Unravel with Me!

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. If you'd like to help our family with our fundraising efforts to help Unravel Pediatric Cancer, please donate here: http://give.unravelcancer.org/newellfamily

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We're Fluttering Again! (Year 3)


It's September and that means it's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  For the third year, our family is embarking on the Fluttering journey.  Each night in September, we go to a house and put 12 dragonflies and a sign on the lawn as a fundraiser for Unravel Pediatric Cancer.  My kids thoroughly enjoy Fluttering!  It's a fun and beautiful way to raise money for a very worthy cause.  It also allows me to teach my kids how to give back and have empathy for others even if we are not in that situation.


We fundraise because Childhood Cancer is severely underfunded.  ALL childhood cancers (brain, blood, etc...) combined receive less that 4% of the government allotted funding for cancer.  Relay for Life only gives $.01 of every dollar earned to pediatric cancer.  Pediatric Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children in the US.  I have too many friends who have children who have cancer.  I know too many people whose lives have been touched by cancer.  We NEED to find some sort of cure.  There are scientists and doctors with ideas that just lack funding.  It breaks my heart.

If you'd like to donate, please do so at : http://give.unravelcancer.org/newellfamily.  If you are local to us (Sacramento, CA area), please check out our SUPER FUN Fluttering the Community 3 Event!  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

LulaRoe and the Plus Sized Gal Part 2

WOW!  I want to thank you all for the AMAZING response to my Review: LulaRoe and the Plus Sized Gal post!  I had no idea how well this post would do and I am humbled that you all would read my words and use the info I shared with you.  My only hope that I was able to help you!

After I wrote my post, LulaRoe put out some items in extended sizes so I wanted to write another post to give you more information on the items I was not able to fit in when I wrote the first post.  I also wanted to show you a few pieces that I didn't show before like the Irma and the Cassie skirt which I talked about but didn't have pictures for.  Huge thank you to my friend Heather from LulaRoe by Star for letting me do a photo shoot at her house and for taking some of the photos!  Here goes nothing!  ;)

Julia Dress: This dress scares the bejeezus out of me.  It's a sheath dress that's very form fitting.  You know, then I put on some stripes...  lol.  This is the 3XL and it fits really nice.  It's extremely comfortable on me.  I'm not sure I would wear this dress out because I'm insecure about my large mid section.  I love the way this dress looks on other people though.

The Amelia Dress: The dress I am wearing is a 3XL BUT if the material is stretchy, I can also wear a 2XL.  I was concerned about the box pleats because I thought they would make me look even rounder than I already am.  I no longer feel that way.  I feel that the pleats HIDE my roundness because people might think "oh, the pleats make it flair out a bit."  The pockets are to die for!  I actually bought this watermelon dress and I wear it all the time.  I love being able to put my phone in my pocket so I can easily take it out and take photos which is something I do ALL the time.  I also feel like Amelia dresses up really well.  I can put on heels and jewelry and look like I'm ready for a night out on the town.

The Nicole Dress: In my previous post, I was wearing Nicole in a size 2XL which fit me but squished my chest a bit and is a little tight in the arms.  I can still wear it especially if I love the fabric but I much prefer the 3XL Nicole like the one shown here.  I LOVE the flirty skirt on the Nicole, it makes me feel very feminine!  I wear this dress all the time because I feel very put together but fun when I wear it.

The Cassie Skirt (and The Perfect T): The Cassie skirt is a pencil skirt and I think it looks great for the office.  Also for a date night because the pencil skirt can be styled to be very sexy.  This Cassie is in a 3XL but I can wear a 2XL in stretchy material.  I love how Heather styled me in this skirt with the Perfect T, tied on one side.  I'm not comfortable wearing a tight skirt and a tight shirt.  I usually like to wear fitted either top or bottom then loose on the other half of my body.  You can also pull Cassie higher or lower depending on your shirt to make it a short or longer skirt.

Perfect T: The Perfect T is my new favorite piece!  I will even wear horizontal stripes in the Perfect T which I NEVER wear.  In this picture, I'm wearing a 3XL which is too big for me.  I think you should size down in the Perfect.  I really like the Perfect T in an XL on me if you can believe that!  I'm confident that I could actually wear the 3XL as a dress if I was bold enough.

The Randy shirt: Randy is a baseball tee.  This is in a 3XL which fits me.  The 2XL is way too tight on my tummy for my comfort.  It's a cute casual shirt that would be cute with jeans.  The length is good for leggings too.

The Irma Tunic: In my last post, I complained that the Irma was too boxy for me.  I still feel that way.  The way I'm shaped doesn't suit wearing a loose shirt like this.  My chest is too big and if the shirt doesn't pull back in at the waist, I look like a giant blob.  But I still posted a picture for YOU because I love you and I hope you love me and in all my blobby glory.  This is a 2XL Irma and I think it's the size that looks best on me even though I can fit into the XL.

The Azure Skirt: This is a cute mid length skirt that I would consider a little flow-y and flirty.  I can wear 2XL or 3XL in this skirt.  In the photo, I'm wearing a 3XL.  I prefer to wear my shirt untucked with this skirt to cover my tummy but I've seen some people tuck their shirt in and it looks GREAT on them.  Maybe someday I'll be bold enough to do that.  I love Azure!  I think it's a light and cool (temperature wise) skirt that's really easy to wear.

Let me know if you'd like to see another post with the Joy vest and Carly dress and I will see what I can do.  Also, if you are looking for more styles, please visit my Review: LulaRoe and the Plus Sized Gal post.  Thank you all for the support and love that you've shown me!  I really appreciate it!  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Market at Power Inn

One day, I received a message on my Instagram from Masa Taco Kitchen inviting me to a brand new event that was opening in April called Market at Power Inn to meet them and try their tacos (which are amazing.)  I had never heard of Masa Taco Kitchen or Market at Power Inn but when I started EatingElkGrove, I decided to push myself, do new things, and have new experiences.


My hubby and I headed to Market at Power Inn put on by the amazing people at Unseen Heroes for the very first event in April.  We also went back one time in May too.  Market at Power Inn is every Friday from 10am-2pm at Regional Transit Park and Ride at Power Inn and Folsom Blvd.  Though they call it a farmers market, I think of it more as a super trendy lunch spot where you can also buy produce, local prepared foods, and shop from craft vendors.

Vendors

Food Trucks

Prepared Food Tents
Fun chairs to hang out in
They have this huge awesome tent where they set up seating; regular and high top tables with cute center pieces where you can eat your food in the shade.  There's a band playing and the vibe is awesome.  As you walk around the perimeter of the market you can find food trucks that rotate from week to week, tents where they prepare food like my new friends Masa Taco Kitchen, tables where people can sell their prepared foods like gourmet marshmallows, baked good, tamales, salsa, etc..., and farmers selling their local produce, flowers, and nuts.  The tented food and food vendors mostly stay the same from week to week.  The food trucks and craft vendors rotate.  I like to get some early lunch since I like going before it too hot, sit down, hang out a bit, listen to the live music, then shop for my produce and goodies before I leave.

Local produce
Locally baked bread


This is an awesome spot to hang out!  You can bring your kids and try all the fun samples.  It's a great place to talk to local farms and small business owners to learn about the food they sell.  I've also had some great conversations with the friendly people who attend, too!  I can't wait to go back again!

BBQ vendor

Masa Taco Kitchen 
You can check out the Market at Power Inn on Facebook or Instagram.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Nor Cal Expo Podcast

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to be on a podcast called Northern California Exposure.   I went to the website and read up on what the podcast was about and it really aligns with what I do as a blogger.  Amado Carrillo is the creator of the podcast and his mission is to talk to people in Northern California who are doing unique things and are passionate about their dreams.  He wants to inspire his listeners into action so they can follow their dreams too.

Amado's goal is a lot like mine.  I want to shine a light on local businesses and show people that you don't always have to go to a big box store or online for your needs.  You can support local businesses while getting great quality, comparable prices, and most importantly helping a family in your community.  If we all help each other, all of our dreams can come true.

I'm on episode 50 of Northern California Exposure (Nor Cal Expo) if you'd like to give it a listen.  You can find all the different formats to get the podcast HERE.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Midtown Jerky Review

Before hitting Instagram and the local farmers markets, I had no idea all of the amazing food you could purchase from local businesses in Sacramento.  One of the first companies that I talked about working with is Midtown Jerky Co.  I was super new to the scene but Ryan from Midtown Jerky Co, was super nice and wanted to work with me, saying that we could help each other.



First, let me say that I LOVE jerky.  I always have some in the pantry for when I need a high protein snack.  I pack in on road trips, take it on vacation with us, and at almost any given time will have jerky on me.  I buy all different types of beef jerky.  I'm a jerky enthusiast.  I, somehow did not know that I could buy LOCALLY made jerky.  Midtown Jerky Co. is a small batch artisan jerky company that only uses the finest meat and ingredients in their product.  Ryan sent me 3 packages of beef jerky to review which made me super happy.

I'll start with the Peppered jerky.  Peppered is usually not my preferred choice when picking a jerky flavor BUT I think Midtown Jerky Co's peppered is my favorite.  It's not your typical peppered jerky.  This jerky has an overtone of savory matched with sweetness, then it's loaded up with course black pepper.  It's smoky, chewy, and a perfect snack for any time.

Next is the Sweet Heat.  You can tell by looking at this jerky that it has a nice sweet glaze on it from the sheen.  The sweetness hits your palette first then it finishes with heat in the back of your mouth.  I think the sugar level on this jerky keeps it the most moist of all the flavors.  This is pretty spicy.  If it were at a restaurant, I will give it 2.5-3 chili peppers.  (You know how Thai places and some other places have a scale of chili peppers on the menu?)

Last but not least is the Sesame Citrus.  I like that Midtown Jerky Co. has a unique offering for people who don't like spiciness.  Most companies do a teriyaki which I love but it's always nice to have flavor options.  This jerky has the most rounded flavor since you get that orange juice bringing a nice twang to the jerky.  It's salty, sweet, and you get pops of both flavor and texture from the sesame seeds they sprinkle on the jerky.

Overall, I LOVE Midtown Jerky Co. and I'm excited to be able to buy some local jerky for my snacking needs.  I just wish they had resealable bag since I try really hard not to eat it all in one sitting.  I just popped mine into a zip top freezer bag after I opened it and it stayed fresh.  You can find Midtown Jerky Co. at SaveMart grocery stores in the Sacramento area, at farmers markets around town, OR you can order online from Midtown Jerky Co.'s Online Store.  You can also find them on their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

NSBW Spotlight: Eat Right Edibles


Mixed in with the rows of fresh produce and ready to serve foods at the Farmers Market, I found Eat Right Edibles.  They are the perfect mix of both.  Eat Right Edibles is a family business from West Sacramento and they make what they call "The tastiest snack you'll have all day."  The offer an array of dried veggie chips, corn snacks, dried fruit, puffed corn, and candy.  They also offer the sweetest service.

I've run into the Eat Right Edibles booth 3 different times.  I've fallen a little in love with their family.  The first time, I talked to a lady (unfortunately I didn't get her name) who I later learned is the matriarch of the family.  She was so sweet and so informative.  She told us to come have a sample.  It's a farmers market, I figure I should sample everything.  I did not expect to love the product.  She had us try the veggie chips which were good.  Then she had us try their hull-less puffed corn.  I don't even know how to explain it to you.  They are fluffy, puffy,  with a coating that's almost shell like of delicious flavor.  They are halfway between Cheetos and Pirate Booty but way better and they have sweet flavors.  She also had us sample the toasted corn.  I thought they would be like corn nuts.  I was wrong, they have a crisp texture but without the feeling that you might break your teeth.  The FLAVOR was amazing!  We ended up buying the Ranch Toasted Corn because these crisp little kernels had the BEST ranch flavor you've ever tasted; salty, a little tangy, and the perfect mix of herbs/spices that makes an awesome ranch.


 Last Sunday when I walked up to the booth, I saw little Jacob standing their running the booth.  He's a darling 10 year old boy who is so knowledgeable on the product his family makes.  I asked him why he was working the booth by himself and he said that his grandma (the lady I met before) was on a much needed vacation and he told his dad to take a break but he was just behind him in the truck and they had walkie-talkies.  He gave me a few samples and we really starting talking and he decided that I should try some of his favorites.  He gave me a churro puffed corn and a caramel puffed corn and told me to eat them together.  Then he told me that he was running a special where I could buy 2 of the $6 bags for $10.  Needless to say, I left with more ranch toasted corn and some churro puffed corn.





I didn't get a chance to reach out to them for any comments but they are literally at a different Farmers Market event EVERY DAY so I'm glad I didn't bother them.  Drop by their booth and give their products a try.  You can check their Eat Right Edibles Facebook page to see where they will be.  They also ship so if you're not local and want to give it a try, check out their website.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

NSBW Spotlight: Wheel Lemonade

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Rob from Wheel Lemonade this weekend at the Old Elk Grove Farmers Market.  I've been following their Wheel Lemonade Instagram account and I'd been really looking forward to trying their unique flavor combinations.  They use 100% real FRESH fruit, not frozen or canned and nothing artificial.

I was floored by these lemonades!  The flavoring offerings for that weekend were Blueberry Lavender, Guava Strawberry, and Tangerine Carrot.  These lemonades are SO delicious with bold pronounced fruit flavor yet subtle sweetness and tartness.  I have no idea how they do it!  I taste the fruit, I taste the tartness, and it's not too tart for my palate.  It blows my mind that the natural fruit flavor is so bold without being too sweet or too tart.  I don't know how they do it and I'm pretty sure they use magic.

My favorite was the Blueberry Lavender which I was very skeptical about before I tried it.  I have no idea.  Rob has this magical way of mixing flavors where it's so pleasant and bold but not overpowering.  I thought that lavender would taste like soap and I got none of that.  It was just a pleasant finish.  My 3 year old's favorite was the Guava Strawberry which had that same unique balance of that guava hitting you first, then you finish with strawberry but you still get the subtle tartness and sweetness from the lemonade.  I need to stop blabbing on.

Here are some words from Robert about his business:
Our mission here at Wheel Lemonade is to redefine the lemonade industry. We understand it is a grand and perhaps unattainable goal, but we sure are going to try our best.

Even though the company officially began in early 2015, the idea came about a few years before while we were living in San Bruno CA. We had served 2 flavors, original and mint ginger, at a baby shower for our to-be- born daughter. Family and friends loved them!  They had never tasted a classic lemonade so full-flavored yet not overly sweet before.  And the mint ginger was a flavor combination so unique that people kept drinking it until it was all gone. Everyone loved that it was not too sweet.

We then moved to Elk Grove after my daughter was born because we wanted to be able to provide her with more room to roam around, and bay area homes were just out of our budget. Myself being a graduate of UCD and my wife already having family members inElk Grove, our move was an easy transition as we knew the Sacramento area well.

Turning my lemonade into a business never became a serious idea until after we moved to Sacramento, where the summers can be unbearably hot and a good lemonade can hit the spot. After getting all the permits to startup, we encountered some challenges in finding a place that would allow us to serve our lemonades. We were asked what else do we sell and were told they are not looking for a lemonade vendor as there were other vendors already selling beverages (even though it wasn't lemonade). I believe the whimsical and childish image of the lemonade industry had something to do with this.

So when Unseen Heroes took a chance on us and gave us an outlet at the Midtown Farmers Market to serve our lemonade, we were extremely grateful. Our first weekend, we sold out 6 gallons. Next weekend, 8 gallons. Soon after, we began introducing our flavored lemonades. By summer, we were consistently selling between 15-18 gallons every Saturday at the market.

What we love about selling at farmers markets is people's reaction when they try a sample. People would directly tell us or tell whoever they're with that they like how the lemonade is not too sweet. Hearing people's reaction that "this is really good" just reaffirms that what we're doing is worthwhile.

The lemonade industry suffers from a bad image. Everyone associates lemonade as a grossly sweet beverage that is so easy to make that even a kid can make it. We at Wheel are trying to show a level of sophistication not typically associated with lemonade. We provide a new-generational lemonade using real fresh fruits & ingredients with just the right amount of sweetness. We are attempting to redefine how lemonade should taste!





You guys HAVE to go sample these lemonades at Old Elk Grove Farmers Market, Midtown Market, Gather, and Sactomofo 9.  Just go TRY them and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

NSBW Spotlight: Salt and Savour


I tried sauerkraut for the first last Sunday.  I know, right?  I don't know why I've never tried it since I love cabbage and I love things that are fermented.  I guess I just needed someone like David Edmundson from Salt and Savour to show me to way.  David talked us through three different samples; one with caraway seed, one with horseradish and mustard seed, and one with red cabbage and ginger.  They were so bright and fresh!  The fermentation really cooked out the pungency of the horseradish and ginger, creating subtle flavors.  David also told us all about the health benefits of sauerkraut.



Here is some info written by David for this post:

In 2010, at age 45 I was pushing my maximum weight level and was having some related health issues. I looked into weight loss strategies and paleo/primal type diets seemed to resonate as something workable. I really didn't want to get into the background or theory - I just wanted to know what to eat and what to avoid. Within a week of diet changes, I was feeling so much better overall that I started reading about the theories and about any nutritional info I could find online. There was a lot of info coming up regarding fermented foods like sauerkraut and their health benefits. Although I had eaten sauerkraut growing up, it was usually the cheap canned product you can find on the grocery store shelves. The first time I tried home made 'kraut I was amazed at how good it was. And as I enjoy cooking, I got a book or two to try my hand at making it. And what started as a hobby soon evolved into a commercial endeavor.

Oh....getting back to the stomach problems: when I started making sauerkraut, my personal consumption increased steadily. But initially, if I ate more than about a tablespoon of sauerkraut at a time, I had some rather unpleasant side effects. I think that was simply a result of having too little of the good bacteria in my system. Now, I eat as much as I want with no trouble - this just took some time to build up to. I feel like my system is just more resilient now.

And here's the interesting thing: the more I eat sauerkraut (and other fermented foods), the more I crave that pickled flavor as an accompaniment to every meal. And that sour flavor really does enhance savory flavors. Since we have taste-buds that detect sweet, sour, bitter, salt and savory tastes why would we neglect certain tastes? To me, a meal just doesn't seem complete if one of those elements is missing.

Part of my business growth strategy is dependent on increasing my production capacity.  Unfortunately, a company such as Salt and Savour, which is not yet 3 years old has a difficult time getting traditional bank financing. So I've signed up for a crowd-funded loan to help me finance an upgraded food processor. If you're interested, you can find more info about that here: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/18018

If you see Salt and Savour at a local farmer's market, you should check them out!  You can get free samples so you can see how good it is for yourself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

NSBW Spotlight: Momma Bean's Designs

This week is National Small Business Week.  Each day, I will be spotlighting a small LOCAL business right here on my blog.  Today's business is Momma Bean's Designs.



Here's a few words from the owner of Momma Bean's Designs:
My name is Ashley Davis and I am Momma Bean’s Designs. I have a wonderfully fun 2 year old and am an autism specialist for Lodi Unified School District. We live and play in Elk Grove.

Momma Bean’s Designs offers custom gifts for everyone. We specialize in drinkware and chalkboard hanging signs. We have new products and drinkware releasing every week! Don't see exactly what you are looking for? Just shoot me a message and we can make it happen! Use coupon code, EatingElkGrove, for 20% off any order exclusively for Eating Elk Grove Blog readers!


Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mommabeansdesigns

I recently purchased a few items from Momma Bean's Designs that I'm absolutely in love with!  Ashley is really easy to work with!  She's extremely accommodating and has lots of creative ideas.  I came to her wanting a t-shirt and a cup with my logo and she worked with me until I found items that were just perfect for my needs.  I highly recommend Momma Bean's for custom drink ware and shirts!  She also has a lot of super fun pop culture themed items in her shop.


Here's the shirt I got for my meet-up.  I wanted it to be a bit more subtle without my bright and bold logo.  I've since decided that I DO want a shirt with my logo and Ashley and I are working on that right now.  I'm plus sized so I wanted to use a shirt I already had that I knew fit me really well.  Ashley made me an iron-on for my shirt and gave me detailed instructions.  My hubby helped me apply the design to my shirt and I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  The instructions were simple and easy to follow.

The next thing I wanted was a cup with my logo on it.  I am constantly carrying water around with me to stay hydrated and I wanted my cup to have some pizzaz.  Ashley had quite a few cups for my to choose from and I picked these super cute mason jars.  Look at how fun it turned out!  I love my spunky diva elk logo especially now that I can carry here around with me everywhere I go!

Be sure to check out Momma Bean's Designs!  Also, come back tomorrow and see the next business I'll be featuring!  If you'd like to be featured, please contact me and we can chat about it.

SHD Winner

Hi friends!  I am so sorry for the super late post.  Life has just gotten so busy.

The winner of my Scrap Happy Deals gift card is DOLORES!  YAY!!!  Thank you to everyone who entered!  Dolores, please contact me to claim your prize!!!