March 23, 2012

Flex Watch

Photo by Matt Weber (
I have been looking for a watch that wasn't metal because it seemed my wrist kept reacting to the metal of any watch I had on.  I also didn't want anything that looked like an 8 year old should be wearing it.  In February, my friend Kristine Knutson, owner of How Impressive!,  was wearing a watch from Flex Watches.  I tried it on and found that only a small amount of metal actually touched my skin.  I thought this was the perfect option because it was primarily silicone. She told me you can change the bands and the faces to create different combinations.  I also like that it was a fun accessory.  I needed to know where to get one. Kristine told me she sells them at her store in Libertyville, IL, but they can also be purchased online.  The best part about Flex Watches is they give back to 10 different charities based on the color purchased. Kristine extends the charity by donating profit from her in store sales to a local charity each month no matter what color someone buys. 

The 10-10-10 standard (10 colors | 10 charities | 10 percent) was created in hopes of raising awareness through unique colorful products. Flex Watches gives back 10% of each sale to a charity they partner with based on the color. 
"The Flex is not just a watch, it's a brand that represents the lifestyle we aspire to lead.  Our watches don't just tell time, they tell stories. "

I chose the Orange Flex Watch; it represents the St. Bernard Project. The mission of the St. Bernard Project is create housing opportunities so that Hurricane Katrina survivors can return to their homes and communities. From the first time I started wearing it last week I have been asked about it or someone has commented on it-that is how you spread awareness.  

To find out about the other charities represented go to

March 14, 2012

No Red Solo Cup

Toby Keith can have his ever popular "Red Solo Cup" I prefer my green travel mug from Liquid Solutions.  I bought this mug during a trip to Biloxi, Mississippi in today back in 2005. I still remember the day I bought it. I was looking for something to keep ice water cold and coffee hot.  The design was a what caught my eye from the assortment to choose from and I love green so I knew the mug was meant for me.  I used it for the rest of the trip and packed it in my carry one bag for coffee on the way home.  Four months later Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the area.  I have used this mug almost every day since that trip, I still love the design.  It is a great reminder of a fun trip.

I visited Liquid Solutions and found a few new items I might have to try.  The first is the new line called Sof-t™. It has a stainless interior (great for keeping temperature of your beverage how you want it) with a soft slip-free grip.  It is also dishwasher safe.  I would have to pick the
Origami Crane Sof-t Tumbler (Vibrant Green) because I love the green & it has Origami cranes on it.

I have started drinking more tea and often want to use loose tea. The Majes-Tea (Green Tea) would be the perfect solution for making tea at work or while I am on the go.

Thank you to Liquid Solutions for making a great product!

March 13, 2012

Vegetable "Meat" Loaf


This year for Lent I decided to give up meat.  I have been finding a lot of great recipe ideas that fit with my meatless 40 days. I found this Vegetable "Meat" Loaf in the March 2012 issue of Cooking Light.  One of them many reasons I love Cooking Light magazine is because not only do the recipe taste good and are good for you, they are easily adapted to smaller portions.  This particular recipe serves 6, based on 1 slice per person, however I easily cut it in half and had multiple servings for myself. I used a muffin pan to create small portioned servings. Don't let the time scare you away, it is worth the prep time! The recipe originally called for 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped; to save on cost I substituted portabello mushrooms.

Vegetable "Meat" Loaf
Photo from magazine by Johnny Autry

  • YIELD: Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice)
  • HANDS-ON:1 Hour
  • TOTAL:1 Hour, 47 Minutes


  • Meat loaf:
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 2 pounds portabello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup 1/2-inch asparagus pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • Topping:
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard


1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. To prepare meat loaf, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 12 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand for 10 minutes. Peel and finely chop. Place bell peppers in a large bowl.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

4. Place about one-fourth of mushrooms in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Transfer chopped mushrooms to a bowl. Repeat procedure 3 times with remaining mushrooms.

5. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms to bell peppers. Wipe pan with paper towels. Add asparagus and onion to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until just tender, stirring occasionally. Add onion mixture to mushroom mixture.

6. Arrange breadcrumbs in an even layer on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden. Add breadcrumbs and the next 8 ingredients (through eggs) to mushroom mixture, stirring well. Spoon mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; press gently to pack. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155°.

7. To prepare topping, combine 2 tablespoons ketchup and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; brush ketchup mixture over meat loaf. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes; cut into 6 slices.

My Vegetable "Meat" Loaf  did not turn out quite like the picture in the magazine, however I was very happy with the flavors and how it turned out.  I think this recipe would make a nice patty for a Veggie Burger.
Cooking Light MARCH 2012