistake of cross-training too vigorously. Cross-training days should be considered easy days that allow you to recover from the running you do the rest of the week.

The most important day in any running programme is rest. Rest days are as important as training days. They give your muscles time to recover so you can run again. Actually, your muscles will build in strength as you rest. Without recover days you will not improve. In this programme 2 rest days are scheduled each week.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Children's Consignment shop

There is a great 2nd hand store for kids in Shrewsbury - Cotton Tails. It has great clothes, gear, toys, books, room decor, movies and on and on. The clothes are neat and organized, it is like shopping in a "normal" store. And the selection when I was there was great - really well made brands and in perfect condition...It may be hot and cold but from what I hear it is pretty much always well stocked. I don't think I would ever buy a bouncy or exersaucer or high chair again first hand...
It is on Hwy 35 just past Ft Monmouth on the way to the Grove. Just past the Fort there is a light, turn left and then left again into a stripmall with and A&P and a WOW, it is in there. It is across the street from the mall with Marshalls...happy shopping!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Organic vs Conventional

All - I found a list online of 43 different fruits and vegetables in order of toxicity. It is interesting - I never knew that peaches were ranked #1 and therefore if you're going to buy anything organic it should be peaches. The least toxic are onions, buy conventional!

Below is the link to the rankings of all 43.
The top 10 most toxic fruits and veggies (along with their scores) are:

1. Peaches 100 (highest pesticide load)
2. Apples 96
3. Sweet Bell Peppers 86
4. Celery 85
5. Nectarines 84
6. Strawberries 83
7. Cherries 75
8. Lettuce 69
9. Grapes - Imported 68
10. Pears

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cool new website

Just made beets for the first time last night and was wondering if the tops of them were edible. On my quest to find an answer I discovered that yes they are edible and I learned all of their nutritional info from this website. By the way, I just peeled and cut the beets into 1/2 inch size pieces, drizzled with olive oil, sea salt and fresh pepper and roast in a pyrex at 400 for 30 minutes. Totally delicious. Caution-one small,unexpected side effect is that they turn everything red (on your insides too).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just in time for Easter - Hard Boil Eggs without the cracks

Hi all - I typically boil 18 if I want a dozen, I crack that many. So hear is supposed to be the no fail egg boil solution (this may be a no-brainer for some but I have tried everything and I always crack some):
1. Place eggs in pan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch.
2. Cover and quickly bring to a boil; remove from heat.
3. Let stand for 15 min for large eggs (18 min for ex-large and 12 min for medium eggs).
4. Rinse in cold water and place in ice water until completely cooled.

I have also heard that you can line the bottom of the pot with a wash cloth...

Taco Pot Pie

Hi girls - I made this last night and it was ridiculously easy and we all loved it, I found it on
Its not vegan or any of those - perhaps you can use the ground soy stuff instead?

Sharon’s Taco Pot Pie
September 12, 2007 in cooking, meal time, recipes by Sharon
1 frozen deep dish pie crust (I couldnt find a deep dish, a regular worked fine)
1 frozen regular pie crust
2 lb ground beef (I used ground turkey - and i think they come in 1.3 lbs so i used more than 2 lbs)
1 taco seasonings package ( I use Bearitos from the health food store, most others have MSG)
1 8oz can tomato sauce (I had an open jar of Raos so used it)
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 package frozen mixed veggies (Turns out the whole package would have been fine)
Preheat oven to 350.
Brown and drain the meat. Add taco seasonings and tomato sauce and mix well. Let it cook down a little so it’s not soupy.
Mix veggies and cheese into the meat.
Pour into deep dish pie crust and mush it down as much as possible.
Turn the regular pie crust upside down on top of the meat and let it fall out of the pan. Crimp the edges. Vent the crust.
Toss it in the oven. Put a cookie sheet or aluminum foil under the pie to catch any drippings and let it cook for 45-60 minutes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Two new inspiring websites

In my searh for new and delicious vegan recipes I have stumbled upon two new websites. The first is That stands for The Post Punk Kitchen. These girls have written two cookbooks together- Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and the new Veganomicon. Isa Chandra Moskowitz wrote Vegan with a Vengeance alone. I have all three books and they are great. The website has alot of good recipes whether you eat this way daily or you are just looking for some healthy new recipes- I particularly like their soup recipes. The other site is This girl is in the process of writing her first cookbook. She is an amazing crafter as well. Check out her 'knit night' cupcakes that were featured on Martha Stewart. I made her Hasperat sandwich yesterday and it was delicious and healthy. Happy cooking.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Website - support the fight against autism

Hi - I received this email that I thought I'd share:
I wanted to share with you an adorable tee-shirt line, StinkyKids, with a fantastic motto: Always be a Leader of Good, which is supporting the fight against autism for March and April.

My friend, Britt, started the line 2 years ago and immediately began with donating 15% of all proceeds to a DC-area NGO which supports the fight against cancer.

With 10 characters in all (Asian-American, African-American and Caucasian), Britt has committed to donating 15% of March and April's online sales to an Atlanta-area autistic boy, Foster, for the Georgia Walk for Autism (which will ultimately go to Autism Speaks). The kids (above) are all based on real people/kids and have their own story of friendship.

If you're interested in helping to support this cause (autism affects 1 in 150 people!!!), go to:
and upon checkout, enter the code: FOSTER.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Crappy Oscars

Was it just me or did the Oscars totally suck last night? I don't even know where to start. I never saw a group of Hollywood stars who collectively looked so shitty as a group. I didn't see one dress that i liked (actually I liked Jennifer Hudson's white dress but it looked beyond dreadful on her- Nice Uniboob)I know they weren't sure if it was going to go on because of the writers strike but you would think that a month in advance is enough time to make sure you look put together. Clearly they need a whole year to start planing their outfits. And I missed all the funny skits. I love John Stewart but he really wasn't as funny as Ellen was last year. And the movies even sucked. I saw No Country for Old Men. Was it really that good? Maybe I missed something. And maybe Daniel Day Lewis did deserve best actor. I didn't see his movie. But he knows everytime he makes a movie it is going to win an Oscar so you would think he might want to wear a normal tuxedo with some BLACK shoes. Newsflash. You're going to have your picture taken ALOT. You might not want to be wearing brown hush puppies and maybe you should tell your mom-i mean wife- to take off the black and white checkered shoes and lose the red pointsettas on her shoulders. Nicole Kidman's lips are a horror. Rennee Zellweggers eyes don't open anymore. Cameron Diaz was pink and sunburned. Ellen Page's dress was like a 70's prom dress. Oh and Tilda Swinton. Where are her eyelashes? Some mascara please-this is the Oscars. I know this all may sound very harsh but I feel strongly that it is a job requirement to look impeccable at these type of events. If someone wants to wear army pants and a tank top while getting their photo taken by Us Weeekly I can dig it. You are off duty. But the Oscars is part of your job that you get paid millions to do. Look the part. That said I hope that everyone had a great weekend.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chase Buckley

Isn't he beautiful?

Tracie's new babe...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The 12 Steps of Veganism

For those of you who I have not spoken to in a while, Patrick and I have some news. We have stopped eating meat and dairy. Patrick has 52 days but I fell off the wagon this past Sunday and am now back at 5 days. I was visiting with my sister who was preparing broccoli with cheese sauce for her kids. Being the ever helpful sister and wanting to lend a hand I said I would make the cheese sauce. As I was stirring my creamy white beschamel sauce, I started mindlessly popping fingerfuls of the freshly grated cheddar cheese right into my mouth. It was only when I was about to put the third handful into my mouth that I remembered that cheese is off limits to me. It was such a sad thought that I might never eat cheese again. Never have a quesadilla or a grilled cheese. Never have parmesian sprinkled on my pizza. I started to think what is the big deal. Why am I doing this anyway? (I will not bore you with my newfound interest in the why part) It is so easy to stay away from those foods when we are in the safety of our own home. There is no temptation because we have an arsenal of other things to choose from. But what about when we want to socialize with other people? So I have begun to think of this like a sort of 12 step program. Not so much that I think I have harmed others with my meat and cheese eating, but more about the part that I have to take it one day at a time. It's far too big to say that I might never have mac and cheese again for the rest of my life, but if I decide that I am not going to have mac and cheese TODAY it is much more manageable.Now if only I could apply the same theory to working out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cool new option

OK, so you'll notice that there is a little icon of an envelope at the bottom of each post - if you click on that you can email that specific post to anyone, and apparently it doesnt cause any spams or anything like that. I just figured out how to do this. So if anyone posts anything really newsworthy or interesting anyone can share with anyone. lovely.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Movies, Books, Websites, News etc

Hi all -
I remembered another good movie from way back when - Playing By Heart. Angelina Jolie is in it, I remember when I saw it in the theater I thought "Who is this bombshell?" so it was obviously awhile ago but worthwhile to rent...
I recently finished "The Other Boleyn Girl" and wow, is it a great book. I plan on reading the whole series...and the movie is coming out soon so read it fast if you haven't already!
There was an article on the cover of the NY Times on Sunday about Green Moms and how they have Green Mom circles where they swap ideas to save the is a cool idea but they shared a couple of web sites that might be interesting for everyone:,, (particularly good if you're trying to kick a soda habit - gives a gross demo of what happens to your body when you down one)

News - so for those who dont know yet - Lisa McGreevey eloped and Staci Vitale is pregnant - congrats to both :)
and Traci and Beth have both had bouncing baby boys. Michael James Murphy and TBD Buckley :)
I love happy news :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sex offenders alert

This website is great. Copy and paste it into a browser...I put my address in and it showed me the whole area and exactly where sex offenders live (one in SLH, Fairway Mews; 53 in the area) and work. You can see their pix, what they were convicted of and other info. Really scary! But good to know...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

email about NJ driving - tickets

Hi all - Courtenay sent this today - not surprising so be warned:

Starting today, New Jersey will launch a 30 day speeding ticket frenzy. The state estimates that 9 million dollars will be generated in speeding tickets. 1 million will go to pay state troopers' overtime. There will be 50 state troopers on duty at all times patrolling the 9 main intersections and highways.
They are the following:
> I-295 north and south>
1-95 (Jersey Turnpike) north and south
1-80 east and west
I-287 north > and south
I-78 east and west>
1-195 east and west>
1-280 east and west>
Rt. 130 north and south>
Garden State Parkway north and south
5 mph above the limit can justify a ticket and every state trooper is supposed to pull a car over and w rite a ticket every 10 to 20 minutes. They have issued 30 brand new unmarked Crown Victoria cruisers and are bringing in all of their part timers on full time. If you work in NJ, NY, DE or CT you will probably take one of these highways. It's up to you how fast you are going when they clock you.
101.5 FM confirmed all of this.
So be safe and don't forget speeding tickets are on you.
Driving Ticket fine increase in NJ: Starting on August 15th, the price of a ticket for violation of NJ Law39:3-29 (failure to show your driver's license, registration, or insurance card at the time you are stopped) is going from $44.00 to $173.00.
Please make sure your vehicles have the proper documents in them. If you jump in the car to run to the store and forget your wallet with your license in it and you are stopped.... Oh well... you just spent $173. And the fine for not having all three documents is $519!!!
Forward to people in NJ, and let them know of this change. And be careful, the fine for hand held cell phone use while driving will be going up to $180.00.

What are your favorite websites?

I just sat down to check my email and my usual websites when I started wondering what everyone else likes to look at on the web. I thought it might be fun to compile a list of some of the stuff we all like to check out so I can spend even MORE time on the computer. I am omitting the usual suspects like amazon and gap and such because we all know what they have. Here are just a few of my favorites: for alexis stewarts blog(she is martha's daughter) for martha's blog for recipes ( i am a member and it is worth the $20 a year. See Christopher Kimball entry from November 27th) for amy butler fabric beause the stationery is so pretty because this is actually affordable (we just ordered invites for my mom's 60th from here) for beautiful handmade papers for party and holiday stuff for wrapping stuff for fabric

That is all I can think of off the top of my head but I will add more as they come to me. Looking forward to hearing back from you all.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cheddar-Cauliflower Soup

While I am at it, I thought I'd post another recipe from Williams Sonoma. I have tried this one and love it! Great on a cold, winter day - and easy too!

If you haven't checked it out, Williams Sonoma has great recipes on their website. (In the recipe below, instead of an immerson blender, I scope out the cauliflower and onions throw it into a food processor and then add it back into the broth. This works great!)

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, about 2 1/2 lb., cut into florets
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream* (I use whole milk instead*)
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
Toasted crusty bread for serving

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, cream, the 2 tsp. salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a fine puree, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and well combined with the soup. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and serve immediately with toasted bread. Serves 6 to 8.

Roasted Garlic & Herb Dip

Here is a vegetarian suggestion for game day. I just got this dip recipe from Williams Sonoma. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds wonderful!

Roasted Garlic and Herb Dip
4 heads garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Potato chips for serving (see related recipe at left)
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Cut off the tops of the garlic heads and rub the cut surface with the olive oil. Put the garlic in a garlic roaster or on a baking sheet. Arrange the rosemary and thyme sprigs on or around the garlic. Cover the garlic roaster with the lid or the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Roast until the garlic cloves are soft and lightly browned, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool completely. Squeeze the pulp from the garlic cloves into the container of an immersion blender or into a deep bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley, the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender, blend until well combined. Cover the dip with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve the dip with potato chips. Makes about 3 cups.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.