Thursday, February 27, 2014

How Does The Bluapple Work?

Fruits and vegetables emit ethylene gas.  This silent process is what brings produce to a rippened stage, and then if not eaten and left for dead...the spoiled stage. (I have been guilty of this in the past).  Ripened produce is high in ethlyene gases. This ripened food, when left in your refrigerator with newly purchased produce, will cause your new produce to rippen even faster.

If you use The Bluapple, however, you get up to three times longer to eat your produce so that when you put new produce in the refrigerator, nothing is spoiled. It is gone. It was chopped, sliced, diced or juiced already. :)

Sometimes I will buy certain fruits or vegetables because they are on sale.  I don't know what recipe I am going to use them for at the moment, but when peaches are only .89 cents a lb, I buy peaches and figure the rest out when I get home! But then life happens and I eat out, make anything other than peach filled recipes, or just plain forget about them because the head of lettuce is hiding them.  And without the Bluapple in my crisper drawer, I used to take the bag of fruit from my crisper drawer and place it directly into my trash due to spoilage.  It was so irritating! Such a waste.  And now?  I see those hidden peaches days later and get to enjoy them still.  It is such a win!

And so we made a commercial, to help inform everyone how the Bluapple works.  I quite like it. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What To Do with Mashed Potatoes?

I love mashed potatoes.  I usually make more than anyone can or wants to eat. And to be honest, my kids don't love them as much as I do. I not only love them for the taste, but also for how easy they are to add to any main dish as a side meal. If I don't have a lot of the main meal for everyone to fill up on, these lovely vegetables do the trick of filling up kids while tasting delicious.  Serving them more than once a week however gets a little old.

So I found a solution that makes everyone happy...even me!  These potato cakes make my mashed potatoes the main meal now, with a side of other vegetables and a fruit smoothie completing the meal. It is a nice break from meat while adding variety to our dinner menu.

And they look pretty. :)

And my 13 year old thinks they are fun to make. ANYTHING that gets him in the kitchen with me to hang out by choice, instead of him setting the table and waiting in the living room with the TV is a win. We've tried these with sour cream, baked beans, white sauce and plain. They are always a hit!

Potato Pancakes

Do you know how to store your potatoes until they are ready to be peeled, cut, boiled and mashed?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Morning Cereal With a Side of Cinnamon Rolls!

I know what you are thinking. Sunday morning cereal IS NOT A BREAKFAST.
But let's be honest. As Jim Gaffigan said so well in a comic routine, neither are pancakes with syrup.

And so, since it is Sunday and I do not feel like doing anything other than watching snowboard videos with my teen, catching up with friends on Facebook and then getting ready to go out on a hike with the kids into the beautiful mountains, I think a bowl of cereal in front of them is appropriate while I prepare what is to be our glue that brings us together tonight...Cinnamon Rolls.

This recipe is called "Overnight"...but since I am making these at 7 am, they will be ready to enjoy tonight at 8 pm, right before we head off to bed. (I cut a little time off of the refrigerator biggie.) They are the perfect treat to gobble up while we talk about our day in the mountains and what our adventures for the upcoming week might be. 

And the bonus is...guess what is for breakfast on Monday?  Cereal? No...what kind of mom gives her kids cereal for breakfast???  We will be eating cinnamon rolls with a side of eggs and a fruit smoothie.  That sounds like a delicious way to start a Monday. :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Dinner Ideas

*Deep Sigh with a smile*

Ah Friday! How I have looked forward to you, an evening with  no rush to get to bed early in order to function the next day!  Just a nice evening of cooking at home, settling down to a night of family free time, each of us involved in our different interests, but all in the same room. Don't get me wrong, I love going out on a date with my husband on the weekends.  But sometimes ( a lot of times) I also enjoy a stress free night of making something delicious and enjoying the company of my family that I love. It makes me feel all fantastic inside. It is perfect.

And a dinner idea that everyone loves, to help set the mood, is an easy click away. 

These recipes on the Opera Website are fantastic! I haven't ever added a tomato to my grilled cheese sandwich. I think I will tonight! 

Friday Night Deliciousness

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The PRODUCEOLOGY of storing your fruits and vegetables.

The Bluapple is an amazing little apple that absorbs ethylene gas that produce naturally emits.  This gas absorption helps produce to last longer. Amazing, right?  Yes!

BUT it takes more than just ethylene gas absorption to keep your produce lasting longer.

The Bluapple is just one part of the three necessary pillars for produce freshness.  Humidity and temperature control are also needed to be taken care of. The Bluapple website has so much helpful information on produce storage tips.  Check it out!

Click on the link below to learn the PRODUCEOLOGY of your fruits and vegetables!

Storage Tips 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dear Monday. Hello and Welcome.

I am sure many of you experienced what I do in the mornings, especially on a Monday. The weekend is over and the experience of opening up your eyes and having all day to complete your tasks on your own time table are over. Yes, Mondays can feel like a weight on your shoulders or a death sentence.

I woke up this morning at a dead run. But it wasn't a run of trying to get stuff done. It was a run to get out of the house and be on my own.

My 13 year old had his friend over to spend the weekend with us, and my older son had his girlfriend over as well as she took a break from her college life to spend it with us in Utah. I am used to only cooking for four people. Three days of cooking for six was a little hard on me, along with activities and sleeping arrangements and arguments over whose turn it was to use the TV in the game room.

I made everyone homemade pancakes and a fruit smoothie for breakfast, sat and sipped my coffee while listening to  plans for the day being made. I smiled as I gathered my things, kissed foreheads and cheeks goodbye, wished everyone well on their adventures and walked out the front door. I stared my car, turned the station to one of my choice and sang along to a Def Leppard tune as I headed towards the freeway.

Ah weekends. I love them. But I have also come to love Monday. :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cookies for loved ones

Valentine's Day is coming up. It is a given that chocolates and flowers will be lovingly handed out more than usual, but what about cookies?

I love cookies. They are easy to make, delightful to eat. We all have our favorites, the old standby that when offered a choice, we will usually reach for.  My favorite is Chocolate Chip. Yum!

That being said, for holidays like Valentines Day, a variety of cookies, or something different than the usual chocolate chip cookie, can be fun to make and give.

Monday, February 10, 2014

An Idea for your sweet tooth Valentine

I love strawberries. I love chocolate. I love to make things pretty.
Chocolate covered strawberries are the perfect gift giving idea for me, as not only do I get to experience the joy of giving SOMETHING I love to SOMEONE I love, but I get to be creative and eat a few samples along the way.

I have a son who is always need of being active and playing outside, and always in need of his hands to be washed.  All I have to do to get him cleaned and indoors for an afternoon with me is to suggest that we create some art as we make these delicious treats for our loved ones.  His hands are washed in moments and we spend an afternoon talking, laughing and eating while we make memories in the form of  chocolate covered strawberries.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

It is Sunday afternoon. It is cold. There is snow. And there is nothing delicious to eat for lunch, unless the cereal KRAVE counts, which according to my 13 year does.

So I look around my kitchen trying to come up with something that will melt in my mouth while I cuddle up to a good book.  I've just gotten back from dropping off my youngest at the ski mountain for the afternoon.  Had I been thinking, I'd have picked up some lunch on my way home.  All I was thinking was how good it would be to get back home where it was warm, kick off my boots and make it a "Sweat Pants Sunday." And after I pour my coffee it hits me. "This coffee would taste better with something dipped in it."

And so I look around my kitchen and consider making cinnamon rolls.  However, I do not know where my Betty Crocker hat is, nor do I want to wait three hours.

And then I see the bananas on the countertop. My perfectly yellow bananas.  Perfect to peel and eat. Not perfect to mash them up and make them into banana bread.

No problem.  I can bake them at 300 degrees on a lined baking sheet for about 40 min.  I then let them cool about 20 min.  This makes the banana perfect to use in baking.  They are sweet and soft and perfect.  While the bananas are baking, I mix up my butter, sugar and eggs, along with my flour, baking soda and water. I also add chocolate chips and walnuts, because not doing so really should be a crime.  I do some dishes, check out Facebook, brush my teeth and take the bananas out to cool.  Twenty minutes seems to long and so I put the baking sheet of bananas outside on the snow for 15 minutes.  Yeah, I break rules like that.

I peel the bananas, mush them with a fork, fold them into my batter and drop spoonfuls into muffin tins. (I also sprinkle a little brown sugar that has been mixed with butter on top.) Ten minutes later I am putting a hot fresh  muffin onto my plate, pouring another cup of coffee and sitting back onto the couch with my book in hand, taking in the delightful smell of banana bread.  My oldest son comes downstairs with a delighted look on his face.  He doesn't say it, but I know what he is thinking. "Yeah, I pretty much have the best mom ever. Did you save me a muffin?"

Happy Sunday Folks. It is going to be a beautiful day.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Better Taste.

The following information is provided on a small card inside each package of The Bluapple. If you lose your copy of it however, I thought it would be nice to have it here on the blog to easily and quickly refer to.

It basically says that  produce will stay the freshest and taste the best when it is stored correctly, with temperature and humidity control (and of course, ethylene gas control with The Bluapple). It lists a suggestion of how to store them and where. It is also informative in that it shows some of the more commonly used fruits and vegetables and what their sensitivity level is to ethlyene gas.

Grab a cup of coffee for a facisnating moring read! :)


To maintain the freshness and flavor of your produce, it is important to know how to store it at home.  Many fruits and vegetables should be stored only at room temperature because refrigerator temperatures (38 to 42 degrees F [3.3 to 5.6 degrees C]) damage them or prevent them from ripening to good flavor and texture.  Other produce can be ripened on the counter and then stored in the refrigerator.  A few fruits and fruit-type vegetables gain sugar or soften when stored at room temperature.

Countertop Storage:

The counter storage area should be away from direct sunlight to prevent produce from becoming too warm.  Fruits and vegetables that can be stored at room temperature for a few days without shriveling do not lose moisture rapidly.  Even so, moisture loss can be reduced by placing produce in a vented plastic owl or a perforated plastic bag.  Do not place produce in sealed plastic bags on the counter because this slows ripening and may increase off-odors and decay due to accumulation of gasses and depletion of oxygen inside the sealed bag.  Ripening in a bowl or paper bag can be enhanced by placing one ripe apple with every 5 to 7 pieces of fruit to be ripened.  The ethylene gas given off accelerates ripening.

Refrigerator Storage:

Refrigerated fruits and vegetables should be kept in perforated plastic bags in the produce drawers of the refrigerator.  You can either purchase perforated plastic bags or make small holes with a sharp object in unperforated platic bags (about 20 holes per medium sized bag). Separate fruits from vegetables (use one drawer for each group) to minimize the detrimental effects of ethylne (produed by the fruits) on the vegetables.  Use all refrigerated fruits and vegetables within a few days since longer storage results in loss of freshness and flavor.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mom! What's for dinner?!

"Mom!  What is for dinner?!?"

Last night at 7 pm, this is what I heard. I like the days when I hear "Mom, how was your day?"  But more often than not, the question relates to what my children will be eating within the next 30 minutes.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a dinner in my mind. Peel a banana, dip some fresh broccoli into a nice hummus dip and maybe eat a side of black beans. I think it is the perfect dinner. Easy, quick and best of all, healthy. The rest of my family does not agree with me.

And so, as I try and be creative with meals and add variety that everyone can agree on, I sometimes take a Sunday and spend it preparing meals that I DON'T have to think about when I get home from work, other than taking it out of the freezer the morning of and heating it up for all to enjoy.

I suggest putting on some great music, pouring a favorite drink and making dinner all day, so you don't have to think about it again all week.  This website is full of different recipes and tips and tricks to get you started with cooking meals ahead of time.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Never Give Up

I had a friend ask me last week, "What situation do you find yourself in where you learn the most; meaning, what happens that makes you learn?"

"When I fail" was my reply. And I thought about that. I accomplish the most right after I screw up, let others down or make a mistake that leaves me with regret. It is in those moments that I pick myself up and make an extra effort and a better attempt the second, third or fourth time around. I WANT to succeed, but sometimes take more than one try to make that happen.

I look back at some of my greatest successes, and nearly all of them happened right after a major fail.

-If you aren't afraid of dying, how can you really live?-

 This is my motto. Not that I am a physical risk taker, because I am not. I drive nice and slow and hold the steering wheel with two hands.  But I am a risk taker with words, with ideas, with thoughts and emotions. Sometimes people very much dislike what I have to say or share.  BUT more often than not, I am well received.

I encourage everyone, whatever your challenge might be, to jump. Take that step and see what happens.  If you fail, learn from it. If you don't and you accomplish something great, pat yourself on the back and look forward to the next big move.