Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kroger Marketplace Shelby Township

If THIS doesn't describe the fun I had today at the NEW Kroger Marketplace, I don't know what does!
I have to say, I was a little leery when I was asked to tour the new Kroger Marketplace located at the northwest corner of 23 Mile and Hayes in Shelby Township, MI today.  I really did figure it was going to be just like Walmart.  Well, it wasn't!  It was wonderful. In fact, it put me in my happy place.  You can ask Dale, the man who gave us the tour, how many times I said "No WAY!"

There is so much to tell you about this "happy place!"
I'll start with my very FAVORITE thing!  These are photos of the Natural Foods department!

Isle after isle of goodness!  I mean, the sheer number of gluten-free products in these isles amazed me!  "No WAY!"  Yes, way!  No longer will I have to HUNT for gluten-free products because Kroger makes it easy!  Check out their labeling!

Oh, and you'll notice all Michigan Made Products are labeled well as well!  

Ok, so they have a GIGANTIC produce department with the biggest offering of Organic produce I've ever seen!
And tons of other produce....including the coolest thing I've ever seen in a grocery store!
This is rhubarb, GROWING inside a planter at the Kroger Marketplace!  How cool is that?!!!

They have a Starbucks inside with a seating area, a Sushi kiosk where fresh Sushi is being made and Giant beautiful floral department.


Murray's Cheese Shop was one of my other favorite stops we made.  Customers can choose from over 200 different cheeses!  Don't be afraid to try before you buy!  Samples are always available to you, so don't feel intimidated to ask!

Of course, they have a giant deli, bakery and meat counters!

That's a bread slicer!!!  You choose the thickness!

 As I moved through the store, I could see how vast each department was!  Their housewares department even has appliances and kitchen tables for sale!

What really blew my mind was this.....

Don't worry, you're not seeing things....and yes, you're still in Kroger!  Kroger Marketplace carries clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories, etc!  Great prices too!
They even have a baby section where you can get anything you need for baby!

While you're shopping be sure to stop in and get your ring cleaned at Fred Meyer Jewelers.  
They have a BEAUTIFUL selection of jewelry and have everything from watch batteries, to GIANT Diamond rings!!!!
Thank you to Becky of for snaping this pic for me!
I wish this had come home with me!!!!!!  LOL

Kroger Marketplace also has a office supply section, toy section, and a HUGE wine, beer and liquor section with someone to help you select the perfect alcoholic beverage to go with whatever you're serving!

And how many times have you gotten through the whole grocery store, are in line and then remember "Crud!  I forgot the milk!"  Don't worry, you don't have to trudge to the back of the store!  Kroger has an end cap of milk waiting for you!

The Grand Opening of the Kroger Marketplace Shelby Township store is February 23, 2014 at 7:00 a.m.
Check out Bargains To Bounty for all of the deals going on this week!  I promise you, you won't want to miss out!
For a full schedule of Grand Opening Events, check out's post!

*Disclosure: Kroger invited some bloggers, including myself, to tour and review the new Kroger Marketplace. I was provided with a Kroger gift card and a swag bag from both Fred Meyer Jewelers and Murray’s Cheese as thanks for my post and participation.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Jazzed-Up Refried Beans - Gluten-Free

I LOVE good refried beans!  I mean, who doesn't?!  These are deeeeeee-licious!
I served these on a night where we had some family over and had a taco bar.    My husband quickly asked "Is this a dip or is this going on our tacos?!"  Great question!  "Whichever way you want it, babe!"

Indulge in this as a dip, put it on your tacos or burritos, or serve it as a side with my Spanish Quinoa and Rice!  Whichever way you eat it, you WON'T be disappointed!

By the way, this would be a GREAT appetizer at a party!  Superbowl, New Year's, family get-together, you name it!  It will take you less than 5 mins to throw together ;)

Servings: 6-10

16 oz. can fat free refried beans
1 Tbsp. my taco seasoning (or 1/2 pkg store bought taco seasoning)
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Directions: (Use a 1 quart or larger slow cooker for this)
In your crock, pour in the can of fat-free refried beans, taco seasoning and onions.

Next, add in the salsa and cheese.

Give it a stir.

Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours, or until the onions are tender.
Serve however you like!
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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Spanish Quinoa and Rice - Gluten-Free

A couple weeks ago, I had a few of my family members over for a Taco Bar!  It gave me a great excuse to use my new Crock-Pot Hook-Ups!  (They're pretty cool!  I'll be posting about those very soon.)  I made my taco meat, Spanish quinoa and rice and my jazzed-up refried beans!

This Spanish quinoa and rice had wonderful flavor.  It had everything Spanish rice should have, but WAY easier to make!  LOL  You know me....I don't do "hard."  I don't have time.  I always find a way I can make what I want requiring the least amount of time and energy.  Your family will never know this Spanish quinoa and rice is actually good for them!  If you're having guests, you'll most likely be introducing them to something new.....that's a good thing!  I was, and I think it's pretty cool I was able to introduce it to them!  Maybe they'll seek out some more quinoa recipes on their own now. ;)

I hope you give this a try!  It's great as a side, on top of salad or on your tacos or burritos!  YUM!

Servings: 12-15

1 cup brown rice
1 cup quinoa
1 cup salsa
14.6 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. my taco seasoning or 1 pkg. taco seasoning
3 3/4 cup water

Directions: (Use a 3 quart or larger slow cooker for this recipe)
In your crock, place the brown rice, quinoa and salsa.

Add in the diced tomatoes,
 taco seasoning 
 and water.
(notice how full my crock is?  I should have used a larger one!!!)
Stir it up.
Cook on LOW for 6 hours, or on HIGH for 3 hours.
Stir occasionally.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kid-Friendly Valentine's Day Craft Ideas from FamilyFun Magazine

 FamilyFun magazine has three cute and easy (and in some cases, tasty!) crafts for families to create together this Valentine’s Day.....especially last minute! Hersey kiss mice, an M & M board game, and more!

Check out the three ideas below that are perfect for celebrating the day of love!
My kiddos are going to have a great time making these!

“Sweet Mice”

Made of two Hershey’s Kisses and a heart-shaped set of ears, these tiny critters are almost too cute to eat.

Ear and foot template (from
Card stock paper
Hershey’s kisses
Tacky glue
Gray yarn
Googly eyes

Print the ear and foot templates on cardstock and cut out the shapes. Remove the paper flags from two Hershey’s Kisses. Fold the feet where shown on the template, then use tacky glue to sandwhich the feet and ears between the Kisses. Glue a 4-inch length of gray yarn to the underside of the back kiss. Add googly eyes. Attach the mouse a cheese-shaped piece of card stock with a glue dot, then write a note.

Suggested messages: Mice to Know You! You’re Really Mice!

“Game lover’s greeting”

M&M’s serve as a sweet stand-in for X’s and O’s in this packaged card-and-game combo. (For a sugar-free version, use buttons instead of candy).

Card stock
Clear treat bags

Trim card stock into a 4- by 6-inch rectangle. Use a marker to draw a tic-tac-toe board in the center and add a message at the top, such as “U R A winner” or “I’m game to be your friend!” Slide the card into a 4- by 9-inch clear treat bag (available at craft stores). Add several M&M’s, providing an equal number of two colors. Fold the top of the bag behind the card and seal it with tape.

“Circle of love”

Pretty paper and glue dots are all you need to make a heartwarming wreath to hang anywhere that needs a little love.

Double-sided scrapbook paper

Cut a sheet of double-sided scrapbook paper (ours is a 12 inch square) into 1-inch-wide strips. Make five hearts as follows: fold a paper strip in half, sandwiching two glue dots about an inch down from the fold to create the top of the heart. Bend the loose ends away from the center and use two more dots to join them at the point. Next, make the two hearts that anchor the hanging ribbon. Sandwich one end of a 12-inch-long ribbon in the center fold of one heart, then form the heart’s point. Secure the other end of the ribbon in a second heart. Use glue dots to adhere the sides of the seven hearts in a circle, as shown.

*Disclosure: I have not been compensated in any way for this post.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may differ from others'.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ethiopian Spiced Shredded Pork - Gluten-Free

Simple.  SERIOUSLY simple.
That is the ONLY thing I was going for when I made this!  LOL

Do you ever have one of those nights where you KNOW you HAVE to do something, but you'll totally cave and give in to the dark side if it's even the slightest bit hard?!  Well, this was one of those nights!  I knew I needed to get something in the slow cooker, but I also knew if it required any effort at all, I would run the other direction because I was too tired.

I had a pork loin roast and a giant bag of baby carrots from Costco....and that was about it!
I then remembered a spice blend my friend Henry gave me a few months back that I've been enjoying on ground turkey.  My kids and husband really liked that, so I decided that would be what I would flavor this with.
This was delicious!

It's super versatile too!  As you can see, I served mine over a bed of spinach.  I drizzled it with just a tiny bit of lite Honey Mustard for a little extra kick.  This would be fantastic over rice or quinoa as well.  We ate this for 3 nights, without a complaint about why we were eating it again.  LOL  That would make this recipe a keeper!  ;)

I'm not sure where Henry got the recipe for the Ethiopian Spice called Berberé, but it's super easy to throw together!

Servings: (6-10)

2.5 lb. boneless pork loin roast
2-3 cups baby carrots
3 Tbsp. Berberé
1/4 cup water.

1 Tbsp. each of: cardamom, coriander, fenugreek, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, smoked paprika, turmeric, black pepper, sea salt.  Cayenne to taste. Pulverize it in a coffee grinder or food processor and store in a jar.

Directions: (Use a 3 quart or larger slow cooker for this)
Place the pork loin roast in your crock and cover it with the Berberé.  Place the carrots around it. Pour in the water.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.  Shred the pork and mix back through the liquid.
Serve and Enjoy!

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Onion Soup Pork Loin Roast - Gluten-Free

Ready for an incredibly EASY dinner?
This is it!

I had potatoes, carrots and a pork loin to use.....and no energy to do much more, LOL.  I have a homemade onion soup mix recipe from my cookbook, so I grabbed the container out of my cupboard and decided to use that.  Now, for about that 1/2 cup of white wine that is left in the bottle in the back of my fridge?  Yup, that'll do!

And the rest.....well, it's history as they say!
This was a yummy, satisfying, gluten-free meal!
My kids dunked their pork in ketchup of course (ugh) BUT they did eat it with no complaints.  (Although Gavin is pretty much boycotting cooked carrots right now for some reason.)

No one will know you didn't have to put much effort into this recipe!  So, go grab this stuff out of your pantry and throw it in the ole' crock like I did!  You'll be glad you did!

Servings: 6-8

2.5 lb boneless pork loin roast
3-4 medium sized potatoes, cut into rounds
3-4 carrots, chopped into 1-2" long pieces or a few hand fulls of baby carrots
1 pkg. onion soup mix (or about 2 1/2 Tbsp. of my onion soup seasoning from my cookbook)
1/2 cup white wine or water
salt and pepper to taste

In your crock, place the potatoes.  Season them with salt and pepper.

Add in the carrots

then place the pork roast on top.  Cover it with the onion soup mix seasoning.

Pour the white wine over the carrots and potatoes.
Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours, or on HIGH for 4-4.5 hours.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Puracy All Natural Cleaning Products #Review

When Puracy contacted me, I was very excited!  I've been eyeing these products for a little while now as I start to move toward a lot more "natural" things (food, essential oils, etc.) in my home.  

Puracy has 4 cleaning products; Natural Dish Soap, Natural Laundry Detergent, Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner and Natural Hand Soap.
We've had these products in our home for almost a month now and we love them!  

Let's start with the Puracy Natural Dish Soap.  I love the scent, which is green tea and lime.  It has a super clean and natural smell to it and leaves your hands feeling good after doing dishes.  I have THE DRIEST skin on the face of the planet, and this soap doesn't make it any worse, LOL!  It also cleans the dishes, but hey, the important part as we all know is how our hands feel after doing the dishes!

Since we're talking about hands, let's move on to the Puracy Natural Hand Soap.  I handed this off to my friend, Colleen who runs the daycare our son attends.  The hand soap is Lavender Vanilla scented and I'm HYPER sensitive to smells, so lavender and I don't do well.  She, however LOVES lavender and was so excited to try it.  Here's what she said."It was refreshing and I liked the smell.  It reminds me of Aveda products and aromatherapy.  It didn't dry out my hands like some hand soaps do.  It has a clean and fresh feel."  Success I would say!

The Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent is wonderful.  You use VERY little detergent for each load, which I LOVE!  Doesn't it feel so wasteful to fill that large cap up when you're doing laundry with regular laundry detergent?!  The laundry detergent is unscented, but I'll tell you, it left my clothes smelling incredibly "fresh."  I love it.  It kind of reminds me of the smell Dreft laundry detergent has (which is also unscented and we used when our children were infants.)  I'm a huge fan!

I've saved my favorite for last.  The Puracy Natural Muti-Purpose Cleaner is definitely my favorite.  It has the same scent as the dish soap, which again is green tea and lime.  Not only does it do a great job cleaning, it leaves any room I use it in smelling amazingly fresh and clean.  Both my kids have these little tables in the living room where they have snacks, occasional meals and do crafts, play, etc.  The tables are often full of crud.  For the true test, I took this Puracy muti-purpose cleaner to those tables.  They came out super clean and shiny!  Like new!  I was impressed!

The beauty of the Puracy all natural cleaning products, is just that.  They are all natural.  They are made from natural plants, minerals and fragrances.  You won't have to worry about you pets or children around these products.  All of their products are made from renewable ingredients and are proudly made in the USA.

You can find all of the Puracy cleaning products online at

You can also find Puracy on: 

*Disclaimer: I was given all 4 Puracy products in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may differ from others'.
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