Sunday, October 21, 2007

Be prepared - the Sequoia Car Surival Kit

I will admit, we don't get many natural disasters up here in ol' New England. We may get the occasional hurricane or ground rumbler, which technically qualifies as a earthquake, but that's usually the worst of it. Okay, in my early teens we had a nasty tornado come through a neighboring town that almost completely leveled a residential street, but that was the worst catastrophe of the kind I can think of.

No, up here we get snow, lots of snow. There was this little, teensy storm back in '78 that closed down the entire region for a week and though that was a strange fluke of nature anything is possible in New England. Anything.

So, yes, it's good to be prepared. Maybe not to the point where you make your husband go out to buy bottled water and canned goods - ahem - but it's never a bad thing to have cans of baked beans in your pantry. You know, just in case.

The Car Survival kit by Sequoia has exceeded my expectations in the preparedness department. It's packed tighter than Scarlet O'hara in her corset, which is to say a little too tightly for me (a little room for extras would be nice), but overall it's chock full of useful things.

I squealed like a little girl when I saw crank light/radio with cell phone charger (I loves me my gadgets) and the 151 piece first aid kit. There were also ready to eat meals (MREs) and packaged water that will last for a few years. There's even a multi-function hardware tool and leather work gloves in there. The more things my husband and I pulled out the more thrilled we were with this small, easy to stow kit.

The Sequoia Car Survival kit is very well thought out and it had just about everything I would need if, heaven forbid, I were trapped in my car during a snow storm - which, let's face it, is entirely possible in Massachusetts - like thermal emergency blankets and hand warmers, rain ponchos and waterproof and windproof matches.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I was most thrilled by the playing cards included in the kit. In times of hardship you have to have something to alleviate the boredom and tediousness and keep your mind off of what's going on around you. They really thought of everything!

I did mention that the kit is packed very tightly. With help from my husband, the master packer, we managed to get everything back into the bag, but barely. I would have liked a bit more room to pack a few things like a couple of diapers and wipes, a small package of dog food, and maybe some extra socks. But all in all, it was hard to find fault with the Sequoia Car Survival kit.

Would I recommend it to my friends? Absolutely! Well done, Sequoia. You've taken some of the pressure to prepare off of my shoulders and helped ease this mama's mind.


This was a review for the Parent Bloggers Network.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deceptively Delicious

I am a cookbook junkie. A good portion of one of my kitchen counters is dedicated to holding the various food specific tomes my husband and I have collected throughout the years. Believe it or not, we actually use almost all of them. When I was asked by the Parent Bloggers Network to review the new cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld I asked myself, for about .6 seconds, if I really needed another one.

Uh, yeah. Of course I did. This junkie needs her fix.

A majority of my cookbooks are geared toward the more adult palate. I knew Deceptively Delicious was going to be about hiding nutritious elements in some foods that kids typically enjoy, so I jumped on the opportunity because I have a toddler. I will admit, however, I had no idea the level to which it would go.

Deceptively Delicious, a pretty, easy to read cookbook, with a spiral binding (big points for that, I don't know why more cookbooks don't come that way) and cute quotes by the author and her family, is all about pureeing vegetables and adding them to kid-friendly foods to make sure children get all the nutrition they need but don't always want.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that my daughter will eat vegetables. Not every vegetable, but quite a few and she'll often ask for seconds. So I don't need to hide that many vegetables in her food. With that in mind, the pureeing part did not thrill me. It's a good concept but it requires more prep than I'm used to. It adds an extra step (or two) to my already last minute scramble to produce a healthy, tasty meal for my family.

To disclose more, I've been flat on my back for more than a week and before that I wasn't doing much cooking due to weird schedules. My bad.

I did try the meatloaf - mainly because it didn't require pureeing food - and my family liked it (I did add garlic and onions to it, for my husband and because Chicky doesn't mind the combination in meatloaf). It was easy and tasty and my family liked it so I'll make it again. I'm very much looking forward to making the some of the the recipes that call for spinach puree (Chicky does not eat spinach) and especially the sweets. I'm not a mom who gives her child much sugar, so when I can stand the smell of food again I will be baking those desserts. Blueberry lemon muffins? Yummy. And the pancakes with sweet potato or pumpkin? I'm all over that... When the thought of it doesn't make me gag (Damn you, morning sickness!).

I do not think, however, I will become a regular puree-er. Occasionally, yes. Every week, like Seinfeld recommends in her book? I don't think that's going to happen. I'm not that organized.

So, would I recommend Deceptively Delicious to my girlfriends? Yes, I would. I would definitely recommend it to moms who don't have kids who eat vegetables regularly and who are at the end of their ropes trying to get something nutritious into their precious offspring. I would recommend it to the moms who have no problem with organization and can set aside a couple of hours every week, not to mention a reserved spot in their freezer, to cook and puree vegetables and then store them for later use. Would I recommend it to another scatterbrained mother like myself? Eh. I'm still on the fence about that. The book is pretty inspirational. It might even turn a dinner-time procrastinator like me into a organized family chef. I wouldn't hold my breath, but it could happen.

(If you would like to take a look at some of the recipes in Deceptively Delicious before deciding to buy the book for yourself, you can find some here.)

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