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Finish Power & Free
Disclosure: I’m part of the Finish Power & Free Alliance of Moms and received complimentary product samples to facilitate this review, as well as compensation. The opinions expressed here are my own. As funny as this may sound after experiencing the longest winter in recent memory, I absolutely love the change of seasons. Even when that change brings on bitingly cold New England winters, a new season means I get the chance to cook, create, and spend time with my family in a whole new way. As our days become filled with sunshine, I constantly think of new summer dishes and delicious meals to fit a new season of warmth and adventure.
Mom Central received samples of Stur to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own. At the top of my health resolutions are two goals this year – drink more water, and cut down on my sugar intake. I’ve recently discovered a product that will help me tackle both in a delicious and refreshing way. I’ve always been a big fan of drinking water. In fact, I really can’t leave home without it. There’s constantly a glass of water on my desk and reusable portable bottle in my purse. I’ve found that by drinking more water, my skin has become clearer. In addition, I’ve felt more energized and less hungry. However, sometimes I look for a different beverage to go with meals or as an afternoon pick-me-up. As many of us have discovered, even drinks that position themselves to be “good for you” are loaded with a lot of sugar and ingredients that will ultimately affect your overall health. I’ve been wary of flavored water enhancers, as I didn’t want to risk adding something potentially unhealthy to my water.
Takeya Iced Tea System
Mom Central received a sample of the Iced Tea Beverage System in order to facilitate this review. All of the views expressed are our own. With the weather warming up and the summer season upon us, what’s better than a cold glass of iced tea? Few things taste as refreshing and delicious as fresh-brewed iced tea in the summer, especially if you throw a few sprigs of fresh mint from your garden! As an avid tea drinker, I enjoy both the hot and cold varieties, but I often find the process of making homemade iced tea tedious. I weary of the traditional brewing methods of either waiting for hot tea to cool or waiting long hours for sun tea to finish brewing. Going through the heating and cooling process, and with the temperatures on the rise, I want that cold glass of tea sooner rather than later! Luckily, Takeya has come out with an innovative beverage system that makes brewing that perfect pitcher of ice tea a cinch. You can make hand crafted, artisan iced tea beverages, but more importantly, it goes from hot, brewed tea to chilly and refreshing in literally just a few minutes.
Contigo Water Bottle
In order to facilitate this review, Mom Central received a sample of each product. All of the views expressed are entirely our own. As summer temperatures rise, staying hydrated proves essential. With beautifully designed new water bottles from Contigo, Aladdin, and CoolGear, hydrating yourself and your family becomes easy and fun! Contigo’s AUTOSEAL Grace Water Bottle holds 24 ounces of water in a durable design that comes five bright colors. Several of our team live by this bottle, bringing it everywhere and even keeping on their nightstands! 100% leak proof and spill proof, with a design that auto seals between every drink, you can confidently throw this bottle in a backpack or a purse without worrying about any spills.
Texas de Brazil
Mom Central attended an event hosted by Texas de Brazil. All opinions are our own. When planning to go out to dinner as a family, we look for those tried and true restaurants that we know will please everyone’s palate. But we want to go somewhere that will prove to be a memorable experience. Too often this means we fall into a habit of going to the same restaurant. However, after visiting the latest location of the Texas de Brazil restaurant chain in midtown Manhattan, I’m encouraging families to think differently the next time you’re planning a dinner out.
Bradley Digital Smoker
Disclosure: In order to facilitate this post, I received a review unit of the Bradley 4-Rack Digital Smoker. The views expressed here are entirely my own. While touring the Housewares Show in Chicago this past spring, I found myself drawn to a small booth featuring the innovative Bradley Digital Electric Smoker and engaged in lively conversation with the company’s founders. A long time fan of electric smokers, I wanted to try out the Bradley and see how it stacked up in the smoker category. What particularly drew my attention in terms of a profound change-up was the automatic feeding up of seasoned wood disks into the smoker every 20 minutes, instead of having to manually keep adding in soaked wood chips during the entire smoking process, which for a turkey or pork shoulder can prove burdensome and tie you close to the smoker to tend it. The smoker’s about the size of a dorm refrigerator, and easily tucks away in an outdoor deck or patio. Easy to Use Smoking Bisquettes
VinLuxe Wine Aerator
Mom Central received a VinLuxe Wine Aerator to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own Who doesn’t love a good glass of wine to accompany a delicious meal? The key word here being good! If taking the time to prepare a dinner, the wine should stand up to the food and complement it. In a perfect world, we should all be decanting our wine to bring out the best flavors, but few of us think to start the process at least 20 minutes before drinking. My husband and I love wine, and have traveled to Napa, Sonoma, Tuscany and France to explore vineyards. We’ve brought back cases of wine, and I cringe when I think of the amazing bottles that didn’t live up to their full potential because we didn’t decant them.
To facilitate this review, I received a product sample of the BEKA frying pan. The views expressed here are entirely my own. For the past couple of years I have attended the International Housewares Show in Chicago, searching out trends when it comes to our homes as well as best in show innovations. At the show, hundreds of different types of frying pans hang on brightly colored walls or set out in gleaming displays, and they all sort of blend together by the time you’ve spent hours visiting all the booths. But Belgium-based Beka has come out with an exceptional frying pan that totally stood out from the crowd for me: the Beka Clean Cooking Fry Pan.
Mom Central received samples to facilitate this review. All opinions are our own. After one of the coldest winters in my recollection, I feel like none of us can complain if the spring and summer are exceptionally warm.  One thing we do have to keep in mind as temperatures rise is keeping our perishable foods at optimal temperature when either taking them home from the grocery store or on a trip to the park, the beach, or even just in the train or car to the office. I discovered PackIt products earlier this year, and my freezable lunch bag has been my go-to for carrying yogurt and perishables to the office when I’m not able to make it straight to work due to off-site morning meetings and appointments. I love it so much that I even purchased one for my colleague for the holidays!
il pesce menu
When in Chicago recently for business, I found out that the beloved Eataly Italian store and restaurant conglomerate had opened a new site in the windy city. I went with Megan from our Chicago office to check it out- and we delighted in the meal at their seafood restaurant Il Pesce. Just to reach the restaurant, you pass through the first floor of a huge open Italian market- with everything from hand sliced prosciutto to fresh produce to imported Italian packaged goods. Between both floors, Eataly Chicago takes up over 63,000 square feet of space, and offers up over 20 restaurants, bars, and counter dining areas.
Grill to Perfection
To facilitate this review, I received a preview copy of the Grill to Perfection book. The views expressed here are entirely my own. As the polar vortex slowly lifts here in Boston, summer days beckon and along with them the excitement of firing up the back deck barbeque. At our home, we try to grill dinner whenever we can and are constantly experimenting with both new recipes, twists on classics, and new techniques. It’s a delight to discover new family favorites  on which the whole family gets to vote on a 5 star system, with 5 being company-worthy, 4 being beloved by all for family dinners, and any recipes scoring lower getting discarded.
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