Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Memorial Day Picnic Ideas With Recipes

Memorial Day, which will be here is less than one week, unofficially kicks off all that is summer. And what better way to celebrate then to pack a picnic basket with absolutely delicious recipes. Even if you’re not packing a picnic, these recipes are sure to please the crowd!

Starting off with a few tips to make the best of your day, let’s go over a few essentials. Wet Wipes, Salt and Pepper, Paper Towels, A Tray, Serving Spoons, Folding Knife and Trash Bags. If you want to make life a little easier, or are looking for the perfect hostess gift, pick up a Colavita Perfect Pasta Basket ($55). This basket from Colavita has everything that you’ll need for the recipes below. Now, let’s get to those yummy recipes!

Potato Salad with Basil Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Unlike most potato salads that hold well for hours (if not days), this potato salad with basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes is best served right away when the potatoes are warm and tender and the pesto is still a vibrant green. Note: You can make the pesto up to 2 days ahead.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Yields: 8 Servings

  • 2 lb baby red potatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 oz. fresh basil, stemmed, washed, and patted dry (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more as needed
  • 6 Colavita Sun-dried Tomatoes, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)


1Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by a couple of inches, about 2 qt. water. Stir in 2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl.

2Meanwhile, put the basil, ½ cup of the Parmigiano, the pine nuts, scallions, and ¼ tsp. each salt and pepper in a food processor and blend to combine. While still blending, add the oil in a thin, steady stream so that the mixture becomes smooth and uniform; thin with more oil as needed for consistency. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

3Toss the warm potatoes with the basil pesto. Sprinkle the potatoes with the sun-dried tomatoes and the remaining ¼ cup Parmigiano and serve.

Lasagna Florets

This attractive way to serve lasagna not only makes a great presentation, but is delicious as well. Serve them as appetizers at your next gathering.

Prep: 1 hr 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Yields: 4-6 Servings

  • 1 lb Colavita Lasagne, cooked al dente according to package directions
  • 12 oz. package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese + additional for topping
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 4 cups Colavita Marinara Sauce, or homemade sauce
  • salt & pepper, to taste


1In a large mixing bowl combine the spinach, cheeses, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper; mix until well blended. Take one lasagna noodle, spread with about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture; roll it up gently so the cheese mixture stays in place.

2Continue until all the lasagna noodles are used. Place rolls in the refrigerator for about one hour or until the cheese becomes firm.

3Taking one roll at a time gently cut in half down the middle (a serrated knife works best). Layer a large baking dish with two cups of marinara; place florets on top with the curly side up.

4Cover with foil; bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes; uncover and bake for 10 minutes more, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted through. Serve with the extra sauce and grated cheese.

You can’t have a summer picnic without some luscious libations! And these from Sailor Jerry, Hudson Bay and Monkey Shoulder are sure to delight!

Sailor Jerry Lemonade
2 parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Top with lemonade

Serve on the rocks or in a pitcher for large groups.

Ginger Monkey
1 ½ parts Monkey Shoulder Scotch
2 ¾ parts Ginger Ale
Orange wedge

Fill long glass with ice. Pour ingredients in glass and gently stir. Garnish with orange wedge.

Hudson Baby Bourbon
Reyka Pimms Cup
1 Part Cucumber-infused Reyka Vodka
1 Part Pimms
¾ Part Fresh Lemon
¾ Part Ginger Syrup
Top Soda
Garnish-  Cucumber Ribbon and mint

Combine all ingredients into cocktail shaker. Shake, garnish, serve.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Indigo Fern Felt Letter Board Review

Hello Pop Culture Shockers! I know, I know. Two reviews in as many days? What’s going on? Well… I’m back! That’s what’s going on. J Let’s jump right in to today’s review for the Indigo Fern Felt Letter Board shall we?

The Indigo Fern Felt Letter Board is one of the most versatile d├ęcor and utility items that I’ve come across in a while. To start, it’s the only letter board that features a picture hanger, which you can see in detail on my YouTube page. That alone is a standout. As you can see by the pictures, you can easily utilize this letter for both business and personal. It has a sturdy 12" X 18" Oak frame and comes with a gorgeous black stand.

Indigo Fern Felt Letter Board Features:
  • Oak Wood Frame
  • Premium Black Felt
  • Photo Hanging Kit
  • 600 Letter, Numbers & Symbols (including emojis)
  • Portable Display Stand
  • Saw Tooth Mounting Hook
  • Scissors

The uses for the Indigo Fern Felt Letter Board are endless from home, to work, to church, to parties (Hello Graduation Season) and Weddings (Umm, yep it’s Wedding Season)! It is also a useful tool for chores or the classroom! You can find the Indigo Fern Felt Letter Board on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=felt+letter+board+B078L5LL5B

Saturday, May 19, 2018

What To Look For When Buying Binoculars

I’m guessing that everyone has used a pair of binoculars at some point in their lives, but we probably haven’t put too much thought into quality. This is most likely because we didn’t have a specific use for a pair. Of course if you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided to buy a pair and are trying to figure out what to look for. When trying to decide what brand of binoculars is right for you, a good place to start is deciding what they’ll be used for. Are you going on vacation, watching sports, nature watching or maybe a pair for the kids (as I just did)? After you’ve decided the main purpose for your purchase, let’s take a look at what to look for.

  • Magnification: The magnification of binoculars is the number that is written with the x. if the binoculars say 8x that indicates that it magnifies the subject eight times. Therefore an object that is 800 feet away will appear as if it’s 80 feet away.
  • Clear Aperture: The clear aperture is determined by the size of the objective lens, which is the lens located at the end the binoculars. The size of this lens is important because it determines the amount of light that enters the binoculars. The lens size is indicated by mm.
  • Lens Coating: Lens coating is important because it reduces the amount of light reflected and allows the maximum amount of light to enter.
  • Field of View & Field of Angle: Field of View refers to the diameter of the area seen through the glasses and is expressed in degrees. The larger the field of view the larger the area you can see. Field of Angle refers to the image formed on the eyepiece for your pupil to see.

A few other things to consider are based upon usage. For example, if you’re going to be using your binoculars in damp conditions such as on a boat or even just the great outdoors you may want to look for a pair that’s water-resistant. Weight is another factor to consider, as well as Eye Relief.

I recently got a pair of binoculars, from B3Xtra, for my niece. This pair is designed specifically for children. So the features that I considered were slightly different then features I would consider for myself. The B3xtra Kids Binoculars are first and foremost, shockproof. Yes, an important feature for little ones. They are ergonomically designed for comfort and lightweight. They are also a REAL pair of binoculars, as I wanted my niece to truly be able to participate in our nature watching. So if you’re in the market for a pair of cost-effective children’s binoculars, I highly recommend this pair! Check out my YouTube video for an up close look!

B3xtra Kids Binoculars Features:
  • Shockproof
  • Ergonomic Design,
  • Soft Rubber Eyepieces
  • Compact
  • Sharp 8x21 Image
  • Multi-Use (Backyard to Camping)
  • Lens Cap
  • Neck Straps
  • Case
  • Lens Cloth
  • Manual
  • Interactive Bird Guide
  • Money-Back Guarantee

You can get your kids a pair of the B3xtra Kids Binoculars for $22.47, although I believe that they are currently on sale with a $4 coupon meaning the price could be as low as $18.47! These binoculars are available on Amazon

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