Friday, December 22, 2017

Chaos-Free Christmas Countdown - 3 Days


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The house is clean, the groceries are ordered and the cookies are baked. There is not much left to do but wrap gifts. Block out some time in the evening tonight and tomorrow to get through the pile without going crazy. Recruit help when possible from your hubby and tiny humans...make it a family affair! Strategize your wrapping based on who you are seeing and when you are seeing them. Have a Christmas Eve exchange? Start there...end (or don't bother) with the gifts you are mailing or exchanging after the New Year.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Chaos-Free Christmas Countdown - 4 Days


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We're in the home stretch...hopefully the house is cheery and bright, free of dust and smells of delicious cookies (that are hidden out of the reach of rumbling bellies).

Today is all about you. T-Minus 4 Days is the midpoint in the one week countdown. Take a break and treat yo'self.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Chaos-Free Christmas Countdown - 5 Days


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Hopefully by now your T Minus 7 Days and T Minus 6 Days Checklists are all checked off, the side dishes are prepped and a batch of cookies is put away.

Luckily for both of us, the Monday is pretty easy. It's just time to decorate. Stop, I know what you're thinking. "Decorating for Christmas takes days, weeks." Well, this isn't Christmas. The motto of the Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Decor is "If you don't have it, don't go buy it". This saves money, time and ultimately the headache of trying to head to the store the week of a holiday. So work within your attic, storage closet or your backyard! Head over to my Christmas Pinterest board for inspiration, but here are some of my favorites. Customize them to what you have packed away.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chaos-Free Christmas Countdown - 6 Days


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The key to a smooth and easy Chaos-Free Christmas is leveraging your free time this throughout the week and weekend for prep. Use lunch breaks to run last minute errands when the stores are less crowded. Recipe prep in the evening while dinner is cooking and the kitchen is already messy.  It seems early to start cooking, but that's what your freezer is for! Focus on prepping and freezing the dishes that can stand the cold to minimize your cooking on Christmas morning. Watch the daily guide for thawing instructions later in the week!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Chaos-Free Christmas Countdown: 7 Days


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Happy Monday...just one week until Santa unloads his sleigh in your living room and family bursts through the front door! Are you ready? Fear not, I have the ultimate Chaos-Free Christmas guide. Watch for daily guides and to-do lists for the perfect Christmas day, starting with tomorrow (Tuesday).

The week leading up to Christmas usually looks like the whole year took a big poo on the page of my planner and left a years worth of plans crammed into a week. As everyone prepares for a week off of work or home with their tiny humans, deadlines at work are inevitable, half-days at school for the tiny humans make the schedule more difficult, and surprise drop-ins from friends and family have us turning off the lights and locking the doors. Follow my Chaos-Free Christmas Manual for a smooth holiday spent outside the kitchen and tucked into bed before the crack of dawn every morning.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Have Yourself a Merry Little December


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November was jam packed with travel for All About the Benjamins. In the last week alone, we traveled nearly 3000 miles from home to Chicago and back and to Charlotte, NC and back. We walked over 75 miles while we were away!

Despite the chaos, I generally I kept my promises to myself and my readers...I offered an Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving full of party planning tips, recipes and menu inspiration. I've continued working on my social media presence, tweeting, facebooking, instagramming and updating my stories more, to keep my readers satisfied, especially on days that I'm not writing. With my remaining 5 minutes everyday, I sleep until my alarm goes off and I start over again. With a nice back-log of ideas and posts, December should be another month of cozy coffees, gift guides and a Chaos-Free Christmas Manual. I'm dreaming of a Merry and Bright December!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Thanksgiving Day


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Happy Thanksgiving! Time to sit back, relax and let your appliances take care of dinner for you. The marathon is over, the finish line is in sight and all that is left is pouring some cocktails, sipping a glass of wine and chatting with your favorite relatives. Put on your stretchy pants and get your crock pot going. Its game day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Wednesday


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Hooray! You've almost made it! One more day until Thanksgiving. The finish line is officially in sight. The Wednesday to-do list is short and sweet, intended to keep the kitchen clean and the dishwasher empty. Consider grabbing a pizza for dinner or using paper plates for dinner tonight. Take it easy! This is the end of the Thanksgiving marathon.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Tuesday


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The Tuesday to-do list is all about getting ahead of the food prep. All of the grocery shopping should be done, the house should be spruced up and decorated. The only things left are the meal and setting the table. Over the weekend we prepped all of the freezer friendly dishes. Tuesday is for prepping the pies and baked goods that will keep until Thursday and starting the great thaw.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Decor


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I'm a little late on Monday, but I fell victim to a cold over the weekend so instead of writing, I slept. Hopefully by now your weekend to-do list is all checked off, the side dishes are prepped and the end tables are dusted.

Luckily for both of us, the Monday is pretty easy. It's just time to decorate. Stop, I know what you're thinking. "Decorating for Christmas takes days, weeks." Well, this isn't Christmas. The motto of the Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Decor is "If you don't have it, don't go buy it". This saves money, time and ultimately the headache of trying to head to the store the week of a holiday. So work within your attic, storage closet or your backyard! Head over to my Thanksgiving Pinterest board for inspiration, but here are some of my favorites. Customize them to what you have packed away.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Weekend


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The key to a successful Make-Ahead Thanksgiving is leveraging your free time this weekend for prep. Don't worry, this weekend is for more than Thanksgiving. The recipe prep on this weekends to-do list should only take about 2 hours! It seems early to start cooking for Thursday, but that's what your freezer is for! Focus on prepping and freezing the dishes that can stand the cold to minimize your cooking on feast day. Watch the daily guide for thawing instructions later in the week!

Creamy Dairy Free Butternut Squash Soup


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This recipe is part of my Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide. Find it on the Weekend to-do list. For daily to-do lists leading up to turkey day, follow on my blog or sign up for emails. New to-do lists everyday at noon through Thanksgiving!

Creamy Dairy Free Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time serves 6.

Ingredients

  • ~3 lbs. Butternut Squash
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil, plus more for squash
  • 1 Small Onion, Chopped
  • 5 Cups Vegan "No Chicken" Chicken Flavored Stock 
  • 1 Dash Nutmeg
  • 2 Tsp. Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tsp. Thyme
  • Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
  • Fresh Pepper
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk, on soup day

Freezer-Friendly Pigs in a Blanket


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This recipe is part of my Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide. Find it on the Weekend to-do list. For daily to-do lists leading up to turkey day, follow on my blog or sign up for emails. New to-do lists everyday at noon through Thanksgiving!

Freezer-Friendly Pigs in a Blanket

Prep Time serves 12.

Ingredients

  • 1 package Cocktail Wieners 
  • 1 tube Crescent Rolls

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide: Friday


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Happy Thursday...T-Minus one week until turkey day touches down! Are you ready? Fear not, I have the ultimate Thanksgiving guide. Watch for daily guides and to-do lists for the perfect turkey day, starting with tomorrow (Friday).

The week leading up to Thanksgiving can be plagued with deadlines at work, half-days at school for the tiny humans, and reunions with friends and family, home from afar. Follow my Ultimate Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Guide for a smooth holiday spent outside the kitchen and with your guests.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pantry Raid: #Crocktober Vegetarian Chili


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Ladies, start your engines crock pots. I know, I know, #Crocktober is over but the it was in the 60's and 70's here for most of October, hardly stew and soup weather. It's finally cooling down and I'm in the mood for soul warming dinners! Check out my Pantry Raid Vegetarian Chili recipe, perfect for that Meatless Monday morning when you wake up and forgot to prep your pot! No need to fall off of your #Crocktober wagon even though the month has passed. Simply crack a few cans and let your cooker do what it does best!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

November - Give Thanks & Reflect

October was an awesome month for All About the Benjamins. I kept my promises to myself and my readers...I offered seasonal recipes, festive haunted Halloween freebies and stuck to my writing schedule. I've been working on my social media presence, tweeting, facebooking, instagramming and updating my stories more, to keep my readers satisfied, especially on days that I'm not writing. With my remaining 5 minutes everyday, I sleep until my alarm goes off and I start over again. With a nice back-log of ideas and posts, November should continue to be an awesome month of recipes, Thanksgiving inspiration and fall fashion. For that I am thankful!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Last Minute Halloween Printables

Not in the Halloween spirit? No worries! Slip some spooky yet sassy printables into your picture frames and go from blah to boo in seconds! While you're at it, dress up your digital device with matching cheeky wallpaper!


Get PDF printables here.
Get iPhone and Android wallpapers here.


Happy Haunting!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Murderously Enticing Blood Velvet Cake


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Make your guests fear for their lives but crave dessert. Inspired by Bloody Good Cheesecake, I just did not have the time, fridge space or ingredients laying around to pull this recipe off. With a little Frankenstein-esque brain power, my Murderously Enticing Blood Velvet Cake was born, a half-homemade success. It saves time and money but spares the creepy effect.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Drunken Apple Cider with Shrunken Heads


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The key to any good party is a signature cocktail. For Halloween that means something creepy, preferably straight out of my the witch's cauldron (aka crock pot). No need to spend the party heating up individual cocktails to order, what is this, a short order kitchen? Dust off your crock pot, it is Crocktober after all, and let it flex its muscles a little.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Rotting Deviled Eggs with Creepy Crawlers


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Deviled eggs are a standard party recipe, but go the extra mile for Halloween by letting them rot before serving them to your guests. This recipe is pretty easy, but is time consuming thanks to the extra creepy steps. These were a creepy, tasty treat that really freaked out my guests. Definitely worth the effort! Despite the effort, eggs are a great budget-friendly item at the grocery store. 1 dozen at my local Aldi store costs only $.89 and yields 24 of these spooky deviled eggs. The remaining ingredients are standard pantry items, requiring no additional investment. You'll also score bonus points from your gluten-free and dairy-free friends for this recipe!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread


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I received a sample of Splenda Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend from Crowdtap to try in a baked recipe. In the past I have tried splenda and similar products in baked goods and the results have been less than delicious. Past experiments with straight subsitutions of sucralose for sugra have generally resulted in gooey cookies and cakes that fall flat. I have kept my sucralose supply for drinks, cocktails and other liquid sweetening.

I was inspired by the flavors of fall (basic, I know) to give this product a try in my spin on pumpkin bread.
Because the Splenda Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend isn't just straight stevia, it worked into my pumpkin bread really well, in a 1:2 ratio of traditional sugar. Rather than 1 1/2 cups of sugar, I stirred in 3/4 cup Splenda Naturals Sugar & Stevia Sweetener Blend and   I must say, it made for a delicious breakfast on this gloomy Monday morning (and no calorie guilt)!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Apple Pie Chai Chia Pudding


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I love a slice of apple pie, but there's something about it that always made my mom say "no" when I reached for it at breakfast. I always had a convincing counterargument..."but mom, its apples. apples are healthy." She always won. Here I am at 29 still trying to have apple pie at 8 AM. This recipe has become my favorite chia pudding by far. It's like warm apple pie without the guilt. It is easy to make ahead of time, store in the fridge and reheat the apples as necessary. This makes a delicious breakfast or afternoon snack to hold you over until dinner. If you're one for texture (to reminisce about pie crust), try sprinkling some unsweetened toasted nuts on top.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mason Jar Baking Mixes


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Crafting helps me clear my mind, focus on being creative and relax. This can be anything from decorating and filling my Happy Planner to making greeting cards or gifts on my Cricut. Although my crafting hobby can be tedious, it successfully gets my mind off of work and allows for drinking on the job ❤🍷

Last weekend I found myself headed to a bridal shower. I had gotten the bride a 5 piece baking set, which included an 8-in cake pan, loaf pan, muffin pan, 9"x13" bar pan and a cookie sheet, along with various other kitchen items off of her registry. Although these were all gifts that the bride had asked for, the package still seemed cold and impersonal. This is a feeling that I struggle with often, especially when gifting gift cards or registry items. These gifts tend to lack a personal touch.

Friday, October 13, 2017

I Support the Girls


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With fall comes the tradition of packing up summer clothes and bringing down winter's sweaters from the attic. When I do the last loads of summer laundry and unbox last seasons fluffy stuff, I try to make an effort to set aside items that don't fit right anymore, have grown out of style or I just didn't wear that much. But what about bras? I hate throwing them out, just because they are not a perfect fit. They are expensive, they don't belong in the trash. Someone must need them, but it's hard to find somewhere to donate them, especially once the tags have come off.

In the aftermath of this summers hurricanes, I heard about an organization called I Support the Girls. They do just what I've been dreaming about and they are just the people that I've been hoarding my old bras for. I Support the Girls collects new and used bras and sealed tampons and maxi pads to distribute to homeless women and girls and those affected by natural disaster throughout North America. In the last 20 months, they have distributed over 200,000 bras and 900,000 menstrual hygiene products.

I'm Supporting the Girls

I'm collecting new and used bras, maxi pads, tampons and hotel/sample sized toiletries to donate to I Support the Girls. For more information on what you can donate, check out my infographic below. If you would like to join in on my donation, send me an email (abby@allaboutthebenjamins2015.com), comment this post or reach out to me via Facebook.

Not local to me? Check here for a list of other I Support the Girls locations that need your donations.



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

World Mental Health Day - My Secret Struggle with Anxiety


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Rock Bottom

Since starting college in Miami in 2006, I have flown nearly 100,000 miles. Throughout school I regularly flew between Florida and New Jersey at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes Spring Break. After graduating, I started dating Ross and we began travelling together regularly at our birthdays and randomly during the year. We have traveled to Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Orlando, Honolulu, Cancun, Istanbul, the Bahamas, and Punta Cana. I love travelling, packing up, turning off my phone, getting some good nights of rest without the dog pushing me out of the bed, and seeing new places.

My excitement to travel slowly transitioned to fear, starting in May, when I woke up having nightmares before our flight to Nassau. I was wide awake at 4 AM, sick to my stomach until my parents came to drive us to the airport. Once I was at the airport and through the lines of checking my bag and security, I was good.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Packs - Review


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I tried a sample of the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Laundry Packs for free from the Generation Good Community. I have used other Seventh Generation detergents in the past and loved them, so I had high hopes for these laundry pods.I was really hoping to like these pods. They feature
  • Quadruple-Enzyme formula to help remove stains
  • EPA Safer Choice Certified Product
  • USDA
    Certified Biobased Product - 94%
  • All-temperature laundry packs work in hot and cold water
  • Effective in HE and standard washers
  • 0% dyes, synthetic fragrances and artificial brighteners
  • Laundry packs are gentry scented with essential oils and botanical extracts

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October - Dance in the Leaves


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October is here and with that comes (at least in the Northeast) changing and falling leaves as the days turn crisp and the nights get cold. Fall has begun and winter is just around the corner, although with the temperature for majority of the last week in the 80's, you would never know. Finally, this weekend we are getting some seasonal weather and I'm getting inspired to dive into everything fall. That means pumpkin spice (yeah, I'm basic, tell me something I don't know), chai lattes, apple cider, fresh squash and my favorite, mulled red wine...basically, if i'ts not a shade of red, orange or brown, get it out of my face. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Pantry Raid: Leftover Naked Burrito Quinoa


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Rice, quinoa and grains in general are hard to measure out exactly when setting up the rice cooker. In our house, I never wind up with the right amount. There's either 1 scoop left, which is not enough to divide into lunch containers for the next day, or we have a mountain left. Unfortunately, it tends to get packed away and forgotten about in the refrigerator until its too late and too smelly. I challenged myself to re-purpose our leftover quinoa this week into something different using ingredients from the pantry...no shopping trip required. This recipe ended up being the perfect triple treat of taste, protein and veggie all in one!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Peaches 'n Cream Chia Pudding


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Back to School: What's for Lunch?


A little brain teaser to get started...
What is dairy (lactose) free, gluten free, vegetarian, organic, anti-inflammatory, naturally low sugar, but 100% tasty?
Peaches 'n Cream Chia Pudding, of course!

It's back to school season. This means the tiny humans are on the go, eating at school, heading to soccer practice and doing homework while their respective adults are playing chauffeur and personal chef, packing lunches and snacks. Although I am the tiniest human in the Benjamin house, and by no means headed back to school, as summer winds down and school kicks up I feel the changing seasons (gone are the lazy days). I am challenging myself to plan ahead and stay organized, especially when it comes to food.

Tossing a pre-made snack or frozen meal into a lunchbox is obviously the most convenient option, but the calorie and sugar content can be through the roof. I myself am guilty of this when it comes to my lunch at least once a week...I run out of leftovers and here I am on Thursday morning digging through the freezer for a HotPocket. Don't fall into the habit of prepackaged, high sugar snacks. Homemade can be just as simple but loads healthier when executed effectively. Take 5 minutes to throw together some Peaches 'n Cream Chia Pudding. The perk of this recipe is that it preps well and keeps throughout the week. Try making a batch on Sunday night, divide it into smaller containers and suddenly you are armed with a week of fresh and healthy snacks!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sorry, Not Sorry! It's September!


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My calendar (check out this month's new one here) says its September. Is that right? It can't be...last time I checked it was like June or July. Where has the summer gone?! It's Labor Day weekend, which is like the unofficial end of summer and what have I done? Well, writing for my blog wasn't really one of those things, but I did get to spend time at the shore (NJ and Florida) with family for several weekends, go out on the lake with Ross, and spend some time in NYC for my birthday. I plan to spend the holiday weekend with friends and family celebrating my birthday one last time and saying goodbye to summer. 

As fall creeps in, I PROMISE that more posts are to come (I think I have 10 drafts brainstormed, saved and ready to fire off to you). August was my worst month for writing last year...so sorry, not sorry...I warned you a month ago 😊 So despite September being just as busy as August, I am more prepared.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Birthday Rewards, Coupons & Freebies


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For anyone who was wondering...no, I'm not dead. I just fell off the face of the digital earth.

My birthday was this week and who doesn't love celebrating with friends and family and getting a few gifts?! The best part is when those gifts are totally free and start rolling into your email account early. For anyone who knows me well, you know that I can't turn down a freebie! Check out this list below to see some of the best deals for birthday rewards, coupons and freebies to kick off your celebrations without breaking the bank. For some of my favorites (best deals and fave shops), check out the items in bold! Am I missing something?! Leave me some suggestions for next year in the comments!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Olay Ultra Moisture Shea Butter Body Wash


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Influenster

Influenster is a community of "social savvy shoppers who stay on top of latest product news and expert tips, review products, share honest opinions with brands and the community, and test products for free based on social media influence." Influensters are encouraged to link social media accounts and media influence scores are tallied based on followers. Your reviews and interests qualify you to receive "VoxBoxes" (free products) to test and tweet (or 'gram, etc) about to qualify in the future. Influenster does not pay in money, but it pays in awesome products to test and add to your collection. For more on Influenster and the VoxBoxes that I have tested and reviewed so far, check out my "Best Freebies & Money Making Gimmicks of 2016 - Treat Yo Self!" post.

 Olay Ultra Moisture Shea Butter Body Wash, Now at Walmart

Olay at Walmart Virtual VoxBox

As part of a contest for Influester, I tried Olay Ultra Moisture Shea Butter Body Wash. I loved it. It's super convenient because you end up moisturizing your skin while you are washing, saving yourself the time and effort after your shower to slather on lotion. For someone like me who is always on the go (and always running late) and loves spending time outdoors, in the water and in the sun, this is perfect for me. I hate wasting time to apply my body body butter after my shower and pay the price with dry skin later. Olay Ultra Moisture Shea Butter Body Wash helps to cut down on the lotion that I need, the time spent applying it, and eliminates that slimy feeling from getting in the water after lathering up.  Plus, it smells great, washes well, leaves no residue and lathers up like a dream.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Since When is it August?!


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To be a total smartass about it...since Tuesday. It has been August since Tuesday.

August is busy, busy, busy for the Benjamins. There are days until my birthday on the 23rd. 2 days later Ross and I celebrate our ultimate date night, which is the 6th anniversary of when we started dating on August 25th. 5 days after that we celebrate our second wedding anniversary on August 30th...cotton anniversary gifts anyone?! (This also means the bank should prep Ross' loan application papers now...that's a lot of gift giving in one month, let alone one week). Work is also busy, with the push to hit annual goals before the close of fiscal 2017 in September (6 deadlines in 3 weeks and counting). Luckily we have our anniversary trip to Hawaii in early September to look forward to, but that means putting our noses down and getting it done until then.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

5 Minute Garlic Bread Croutons


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Nothing beats a fresh baked loaf of Italian bread with some dipping oil...until you find it 2 days later stale and beyond enjoyment. If you're lucky it's totally stale by the time you find it and can double as a weapon (or you can just grind it down to breadcrumbs...whatever you like). Those in-between days are the worst though. You either grin and bear it, slice off the too far gone end and suffer through an extra chewy slice or two at dinner, hopefully with something soupy to dunk it in, or you promise to remember it again in a day or two to make breadcrumbs but it actually falls behind the toaster oven and you find it in a month and can't even remember when the hell you had bread (not that I'm speaking from experience or anything, but does this sound familiar?). I challenge you to stop wasting your bread butts! So I give you "5 Minute Garlic Bread Croutons".

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Beach Don't Kill My Vibe!

July Freebies


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Another month...another set of freebies. I'm a little late, but I'm on island time...Marco Island time. That means get up at sunrise, turn to a pumpkin at sunset and roast on the beach with a cocktail for all of the hours in between. Obviously a rough lifestyle, but I did manage to design this month's sassy, smartassy desktop and smartphone backgrounds for my loyal readers!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Best Summer Ever!


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Hip hip hooray, summer is here! Jump for joy, the season has officially begun. The countdown to vacations, beach days and barbecues is ticking. My days are longer and the nights (and sleep) are certainly shorter, because I'm enjoying the beautiful weather and soaking up the sun as much as possible. The New Jersey weather is perfect for catching up on my latest read (Modern Lovers, a 2016 Best Seller), grabbing a stroll with the pups after work and enjoying dinner on the deck.

Celebrate with my new background for iPhone and Android and make 2017 the best summer ever! Download your wallpaper here.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Ideas

DIWhy and DIY


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Father's Day is a tough one to shop for. The conversation with my dad usually goes like this.
"Dad, is there anything you want for [insert upcoming holiday/birthday here]." 
 "No, nothing. Save you're money."
"Well, is there anything you need."
"No."
Thanks dude, enlightening. I love showing up empty handed on holidays and birthdays and looking like a giant asshole...said no one ever. In my old age I have simply stopped asking what the man wants in an attempt to save myself at least one headache. The inevitable headache of trying to brainstorm a semi-useful gift for this impossible man is still unavoidable.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Abby's Dairy Free Coconut Mocha Faux-caccino

Starbucks Hack


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Summer is (almost) here but the weather is finally into summer swing. After weeks of gloomy, bitter, rainy weekends, the sun is shining and the thermometer has broken 80, almost 90 degrees. 90 degree temps are in the forecast for the next several days and I need a way to beat the heat, on a budget and without totally blowing my diet out of the water.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Life's a Beach June Freebies

June is here! Freebies anyone?!


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It is officially June. Memorial Day has come and gone, summer has unofficially begun, school is winding down and everyone has the beach, sand and surf on their minds. Dreaming of vacation but can't escape to the beach just yet? Not to worry. I have you covered.

Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Ingredient Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


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Planning to host a party this Memorial Day weekend? Let your slow cooker do the hard work for you. On warm spring (almost summer) days like this, the windows are open, the house is cooling itself passively and no one really likes to screw that up by turning on the oven. So don't! But how will you feed your guests? Dust off your slow cooker and take that bad boy for a spin.

Over the last two years since Ross and I moved into our own house, my slow cooker has become my trusty side piece. I don't see him often, but when I do, its a whirlwind romance. We spend a few hot minutes together prepping a meal in the morning, then I head out for the day and he gets all hot and bothered. When I come home from work or travel in the evening, he's got something hot and ready to serve up for me. I love to bring him out and show him off at parties too. I mean "I love to waste a good party in the kitchen," said no one ever. My slow cooker has been the centerpiece of many a taco bar or chili cook off, and again, he will be making an appearance for Memorial Day. So lets get (slow) cookin' and try out my 5 Ingredient Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Protein Packed Raspberry Mango Smoothie


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For the past 6 months, I have been occasionally complaining about writing and sharing recipes inspired by the mysterious eye pain that has been plaguing my left eye. This black eye, punched-in-the-face-feeling is something that I wake up with, coexist with and only feel relief from upon loosing consciousness every night. As I have written in the past, I have started introducing elements of an anti-inflammatory diet into my life as much as possible. After countless (14) visits to my eye doctor, primary, and several other useless highly qualified specialists, I decided to take my journey on an alternate path and pursue acupuncture.  (You're probably asking what this has to do with a smoothie recipe, hold on just a minute, I'm almost there). Upon meeting this doctor, she reminded me the importance of protein in our diets to help our muscles perform properly. Alas, my Protein Packed Raspberry-Mango Smoothie was born. Not only rich in protein (talk about 88% DV) but also ingredients like raspberry, almond milk, spirulina and turmeric which are recommended for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Now let's blend, biotches!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cricut-less DIY Mother's Day Card

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I've posted a few tutorials using my Cricut to aid in my card making, no Cricut? No problem! Don't let my fancy machine intimidate you from making your own greeting cards. A few everyday supplies are really all you need to get started. If you have paper, scissors, double sided tape or glue and a ruler, you're ready to go. Otherwise, grab your coupons and run to the craft store really quick. I'll be here when you get back!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me" Organic Citronella Salve


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Spring is in the air...among many other things...ie, pollen and bugs. If you love the green on the trees and the blooming flowers, there is no avoiding these things, but there is relief. Often times we turn to bug sprays and mosquito repellents with chemicals to fight off unwanted friends when enjoying dinner on the porch or an evening by the fire. These are great, but often times they come in aerosol cans that are harmful to the environment or are chock full of ingredients that no one can pronounce. Do we really want to spray these chemical repellents all over our skin to be absorbed or inhaled in the process? Even more frustrating is the price tag that comes with these bug sprays. Although mosquito bites are uncomfortable, is it worth $5 for a can that will probably go missing and expire in the closet by the time I find it again? If you answered no to either of these questions, my "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me" Organic Citronella Salve is for you.

Monday, April 24, 2017

All About the Benjamins 2015 1st Birthday Giveaway



Freebie Alert!

Today is the last chance to enter the All About the Benjamins 2015 1st Birthday GiveawayEnter now for your chance to win a batch of handmade birthday cards, like those pictured! Simply click the link, enter your name and email, like our Facebook page (if you have one) and submit our entry. Don't miss out on the last of the birthday celebrations, it takes less than 1 minute to enter. 
Winner will be announced tomorrow! Good luck!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy 1st Birthday, All About the Benjamins!




Join me in celebrating All About the Benjamins 2015 1st Birthday! What a year it has been. I've written 75 (almost 76 posts) and had 18,000 visitors. Between the posts, Ross and I have travelled to Orlando, San Francisco, Chicago, and (that's almost 12,000 miles roundtrip)! My hottest posts have been my recipes, which have taken a turn for the natural and organic in the more recent future.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

No Bake Beer Can Cake for the Beginner "Baker"


April is a month of birthdays in the Benjamin house. We started the month celebrating Ross' 29th birthday and we'll round it out celebrating All About the Benjamins 2015's 1st birthday tomorrow. Needless to say, I've been busy making cakes to cut into for the all of the celebrations. But not to worry, you do not need to be a master pastry chef to make this cake. Follow my easy instructions for a No Bake Beer Can Cake to wow your guests and guests of honor, in minutes, not hours!




Friday, April 14, 2017

Earning Cashback Online and In-Store Like a Pro



No savvy shopper heads to the store without their coupons (or coupon app), so they also shouldn't shop without redeeming the hottest cashback offers as well. Cashback websites and apps are available everywhere you look. Some offer points, others offer percent back and others offer dollars back. Some trade out to gift cards for future purchases, others to PayPal. There are so many cashback sites available that it's silly to shop without them, but how do you keep them straight and find the best offers? I've test driven a few of the hottest sites to find out who has the deepest pockets and the best turnaround. Here are my favorites. Sign up now using my unique referal links to earn us both bonuses when you complete your first purchase! When you fall in love, pass your referral link onto your own friends and family for more bonuses!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Blueberry Spinach Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie



As I wrote back in March, I have been experiencing this mysterious pain and pressure in my left eye since early December, similar to a black eye. With Advil (an anti-inflammatory), some research and a change in my diet to include anti-inflammatory foods, it is better but not cured. To help ease the discomfort, every Sunday I prep a week's worth of smoothies in a set of mason jars to dump into the blender every morning and haul with me to work. This week's lineup includes my recent "Blueberry Spinach Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie". There are a handful of fruits, veggies and spices with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which include (but are not limited to)
  • Turmeric 
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Spirulina
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Leafy greens including arugula, kale and spinach 
  • Blueberry
  • Green Tea

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Half-Homemade Orange Pineapple Salsa


Signs of spring are starting to pop up everywhere, but they haven't quite made it to the produce department at the local grocery store yet. Oranges and strawberries are coming into season, and I am so excited to have fresh fruits adorning my fruit bowl once again. Between my love of fresh fruit, my Pact to commit to 5 fruits and veggies, and the need to eat fresh produce before it spoils, I sometimes find that we are out of the good stuff before it is time to head back to the grocery store for a full shop.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Strawberry Banana Chia Smoothie



I love bananas...they are a great source of potassium but I enjoy them most when the peel is still a bit green and the banana is still a bit underripe. Once they yellow completely, I lose interest. Ripe bananas generally find themselves on the direct express to my freezer for use in banana bread. Not anymore! My Strawberry Banana Chia Smoothie is a great recipe to use too-ripe bananas without waste and its as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cajun Roasted Tomatoes



I'm a sucker for tomatoes...they have always been one of my favorites. Overall, not a bad thing to be sweet on. According to WebMD, tomatoes are high in lycopene, a type of carotenoid found in red foods, responsible for delivering us a healthy serving of antioxidants. Eating tomatoes with a healthy oil, like olive oil, helps the human body absorb lycopene and carotenoids in general. The majority of a tomato's carotenoids are found in its peel, making roasted tomatoes the perfect triple threat. Roasted tomatoes are a quick and versatile side dish that can be dressed up to match whatever main dish is on your table that night. Cajun Roasted Tomatoes pack a lot of flavor into each tiny bite - full of garlic, paprika and pepper. A little cheese melted on top adds a luxurious touch and an extra punch of flavor.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Grapefruit Ginger Anti-Inflammatory Green Smoothie



"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"...not in my case! I've been battling a mysterious pain in my left eye for almost 4 months. After countless eye doctor exams, specialists and tests, advil has been the answer.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why I Refused to Wear a Purple Ribbon This International Women's Day

International Women's Day was yesterday, Wednesday, March 9. On Tuesday, I was handed a little purple ribbon with a note to join in "wearing the ribbon in support of International Women's Day" the next day. I took the ribbon, said "thank you" and as I continued walking, I started to ponder awareness ribbons in general. What do they mean? When do we wear them? What types of causes are they typically associated with? After some light Googling, my questions were answered.

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According to the Smithsonian, awareness ribbons can date back to the Medieval Ages, when a knight would receive a ribbon, or a piece of fabric, after jousting. In the United States, the tradition of the ribbon began in the 1970's when yellow ribbons were tied around trees to welcome home veterans. The folded lapel ribbon, popular today, dates back to 1991, when the red ribbon became the icon for AID Awareness. 1992 became dubbed "the year of the ribbon" as organizations scooped up colors and ribbons to tie to their cause.

Image result for purple awareness ribbon

Today there are hundreds of colors and patterns of awareness ribbons. When I scrolled the list of colors, hues, and patterns and their associated causes, I found a general theme. These ribbons were to raise awareness (obviously) for victims of disease, disorders, and conditions. There are 33 causes associated with the purple ribbon (I'll gladly slap on my ribbon for any of those causes) but womanhood is not one of them. In fact, womanhood, is not associated with any color ribbon. Womanhood is not something to raise awareness about. Being a woman is not a condition, an incurable disease or something to fight. I am not a victim of being a woman; I am proud to be a woman, and for that reason, I did not wear my purple ribbon. 

#BeBoldForChange IWD 2017