Creamy Taco Soup Recipe

I love using fresh food to make something really tasty and with a blender like Blendtec it’s so EASY. Between the guacamole and the margaritas, Cinco de Mayo is one of the most festive food holidays. There is one kitchen gadget that can make all the necessary dishes.. Appliances from Blendtec (of Will It Blend fame) are a blender and food processor rolled into one. They can be used to make margaritas and mixed drinks, of course, but also salsas, dips, hummus, pizza dough, ice cream or brownies

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.04.40 AM

Creamy Taco Soup Recipe

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 (5.3 oz) containers plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 c reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (15 oz) can Navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground ancho chili powder
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 tsp Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning Blend
1 c fresh corn kernels
1 lb shredded, cooked chicken breast
1 c shredded Colby-Jack cheese, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Place yogurt, broth, Navy and black beans, green chilies, tomatoes, lime juice, garlic and all spices (through the Mrs. Dash seasoning blend) in your Blendtec, and blend on the ‘Soup’ setting.
  2. Once the soup has blended, pour it into a large stockpot set on medium-high heat.
  3. Add the corn and shredded chicken to the soup and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Portion the soup into 6-8 bowls, topping each with chopped cilantro and shredded cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Our Spring Break Adventures & Frito-Lay #FritoSpringBreak Sony Camera Giveaway

This post is brought to you by Frito-Lay, they gave us samples and a camera to chronicle our Spring Break Adventures. Our opinions are our own.

Frito-Lay gave us a Spring Break pack, The Frito-Lay Spring Break Pack is perfect for the beach, a road trip or a neighborhood get together. The pack included the Classic Mix variety bag, The Classic Mix variety packs are full of Lay’s Classic potato chips, Doritos Nacho Cheese and Doritos Cool Ranch tortilla chips, Cheetos snacks, Original flavored SunChips snacks and Fritos Original corn chips. With these snacks and a camera in hand, we began our adventures in the car for our trip down to Disneyland. We saw the sunrise

image

We had a ton of fun jumping on the beds

DSC00046

We saw Minnie & Mickey Mouse at Disneyland

DSC00002

We climbed on fences

DSC00014

We had breakfast with Goofy?

image

We released lady bugs in the garden.

image

Had David Arquette read us a book

image

We made so many memories on Spring Break and we’re not even done with our journey yet. We have five days to drive home and plan on driving through the red wood forests. I love it. I love making memories with the kids. We have stories of playing in the pool for three hours at a time then having dinner with other characters.

DSC00018

And we ate Chips the whole way

image

Be sure to Like Frito-Lay on Facebook, and follow @FritoLay on Twitter and use the hashtag #FritoSpringBreak  #SweepsEntry.

Enter to Win:

Your Frito-Lay Spring Break Pack will include:

o 1 Sony – DSC-H300 20.1-Megapixel Digital Camera – Black

o 1 $50 Visa Gift Card for games or other activities

o 1 pack of Classic Mix multi-pack

o 4 Frito-Lay branded cold drink holders

o 4 pairs of Frito-Lay branded sunglasses

To Enter:

Tell me what your Spring Break Experiences are in the comments

Extra Entries:

use the rafflecopter and leave a way to verify it

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat Review & Giveaway

This post is brought to you by Honeywell a sample was provided.

By Lynn:

It’s spring and the temperatures are rising. I remember just the other day as all the neighbors were opening their windows I decided it’s time to put the air conditioner on. I’ve also seen on Facebook that other’s are starting to turn theirs on in different parts of the country as well. Well, why not start out with a brand new Thermostat by Honeywell. DSC_0158

The Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat is a really sleek design. It has a cool look to it, and is nice and compact. It has a silver design that I think will do well in modern houses, but it won’t stand out like a sore thumb in the more traditional house. It is also surprisingly small, which keeps it less noticeable. I took a photo of it next to a clutch pencil so you can see how long it is – not very, huh?

DSC_0160DSC_0161

Honeywell provided sufficient information to get the thermostat set up. My favorite is the “Quick Start Guide to Selecting You Display Colors”.

DSC_0162Can you guess why? In just a few steps you can customize your thermostat’s background color to coordinate with your indoor wall color or interior décor! You don’t only have to use preset colors, you can customize them as well! Hmmm, now to decide if I want it to blend in or contrast and stand out?

Wi_Fi_Smart_Thermostat

Honeywell also provided this weblink, it provides videos and information to install the new thermostat.

Wi_Fi_Smart_Thermostat_green

Another feature that makes this product stand out, well to me any way because I am a really gadgety person and I like to new technology around me, but nothing too complicated! I have kids you know! I can’t spend too much time fiddling but I like to have access to things at my finger tips. Like apps, on my smart phone. And, as the name suggests, the “Wi Fi” means there is an app that will connect your phone to the thermostat! Yep, even easier to adjust the settings! So this also means if you forget to turn down the heating while you head out for a vacation, all you need to do is adjust the settings via the app on your smart phone, computer, or tablet – even if you’ve flown to the other side of the world.Wi_Fi_Smart_Thermostat_pink

Oh I’ve just had an amazing idea: If you go away for vacation to somewhere warm in the winter months and turn your heating down to save on the electric bill, you can turn the heating back on from the airport and then arrive at a nice warm and cozy home!
And now I can crank up the heat while hubby isn’t looking! “Me? I’m just playing Candy Crush on my phone, dear…”

Now that I’ve told you so much about this cool (or hot, J ) product, lets I’m sure you’d like to know if you can win one, right?

Enter to Win:

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

To Enter:

Tell me what your favorite feature is on the Honeywell Thermostat.

Extra Entries:

Use the rafflecopter and leave a way to verify it

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

About Lynn:

I met Lynn in MOMS Club and she has two children. One of which is the same age as my daughter and they love to giggle and play together. Lynn Hooper is also a local Mary Kay Consultant while also being a full time mom. “A lot of what the business stands for is true to my heart. Mary Kay Inc. has a foundation that donates funds to help end domestic violence and also funds research into cancers that affect women. Mary Kay also has what’s called "The Golden Rule" which means God (faith) first, family second and business third. A great principal for me and nice to know I am part of a team that believes in this too.

Fun Gift For Grandparents: Monthly Shipment of Tandem Lane

This post is brought to you by Tandem Lane, a new subscription service that provides photos and activities or snacks and samples.

WP_20140409_14_55_23_Pro

We received one of these boxes so we could get a glimpse into what a grandmother or grandfather would get from the senders. I think it’s a perfect box for a grandparent to share with their grandchildren. But since I’m not a grandmother yet, I might still have that HUGE chocolate or sweet tooth that I already have and would devour everything in the box myself anyway.

WP_20140409_14_56_29_Pro

This is the bright yellow box that the shipment comes in. Items are selected based on advice from aging experts, caregivers and seniors themselves. Subscribers can specify male/female and sugar/no-sugar when they sign up and email digital photos as well as notes to Tandem Lane to be included in each monthly package. Tandem Lane will print the photos and notes, and also enclose a ‘brag book’ in the first month’s shipment to store the photos accumulated over time. Fees begin at $19/month for a six-month subscription.

WP_20140409_14_54_48_Pro

Tandem Lane is meant to help you stay connected

Each month’s delivery comes in a toaster-sized box with activities such as card games, word puzzles and gardening kits. Subscribers receive an email notifying them of the theme and items in each shipment.

Tandem Lane was founded by Chris Lund and Anila Venkat, who previously created the ElderBranch website to help people find long-term care facilities. The Tandem Lane concept grew out of their own experiences with older relatives as well as extensive discussions with geriatricians, therapists, assisted living facility and nursing home administrators, and other health care providers specializing in the elderly.

“When we Skype or Facetime with my grandmother, even a five-minute call makes such an impact. A Tandem Lane package can be another important touchpoint,” Venkat said. “All of us get busy in our daily lives, and this is a way to be sure that you regularly reach out and touch older relatives to let them know you care.”

For more information, visit www.tandemlane.com.

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month #ItCanWait

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to Distraction.gov, a quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. AT&T’s DriveMode app helps curb the urge to text and drive, and now, new Parental Alerts help parents ensure their teens are safe on the road. It’s a big deal for adults and teens, maybe adults more than kids.

In Washington, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (click here), and law enforcement officers in Washington State will be cracking down on distracted drivers as part of a new national distracted driving enforcement campaign this month.  Now through April 15, the high visibility enforcement efforts will target motorists who are observed driving distracted — talking on hand-held cell phones, sending text messages, and otherwise not paying attention to the road while driving.

In Oregon, the Oregon Department of Transportation is supporting a new national distracted driving enforcement campaign (click here). ODOT, Oregon State Police and law enforcement from around the state, along with NHTSA, consider distracted driving to be an emerging highway safety issue that must be addressed. With the month-long designation and a special week of enforcement, April 10-15, it’s a good time for all users of the transportation system to put away the distractions and focus on getting where you want to go safely.

Drive Mode

DriveMode automatically starts when it registers that the vehicle has reached 25 MPH and turns off when the vehicle has stopped. If someone texts or calls your son or daughter while the app is on, an auto reply message is sent letting them know their friend is driving, allowing teens to focus on the road. With the new alerts, the app also tells parents when the app is turned off while the car is moving.  ATT_ICW_LOGO

For more information online, please see our story page with video, att.com/drivemode and ItCanWait.com.

Agua Fresca de Sandia Recipe

What’s better than a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day? In states like California and Texas summer hits in early May if not even sooner and lemonade may already be on your mind. Well Blendtec was kind enough to share a fantastic recipe for Agua Fresca de Sandia! YUM! Super easy and refreshing.

agua_fresca_de_sandia

Agua Fresca de Sandia Recipe

Agua Fresca is to Central America what lemonade is to the United States on a warm summer day.

Ingredients

4   c watermelon, seeded and cubed

2   tbsp agave nectar

1   tbsp fresh lime juice

1   c ice cubes

Instructions

Add ingredients to WildSide jar in order listed. Secure lid and select "Smoothie." Pour into glasses, and garnish with lime slices and ice.

Our Spring Break Adventures & Frito-Lay #FritoSpringBreak Sony Camera Giveaway

This post is brought to you by Frito-Lay, they gave us samples and a camera to chronicle our Spring Break Adventures. Our opinions are our own.

Frito-Lay gave us a Spring Break pack, The Frito-Lay Spring Break Pack is perfect for the beach, a road trip or a neighborhood get together. The pack included the Classic Mix variety bag, The Classic Mix variety packs are full of Lay’s Classic potato chips, Doritos Nacho Cheese and Doritos Cool Ranch tortilla chips, Cheetos snacks, Original flavored SunChips snacks and Fritos Original corn chips. With these snacks and a camera in hand, we began our adventures in the car for our trip down to Disneyland. We saw the sunrise

image

We had a ton of fun jumping on the beds

DSC00046

We saw Minnie & Mickey Mouse at Disneyland

DSC00002

We climbed on fences

DSC00014

We had breakfast with Goofy?

image

We released lady bugs in the garden.

image

Had David Arquette read us a book

image

We made so many memories on Spring Break and we’re not even done with our journey yet. We have five days to drive home and plan on driving through the red wood forests. I love it. I love making memories with the kids. We have stories of playing in the pool for three hours at a time then having dinner with other characters.

DSC00018

And we ate Chips the whole way

image

Be sure to Like Frito-Lay on Facebook, and follow @FritoLay on Twitter and use the hashtag #FritoSpringBreak  #SweepsEntry.

Enter to Win:

Your Frito-Lay Spring Break Pack will include:

o 1 Sony – DSC-H300 20.1-Megapixel Digital Camera – Black

o 1 $50 Visa Gift Card for games or other activities

o 1 pack of Classic Mix multi-pack

o 4 Frito-Lay branded cold drink holders

o 4 pairs of Frito-Lay branded sunglasses

To Enter:

Tell me what your Spring Break Experiences are in the comments

Extra Entries:

use the rafflecopter and leave a way to verify it

a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Easy Salsa Recipe Perfect For Cinco De Mayo

I am a huge fan of Mexican food and my birthday is the day after Cinco De Mayo which I love because everyone is in the mood to eat my favorite food on my birthday. Salsa, beans, chicken, pork, it can all be turned into great food. I received this recipe from Blendtec, (of Will It Blend fame) are a blender and food processor rolled into one. I love using a blender and a food processor when cooking.

easy_salsa

Easy Salsa Recipe

Serve this slightly chunky salsa with homemade baked tortilla chips. To move this mild salsa up on the Scoville scale, add a little cayenne pepper or fresh jalapeños.

Ingredients

4   oz canned green chilies, not drained

1   tbsp fresh lime juice

1   clove garlic, quartered

12   tsp kosher salt

14   tsp ground cumin

1412   oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

2   tbsp onion

14   c fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

Add green chilies, lime juice, garlic, salt, and cumin to FourSide jar and secure lid. Press "Pulse" 3–5 times. Add tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Secure lid and "Pulse" 3–5 times.

4 Cities You’ll Pay a Bundle to Visit

This post is brought to you by Annie Davis.

It’s hardly breaking news that New York City is the most expensive place to visit in the United States. TripAdvisor even ranked it fourth in the world for the most expensive night out. While American tourists know what they’re getting into when they visit the Big Apple, there are other cities around the country that can also cost travelers a bundle. Here are a few.

Orlando, Fla.

Two words: Disney tickets. Single park admission for adults is slowly creeping toward $100, meaning a family of four pays almost $400 just to get into one park. That doesn’t include food, souvenirs, water, and other miscellaneous park purchases. Even if a family decides to skip the happiest place on earth in favor of Universal Studios or SeaWorld, tickets will still cost them hundreds of dollars. The flights and hotels might be decently priced, but once families arrive their wallets are in pain. 

Nashville, Tenn.

Nashville is considered heaven on Earth for country music lovers, but the music rarely comes cheap. Attending concerts throughout your vacation can quickly add up. For some visitors, standing a few feet from their country music idol is worth every penny, but it’s just going to take a lot of pennies to get there.

In order to spend responsibly when traveling, consider buying VIP tickets to one show while looking for discounts and staying further back at others. All the concerts will be great, but you’ll have one that sticks in your memory forever. 

New Orleans, La.

While this city might not be costly all year long, there’s a certain week in the spring where prices skyrocket. Visitors will pay considerably more for flights and hotels during Mardi Gras than during the rest of the year because of the increased demand.

Plus, the costs don’t stop once travelers reach their destination, because that’s when the drinking begins. After a few mixed drinks, it’s easy to forget how much you’ve spent – and that’s usually when you start buying entire rounds. Only the wise can travel to New Orleans without going over budget.

Monterey, Calif.

If you’re looking to skip the bustle of San Francisco or Los Angeles, you might consider finding an Alamo rental car near you and taking a road trip down coast. The Pacific Coast Highway is regularly named one of the top road trips in the United States, and with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, it’s not hard to see why.

However, the journey to Monterey is paved with expenses. California is one of the most expensive states to visit, no matter where you are, and taking a road trip with current gas prices will slowly siphon dollars out of your pocket. Make sure your rental car gets good gas mileage before you hit the road.

Just because a city is expensive doesn’t mean travelers should avoid it. It just means they need to be realistic about their budgets before they leave. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, and that pound of cure translates into cold, hard cash.

Meeting The Moms of ABC TV #ABCTVEVENT

Moms come in all shapes and sizes and no matter what their profession or how they gave birth if they take care of a child that they call their own they are a mom. We often forget that actors and actresses are just down to earth people that love their job. Their life looks extremely glamorous but once they get home from work it’s the same as us. They get home run upstairs change clothes into comfy yoga pants and are ready to tackle the day a home. At least that’s how Ming-Na Wen describes her home. Her husband says he would prefer a few minutes with the fake Ming-Na, but he’s still quite happy to have her home for the day.

image

Ming-Na wasn’t the only ABC TV mom that we met. I also met, Wendi McLendon-Covey of THE GOLDBERGS (@wendimcclendonco), Amanda Fuller of LAST MAN STANDING (@amandafuller27), Patricia Heaton of THE MIDDLE (@PatriciaHeaton), Frankie Shaw of MIXOLOGY (@frankishawisag), Alexis Carra of MIXOLOGY (@alexiscarra),Toks Olagundoye of THE NEIGHBORS (@ToksOlagundoye), Jami Gertz of THE NEIGHBORS, Malin Akerman of TROPHY WIFE (@MalinAkerman). Moms that love to talk about their children just as much as we do!

image

I felt so blessed for the experience and I’m kicking myself because I left all my photos on my old phone. I have a picture with Patricia Heaton and Jami Gertz. Both of whom I was able to talk to for quite a while eating appetizers and drinking cocktails together. Patricia spoke a lot about her son and Jami had lots of parenting advice while also saying as a parent you just do the best you can.

But at least I found this photo of me and Tara with the Mixology girls.

image

The Moms of ABC are at all different stages of motherhood. They all play mother’s on TV but not all can pull from that experience some of the moms had to spend the day with a niece or nephew to get a real parenting experience. What I loved most was hearing Ming-Na tell me that she, like me wouldn’t be able to home school her children without someone in the house getting hurt. And when she has to deal with behavior sometimes the best thing to say is “Don’t make me go Agent May on you!”

image

Which reminds me, Agents of Shield is really good right now cleaning up the aftermath of what happened in Captain America The Winter Soldier (Now in theaters).