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    Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad + Bento Box

    January 19th, 2017

    This is a sponsored post with Produce for Kids for their #PowerYourLunchbox campaign. Choosing a Bento box for your lunches can be fun for both kids AND adults. This Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad is a healthy and quick recipe to feed your family.

    January Updates

    I have been quite spoiled the last month because I have had my husband at home! Don’t be jealous. I mean, having an extra hand to help with three toddlers truly makes a difference but in general, I love having my husband at home. We were able to put away our Christmas decorations and do a little clean up for the new year. Even with planned organization, it has been challenging to stay healthy.

    Is anyone battling with their kids staying healthy this winter? There is only so much cleaning and disinfecting one can do to stay sane, but feeding your family healthy meals is another. Just because the weather is dreary and health might be on hiatus, it is possible to continue cooking and preparing healthy meals for your families.

    Produce for Kids – Power Your Lunchbox

    I have partnered up with Produce for Kids again this year to stay geared up in their Power Your Lunchbox Pledge As a reminder, the pledge is a back-to-school time initiative that raises funds for Feeding America kids’ programs. From Jan. 4 to Feb. 15, 2017, Produce for Kids is encouraging families nationwide to kick off the new year right by pledging to pack a healthier lunchbox with the Return to School Power Your Lunchbox Pledge campaign. All parents need to do is take the online pledge at to make a $1 donation to Feeding America® children’s programs.

    How easy is that? We all like challenges but what the ones that give back to those in need? Just to give you an idea, In 2016, Produce for Kids had 21,674 families and classrooms pledge to eat a healthier lunchbox, helping to raise 238,414 meals for families in need through Feeding America. Need some ideas? After you read the recipe PLEASE sign up  and make your pledge at

    Asian Chicken Cabbage Salad + Bento Box

    During the winter seasons we do not usually think about salads but it is still very possible to have them with added warmth and comfort. I always love introducing new foods to my girls and I am blessed by their minimal resistance to trying new things. I have learned that one toddler prefers cultured foods than the other, like cabbage salad. Another prefers noodles over potatoes. Either way, I try to add a little of their likes when creating new dishes especially ones with different flavors.

    I grilled some chicken breasts in a little sesame oil, soy sauce, and pepper along with a little garlic. After it grilled I sprinkled some sesame seed and seaweed topping for adding crunch.  I quickly boiled some buckwheat noodles and drizzled a little sesame oil and soy for added flavor and then added a half an avocado.

    I used a new product that Earthbound came out which consists of salad kits. I used their Asian salad kit that includes chopped green and purple cabbage, cilantro, carrots and some mixings as well. I added about 3 small sliced Pero mini peppers for more color and crunch. I loved using Marie’s Sesame Ginger dressing because it was a nice finish to the meal.

    Options for Salad Recipe

    Even though I share a bento box recipe, I also prepared myself a bowl which is great for any stay-at-home parent. It is a little warm and cold salad that has healthy carbohydrates and the necessary protein and vegetables. The great thing about Bentology’s bento boxes is that they have compartments that can be heated up separately! Thank you to all the sponsors for this amazing campaign that gives to others. See them below and see how I used them in my recipe.

    by Noelle Kelly

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients (2 bento boxes or 1 bento box a)

      Cabbage Salad

      • 1 bag Earthbound Organic Asian Salad Kit
      • sunflower seeds included
      • crushed wontons included
      • 4 Tablespoons Marie’s Sesame Ginger dressing


      • 3 ounces buckwheat noodles, dried
      • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
      • 1/2 an Avocado from Mexico, diced
      • pinch of sesame seeds and seaweed sheets

      Grilled Chicken

      • 6-ounces chicken
      • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
      • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
      • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
      • 2 Tablespoons water

      additional ingredients

      • 6 Pero Family Farms mini sweet peppers, cored and sliced
      • 1 or 2 small packages Crispy Green Asian Pears
      • 1/2 cup raisins


      Cabbage Salad

      Add the cabbage salad to a large salad bowl and add the seeds and wontons. Add dressing and mix well. If dividing between 2 lunch salads, divide between 2 bowls.


      Prepare pasta according to packaged directions. When finished cooking, drain water and quickly drizzle oil and add seeds and seaweed. Add chopped avocado and mix well.

      Grilled Chicken

      Heat sesame oil in a small skillet on medium heat. In a small bowl season chicken with soy sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper. Add chicken to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes on each side adding water to cook. Remove when internal temperature for chicken reaches 165 F. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes. Slice chicken.

      Assembly for Bentology Bento Box

      1 large compartment for Buckwheat Noodles

      1 large compartment for Cabagge Salad and 3 ounces of chicken

      1 small compartment for 3 sliced mini peppers

      1 small compartment for Crispy Green Freeze-Dried Asian Pear and raisins

      Assembly for Lunch Salad

      Add the cabbage salad to a large salad bowl and add the seeds and wontons. Add dressing and mix well. If dividing between 2 lunch salads, divide between 2 bowls.

      Slice the grilled chicken and divide in half between bowls. Add half the buckwheat noodles to the bowl and half the mini peppers.

      Enjoy the freeze-dried pears and raisins as a treat.

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      Blood Orange and Thyme Cocktails for Valentine’s Day

      January 13th, 2017


      Valentine's Day

      Holiday Decorating

      Just when you think you are done with one holiday, another one, like Valentine’s Day,  is just around the corner. I am not one to decorate my home for every holiday but somehow after cleaning, arranging and purging, I want things to look different in certain areas of our home. I am definitely someone who loves to make special and seasonal recipes for holidays.

      My husband repurposed some organ pipes he bought at an antique shop and made shelves for our living room. I have use it to place a nice verse of the month with a nice plant along with some mantel-like décor. I admit that I do not have a talent for decorating but I have been making an effort.

      Valentine's Day

      Planning for Valentine’s Day

      I feel like our weeks are going by so fast that I have to prepare in advance for the holidays especially since the girls are in school. They have so many different special programs and activities during the special holidays that I have to make sure I do not forget details. It is important to plan ahead and well, I have to make a better effort. I know the girls will want to bake and decorate.

      When it comes to a date night, I believe I will want to stay in and celebrate with my husband so planning on a fun meal with be on my to-do list. Make sure to follow my Valentine’s Day Pinterest Board for ideas.

      Blood Orange

      Blood Orange and Thyme Cocktails

      One fruit I really have not experienced and tasted are blood oranges. They are in-season now until May and are the most fascinating fruit! My girls were truly fascinated with the blood part of the orange and loved its name. We cut one for all of us to taste test and loved it! When I try a new food I love learning a little more about its benefits. Blood Oranges have the same antioxidant as blueberries and are high in Vitamin C, which we need during cold season.

      Valentine's Day

      Stirrings recently sent me some products to create my own cocktail and I chose their blood orange martini mix. All their ingredients in their mix are natural so it was fun to come up with a nice cocktail. The color of the mix is deep red and perfect for Valentine’s Day. I used some thyme with the mixer and added some nice spirits for a refreshing cocktail. Hope you like it!

      Where can you get these cocktail mixers? Store Locations: Key Food , Leg Up Farmers Market, Hennings Market or online. Check their social channels for more ideas.






      Contest: #StirringsMixologyContest

      Blood Orange and Thyme Cocktail

      by Noelle Kelly

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Keywords: beverage blood orange Valentine’s Day winter spring

      Ingredients (serves 2)


        • 1 1 /3 cups Stirrings Blood Orange Martini Mix
        • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
        • 3 ounces grapefruit rum
        • 3 ounces triple sec
        • splash of lime carbonated soda
        • crushed ice

        Cocktail Décor

        • Stirrings Cosmopolitan Rimmer
        • Blood Orange,sliced
        • Thyme sprigs
        • 2 Martini glasses



        Nicely chop the thyme and place in a glass with the blood orange mix to steep for a few hours.

        Strain and leave in fridge until ready to use.

        Cocktail Décor

        Use a slice of blood orange line the rim of cocktail glass with juice. Place glass upside down in the cosmopolitan rimmer and rim glass with sugar. Decorate a glass with a slice of blood orange.

        Cocktail prep continues

        In a cocktail shaker, add mix, rum, and triple sec with 2/3 cup ice and shake.

        Strain cocktail into two martini glasses.

        Splash some carbonated lime-flavored soda in each glass.

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        Happy New Year 2017 and Ditching Resolutions

        January 12th, 2017

        Happy New Year – 2017

        First things first. Let me say a hearty HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you. I am sorry I have been a little MIA but we all know that life happens and we all have our moments where it has to be our focus. I have missed sharing and writing up my recipes so I am going to get back on the bandwagon and share some fresh new recipes soon. Some of them I have been able to share on Instagram, but even so, I think you all deserve those too right?

        New Year, New You

        I once was someone who thought of New Year’s resolutions, but when I realized I never kept them and they seemed a recipe for failure, I stopped doing them. At what point do we have to be in our lives to actually make a real change in our lives for good? I think it can happen any time! I will be the first person to say that I require accountability and community. Without these things I am at a loss and I am a failure, or so I tell myself, but lately I realize that if I do not have a purpose for the things I do I AM going to fail, no matter what.

        We all want to have a sense of purpose in our lives and to feel like we are needed. As I get back on the bandwagon this new year, I realize that changes must happen. What I feel mentally is how it will affect me emotionally, physically and spiritually. Ok so where is this recipe I tantalized you in the beginning. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN BAMBOOZLED.

        Controlling What We Eat

        Raise your hand if you are a foodie? I think I was raised as a foodie, learning everything about spices, ethic cuisines and more. When I hang around friends that are not as excited about food as I am, I feel like there is something wrong with me. Well, perhaps there is too much focus and emphasis on food, which is really something that is not lasting. Even so, it is okay to enjoy and to have an experience of the senses. For me, it has to be reigned in and not controlling my life.

        I enjoy what I do on my spare time and when I am in the kitchen. My creativity blossoms when I cook and I love experimenting but I am not food. It is not who I am but something I enjoy and enjoy sharing with others. It cannot consume or control me. Have I lost anyone yet? I hope I am not the only one that goes through thought processes like this but bear with me.


        I want to be able to enjoy foods in moderation and in the right times. There are ALWAYS special occasions and holidays will always be around the corner. Here we finished Christmas and New Years and now we have Valentine’s Day around the corner! This is why I share so many different things with you as my readers.

        Opera Singer in the Kitchen is not only a singer or a cook. I am not just about food. My person and identity is not my brand!

        • I am a real person with struggles and desires to have community and connection.
        • I like authentic friendships and sharing real life
        • I love homeopathic remedies and natural cures.
        • I love trying new products that keep my family healthy.
        • I enjoying singing but in the meantime, parenting and raising a home is my priority.
        • I love bringing people together and inviting people to our home for dinners.

        What are my struggles?

        • Being consistent with eating habits while running a household
        • Going to bed early
        • Getting up early
        • Having a personal relationship with God
        • Praying
        • Exercising
        • Consistency

        What to Expect

        I only share this with you because I am a real person. I started my blog back in 2009 as a journey into veganism because I had made many compromises when I got married and gained a lot of weight. I thought veganism was a way to lose my weight and that it would solve everything for me. It did not. After 2 years of blogging as a vegan, I lost all my readership (which was big) because I went back to eating meat and felt lost.

        My journal turned into a recipe index and a place to play with food while sharing with others. Since then I feel like it has grown to something I enjoy doing, but in the middle of all that I am trying to find a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I do not play into trends and I refuse to label myself as anything but I know I have to find something that is the best for myself and that perhaps in the long run could be of use to someone.

        What I blog about this new year will be focused on what I experience and what I think would be instructive and beneficial for others. While my blog is a side business, I will not be sharing things I do not support in my every day life just because I need money. I do not work that way and hope you have seen my platform as an authentic one.

        What would you like to see?

        I would like to know what has been a source of inspiration for you? I do not want to stop doing something all together if it has been helpful. Thank you for reading this! I know it is a lot to read but I want to be as authentic as possible with my readers.

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        Christmas Scones and Holiday Food Gifts + Giveaway

        December 20th, 2016

         Christmas scones and Holiday food gifts are the perfect way to celebrate this season. Your whole family will love this fancy but festive scone and they will also love the edible gifts. Your neighbors will thank you too! This is a sponsored post with Giant Food Stores.

        Busy Holiday Month

        December has proven to be the busiest month this year! Every year I expect it to be busy because of my husband’s concerts but this year our whole family was involved in musical activities for the holiday season. In addition to several musical concerts and performances, we have been busy bees in the kitchen, making holiday gifts for our friends and family.

        Thanks to Giant Food Stores, I have been able to stock up on pantry items to make my holiday food gifts. During this season I tend to be concentrating on baking and not preparing meals, so it has been helpful also capitalizing on some delicious prepared meals and options for easier meal prepping in my home so that I could become baking queen of the month.

        Holiday Food Gifts

        As a mother of three toddlers it seems very overwhelming to even bake but I scheduled ways to go about making the baking possible. Sometimes I included the girls in the baking after they came from school and other times I would do some while they were napping. Many times I just waited to bake after they went to bed for the evening but with all those things in mind I knew I had to bake.

        Since I grew up baking and sharing goodies with friends and family, the tradition is important for me to give to my family. I have a few go-to recipes that I like using but each year I choose a few ones to add to the round-up. I love stocking up on Christmas tins and bags after the holidays so that I am stocked up for the next year. When I bake I like baking a variety of cookies and savory treats over the week so that I am able to fill the bags and then hand them out a week or two before Christmas.

        It is fun to see people receive edible gifts because it is in busy times like now that many do not enjoy homemade treats. What a great way to say Merry Christmas to those around you.

        Savory Magazine

        One of the things I have enjoyed flipping through is Giant’s Savory Magazine especially this month’s issue. There are so many ideas for quick meals and even several pages of cookie recipes and holiday decorating that was very inspiring.

        If you get to Giant Food Stores, grab a copy or read it online. I was able to try a few recipes and have tagged a few for my holiday cooking. The magazine also has great coupons to try new products or to even purchase products for holiday cooking.

        Special Limited Time Holiday Products

        One of the things I enjoy seeing when I go to Giant is the display of special limited time seasonal products offered. They are not only food products but also range from paper and bath products. I love this month’s offerings because it is so festive! Do you like all things PEPPERMINT? Well, you have a chance to try a variety of products like Peppermint-Flavored Seltzer water, Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer and more.

        There are also other offerings like Holiday Spice Orange Cranberry Baked Brie and Holiday Spice Sweet Potato Soup with Sweet Cranberries. On a busy evening, my husband and I had a lovely evening with the baked brie and a great big salad along with some red wine for a quick meal. It was so pleasant having something so simple yet delicious as an option.

        Christmas Scones

        I was inspired with their products to make a scone recipe that we could enjoy as dessert or as a Christmas morning treat with breakfast. I used the peppermint crushed candies that Giant Food Stores was selling and substituted half and half with the Peppermint Mocha creamer and then added green sprinkles as a topping. After I baked the scone dough in a baking sheet I used a Christmas tree cutter to make tree shaped scones. It was so much fun! Your kids can help that morning as well.

        Christmas Scones

        by Noelle Kelly

        Prep Time: 15 minutes

        Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

        Keywords: bake breakfast brunch dessert chocolate Christmas winter

        Ingredients (a dozen)


          • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
          • 4 teaspoons baking powder
          • 1/4 cup cane sugar
          • 1/8 teaspoon salt
          • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
          • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
          • 1/3 cup crushed peppermint candies
          • 1/2 cup peppermint mocha creamer (or of your own choosing)
          • 1/4 cup sour cream


          • 1 egg
          • 1 tablespoon milk
          • green sprinkles


          Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

          Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or by placing items in a food processor, process until it resembles wet sand. Stir in the chocolate chips and peppermint candies. Mix together 1/2 cup creamer and sour cream in a separate small bowl. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended.

          With floured hands, pat scone dough into 1/4 inch thick square on a greased baking sheet. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush the top of the scone dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle with green sprinkles.

          Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is golden brown, not deep brown. Remove from oven and let the scone cool. Using a Christmas tree cookie cutter, cut out scones and place on a plate to eat.

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          Want to jumpstart your holiday cooking with a giveaway? Enter below and tell me what’s your favorite cookie. Have a Merry Christmas and a great Happy New Year!


          Family Friendly Holiday Stay at The Inn at Pocono Manor

          November 30th, 2016

          When we start planning for small getaways with our family we always look for a place that is family friendly. Family friendly holiday stays are becoming more enjoyable each year so I am glad to know that after 5 years of living in Philadelphia suburbs that there is so much to see in the state itself. The Pocono Mountains are always a place that friends talk about especially by those who do not care much for the beach even during the summer season. This past weekend we had the pleasure of staying at The Inn at Pocono Manor. Read below how we enjoyed our stay.


          Thanksgiving Surprise

          When we found out that we were heading out-of-town the day after Thanksgiving, I was really debating cooking for Thanksgiving because it did not sound restful. Since our families live too far away (Texas!) to see regularly at Thanksgiving, my husband and I extended an invitation to a family in the area whose family is even farther away…Washington! It ended being a nice evening of delicious food coupled with energetic toddlers and a teething baby. 

          The evening ended with us telling our girls that they needed to be ready for our adventure close to 2 hours away. We had told them about going to a hotel up in the mountains a few days prior and they were SO excited. Our girls LOVE staying overnight at hotels so when they find out we are going anywhere, they cannot stop talking about it.

          Free Shipping on Orders Over $25 at Melissa And Doug. Use Code FS25


          The Inn at Pocono Manor

          After a two-hour drive with three toddlers in our back seat, we were happy to see a lovely place nestled in the mountains. The invitation to stay was attractive as we drove into the property. We could not wait to discover what waited for us especially since we arrived 2 hours early before check-in time. We were allowed to pre-check and enjoy the grounds while our room process was completed. The Inn at Pocono Manor is definitely beautifully kept especially since it was opened in 1902. Every space was already decorated with Christmas decorations and ready for anyone to pose or take pictures for the holidays.


          Despite the amount of people who were checking in that afternoon, we meandered through each floor from the lobby to the lower level where the game room and home theater were located. The home theater was nice and spacious and was paired with the game room. There was a sitting area with nice leather chairs and a non-active bar but it was a nice space for card-playing or lounging.



          Our room was definitely spacious for a two-bed non-suite room. We had two double beds with a pack ‘n play included and a nice large bathroom. Although our view was not of the mountains, we could see the front of the resort along with the fire pit. We all had two great nights of comfortable sleep even with three toddler girls. After having no naps during the day, our girls were tired and ready to rest. 

          While the resort is an 114-year old resort, take in mind that the structure is built differently. Our room had a connecting door and even though it was a busy weekend, we were able to hear lots of movement from other families moving to and fro especially late at night. If you are a light sleeper, this might pose a problem, but nothing a glass of wine cannot take of.


          There was a pool available to us but we did not take advantage of that amenity. There were two active restaurants on property one called The Exchange that offers more upscale menu options and setting and a bar restaurant that offers music on the weekend evenings and a standard menu ranging from sandwiches and pizza to simpler main course dishes. I was able to enjoy the music one evening with a delicious IPA.


           Meals at the Inn

          We dined at The Exchange on both evenings during our stay. We chose earlier times to dine because we have younger kids. We were given a nice big round table to spread out and ordered our meals. The Exchange is a restaurant that definitely paces itself so if you are going with kids, you either want to let them know you want the service to be faster because we arrived at 5:45pm one evening and left around 7:30pm.


          The menu was extensive offering appetizers, salads to start with main dishes including steak, lamb, fish, and chicken. Every evening the waiter would tell us the soup and vegetable of the day. Our first meal was not as enjoyable as the second evening but that might have been because we asked for our service to rushed a bit. The restaurant also offered a nice wine list to go with the meal.

          Our service the next evening was definitely paced a lot better so that we could have our girls enjoy their dinner while we enjoyed our. The meals are pricier than the bar restaurant but the portions are generous ranging from seafood, meat and chicken options. On one evening we had the girls split a pasta dish but then by the second night they girls had fun children’s meals with delicious crispy chicken fingers. I think our experience might have been better at the bar restaurant but here’s to next time!


          The breakfast was held in the Mountain View Room which was set up so nicely. It looked like a ballroom but it had tables everywhere and a center area with a buffet-style breakfast with an omelette station at the end. The views of the mountains were very nice as well! Our breakfast options were numerous and ideal for those people who like simple cereal and fruit for breakfast down to the heartier breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage and biscuits with gravy. We definitely had a filling breakfast because it allowed us to have energy for the activities planned for the day.


          Family Friendly Holiday Stay and Activities

          We definitely wanted to take advantage of everything available at the resort so when we found out there were two trails available from the inn, we decided to take the moderate trail with our girls. It was a perfect morning for a nice walk with our coats and boots ready for our adventure. 


          Both trails lead to the waterfalls so the moderate trail was super easy until we reached the decline toward the falls. During the fall and wet season it could be slippery but otherwise we survived as a family of five. The rain caught us on the way but halfway through I called the resort’s shuttle service to pick us up. Two hours later we enjoyed our afternoon by the fire at the lobby with hot chocolate. What a great way to enjoy my two toddlers after an adventure in the woods.


          Magical Fireside Christmas

          One experience I knew my girls would love was the Magical Fireside Christmas. My girls love everything about the season so we were excited to visit one of the lodges that was decked out all the way. As we entered the lodge there was a fire lighted and a nicely decorated Christmas tree on our right. To our left was a train display and a sitting area to welcome Santa. In the middle area were tables set up for families to sit while kids could decorate Christmas cookies. There was a bar available for the adults to enjoy their beverages in addition to a hot cocoa bar for those not imbibing. Behind the fire was another area with Christmas movies playing with a life-size bear to hug.


          As we moved to the second floor, a huge gingerbread house was decorated with all kinds of candy. As we walked around the room there was a variety of crafting stations available for the kids. My girls had a great time making necklaces and crafts! They also had a chance to write a letter to Santa.

          magical-fireside-christmas-collageOn both evenings we had a chance to schedule the resort’s Elf Turndown Service complete with milk and cookies as well as a jolly holiday story read by one of Santa’s helpers.The girls were SO excited especially since they got milk and cookies before going to bed. That certainly was a treat!


          This experience is open to the public and is $10 per person to enjoy what I described above with the exception of the bar and hot cocoa bar station are additional as well as additional snacks available on the second floor. It is available until December 25th and is a great place for family photos and even for a nice getaway.


          Family Getaway

          If you have a chance to get away, consider visiting the Pocono Mountains by making a visit to this spacious, historical site. There is definitely more to offer with options for horseback riding, use of the fitness center and spa, and more. Check out the website for more options and plan your next quick getaway with your hubby or your family to this picturesque resort. The staff will take care of your every need when the time comes.  Check out their Facebook with a current giveaway.


          The Inn at Pocono Manor

          One Manor Drive

          Pocono Manor, PA, 18349 


          Disclosure: Our family were guests of the Inn at Pocono Manor. We are thankful for their generosity for taking care of us during our stay.

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