Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My New Touchscreen Air Fryer (plus Giveaway!)

It's not often I go nutty over home appliances.  I do my thing in the kitchen, and I clean up.  That sums up my excitement over the current appliances available today. 

Until last night.

I recently received a Touchscreen Air Fryer by Phoenix Trading Company.  I'm sure you just read that and thought "huh?" because what the heck is an air fryer?  At least that was what I thought when I opened the box. I'll tell you what an Air Fryer is - heaven. It is absolute heaven for a mom like me in the summer.  We all need one.  I say this for a five reasons:

1.  An Air Fryer cooks anything that can be cooked in the oven (pretty much).  I didn't try confections, but I'm not putting it past this bad boy.  Don't get caught up in the "fryer" part of the name like I did.  This bakes and steams as well. The possibilities of this appliance amaze me.

2.  It cooks these items without heating your kitchen.  I'm not sure about anyone else, but there is something that screams "I'd rather stick needles in my eyes" when I think about cooking when it's ninety degrees outside.

3.  It's quick. I mean very quick.  I cooked chicken in twelve minutes last night.  I made french fries in the same amount of time. I didn't even mention the fries were healthy - not deep fried.  The chicken as well.  Baked to perfection. 

4.  The Air Fryer does not take up much space.  After one try I made room for it on my counter (serious real estate).  The fryer takes up about as much space as a mixer. 

5.  It is so easy to use I showed my teenagers how to make their own food.  This puts me at ease because they don't need to operate the oven or the stovetop.  They toss the food in the Air Fryer and it is done in half the time, without the worry of a hot stovetop burning someone. 

I made dinner in the fryer last night.  Yes, dinner.  An entire meal.  I made baked chicken with barbecue sauce and french fries.  We had a salad as well but that wasn't made in the fryer so I'm leaving it out. 

Although it was delicious.

The food that comes out of this fryer amazes me.  The fries were crispy, and I only added a drizzle of oil.  The chicken was baked, not fried.  It was heated through, juicy and tasted delicious.  All I did was toss the fresh cutlets in the air fryer topped with a little barbecue sauce.

It's that easy.

I visited Phoenix Trading Company online and not only do they sell home appliances, they sell shoes, bags, regular and plus sized clothing, home and garden goods and more.  I would never have considered myself someone to go online and check out products from a company based on one product I've tried, but I was online looking last night.  I have never been so pleased with an item as I was with my new Air Fryer.

Visit Phoenix Trading Company on Facebook, or online at  There are hundreds of items that are sure to please. 

*I received the Air Fryer for review purposes. This is an honest review because I'm a mom who loves moms and I love easy products like this one!*

Monday, July 18, 2016


I've been training for a half marathon. 

I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.  For as long as I can remember, I've always been a runner. Or shall I say a "jogger."  In high school it was to get in shape for field hockey season, as an adult it's been my therapy.  My escape.  While I never enjoyed it in high school, I've learned to love it after having children.  

I've always said running three or four miles was enough for me.  I've done countless 5K races.  I've done many five mile races.  My preferred jog has always been thirty or forty minutes at a pace I can breathe and think. 

This past year, I've been surprising myself a bit.  Stepping out of my comfort zone.  I never ran in the winter. NEVER. I'd wrap it up in October and pull the sneakers out again in April.  This winter, after hearing many people talk about winter jogs, I decided to bundle up and try it.  I realized that thirty five degrees and sunny with no wind is actually great running weather.

I prefer seventy and sun with a breeze, but I can do winter runs. 

The past several weeks I've been running with a buddy.  My friend Jen is also a mom, and she appreciates a good sweat as much as I do. While I was content with four miles being my longer run, she pushed me to five.  Then we tried six.  Now I'm signed up for a half marathon and I've run eleven miles without stopping except for water.

I never thought this would be me.

I'll tell you, I thought I'd be a metabolic machine burning more than I can eat with all this mileage I've been putting in.  I'm not.  So let's squash that before I even continue this post. 

I have however, realized the importance of a rest day.  Even before we decided to get involved with half marathon training, I was pounding the pavement every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I ran every day, not taking a break. I needed it. I wasn't content unless I dedicated an hour a day to dripping sweat.

When we started doing long runs (seven miles and up) I started to feel the difference in my legs.  I was tired.  Still, I pushed through and refused to listen when Jen told me we needed rest days. I didn't really accept it until I was trying for ten miles.  I hit the wall every time.  If I didn't hit the wall I struggled with heavy feet or jelly legs.

I needed rest.

I finally took a "rest day" after I could barely finish eight miles even though I'd run more than that a several times. I was dehydrated, tired and I knew my body was begging for a break.  I finished that run and I was exhausted.  Not my mind, but my body. I rested the next day, and my next run was the best I'd had in a long time.


As mothers, we go and go and GO.  We wake up, tend to babies, work, help with schoolwork, make lunches and snacks, run laundry and errands.  We do all this before we even do anything for us.  When we do try to squeeze in time for us, we feel guilty.  If we don't feel guilty we still feel pressed for time.

We need rest.

Have you ever had a headache, but you lay down and feel better after some water and a small break?  Your body is craving rest.  We all need to just retreat sometimes.  We retreat to emerge stronger than we were the day before.  

I promise you, you will feel stronger.  Revived.  Ready to tackle what life is tossing at you.  You will be better for you, your spouse and your kids.  They don't want you exhausted and unable to give your energy.  They deserve your best version of yourself.

Trust your body when it tells you to rest.  The signs are there, listen.  Don't wait for heavy feet and jelly legs.  Give yourself the break you deserve.

Much love to you this week.  Treat yourself kindly. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm constantly printing Pinterest recipes and stashing them in my cookbook (anyone else?).  I have stacks of cookies, cakes, frostings and meals waiting to be made.  This past weekend, I actually made one.  I usually tread lightly when trying a new recipe, because I've had many epic fails that make me furious I used up my unsalted butter sticks.

Those things are not cheap.

These cookies do not waste butter sticks, I promise.  I tweak every recipe to work for my kitchen, but this recipe was adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.  I have made these cookies for years now, and they are my "go to" favorite.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 tsp cornstarch
dash salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (light works too)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups chocolate chunks

Mix first four ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  

In medium bowl, whisk the butter and sugars until smooth.  Add egg then yolk.  Whisk in vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with large spoon.  The dough will be thick.  Fold in the chocolate chunks (or chips).  Scoop (I use an ice cream scoop) dough onto cookie trays.  Chill in freezer 10 - 15 minutes before baking.  

Bake at 325 for approximately 11 minutes.  You want to remove them from oven when the centers look a tad raw, and edges are beginning to lightly brown.  Leave cookies on sheet for 3-5 minutes after baking and they will cook through.

If you can resist allow them to cool.  These cookies did not last the day in our house.  

Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Comfort Zones

We all have a comfort zone. It’s that place we feel safe. Where we aren’t challenged and we remain comfortable.

After each of my children, I retreated into my comfort zone. Every birth sent me further into a place where I could relax and recharge whenever possible. That place was my pajamas. My television. A nice three mile run. A bowl of ice cream. The key is that I was home and with my kids as often as possible.

Those places are still my favorite. With four kids I think I’ve earned the right to hide in my pajamas every now and again. The problem is when we sit in that comfort zone for so long we lose the desire to do anything else. We lose that urge to go and explore. I lost the desire to be out with friends, to push myself farther than four miles when I run. I never wanted to be anywhere but home with my kids and my ice cream.

Lately, I’ve been trying new things. I’ve been seeing friends, and running farther. I have started to step outside of what is my norm and live a little. My favorite place is still surrounded by my kids, but I’ve learned its okay to have some time away.

I never thought I would enjoy running for an hour. I do. My runs were three or four miles and that was enough. Now I’ve been pushing myself to achieve more, and I’ve been running eight and nine miles. I never realized I could, or that I would want to. It took a friend to say, “Hey, let’s do five today!” to even think about it, and I’m so glad she did.

I was always hesitant to leave my kids for a few hours, or even overnight to do something I enjoy. I still am, but I’m trying to give myself the permission to go and be with adults. This has given me time and memories with my husband and friends that I cherish.

We all need that adult time. We need to give ourselves permission to do something for us. We get lost in managing everyone else and we become an afterthought. I’ve realized I want my kids to see me enjoying adult time and pushing myself to achieve new goals. It’s healthy for them and for me. I want to set an example that shows them balance.

Comfort zones are great, but we can’t sit in them forever.

The past year I’ve seen myself learning and growing. It’s scary, but necessary. There is a saying, “you may be on the right track, but if you stay there too long you’ll get run over.”

How true. You can be comfortable, you can be doing well. But we need to keep reaching beyond what we feel is our norm to continue to grow.

Hope you are all having a fantastical summer. Do something different today. You may surprise yourself.