Mommy Blogger Monday

In what could possibly be thee most hectic week for mommy bloggers, I wanted to share the appreciation I have for each and every one of you. As someone who just started blogging recently, I have loads of respect and tons of admiration for those who have paved the way and made blogging what it is today. That being said, I just want to take a moment and recognize all who hold it down at home and share their savvy with the world!

Join the #MommyBloggerMonday twitter linky party here & spread the love!

mommy blogger monday

25 Party Appetizers You Can Make In 20 Minutes

Tis the season to either host or attend holiday parties! The tough part is finding the right recipes to share with your loved ones. There are so many traditional items we tend to expect on our gathering table, but what if we strayed a bit from the norm? What if we decide to try something new to mix it up? With time slipping away, I have found a treasure trove of simple and quick recipes you can add to your table or bring with you as you join your loved ones.

I give all the credit to BuzzFeed for this amazing list. They included 25 recipes you can make in about 20 minutes, often in less time. Let me share a few of my favorites with you.

A unique take on a nut based dip, this red pepper, walnut & tahini dip is mouthwatering! The consistency is hearty and is best (in my opinion) on a heavier chip, pita crisps or toast points.

red pepper walnut tahini dip

Another interesting combo is the edamame & avocado dip. Both have great flavor and they blend well. The consistency is much more dense and would best be served with thicker corn chips, pita crisps or toast points much like the tahini.

edamame avocado dip

Now if you seek a sweet option but dont want to succumb to all things pumpkin spice, try the pineapple black bean guacamole. I know you are thinking that is an odd combo…and it is but I have to tell you, its making my mouth water just thinking of scooping some up! Its so good you can put a dollop on your plate as garnish for your meal.

pineapple black bean guac

Lastly, a dessert style dip that grabs an honorable mention. Its not from the BuzzFeed list…its actually from The Cookie Rookie and its divine! A skinny caramel apple dip that allows you to indulge without so much guilt! It does pack a few calories so dont dive into a bowl of your own, but you can certainly enjoy a helping with some freshly sliced tart apples. *Drool*

skinny caramel apple dip

Whether you are hosting or traveling, I hope you all enjoy the holidays at a gathering table filled with love, laughter and delicious food!

RAOK – Random Acts of Kindness

We have all heard the term Random Act Of Kindness. Some of us have been on the receiving end and others have been in a position to perform them. Without a doubt, they change all involved. Its what humanity is all about. Helping out our fellow man.

Living in the Inland Empire of Southern California, I am not far from where the source of RAOK’s have taken on a new level of giving. John Gordon and his family started a facebook page that has ballooned up to over 37,000 members. Take a peek at just how amazing this group is and what they are doing for the community.

To start, all members are introduced to what RAOK is all about.

This is a community where ALL members are strongly encouraged to interact with one another and share your stories of your acts! It can be something as simple as holding a door open for someone, complimenting someones outfit, or buying someone a cup of coffee. When you take the time to break the mold and go out of your way for someone to brighten their day, you have just made a difference to someone. Some people may say that they feel it is “bragging” or “tooting your own horn” by posting your stories to social media of helping a random stranger or someone in need. Well guess what? What happens when you read a feel good story of a person who helps a family in need to fill their empty cupboards with groceries, or a nurse that spends the final moments of life with a hospice patient that has no family in sight to be with them as they take that journey to the other side?………..That’s right, it fills you with the warmth and desire to go out there and do good for someone else. There’s no better feeling than doing something for someone else that can never repay you. This is our goal here at RAOK, to spread the love and brighten the day of someone else. Even a complete stranger.

The scale of their events is incredible…it takes time and planning that you can only envision once you have experienced it for yourself. They packed and handed out thousands of backpacks for kids when the school year began. They hosted a free community Trunk Or Treat for Halloween. They outdid themselves providing meals during their Thanksgiving Food Drive & Giveaway. Christmas is no different, as they hosted a Toy Drop Off.

As a group they are beyond phenomenal, but the members are incredible beams of light that spread throughout the county. Members often post their RAOK’s to the timeline and its so absolutely inspiring. I encourage you to check out their page here and join in spreading the love.


Citrus Marinated Chicken

In keeping with all of the yummy goodness I received from Chef Merito, I wanted to try out a new marinade. I was planning on making baked chicken with veggies so I grabbed the chicken marinade and some lemon pepper seasoning and got to work.


I got a tray and added 8 chicken thighs, poured the chicken marinade over the top. I tossed each piece to coat evenly & let it marinate for about 90 minutes.


As I waited for the yumminess to marinate, I chopped celery, onion, potatoes and added baby carrots to another tray, poured in some grapeseed oil and seasoned with salt and lemon pepper.


I popped both in the oven at 350 for an hour. I took the chicken out, turned each piece over and put back in the oven. I took the veggies out, tossed them around and put them back in too. About 45 minutes later, I took the chicken out and moved the veggies to the top rack and let them toast for about 20 minutes longer.



I served both with brown rice and the hubby enjoyed it so much, he took it to work for lunch. Now I know where the term ‘winner winner chicken dinner’ started!


Tequila Interchange Project ~ TIP

Every once in a while, I come across something that grabs my attention and I just cannot get it out of my head. The Tequila Interchange Project is one of those that just stays with you long after you learn their mission.

Tequila Interchange Project (TIP) has set out to educate everyone about practices in the tequila industry. Let me share a little about their vision and mission straight from their team.

The Tequila Interchange Project (TIP) is a non-profit organization and consumer advocacy group for agave distilled spirits comprised of bartenders, consultants, educators, researchers, consumers and tequila enthusiasts. Our organization advocates the preservation of sustainable, traditional and quality practices in the industries of agave distilled spirits. In light of concerning trends that are currently becoming mainstays in the production of agave distillates, TIP seeks to place a renewed emphasis on the importance of preserving the great heritage of agave distillation in Mexico. Whether acting as liaisons between consumers, producers and the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (Tequila Regulatory Council), sharing ideas about how to mix tequila cocktails with the bartenders of Guadalajara, or presenting seminars on topics ranging from sustainable spirits to the history of distillation in Meso-America, TIP utilizes the diverse strengths of its members to engage a broad audience in the history and culture of Mexico’s noble spirit.

Not many are aware of what goes into the production of tequila. As with any other harvested product, there are people who labor to ensure we get to enjoy the drink we all know. Currently, TIP is facilitating a multidisciplinary, Public Health style study regarding these farm workers or Jimadores. Its vital to evaluate the working conditions and well being of the Jimadores much like the efforts put forth by Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta for the United Farm Workers in the US. Everybody deserves a living wage and safe work environment.

The time and effort the TIP puts in to the environment is also noteworthy.

TIP is working with Dr. Medellin to plan and implement a “Bat Friendly Tequila and Mezcal” program, which will verify that plantations allow at least 2% of their crop to flower which will dramatically enhance the genetic variation of the agave and give the bat a sustainable food source. Agaves flower at night so they depend on the bats for pollination and the bats rely on the agaves in the tequila corridor as they migrate north and south throughout the year. 

The typical tequila fan (like me) probably has no idea that bats play a vital role in the genetic variations of agave. Who knew!? There is so much more to share and I encourage you to check TIP’s site and learn about the regulatory oversight and what they are doing regarding the regulations defining agave spirits. Please also follow them on social media and help share their vision and mission.

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Google+



Iggy The Inkapus Sponsored Giveaway

Interested in a giveaway? Check out the Iggy The Inkapus Giveaway and follow the details and be entered to win a 3 book set!

Follow the details here and share with your network!

The Quiet Adventures of Iggy The Introverted Inkapus

Meal Planning for Beginners

Lately I have been pinning a lot of meal planning tips because its been something I have wanted to try for years. The problem is it can be so overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Thankfully, there are so many bloggers out there who are already experts. One of which I pinned and absolutely love. Hearth & Holm is a gem on my Meal Planning boards.

The reason why I profile Hearth & Holm is because they not only show pics of all the delicious meals they prepped, but they also provide a shopping list. Yup…you can download the list to take with you while you shop!

meal planning

I look at this pic of a fully stocked freezer and I have big ambitions. Thinking about making 40 meals in one day so meal time is quick & easy is appealing but I am also fully aware, this is a lot of work. The task is daunting but I imagine I would work up to this level. To start, I will probably do a week at a time.

There is a great (and kinda OCD) pic of my goal for a week of meal planning on Instagram. I would probably swap out the drinks and modify the meals but that looks like success right there!

ig meal plan

All in all, meal planning is one of my resolutions for 2016. For those of you who have done a variation of this, please share your tips!

What I Have Learned – Tips for Beginners

I have been taking suggestions from other bloggers and cruising around their pages for tips and it has helped tremendously. I shared the following ideas with a friend & fellow blogger and want to share with you. If you already know all of this, woo hoo! If you are new to blogging like me, I hope you find some of this content useful.

First off, grow your twitter profile. At the top of the page where it says Search Twitter, type in what you prefer to search like mommy blogger, DIY or hacks. This will bring up all the results by account, keyword, topic and top tweets. Now to be seen, you have to have searchable terms like that in your bio. Mine used to be a quick snapshot but I have since updated it to include hashtags so I will come up in those searches. When I did that, I tested it out and came up in the 1st page of search results.

It sounds like a lot of work but I have two apps that will streamline your social media if you haven’t started yet. You may want to consider using a scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite. I use Buffer and absolutely love it. For the free version, you can schedule up to 10 posts for each account you link. I have my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn connected so I can add posts to them throughout the day and set them up for future days too. You basically type up all the posts you want to share and let them auto post at times you set. You go on with your day and don’t have to worry about posting at a certain time.

The other app is CrowdFire. Its on my phone but I also use the desktop version. The best part of the app for me is the option to add an automated reply to those who follow you. You type what you want it to say and when you get a new follower, they get a DM from you instantly. It has other features like showing you who has followed and unfollowed you each day. Not as big of a deal because once you get a couple hundred followers, you really dont spend much time checking to see who has unfollowed you. This has become a huge help in growing my base. Keep in mind I had a little over 170 followers when I started my blog about 2 months ago and today I have over 1400. I follow the accounts that appeal to me and the others, well I appreciate them but I dont have to follow back.

As for brands and product reviews, you may want to try the site Giveaway Service. You register and browse their promotions. If you see a product you want to try, you apply for it and they decide if they want you to review it for them. Normally its an Amazon review but sometimes they ask you to tweet or post a YouTube video. So far it has been a valuable resource and I have connected with some great companies. Some have offered to send me an additional free item to host a giveaway on my blog so that will bring even more visibility. (Stay tuned!) The ones who you review should be followed on twitter so once your reviews post, you can share the review across social media and tag them as well.

I am sure there are lots of tips to share and as I learn more, you may see more posts. Til then, if you have tips by all means share in the comments below.

Test Kitchen – Chef Merito Meat Marinade

Not sure why, but I have always favored dry seasoning over marinades. That’s not to say I have never used a marinade, but the recipes that float around in my head tend to require dry rubs. I wanted to try new flavors and my first venture was a success!

For dinner, I marinated two top sirloin medallions in the meat marinade by Chef Merito. No salt, no pepper. Just the marinade. Frankly, that is all that was needed.


I placed the frozen steaks in a one gallon freezer bag and added enough of the marinade to cover both. I folded the bag over to get as much air out as possible and placed it in my refrigerator to thaw and marinate for a few hours.


I poured the marinade into my pan and added the two steaks. I didn’t add any salt or pepper when I began cooking the steaks because the aroma was already amazing! You can see for yourself, there is plenty of seasoning in the pan. I seared them on both sides, reduced my heat to medium and let them cook til the liquid reduced about half way. It was done in 10 minutes. Depending on the size of your steaks, it could take longer. These were about the size of a deck of cards so it was pretty quick.


I served it over white rice that was pan fried with grapeseed oil and salt before adding water to cook down. The oil allows a nutty flavor to come out that you miss when eating steamed rice.


The marinade is going to be a staple in my pantry for sure. I also have the chicken and fajita marinades now so stay tuned!

Cilantro Cream Chicken & Veggies

Ok people, I have a new favorite dish and I have all of you to thank! Hosting a poll for dish choices, the winner was a main course and a suggestion was made to try this out. Its easy to do and can be converted to stove top as well but I used my slow cooker and it was deliciousness!

I made cilantro cream chicken & veggies and the hardest part was adding ingredients to the food processor so this is super simple and soooo yummy.

1 brick cream cheese
1 16 oz container sour cream
1 bunch cilantro
4 medium chicken breasts (frozen is fine)
1 cup water (chicken broth can be substituted
1 Bag frozen vegetables (any kind you prefer)
Salt, pepper & dried minced onion to taste

Blend the cream cheese, sour cream & cilantro in a food processor til smooth. Add salt, pepper & minced onion to taste. Pour into slow cooker and add water. Stir well to blend and add chicken breasts. Cook on high for 4 hours stirring occasionally. Turn down to low and add frozen veggies. Let cook for another hour. Stir before serving over white or brown rice.

*Note – If using more chicken, add more water, cream cheese & sour cream accordingly.

If you try this out, let me know what you think!