Thursday, January 18, 2018

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Thank you Potatoes USA for sponsoring this post. Make a delicious and convenient meal for your family tonight with potatoes!

You guys hear me gush on a regular basis about how tacos are my favorite food, but there is actually another dish that has been at the top of my list since I was a kid: mashed potatoes. I mean, I genuinely start daydreaming about consuming buckets of them on Thanksgiving the minute Halloween ends, and over the years, I have played around with more versions of the standard mashed potato recipe than probably every other food combined. I'm not a mashed potato snob - give me a bowl of whatever kind you've whipped up, and I will eat it. But the dish I'm sharing with you guys today is my #1. On top of truly being one of the most delicious side dishes known to human kind, these parmesan mashed potatoes are incredibly easy to make. And there's a special (very simple) hack that makes them the creamiest of the creamy. Read on for all the details.

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 20 minutes, Ready Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6-8  |  Author: Bubby and Bean

Parmesan mashed russet potatoes, simmered in milk, are a deliciously unique take on a beloved American side dish. Topped with shredded parmesan and chopped green onions, they're a flavor-filled favorite that can be paired with almost any entree.

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups whole milk
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and cut russet potatoes into chunks, place into large pot, and cover with whole milk.
2. Simmer milk over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until tender. (Make sure the milk never comes to a full boil; just keep it at a low simmer.)
3. Add butter, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese, and a few dashes of salt and pepper, then hand mash until well combined to desired consistency. (We like ours a little chunky.)
4. Scoop potatoes into a serving bowl and top with remaining parmesan cheese, chopped green onion, and another dash of salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

There are two things that make these mashed potatoes so exquisite. The first is an amazing hack I came across a couple of years ago where rather than boiling the potatoes in water, you simmer them in milk for an incredible level of creaminess. The other is the type of potatoes I use: russets. Russet Potatoes have a light, fluffy texture and delicious flavor that make for the perfect mashed potatoes every time. And while russets are my favorite for mashed, I adore all potatoes. I mean, they're all sorts of convenient, and an important staple in this house. They're also a culinary canvas you guys - you can use potatoes in endless types of recipes, from breakfast to side dishes to full on meals. And, who doesn't love potatoes? There's never a complaint when they're part of a meal around here, and there aren't a lot of foods for which I can say that. (If you're a potato fan like me, you have to check out the Potato Goodness Facebook page. Endless yumminess, guys.)

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Any other mashed potato fanatics out there? What's your favorite mashed potato recipe?

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

8 Tips For Caring For Winter Skin

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8 Tips For Caring For Winter Skin

Those of you who are regular readers/followers have likely heard me discuss my issues with dry skin before, especially during the winter. Recently, I shared some of the ways I care for the skin on my face this time of year. And today, I'm excited to be partnering with Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant to talk about caring for skin as a whole during the colder, drier months - beyond the face, to include the entire body. (I wish I could say that it was only my face that needed extra care in the winter, but every part of my body is affected. I'm sure many of you can relate!) In addition to sharing some of my own tips that I've learned through personal trial and error, I'm also going to share some simple but highly effective tips from Dove Dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba.

1. Use a humidifier. I run a cool mist humidifier in my bedroom every single night in the winter months. It's amazing what massive increase in the dryness and irritation level of my skin I noticed on those occasional nights where I forget to turn it on. Using it nightly results in much softer skin that isn't itchy or irritated.

2. Care for your underarms. I admittedly never even thought about caring for the skin on my underarms until I read a tip from Dr. Barba, where she reminds us that the sensitive underarm skin is an important area that shouldn't be overlooked. Everything from dry winter air to fabrics on winter clothing like sweaters can irritate the skin. She recommends Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant  to keep the underarms hydrated and protected. And I'm a huge fan of it too. I absolutely love that it gives me 48 hours of odor and wetness protection. But what makes Dove Advanced Care #1 in my book is its added skin care benefits. It has a unique formula that contains moisturizers to help prevent and alleviate irritation, so my underarms feel smoother and softer when I use it. (You can grab some of your own right here!)

3. Stick to warm showers. Hot water dries out skin, and quickly. Taking a cool to warm shower instead can help prevent excess skin dryness. This small change has actually made a huge difference for me.

4. Bring a little summer to winter - with sunscreen. Even if your summertime bikini and beach bag are hidden at the back of your closet this time of year, Dr. Barba suggests keeping your sunscreen out and readily available to use daily. She also recommends switching to a moisturizing sunscreen that is richer than what you'd use in the summer months.

5. Make a bedtime routine for your skin. Dr. Barba says that bedtime is the best time of day to hydrate skin. Her recommendation for decreasing collagen breakdown at bedtime is as follows: 1. Wash your face. 2. Apply a retinol. 3. Moisturize. Easy and effective!

6. Pay attention to elbows and heels. It only takes a week into the wintertime and my elbows and heels are instantly cracked. I apply a thick moisturizer or coconut oil to both of these areas every day while I’m getting ready, and immediately after every shower, which helps to soften my skin in these areas tremendously.

7. Drink plenty of water. Hydrating from the inside out is important when it comes to skincare, especially in the winter when the air is drier. I continually fill up my water bottle throughout the day to keep my entire body hydrated.

8. Avoid intense exfoliation. Another helpful tip from Dr. Barba is to lay off any sort of intense exfoliation in the winter. She says that when you over-exfoliate, it can actually dehydrate skin by stripping it of essential oils. This can also lead to breakouts during this cold, dry time of year.

Winter can be incredibly harsh on skin, but there are ways to guard against dryness and other issues so your skin feels as healthy and soft as it does in the warmer months. I hope these tips prove as useful to you as they have me. And I would love to hear tips of your own that I might have missed!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Monday, January 15, 2018

GIVEAWAY: Win a $150 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions Eco-Fashion

GIVEAWAY: Win a $150 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions from Bubby and Bean!

It's officially that time of year when, at least for me, the winter blahs have kicked in. Since spring is (waaahhhh) so far away still, I have to find little things about the cold months to enjoy and small ways to celebrate in an effort to stay positive. So today, I decided to celebrate winter (freezing temps + grey skies and all) by teaming up once again with our friends and long time Bubby and Bean partners Gaia Conceptions for another seriously amazing giveaway! One lucky Bubby and Bean reader will receive $150 to spend in Gaia's online shop, which features endless styles of truly stunning eco-friendly clothing made by hand in the USA. They have hundreds of styles to choose from, each one of which is custom created to your size, color choice, and fabric selection. As I've mentioned before, Essley and I are both proud owners of several their gorgeous designs. And we're excited for one of you to get some Gaia threads of your very own!

Use the form below, and/or, because the main methods of entering this giveaway (worth the most points) involve Instagram, you can also enter directly on IG, right here. There are several options for extra entries as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run for one week (through January 21, 2018), and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide. All entries from the Rafflecopter form above and Instagram will be combined. A winner will be randomly chosen via and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway.

Thank you to Andrea and friends over at Gaia Conceptions for giving our readers the chance to win another gift card to their incredible shop. Good luck!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

My 6 Healthy (and Easy!) Lifestyle Changes for 2018

This post is in partnership with Crest, but all opinions are my own.

Before I begin this post, I want to come right out and say that I am not a fan of making New Year's resolutions for myself. For years, I would feel immense pressure to come up with resolutions that were focused on changes that required big commitments (permanently give up all sugar, work out for an hour every single day, meditate for an hour daily, etc.), each of which fell apart quickly and left me feeling disappointed and guilty. I noticed a pattern with my resolutions - they were almost always health-based (which is great!) but they didn't translate into sustainable lifestyle changes (which kind of defeats the purpose). Eventually, I let the concept of resolutions go all together, but this year, I wanted to revisit them in a different way. So on January 1st (my birthday), I wrote down attainable changes I wanted to make with a whole person lifestyle approach (body, mind, and spirit) in 2018. I then broke them down into small, concrete daily tasks that, together, could (hopefully!) make a profound difference. And today, I'm sharing them with you.

1. Eat an apple a day. This change is more metaphorical than anything else, but building on the old aphorism "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," I am eating one healthy fruit or vegetable every single day, no matter what. Obviously, the ultimate goal here is to eat lots of whole, nutritious foods everyday - but by focusing on eating one piece of fruit or a veggie, I can avoid excuses ("I don't have time to make anything today" or "I'm on the go all day so I have to grab something fast/easy like a packaged bar") and just make it happen.

2. Drink a (reusable, of course) bottle of water a day. I'm actually pretty good about drinking water, but I'm not consistent about it. I might go for weeks where I refill and consume my water bottle a dozen times a day, and then go for a week or two (especially in times when I'm busy like the holidays or our move into a new home last week) where I approach dehydration because I genuinely forget to drink anything all day. This year, I am committing to drink one bottle every day, no matter what. While I plan to drink much more than that, drinking one bottle is easy to remember no matter how frazzled I am.

3. Cook 3 dinners a week at home. I'll admit it guys, I am a take-out queen. My years of city living pre-kids created a bad habit revolved around take-out menus, and I've never been able to let it go. I enjoy making creative snacks, but when it comes to meals, the time and effort involved often feels overwhelming. I've also never been good at shopping for staples or meal prepping, and therefore tend to spend more money on groceries to prepare meals than on just ordering out. That said, it isn't a secret that cooking meals at home is the healthier way to go, so I am committing to making 3 dinners a week in my kitchen. Ultimately I'd love for that to progress to 6 dinners a week, but we're focusing on small, easy changes here - so for now, 3 it is.

4. Take care of my mouth by taking care of my gums. I've always been good about brushing and flossing my teeth, but this year, I decided I wanted to take things further and focus on my gums as well - something that I feel is an important part of the whole body/person changes I'm making. As soon as I learned about the recent launch of new Crest® Gum Detoxify TM toothpaste, I grabbed some, and it was such an easy think to add to my daily routine for 2018. I really love how it is specially formulated with Activated Foam technology that reaches below the gum line (an area that even we champion brushers wouldn't be able to reach!). Pretty great right? I'm personally loving the Deep Clean variety, but Crest® Gum DetoxifyTM toothpaste is also available in Extra Fresh, Gentle Whitening, Two-Step, and is available in drugstores, mass retailers and eCommerce sites nationwide, starting this month.

5. Practice 5 minutes of mindfulness a day. A little over a decade ago, I spent 3 years living and volunteering at a Tibetan Buddhist Center where meditation sessions were at my fingertips. I remember feeling an incredible sense of calm and peace, being able to walk next door and take part in them. These days, I live in a regular old house in the suburbs and have two young children, and my attempts at daily meditation have proven close to impossible. This is honestly one of the things I end up feeling guiltiest about not being able to complete, because I know what a difference it makes in my overall health and mental state. So in 2018, I am committing to 5 minutes of mindfulness every day, either first thing in the morning or before I go to bed. The concept of mindfulness is more realistic for me than actual meditation (although when I can make time for it, I absolutely do that as well), because it just involves being present and observing your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, environment, etc., and can be done almost anywhere. I have really been enjoying this, and even with my commitment to 5 minutes, am already feeling a positive change.

6. Set aside 30 minutes a day of family time. The last 2+ months of 2017 really burned me out, and I barely saw my husband or kids. Because Robbie was mostly on break from the band's tour schedule and could care for our little ones, I worked 60-80 hour weeks. I needed to do this to help support my family for the first few months of this year when Robbie would be gone often, but looking back, there could have been healthier ways to approach my schedule. I truly believe that spending quality time with loved ones is the most important thing you can do for your emotional well being, so in 2018, I am setting aside at least 30 minutes a day, every single day, to focus 100% on my family, in ways where we can just enjoy each other's company without distractions.

It's still early in the year, I know, but so far, these smaller lifestyle changes are working. My fingers are crossed that they continue to be successful throughout the year and beyond!

Are you a resolution person, or do small, simple daily changes work better for you? What changes are you working to make in 2018?