Thursday, August 25, 2016

Simple Mills Farmhouse Crackers Makes Gluten-Free Snacking Easy - A whole Month of Snacks

Let’s face it: kids who see their friends eating Doritos, Cheese-Its and Oreos aren’t going to be happy with a steady after-school diet of carrots and hummus, even if they have a gluten intolerance, other food allergies, or a parent with strict clean-eating rules. 
(We’re talking to you!) 
The answer: snacks that look and taste “normal” but are built around crackers and baking mixes that are formulated without objectionable ingredients.

A Month of Easy (& Secretly Healthy) After School Snacks 
  • Farmhouse Cheddar crackers + nut/seed butter + banana
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + full-fat greek yogurt/coconut yogurt + apple slices
  • Sun-dried Tomato & Basil crackers + cream cheese + diced sweet peppers
  • Rosemary & Sea Salt crackers + hummus + sliced or shredded carrots
  • Farmhouse Cheddar crackers + taco meat + shredded cheese, sliced cherry tomatoes & lettuce
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + dark chocolate (melted) + sliced strawberries
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + almond cream cheese + apricot jam + blueberries
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + cheddar cheese + cherry tomatoes + nitrate-free bacon
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + apple slices + cinnamon + honey drizzle
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + ham + turkey + sliced cherry tomatoes + lettuce
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + peanut butter + grapes/strawberries (halved)
  • Sun-dried Tomato & Basil crackers + pizza sauce + mozzarella cheese + diced sweet bell peppers

  • Sun-dried Tomato & Basil crackers + chopped broccoli + shredded parmesan
  • Sun-dried Tomato & Basil crackers + turkey + avocado
  • Rosemary & Sea Salt crackers + scrambled egg + salsa
  • Rosemary & Sea Salt crackers + probiotic farmer cheese + pine nuts + raisins
  • Rosemary & Sea Salt crackers + mini cucumber slices + shredded carrot
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + avocado + sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Fine Ground Sea Salt crackers + turkey + nitrate-free bacon
  • Farmhouse Cheddar crackers + ham + sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Banana Muffins + Chia + walnuts (mix-ins)
  • Banana Bread + bananas + strawberries (mix-ins)
  • Chocolate Muffins + dried cherries + hazelnuts (mix-ins)
  • Pumpkin Muffins + dried cranberries + pumpkin seeds + shredded coconut (mix-ins)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie bars + gogi berries + oats (mix-ins)
  • Mini Pizzables
  • PB&Jam Banana Bread
  • Mini pancake bites + blackberries (mix ins) + almond butter spread
  • Banana muffins + apple + zucchini 
  • Chocolate muffins + chocolate chia pudding + raspberries 
  • Maple Chocolate Sunflower Squares 

Friday, August 19, 2016

The American Idea- Literary Expert Sally Allen Tells Her Top 10

Curated by literary expert Sally Allen, author of Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers (Griffins Wharf Publishing) Sally spent her childhood going back and forth from America to her grandparents’ home to a little island in Greece.

In this listicle, here are her top ten novels that best describe the American Experience – for better or worse – and why they perfectly encapsulate our country. Growing up between two cultures, Greek and American, heightened my awareness, from an early age, of America not only as a physical place but also a shifting, continually evolving idea. While Greece meant shared history and traditions, America meant reinventing and coexisting, too often uneasily, among diverse histories and traditions. The American experience is an intersection among those who came to America seeking “a better life” with those who were brought against their will and enslaved with those whose way of life was destroyed.

Though far from definitive, the following 10 books provide a starting point for exploring, to paraphrase James Baldwin, the various, beautiful, and terrible American experiences.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville

Melville’s discursive classic sweeps readers from the docks of New Bedford, Massachusetts to the stormy waters of the Atlantic. Ishamel, the narrator, chronicles his friendship with Polynesian harpooner Queequog and their experiences on a whaling ship. 
Its captain, Ahab, is consumed by a secret mission of revenge against the white whale responsible for his missing leg.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

John Brown’s life in the years before and through his ill-fated 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry is narrated by Henry Shackleford, a young slave whom Brown kidnaps/rescues. Henry’s playful irreverence is revealed in the first two lines and holds up to the very last page of this remarkable novel that makes us laugh out loud even as we’re shedding bitter tears.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

The collective “we” tells the stories of Japanese “picture brides.” Women of every class and background, they were sent to the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century to marry men they knew only from their photos. In prose that blooms poetry and music, the novel opens readers’ minds to what it would have been like to step into a world turned upside down and have no way out but through.

Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
Wharton’s novella opens with two upper class New York women sitting together on a balcony overlooking Rome. As their daughters gallivant around the city, the ladies reminisce about their younger days doing the same. It all appears quite civilized until their tangled relationship gradually emerges, exposing the decay underlying the gilded surface. The last line delivers an epic sucker punch.

Passing by Nella Larson

In 1920s Harlem, Clare Kendry and Irene Redfield, two mixed-race women who grew up together, reconnect, with tragic consequences. Irene is married to a black doctor and is an active participant in Harlem’s black community while Clare is passing as white, including to her racist husband. Her social overtures toward Irene build to a shocking climax in this difficult and important novel that confronts the anguish and rage racism causes.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s classic brings to life the Depression-era Deep South, its veneer of gentility and its underlying brutality. The novel’s soul is Atticus, who represents the ideal of American justice: equal treatment under the law for all. His battle to defend a wrongly accused black man exposes how tragically unrealized this value is.

Harvard Square by Andre Aciman

A Jewish Egyptian doctoral student (unnamed) and a Tunisian Muslim taxi driver, Kalaj, briefly connect in this lyrical, absorbing novel. At its outset, both face seeing their “American dream” slip through their fingers. The doctoral student has failed his oral exams and is in danger of being expelled while Kalaj is fighting deportation. As they move toward their separate outcomes, their bond deepens, alongside their animosity.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

In late 18th century Ghana, Effia marries a British officer overseeing the slave trade while her sister Esi is captured and sold as a slave in America. Alternating chapters tell their descendents’ stories in both countries, from the 18th century to the present. Chapters often end just as a significant event has happened to or around characters. We may, or may not, discover their fates in future chapters, a potent reminder of the African and African-American stories irretrievably lost.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Woodson’s memoir in verse recounts her experiences growing up in South Carolina and Brooklyn in the 1960s and 70s. Her poems capture the felt sense of memory – scents, images, set pieces. They craft snapshots of the Civil Rights era South, the Great Migration, and New York City life as well as sibling rivalry and love, friendship and jealousy, family and loss, and finding inspiration and purpose.

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Arnold Spirit, Jr. makes the painful decision to transfer from his Spokane Indian Reservation's high school to an all-white one. 
With equal parts humor and heartbreak, the autobiographical novel explores a question at the heart of American experiences: How do we move forward in a way that honors the past, acknowledges that any choice is imperfect, and allows us to choose life, even in the midst of mourning?


Sally Allen is an award-winning author who holds a PhD in English Education from New York University, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and an MA in English Language and Literature. She has taught writing and literature at New York University and Fairfield University, and is the recipient of New York University’s Willy Gorrissen Award for Dedication and Skill in the Academic Development of Student Writing. Currently, Allen is a faculty member at Post University where she teaches literature, writing, and communications. She is the founder of Books, Ink at HamletHub, a website dedicated to Connecticut books news, where her writing has earned her three Connecticut Press Club awards.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Beauty Weekend: Essence Make Me Brow Review

Girl, your eyebrows are on FLEEK. 

These words have never left my mouth nor have they been used to describe those two lines of hair directly above my eyeballs. I have never been the type of girl who paid much attention to her brows, therefore it was super unlikely for me to praise or recognize another girl’s fantastic job of tweezing, plying, shaping, or filling them in to utter perfection.

However, I wholeheartedly believe that eyebrows can make or break a person’s look. Whether they are too thin or too bushy, too dark, too light, or barely there at all, eyebrows can make you go from zero to one hundred real quick.

It took me a long time before realizing that maybe my face would look more defined if I lightly filled in my eyebrows, but everyone knows that the first time isn’t always what you’d expect. I walked out of the house looking like I had two orangey-brown squiggly lines on my face, and that’s when I knew brows just weren’t my thing.

BUT, my mind quickly changed when I discovered tinted brow gel. The less committed I need to be to a product, the better I feel because god forbid I make a mistake, it’s easy to fix. I tried Essence Make Me Brow brow gel in “Browny Brows.” Since this color was a little dark for me, I used a very light hand at applying it, just to give my brows the right amount of coverage. I then buffed the product in using a slightly larger clean brow brush to even out the color.


The applicator is so tiny and precise that it gives you all the power when applying and doesn’t feel too bulky in your hands. The shape and color stay for hours, and the little tube it comes in makes it beyond accessible for traveling and on-the-go touch ups. 

This is one product I would seriously keep with me at all times!

Beauty Weekend Guest Post by Eliza Mantelmacher

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