Long Island Mom

What I've learned about being a mom.

Butternut Squash Risotto

I’ve written before about risotto in Lemon Shrimp Risotto and Risotto Cakes – something my mom made really often in our house as teenagers because it was filling.  My brother could eat like you have never seen before so she was all about recipes she could scale larger.  Problem was, no matter how much risotto she made, Cam would finish it.  A bottomless pit for sure.

I decided to make it with butternut squash this time, as more of a fall-flavored dish and it came out great!  Risotto is one of those dishes that takes really well to leftover veggies and meats of all kinds, so when I didn’t know what to do with this butternut squash I had laying around (just made soup with it a little bit ago), risotto immediately came to my mind.

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This is not a recipe for a busy weeknight.  I made it Tuesday when I was off for Veteran’s Day and knew I had time to relax and make it.  I promise it is worth the time and is not difficult at all, just a little time consuming.  Contrary to what you might hear, you do NOT have to sit next to the stove and stir the entire time this is cooking.  By all means, walk away for a few minutes, just don’t let it burn!

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Butternut Squash Risotto

2 tbs olive oil + extra for roasting squash

1/2 large brown onion, chopped

1 small or 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch pieces

1 tablespoon fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

4 cups chicken stock

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

 

1. Roast butternut squash in a little olive oil and salt and pepper on a baking sheet at 350 for 15-20 mins.

2. Saute onion on medium/high heat in 2 tbs of olive oil and salt and pepper until soft, 4-5 mins.

3. Add cooked butternut squash and saute (smash if you desire a smoother consistency)

4. Add rice and cook, stirring, for another 2 mins.

5. Add wine and saute another 2 mins until pan is dry

6. Add 1 cup of chicken stock at a time and stir occasionally until the pan looks almost dry, then add the next cup.  Cook until rice is tender and cooked through. (15-20 mins)

7.  Turn off heat and add butter and parmesan, stir until melted together and serve warm.

 

We served this with grilled dry-rubbed spicy chicken (recipe for that up tomorrow) and roasted asparagus (another one I plan to post).  Hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

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Beauty Review – Younique

I had the opportunity to test a new mascara from Younique 3D Fiberlash Mascara.  This is not an ordinary mascara, and I have tried probably every single one.  I have blonde, thin eyelashes and don’t generally leave the house without mascara on.  I have never come across a mascara that makes my eyelashes this full and long.

It is a 2-step system and gives you a false-lashes look without the glue, mess, and removal issues.  The first tube is a black gel that looks like a regular mascara.  You apply 2 coats of this, then add the fibers, which come in the 2nd tube.  Apply them to the ends of your lashes to extend and fill-in your lashes, then seal with the gel again.

Excuse the weirdness of my makeup selfies, but here are my results :

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Fiberlash on the left and Regular Mascara on the right.

 

 

And here are some of the results from other users who clearly have other people taking their pics or are just generally better at taking a makeup selfie than I am:

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If you’d like to give it a try you can buy it online, it’s $29, but is definitely worth it for the results! You can try it for 14 days and if you don’t like it, return it for a refund.

Follow the link below to try it!

https://www.youniqueproducts.com/KimBradt/party/522798/view

 

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Peapod

Our local grocery store – Stop n Shop, has had a grocery delivery service called Peapod for a long time now, which I discovered shortly after my daughter was born. You are able to buy your groceries online, on a very easy to navigate website, pay, and pick a delivery time. For a fee (normally around $10), they bring your groceries to your door. What a lifesaver, especially after my son was born and the thought of taking 2 kids under 2 years old into a grocery store gave me hives.

To be honest, once the kids were old enough to tackle grocery shopping, I felt guilty paying $10 to have someone bring them to me. I also had a hard time thinking far enough ahead to have them deliver, as the delivery times are normally 2-3 days from when you order. So, I’ve been schlepping my kids with me ever since. At 2 and 4, they’re old enough to:

– throw things into the cart when I’m not looking
– knock over displays
– beg and cry for toys/junk on every single aisle
– try to open packages of things they want to eat once I put them in the cart
– yell ‘I HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW’ as soon as I’m next in line to pay

My local Stop n Shop (and many throughout Long Island and Fire Island) is now offering a pick-up service for free (I believe a small fee is coming but for now it is totally free). Using the same Peapod delivery website, you add items to your shopping cart, pay, and then pick up during a one-hour window that is convenient for you. Bonus is that window is normally the next day.

I used the pick up service today, and was able to sit in my car in a spot by the front that they designate for this service, call the phone number on the sign (or you can go in) and they bring the groceries to your car, give you your receipt and you’re on your way.

No lines, no ‘clean up on aisle 3′, no mystery items you swear you didn’t put in your cart, and no tantrums.

This infographic explains all the benefits of this service:

Peapod-Infographic-(FINAL)

 

Peapod is offering a $25 off online gift code to one lucky winner!  All you have to do is like Long Island Mom on Facebook, and like the Peapod post on my Facebook page.  I will pick a winner on Thursday at 5:00pm and that person will win the gift code!

Give it a try, it takes one of the worst chores out of your weekly list!

 

 

UPDATE: As of October, Peapod has instituted a $2.95 fee for pickup orders and a $60 minimum order.  With PodPass, new customers can enjoy 60 days of no-fee pickup.

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More than just Organic

I try my best to feed my family healthy food, which can be challenging with a 2 and 3 1/2 year old as taste-testers/no way am I eating that screamers. I cook almost every night and supplement with pizza (we do live in New York, so save your judgement on that one) and occasional nights out. I am by no means a ‘crunchy’ mama, and that is no dig against those that are, it just takes a level of commitment I can’t even wrap my head around, but I do try to buy organic where possible.  Milk, meats and thin-skinned veggies I buy almost exclusively organic, which means going to several different stores to buy my week’s worth of groceries.

I start at Stop n Shop for all of my dry goods (I’m sorry Trader Joe’s, but your Joe’s O’s just aren’t quite Cheerios), and head to TJs for my organic milk, meats and some veggies/fruits.  Unfortunately there isn’t a huge selection of produce so I do buy non-organic when needed at Stop n Shop.  Now where this has become a problem is in the budgeting. Organic can sometimes be twice the price of non-organic and when feeding a family of 4 that can be prohibitive.

I have toyed with the idea of a CSA box, but, as mentioned above, my kids are not so adventurous (and neither is my husband), so I feel like a lot of it would go to waste.  I came across this new service called Our Harvest.  It’s basically a Whole Foods but online, so no overhead costs that make their products so extremely expensive.  You add items to your cart, check out, then pick up from a variety of locations near you (more coming soon) on the date given.  The items come from local Long Island farms and are as fresh as if you grew them yourself.

What I was most impressed about with Our Harvest was the chicken breasts.  In Trader Joe’s, if I want to buy organic chicken breasts, I’m paying $6.99/pound.  Our Harvest has locally farmed organic chicken breasts for $4.99/pound.  The difference adds up.  The ground beef looks like nothing you have ever seen in a grocery store.  It reminds me of the ground beef my great-grandpa had on his cattle ranch in Missouri.  That fresh.  The produce looks like you went into your garden and picked it.  I tried the bell peppers, bok choy and summer squash and all were unbelievable.

Aside from amazingly fresh food at more than reasonable prices, Our Harvest has a philanthropic side. For every $25 spent on food through their site, they donate a meal to a local food pantry.  It’s like Toms shoes, but with food. Socially- conscious, great food, reasonable prices. I can’t find anything I don’t love about this company. They are expanding rapidly, but as of now there are locations in New Hyde Park, Huntington, Hicksville/Plainview, Port Washington, East Meadow, Merrick and Roslyn Heights with more to follow.  Keep checking and email them at info@ourharvest.com to request a location near you

If you decide to give Our Harvest a try, which you absolutely should, use the coupon code LIMOM20 to get 20% off of your first order.  Try it once and I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

 

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Supergoop – Review

I wrote a review of a service called Birchbox awhile back that you can read here

I’ve had the service for a few months and have been able to try out quite a few products that I probably wouldn’t have bought if I didn’t have the opportunity to try them first.  Last month, I found a product that I just can’t live without, so I bought the full size.  It’s a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen (SPF 35) and has great coverage.  It’s non-greasy and smells great.

I hadn’t heard of Supergoop before my Birchbox shipment so I did a little online research and found out that they’re a sunscreen company that offers several products from moisturizers to all-over sunblocks to lip sunscreens that are paraben, fragrance and oxybenzone-free.  Safe for the whole family.

The moisturizer is $32 which is pricey for sunscreen but not so bad if you use it as your moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation, which I am doing.  A little goes a long way so it should last me awhile.  The body sunscreens range from $15 for a regular sunscreen to $38 for a sunless tanning mousse with sunscreen.  Links below.

 

Supergoop Site

Supergoop Tinted Moisturizer

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Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to everyone, hope you’re enjoying this fabulous weekend with your friends and families. Just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who has served, is serving or will serve in our armed forces. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed and are so appreciated.

I also wanted to thank all of the families of our service men and women. We appreciate the sacrifices you make, giving us your husbands, wives, moms, dads, etc so that we can all enjoy our freedom.

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Back in the Saddle

So aside from a brief stint in Bikram Yoga, I haven’t worked out since college. I’m in terrible shape and I keep using my kids as the excuse as to why I can’t get my butt to the gym. That was working, until my mom divulged that she used to go to the gym before we woke up so she could get a workout in. Basically calling me lazy. So I joined the New York Sports Club here in Oceanside.

When you join you get a free personal training session. I politely declined. Then they called me twice to re-offer, so I scheduled it for Monday at 6am. Yikes. My alarm went off at 5:45 and I felt like death but I dragged my lazy behind to my session.

So he didn’t find my joke funny about wanting to look like Kate Upton, you know, if that’s possible. He put me on the elliptical and asked me some questions about what I normally do when I work out and when was the last time you did this and I was so tempted to lie. Like I do at the doctor and the dentist and anyone else looking out for my well-being. Do I drink? Only a glass of wine on occasion. Floss? Oh yes, every day. All lies.

But I told the truth, and only because I knew he was about to see how incapable I am of any physical activity. I actually didn’t look too bad until he asked how many push-ups I thought I could do. Exactly 0, it turns out.

Today? Kill me. Everything hurts and I remember why I’ve been putting this off. But I’m hoping once I get in the swing of things, I’ll enjoy the hour to myself 3 times a week and my newfound energy and strength. I will, right?

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Girlfriends

I used to be the ‘guys girl’. In high school, almost all of my close friends were guys and I liked it that way. All of them, of course except for my friend Christine who was just like me and preferred to hang out with the less dramatic sex. I was not a ‘lets go get our nails done and go shopping’ girl.

In college I was a little more open-minded. I formed a very tight-knit circle of girlfriends that I still consider more like sisters than friends. Xena, Kristin and Lauren probably know more about who I really am than I do myself, and I love them intensely. But I still hung out with fraternity boys and refused to join a sorority.

Now, I can’t imagine a life without my girlfriends. I know having kids changes how you see yourself and the world, but I have never felt like more of a woman and I don’t mean that in any kind of women’s empowerment way. I feel like my girlfriends, especially those that are married and/or have kids, understand my need to bitch constantly and aren’t put off by it. I don’t mean to complain, but goddamnit my husband pisses me off sometimes, my kids drive me insane, and none of my guy friends care to hear about any of it.

Tonight my friend Meredith is hosting a Pampered Chef party. If you would have told me 10 years ago that this would be my Friday night I would have laughed and felt incredible pity for my boring adult self. But a night to drink wine and shop for kitchen stuff sounds like just what this cabin-fevered mom of 2 needs.

And I’ll probably bitch the whole time about my husband and my kids. And my girlfriends will know this doesn’t mean I love them any less, it just means I need an avenue to let loose with everything that isn’t acceptable to say to anyone else. They get it. That’s what’s so important about girlfriends.
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Lent – Day 2

The hubs gave up dessert for Lent.

Last night he drank a half of a bottle of wine and a glass of scotch.

#sacrifices

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Birchbox

I made no secret of my desire for my husband to put in a little more effort at Christmas this year. He’s a wonderful man, but thoughtful gift-giver he is not. I am in no way high maintenance about gifts and holidays, in fact for years now we don’t exchange gifts for Christmas, but I am serious about stockings.

Stockings were serious business in our house growing up. They were always filled with little inexpensive cool things that Santa knew we’d love. Always our favorite candies, a crazy pair of socks, makeup for my sister and I, and as we got older, airplane-sized bottles of liquor.

Every year I stuff my husband’s stocking with little gadgets, Lego sets, candy, liquor and snowboarding accessories. I think obsessively about what he would think is cool but would never buy himself. And he always loves it.

Every year I get a bag of mini-snickers and a bouquet of flowers. Sweet, but no real thought put into it. So this year I told him it was time to put in a little effort. My choice of words was probably not that delicate, but they worked. He came through in a big way.

I got a little gift card for this website called Birchbox. I had never heard of it but it’s a concept that is just awesome and something any woman would love. Every month Birchbox sends you a little box full of sample-sized products they think are cool with a description of what they are and a price list for the full-sized version. You create a profile on the website by answering questions about your beauty routine so the products really are specific to what you would actually use.

So far I’ve had 2 shipments and I’m really loving the ability to try out things I wouldn’t have otherwise. And when you find something you love, you can buy it from their site on a discount.

An excellent idea for any woman in your life. Valentines Day, birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah and Mother’s Day are all good opportunities to give an inexpensive beauty gift like this one.

Not a paid advertisement, just genuinely something I love!

Birchbox.com

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