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4.14.2015

Hello Fresh Review

I have seen so many advertisements for meal delivery services. Hello Fresh, Plated, and Blue Apron to name a few.

As a stay at home mom for a four month old, I don't have as much time as I would like. Getting in a shower is hard enough some days, much less planning meals and going to the store.

In my Martha Stewart Living, I had a coupon for Hello Fresh. I decided to give it a try.

If you want to give Hello Fresh a try, use this code to get $40 off your first box: D95V3R

When I signed up I get to select three meals to be sent to me on Friday, April 3. The one thing about this service is that you have to select your meals an entire week before they are sent. I had to select my second week of food before I even received my first week.

For the first week I had to select three dinners from the following options (my selections are bolded): Chicken and Artichoke Cassoulet, Rosemary Beef Flatbread, Spicy Shrimp 'Fra Diavolo', Pan- Seared Calamari, and Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Hash




My favorite dish was the Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Hash. I never in a million years would have thought of this dish myself. It was also simple enough that I could easily duplicate it in the future.

My least favorite dish was the Spicy Shrimp "Fra Diavolo." My husband was not crazy about this because he is not really a fan of shrimp. I did not like that this recipe was 90 percent onion. I did make some changes to this recipe. I used roasted garlic that I had for the bread and added more garlic to the shrimp. I also used 1/2 teaspoon of the red pepper flake to give it a good kick.

For the second week these were my options: Rosemary- Walnut Crusted Chicken, Steak Sandwiches, Spring Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto, Spicy Chorizo and Tomato Penne, and Mushroom Quesadillas

As my husband was eating his last bite of his chicken, I realized that I had not taken a picture of it. Sadly, I was not sent the chorizo so the pasta dish was not very special. I did a picture of the the delicious Steak Sandwich!





My favorite dish from this week was the Rosemary- Walnut Crusted Chicken. I did do a couple of modifications to this recipe. I used addition mustard that I had in the pantry. I didn't think they gave me enough to cover the top of both pieces of chicken. I also added more rosemary to the breading mixture and the potatoes.


Overall:

It is very nice to have meals already planned for me for three days out of the week. I still had to go to the store for the rest of the meals and to pick up stuff for breakfast and lunch. Aside from them leaving out the chorizo on accident, they do provide almost everything you need for the meal. You do need to have panty staples such as salt, pepper, sugar, and oil.

Some of the meals might have been bland if I didn't add spice to them myself. My husband and I really like robust flavors so this could just be us.

I also really liked not having to worry about portion control. You are provided with enough to make two servings. We never had any leftovers and I never felt like I ate too much. This is great for me and my husband as we are both trying to eat less.

I also liked that I had some options for the meals. Some services do not let you pick what meals you are getting.

The one drawback is the price. I do feel the price is a bit high, especially compared to their competitors.

I will be trying Blue Apron for two weeks for a comparison before I decide if I am going to continue using this service.

Dont forget to use this code to get $40 off your first Hello Fresh box D95V3R 

4.06.2015

Diaper Bag Essentials

Taking a baby out requires carrying around a lot of gear. What I pack varies depending on the outing. However, there are some items that I consider to be essential diaper bag items.

While I would prefer to carry a lovely Coach or Kate Spade diaper bag, my husband wanted a more practical and gender neutral diaper bag. 

I found this Eddie Bauer Bremerton Duffle Diaper Bag from Target for $39.99. What a steal!

Nuk Orthodontic Bottle, Medi Buddy First Aid Kit, Huggies Wipes,
Carter's Swaddle Blanket, Thinkbaby Sunscreen


I pack five diapers, a couple of toys, a change of clothes, a bottle of water, and enough formula for two feedings. 



3.31.2015

Land Your Dream Job In Portland: Summary and Review

The job market today, while allegedly better than it has been in years, is still not great. In Portland, where there is a high number of educated citizens, finding a good job is even harder. Now if I wanted to serve coffee or work at a call center, I would have no problem finding employment.

I want to be gainfully employed and preferably in a position where I can have a positive impact on my community. 

In the past, I have never had a hard time finding a job. In 2008, I managed to secure employment in Iowa while living in California.I found employment in less than a month when I decided to move to Oregon.

Being unemployed for the past four months is very unusual for me. Thankfully, I have a little boy to keep my days full. However, it is time for me to get back in the job market. 

In order to stand out from the hundreds of applicants, my application has to be perfect. 

To get some help with my job hunt I decided to purchase the e-book "Landing Your Dream Job in Portland." This book is from Mac's List, Portland's top source for jobs in the city and Oregon. 

This book caught my eye, because ELGL.org did a couple of posts on it. I decided to check it out.

I purchased the book for $29 on the Mac's List website. You can find it here.



 I don't want to ruffle up the people at Mac's List so I won't give it all away.

Chapter 1: Assessing Your Interests and Skills 

"Before you can find the perfect job, you need to take a good, hard look at yourself, your loves and hates, and your strengths and weaknesses."

This quote perfectly sums up this chapter. I was hoping that the Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment would be included with this text, I don't really feel like buying another book, especially one I've already read a couple of years ago. 

Chapter 2: Presenting Yourself Online

"You need to be virtually visible- but only in the best way possible."

I don't have much to worry about as far as incriminating photos on the Internet. I keep my life pretty PG-13. However, I can do better at leveraging my online presence. Not only should your online life look scandal free, you should use your online presence to advance yourself professionally.

Chapter 3:Networking and Conducting Informational Interviews

The book says to connect with others, communicate your ideas, and create community.

This is the hardest part for me. I'm not great at networking. I won't even lie. I absolutely hate it. However, the book points out that networking is the key to the hidden job market. It is the key to the jobs that never get posted. 

While the book does make me think about my need to network, this information isn't exactly novel. 

Chapter 4: Looking for Opportunities and Experience

This section recommends finding internships, doing volunteer work, finding a mentor, or taking a temporary position in order to get experience.

Chapter 5: Applying for a Job

This chapter outlines the importance of tweaking your resume for every job application as well as writing unique cover letters.

Chapter 6: Interviewing and Marketing Yourself

The key to a good interview is being prepared. Know the company, know the job, and have some great questions ready. This chapter also talks about following up. 

I always do tons of research on a place even before I submit my application. I look into the organization, I look up the human resources staff, I look up current staff. By the time I get an interview, I know a lot about the organization and the people that work there. 

Chapter 7: Creating and Marketing Your Brand

"Embrace your passions, quirks, and differences and make them part of why people want to hire you"

The chapter takes pretty much combines chapter one and chapter 2 as a way to promote yourself. Use your passions and strengths and market your brand. It also suggests making your brand into a business by working for yourself.

Chapter 8: Navigating Your Career Path

Your career is a never ending project. 

This chapter emphasizes that you are never finished. It is important to continue to think about your career goals and to continue evaluating your skills and values. 

Keeping these things in mind, you may find that a career change is in order. Or maybe, you can advance your career by obtaining more education. 

Ultimately this book served as a reminder of the things a person needs to do to find a job. For those that are recent graduates or do not have a lot of experience looking for a job, this is a great book.

2.26.2015

On Trend: Black and White

Image Map I have never been one to be very trendy. However, I am ready to get onboard with this one. This trend can be worn by anyone regardless of age or shape. I also like that you can dress it up for work or keep it casual. I like to do all black but you could use shoes or a bag to add a pop of color.

2.02.2015

Easy Freezer Meals

As a new parent, I don't have a lot of time. In fact, I don't have enough time to do everything that needs to be done. When my husband gets home from work, I want to maximize my time with him. The last thing I want to do is spend hours cooking dinner. 

I recently purchased this Kenmore 5.0  Cubic Foot Chest Freezer. I bought this freezer when it was on sale for $199. I could have found a cheaper one, but I wanted a freezer that I knew would last. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. 

To save time in the kitchen, I went shopping and then prepped several meals. Prep the meals, put them in a freezer bag. All I have to do is thaw it one day and put it in the crock pot the next. 


freezer recipes


Taco Soup

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef 
15 oz can kidney beans
15 oz can black beans
2 15oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes 
1 8oz can tomato sauce
2/3 cup water
2 packets taco seasoning ( I added more chili powder for more kick)
1 16oz bag frozen fire roasted corn, or regular corn if that's all you can find
1 cup diced onion
4oz cans diced green chilies

Instructions

Brown ground beef; set aside.
Drain & rinse beans thoroughly, place in large mixing bowl
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water
Add taco seasoning and mix well
Add the corn, onions, and diced green chilies.
Finally add the beef and mix well
Once cool divide mixture into 2  gallon size freezer bags and freeze. ( or use food saver)

To cook:  Cook in crock pot on high for 3-4 hours

Deconstructed  Shepard's Pie
1 pound ground pork
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1-3/4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 medium carrots, chopped
1- 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup frozen peas

Add pork,onion, garlic,and mushrooms to pan on medium heat; cook until meat is browned 
Remove from heat 
Mix in thyme, peas, carrots
Mix in Worcestershire and broth
Once cool put in gallon bag and freeze. 

To cook: Cook in crock pot on high 3.5 hours, serve with mashed potatoes or parsnip puree 

Meatballs
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef
1-1/2 Italian seasoned breadcrumbs 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoons salt (I'm stingy with salt, you may want more)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients well
Roll into 2-inch balls and place on baking sheet (makes about 40)
Broil for 6 minutes flipping halfway 
Once cool divide into freezer bags ( I did 2 bags of 20)

To cook: Cook in crock pot with can of pasta sauce on low for 3 hours 



1.28.2015

IKEA Raskog Cart

When I found out I was having a baby, I had to get rid of a bunch of stuff because I knew I would need space for all of the baby stuff. I wanted the items I use frequently to be easy to get to.
On the top shelf I have wipes, powder, diaper ointment, and lotion. I keep diapers on the second shelf. Burp clothes and bibs fill the final shelf.

The cart is easy to move and can fit anywhere. I even bought a cart for my room to hold all of my makeup, medicine, and hair accessories.

It is also currently on sale for $29.99!

* This is not a sponsored post. 

1.19.2015

My Favorite Baby Products

When I found out I was having a baby, I started doing a ton of reading on everything baby. I read about strollers, and car seats, baby bottles, pacifiers...

I also bought a lot of stuff. Way too much in fact. Some of my purchases were hits but quite a few were misses. Here is my list of favorite baby products.

1. Dr. Brown's Bottles 

I wish I had found these bottles earlier. I was using a different brand that was supposed to be more natural feeling, but the nipple kept collapsing. These bottles, while they have more parts, work like a vacuum to reduce air bubbles. I really think they help with gas. Dr. Brown also offers several different nipples with different flow rates. While my baby doesn't use pacifier often, I also use Dr. Brown PreVent Pacifiers.

Dr. Brown's Bottles

2.  Carter's Swaddle Blankets 

I found that a lot of swaddle blankets are not very big. With my son being 20 inches long at birth, short swaddle blankets did not cut it. These Carter's Swaddle Blankets are my favorite. They are large and have a bit of stretch to them. They make it super easy to make a perfect swaddle. 

Carter's Swaddle Blankets 

3.  Angelcare AC420 Monitor

Monitors are super fancy now. They sell monitors now that show video. Some even allow you to view the video from your smart phone. Living in a small apartment where the nursery is easy to get to, I didn't see the need to spend hundreds of dollars on a video monitor. Maybe if your baby's nursery is on a different floor there would be a need. This monitor has a night light and a thermometer.  like being able to know how warm or cold the nursery is so i can adjust the heat or open a window if needed. 

Angelcare AC420 Monitor

4. Enfamil Premium Newborn Infant Formula Nursettes

This isn't the kind of formula I use for every feeding, but it is my go to when traveling. At one month old, I try not to go to many places with him, but when I do I want feeding to be easy. I keep several of these in his bag for just in case he needs to eat. They are super convenient because there is no mixing and they don't have to be refrigerated. 


Enfamil Infant Formula Nursettes


5. Sleep Sheep

Putting my little one to bed is difficult. Like his mom, he is a night owl. I am working on getting him used to a bedtime routine. This sleep sheep plays lovely sounds and turns off automatically. Our favorite sound is the ocean followed by the rain. The sheep plays several natural sounds as well as songs. I bought the Pottery Barn sheep bed set so this goes perfectly. It comes in a regular size that attaches to the crib and a travel size.

Sleep Sheep