Food & Drink

5 Reasons Fruit Shoot is a Must for Keeping Kids Hydrated

by Jennifer Wieland
5 Reasons Fruit Shoot is a Must for Keeping Kids Hydrated #ItsMyThing

I’m sure I’m not the only mom who’s summers are a flutter of constant activity. I plan things to do almost every single day to insure the kids get out of the house and off of the electronics. I want them to be unplugged as much as possible and enjoying all that sunshine, beautiful blue skies and gorgeous weather while they can. Back-to-school has a way of sneaking up on us quickly each year. All that go-go action and time outside in the sun means I need to keep the kids hydrated. In our house Fruit Shoot is an absolute must for keeping the kids hydrated during all of our summertime fun!

5 Reasons Fruit Shoot is a Must for Keeping Kids Hydrated #ItsMyThing

5 Reasons Fruit Shoot is a Must for Keeping Kids Hydrated 

  1. The resealable cap allows children more independence and lets Fruit Shoot® go with you all day. I don’t have to worry about drinks spilling in the car or our pool bag. No bugs are also getting in with the resealable cap.
  2. The bottle is designed for on-the-go and is durable enough to withstand adventure. Whether we are on a nature hike, or the kids are hopping out of the pool for a quick drink the child size sports bottle design is meant to fit little hands perfectly.
  3. Pouches aren’t great for saving if unfinished but Fruit Shoot® is perfect for popping in the fridge for later consumption.
  4. Pouch or box drinks tend to shoot up through the straw if the kids grab them quickly and with a little too much force. Straws can also get lost easily. I’m sure we’ve all come across a pouch or box missing its straw.
  5. Fruit Shoot® has options I can get behind as a parent. The flavor options are favorites among my kids and I like that I can get sugar-free varieties as well as varieties made with real sugar, not corn syrup.

5 Reasons Fruit Shoot is a Must for Keeping Kids Hydrated #ItsMyThing

Fruit Shoot® is produced by Robinsons. Robinsons has been a trusted company in the U.K. for more than a century. Now they are sharing their goal to make both parents and kids happy with parents and kids in the U.S. To find out where to buy Fruit Shoot® or more about the flavors head over HERE.






Sunning, Running, Funning Family Activities with Froot Shoot®

by Jennifer Wieland
5 Reasons Fruit Shoot is a Must for Keeping Kids Hydrated #ItsMyThing

 Living in the Chicago suburbs my family craves the arrival of spring and summer every single year! When the sunshine creeps out from behind the grey of a Chicago winter and you spot grass below slush are heaven! You want to throw caution to the wind and run outside for some outdoor family activities. Feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin is enough to bring out smiles in the whole family.

Sunning, Running, Funning Family Activities with Froot Shoot®

#ItsMyThing – How My Kids Find Happy

Those first few days of sun also bring about sign ups for all of the spring and summer sports leagues, summer camps, pool pass memberships along with the need to break out bikes, scooters, bubbles, chalk and other outdoor must have items to entertain the kids. Ellie is active with swimming and soccer. Jackson is all about baseball and Cub Scouts while Luke enjoys competing in Special Olympics and computer programming. All those activities keep my kids very active and always on the go. Most importantly, it keeps them active and cuts down time on video games and electronics.

Sunning, Running, Funning Family Activities with Froot Shoot®

My life quickly becomes nothing more than a taxi service and I’m left running kids from practice to practice, game to game and event to event. Keeping kids hydrated while on the go and during practices, games and play is a must. With a no-mess, on-the-go format, Fruit Shoot® can be at your kid’s side to give them the freedom to do their thing’and parents can feel good about giving it to them. Fruit Shoot® is made with no artificial flavors, real fruit juice, no high fructose corn syrup, and offers great options like varieties made with real sugar, as well as no sugar added. All of this definitely puts Fruit Shoot® ahead of the competition but what really sold me was the durable, resealable bottle. I can’t tell you how happy I am now that I no longer have spilled juice boxes and pouches left in my minivan or sports gear bags!

Sunning, Running, Funning Family Activities with Froot Shoot®

Fruit Shoot® comes in seven flavors, including the new Fruit Punch. Fruit Shoot® has already been a very popular juice drink for kids in the U.K. since 2000. Froot Shoot® is a proven favorite in the U.K. with two bottles of Fruit Shoot® sold every second! Now Fruit Shoot® is sharing the love and great taste with U.S. families!

Sunning, Running, Funning Family Activities with Froot Shoot®

Fruit Shoot® Wants Kids to Find Their Thing!

Fruit Shoot® wants to encourage all kids to find their thing and celebrate it! Whether its sports, arts, tech or anything else that clicks for a kid and takes them to their happy place! You can join them and learn more about their #ItsMyThing campaign on the Froot Shoot® WEBSITE. You can also head HERE to locate stores in your area that carry this great, family friendly drink option!

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Mexican Rice Recipe Plus a Giveaway

by Jennifer Wieland
Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in Stainless Steel - Slow Cooker Mexican Rice Recipe
Thank you to Hamilton Beach for sponsoring today’s post! All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.


Just a handful of weeks ago I couldn’t wait for the kids to be back in school! I had been counting down the days until I had some peace and quiet around the house to get work done and to just have some quiet me time. Now though activities are kicking in as well as homework for the kids and the tons of travel I have done in the last five weeks with the family (Hello, three out of five weeks of living in close quarters.) and I just have been struggling to get back into the school year routine. That means I have been on the hunt to find things to make dinner time easier on me because scrambling for a good breakfast, ordering in or picking up carry out is just cutting way to into the budget and causing too much stress. As a Hamilton Beach ambassador I was so happy to receive the Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in stainless steel. It’s been a lifesaver for breakfast and dinner! One of the favorite things I’ve been making is my Rice Cooker Mexican Rice recipe.

Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in Stainless Steel

Prior to this I have never owned a rice cooker but I had been looking to buy one. I had no idea what I had been missing out on!  The Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker is so unbelievably versatile a good rice cooker could be. The Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker allows me to have hot cereals ready for breakfast when the family gets up. I’m also able to make a variety of rice, pasta and grains. What truly sets this rice cooker apart though is that it comes with a steamer basket. So while your cooking your rice, pasta or grains you can also steam vegetables, seafood and chicken. To take this rice and hot cereal cooker to the next level Hamilton Beach made sure to include both a delay start and warmer feature.

Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in Stainless Steel

The Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker frees up time for you. The rice cooker does all of the work for you to make meals a hit all while freeing you up to be able to pack lunches in the morning, help with homework after school or run kids around to activities and sports.

Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in Stainless Steel - Slow Cooker Mexican Rice Recipe

My family loves Mexican food! We have it 1-2 times a week usually and one of my favorite sides to go with it is Mexican rice.

Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in Stainless Steel - Slow Cooker Mexican Rice Recipe

It’s flavorful and packed with colorful veggies that add some extra nutrition for the family. It also makes a phenomenal base for rice bowls.

Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in Stainless Steel - Slow Cooker Mexican Rice Recipe

Slow Cooker Mexican Rice
Serves 6
Write a review
414 calories
85 g
4 g
2 g
11 g
1 g
304 g
614 g
5 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 414
Calories from Fat 22
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 4mg
Sodium 614mg
Total Carbohydrates 85g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 5g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 3 c. of long grain white rice
  2. 3 - 4 c. chicken stock or broth
  3. 1/2 tsp. pepper
  4. 1 tsp. salt
  5. 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  6. 3/4 c. red bell pepper. diced
  7. 3/4 c. green bell pepper, diced
  8. 1/2 c. celery, diced
  9. 1/2 c. carrot, diced
  10. 1/2 c. Spanish onion, diced
  11. 1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  1. Rinse and drain your measured rice in the rice strainer/steamer basket.
  2. Pour rice into the pot of the rice cooker.
  3. Pour in enough chicken broth/stock to reach the mark for 3 cups of liquid.
  4. Stir in the pepper, salt and garlic paste.
  5. In the steamer basket of your rice cooker place all of the veggies and place over the rice pot.
  6. Close the lid of the rice cooker and turn the rice cooker on and press the white rice button.
  7. Allow the rice to cook through the white rice cycle.
  8. Once done pour the veggies from the steam basket into the rice pot and stir together.
  9. transfer the Mexican rice to a serving bowl and sprinkle the cilantro on top and serve.
  1. If you can't find a Spanish onion use a yellow onion instead.
  2. If you do not have garlic paste on hand use minced or pressed garlic.
  3. If you would like to substitute brown rice you can. Just use the brown rice settings and adjust liquid if needed according to your manual.
My Sweet Sanity
 Want to find some more great recipes to make your days delicious? Then take a look at all of these great recipes that Hamilton Beach has on their website!

Ready to win your own?

Enter below for your chance to win a Hamilton Beach Rice & Hot Cereal Cooker in Stainless Steel for your kitchen!


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Malt-O-Meal® Cereals Makes School Mornings Tasty, Easy, Affordable

by Jennifer Wieland
Malt-O-Meal® cereals make school mornings tasty, easy and affordable for the family! #RealValueRealDelicious


School mornings are rough for many of us. Whether you are a stay-at-home, work-at-home or work outside of the house parent it’s difficult getting the entire family up, moving and out the door with different personalities at play. That’s why I love grabbing Malt-O-Meal® cereals. Malt-O-Meal® cereals make school mornings tasty, easy and affordable for the family!

Malt-O-Meal® cereals make school mornings tasty, easy and affordable for the family! #RealValueRealDelicious

My oldest son and I are usually the first ones up in the morning. He is trying to get up and ready and out the door for work while I am trying to roll the other kids and my husband up out of bed. Sounds easy enough but we have learning centers in my area and that means we have staggered start times for the schools. My 12 year-old has to be up first for his bus at 7:05. So once he’s dressed he gets a bowl of his favorite Malt-O-Meal® cereal to start eating while I go and wake up my 7 year-old. Her bus arrives at 7:33. As she comes down for breakfast and my 12 year-old is leaving for the bus I’m left dashing back upstairs to wake my 9 year-old and husband. My 9 year-old has a bus that comes at 7:54 and my husband has to be dropped off at the train station a half mile from us by 7:50. To say our mornings are a long, drawn-out affair is an understatement!

Malt-O-Meal® cereals make school mornings tasty, easy and affordable for the family! #RealValueRealDelicious

Malt-O-Meal® cereals are a life saver for our family! Malt-O-Meal® makes 34 different varieties of cereal! With that many varieties each of my family members can always find just what they want at a price I love. My oldest has been a fan of the Cinnamon Toasters for a long time now. For me, Malt-O-Meal® keeps my shopping budget on track with great prices! Pair that with this valuable coupon and you can’t beat the price! My other reason for loving Malt-O-Meal® is that with their resealable bags there’s never any waste. This ensures that each and every time we are rushing around on busy mornings that my family is getting a fresh bowl of cereal. No stale stuff for my group!




Eight Great Pre-Wedding Health Tips

by Jennifer Wieland
Eight great ways to say "I do" to a healthier you! #Wedding #Preperation


Pre-Wedding Health Tips

If you’re about to get married or you’re playing a big role in your loved ones’ wedding, slimming down might be on your to do list. Here are some tips to help you get ready for the big day.

Eight great ways to say "I do" to a healthier you! #Wedding #Preperation

Start Well In Advance

If you’d like to lose 10 pounds or more, that weight will take more than a few weeks to come off. It’s not realistic to have a goal to drop 30 pounds in two months, so start as far in advance as you can. Slow, steady weight loss is your best option for staying sane and keeping the weight off for the long run. Fad diets might work to quickly drop a few pounds, but you’re likely to feel miserable and gain all the weight back as soon as you stop dieting. For sustainable weight loss, start changing your habits several months before the wedding.

Drink Water Before Each Meal

The trick to glowing skin and a healthy digestive system is hydration. It can be hard to get the recommended eight glasses of water per day, so consider purchasing a “timer bottle.” This type of water bottle is marked with each hour of the day to remind you to pause every so often to take a sip. You should aim for at least two liters of water intake per day. Try drinking 500 mL of water upon waking to rev up your metabolism, and also drink a glass of water before each meal. This will help you feel full and prevent overeating.

Find Healthy Alternatives

When you’re preparing for a wedding, high fat foods like mayonnaise and salad dressing should be avoided. However, if a salad is only tolerable with a big dose of dressing, there’s no need to give up what you love. Hampton Creek offers a line of sustainably produced, guilt-free eggless mayo and salad dressing, so you can still enjoy added flavor on salads and sandwiches.

Snack on Vitamin C-Rich Foods

Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful times in your life. Combined with long hours at work, your immune system can quickly tank if you don’t take care of yourself. To keep your immune system working to the best of its ability, snack on foods rich in Vitamin C, like strawberries. For even more Vitamin C and other nutrients, you can make a green smoothie for breakfast a few times a week to give you the energy you need to get you through the potentially stressful months to come.

Cut Down on Sugary Drinks

If you love going to your favorite coffee shop for a sugary concoction every morning, now is the perfect time to start cutting down. Drinking your calories is one of the most common ways of getting excess calories that your body doesn’t need, and too much sugar is also unhealthy. Alcoholic beverages are a big source of sugar, so try to cut down on these as well. Sugary drinks like cocktails can leave you feeling bloated, so especially in the weeks leading up to the wedding, stick to water or sugar-free tea.

Get Plenty of Omega 3s

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential in giving your skin a healthy glow. Two to three times per week, incorporate fish like salmon and tilapia into your meal plans. Some fish, like swordfish and mackerel, are high in mercury. It’s best to avoid those types of fish.

Get Your Rest

Don’t let wedding planning consume your life. Although this is likely to be an exciting and stressful time, try not to let planning every single detail take priority over important matters like adequate sleep. Wedding planning takes a lot of time and energy, but you should prioritize self-care and not get too caught up in the details.

Eight great ways to say "I do" to a healthier you! #Wedding #Preperation


Preparing for a wedding is a once in a lifetime experience. It can simultaneously be the happiest time of your life, and the most stress inducing. If you’d like to start changing your habits to shed a few pounds before the big day, make sure to drink enough water, stock up on vitamin rich foods like berries and salmon, and seek out healthy alternatives to high fat foods. Remember to set realistic, reachable goals so you aren’t tempted to try a fad diet in order to quickly drop the weight. No matter what, prioritize your beauty sleep and try to enjoy the experience instead of getting overwhelmed.



Chicago Open Air Festival – Music, Craft Beer, Gourmet Man Food

by Jennifer Wieland
#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad
Thank you to Chicago Open Air for sponsoring today’s post!

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

Summer is a time for getting outside, enjoying beautiful weather and having fun! This weekend the first ever Chicago Open Air Festival will be taking place at Toyota Park. This is a music festival that sets itself apart from the rest by combining rocking music with craft beer and gourmet man food!

Chicago Open Air Festival Basics

Chicago Open Air will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands. The festival will also include Gourmet Man Food featuring local and regional cuisine, a craft beer village highlighting top brews from the region, other entertainment and fan experiences, and will be hosted by Jose Mangin from SiriusXM.

Who’s Going to be on Stage?

Chicago Open Air has a spectacular music lineup ready to go for the three-day music festival! The festival will take place July 15, 16 and 17 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL, just outside Chicago. Rammstein will kick off the festival weekend with a headlining performance on Friday—the group’s only 2016 U.S. performance and first Chicago show since 2012. Saturday will be headlined by Chicago’s own Disturbed, who have recently returned from a 4-year hiatus. Global rock juggernauts Slipknot will close out Chicago Open Air on Sunday.

Disturbed says, “It is long overdue that one of the greatest rock cities in the world has a festival of its own. We are honored and excited to be one of the headliners at the inaugural Open Air festival in our hometown of Chicago.”

Chicago Open Air will feature performances by over 40 bands, including Rammstein, Disturbed, Slipknot, Chevelle, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Ministry, Breaking Benjamin, Marilyn Manson, Of Mice & Men, and many more.

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

What is Gourmet Man Food?

Gourmet Man Food from top Chicago restaurants and food trucks will be on hand to tempt festival goers with their delicious creations! The food selections these restaurants and trucks are going to be offering is enough to keep any music fan rocking out all weekend long!

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

Chicago Open Air will feature selections from Chicago-area favorites such as:

  • Bruges Brothers (Braised Oxtail Poutine, Currywurst, Comeback Fish and Chips)
  • Chicago Doghouse (Rattlesnake and Rabbit Sausage, Smoked Alligator Sausage, The Midway Monster Hot Dog)
  • Crème Of The Crop Food Truck (Grown Up Mac & Cheese, Strawberry Chicken Wrap, Tater Skins)
  • Dia De Los Tamales (Cuban Tamale, Spicy Black Bean and Corn Tamale, The Chicago Beef)
  • Dinky’s Donuts (Salted Caramel and Cocoa, Gingerbread, Powdered sugar, Cinnamon, Ancho Mamma’s Chile, Dinky’s “bruschetta”: a savory blend of Italian herbs and spices.)
  • International Spud Station (The Spudnik, Apollo-Mash, Nebula Chips)
  • Kuma’s Corner (Led Zeppelin Burger, Iron Maiden Burger)
  • Pizano’s (Chicago deep dish)
  • The Happy Lobster (Happy Lobster Roll, The Angry Lobster Roll, Fried Lobster Mac And Cheese Bites)
  • Yum Dum (Kimcheesy Fries, Braised Pork Belly Baos).

Additional Gourmet Man Food vendors from around the country will include:

  • Cheeze Louise (Salmon Grilled Cheese Melt or Bowl, Meat Lover’s Grilled Cheese, Fried Chicken Mac N Cheese Bowl)
  • Cravin’ Cajun (Spicy Shrimp Po-Boy, Gator Critter Fritters, The Soft Shell Crab Sandwich)
  • Master of Patties (The Brekky Burger, The Muffaletta Burger, The Beef Wellington)
  • Pie Baby Wood-Fired Pizza (Your choice of Pie Baby signature pizzas: Cheese Baby/Pep Baby/Meat Baby, Meatball Sub, Freshly prepared house salads)

Drinks Anyone?

Since music festivals are long and outdoors during the sunny days of the year it’s important to be able to grab some drinks on hand. Whether you are looking to stay hydrated, need pick me up to keeping going all weekend long or are looking for an adult beverage to loosen you up you will be able to find just what you’re looking for at Chicago Open Air.

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

  • Headbangers Beer Hall

    This unique METAL themed bar is a 100×80 dive bar experience complete with Marshall amplifiers lining the back wall, a unique jukebox playing heavy metal music, rocker pinball machines, Chicago favorite Kuma’s Corner serving their signature metal themed burgers just next door, and more that will give fans a dark, heavy metal, craft beer and cocktail experience all on site at Chicago Open Air. The Headbangers Beer Hall will feature national and regional craft beers and artist inspired beverages including: Goose Island (Chicago — 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Four Star Pils), Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago — Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Vallejo IPA, Pony Pilsner), Iron Maiden’s TROOPER Beer, Lagunitas (Petaluma, CA — IPA, A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’), Motörhead Wine, Surly (Minneapolis — Surly Hell Lager, Surly Furious IPA), Two Brothers Brewing (Chicago — seasonals TBA), and more to be announced. Look for unique experiences throughout the weekend with members of bands at the bar, as well as former MTV Headbangers Ball host and Cathouse founder Riki Rachtman playing some of his favorite songs and guest bartending during the weekend.

  • Monster Energy Experience/Sampling

    Monster Energy will be keeping all fans fueled up and ready to rock by offering free sampling on their Monster Energy viewing deck. Enjoy Monster Energy drinks from one of the best seats in the house. Make sure to check back throughout the festival for a schedule of Monster Energy’s interactive artist experiences.
    #monsterenergy #monstermusic

  • Jack Daniel’s Experience

    “Taste of Tennessee” invites visitors to come out and tour the nation’s oldest registered distillery from outside the Jack Daniel’s Hollow. Visitors get to see (and smell) whiskey dripping slowly through charcoal and the new oak barrels used in maturing Tennessee’s finest whiskey. The Jack Daniel’s Experience is open to all fans, 21 years old and up, for tours free of charge. Stop by the Jack Daniel’s Experience for interactive engagements throughout the weekend.
    Instagram: @jackdaniels_us
    #jackdaniels #BornToMakeWhiskey

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

Looking for Even More to Do?

  • The Music Experience

    The Music Experience features all the elements that are involved in making music in a professional band setting. The interactive exhibit features guitars, basses, amps, drums, keyboards and electronic gear that are used by today’s most popular bands. The Music Experience has autograph signings and artist interactions throughout the day. Check Facebook and Instagram for the latest info on who will be hanging out at The Music Experience.
    Instagram: @tmexp

  • Keep Golf Metal

    Keep Golf Metal is a movement that encourages festival attendees to play a 9 hole putt putt course with PGA level golf clubs provided by Rife Putters and MasterFit Custom Golf Clubs. Keep Golf Metal also has apparel that features designs that fuse the rock and golf worlds together.

  • f.y.e. Fan Experience

    f.y.e. will be hosting the ultimate fan and artist interactive experiences throughout the festival. f.y.e. is the only place at the festival to get all your favorite band’s music — and maybe even get to meet your favorite Chicago Open Air performers. Check back for updates on artist meet and greet and autograph signing sessions.
    Instagram: @officalFYEmusic

  • Dyin 2 Live / Fxck Cancer

    The F C Cancer Foundation’s mission is to fight cancer by raising awareness and to educate about early cancer detection, ultimately putting an end to late stage cancer diagnosis. The Dyin 2 Live wish granting program looks to enrich the lives of those fighting cancer by offering them an experience that will bring joy, hope, inspiration, and courage into their lives. In doing this, the program hopes it can help give the cancer fighter a chance to forget, even if it’s only for a day, what they are battling. The hope is that it can be used as a source of inspiration to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour.
    Facebook: or
    Instagram: @FxckCancer and @Dyin2LiveDreams

  • Take Me Home Animal Rescue

    Take Me Home is a not for profit, volunteer based foundation that has been saving the lives of homeless animals since 2001. Many families living in low-income areas cannot afford medical care, basic vaccinations, or spay/neuter surgeries for their companion animals. The donations raised help us to fund mobile veterinary hospitals to travel into these under-served areas to provide free spay and neuter, vaccinations, microchipping and administer medical care for animals in desperate need. Take Me Home also supports local animal charities. Come by the booth to help out our furry friends by buying a shirt, signed merchandise, and entering a raffle. Danny Wimmer, Founder, DWP, said, “DWP is proud to support various charities, giving them a national platform to promote their messages. We are particularly fond of Take Me Home, which advocates for animal adoption. I hope everyone stops by their booth and supports their fundraising efforts to help animals in need.” For more information, please visit:

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad


Grab your tickets at the Chicago Open Air Festival website!

Festival doors open at 11:00 AM each day and the show ends at 11:30 PM on Friday, 11:00 PM on Saturday, and 10:00 PM on Sunday.

For more information on Chicago Open Air, visit or visit them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to check out all of the fun!



Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago

by Jennifer Wieland
Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices
The information and Taste tickets have been provided by Humana so that I could try some of the Humana Healthier Choices and share my thoughts and information about these items. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Humana.


Taste of Chicago is a staple of summer in Chicago. If you aren’t familiar with Taste of Chicago it’s like the biggest, baddest picnic you can go to. Food greats from all over the Chicagoland area sell food items so that you can get a true taste of what Chicago has to offer the foodies of the world. Don’t worry if you’re trying to eat healthier Humana has you covered. The Humana Healthier Choice options at Taste of Chicago will keep you looking swimsuit fab or keep your health on track all while getting to enjoy a great summer event in Chicago.

When you arrive at The Taste of Chicago you first head to a ticket booth and purchase strips of tickets. These strips of tickets work in place of cash at the vendor booths. Most booths offer multiple food items and you can often get regular and taste portion sizes. This year The Taste of Chicago runs from July 6th-10th in Grant Park.

Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices

About Humana Healthier Choices Options (full list of menu items at the end of the email):

  • This year’s program features 75 healthy food options – the most in the program’s history – from 29 Chicago restaurants that meet nutritional criteria.
  • The Humana Healthier Choices will be identified by a new logo for 2016 – a green “H” with a circular arrow around it – which can be found on the menu boards at participating restaurant booths.
  • The Humana Healthier Choices list of items will be handed out at the Humana tent and can be downloaded at the Taste of Chicago website, via and through the newly established Taste of Chicago app.
  •  For the second consecutive year, the 2016 list will also spotlight 49 vegetarian options – nearly two-thirds of the list – to cater to a larger sampling of health-conscious attendees.
  • The program is also promoting six gluten-free items from the restaurant, Dia De Los Tamales, to accommodate the evolution of changing dietary restrictions and preferences.
  • All of the restaurants participating in the 2016 Taste of Chicago were invited to submit their menu items for consideration for the Humana Healthier Choices program.
  • For an item to be considered, restaurants must submit nutritional details including calories, sodium content, saturated fat and the list of ingredients.
  • A panel of five top Chicago-area physicians with expertise in diet and nutrition collaboratively judged each item to assure that nutritional values were met.

Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices

Humana Healthier Choices Rewards Program:

  • After receiving a free Humana Healthier Choices Tag, which comes with a lanyard for a hands-free and convenient experience, participants can collect stamps by sampling any Humana Healthier Choices food item or participating in healthy activities at the Humana tent.
  • Once Taste-goers receive six stamps, they can drop off their badge at the Humana tent to be entered into random prize drawings, donated by the Taste of Chicago restaurants.
  • Prize winners will be announced on the evening of July 10.
  • On social media, Taste-goers are encouraged to join the conversation and share their Humana Healthier Choices food items on Instagram, mentioning @Humana, #TasteofChi and #HealthierChoices. 

Humana’s HappIEST Hour: Mocktail Challenge for Charity

Humana, along with WXRT-FM,  will host a healthy mocktail challenge between Catherine De Orio, host of WTTW-TV’s “Check, Please!,” and WXRT DJ Mary Dixon, who will defend her title as the winner of the healthy salsa challenge Humana hosted at the 2015 Taste of Chicago. The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, and include recipes filled with ingredients that provide healthier alternatives to common drinks. The panel of guest judges will include Chicago Bears alum Jay Hilgenberg and Jeff Joniak, WXRT DJ Johnny Mars and Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co.’s Carl Galvan. Following the event, Humana will award a donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

Humana Tent at Taste of Chicago

Take a break from the July heat by enjoying a shaded seating area in the Humana tent, which will feature basic ways of staying healthy, including jumping rope, hula hooping and dancing, as well as a photo booth and prize wheels. The tent will be located on Columbus Drive between Jackson Blvd and the Buckingham Fountain.

Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices 

Humana Healthier Choices for Taste of Chicago 2016

(vegan options noted by a V)

Appetizers/Starters – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

·         Taste Portion of Seaweed Salad (V) – Arami

·         Taste Portion of Buta Hara – Arami

·         Taste Portion of Veggie Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen

·         Taste Portion of Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market

·         Taste Portion of Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill

·         Taste Portion of Chicken Sambussa – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant 

·         Taste Portion of Vegetarian Messob Misir Wat and Tikle Gomen (V) – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant

·         Taste Portion of Doner Box – Doner Men

·         Chili Lime Watermelon (V) – Farmer’s Fridge

·         Taste Portion of Chili Lime Watermelon (V) – Farmer’s Fridge

·         Taste Portion of Avocado Toast (V) – Farmer’s Fridge

·         Taste Portion of Chicken Sandwich (without cheese) – Gino’s Steaks Truck

·         Ginger Garlic Wings – Iyanze

·         Taste Portion of Chap Chae (V) – Jin Ju

·         Taste Portion of Chicken Tacos – La Cocinita

·         Taste Portion of Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s

·         Taste Portion of Cauliflower Salad (V) – nana

·         Taste Portion of Avocado Fries (V) – nana

·         Celtic Corn on the Cob (V) – O’Brien’s Restaurant

·         Sweet Potato Potato Salad (V) – Pork & Mindy’s

·         Taste Portion of Bao to the Pork – Pork & Mindy’s

·         Taste Portion of Pulled Chicken Slider – Pork chop

·         Taste Portion of Reverse Coney (V) – Taco in a Bag

Main Dishes – Less than 500 calories, 500 mg sodium and 4 g saturated fat

·         Veggie Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen

·         Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market

·         Grilled Steak Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill

·         Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill

·         Taste Portion of Smoked Alligator – Chicago’s Dog House

·         Taste Portion of Smoked Rattlesnake with Rabbit – Chicago’s Dog House

·         Taste Portion of Chicken Sambussa – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant

·         Vegetarian Messob Misir Wat and Tikle Gomen (V) – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant

·         Donër Box – Donër Men

·         Avocado Toast (V) – Farmer’s Fridge

·         Chicken Sandwich (without cheese) – Gino’s Steaks Truck

·         Vegetarian Greens and Plantains (V) – Iyanze

·         Jerk Chicken – Iyanze

·         Chap Chae (V) – Jin Ju

·         Chicken Ke-Bob Curry Rice with Vegetables – Kasia Deli

·         Black Bean & Cheese Arepa with Salsa Verde – La Cocinita

·         Chicken Taco – La Cocinita

·         Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s

·         Avocado Fries (V) – nana

·         Cauliflower Salad (V) – nana

·         Pulled Chicken Sandwich – Pork chop

·         Taste Portion of Grilled Chicken Satay – Star of Siam

·         Taste Portion of Pot Stickers – Star of Siam

·         Taste Portion of Pad Thai Noodles – Star of Siam

·         Reverse Coney (V) – Taco in a Bag

·         Taste Portion of Grilled Cheese (V) – The Fat Shallot

·         Taste Portion of Plantain and Jollof (V) – Vee Vee’s African Restaurant

Desserts – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

·         Taste Portion of Lemon Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato

·         Lemon Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato

·         Taste Portion of Blood Orange Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato

·         Blood Orange Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato

·         Taste Portion of Pineapple Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato

·         Pineapple Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato

·         Taste Portion of Peanut Butter Brownie (V) – Caffe Gelato

·         Dinky Donut (2) (V) – Dinky Donuts

·         Italian Lemon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante

·         Taste Portion of Italian Lemon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante

·         Italian Watermelon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante

·         Taste Portion of Italian Watermelon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante

·         Lemon-Lime Paleta (V) – La Mexicana

·         Mango Paleta (V) – La Mexicana

·         Strawberry Paleta (V) – La Mexicana

·         Taste Portion of Strawberry Paleta (V) – La Mexicana

·         Watermelon Paleta (V) – La Mexicana

·         Taste Portion of Watermelon Paleta (V) – La Mexicana

·         Southern Red Velvet Morsel of Love (V) – Ms. Tittle’s Cupcake

·         Mango Sorbet (V) – Star of Siam

·         Chocolate Dipped Strawberry (V) – The Fudge Pot

·         Frozen Mango Kefir (V) – The Lifeway Kefir Shop

·         Taste Portion of Mango Kefir (V) – The Lifeway Kefir Shop

·         Frozen Original Kefir (V) – The Lifeway Kefir Shop

·         Taste Portion of Original Kefir (V) – The Lifeway Kefir Shop

The following six items, provided by the restaurant Dia De Los Tamales, do not meet the Humana Healthier Choices nutrition criteria but provide options for Taste-goers with gluten-free dietary restrictions

·         Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Tamale with Cuban Fricase

·         Taste Portion of Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Tamale with Cuban Fricase

·         Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale with Salsa Roja (V)

·         Taste Portion of Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale with Salsa Roja (V)

·         Buffalo Chicken Tamale with Blue Cheese, Shredded Carrot and Celery

·         Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Tamale with Red Pepper Crema (V)

 is Helping to Keep Lunch Affordable During Summer Break

by Jennifer Wieland is Helping to Keep Lunch Affordable During Summer
I am a member of the #ReviewCrew. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

I don’t know if your house is like mine but during summer break while the kids are out of school expenses seem to go way up! The cost to keep the kids entertained and to find activities to keep their minds and bodies active seems to eat through our money. Add to that the kids being home all day and wanting food what seems like every 10 minutes and your food budget seems to go right out the window. is helping to keep lunch affordable during summer break for us with their certificates. is Helping to Keep Lunch Affordable During Summer

I know I used to think that only carried certificates for sit down restaurants. Nothing quick or casual and certainly not anything that was just carry out. Boy, was I wrong on that! In my area there are a number of places that are fast food or carry out pizza places. So on days when we are out and about or just tired of eating sandwiches at home for lunch I can treat the kids to a special lunch all while keeping my bank account happy. is Helping to Keep Lunch Affordable During Summer

We did just that this week when I found a certificate available for a local Papa John’s. We ordered up some pizza and I was able to use my certificate for a discount. Even better, I had a Papa John’s gift card already so I ended up with no out-of-pocket expense! is Helping to Keep Lunch Affordable During Summer

Learn more and connect with and Specials by make great gifts for everyone on your wish list. Remember, for more information on be sure to check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, find them on Google+ or check out their blog, The Dish.

“The only thing better than going out for a great meal, is getting a great deal. has been filling tables since 1999 and is the destination for dining whether you like to plan ahead or find a meal on the go. helps diners discover the perfect dining experience and boasts nearly 50,000 dining deals available every day, even on the weekends!  And, the deals are easy to use – present the certificate to the server on a mobile device, or print out a copy, and voilà – the savings will be deducted from your final bill.  Bon Appétit!”

How do you cut food costs during the summer months?



ReadyRefresh by Nestlé® is Keeping FORO (Fear of Running Out) at Bay

by Jennifer Wieland
ReadyRefresh by Nestlé® is Keeping FORO (Fear of Running Out) at Bay #NoMoreFORO
Thank you to ReadyRefresh℠ by Nestlé ® for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own.


Have you been consumed by FORO (Fear of Running Out) this summer? Has the heat and humidity gotten to you and caused you to consume a higher rate of liquid refreshment? ReadyRefresh is here to keep your family hydrated and FORO (Fear of Running Out) at bay this summer!

ReadyRefresh by Nestlé® is Keeping FORO (Fear of Running Out) at Bay #NoMoreFORO

What is FORO?

Buying bottled water by the individual bottle means you’re spending way too much time restocking at the grocery store. Buying in bulk keeps your shopping trips infrequent, but those cases are so heavy, and big box stores are energy-sapping circuses. With that dreaded trip to the store looming, a sense of anxiety takes over. As your bottled water supply dwindles, you begin to hoard those last few bottles for your kids, your spouse, or even just a thirstier moment. This is a phenomenon referred to as The Fear of Running Out—denying yourself and your family the bottled water they want just so you don’t have to go back to the store or add another inconvenience to your day. 

We spend a ton of our summer at our local park pool, the beach, and neighborhood parks. Making sure the kids stay hydrated is a must! Making sure they hydrate with great-tasting drinks without the sugar and caffeine that’s no good for them is my mission as a mom.

ReadyRefresh by Nestlé® is Keeping FORO (Fear of Running Out) at Bay #NoMoreFORO

A FORO Study was done and this is what they learned

  • More than half of all surveyed (52%) experience FORO at least once a week.
  • 69% of those surveyed experience feelings such as stress, anxiety and worry when household items start to run low.
  • 69% of survey respondents run low on everyday household items at least once a week.
  • According to survey respondents, bottled water is the beverage of choice in homes (36%), workplaces (46%), and at school (36%).
  • Nearly half of all full-time working parents (46%) surveyed say they ration or replace everyday household items with a less desirable alternative at least once per week, in order to avoid running out completely.
  • According to the survey, when running low on household items, food (67%), toilet paper (51%) and bottled water (43%) are the most likely to be restocked first – ahead of items like milk (20%) and diapers (7%).
  • Of those surveyed, three out of four (75%) working parents would buy more household items in bulk if it was more convenient.
  • According to the survey, more than half of full-time working parents (55%) say that daily errands keep them from spending quality time with friends and family.

ReadyRefresh by Nestlé® is Keeping FORO (Fear of Running Out) at Bay #NoMoreFORO

Why is it important to have good drink options available at all times?

Today, beverages account for 47% of added sugars in the U.S. American Diet and more than 13% of calories consumed per day. The newly released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that the primary beverage consumed should be either calorie-free – especially water – or should contribute beneficial nutrients such as fat-free and low-fat milk and 100% juice.

Replacing a single 12-ounce, 140 calorie sugar sweetened beverage with water each day for a year can cut more than 50,000 calories from one’s diet. That’s a lot of calories that I’m sure nobody wants their kids ingesting on sugar.

I know for me, since I have been following a Keto lifestyle making sure I have healthy, carb- and sugar-free drink options are an absolute must! Without them I’d be reduced to drinking regular tap water and sometimes a girl wants a little more flavor than that in what she’s drinking.

ReadyRefresh by Nestlé® is Keeping FORO (Fear of Running Out) at Bay #NoMoreFORO

Why I’m on board with ReadyRefresh

My husband is a soda junkie and at his age I don’t think I’ll ever get him to get past it. I myself am a water and tea girl since giving up sugary drinks a few years back. (One of my best decisions ever!) The problem I face is that kids are impressionable and if they see daddy with soda and it’s in cans and bottles than can be easily grabbed then we end up battling about why they shouldn’t be having that. 

I have noticed that if I have other, healthier options on hand that they will drink those instead. If there are ice cold bottles of water and tea then they will grab that to take to the park, beach, pool or anyplace else we may be headed in the hot summer sun.

Added bonus… with all of the types and flavors of waters and teas I can change up my daily drink routine as the mood strikes me.  This is where the video will be embedded.


More about ReadyRefresh

When it comes to your home, you want to feel confident that you are always making the best choices for you and your family, especially when it comes to health. Now there’s an easy way to bring a little more health into your home. ReadyRefresh is a customizable beverage delivery service that provides your family with a variety of leading bottled water brands in assorted sizes and flavors like Ice Mountain (still and sparkling), Nestlé Pure Life, Perrier, San Pellegrino, and Aqua Panna. With ReadyRefresh there is something for everyone in the family!

ReadyRefresh has a simple to navigate website that makes ordering from their wide selection of flavors and brands a breeze. ReadyRefresh also offers great delivery and frequency options to meet your personal needs. They make it easy for you to want make healthier choices. For more information on FORO, coupons and deals follow ReadyRefresh on Facebook and Twitter.

ReadyRefresh by Nestlé® is Keeping FORO (Fear of Running Out) at Bay #NoMoreFORO

Ready to stop FORO in it’s tracks?

Have you ever experienced FORO? Do you wish to stop FORO before it hits your family again? Then sign up for a new ReadyRefresh delivery service account. New members will receive $50 off their first order which will go a long way in hydrating your entire household! Plus, there’s no delivery fee on your first order which makes this a can’t-miss deal! Don’t let FORO catch you! Get delivery right to your door with healthy drink options all year long. 



Rick Bayless Cooking Demo at Macy’s State Street

by Jennifer Wieland
Rick Bayless Cooking Demo at Macy's State Street #MacysChef
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Three of my favorite things about Chicago come together for a fun, entertaining and absolutely delicious event next week! Chicago hometown favorite Rick Bayless will be heading to Macy’s State Street to wow customers with a cooking demonstration. The cooking demonstration will showcase some of his absolute favorite award-winning summertime dishes. While getting to watch Rick Bayless in action and getting to drool over his fabulous creations in person is pretty darn awesome what makes this cooking demo even better is that there will be plenty of samples on hand for everyone in attendance. Absolute best part? This event is 100% free!!!

Macy’s State Street location is always a favorite place for me to shop. I spend hours perusing their housewares and food selections. It’s often a fun, delicious and retail therapy treat for me. After the Rick Bayless cooking demonstration you can then head downstairs and where you can find the latest in must-have cookware and hot gadgets that every cook needs. Plus, if you spend a minimum of $35 in the Home department, you will receive a $10 Macy’s gift card! The awesomeness doesn’t end there though. No, you’ll also receive a copy of More Mexican Everyday, which Chef Rick Bayless will sign for you directly after the event!

Rick Bayless Cooking Demo at Macy's State Street #MacysChef

The 411 on the Rick Bayless Cooking Demo


Culinary Studio, 7th Floor

Wednesday, June 29th at 12:00pm

Chicago, IL

Tickets to the demo are free!

Sound like an event that’s perfect for you?

To attend this event you need to let the Macy’s Culinary Council know that you want to be a part of this! To do that you can call them at 1-800-329-8667 and let them know you want your name added to the guest list. 

To learn more about the Macy’s Culinary Council and future events log on to and follow them on Twitter @culinarycouncil.



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