Coffee Coffee Bo Boffee: A Review of Market District Coffees (and a Giveaway!)

I like coffee.

A lot.

But I had to cut back recently. I drink one cup in the morning, and if I’m feeling like I need it or if I’m feeling frisky, I’ll have an afternoon cup as well. It’s been good for me, and I adjusted really well to less caffeine. But one thing I’ve learned in this whole “let’s drink less coffee” thing is that I want good coffee for my 1-2 cups per day.

I was recently asked if I’d like to try out Market District’s new coffees, and I said, “WELL YEAH!” In my hunt for good coffee, I’m definitely up for trying new things. I haven’t been disappointed.

Mmm, Coffee

I was sent two medium roasts, Moka Java Blend and Kenya, and one flavored coffee, French Vanilla. I’m super pleased.

Right now my favorite is the Moka Java Blend. It has a deep, rich flavor that really helps perk me up in the morning. It also makes my kitchen and office smell amazing. That’s one thing I have noticed about my good coffee hunt: I am super sensitive to the smell of the coffee. I can tell if I’m going to like it before I even taste it.

As for the French Vanilla, I love it as my afternoon or early-evening/post-dinner cup of coffee. It’s light, it’s fun, and it tastes yummy.

Of note: I drink all of my coffee black, the way God intended.

I’m actually interested in trying some of their dark roasts, like the Espresso or the French Roast. I think I’m going to grab a bag or two after we make our way through what we have now. I may also grab a bag of the decaffeinated Breakfast Blend. I never understood why people would drink decaffeinated coffee until I cut back my caffeine consumption. Now I miss the taste of coffee!

Would you like three bags of Market District Coffee? Good! I’m giving them away!

WIN ALL THE COFFEEZ

I have a bag of each of the flavors we’ve tried—Moka Java Blend, Kenya, and French Vanilla—to give away to one lucky winner. To win, simply leave a comment on this post telling me how you drink your coffee. For an extra entry, share this post on any of your favorite social media outlets, leaving an individual comment for each social share. I will draw a random winner on Thursday, May 15, 2014 and contact the winner by email.

 

Disclaimer: I was given coffee in hopes that I would like it and share it with my readers. If I hadn’t liked it, I wouldn’t have shared it. I’m nuttin’ but real up in this piece, n’at.

 

GoJane 2014 Spring

A Quick and Easy Kid-Friendly Meal with Campbell’s!

I love cooking for my family. I love making uber-fancy things that take all day to simmer and cook and bubble over onto my stove. But I’m also a working mom with two busy boys, a husband, a dog, and a social life. I don’t always have time to make a super fancy meal on a weeknight. While I love making a pot pie from scratch, I am thankful that Burgh Baby taught me a trick to make a quicker and still-so-yummy version using Campbell’s condensed soups instead of a homemade roux.

I make a pot pie — chicken, vegetable, or otherwise — about once a meal plan (every two weeks) during the colder months. Nine times out of ten, I go with the quick and easy method because, well, it tastes good and takes less time. My favorite part about using Campbell’s soups and this easy meal? My kids eat it up. They’re not overly picky, but they’re weirdly picky. Meaning that the meal they ate last week is suddenly off limits this week. This meal, in all its variations? They gobble it up. Whether I use Cream of Chicken & Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, Cream of Chicken with Herbs, Cream of Mushroom, or Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic (I’ve used them ALL), they absolutely love it. I mostly use Cream of Mushroom, like I did this time, because I like mushrooms in this mix. Plus, my kids like it a lot — and the Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic.

Ingredients you need:

  • 1 premade frozen pie crust in the pan
  • 3 cups frozen veggies of your choosing
  • 1 can Campbell’s cream soup of your choosing
  • Shredded meat of your choosing (I prefer chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 flat/rolled up refrigerated pie crust
  • Salt, pepper, spices of your choosing

Anyway, here’s the way to make this easy meal.

  • 1. Take your premade pie bottom and cook it per the directions on the box. (If you forget and don’t cook it ahead of time, it will be gooey and not as good.) (Not that I know.) (I know.)

  • 2. Microwave your frozen vegetables for six or so minutes. They should be warm to the touch, but not drying out. You know your microwave better than I know your microwave. If you don’t have a microwave, just toss them in a pot and warm them at medium low for about ten minutes.

  • 3. Mix in your choice of Campbell’s creamed soups and milk. Add any spices you wish. I sometimes add a little pepper because I like pepper. I’ve also thrown in garlic salt, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, and really, just whatever I reach up and grab.

  • 4. Add in any of your pre-cooked meats at this point. I normally save some chicken from another meal earlier in the week purposefully for making the pot pie. Leftover turkey works really well in this dish, too.

  • 5. Pour it into your baked pie crust.

Pour into the crust
Don’t eat it yet. It will be even yummier soon!

  • 6. Cover it with the rolled up pie crust topper. Ten bucks says you make better edges than I do, whether you crimp them or pinch them or peel off the extra and eat the raw dough. What? You don’t do that? Oh. Me either.

  • 7. Bake at 450 for about 20 minutes. We have a fancy pants convection oven now, so we have shaved a few minutes off of that time. You want the crust to be a nice golden brown, not deep, burnt brown like the first time I made it in the new oven. Sigh.

Let it sit for a few minutes before cutting, and voila! Easy, healthy, happy meal for the family!

Now Eat!
Note: If anyone wants to buy me a pie lifter for Christmas, I obviously need one. Obviously.

If you want some other recipes for picky eaters (or, like my kids, weird eaters), Campbell’s has helped out with The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™, bringing you recipes your kiddos won’t be able to refuse. (And you might like, too!) Also check out their new recipe destination, Campbell’s Kitchen, for even more recipes.

 

The Time I Accidentally Inspired Other People


I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Advil®, as a part of the Advil® Relief in Action campaign. I received compensation for this post. While all opinions stated are my own, I make no claims about Advil® as a product or its effectiveness.

 

I never meant to inspire anybody with my running.

I just wanted to run. Or, really, I just wanted to move again, to feel my body and all of its parts working together for good after nearly two years of pain, both physical and emotional. A back injury that left me nearly unable to walk almost decimated my belief in myself, in my abilities, in my personhood. So when the doctors fixed me up and sent me on my way, I started putting one foot in front of the other again.

I kept on putting one foot in front of the other. Over and over. Slowly at first and for short amounts of time, I’d hit the road in my neighborhood or a local trail. I’d gain a little distance, lose a little speed and then gain a little speed and lose a little distance. I kept on going, kept on lacing up my shoes, kept on moving my body. Some days hurt as the pain in my back sorted itself out, worked its way back out of my body as I began to use muscles that I hadn’t used in quite some time. I pushed on, through the pain and, mostly, through the self-doubt.

 

12. 12 miles. Ah ha ha. #PicTapGo

 

And of course, because we live in this technological, share-it-all age, I tweeted. I updated my Facebook with monthly run totals. I shared photos of runs achieved — and runs failed — on Instagram. I blogged. I talked about it during weekly coffee meetings with close friends. They all encouraged me, cheered me on. I was the one being inspired by the love and encouragement of my friends, online and off.

Then, less than a year after my return to running, I ran my first half marathon. I felt pretty good about myself, inside and out. I felt new. I felt whole. I shared.

 

Love. #clemarathon #runjennarun

 

And then people shared with me.

“Your running has inspired me. If you can do it, I can do it. I’m going to run a 5K.” “You’ve inspired me to train for a half marathon.” “I’m going to start running because of your journey.” Multiple messages rolled into my inbox, all sharing this same theme. What I believed to be the simple — though difficult — act of running back to myself through residual physical pain and emotional barriers was inspiring others to do the same, to do more.

I blinked at my computer screen.

Me. Inspiring others. To go and do something more, to be more, to feel more. Me.

I haven’t always felt like the kind of person who inspires, who pushes people to do good, to be and do more. I’ve been the girl who looked to others. Even through this journey, I looked to the words and actions and sharings of others to find my inspiration: fast runners, accomplished runners, real runners. I wasn’t fast or accomplished and, most days, I didn’t feel real — despite having run 13.1 miles. And yet, here were others telling me that they had been looking to me, from the days when I started walking the neighborhood all the way through my training plan. Some weren’t planning on running — just moving more, just being more active, just getting up and going out.

I chased my boys through the yard a few evenings ago — something I wasn’t physically able to do in the midst of my worst days. Giggles pouring forth, I stopped and caught my breath, a smile on my face. Inspired to run or not, I hope that people understand that the point of my journey was more about this — being active with my family and being happy while doing it — was what inspired me most, was what became my relief in action on those days that I just didn’t want to get up and lace up and go out and run and run and run.

 

52 Weeks, Week 19

 

All of that said, it took inspiring others with my mere acts of getting up and running to remember the joy of helping and serving others. Or, maybe it was the day I was out running and my sons held up signs as I passed the driveway over and over — the joy on their faces evident. Now that I feel like me — inside and out again — I am reminded of the need to get out and help others feel like themselves again, and not just by posting running updates online.

One of our local pregnancy resource centers was destroyed in a storm last year. As you know, helping moms — young or old — be the best moms they can be remains a passion of mine due to my experience with my daughter, adoption and a system that doesn’t always work as it could or even should. As I thought about what my daughter might think someday, knowing that her birth mother runs half marathons, I made some calls to get myself back on the lists as a resource for mothers — pre-birth or postpartum — who are dealing with situations that often involve a lack of support, living below the poverty line, and sometimes scary domestic issues. If my simple act of running can inspire people to get up and go, then sharing my story, putting my arm around the shoulder of an expectant mom who feels alone and saying, “I’m here for you; this is my story,” can surely inspire as well.

The Advil® Relief in Action campaign honors and supports people who don’t let pain get in the way of helping others. You can Follow @ReliefinAction on Twitter and Instagram. Share how you see Relief in Action by posting a photo with the hashtag #ReliefinAction on Instagram and Twitter. Visit http://www.advil.com/reliefinaction to learn more.

 

I Finally Found a White Running Tank! (+Giveaway!)

Disclosure: I was provided a top by Albion Fit.

I’ve been searching for a white running tank for awhile now. I don’t own much white clothing because, well, I’m me and I spill things. However, I also hate getting overheated. While black may make you look thinner, that’s really not important to me when I’m out running; not overheating, on the other hand, is of key importance. I wanted a fabric that breathed and wicked away my (tons of) sweat. I also wanted that white color to help reflect the sun, not absorb the heck out of it while on lengthy runs.

Enter Albion Fit and their Classic Racerback tank.

Albion Fit, Classic Racerback Tank in White

Their Classic Racerback in White became the answer to my months long hunt. I chose this one when the company offered me a top because of the aforementioned requirements (it’s white, the high quality fabric has wicking and anti-microbial features) and the addition of a not-too-deep v-neck, flat seams to avoid chaffing and the little bit of design. When it arrived, I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve taken it on three separate runs now, all in the upper-70′s, low-80′s, and I didn’t die of heat exhaustion. Bonus.

Albion Fit, Classic Racerback Tank in White
A before and after photo. The tank holds up well, is my preferred longer length, wicked just fine and didn’t become see through (as is a fear with white tanks) due to my massive amounts of sweat. Total winner!

Note: I do wear a sports bra under the tank due to my need for more support. I do like Albion Fit’s approach to bra-in-tank as it is less bulky than many other brands. Instead of having a full bra, front and back, the tank only has the lining and support of the bra in the front of the shirt. The back is just the normal, fitted tank. It is fitted enough that the “extra” support isn’t missed and, let me tell you, neither is that bulk. It’s a great fit!

If you’re wondering about the v-neck, it is not too deep. Just trust me.

I am excited that this top has become part of my running wardrobe for the summer. If I decided I need one more white top for the summer, I’m going with the Uline Top in White and Coral.

And now you can enter to win the Classic Racerback Tank in White! I’m giving away the Classic Racerback Tank in White in your preferred size (check out the fit guide).

To Enter:

Leave both of those actions in one comment as they both must be completed for the mandatory entry.

Extra entries:

Leave each action that you complete in the extra entries section (up to four total) in separate comments as they each count for one entry. The giveaway will be open through Monday, June 3, 2013. A random winner will be contacted via email for their information which will be shared directly and only with Albion Fit.

Not wanting to wait on the giveaway because you need that top now (or maybe this amazing bathing suit I already purchased for myself, and omg, trust me, it’s amazing)? Okay! Albion Fit has offered my readers a $15 discount code off of any purchase of $50 or more. Just enter stopdrop15 at checkout. (I *may* review the bathing suit that I bought before the end of the discount code so as to further entice you because, seriously, wow.)

Now, go ahead and enter or shop or what have you. Enjoy!

Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Can I confess something?

I put off reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson until now for lots of reasons. Having been let down by blog-to-books in the past, I didn’t want to read it just in case. I mean, sure! She’s funny online! But would it translate to book? Could she possibly keep up the funny for 366 pages? Would I be horribly let down and thus fall out of something akin to blog-crush?

Untitled

After buckling down and agreeing to read and review the book with the BlogHer Book Club, the answers to my questions are yes, yes, and no.

Though I’m kind of perplexed.

You see, quite frequently in the beginnings of the book, Jenny talks about this minority of people who don’t a) get their water from a well, or b) know how to gut a deer, or c) only have have one gas station in their towns. Well, you see, I grew up in a town with two gas stations… though one eventually closed. We didn’t even have a stop light until after I moved away. I KID YOU NOT. When I tell people that, they are horrified. I shrug. And yes, we grew up with a well, though we didn’t have a radon infested well. That I know of. And… that whole deer thing…

Well, my dad wasn’t a hunter. His friends would receive permission from both my parents and grandparents to hunt on the Back 40 — which anyone with a large amount of acreage knows isn’t necessarily 40 acres. I didn’t eat venison until I was in middle school and only because a good friend tricked me into it; yes, it tasted like beef but I was still so mad at her. I swore I would never marry a hunter.

I also swore I’d never live in Ohio.

Yet, here I sit. In Ohio. Married to a hunter. There are four deer heads in the family room in the basement. When my husband texts me photos of dead deer in the last week of November, it is a cause for cheering, not for vomiting, because it means we will have meat for dang near a year. I know how to cook it — to the point that you won’t know it’s venison. And yes, Jenny is right; deer blood has a smell. I can agree with that even never having worn a deer sweater.

I think Jenny was attempting to poke fun at small town life at the beginning there, but I kept cringing a bit, thinking, “Oh wait. That’s me. That’s us. Oh dear. Oh my. We’re the kind of people that people make fun of, aren’t we?” And then I laughed the deep laugh of someone who understands, who gets the joke more than the other people in the room.

Because if I’ve learned anything from being different over the years, being the kid of people that others like to make fun of is almost always a good thing. Almost always.

I enjoyed Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but if you’re my mother-in-law, please don’t read it. There’s far too much cussing for you.

The BlogHer Book Club is reading and discussing the book right now. The first discussion asks what your favorite funny childhood memory is; I’m still thinking of my answer as there are too many to choose from!

 

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.