Monday, April 28, 2014

Chicken Recipe: Pollo Involtini

I haven't shared any recipes in awhile, and I thought this was a yummy one.  I personally would add more seasoning because I just love flavor.  It has a nice presentation and would be perfect for a week night meal or even if you're entertaining. 

Be sure to buy quality ingredients; organic chicken breasts etc.  I should have used a stronger white wine {preferably pinot grigio, but I didn't have that on hand.}

Here is a link to the recipe:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped frozen thawed artichoke hearts
1 (packed) cup baby spinach (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage or rosemary
1/3 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Lightly oil an 11 1/2 x 8-inch baking dish.
2. One at a time, place a chicken breast half between 2 plastic storage bags. Using a flat meat pounder or a rolling pin, pound the chicken until it is 1/4-inch thick. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the artichoke hearts. Stir in the spinach and sage and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach-ricotta mixture to a wire sieve and press with a heatproof spatula to remove excess moisture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ricotta and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
4. Place 1 chicken breast, smooth-side down, on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the spinach-ricotta mixture in the center of the breast, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Fold in the sides, and then roll up from the bottom, like a burrito, to enclose the filling. Place the roll, seam-side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts and spinach-ricotta mixture. Pour the broth and wine over the chicken.
5. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a breast reads 165ºF, about 20 minutes. Transfer each portion to a dinner plate, and top with a spoonful of the pan juices. Serve hot.
Soften onion, garlic,  artichokes, & spinach

Stir all together!

Add a small amount of mixture on the pounded breast

Drizzle light coating of oil at the bottom of pan

Fun to make!
I had some sweet potatoes on hand and these always make the house smell so scrumptious!

Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Onion w/ EVOO

Side Salad w/ Avocado & Italian Dressing
Hubby liked it, but he has trouble with too many veggies, so Brooke and I ate the remaining leftovers.  I just love a good stuffed chicken, so I will play around with some other ingredients as well.

What have you been cooking?  I try to lighten things up around here during Spring. I love trying new recipes!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dr Dennis Gross: Skin Care

I have been blessed with really great skin.  It's not too oily or too dry.  Growing up I would get the occasional pimple {like embarrassingly huge} but no acne.  However since having Brooke, I've gone through some weird phases with my skin.  I think hormones played a part, but also I felt so yucky looking, before I lost the baby weight, for some reason I would just pile on all this makeup.  Truth is?  I was always a more is less kind of girl and I needed to get back to that.

I am also notoriously terrible at removing said makeup at night, which only results in clogged pores.  I started using the cleansing cloths, which is a step in the right direction, but they're just filled with chemicals and fillers. {aka crap}

I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I had a skin consultation and I just LOVED it.  Joe's cousin Mary is working as a makeup and beauty expert {aesthetician} at Waterlily Day Spa.  If you are local, you must go see her!

She introduced me to this new [to me] skin care line.  Dr Gross is a NYC Dermatologist.  Legit big name celebs go and see him…I would love to get an appointment!

Mary gave me the whole run-around and I experienced everything from the facial cleanser to the serums.  She had actually given me samples of the "Alpha Beta Daily Peel" and that seriously was giving me a glow!!

I walked out with three goodies:

1.) This spray.  Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I just love the fresh feeling of a hydrating spray!  I still have my Bare Minerals facial cleanser to use up, but after that I will be switching.

2.) Instead of my cheap Olay, I've decided to switch to this bad boy.  OMG.  You can literally feel it working.  Now, Mary was very good at explaining, just like we take vitamins to better our insides, why we put on our skin can be very similar.  Our bodies may need to adjust to the proper amount of supplements that we should be consuming; so will our skin.

That being said, my cheeks get a little flushed at first, but it is beginning to fade.  It's also good to switch up routines {like we do with workouts} so that our skin doesn't get complacent.

3.) The third and one of the most important items was the eye cream.  Mary said, "It's like a glass of water for your eyes."  The skin around our eyes is so thin and we need to treat it carefully!

Here are the fabulous daily face peels I was talking about…since I didn't want my hubby to think I was trying to break the bank, as badly as I wanted these, I put them on my wish list. {hint: Mother's Day}
I heard "peel" and I kind of freaked; don't.  It's so gentle and seriously ah-mazing feeling.

There are also some amazing serums she used one on me; oh my goodness I could just do this every day.

My thoughts?  Worth EVERY PENNY.  Now that I am getting older, proper skin care is a must! Just like with my AdvoCare supplements, I believe that when you spend your money, you will treat yourself better, or the way that you should.  I know that my Omegaplex, Coreplex, and Amplify (plus all my other awesome products) are doing wonders for my hair, skin and nails. I just took it to the next level!

I now look forward to my nightly skin care routine and he'd kill me if he knows I told you, but Joe likes it too!! Since the creams do not have a strong scent, it's totally gender friendly.  I had tried La Mer last year, and I really didn't love the smell.  Plus I am not quite ready for Botox haha…j/k..sort of...

I have had two blackheads on my chin {hormone related Mary told me} and one has finally surfaced! I cannot tell you how long they've been there, but I am so excited one has finally come to.  These products are my new jam and I just had to share my beauty tips with you.

I've also laid off the heavy foundations; I will rock them for going out but for day to day, I'm using Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer.

Have a beautiful day lovely friends!

*These are just my opinions and thoughts and I am not a professional.  I just love to share what works for me.  As always, ask your Dr before starting any new regimes.*

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sensory Bin

It's quite obvious how quickly our little ones start learning and growing.  I have really stepped back and taken a look at my priorities and decided to really focus on little Miss Brooke some more.  Sure she's my main reason for getting up each day, but I started to put more effort into how we are spending our time and what to do together.  In other words, I'll be really honest….I found myself using the TV more than I ever would have imagined.  My husband and I barely watch TV, but somehow the darn thing crept right in and I am happy to report, we've put an end to it!

It was SO easy; turn on Micky Mouse Club or Sesame Street and there she stood/sat glued her eyes on TV.   I could get so much done without having to worry what she was up to...But the icing on the cake was when Daddy came home one day, she didn't even acknowledge it; she looked over and then looked back at the TV.

We were both in shock.

Usually she screams Dada and there are hugs and kisses and laughs.


Now, don't get me wrong; I see NOTHING wrong with the occasional show or down time.  But I experienced first hand how quickly that could become a habit.  I no longer put on a show while I make breakfast; she heads to her toys and plays at the fridge with letter magnets.  She doesn't miss the TV at all.   I've focused my energy on figuring out what we could do together; enter in sensory bins.

I've been wanting to make them for awhile, but didn't know what to put in one.  Yes I was a teacher, but I taught middle and high school!  So it's taken some time to look into what wee ones need to learn, and of course asking my sweet friend Alison, and Brooke and I played in this [small] bin the other morning.

I want to start doing themes, but I just opened my cupboards and started here.  I did have to say "NO" when she tried to eat the spiral pasta; a few tears were shed but she got over it and really seemed to love playing with the different textures.

***I would NEVER leave her unattended with the bin and I keep it up high.  I know that she still explores with her mouth (or tries to) so I am very aware of that.  I want to get a larger bin to have more room to put stuff inside as well.

Ideally we would have gone outside but it rained and so we made use of the kitchen floor.  Holly and Sadie were of course right there to pick up any missed crumbs of rice.

I'm still working my way through these two reads and they've been quite helpful as well.  I just can't get over how fast kids grow and no matter how much you try to prepare, you always feel a little behind.  Or at least I do.

I'm thinking of doing a Gardening theme for May.  I will use organic soil only and I have a feeling she will LOVE it. 

What learning activities do you do with your toddler?  Share them please!

Some great sensory bin sites:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Day our Dogs Failed an Interview

Last Friday Holly and Sadie had an interview.  Ya heard correctly.  An interview.  There is a kennel not too far from here that everyone raves about. The dogs are free to run around in a room/outdoor pen with other dogs during the day. It's like  a day camp for dogs.  However, the dogs need to get along and pass the interview.

Now mind you, I know our dogs; I know our dogs VERY well. I love them dearly, but sometimes they can be rather high maintenance. And while running around with other dogs is great in theory, I just knew it wasn't in the cards for our pups.

I got there and realized I hand't filled out the damn applications, so that took some time.  Meanwhile, Holly got kind of nervous and pooped right there on the floor.  I stepped in it since I was busy filling out the forms, and the girl didn't say anything until I realized what happened.


I had to put new collars on them that "breakaway"…[luckily I did not have to pay for them]

The dogs get separated small is under 35 pounds and large is over.

Sadie did okay; they introduce dogs one at a time and her hair stood up and then went down.  She walked around and was like "whatever".  No biggie.

Holly on the hand, is just a freakshow.  I thought she would be aggressive or naughty, but she was actually so so nervous.  She paced back and forth and ran laps…it was not good.  She got the other dogs wound up, but never settled down.

Sorry I failed mama!!

They took her out and back in again on a leash, but she still was not happy.  Since they're all animal behavior specialists, they don't like the dogs getting stressed out etc.  So they said we could try again another day, but in so many words, our dog failed the interview.

They then proceeded to let me know that Sadie was licking the ear of another dog: a German Shepherd.  I sheepishly smiled and said, "No, I am sure she was licking the AIR next to the other dog." You know, because it's normal for dogs to lick the air. Incessantly. Not kidding.

"You're kidding me with that place, right?!"

The lady gave me a weird look and I just tried to get out of there as fast as I possibly could.

I was supposed to drop them off for the day and then go get my skin consultation done by Joe's cousin Mary at this beautiful little European-like spa.

Instead I had to call and reschedule {explaining my fabulous morning} and they got quite a kick out of it!!  I brought the dogs home and counted down the minutes until 4:00.

I LOVED Waterlily.  It was so nice to learn about some anti-aging processes and newer skin care lines. I was so relaxed and happy…{the goodies I bought are an entire different blog post!}

Only to come home to find out little miss Brooke gave Dada a run for his money! They went to the mall and walked around; and she pooped. Normally not a big deal, but Dada doesn't deal well with poo and he didn't bring the diaper bag. {I know, right?!}

So he got her home and by that time it was all over her diaper and she must have eaten something that didn't agree because it was the third time that day and not quite normal.  All I know is that her clothes were in the tub, poo everywhere and she was running around buck naked.

She then proceeded to dump the dog water all over the floor.

I may have ended the day with a glass of Pinot or two  and started really counting down the days until St. Martin.  It's all funny looking back on it, but seriously?! What a day.

Gotta love life with animals and kids!!

Needless to say, I will be boarding our dogs at our traditional kennel (which they love and do well at) and I will stay out longer than 2 hours next time…so that all is cleaned up and well when I get home! LOL

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I was SUPER excited to dye eggs with Joe and Brooke.  Unfortunately, I didn't foresee Joe having to work late and a cranky baby who needed to go to bed because she missed her nap.   My old self would have probably cried and been so devastated, but now? I just go through the motions and make the most of it.

She tried to eat the crayon, but did manage to draw a little bit on her egg. [hence the tears]

Joe got home just in time to snap a few photos.

Holly enjoyed the egg too…

So we managed to get a few colored. I will be a little more prepared next year!!

Easter morning Brooke enjoyed two baskets.  Yes, two.  One Easter bunny thought it was good to be non-traditional and one wanted tradition.  Eh, it worked out for Brooke.  She loved everything.  "OOooooooo" was all we heard while she went through them.

Daddy being naughty and giving her processed sugar aka PEEPS before breakfast.

It kept her occupied for, well, who am I kidding? These eggs are still keeping her busy!!

We met my family for brunch at Bristol Harbour.  Daddy walked her down the aisle…

Such a beautiful sunny day!

She was so good and loved running around.  Sharing her eggs with Aunt Brianna

I wish I could find it, but I have similar photos near this pump with my Easter dress on when I was little.

Then I had a mini photo shoot {thanks hubby} haha

Brooke and the swing.


She was getting sleepy, but sure was a trooper!

We then traveled to my in-laws to stop over for a bit.  Mama Maria had an assortment of cheese, crackers, Easter bread, and we enjoyed some white wine.  It was perfect!

My father in law is an excellent photographer, so we  put him to work! Gorgeous shots.

And she got a little fussy…we told her "no" you can't go play on the branches/sticks.

Picked flowers with Grandma.

And sat on the stoop her daddy sat on when he was growing up.

It was a beautiful day!

It was a low key evening and we had leftover chicken sausage, broccoli and pasta for dinner.  Our brunch was pretty hefty so we were more than fine with that!  I hope you all had a lovely Easter!