Monday, May 27, 2013

Power Snack: Quinoa Oat Muffins

Happy Memorial Day everyone!
Just because I have not posted any recipes in a few weeks does not mean that I have not been cooking. It means that I have not had time to take any pictures or post recipes. School is winding down, life is crazy, but I am still cooking healthy.
Today's recipe was created by me because I am a snacker. I love to have healthy snacks that I can quickly grab as I am on my way out.  These muffins are packed with powerful protein, are vegan, and are amazingly delicious!!
Use the ingredients you have on hand.
Make your quinoa in advance. I use my rice cooker. Put 1 and 1/2 cups dry quinoa and 2 cups of water in your rice cooker. Cook it on the white rice setting and then use it as needed.

Quinoa Oat Power Muffins
1 cup of cooked quinoa
1 and 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup small nuts and seeds ( I used sunflower seeds, crushed walnuts, and cashews)
1/2 cup dried fruit and chips ( I used vegan chocolate chips, golden raisins, and dry apricots)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used 3 kinds to make a 1/2 cup, sunflower, better n PB and regular PB)
2 flax eggs (Mix 2 T flaxseeds with 6T water, let sit for about 15 minutes, till egg-like)
1/2 cup almond coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Get two bowls.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl (quinoa, nuts and seeds, fruits and chips)
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl.
Then add both the dry and wet together.
Spoon the mixture into your muffin receptacle. I love my reusable silicone muffin papers.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Enjoy with some fresh strawberries!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Animal Kingdom Lodge- Kidani Village

We are gearing up for a trip to Disney soon!!  So much work goes on behind the scenes to get the family ready for a big trip like this.  Disney really is the best place to take kids of varying ages. The teens like it, the tweens like it, and the 5 year LOVES it!  There really is something that appeals to everyone.
If you have never heard of Disney Vacation Club before, you should really check it out.  The DVC rooms are huge.  Full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and many other perks make DVC a family favorite.  Last year we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kidani Village.  The family enjoyed the hotel so much we are headed back there again this summer.
We have a short video that will show you some tips and tricks for staying at Kidani Village.
If you have any DVC, Disney, or Animal Kingdom Lodge questions, please leave a comment or email me

This post was sponsored by MomTV.  All thoughts, ideas, content, and cute kiddos belong to me.  See you in Disney!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Real Parents Review: Now You See Me

How do they do that?  The art of being a magician is one that has been
passed down from ancient Egyptians through Houdini and on to the great
acts of today.  Now You See Me is a movie that
takes you on an adventure through the world of magic by highlighting
four magicians with different specialties who team up to pull off some
of the biggest and best tricks of all time.  They are being guided by
a shadowy figure who you never really know, a leader of an
ancient guild of magicians .  They follow this figure's instructions to
pull off amazing stunts in an attempt to earn their way into
the elite group.  For their first major trick they rob a bank in Paris
while doing their show in Las Vegas.  This trick gets the FBI involved and
the movie goes from four magicians who can do amazing things, to four
people tricking the FBI and everyone else, while they complete their
announced trio of tricks.  There are some great twists and turns
throughout the movie which all lead up to an ending we really did not
see coming.

If I had to compare this to another movie, I would have to describe
this as Inside Man meets Oceans Eleven.  There are some great
performances from a variety of actors I really enjoy: Jesse
Eisenberg (as the leader of the magicians group), Woody Harrelson (a
mentalist who can hypnotize you in a matter of seconds), Morgan
Freeman (who makes his living exposing magicians and their tricks),
Mark Ruffalo (the FBI agent in charge of taking them down) and more.
There is very little in the way of sex (one scene where one of the
magicians is with a girl while she is getting undressed and he has to
leave - no nudity though), minimal violence and only a minimal amount
of bad language.  If you have a child who likes magic at all, they will really
enjoy this movie.  My 9 year old so attended the screening with me and he
cannot wait to see it again.  This sleeper movie is such a pleasant surprise!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Real Parents Review: The Great Gatsby

I attended a sneak preview of this movie last night and I was actually very disappointed.  I think this movie will appeal to the Moms much more than the Dads. But, I was really looking forward to this movie, and I was expecting much more from a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. 

Having read the book back in high school, I was very familiar with the basic plot, but had forgotten many details. .  I intentionally did not want to go back and refresh my recollection for the movie so that I could experience the story anew. 
 The story itself is obviously one of the great classic of our times, which almost everyone will read at one point or another, but in my opinion, this movie version did not do the story any justice.  
While the visuals for this movie (and sets and costumes) are outstanding, there is no reason for it to be in 3D. The mansions that Gatsby and Buchanan live in are right out of the 1920s, complete with ornate decorations and kingly room set ups.   
The sets and designs were fabulous, but the storytelling didn't match up with the grandiosity of those houses.  
The scenes from the parties that Gatsby throws are everything you would expect to see in a giant Vegas casino.  Bands, dancing, drinks, hundreds of people enjoying themselves......all to the tunes of Jay-Z.  What?  There was no rap music in the 20s you say? 
 The story is set in the roaring 20's in NYC - a time of big bands, yet in various points throughout the movie we are subjected to heavy JayZ and Beyonce songs. I'm a fan of Jay-Z from way back, but I am also a big jazz fan and this was a missed opportunity to introduce a whole new generation to big bands and the music of the 20s.  Having Jay-Z provide multiple songs to the movie was distracting and took me completely out of the story since the songs were so out of context with what we were seeing visually.  They did such an amazing job of physically recreating everything about that period of time, but then destroyed the entire mystique with a really poor choice of songs for the soundtrack.  I'm not sure I've ever had songs in a movie distract me as much as these did.  This one choice dragged you from a gala blowout party from the Roaring 20s and pulled you right back into this century.  Very poor choice.

Leonardo DiCaprio gave a good performance but he lacked big supporting performances opposite of him, especially by Tobey Maguire who I thought was all over the place.  Tobey kept making the same wide-eyed dopey face we saw in Spiderman and Seabiscuit and vacillated from cowering friend to over the top bullying (especially in the scene where Gatsby first meets Daisy). Carey Mulligan, who played Daisy Buchanan, was the real star of this movie for me.  I felt her pain in the beginning as she struggled to keep her marriage together and later her love for Gatsby, after the two finally meet again after 5 years apart.  She doesn't overdo it on either end and her scenes really drive the movie. You can't wait to see her back on the screen after her scenes are finished.
I think my date for this movie enjoyed it much more than I did. This movie will appeal and resonante better to the females in the theater than it did for me.  This movie probably falls into the "chick flick" category which means it will probably do very well both in the theaters as well as afterwards in DVD sales, but its not going to show up on many people's "best of" lists for 2013. If you can ignore the out of context music and focus on the visuals, you will enjoy it more than I did.  But, you might want to lower your expectations just a little from the ridiculously amazing trailer that got me interested in seeing this originally.

As a parent I was glad I did not take my kids along to this movie.  There is no sex, minimal violence (people fighting with each other) and very little bad language.  So, you would be safe bringing your kids along to this movie, but I think your kids would be very bored and they would not enjoy it at all.  The kids might actually enjoy the JayZ songs more than I did. Leave me a comment if your kids enjoy it!  I would love to hear what they think about it.

Real Parents Review: Ironman 3

Iron Man 3 is the 3rd in the series of movies which highlights Marvel comic book hero Tony Stark/Iron Man.  The story picks up after Iron Man has finished defeating Loki (Thor's brother) along with the other members of The Avengers in the movie of the same name.  This battle has affected Tony in a significant way and his anxiety is shown in very real ways throughout the movie.  The movie introduces a new villain from  the comic book series - Mandarin played by Ben Kingsley, who is depicted as an evil terrorist and is bent on taking down the President and destroying the US of A.  Tony decides to take on this bad guy by challenging him and giving him his home address much to the chagrin of Pepper Potts, Tony's companion.  The Mandarin accepts the challenge and off we go.

The movie also borrows elements from Warren Ellis's Extremis story arch, and to do so, director Shane Black, begins the movie by taking us back to 1999 where we find the drunken playboy Stark pursuing a young, female scientist who's on the verge of a breakthrough in the field of medical regeneration. In his abrupt manner, Tony dismisses another aspiring scientist thereby setting the wheels in motion for the weaponization of the Extremis program that Mandarin uses to great affect.  

The movie has violence aplenty, as all of the movies in this genre do, but, it is generally of the slapstick/comic book type.  There is absolutely no sex and very few offensive words to offend your children.  The villains in this movie are not very scary and I don't think there is anything that would be overly scary for most children.  There are some great comedic moments throughout the movie and Robert Downey Jr does his typical good job of bringing the snark to Tony Stark.  My recommendation on this one is that this movie is appropriate for children 10 and over with the possibility that your younger child who have seen other comic book movies would also be able to enjoy this one as well. There have been other reviews of this movie, and they were disappointed in the storyline or the lack of other Avengers or how they portray the Mandarin, but in general, if you can just enjoy this movie by itself without comparing it to the other films in the Marvel group, you will have a great time.  We have seen Ironman 3 twice in the first week and plan to see it one more time!!