Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dinner in a Hurry: Burrito Bowls

*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.
At our house, summer is punctuated with a variety of sporting events for the two kids and many times, the events overlap. The net result is that having a family dinner is increasingly more challenging, but since family dinner is something that I strongly value, I find creative ways to make it happen and to try to keep it reasonably healthy.

One thing that we have turned to this summer has been Burrito Bowls. I can prep most the night before and we can simply assemble and enjoy for dinner.

Rice, prepared
Pinto and/or Black Beans, prepared
Pork, Chicken or Beef, prepared
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheese
Salsa - Mild, Hot, Verde

Assemble bowl, with desired ingredients, starting with the rice, the beans and the meat. Then top with the lettuce, sour cream and cheese.

Finish with desired salsas.
We love the Herdez Salsa Casera and the Herdez Salsa Verde as toppers for our bowls. They also make great dips for a side of tortilla chips. Sometimes, I even get ambitious and make some guacamole.

The last time we made bowls, I found a great product to help make the prep work even easier. I used Lloyd’s pulled pork for this. It’s this new variety I haven’t seen in store yet, but hope I do soon!
I love that it has no sauce. It makes it perfect for use in the bowls and it also allows more flexibility in my family where everyone likes their pulled pork a little different - more or less sauce, more or less spice.

What is your family's go to meal for a quick family meal during busy times?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some product samples for my family to try. I also receive thought starters and information that can be used in a post.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Proposal at Siesta Key by Shelley Shepard Gray

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
There is nothing like a sweet romance to enjoy on a beautiful summer day. Sitting on my deck with a tall glass of water and some snacks, relaxing, listening to the sounds of summer around me and reading. That was how I read a good portion of The Proposal at Siesta Key by Shelley Shepard Gray.

I have read several books by Gray, but this is the first book I have read from this series. The Proposal at Siesta Key is the second book in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, but because each is its own story, there was no catching up needed.

There is something so appealing about the characters that Gray develops. As I read the book, I couldn't help but feel a connection to them and to want to influence the situations in their favor. Both Penny and Michael have experienced a loss in their lives, but for each not only was the loss very different but also the way that they and their family coped with the loss. As readers, we get to watch them journey further in the healing process as they meet and grow close to each other, developing friendship and later realizing it is something more.

I liked that the book was more about the story's characters and what was going on in their lives, rather than being about them being Amish. The themes of love, loss, and healing are universal, the fact that the characters are Amish seemed to be more of a backdrop or setting for the story than something that was a focus.

If you enjoy reading light romance stories, then you will enjoy this book.

About the book:
The Proposal at Siesta Key (Avon Inspire, May 2015)

A young Amish woman, yearning for freedom, crosses paths with a handsome Mennonite celebrity in a deeply moving tale of friendship and self-discovery---the second installment in the unforgettable New York Times bestselling author's new Amish Brides of Pinecraft series.

Penny Troyer rarely disobeys her parents. In the years since her sister's tragic death, they've wanted nothing more than to keep her safe...even if it means never leaving the house.

But tonight, she's bending the rules because Michael Knoxx, the most famous member of The Knoxx Family Singers, a traveling Mennonite Evangelical family ---is scheduled to speak. Penny has heard of Michael---how he lost part of his leg in a terrible accident and uses the experience to inspire others---and knows she must meet him. So, for the first time ever, Penny stands up to her parents and goes out on her own.

Though he speaks about living life to the fullest, Michael knows he needs to take his own advice. Life on the road is grueling and Michael wants to slow down, to perhaps meet someone who sees him as a man, not just a celebrity. So when a twist of fate allows him the chance to stay a little longer in Pinecraft, Michael knows God is showing him a new path, especially when he discovers how much he and Penny Troyer have in common.

But new friendships can't stop time. Soon, Michael's time in Pinecraft will be over and he'll be back on the road. Her time with Michael has brought her happiness, but will she be able to follow her heart? Or will she be faced with the one thing she's sure she'll never have the courage to do?

Purchase a copy here.

About the author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Find Shelley online: website, Twitter, Facebook

Check out more reviews and learn more about the book at the Blog Tour Landing Page.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.