Everyone I know (okay, online anyway) is in love with their Instapot, and while I have not yet succumbed, we do have a few time-saving kitchen devices. There’s an older pressure cooker that I pull out only rarely – just one bad experience with a chicken soup spill/semi-explosion (entirely operator error, btw) stays with you for a while, and a newish Crock-Pot which I use at least once a week because I do like an easy dinner prep.
Our favorite, and possibly over-served but maybe not because I never get push back, dish is Smitten Kitchen’s Black Bean Ragout. Served over garlick-y toast, rice or pasta or sweet potatoes (we do love our starches), with avocado and quick pickled red onions. The leftovers (if there are any) go into another favorite – and super easy – dish also from Smitten Kitchen – Spaghetti Squash tacos (shhh, I even microwave the spaghetti squash – it’s so fast and easy).
These lovely Parmesan crackers are another favorite. Serve them alone, or with almost anything – hummus, chutney, more cheese, and it will look as if you know more than you do about baking.
We’ve been eating more plant-based foods around here, it’s healthier, more eco-friendly and kinder, too. And the Minimalist Baker is wonderful go-to resource. I made the One Pot Red Lentil Chili for that freezing cold Marathon Monday and it was delicious! Start it on the stove and move to the slow-cooker.
We also love the wonderfully flavorful and hearty Abundance Kale Salad. Prep this on Sunday and you have meals for a few days. I also prep grain bowls for lunches. Make your favorite grains in advance and put them in the fridge, do the same with roasted veggies. In the morning, pack a bowl with whatever strikes your fancy. Fast dressing? A chef friend told me to slightly water down hummus for a quick tahini dressing. Yummy and easy.
I was recently invited to a holiday party with a group of Xfinity Moms to learn about new and improved Comcast services. I have partnered with them for this sponsored post to share with you a few of my favorite things. As always, all opinions are my own.
So on a very cold night last week, I was persuaded to leave the comfort of my home, and a potential evening of binge watching The Crown, to learn more about Xfinity at the Comcast store in Burlington. Okay, my decision was helped along by the promise of prizes – namely a goodie bag of cute Xfinity swag and time with some bloggers I know in real life and online. Great timing, because we are looking over our phone, internet, and television service and about what is best for our now far flung family. With two kids in college, the daily household internet and television use might be down but only until they’re home again – and in the meantime, we’re not willing to give up fast internet speed and service.
So, what did I learn? A lot, actually. Did you know that 86 percent of in-home broadband use will travel over wi-fi this year, and by 2020 Americans will have an average of 50 wi-fi connected devices in their homes? What?! I can’t wait to see our future home! Like The Jetsons but without the flying cars.
While we nibbled on yummy food, and as I finally warmed up with a hot cider, I learned about Xfinity XFi and some cool new features. Like what? Well, you can pause wi-fi on your network by device OR user! Hello homework helper! That is definitely a feature that I wish we had while our kids were younger. So awesome for managing screen time. More features for the younger set?
Comcast has partnered with one of my favorite sites for help in determining appropriate content for kids is Common Sense Media, and now you can get ratings and reviews directly on the TV. And you can set up controls by age – super helpful.
Well, it’s almost Christmas and the Santa Tracker has fun games, music, movies and sing-a-longs, updates how many days until Santa will be here. Year round, The Kids Zone is a safe and secure place for them to explore age appropriate content.
We also learned that voice recognition is here…and it is awesome. Say you want to re-watch (no judgement) Love Actually – just say so and it will play it! And once you’re watching the movie, you can replay your favorite scene… like my favorite performance of All I want for Christmas is You.
Xfinity makes finding your favorite shows a breeze with a very cool user interface that can be set to menu style below or using images – I’m seriously into the visual menu. And for your sports fans – check out the team remotes!
Wait, there’s more! We learned that Xfinity Mobile was the nation’s first wireless service and you can set up your account in different ways – either “By the Gig” for $12 per GB of shared data across all lines per month, or an unlimited plan for $45 per month, per line. If you’re paying by the gigabyte, you can “switch and save” by changing to Unlimited anytime during the billing cycle. Or also “mix and match” so each individual has a data option that makes works best for them. Great idea – our mobile needs seem to change monthly.
My favorite feature? If you’re home and can’t find your phone (phew – it’s not just me), you can ask the tv where your phone is. My kids will really like this feature so I can stop asking them to call my phone for me. Yes, it may happen once or twice…a week.
Wow, Xfinity has a lot going on! And I haven’t even mentioned their home security, control and energy management platform called Xfinity Home. You can stay connected to your home wherever you are. And they have awesome apps for streaming, checking your home security, Comcast account, and connecting to your email and with Voice2go access which lets you take Xfinity Voice virtually anywhere (including overseas). Now that’s a feature your college student can use if they’re lucky enough to take a semester abroad!
So many features, and such a innovative and thoughtful approach to integrating your tech life with your real life activities. Well done, Comcast!
or How to get Farm Fresh Food even in the middle of Winter in New England.
I love everything about our local Farmers Market, from the farm fresh produce to seeing friends, getting to know the farmers, and bringing my recyclable bags, which for some reason I don’t remember to bring anywhere else but the farmers market – go figure. And right about now, in the midst of all the holiday cooking and baking, I miss it the most. As luck would have it, I was introduced to Farmers To You and invited to try it out by ordering so I could write about it – perfect timing – just before Thanksgiving.
This is a terrific find – it links New England farmers and producers to Boston-area families bringing the best local, sustainable and artisanal foods to your family year-round. Farm to Table – yes! Farmers To You delivers to several cities and towns – and now in Newton! You can check your zip code here to see where the closest delivery spot is to you.
Oh, and cheese – gorgeous Moses Sleeper cheese from Jasper Hill Farm, organic tofu from Vermont Soy, Vegan eggrolls from Rhapsody Natural Foods – the non-vegans loved these, too. And salmon from Starbird Fish Company, which came in super handy with the vegan egg rolls when someone was too sick to go to Thanksgiving dinner and we had all the gorgeous vegetables and salad but no turkey (don’t worry – we had a do-over the next day).
My next order will include this yummy ice cream…I tried it at a friend’s house and it definitely needs to be parked in our freezer…for a few days anyway. Check out their Facebook Page here.
Along with this pizza crust from Red Hen Baking CompanySo excited to be able to get farm fresh produce and artisanal products year round! I can’t wait for my next order – Newton pick up is super easy – just off Lincoln Street in Newton Highlands.
Disclaimer – I did not receive any compensation for this post just a credit so I could sample the service to aid in the review.
For a long time now we have had a present cabinet. Yes, as in gifts. And, no, I am not super organized. It’s for when I need an emergency gift, you know, when you’ve forgotten an event is coming up – What, you don’t do that? Well, I do and sometimes the cabinet is stocked and I breathe a sigh of relief, and sometimes I am down to some hair ties and a pen.
So I clearly can’t leave special events like birthdays, graduations, weddings or anniversaries to chance, those need more planning, and, well, I have that covered, too. Actually, UncommonGoods does. When they contacted me to share my gift giving practices, I was thrilled – I love their site because they have cool, creative gifts in a wide range of prices, and make shopping by occasion super easy. Located in Brooklyn, NY, they select works from talented artists and artisans, and, as an added bonus, they’re a B Corporation. What is that? It means they do work on social and environmental problems, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community. That’s to the good of everyone.
But you need gifts.
Our family just wrapped up one graduation season, and while the next is a ways off, the holidays are around the corner and I’m betting on UncommonGoods to help with my list. Love this dreamy retro camera that takes romantic, light soaked photos and will charm any photographer, artist or film student. The Diana Camera is super cool, dare I say hipster? – and uses 120 film.
Looking for something a bit more personal? You’re covered there, too, with gifts that can be made to honor a special someone. And I love that the Uncommongoods site lets you search by occasion, interest, price, and category. No small feat, that.
And having just reached a milestone wedding anniversary, I also know a bit about great gifts for anniversaries (or weddings). Keeping it personal is key, and so easy to do here. My favorites for couples include these gorgeous faux bois personalized mugs, just pair with your favorite fair trade coffee.
A new go-to gift: Put together a mixed six pack of local craft beer, the beer labels are cool and the names are usually funny, and if you put that together with these wordy glasses, you have a really thoughtful gift. And you might even pick up a vocab word or two.
Feeling the sentiment? Me, too. Love this company,