Everyday Mom's Meals

Monday, July 18, 2016

Another Recipe Contest

Yep, once again I am trying to see if a recipe I create can be named "best in show." I have to admit, I really enjoy entering recipe contests, but just don't have as much time to do them right now as I would like. (For those of you keeping track, I am almost 9 months pregnant...hence the short on time issue!)

But when I heard about this one from JSL Foods, I decided to make the time to enter one more before my days are completely full of bottles, diapers and cooing!

The idea was simple. They would send me whichever of their products I wanted to incorporate into a recipe and then I got to play and create in my kitchen. How cool!

I decided to use their Teriyaki Yakisoba Noodles, but in a different way than I normally would.


We are Asian food fanatics, but in the summer time, we are also salad ones too. We like eating lighter, cooler and more refreshing meals when the sun is beating down and it's too hot to move. So I decided I could take these tasty noodles, add some fresh ingredients, a tasty sauce and create a salad that is both filling and light at the same time.

This makes a terrific main dish, with some fresh fruit on the side. Or whip up a big batch of it for your next cookout. Feel free to add whatever veggies you think you would be delicious, I think I might add zucchini next time.

If you want to learn more about JSL Foods and all the great products they have to offer, check them out online, on Facebook and Twitter. Or, look for them at your local Safeway or Target store. Oh, and wish me Good Luck!!

Sweet n Spicy Asian Noodles Salad
3 packages Fortune Teriyaki Yakisoba Noodles, sauce packets discarded
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen cooked medium shrimp, thawed and tails removed
1 (8 oz.) bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 lb. fresh broccoli crowns, cut into florets
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1/4-1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
1/4 c. soy sauce, extra for serving
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. chicken broth
3 TBS sesame seeds, extra for garnish
1-3 tsp. sriracha, to taste

Bring 2 large pots of water to a boil. When they are rapidly boiling, add noodles to one, and broccoli to the other. Cook EACH 2 minutes total. Immediately transfer both the noodles and broccoli to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.  In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, chicken broth, peanut butter, sriracha and sesame seeds. Transfer noodles and broccoli to a large bowl. Pour sauce over. Add shrimp, peppers and edamame. Toss to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Stir well again. Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds. Serve with extra soy sauce on the side. *NOTES* I use 2 teaspoons of sriracha, because I can't take much heat. Feel free to use less or more depending on the heat level your family enjoys. Or, you can always serve extra on the side. When you pour the sauce down over the noodles, you will notice extra. This is fine because it will absorb a lot while chilling. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Cookies At Your Door { A Review}

It seems like we are doing more and more of our shopping online. I don't know about your family, but I can honestly say a large majority of our "gift giving" shopping involves me on the Internet instead of me in the car driving around. From online stores to being able to order fantastic foodie gifts, there is nothing you can't order online these days. And if you are like us, and always looking for the next delicious thing to send to your loved ones, I've got a great idea for you today!


Since 1983 Gimmee Jimmy's Cookies has been offering their home baked cookies to the public in simple cookie tins. And today their love of cookies and desserts is shared with sweet lovers worldwide. Their line of fresh baked gourmet cookies and Kosher desserts are:

Baked Fresh, All Day, Every Day

Use All Natural Ingredients

No Artificial Anything

Kosher Certified


Perfect for birthday gifts, fund raising, or "just because", Gimmee Jimmy's Cookies are sure to please the dessert lover in your life. 

Now, for this review I was asked to keep a 7 day diary of our 2 pound cookie tin to show just how fresh they stay, and how they are as delicious on day 7 as they are on day 1. 

I can honestly say it was hard for us to even have any left by about day 5, they are that delicious, but we persevered!!


Day 1: The cookies look like they were just taken out of the oven, fresh baked and taste great.

Day 2: No change. Still taste as fresh as yesterday.

Day 3: No complaints, taste the same.

Day 4: Even the ones that have been laying underneath others taste fresh.

Day 5: These two were the only ones that seemed just a tad dry to me, but I honestly think it was the type of cookie, not due to anything else. My husband ate them and said they tasted just right to him.

Day 6: After almost a week, we are into a layer of a ones we haven't touched and they are soft and yummy.

Day 7: As you can see, they look just as fresh as the ones we enjoyed a week before.

In conclusion, I have NO complaints about the freshness level these cookies maintained after sitting on our counter top for a week. We did nothing special. We kept them in the tin, in a cool dry place in our kitchen, just as was suggested, and honestly where we would have anyway.

I am so impressed with these cookies and would not hesitate to order them as a gift for someone I love. I know their eyes would light up at the variety and freshness of such delicious sweet treats!

Want to know more? Be sure to check Gimmee Jimmy's Cookies online, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Disclaimer: I was provided with free samples in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cool Suppers for Hot Days


Oh summer, how I love thee. Even when the thermometer reads 90 before noon, the Indiana humidity is at 110%, and my 8 month pregnant body has sweat coming out of places I never knew existed. Yes, even with all of that, I am still summer's #1 fan. See, we have a saying in our family, "You don't have to shovel sunshine."

Did you catch that? 8 months pregnant. So many people are telling me "Wow this is flying by, but I'm sure it's not for you." Well, I have to be honest, IT IS! I can't believe our baby boy will be here in such a short amount of time. But, with so much left to do to get his nursery ready, he needs to keep baking a while longer!

Being pregnant in the summer isn't something many women would be okay with, but I am. Alex's birthday is in September, so apparently I'm just destined to enjoy the dog days of the season carrying a few extra pounds; and it's a blessing I am so thankful for.

But that doesn't mean I can't find my own ways to beat the heat. We are regulars at our local splash pads and pool. And I can always get inside with AC and put my feet up. Plus, when it comes to dinner time, I can make sure meals are light, cool and refreshing.

Such is the case with this terrific salad. Sure, it would be great at a picnic or at your July 4th cookout, but it also makes a tasty meal on a hot evening. I served it with some fresh fruit on the side and we were all satisfied without feeling stuffed.

These hot days are what I long for during those bitter cold winter months, so I for one will not complain. I will just find ways to make it a little easier on myself and this little bundle of joy of ours!

Shrimp Pasta Salad
1 lb. medium shell pasta
1 (12 oz.) bag frozen cooked shrimp, deveined, shell off, tail on, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1/4 c. mayo
1/4 c. zesty Italian dressing
2 tsp. Chesapeake Bay Style seasoning, plus extra for garnish
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, remove tails from shrimp and cut each shrimp in half. In a large bowl combine shrimp, pepper, and celery. In a small bowl whisk together mayo, dressing and seasoning. When pasta is cooked, drain, rinse with cold water and drain well. Add to shrimp mixture. Pour dressing over. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Chill 2 hours. Before serving, sprinkle with extra seasoning. *NOTE* You might ask why buy tail on shrimp if you're going to take them off? I find with frozen shrimp, they keep their shape better if they are frozen with the tails on, and then removed later.



Saturday, June 18, 2016

Zoo To You 2016

Yes, it's that time once again. When our family ventures out to one of our favorite summer time spots, The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, and then report back to all of you what's going on at one of the country's BEST zoos! 



We are always so excited to visit the zoo, see all of our favorite animals and check out everything new they have going on; and this summer there are definitely new and adventurous attractions to see. Plus this year, we were extra lucky because Maa Ma got to join us for our day of fun!


Now for us, part of exploring the zoo is seeing what new food/menu options they might have added since our last visit; and to best do that, we decided to ask Chef Matt, the zoo's executive chef some questions we had about what we saw. We were lucky enough to meet Chef Matt in person last year and wanted to follow up on a couple things, and had some new thoughts too.

1. Last year when we spoke, you mentioned you had some new ideas you were looking to develop for this season. Have you been able to implement any of those?

  I did work on some new ideas for this season unfortunately a lot of them were put on the back burner. This tends to happen a lot in our environment. We did work on other projects such as building more shelves and storage for product, revamping the line at Rays by pulling out the registers and adding a grab and go cooler, adding a second soft serve machine to Matilda’s, adding an Icee mix up station in Africa, and purchased some much needed equipment for all the stands. I did get a chance to play with Mt. Dew ice cream. It turned out great and we run it on occasion and on holiday weekends. Right now I am working on doing something fun for Zoo Brew.


 2. We noticed a family meal available at the Tree Tops Cafe and were wondering if there are any other family options we didn't see. 

 Unfortunately at this time Tree Tops is the only place we offer family meals. 
 
3. Have you ever considered having daily lunch specials (especially sat Ray's Grille)? 

We do run specials quite a bit. I have not made it a mandatory daily thing at this point, but I can tell you that Ray’s has ran Krab Rolls, Strawberry Short Cake, and Banana Pudding with Nilla wafer cups. In other locations we have done Chicken and Waffles, Specialty Pizzas, Pizza Fries, Pizza Pretzels, Deep Fried Cookie Dough, and Brownie Sundaes.

 4. What is your biggest meal seller? We realize popcorn and ice cream are crowd favorites, but besides those. 

Chicken Tenders Baskets, Burger Baskets, Pizza, then Ice Cream…… In that order.
 
5. Have you ever looked into offering Lemonade Shake Ups? We love them and know they are a hit at other places we enjoy during the warm months. Just a suggestion :) 

  Funny you asked this. This was one of the concepts that got put on the back burner, but yes I have the concept all drawn up and was looking at putting it in Africa. Bees are always a problem with a concept like this especially at a zoo. So for now it’s still just a concept, but it is still on my radar and something I’d like to do. 

If you don't know about all the new and exciting things going on at the zoo this summer, you have to check out the completely remodeled Australian Adventure. Part of this was finished last year when we were there, but not Sting Ray Bay is open, where you can actually pet a sting ray! Not to mention a gorgeous outdoor eating area perfect to grab some shade and rest. Plus, there are plenty of great photo opportunities as well.



Oh, and while you are there, you have to take a ride on the new Crocodile Adventure River Ride. If you've been before, it's the log ride we all loved as kids, but even better! So relaxing, but still exciting too! 


And of course no trip to "our" zoo is complete without seeing our favorite exhibits as well. For us, it doesn't get better than watching the Sea Lions play. Seriously, we could sit and watch these adorable friends all day long. They are definitely the boy's favorite!


The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has been a family favorite since I was a little girl. If you live in our neck of the woods, and haven't planned your summer trip yet, you MUST! Or even if you live within a couple hours, it is definitely worth the drive. You won't regret it! To learn more, buy tickets or plan your visit, be sure to check them out online, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Follow along for all the zoo fun!

Disclaimer: I received free tickets in exchange for this feature. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summertime Picnics

Tis the season! No! Not that one. We've got another 6 months before that. I'm talking about outdoor eating season! All those occasions we find all summer long to enjoy our favorite summer time foods in the warm sun! From cookouts and barbecues, to one of our families favorites, picnics, this time of year we find ourselves eating outside more and more!

Does your family still enjoy a good old fashion picnic? If you haven't went on one in a while, I say seize the day! They are literally one of the summer time activities we look forward to the most! Plus, they can be a ton of fun on cheap! Pack up the trusty picnic basket (I have a couple!) with yummy food, find a local park and you've got yourself a days worth of fun.

Now when it's picnic time in our house, we all of our assigned jobs. Little E usually gets to have input into which of his favorite spots we are going to visit. Mr. E loads up the car and drives. And me? Well, I'm in charge of food of course! We have the standbys we like to have every time, but I also like to come up with new things to make each picnic a culinary adventure.

So when my new friends at Smithfield offered to send me some of their delicious boneless sliced hams to play around with, I knew it was time to take my every day ham salad recipe and kick it up a notch. A friend had recently shared with me her version, and I thought combining the two would be a perfect match.

You can serve this on bread, toast, rolls, or what I used, some buttery croissants. In fact, I love using those on picnics because I can pack them separately from the salad itself and easily assemble them on site. That way our sandwiches aren't mushy by the time we are ready to eat. If you love deviled eggs, this tasty twist will be right up your alley!

Summer was made for getting outside and enjoying every last sunny minute. And what makes it even more fun? When you can take some delicious food with you and only add to the enjoyment!

Deviled Ham Salad
2 c. finely chopped ham
2 ribs celery, diced
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2/3 c. mayo
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 TBS dried parsley, plus extra for garnish
Black Pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine ham, eggs and celery. In a medium bowl whisk together mayo, mustard, Cajun seasoning, pepper and parsley. Pour over ham mixture. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Serve on buns, toast, with croissants or crackers. 











Disclaimer: Smithfield provided me with some samples to use in recipes. The thoughts and opinions are all my own.