Neerja's Avocado Black Bean Salad


avocado black bean salad - healthy and delicious


Many years back, when our girls were little, I'd sometimes hang out over at my neighbor Neerja's house while our girls played. I'd sit, we'd talk, I'd watch her cook up some delicious Indian food for dinner and I'd taste test. Yum! Though this isn't necessarily an Indian dish, it is one she'd serve up as a side with dinner and it one of my favorites. So fresh, so easy, so healthy, so delicious!

Neerja's Avocado Black Bean Salad
shared by My Epicurean Adventures

Ingredients:
2 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ripened avocados, cubed
1 pint washed and sliced grape tomatoes
1/4 cup diced cilantro
1/2 lemon (or lime) squeezed
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve!

Enjoy!


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Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

     

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)
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Reuben Sandwiches for 8


My mom raised me to be a Reuben lover and now I am raising my kids to be the same. :) To be honest, it happened accidentally. One day we were at a deli and I ordered one. A delicious one. As I was enjoying my sandwich, first Little Sis came up, watched me eat if for a bit and then asked for a bite. Ok. I shared a little bit of it with her. Then Big Sis came over and said she'd love to try some too. And lo and behold, the both loved it and I lost half of my Reuben, just like that. But that's a small price to pay to have a new generation of Reuben lovers. lol. I love that we can all enjoy them together!

Just this past weekend, we had some friends come and stay with us for the weekend. On the menu for lunch Sunday were Reubens with Progresso soup and boy, were those Reubens a hit!


8 Reuben Sandwiches
by happyvballgirl of My Epicurean Adventures

Ingredients:
16 pieces of Rye bread (pumpernickel rye swirl is my fave because it's so yummy and pretty)
1.5 lbs sliced/shaved corned beef
1/2 lb swiss cheese
sauerkraut
Russian dressing
butter

Directions:
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter one side of 8 slices of bread and place the bread butter side down on a cookie sheet.
  3. Divide corned beef slices out evenly among the 8 pieces of bread.
  4. Place 2 slices of swiss cheese on top of corned beef.
  5. Top with generous amount of sauerkraut and Russian dressing.
  6. Place 2nd slice of bread on top and butter the top side.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and toasted.
Enjoy!

I actually prefer to pan fry these babies, just like you would a grilled cheese sandwich, but when you're making 8 at once, ain't nobody got time for that! Baking them worked out just fine and way quicker.



Nothing like a good ol' Reuben with a bowl of Progresso's chicken noodle soup I had just loaded up on using my coupons from Publix!


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

       

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)
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Girls' Bathroom Organizing

My "Easier-to-clean" Girls' Bathroom Makeover. Not that earth-shattering but it's making me less grumpy to have to clean their bathroom. lol.

Let it be known that I hate house cleaning and my least favorite chore is cleaning the girls' bathroom. I don't mind our master bath nor the 1/2 bath as much, probably because we don't get toothpaste all over the place like one particular child seems to do! Plus, all the crap I have to pick up off the counters to clean just drives me crazy... which is why I decided the girls' bathroom needed a little makeover. Not one for beautification, but for ease-of-cleaning. It got an "Easier-to-clean" makeover. haha.


With this suction caddy I bought from Target, the majority of their "stuffs" now hover over the counter space which means there's a LOT LESS STUFF to have to mess with to get the counters clean. I did go out on a limb and got this little rotating caddy to hold some essentials like reusable bathroom cups (see: my reduce/reuse/recycle post), q-tips and hair thingies to place on the counter, though. I don't mind having to move a FEW things. I'm not THAT lazy. :)
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Taquitos!


With the start of the new year, I've decided to push the limits and try new things. Getting weary of always making the same ol' stuff, it was time to start changing things up a bit. One of the first new dishes I tried was Taquitos!

Found Le Creme de la Crumb's Slow Cooker Jalapeno Popper Chicken Taquitos recipe on Pinterest and pinned it to my Yummy Stuff - Crock Pot Recipes board. Threw all the ingredients into the crock pot in the morning and come afternoon, my filling was ready. The only changes to the recipe I made were to reduce the amount of garlic powder to 3/4 tsp and cumin to 1/2 tsp. If ever there's a sure-fire way to ruin a recipe in my book, it's to put in too much cumin. Oh I also reduced the jalapeno to 2 Tbsp since I wanted to ensure the girls would be able to eat it.

Assembling the taquitos was easy. I used large flour tortillas and cut them in half because I didn't want my taquitos to be too "bready". Cutting them in half gave them the perfect amount of tortilla crunch.


I baked them according to the recipe and out popped the most delicious crunchy "finger foods" ever.

Big Sis came home from school first and ate these for her "early bird special" while I went to go get Little Sis from school. On my way home, I totally pumped these babies up. "Guess what we're having for dinner?" "What?" "TAQUITOS!" And I repeated it over and over as crazy as I could scream and yell them out. (it was really fun). Little Sis couldn't stop laughing and laughing and yelling them with me, until she settled down and asked more seriously: "No, really, what are they?" I told her they were little rolled up baby burrito/tacos and then she looked at me and said, "Really? That's it? All that build up for little burritos?!??!" LOL!!

Well, when she got home, she said they lived up to the build up and proceeded to annoy her Big Sis by TAQUITOing all over the place. :)

In the end, both girls enjoyed them, eating 'em like pretzel sticks and occasionally dipping them into stuff. But you know who seemed to love them the most? My hubby. Every time he had them for a meal, he couldn't help but say, "Man, these things are SOOOO GOOOOOOOD!"

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

       

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)
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Progress with Progresso Soups $15 PayPal Giveaway


Well this campaign couldn't come at a better time!

With the holiday fun all nicely packed away for another year, I find myself a little bit poorer (aren't we all!?!?) and 6 lbs heavier. Doh! Well, then, it's the perfect time to get motivated to eat smarter and exercise more!

Exercise is usually my first step to dropping those pounds but guess what? I slipped down some stairs last week and bruised my tailbone which means I need to temporarily hang up my running and volleyball shoes until it heals. That means healthier eating is a must.

And guess who's home sick today? Big Sis. But luckily, she just seems to have a standard cold that *hopefully* won't last that long. (fingers crossed!)

Thankfully, last week, I had made a trip to my new local Publix that opened up little over a year ago. You can bet my Florida friends were ecstatic and jumping for joy when they heard about the news they were coming here! Isn't it pretty? :)


Armed with their exclusive money-saving coupons, I loaded up on a variety of Progresso's Light Soups. Whoa, they have a really large selection... over 10 Light soups, all 100 calories or less per serving!


When you're feeling sick, there's nothing more soothing than good ol' fashioned chicken soup. Here's Big Sis digging into hers. After a couple sips, she looked up at me and said, "Mmmm, Mommy. This is really good." ♥


Who wouldn't love a bowl of this?


With her taken care if, it was my turn to start my campaign for a happier, healthier and smaller me. haha. Here are some delicious options for lighter yet filling lunches made pretty darn easy.

Soup and Salad:


Soup and crackers with some veggies on the side:


Soup and a ham and cheese sandwich made with lower-calorie flat sandwich rounds: 


Now it's time for round two of soups for Big Sis.


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With that, it's GIVEAWAY time! Enter to win $15 via PayPal!!

NOTE: You must be 18 years or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via random.org and will be contacted via email upon giveaway completion so be sure to leave your email addresses! :) Giveaway ends January 25, 2016.

Here are 3 ways to enter:

1. Pretty please with sugar on top :) click on this link: Progresso Light Soups and then leave me a blog post comment telling me which soup you'd like to try!

2. For a second entry, leave me another blog post comment telling me what your New Year's Resolutions are and how Progresso Light Soups can help you!

3. For a third entry, share this on Social Media any way you'd like (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) and leave me a link to where you shared it in the comment section!

And be sure to check out these exclusive COUPONS from Publix Grocery Stores.

GOOD LUCK and Happy New Year!


True Random Number Generator 14 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Congrats to Ash, the winner of my giveaway! Thanks for playing, everyone!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Disclosure: The information, products and the $15 via PayPal were provided by General Mills through Linqia.

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Chocolate Dipped Shortbread

SO easy and SOOO gooooooood. Chocolate Dipped Shortbread. They may great gifts, too!

This year I pared down my holiday baking by making just these, sugar cookies and dipped pretzels. It made my life a whole lot simpler during an already busy time. I made about 3-4 batches and shared them with teachers and family.

This Chocolate Dipped Shortbread recipe from Epicurious.com was super easy to make and tasted delicious. Plus they were fun to dip and sprinkle. They were loved plain, just dipped in chocolate and with sprinkles on top!





Short and sweet. Just like this post. lol.

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

   

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)
Read more »

Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a lovely holiday season and that your 2016 is off to a great start!


Ours was hectic to start off, then got really quiet right around Christmas thanks to a single bout of some stomach bug Big Sis picked up and then sped up again towards the end. With the girls back in school and the hubby back at work now, things are a little quieter around here now (minus all the work that's being done on our outdoor living project), which gives me time to reflect back on the holidays: the fun times, the crazy times, the best of's and even the times I wish things had gone differently.


One thing I am happy about is that we managed to fit in our Tree Decorating Party into our schedule in some what of a timely manner, ie before Christmas. lol. That, in itself, is a huge accomplishment.


The time between Halloween and New Year's day is one of my most favorite times of year. But it's also the most stressful times as well, which makes them go by like a blur. So here is a list of things I'd like to do next holidays, to get the most I can out of them:

1. Cut way down on the holiday baking madness that I do alone and add in a little more baking time w/ my girls. In years past, I've spent a countless number of hours baking multiple treats as gifts like a crazy woman for family, friends, teachers and neighbors. I did it mostly because I loved to, plus it helped cut costs (I think), but the time spent on it was be overwhelming, especially around such a busy time. Next year, I will just pick one or two EASY items to share, something I can do with the girls' help and make it a fun time for all (and easier to crank out). See? This is just insane and I don't want to do that anymore!



I was actually pretty good this year and only made 3 super easy treats: chocolate dipped shortbread cookies, dipped pretzel sticks and sugar cookies to be decorated throughout the month. It was much more manageable! 



2. Make charity giving of time and money a priority from the start. Throughout the year, the girls save some portion of their money to "share", ie give to charity, whether it be through school, random gifting trees or even the salvation army pots. In years past, we've rang the Salvation Army bell, volunteered at our local food bank, shopped for groceries as well as gifts for families in need from the girls' own schools, packed lunches for the brown bag ministries and even threw in a couple Secret Santa items the girls picked off of various giving trees. This year we sadly only got to do one of those things.


3. Start shopping earlier for goodness sakes! I don't usually get going on it until a week or 2 AFTER Thanksgiving, which doesn't leave a whole lot of time! Plus, I missed out on pretty awesome American Girl deals (and ended up paying WAY TOO MUCH) for stuff because I was so last minute. This adorable set both girls wanted for Christmas was on sale for 20% and free shipping the first week in December, but I waited too long and paid FULL price AND full shipping. Waaaaah! Next year, I WILL START SOONER!!


4. Keep up some semblance of exercise so I don't gain like 6 pounds like I did this year. I WILL EAT A LOT, that is a guarantee, but throw a little steady exercise in with it and maybe I won't gain as much and maybe even be a little less cranky at times! No pictures, please. lol

5. Remember what the holidays are about - spending time with the ones you love and having FUN. We are so lucky we got to spend lots of quality time with family and friends. These were taken between Christmas and New Year's - how lucky are we?!?! Missed were Mom and Mike and Dad and Mary. We'll be catching up with them soon! May YOUR new year be filled with lots of selfies with the ones YOU love! 



So any of you have some holiday gift cash that you still haven't spent? Here are some of the biggest hits from this Christmas, ones from Christmases past, and some, just because. :) In a nutshell, here is my family's list of "Must have and some why nots?"


1. Juicy Power 7-Port Desktop USB Charging Station. It is da bomb! Especially now that we have 5+ electronic devices (Apple and Android) that need daily charging at any given time. This charging station is AWESOME because it supports smart, rapid and safe charging of up to SEVEN different devices at the same time and they all fit at once! AMAZING! It even has room for 2 more for when family and friends come to visit! Numerous friends and family have asked for more info on said charger because not only does it act cool, it looks cool too. :) Only con is that you have to purchase the cords separately, but that just makes it more customizable.



2. Big Sis' all-time FAVORITE gift of Christmas, of maybe even the whole year! She's been bugging us non-stop for a laptop, but instead, she got an iPad mini, just before Christmas. She paid for half of it herself and we paid the other half, for the good grades she worked hard for last year as well as the first half of this year. We thought she'd just use this keyboard cover on occasion, swapping it out w/ her other less bulky cover but that has not been the case at all. It has yet to come off and she loves to act like this is her laptop. Doesn't she look so serious and business-like? lol.


3. I LOVE this lipstick charger and it has saved me on many occasions when my phone died but I wasn't near an outlet or charging station. Enter my handy dandy charger that I keep in my purse for emergencies just like that. It doesn't come with an apple lightning cable, so that, you would have to buy separately. Great for kids who have their own phones, too. :)


4. Anker PowerPort 6 (60W 6-Port USB Charging Hub) Multi-Port USB Charger. This one is my travel charger. I keep it in a bag so it's packed and ready to go whenever and where ever our many travels take us throughout the year. It's portable and can quickly and safely charge any of our phones and other devices when we're on the go. Judging from this list thus far, it's plain to see that my kids have definitely entered the electronic device age. lol.

 

5. POPCORN! My family is comprised of a bunch popcorn addicts, starting with first and foremost, my hubby. The girls are right along there with him. As are our extended family. This very popcorn popper has been given as gifts about 3 different times, on both sides of the family. It makes delicious popcorn and is rather fun to watch. I made mention of it in one of my first giveaways for popcorn. Sadly, I can no longer find that brand of popcorn so we've since switched to Bob's Red Mill White Popcorn which is also non-GMO and delicious!
 

6. Soccer Rebounder! Both the girls have been very into soccer over the past year or 2. They both play in competitive leagues and between the 2 of them, they practice/play every single day, sometimes even twice. Nana asked what she could get for the girls this year, something that was going to be useful and fun and not just the same ol same ol, so the hubby suggested this, as a combined gift for both of them, for both Christmas and their birthdays in January and sure, next Christmas, too, lol. Because they need to play more soccer, right? haha. But this rebounder is perfect for practicing passing, shooting, trapping and heading. And you can do it alone or with a buddy. It's the strongest and largest portable trainer on the market, great for not only soccer, but for basketball, baseball and lacrosse, too. It's set up in the garage for now, while the weather is cold and wet, for optimal use. The girls and the hubby have been rather enjoying it. Me? My skillz definitely need work, though. :)



7. When I asked Little Sis what her favorite Christmas gifts were, she said it was a tie between her remote control BB8 from Target. It is pretty cool to see him roam around the house.


8. Or her Koala stuffed animal aka Kowawa. He's 14 inches of softness and cuddles - even I like giving him hugs, and she sleeps with her every night. :)

 

8. Lastly, if you need lunch stuffs, here are my basic necessities, ie the items I use THE MOST out of all my bento stash. I tried to reduce this list by one to make 'em fit nicely on one line but I just can't do it! lol.

          

Lastly, here's a post of some of my favorite lunches from 2015, all packed in EasyLunchboxes. Hope you like 'em too!

My Epicurean Adventures: 2015 Favorites in EasyLunchboxes - Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

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Starting from the top left corner...

Row 1: Breakfast BagelEnglish Muffin Pizza LunchablesHearts & Flowers Cheese & CrackersTaco Salad
Row 4: Pizza BagelsFlat Rounds Pizza LunchablesTurkey ReubenSt. Patrick's Day Flat Rounds

That's it! Hope you have the best new year!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some affiliate links to the products I love and use on a daily basis. Well, I don't use ALL of them everyday but I do use at least 3 every day... you know what I mean! :) Feel free to ask me about any of 'em! Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)
Read more »