Online Friends are Closer with Skype

*Skype asked me to share how I keep in touch with close friend and family.  This is a sponsored post by  http://skypestaytogether.com

skype brings people togetherI have been blogging for over 6 years.  And in that time, I have built an amazing community of online friends.  While I cherish my “real life” friends, I truly wouldn’t be where I am today, and enjoying it as much, without these “digital” friendships.  They have become like family to me.  I have an online bff named, Jenny.  She is amazingly talented and funny and adorable.  There is no reason, just because she lives in Washington and I live in California, that we can’t be close.  We both have two small-ish boys and every once in a while we talk via Skype.  We talk about the projects we have going on, she helps me with Illustrator questions and our boys pop on and off and wave at each other.  I love it.  While the idea of letter writing sounds romantic, it just is not practical for someone like me who spends a lot of my “me” time getting my work done on the computer.  It is an absolute shame.  There are so many cute cards available.  But I have to fill you in on a bit more of my crazy:  If I buy a well designed card, I don’t ever send them.  I end up keeping them because they are so pretty.  Uh, yeah.  Not the best way for me to reach out to friends.  And I would never buy ugly cards just for the sake of being able to let it go easier.  My friends don’t deserve ugly cards.

sharing photo tips via skypeMy online lady friends have proven to be super supportive and an amazing resource for me.  Melissa and I bounce ideas off of one another.  We ask each other for opinions on craft ideas we want to make and I make her tell me all about her blog conference she hosts every September that I can’t make it to because I am on the other side of the country.  My online family is very talented and we share these talents with each other.  And since we are all right in front of our computers, it makes sense that they are the way we choose to communicate with each other.  While emails are sent back and forth with abandon there are some things that require a little bit more visualness (yeah, that is totally correct usage of the English language…).  From helping to figure out new cameras to providing party styling suggestions, we are close knit and in touch constantly which could end up getting really expensive since we are all over the United States.  Melissa is in Florida, Chris is in Virginia, Carrie is in Illinois, Amy is in Massachusetts, (which incidentally I had to look up how to spell…).  Luckily I have Kristin and Lauren who live locally so I get to have in person conversations once in a while.  The easiest and most fun way to check in with each other is over the internet via Skype.  And while Lauren is just a few towns over, she and I have actually used Skype as well.  It is perfect for when we can’t meet in person and have a project to work on that requires seeing items not yet completed – so awesome!

happy hour with far away friendsAnd as close girlfriends do, we share our highs and lows and even a little wine, we just do it over the internet.  Skype is free and can be easily downloaded to make these conversations possible.  And since I already have the software, there is nothing stopping me from using it with my actual family who also lives out of state.  It is amazing how little time I actually spend on a telephone any more.  And luckily, the people who I Skype with don’t care when I don’t do my hair (which is almost never) or my makeup (which is not often).  Life can get busy, but I know that with Skype, we can speak for a few minutes and really get to have a meaningful conversation.  That is the beauty of getting to see who you are talking to.

skype logo

Take as second and watch this amazing video.  It is touching and really demonstrates the power of Skype.

Learn more at http://skypestaytogether.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT Cupcakes and Cutlery aims to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews.

 

Jonathan Adler shares quick summer entertaining tip

 

 

 

Jonathan Adler shares summer entertaining tip  CLICK THIS LINK FOR VIDEO

 

Wait, what was that?  Was that my name at the beginning of the video?  Why, yes it was.  That’s right.  Jonathan and I are bff now.  I’m feeling a little bit like the Mrs. today.  Ok, he has no idea who I am but I still totally geeked out that he said my name in the video (nerd alert).  Check out Jonathan’s quick tips for fabulous summer entertaining brought to you by Diet Pepsi.  For more summer fun follow #dpfunfizzflair around the interweb.  So far, the rad paper straws from me previous post have been spotted in a Seattle Target but I have yet to see them here in Orange County, CA.  Keep me posted if you see them!

*This is not a compensated post.  I was sent product and the most coveted straws in all the land.  All opinions are mine.  It is no secret, I think Mr. Adler is the cat’s meow.

“$3.99 for all you can eat…

Well, I’ma stuff my face to a funky beat”  - The Fat Boys  ’All you Can Eat’

Have you seen this?  If you like rap and food, like I do, you are going to love this.  I was recently pretty devastated when I found out that someone already has my rap name, Snaxx.  Good thing I haven’t started my rap career.  Yet.  Boom.

Click over to watch the video!

{Hellmann’s Chicken Change Up} Chipotle Lime Crusted Chicken

I am in love with this Chipotle Lime Crusted Chicken recipe that I got from Hellman’s.  I have really enjoyed participating in Hellmann’s Chicken Change Up Promotion.  It really opened my eyes to a whole new set of recipes that I would not have been open to before this challenge.  I’ve learned that I am not the only one who dislikes mayo and that if you just don’t tell people you have put it in something you cooked, they would never know.  The same can not be said for uncooked items and I’ll tell you right now, if you ever try to sneak uncooked mayo in to something I’m eating to try to pull a fast one on me, you may end up black listed.  Like most of you, I struggle with getting a delicious, home cooked meal on table each night.  On top of that, I have dietary restrictions, picky eaters and budget constraints.  And I just get plain tired of the things that I make over and over.  By introducing Hellmann’s mayo into my ingredients list, I can now make a whole new range of recipes.  And all of them are available to you on the Hellmann’s Facebook page and it is a great resource for all your dinner dilemmas.

The recipe that stood out to me was Chipotle Lime Crusted Chicken.  Lime is one of my all-time favorite flavors and upon reading the recipe I saw that it also included crushed tortilla chips.  Yum!  The recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook.  Super quick for baked chicken!  The secret is a high temperature for speedy cooking and the mayo for keeping it moist.  And with simple ingredients, these unfussy recipes should please even your pickiest eater.  I wanted to make this chicken for a small mid-week dinner party to test it out.

Wouldn’t you know, the morning that I planned to have friends over to test it, I woke up sick!  It took most of the day to get my energy up and by the time I was feeling well enough to get the house ready, it was almost time for the guests to show up.  It was the perfect scenario to see if this recipe really is as cook as they say it is.  Oh and I made a video (with A LOT of help from my husband – who thought I said “um” too much so he turned the sound off when I said it :).  So if you want to skip to it, scroll down!

The ingredient list is short and the most exotic item with the ground chipotle pepper that I was able to find at Target.  I got out everything that I would need before I started the recipe which included crushing up some tortilla chips (super easy to do in a ziplock bag).  And the only reason I am using the “light” mayo is because I had finished the regular with the Tuna and Noodles and Mayo Cookies although I did not taste any difference between the two!

Prep Time:  10 minutes                 Cook Time:  20 minutes

1/2 cup Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

1 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/4 cup crushed plain tortilla chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

2.  Combine Hellmann’s or Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, cheese, lime juice and ground chipotle in medium bowl.  Arrange chicken on baking sheet.  Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips.

3.  Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Mix up the mayo, the jack cheese, lime juice and chipotle pepper in a bowl.

Lay your chicken out on a cookie sheet or baking dish.  Evenly distribute the mayo mixture on all of the chicken.  There will be plenty.  I usually double chicken coating recipes but this is a very decent amount.

Sprinkle the crushed tortilla chips on the chicken.  I would recommend doubling this!  It provided a nice crunch in the finished dish and I could have used more of it.  Bake for 20 minutes and then dazzle your guests!  It really was quick to put together although I found that I needed about 5 more minutes of cook time.

Because this was a weeknight dinner party, I wanted to keep the decor really simple.  I threw on a tablecloth (and may or may not have tried to iron it right on the table – I do not recommend it – and blew a fuse since our dining room wiring is wonky) added a simple white tray and grabbed empty jars from my party storage for the flowers ($3.99 from Trader Joes).  To add color, I used flagging tape in two colors from Home Depot to add bows and confetti.  I served a simple sangria (no recipe – just riesling, strawberries, plums and a splash of apricot nectar) to drink and kept it classy in simple wine glasses.

The chicken came out super moist while the crust stayed really crunchy.  The chipotle pepper added a little kick to the dish and the smokiness of the spice coupled with the creaminess of the jack cheese created a delicious ranch-like taste.

I served the chicken with some delicious side dishes.  This black bean salad can be made ahead and simply served straight from the fridge or at room temperature.  The roasted kale can be put in the oven, at the same temperature as the chicken, the last 8 minutes of cooking.  And of course I put out the mayo cookies.

Here is the video I made of preparing the meal and the dinner party.  Go easy on me.  This was my first edited video and it took a long time.  And a HUGE thank you to Lauren and Amanda as they had no idea, before they got here, that they were going to be in my video.

But here is sort of the coolest part.  Because I now know that cooking with mayo will help keep my chicken super moist but not require me to spend tons of time in the kitchen, my dinner possibilities are just about endless.  For this recipe I used lime, chipotle and tortilla chips, but next time I can keep the same method, but easily change up the flavors.  Check out the recipe for BBQ Cheddar Crusted chicken.  In fact, I think I am going to make this tonight.  I mean, I have mayo in the house for once.  I don’t want to let it go to waste!

Hellmann’s challenges you to add some of these recipes too.  By doing so, you can enter to win a $5,000 grocery store gift card! (Full rules available on Facebook).  Or just enter their daily giveaway for a $50 grocery card.  But don’t forget to check out all the recipes from the Chicken Change Up!

*Discolsure:  Hellmann’s product and additional incentives were provided to me.  All opinions stated are my own.  And I would like to add that I now, voluntarily, make these chicken recipes because they are so tasty.  I did not expect that!