Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stonefire Grill: Great Food, Great Value

My husband and I are from large Catholic families whose immediate and extended members came together every Sunday for a family meal consisting of several courses served family style, all prepared from scratch by our grandparents and older aunts.  This was our grandparents' way of handing down family recipes and tradition.  Nowadays, despite our busy schedules, we make it a point to sit down for a family dinner at least 5 nights a week.  But, because of our busy schedules, I am not always able to cook for my family.  I don't want to feed them fast-food.  I want to be able to give them something that tastes like it came out of my kitchen.


Stonefire Grill is a fast-casual restaurant concept created in 2000 by Mary and Maureen Harrigan, two sisters from a large Catholic family who wanted to pay homage to the family dinners they enjoyed growing up.  Unlike full-service restaurants, diners at Stonefire Grill place their order at the counter, find a table and wait for their meal to be brought to their table.  Silverware, napkins, bbq sauce and fountain drinks are located on one side of the restaurant so that diners can get what they need without waiting for a server.  By eliminating the need for servers, food reaches the table faster and the cost savings is passed to the customer.  This then translates to better quality food. Or you can do what I do and call in your order, enter the restaurant through the special entrance dedicated to take-out orders and you're all set.

To date, there are seven Stonefire Grill locations throughout Southern California that serve generous portions of classic American fare that are meant to be shared "family style." The menu is extensive and includes favorites like mesquite bbq or cracked pepper garlic tri-tip ($13.99 for half order - about 1 pound), mesquite bbq or lemon garlic chicken ($6.99 for half, $12.99 for whole chicken), baby back ribs ($12.99 for half slab, $19.99 for full), sesame glazed or lemon garlic salmon ($9.99 for half pound filet, $17.99 for a one pound filet).  Stonefire Grill also offers a nice assortment of tasty salads, pizzas, pastas and desserts.  Oh the desserts! I recommend the melt-in-your-mouth fudge brownies, the cheesecake with fresh blueberry sauce, and the oh-so-moist carrot cake.  My family's go-to meal is the Stimulus Package for take-out orders only.  It comes with one pound of tri-tip or whole chicken, a 12 inch two-topping pizza, salad, and eight breadsticks.  There is enough food for up to 4 people for under $25.00!  

Stonefire Grill has recently added the super food Quinoa to their new healthy menu.  Quinoa is well known to foodies and vegetarians as a "super food".  Quinoa seed is harvested in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains.  The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron.  It is a relatively good source of Vitamin E and several of the B vitamins.  It contains a perfect balance of all 9 essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans.   The protein in quinoa is also considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of the essential amino acids. Quinoa is gluten-free and contains no wheat.  When heated, quinoa is fluffy, creamy, and takes on the flavor of the other ingredients in the dish.  

Stonefire Grill offers 3 variations:

Healthy Hybrid:  Quinoa with garbanzo beans, red onion, green bell peppers, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomato and artichoke hearts tossed in Dijon mustard vinaigrette and topped with feta cheese for $7.99.

Keen Green:  A blend of spinach, pesto and quinoa with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes,  avocado and Parmesan cheese for $8.99.

Quinoa (side):  Prepared in vegetable broth with a dash of fresh lemon, mint and green onions, single $1.59, small $2.99, medium $4.99 and large $8.99

My family has tried all three and we are a house divided.  My kids prefer the Keen Green, I like Healthy Hybrid, and my husband loves the side of quinoa.   You really can't go wrong with any of these three.  They are delicious and healthy!

To try out these quinoa dishes or any of the delicious items on their menu, visit any one of the Stonefire  Grill locations in Valencia, West Hills, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Chatsworth, Pasadena, and Thousand Oaks.  Catering is also available.

For more information, visit www.stonefiregrill.com, become a fan on Facebook.com/stonefiregrill or follow Stonefire on twitter.com/stonefiregrill.

*I was not compensated for this post.  I was invited to attend a media event to taste the new menu by the brand/PR rep.  The opinions expressed are entirely my own.  I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.  The company logo and images were provided by the brand/PR rep  to post on this blog.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Calling all fans of THE CLOSER!

Calling all fans of THE CLOSER!

To celebrate the end of seven extraordinary seasons of the record-breaking show, 
THE CLOSER, TNT and Lincoln are holding a Series Finale Screening Event. I am giving away 10 pairs of tickets to my lucky readers to attend the Series Finale Screening Event.

The event includes a screening of THE CLOSER finale, talent appearances on the red carpet, complimentary food and beverage and a Q&A with talent immediately following the screening.

The screening will take place on Tuesday August 7th at 5:30PM at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, CA.

To win one of the 10 pairs:
Make sure you leave me your email (or preferred contact info) in the comments section so I can notify you if you win.

This contest ends on August 1, 2012 at 9:00pm PST.  Winners will be picked via random.org and notified via email or Twitter.  If the winner does not respond within 24 hours, I will pick another winner.

Good luck and I hope to see you at THE CLOSER Series Finale Screening Event!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

I love Quaker Oats.  It's a pantry staple for me.  I make oatmeal, oatmeal raisin cookies, mix it in with homemade bread crumbs, and a main ingredient in my veggie burgers!

Quaker has come out with Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies that are to die for.  They are made with whole grain Quaker oats and raisins just like my grandma used to make.  Now I can get that same home baked taste without all the fuss.  The cookies are individually packaged.  Since they are made with whole grain Quaker Oats, the cookies are a good source of fiber and contain only 6 grams of total fat per serving.

Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies are available at most major retailers. Suggested retail price: $2.69 for a box of cookies.

I received this complimentary product for testing and review purposes from Influenster.

The Many Uses of Ivory

I have always been a fan of Ivory.  I grew up using the soap.  Now, it's the only soap my 3 kids and husband will use.  We've tried other, but we always go back to Ivory.  I love Ivory soap because it is 99.44% pure.  Ivory soap is free of dyes and perfumes and yet cleans effectively without putting a dent in my budget.  Ivory is one of the least expensive bars and body washes per ounce! How's that for budget friendly?

This little bar of soap is so versatile.  We use it as a body cleanser and a facial cleanser.  With my sensitive skin, Ivory is the only soap I can use on my face without breaking out or drying out.  I have used it as a clothes stain remover.  WHAT? A Stain Remover?  YES! Rub the bar of Ivory soap directly on the grass stain, food stain, ring around the collar, etc.  Those stains come out.  In a pinch, I have used Ivory as a laundry soap. I take a kitchen peeler to the bar of soap and put the flakes in the washing machine.  The clothes come out smelling and looking great!  

If you're a science geek like I am, Ivory soap can be used to demonstrate closed-cell foam formation, physical change and Charles' law.  Simply unwrap a bar of Ivory soap and microwave it.  Watch as the soap expands into a foam that is more than six times the size of the original bar.  It is a fun trick that won't hurt your microwave or the soap.  Amazing, right?

Did you know Ivory soap has been used in arts and crafts projects? I remember being given a bar of Ivory soap in art class to carve.  I remember sculpting a heart out of the bar of Ivory soap and giving it to my mom for Mother's Day.  

Check out more info on Ivory here.

I recently received a complimentary bar of Ivory Soap for testing purposes from Influenster and Ivory as a participant in the Mom VoxBox campaign.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

imPRESS Press On Manicure

I always keep my nails short.  I don't regularly get my nails done.  I don't like nail polish - I don't like the smell and don't like the nail polish remover even more.

So when I received the imPRESS Press On Manicure product complimentary from Influenster to test,  I was curious.  I didn't know if it would look fake or if it would be hard to put them on.

I had to look them up:

"Introducing imPress Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails, the revolutionary way to apply polish! Featuring advanced nail technology, you can get a salon-perfect manicure in seconds – simply peel off, press on, and you're done. There's no drying, a killer shine and a manicure that lasts up to a week! And, imPress is so easy to remove, you can change it up to match your mood as often as you want. Check out all 36 colors and patterns, including trendy brights, classic darks and animal prints. With imPress, your nails will always be your best accessory."

Sounds simple enough.  I tried it and within 15 minutes, I had a perfect looking manicure! I I ran into the lady I go to when I do get my nails done after about 5 days of having them on. She asked if I was cheating on her.  When I told her I had on imPRESS Press On Manicure, she was imPRESSed!  They stayed on, looked great and a lot cheaper than what she charges!

imPRESS Manicure (MSRP $5.99 for colors and $7.99 for patterns) can be found at retailers like CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart and more.  For a full list of online and in-store retailers, visit imPRESSManicure.com.  While there, download an exclusive coupon and virtually try on all of the colors and fun patterns.