Mom Time at Dunkin’ Donuts

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wow…what a month it has been. time seems to be flying by leading up to the holidays, and i have been completely overwhelmed with helping at my boys’ schools, getting ready for Halloween and all the Halloween activities. has it been that way for all of you parents? well, a much needed break was in order, so one of my besties and i met over donuts the other morning to catch up on life and rest our minds. i’ve partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts to check out some of there Fall offerings, because there is no better way to relief stress than to eat a donut.

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can i say how nice it was to meet for breakfast! you tend to forget how much you need adult conversation when you are engulfed in taking care of a family and all the needs of you kids. plus, the yummy food was perfect for this prego mama.

right now, Dunkin’ Donuts is offering Salted Caramel flavored coffee, lattes, and macchiatos which can be served hot or iced. they are the perfect way to combine sweet and salty in a delicious blend. and all of Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee and espresso beverages are brewed using high-quality, 100% Arabica coffee beans, always freshly ground and brewed to order. and best of all, you can get your coffee and espresso beverages just the way they like it with yummy flavor choices like pumpkin spice, dairy and sweetener. i’m not a coffee drinker (but i am a donut eater), however my friend Pattie LOVES coffee, so she was in coffee Heaven at our Dunkin’ Donut meet-up.
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my favorite has always been a simple maple donut and some milk, but this time i tried their iced hot chocolate. super yummy!!!!

dunkin-donuts-fall-menuwe ended up spending two hours chatting…we totally lost track of time, but it was just what my soul needed.

dunkin-donuts-pumpkin-spice-lattedunkin-donuts-ice-hot-chocolatebefore we headed out for the day, we both picked up some yummies for our boys….and some for ourselves to enjoy later hee hee. so many great choices…and right now the Halloween colors are on point. pumpkin spice, vanilla bean cream filled, peanut butter cup, apple spice and lemon curd were some of the flavors i got to surprise the boys with. they were very happy campers when they got home from school…and i looked like a super mom for getting them for them.

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i definitely see more donut dates in my future. i forgot how much i enjoy time to myself with good friends. and if you can’t meet up with your friends in the morning….don’t worry, Dunkin’ Donuts’ full menu, including breakfast items, are available all-day. i guess you could call it breakfast whenevs. Dunkin’ Donuts knows their guests don’t always have time to sit down and enjoy a complete breakfast, so they have made sure to create menu options that provide delicious choices that can be enjoyed anywhere, at any time of day. breakfast is not just for breakfast any more. so i guess that means some evening meet-up with my besties after the kiddies go to bed soon. wouldn’t that be fun!

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{ This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

 

 

Easy Chicken Parmesan with Pasta That Your Family will Love

Easy Chicken Parmesan that your family will LOVE!!!!!! Make this family-friendly meal in less than 30 minutes – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.comSeptember is Family Meal Month! so i have partnered with Smart & Final to bring you this family-friendly recipe for Easy Chicken Parmesan with Pasta that your family will love. having a family meal together every night is very important to my husband and i. it’s a time where we can regroup as a family, get up-to-date with one another and make plans for the week. with our busy school and work schedules, if we didn’t have this time, we might not ever all be in the same place at the same time.

family meals are at a critical intersection in our nation. family meals eaten at home have been proven to benefit the health and wellness of children and adolescents, to fight obesity, substance abuse and to make families stronger—creating a positive impact on our communities and our nation as a whole. but sometimes parents are overwhelmed on how to make family meals happen regularly during the week, without being overwhelmed. the National Family Meals Movement is trying to help with this, and Smart & Final and the Food Marketing Institute have joined. saf-fmi-social-2-600x600-01cduring National Family Meals Month™ this September, help rally the family meals movement! i challenge you to make one more meal at home per week. Smart & Final is uniquely positioned to make family meals at home easier to accomplish. they carry warehouse sized items with the feel and convenience of a neighborhood grocery store and there’s NO club fee. it’s one-stop shopping because you can buy everything from fresh produce to bakery items in large and small sizes. Smart & Final also has great exclusive lines such as First Street, La Romanella, and Sun Harvest that are priced at a great value….this makes shopping for families perfect.

i have shared before how much i love Smart & Final for my family dinners and how they are a staple for my parties. i really enjoy shopping at Smart & Final, and am especially happy because they have just opened a new store across the street from me, so convenient! and now, i am going to share my recipe for Easy Parmesan Chicken with Pasta. this dish is a family favorite. this dish takes less than 30 minutes from start to end!!!!

How to make Easy Chicken Parmesan

to make Easy Chicken Parmesan, you will need the following ingredients:

3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1-1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 tsp. salt
black pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese

Easy Chicken Parmesan that your family will LOVE!!!!!! Make this family-friendly meal in less than 30 minutes – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com

now to prepare the chicken parmesan:

first, prep to your chicken breasts.most packages come with three large chicken breasts. cut each breast in half to create 2 thin chicken breasts. next, the under a sheet of plastic wrap, pound chicken breasts to 1/2″. note: now is also great time to get the water boiling for your pasta.

how_to_cook_easy_chickenhow_to_pound_chicken_breastspounding_out_chicken_breastseasy_chicken_family_dinnersnow it’s time to bread the chicken. in three shallow dishes place the flour in one,  2 eggs beaten in one and the Italian bread crumbs in the other. season the breadcrumbs with the salt and pepper to taste. first, drench the chicken in flour, shaking off the excess. then dip the chicken in the beaten egg, making sure to cover it completely. finally, place the chicken into the breadcrumbs, coating it on all sides.

how_to_bread_cheicken_parmesanhow_to_make_italian_pan_fried_chickenbreading_chicken_parmesanin a frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. oil. place 3 chicken breasts in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, flipping once halfway through. once chicken is fully cooked through, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. repeat this for the remaining 3 chicken breasts.

how_to_pan_fry_chickeneasy_pan_fried_chickensmart_and_final_easy_family_dinner_recipesnow place chicken on a cookie sheet and top with mozzarella cheese. place in oven on the top rack at 400º and bake until cheese is bubbly. note: now is a great time to put the pasta in the boiling water and to heat the spaghetti sauce.easy_chicken_parmesan_for_kidschicken_with_mozzarella_cheese_recipebaked_chicken_andmozzarellasmart_and_final_dinner_recipes

to serve, pour sauce on spaghetti and garnish with parmesan cheese. you can place chicken on top. it also tastes great to spoon sauce over the chicken.

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serve with a nice green salad. your family is going to love this one…and i hope that i have inspired you make a few more family meals happen at home! you’ll be happy you did.

Easy Chicken Parmesan that your family will LOVE!!!!!! Make this family-friendly meal in less than 30 minutes – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.comquick_and_easy_chicken_parmesanyum!Easy Chicken Parmesan that your family will LOVE!!!!!! Make this family-friendly meal in less than 30 minutes – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com

for more great recipes like this one, head over to the Smart & Final recipe page to find hundreds of more recipes your family will love.

Easy Chicken Parmesan that your family will LOVE!!!!!! Make this family-friendly meal in less than 30 minutes – www.sandytoesandpopsicles.com

{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

Night Cereal: Thai Peanut Crunch

Brought to you by got milk? Food Loves MilkAdvertisement

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did you know that “Night Cereal” was a thing? well apparently, high profile chefs around the country are now creating savory… not sweet… “Night Cereal” dishes for their customers. i shared this with my boys… who want to think they will be the next Junior Chefs, and they thought it would be fun to concoct their own version of “Night Cereal.”

we thought and thought about what kind of cereal cuisine we could create. something really unique. when it comes to unique cuisine, my boys aren’t very adventurous. however, they do love Thai food, and we often go to a special nostalgic Thai food place in Los Angeles. they love this place, so why not create a twist on Thai food.

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the boys thought it would be fun to create a Pad Thai / Peanut noodle version of “Night Cereal.” Pad Thai is one of their favorites dishes, and what goes better with milk and cereal than a little peanut butter? this was definitely going to be a culinary experience!

to start our culinary cuisine, we needed our hero ingredients! ice cold milk and Corn Chex cereal. you definitely can’t eat cereal without milk.

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the rest of the ingredients are pretty simple. besides the milk and Corn Chex cereal, we also needed Thai rice noodles, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, chopped green onions, and a special peanut Pad Thai sauce.

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we filled our bowls with cereal, and then stacked the noodles, bean sprouts, carrots and scallions on top. we also sprinkled some of the scrambled egg around.

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next, we added a special peanut Pad Thai sauce over the top. it is a mix of onions, butter, soy sauce, Siracha, peanut butter and apple cider vinegar. i have included the recipe below. this sauce is really yummy!

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finally, to finish off our “Goodnight Cereal” we had to top it off with milk. as the boys say, milk and cereal are best friends!

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now it was time to try our creation. i must say, it actually was good! you probably wouldn’t expect it, but it tastes almost like our favorite Pad Thai. the Corn Chex added a great crunch, and milk tastes great with peanut butter.

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Night Cereal: Thai Peanut Crunch

ingredients
Milk for cereal
3 cups Corn Chex
Thai Rice Noodles, cooked according to the package directions.
1 egg, finely scrambled
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup carrots, shredded

Pad Thai Peanut Sauce
3 Tbsp. peanut butter or almond butter
2 tsp. Soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. Water
1-2 tsp. Siracha

first, make the peanut sauce. sauté onions in butter and sesame oil until translucent over medium heat. turn heat to low and with a whisk, add the rest of the sauce ingredients. meanwhile, cook the Thai Rice Noodles. once the sauce and noodles are ready, assemble the Thai Peanut Crunch cereal bowls. divide cereal among 4 bowls. next, layer noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, scallions and scrambled egg. pour Pad Thai peanut sauce over the top. right before serving, add the milk. eat like you would cereal.

makes 4 servings.

enjoy & GOODNIGHT!!!!

{ This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

Easy and Fun Lunch Box Ideas

Easy and Fun Lunchbox ideas!!!!!  Great for school or snacks.

back to school is right around the corner, in fact many kids have already gone back. my boys head back to school at the end of august, and what i am not looking forward to is packing lunches. why does it always seem so hard?!!! making sure that they get enough food….that it’s balanced and healthy…and that they will actually eat it, are all things that i worry about. usually, my husband does the lunch packing job, but last year he became so frustrated in accomplishing the above that he doesn’t want to do them this year. my kids are too darn picky. so, i have partnered with Kroger to talk about how hope to pack some fun and easy lunches this year.

since i am taking control of the lunches this year, i decided to stock op on lunchbox supplies. off to the store i went…i have a Ralph’s right across the street, a Kroger store. buying real food for our families should not be expensive or time consuming, so Kroger is working to ensure that it is easy to find foods your family needs at your local grocery store by providing natural products from brands such as Horizon Organic.  it’s really easy to find the natural foods around my local Ralph’s, all you do is go to an aisle and look for the “live naturally” signs. you can find them on almost any aisle and even in the refrigerator section. this is were the organic and natural products will be found. this is where i purchase most of my groceries. 

Live Naturally Foods at Kroger Ralphsthe kids especially like the Horizon products and Ralph’s had the entire variety, so that’s what i stocked up on. from cheeses, milk, to pastas, to crackers and cookies, there’s a lot to choose from.
Horizon Organic Food IdeasHorizon Organic Milk Productsand now to pack the lunches. maybe i can get creative this year. here are some example of what i came up with. all of which all my kids will eat. winning!!!!!

Easy and Fun Lunchbox Ideas

we use reusable containers for our lunches that go into an insulated lunchbox. everyday i include this container filled with their lunch, along with a drink and a bottle of water. my rule is that the must come home with an empty water bottle each day. they really need to stay hydrated at school. check out these ideas i came up with fr their lunches….
School-lunchesfor my first lunch, i made some sandwich rolls using Horizon Cheese Sticks. all i did was wrap some lunchmeat and lettuce around the cheese stick and then bread with the crusts off around that. i secured them with toothpicks and places them in the box. i think the boys will think they are pretty cool. i also included some carrot sticks, Horizon peanut butter sandwich crackers, and some Horizon chocolate milk.
school-lunches-your-kids-will-lovemy boys don’t really love getting sandwiches everyday, so i need to find ways to mix it up. they love mac and cheese, so when i saw the Horizon Macaroni and Mild Cheddar cheese, i thought, why not give this to them for lunch! easy-school-lunch-ideas the Horizon Cheese filled or peanut butter filled crackers are great as they come, but you can also open them up and place some Horizon Cheese shapes in between them. paired with some turkey slices rolled up and some veggie sticks and fruit, it makes a nice balance lunch. regular Horizon Milk for this one.how-to-make-a-school-lunch lastly, i have apples with almond butter, Horizon Cheese Shapes on a toothpick, a hardboiled egg and some Horizon Honey Grahams. these little cookies are so good i couldn’t stop eating them while packing the lunches!Fun-ideas-for-school-lunchesand those are just a few of my ideas for lunches this year. if i have time, i can pack a whole weeks worth of lunches at the beginning of the week. i wonder if i could keep that up? hopefully, i’ll get better at it, and more ideas. thanks to Kroger….i can easily find everything i need. wish me luck.

What do you pack in your kid’s lunch?

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon, Silk, & So Delicious. The opinions and text are all mine.

 { Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.}

101 Places to Find the Best Treats in Orange County

Where_to_find_the_best_Treats_in_Orange_Countyfrom ice cream to donuts, to shaved ice to cupcakes, Orange County has its share of yummy places to get unique and tasty treats. i am often asked where to go to get a decadent desserts or fun places to take the kiddies to get a special treat after school. so i thought, why not make a gigantic list of 101 Places to find the Best Treats in Orange County.

i’ve scoured the internet. local OC Foodie Instagram accounts and also through my own blog to make this awesome list of the best places in OC. some i have tried, some are recommendations, and some are on my bucket list to try. hopefully this list will inspire your sweet tooth to head over to your nearest treats store or bakery. let me know your favorites…and if i need to add something to this list. enjoy!!!!

101 Places to find the Best Treats in Orange County

Ice Cream and more
à la Minute (Orange) – made with nitrogen
Afters Ice Cream (Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Tustin, Chino Hills & Long Beach) – home of the famous Milky Bun

Afters_Ice_Cream_Milky_Bun Churned Creamery (Tustin)
Cloud Poke and Snow (Fullerton)
Cream (Aliso Viejo & Irvine) – unique ice cream sandwiches
Coldstone Creamery (Multiple Orange County Locations)
Creamistry (Anaheim, Brea, Cerritos, Irvine, Mission Viejo, Tustin & Corona ) – made with nitrogen
Dad’s Donuts & Ice Cream (Newport Beach) – Famous Balboa bars and chocolate dipped bananas
H2 Snow (Orange)
Honey & Butter (Irvine)

honey_and_butter_irvine Honeymee (Buena Park, Cerritos, Irvine & Westminster) – natural milk ice cream with pure honeycomb
La Michoacana Premium (Santa Ana) – Mexican Ice Cream Treats
Honeymee Milky Snow Bar (Garden Grove)
Nitrolado (Garden Grove) – made with nitrogen
Scoops N Scoops (Irvine & Chino Hills) – made with nitrogen
Scoops N Scoops Ice Creams Shaved Ice Ice Baby (Lake Forest)
Snow Heaven (Lake Forest)
Snow Monster OC (Huntington Beach, Tustin, Westminster, Long Beach & Mini Monster at Anaheim Packing House)
Snow Station (Anaheim, Los Alamitos, Tustin & Westminster)

Snow_Station_in_Tustin Snowy Village (Buena Park)
N2 Creamery (Villa Park) – made with nitrogen
Crafted_Donuts_Fountain_Valley

Donuts and more
Crafted Donuts (Fountain Valley)
Dad’s Donuts & Ice Cream (Newport Beach) – Famous Balboa bars and chocolate dipped bananas
DK’s Donuts of Orange (Orange)
DK’s Donuts of Tustin (Tustin)
Dunkin Donuts (Garden Grove, Irvine, Santa Ana, Villa Park, Westminster & Yorba Linda)
Krispy Kreme (Orange & Mission Viejo)
Poqet Donuts (Irvine) – customize your own donuts

Orange County Gourmet Donuts The Donuttery (Huntington Beach)
Sidecar Donuts (Costa Mesa)
U Jelly (Fountain Valley)
Zombee Donuts (Fullerton)

Zombee Donuts of Orange County

Bakeries and Cupcakes
Beverly’s Bakery (Fullerton & Yorba Linda)
Blackmarket Bakery (Costa Mesa & Santa Ana)
Creme & Sugar (Anaheim Hills) – Known for their lavender cake, lavender lattes and cookie butter lattes.

Creme_and_Sugar_Lavendar_Cake Casey’s Cupcakes (Irvine, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach & Riverside)
Cream Pan Bakery (Tustin)
French’s Pastry (Costa Mesa, Irvine, Mission Viejo & Orange) – Since 1965
Hapa Cupcakes (Fullerton)
Mama’s Mediterranean (Lake Forest) – Mediterranean bakery….baklava!!!!
Nothing Bundt Cakes (Mission Viejo)
Porto’s Bakery (Buena Park)
The Sugar Me Bakery (Orange) – Giant cupcakes
The Great Dane Baking Company (Huntington Beach & Los Alamitos)

great_dane_baking_company Rockwell’s Bakery (Villa Park)
Simply the Cupcake Store (Mission Viejo)
Sunmerry Bakery (Irvine) – Asian Fusion style
SusieCakes (Costa Mesa, Laguna Niguel & Newport Beach)
Sprinkles Cupcakes (Newport Beach)
Wonderland Bakery (Newport Beach)
85ºC Bakery (Buena Park, Cerritos, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Irvine & Chino Hills) – Taiwanese fusion

Cookies and more
Cookie Connection (Irvine)
Cookies by Jess (Orange)
Honey & Butter (Irvine)
honey_and_butter_irvine_macarons

Kelly’s Kookies (Brea, Costa Mesa, Irvine Newport Beach & Stanton) – known for their shortbread and lemon cookies
Stax Cookie Bar (Irvine)
The Cookie Element (Yorba Linda)
The Dirty Cookie (Tustin) – Cookie shots!
The Sweet Shot Company (Irvine) Cookie shots!

Chocolate 
Chocxo Bean to Bar (Irvine) – Chocolate factory tours
Luisa Chocolatiere (Laguna Niguel)
Too Sweet (Newport Beach) – Chocolate dipped bananas and Balboa Bars

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Frozen Yogurt
Ice Cap (Placentia)
Menchies (Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita & Corona) – fresh made waffle cones
Yogurtland (multiple Orange County locations)
Frozen Custard & Italian Ice
Confetti Italian Ice & Custard (Costa Mesa)

Frostbites Crepes & Frozen Delights (Cypress)
Joe’s Italian Ice (Anaheim)
Kups (Westminster)
Rita’s (multiple Orange County locations) – frozen ice with frozen custard
Stickland’s (Irvine)

Gelato
Eiswelt Gelato (Westminster)
Mochilato (Irvine) – Japanese fusion – gelato, mochi, macarons, shaved ice and more.

Eiswelt_Gelato

Shave Ice
Bahama Bucks (Huntington Beach)
Haole Boys Shave Ice (Huntington Beach)
Hula Girls Shave Ice (Huntington Beach) – fresh made syrups with no preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup

Hula_Girls_Shave_Ice_Huntington_Beach Oahu Shave Ice (Yorba Linda)
Snow 2 Go (Mission Viejo)
Snowy Village (Buena Park)
Sticky Fingers (Irvine)
Wiki Wiki Shave Ice (Tustin)

Popsicles
Dee-lite Distribution (Fullerton) – Wholesale to the public
Front Porch Pops (Santa Ana & Tustin)
Neveria La Flor De Mexico (Stanton) – yummy paletas
Pop Bar (Anaheim & Huntington Beach)
Paloma’s Paletas (Corona Del Mar)
best-popsicles-in-orange-county

Candy Stores
Balboa Candy Store (Newport Beach at the Balboa Fun Zone)
B.Candy Store (Corona Del Mar)

b_candy Marceline’s Confectionary ( Anaheim in Downtown Disney) – They have Disney treats!
Powell’s Sweet Shop (AlisoViejo)
Rocket Fizz (Irvine & San Clemente)

Pies and more
The Pie Hole (Orange)
Marie Callender’s (Multiple Orange County locations)

Coconut Cream Pie

Allergy-friendly Treats
Sensitive Sweets (Fountain Valley & San Clemente)

Unique & Specialty Treats
Bagels & Brew (Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest & Mission Viejo) – known for their rainbow unicorn bagels
Bagels and Brews Unicorn Bagels Cha2O (Fullerton) – Tea House, Java, Smoothies, Specialty drinks and more
Hello Kitty Cafe Pop-Up (Irvine)
7 Leaves Cafe (Cypress, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach & Irvine)
The LOOP (Westminster) – handcrafted churros
The_Loop_ChurrosWow!!!!! now that’s a lot of yumminess. have i missed any must-go places? let me know in the comments….