bitsnbiteswithtina

I’m Going To Kauai – Courtesy of The Kauai Visitors Bureau!!

Yes, you read that correctly. The Kauai Visitors Bureau is sending me to their lovely island!

I am so excited! In just a few weeks time, I will be heading to the shores of Hawaii. The trip will be a 7 day vacation that is split into 2 different resorts. It will give me the opportunity to experience Kauai from two different perspectives. We will stay at Castle Kiahuna Plantation & The Beach Bungalows as well as Whalers Cove. How could it get more exciting than this?

Naturally, I will be blogging about my experiences when I return. What a wonderful opportunity I have been given.

Now, I’d like to know if you have been to Kauai or know someone who has been. I’d like to hear suggestions of restaurants, activities or public beaches I should check out. Maybe you have thought of going and have been researching what you may like to do. Tell me! I will be choosing a few of the suggestions and looking into their feasibility, costs and whether they are family friendly or not. Are they worth the cost? Perhaps there is something more comparable. All of this I will let you in on when I return. Tell your friends. We all work hard for our money and we want the best vacation we can have for our hard earned dollars. Comments will close on Sept. 9th so that I have the chance to review them and choose before I go.

SPONSOR REQUEST

I am looking for a sponsor or sponsors to help cover car rental, food expenses and excursions. There will be a series of blog posts running 4 – 6 six weeks upon my return as well as daily tweets updating our adventures. The blog posts will cover everything from resorts and beaches to excursions and food. If you are willing to help, please contact me at (bitsnbiteswithtina at gmail dot com), with Kauai Sponsor in the Subject line and we can discuss the details. I would love to help promote your brand or product throughout this amazing trip.

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August 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

School Lunches: Fun and Nutritious

Getting your kids ready to go back to school is a lot of work. So many things to think about. There’s clothes, school supplies, busing or driver scheduling, programs and then there is the dreaded school lunch routine. We want our children to eat healthy and we want to pack up a lunch they will enjoy eating.

That’s where I come in. A few ideas to help lunch be fun instead of the same old boring routine. When you like what’s on your plate (or in this case in your lunch box), you’ll eat it. So let’s get started.

The first thing to remember is that lunchtime is not the time to try and get your child to try a new food. It won’t happen and the food will be wasted. Make a list of all the foods your child likes. Start with veggies. Now these can be cleaned and cut up and saved for the week in a produce saver. Fresh and crisp all week long. Every child likes a veggie of some sort. Perhaps its carrots, broccoli, peas, celery, lettuce or cucumber. Keep it raw and slice it into finger food. It’s ready for you to take a handful and deposit into lunch. Try to stay away from dips and dressings. They are messy and they usually contain alot of fat.

Next, you want a fruit. Keep it simple. Again wash and cut up fresh fruit for the week and keep it in a produce saver. The rubbermaid produce savers are a great investment!. There are lots of finger food fruits available. Try grapes (green and red), blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherry tomatoes (yup a fruit not a veggie). Save sticky fruit like watermelon or pineapple for home. Children are more likely to eat a handful of varying fruit types than one large piece like a whole banana or an apple.

The main portion of lunch doesn’t have to be a sandwhich. Toss in a couple of chunks of cheese, 3 or 4 ritz crackers (or similiar), thin slices of meats and let them pile up or eat individually. How about a cheese stick or pepperoni stick or pizza pretzel? Make them yourself and make them lunch sized. You can find the HOW TO DO THIS  here. These freeze fabulous. Put them in lunches and keep everything cool. Instead of pretzel shaped, try making their initial instead. Tear up some pita bread and put a cheese slice in with it or a fun cheesestring or laughing cow. Perhaps you have leftover meat from the night before. Cut into chunks and add to lunch. Children like to make things and be creative and that includes their lunch. There is no need to assemble a neat and orderly lunch. The key is to provide the foods they like and they’ll take care of the rest.

Finally, we have dessert. This is a very important step for lunch and for general food habits and healthy eating. Dessert is not the enemy. We need to teach our children portion control and at the same time satisfy their sweet tooth.Add one or two cookies, break a chocolate bar into pieces and put in 2 or 3 pieces, add a handful of m&m’s or a few gummie worms. You get the idea. One chocolate bar can last the entire week. It’s fun, it’s simple and it’s what they like. Have the kids help you make simple cookies or bars on the weekend. They get to spend quality time with you and they help create their treats.

Nutritious foods are only nutritious if they are consumed.

I have placed a few easy cookie and bar recipes on my page. There is also a simple donut recipe that my mom used to make when we were kids. Simple and inexpensive.

Have a great school year!

August 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Pepperoni Sticks and Pizza Pretzels

This is an all time fan favorite! At least in my household. These are really simple to make and kids can help. Perfect for school lunches, late night hunger or appetizers for unexpected guests.

DOUGH (breadmaker)

1 1/8 cups of warm water

1 tablesspoon yeast

1/4 cup sugar

add first three ingredients to breadmaker and leave for 3 or 4 min

add

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3 1/2 cups flour

NOW THE HOW TO

Once your dough is ready, preheat your oven to 250 degrees and turn off when heated. Place an oven safe dish in the oven filled with water. This will help your dough to rise and keep it moist.

Pepperoni Sticks

This dough recipe will easily make  2 dozen lunch size sticks or 4 dozen snack size

Slice pepperoni sticks in half. Then slice in half lengthwise. Each pepperoni stick yields 4 lunch size sticks.

Cut dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll dough out like a long snake. Wrap dough around the pepperoni stick on an angle. (like you’d see a peppermint stick or twisted ribbon or a barbershop sign 🙂

You don’t have to cover all the stick. Spaces inbetween the dough will fill in once the dough rises again.

Pinch ends together and roll pepperoni stick on table to smooth out dough (you can roll it in cheese if you want for a change)

Place wrapped pepperoni in oven on greased and floured cookie sheets (be sure your oven is off at this point) and let rise 20 to 30 min or until dough has doubled in size

Remove from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cook 5 to 10 min depending on size. Once the dough is nicely brown, they are ready.

To keep dough soft, brush with melted butter while still hot.

These freeze extremely well!

*NOTE Don’t have pepperoni sticks? Just roll dough out in cheese and make cheese sticks instead!

Pizza Pretzels

Roll dough out as described above (in pepperoni sticks)

Be sure to pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees and turn off when heated. Place an oven safe dish in the oven filled with water. This will help your dough to rise and keep it moist.

Twist dough into pretzel shapes or the intitial of your child. Any shape you like

Sauce:

Your favorite pizza sauce  OR mix the following ingredients

1 small can of tomato sauce

1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic

1/2 tsp of italian seasoning

Brush sauce on rolled pretzels and put on greased and floured cookie sheet.

Let rise 20 – 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size

Remove from oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until nicely browned

Brush with melted butter once removed from oven to keep dough soft.

Bon appetite!

August 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 12 Comments

I’m having a 500 follower #Giveaway Can/US

This has been such an amazing few months for me. A lot of exciting things have been happening. So, a month ago, I opened up a blog to the world! Not too shabby either, if I do say so myself.  Since then, my followers have soared on twitter and I have been learning so many things. I have met some fabulous individuals both bloggers and reps. It’s fun to share my experiences with you and enjoy the feedback which has so far been terrific!

A few days ago, I reached a milestone that I really never expected so quickly. I surpassed the 500 follower mark. (Of course, I’m now working on a 1,000) I’ve decided to celebrate this with a giveaway. There will be 2 winners. Please check before you enter. One giveaway will be open strictly to Canada and the other will be open to both Canada and the US.

GIVEAWAY #1

BOND GIRL 007

This is a wonderful product from Avon

Eau de Parfum Spray

50ml (1.7oz)

Bond Girl 007 is a “sexy cocktail of velvety florals, cool freshness and warm woods”. It retails for $30 and if you win, it is yours! This contest is open only to Canada. Please be sure to put what country you are from in your comments.

GIVEAWAY #2

FOOTWORKS LOTIONS

This is another fabulous line of products from Avon

This prize package contains Invisible Silicone Sock Cream 100 ml, Deep Moisture Cream 75ml, Creamy Powder Lotion 100 ml and a double action foot file. This prize package is valued at $25.00 and is open to both Canada and the US. Please be sure to put what country you are from in your comments.

MANDATORY ENTRY

This MUST be done before any other entry will count. Please post a comment on a non-giveaway post and leave me the name of the post you commented on. (This must be more than “I like this”) 1 entry

DAILY ENTRY

Follow me on twitter and tweet this giveaway. Be sure to leave your twitter name in your comment. 1 entry per day

You may use this tweet: 500 follower #Giveaway. Two prizes! Two Winners! http://wp.me/p1EA0T-gy via @sweetmamabrady. Contest ends Aug 31 CAN/US

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES

Subscribe to my blog and leave me a post letting me know you did. 3 entries – Leave each entry seperately

Grab My button and post it on your blog. Leave me the link to it. 2 entries – Leave each entry seperately

RULES: Leave the country you are from in your comment. 1 winner will be chosen for each prize by random.org. I will notify winners by email and they must respond within 48hrs or a new winner will be drawn. Contest ends August 31 at 9pm MST

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Avon nor did Avon have anything to do with this giveaway. They are not a sponsor and the opinions in this post are my own.

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 183 Comments

The Bahamas – Part 1: Pigs and Iguanas

The Bahamas

Part 1: Pigs and Iguanas

Recently, I was given the opportunity to go to the Bahamas. Not just any trip but the trip of a lifetime. It was a private yacht that would sail to various islands over the course of a week. I know, right? How could I say no! We arrived in Nassau in the afternoon and the Captain picked us up and took us to the docks. Gorgeous boat! I simply couldn’t believe I was there. There were ten people on the yacht as well as 8 crew members. Since it was mid afternoon, we lifted anchor and headed to our first destination.

Read More….

August 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Small Business Owner? $15,000 Could be yours CONTEST EXTENDED

CONTEST EXTENDED!!

This is a great opportunity. CentrSoure is holding a contest for small business owners in Canada!  Amazing! It has a grand prize of $15,000! If you own a small business or have been thinking of starting up your business, then I have the contest for you. Who couldn’t use a little extra cash? CentrSource has a fabulous Facebook contest running right now.

So simple to enter. All you need to do is enter your business information and a product offer and have your friends and family vote on it. The higher the votes, the better chance you have.

There is over $40,000 worth of prizes to be had. Can you imagine? Top prize is $15,000!!! You also get 6 months of free advertising on CentrSource….that’s priceless. Even if you don’t win first prize, there’s $5,000 to the second place winner and 3 months free advertsing. Each week there will be a winner for a $1,000 cash prize and 1 month of free advertsing. What are you waiting for?

Perhaps you don’t have a business. Well, CentrSource is offering 1 prize a week just for voting! That’s right, head on over and vote and you could win an ipad2 and who wouldn’t like that?

This contest ends on August 31st so enter today and have the opportunity to grow your business with advertising on CentrSource. (excluding Quebec)

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Weighting Game

So many woman today are concerned about their weight. I shouldn’t even say “woman” really, just females in general. Girls as young as 8, 9 or 10 worry. This results in a roller coaster ride that can last as long as your life. There is great concern for obesity in this country and the health problems (like heart disease and diabetes) that can result from it.

How can you help yourself and your family become healthier in a busy life? How can you lose weight and feel better about yourself? How can you do it on a budget?

MOTIVATION

This is the first step. You have to WANT to. You can’t and won’t do it without motivation. Ask yourself how losing weight will benefit you and your family.

DEAL WITH DISTRACTIONS

I like to say one thing at a time. For example, you can’t lose weight and quit smoking at the same time. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take baby steps. You can start making a plan and small adjustments. Work towards changing your habits and losing weight.

BE REALISTIC

I believe this is where a lot of people get let down. The bar is set too high. As the old saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day”.  Don’t go into your cupboard and toss out all the junk food. Instead, take some time to think about what you can replace that food with when you run out. A healthier cookie, baked chips instead of fried or grapes instead of raisins. Use the internet to help you find foods you like. This is key. If you don’t like cottage cheese, you won’t eat it just because you think you will lose weight with it. Do not kid yourself. You will be disappointed.

EXCERCISE

Nasty word! Not really. This is another misconception. You don’t have to become a runner, or a swimmer, or take up a sport. You don’t have to put aside an hour every day and work yourself silly. You do, however, have to incorporate movement into your life. Everything we do is excercise. Take 5 – 10 minutes, 3 times a day and do something. Walk around swinging your arms, sit down then stand up and repeat, dance, take the 5 minutes and organize that shelf you’ve been meaning to get to. Be creative. Walk around while you’re on the phone, stretch, skip or jump up and down. Do a little of this and then a little of that. Set the timer on your microwave and in a weeks time add one minute and keep doing this til you’ve worked your way up to 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Stand when you can. Standing burns more calories than sitting. What I am trying to say is become aware of what you are doing when you are doing it. Watching tv? Ok, how about standing up during commercials or doing a few minutes of stretching or tickling your kids? Working on the computer? Ok, how about swinging your legs while you are there for a few minutes? When you start to take notice of what you are doing, that’s when you begin to realize how much we don’t use our muscles. When you combine movement with healthier eating you become healthier. A little bit at a time.

PORTION CONTROL

This does not mean you can’t have pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, mashed potatoes or whatever foods you like. It means you have to look at your food and how much of it you are consuming. Let’s say you buy a nice 4lb lasagna and a loaf a garlic bread from M&M’s. Nice, fast, yummy dinner and it feeds 4 people. How about you cut that lasagna into 6 pieces and put two into the freezer after its been cooked. Do this every two weeks and the third time is free. Less calories and less cost. Add a salad or some fruit to your plate with a low cal dressing. Have one slice of pizza instead of two. Add a nice corn on the cob or a heaping of your favorite veggies on the side. Eat slowly and enjoy the taste. Reorganize your thinking about the foods you are cooking not the foods themselves.

For example, did you know that 10 cups of spinach, 1 small apple and 1 1/2 cups of strawberries is only about 225 calories? That’s a lot of food. Change your bread to whole wheat. Half a pita makes a great sandwhich with less than half the calories of 2 slices of white bread. Feel like ice cream? Did you know that a kiddies cone from McDonalds only has 45 calories? You are craving the taste, not the quantity.

When you start to adjust how you are eating and moving, that is when you will start to be healthier. It’s tough to begin with because we are all set in our ways. Once you begin to make small changes, larger changes happen naturally. Would you be happy if one year from now you weighed 15lbs lighter and your overall health had improved? If you add 20 minutes per day, every day of the week (in addition to your normal routine) as described above, you would lose 1000 calories per week or 15lbs over the course of one year. Drop 150 calories a day of the food you are currently eating and lose 1000 calories per week or 15lbs in a year. That’s 30lbs!!! In one year!!!

Remember, this is not set in stone. Everyone loses weight at a different pace. Don’t weigh yourself everyday. Your scale will not show minor changes. Weigh in once a week. Use the same scale and about the same time of day. Weight fluctuates throughout the day.

Enjoy your food! Your habits will become your families habits.

August 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

When you meet someone new…and they’re a relative!

It seems like this would be a highly unusual event. In fact, it is probably more common than you think. I’ve wondered about this for many years ever since I met some British relatives of mine. My parents immigrated to Canada before I was born. That was a long time ago when travel wasn’t so common and phone calls were darned expensive. Mail took weeks and the internet simply wasn’t there. Seriously, I am not that old but it is amazing to think what has happened in 49 years!

Immigration is one way to lose track of family but there are many other ways as well. Adoption, war, family disagreements and busy lives are just a few ways this can happen. No matter the reason, it is an amazing feeling to meet up with someone you’ve never met or haven’t seen since they (or you) were a baby.

When I met my family from Britain, they were just like me. I felt right at home and noticed quite a few family traits. The way someone laughed or pouted, the way they moved or sat, their sense of humor and of course their looks. It’s an honor and a priviledge to reunite with family.

Last week, I again had that honor. A young nephew of mine took it upon himself to look me up! He had to be 2 or 3 the last time I saw him. Amazing to think so many years have passed. He’s 19 now. I truly was meeting him for the first time. When someone is a child you meet a child. If you are fortunate enough to watch them grow then you are gradually introduced to them over the years. If you’re not, then you meet an entirely different person.

My husband picked him up from the bus depot. An iphone pic was their tool to meet. I anxiously waited at home and wondered. I was nervous. What if he didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like him? What if…

When my nephew Danny walked through the door, I couldn’t of been prouder! He accepted my hug and my emotion and I knew he was family. We talked about the connections we had and shared the lost connections. He seemed interested and content. This visit was way too short for me. He was making an unintended stop in another journey. I’m so happy he did and looking forward to the next time we talk or visit.

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mmmmmm…Chili Cheese Dog

The summer is a great time for barbeque whether you’re having a backyard party or a quiet family dinner. When you put something on the grill, it just tastes better. Hot dogs are a great example of this. They take only a few minutes but come off the bbq juicy and looking so good. Part of eating a delicious meal is how it looks. The char marks are appealing. Good looking food invites you to taste it.

Hot dogs are family friendly and easy on the pocket book. They can be served up in so many ways. All you need to do is put the ingredients on the table and everyone can eat their own cuisine. Growing up, my favorite hot dog topping was peanut butter! Oh Yeah! I still eat them that way sometimes. This weekend though, I chose to top them up with homemade chili.

Have leftovers? Slice them up and add them to baked beans for a yummy side dish. (makes the beans go further too!)

I wonder what I should barbeque next time?

August 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Weekend BBQ – Rotisserie Style

I love the weekends especially during the summertime. That’s bbq season. You can put anything you like on the barbeque and it just seems to taste better. The traditional favorites would of course be hotdogs, hamburgers and smokies. Pizza is great too! Then theres bbq chicken. Now this can be tricky. Chicken is one of those things that has to be cooked properly and on the bbq it can easily burn on the outside and not cook on the inside. However, I discovered rotisserie!

Doesn’t This Look Yummy!

As you can see, our entire dinner is cooking. On the right hand side you can see tomatoes. These are super easy. Cut a tomato in half, season with salt and pepper and top with your favorite cheese. On the left hand side you see 2 foil packets. One contains seasoned potatoes and one contains seasoned veggies. The potatoes are chopped into bite sized pieces and mixed with chopped garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano and thyme. The vegetable are seasoned with one of my favorite olive oil based kraft dressings. Double wrap potatoes and veggies and place them into the drip pan along with the tomatoes right at the beginning of cooking your chicken. The reason for this is that only the back rotisserie burner is lit so the burners underneath the drip pan are off and the vegetables are only cooking in indirect heat. Be sure to add a little water or chicken broth to your drip pan. This will ensure the pan doesn’t burn dry and also allow moisture to evaporate and be absorbed by the meat.

Your chicken should be seasoned at least 3 hours prior to cooking. I used a combination of my favorite two rubs. Make sure the rub gets under the skin as well as on the outside. This will season the meat and give you a crispy crust. As a finishing touch, I smoothed on some of our favorite bbq sauce. Let this sit in the fridge 3 or more hours so the chicken can absorb all the flavor. This was an average 3 or 4 lb chicken and took 3 hours on the rotisserie at about 300 degrees on a gas grill. So delicious!

August 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

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