Marissa Meyer Wants Us to Quit Whining and Go Back to Work

Want to find a way to stir the pot amongst employees who have telecommuted for nearly a decade? Simple – tell them it’s time to ditch the sweatpants and sherpa slippers, put on something presentable and come to work five days a week. Sure, you can easily communicate with your co-workers via skype, email, text, Facebook or Gmail chat, but at Yahoo, nothing beats spending quality cubicle time with your fellow employees.
Just so you know – I don’t work for Yahoo, but I’ve been to their New York offices and the place is wall to wall cubicles. People don’t talk much since they are usually emailing other people but nevertheless, they are together. But will that camaraderie foster more productivity? As someone who has telecommuted for nearly 14 years, I have to say a five day work week in the office doesn’t make you more productive — it just enables your boss to know you are readily available for meetings that go on for eternity and keep you away from your massive to do list. It also frees you up for conversations around the Keurig machine and encourages you to make Happy Hour plans with your co-workers.
Don’t get me wrong – when I worked five days a week in a corporate office — I really enjoyed it. In the mornings, my co-workers and I would catch up on our evening festivities much like Kelly Ripa does with Michael Strahan every morning. We then attended a staff meeting, participated in conference calls, answered phones, emails, etc. and for the most part, we got some work done but definitely not as much as I did when I was home cruising through my to do list like a speed demon.
The bottom line to all this work life balance controversy is that in this day and age, there is no reason for a CEO to change policy and inform their staff they are doing away with telecommuting. We are all connected to servers, emails, texts, etc. In fact, though many of us are not brain surgeons, we hold our smartphones as a lifeline to the outside world — reading and responding to emails constantly even if they have no bearing on our personal or professional lives.
I truly hope that Yahoo is instituting this new plan so that their employees can shut down their computers at 6pm, go home to their families and not have to think about their respective deadlines until the next day. The telecommuting generation has become a 24/7 existence so if Yahoo has decided to set boundaries by instituting a workday that lasts a limited amount of hours, I am all for it. However, if their plan is to have their employees work five days a week and respond to their bosses after hours too, then therein lies the problem.
Something’s gotta give and if going backwards is Yahoo’s strategy – I truly hope their employees can roll with the punches, step into their respective time machines and experience life the way it used to be — when we spent five days a week at an office but were able to unplug the moment we bolted out those revolving doors.

Take Back the Kitchen – Winter Salad with Butternut Squash and Pistachios

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Sometimes salads don’t seem so appealing in the cold weather but this cozy, warm and hearty salad may just make you change your menu this week. Try to roast a lot of vegetables at once if you can so you can make a variety of salads and other dishes all week with them.
Hearty Winter Salad with Butternut Squash and Pistachios

Serves 2
3 cups washed and dried Arugula or pre-washed from supermarket
1/2 cup roasted butternut squash and 1/2 cup roasted beets (halve a squash,take the pits out, roast on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees or until squash is fork tender . If top is getting too brown , cover with aluminum foil. Dice up when cooled and use for soups, salads and any other dish throughout the week. For the beets, take one medium sized beet, peel it, dice it and roast it with the squash until tender, keep checking with a fork but about the same amount of time as squash)
1-2 TBS shelled pistachios
drizzle olive oil
drizzle balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Method:
1. Place prepared greens in a bowl. Add squash and beets and gently combine.
2. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and toss gently.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with pistachios. Enjoy!

Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

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Stuffed peppers are great because one can substitute so many of the ingredients.Use the recipe below as a model and create your own!
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Cilantro Pesto and Golden Raisins:

4 Bell peppers, kept whole except for tops removed and all seeds washed out-having 4 different colors looks nice (red, yellow, green and orange)
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 1/2 cups diced , roasted butternut squash
3 TBS golden raisins
***2-3 TBS cilantro pesto or if you don’t have, regular pesto (vegan cilantro recipe below)
1/2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp chili oil (if you don’t have, just sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper)
Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Heat up 1/2 TBS olive oil and sautee cooked quinoa
Add in the butternut squash and toss for a minute or so
Add in the salt, pepper, chili oil and raisins and stir until combined
Add in the cilantro pesto and stir until combined
Stuff the 4 prepared peppers with equal amounts of the quinoa mixture and stand up the peppers in a pyrex dish that is deep and small enough to stand the peppers up.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes and serve with salad, more of the inside mixture or anything you like.
***Cilantro Pesto:
1 cup raw cashews, can also try with other nuts
1 cup packed cilantro, washed
1 tsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
one tsp lemon juice
1 TBS almond flour or ground almonds
1/2 tsp salt
Puree in a food processor and freeze in small amounts.
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.

How to Earn a Free Family Vacation From Shopping!

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We’ve all signed up for rewards credit cards to earn travel rewards and miles with our favorite airlines, but do you know the limitations and clearly understand all the fine print? Most programs have purchasing limits, blackout retailers, and other details that prevent us from earning the travel rewards we all hoped for. It’s never as easy as it seems, and we usually end up frustrated and losing reward points and miles that expire!
Matthew Goldman, CEO and co-founder of Wallaby, says with a few easy tips and online services, shoppers can actually earn a free vacation in just a few months by making the right credit card choices.
You must read this Q & A Matthew Goldman to learn some valuable tips to end the frustrations and earn a free family vacation!
-In addition to the Wallaby Card, do you have any other tips for ways travelers can maximize rewards when using credit cards?
Be diligent in using the card and paying the balance, so you can earn the most rewards with minimal expense. Pay attention to limited-time offers where you can earn two or three times points. Certain purchases such as gas or hotel stays often earn extra rewards.
Don’t spread spending across too many rewards cards, concentrate on the type of rewards that matter most to you. If you are a big spender, then be sure you read the fine print to see if reward points will be capped at too low of a level.
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-What are common mistakes people make when using their credit card for travel?
Some people don’t understand their benefits rules, so they blindly swipe their card without considering if another card is better for travel rewards. For individuals traveling internationally, it’s important to understand which cards might have international charge fees (which can approach three percent). Some travelers allow their miles to expire because they don’t keep their frequent flyer account active. Using the card for even a pack of gum is often enough to reset it. Letting miles expire defeats all of your planning and work. Understand the fine print. For example, if a card offers three percent cash back on gas, it might only provide rewards up to a certain amount. Once that cap is reached, it makes sense to move that spending to a different rewards card.
-Any other travel/credit card reward related tips you have are welcome!
Picking the right rewards card is difficult. You have to think about what you want to earn, whether it is cash back, miles, or hotel stays. Promotions run all the time, and keeping track of the optimal card for any given transaction is not easy. Tools such as Wallaby are available which can help consumers to organize their cards and earn maximum rewards. The average traveler has nearly four credit cards. It pays to eliminate unused cards and do research into the best rewards options. Always sign-up for loyalty programs and earn points on your stays or airline trips. Sign up the kids, too! They can have accounts and you can earn points towards future trips. Pay attention to benefits credit cards can provide towards stay levels for free services. For example, a hotel card might get you halfway to “silver” and Silver guests might receive free breakfast. Savings can add up fast.
For more information visit http://www.walla.by

Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

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I dare say I outdid myself when the challenge arose to bring an Asian dish to a Chinese New year’s Party.
I wanted to make Peanut Butter Bars but I needed to make them Asian-y somehow.
Peanuts? Hmmm.
Thai?
Coconut oil, chili pepper and lime zest!
Done!!!
Crazy Amazing Thai Peanut Butter Dessert Bars with Chocolate Lime Frosting:
First layer:
2 sticks of butter , melted
1 1/2 packages of graham crackers, crushed in a food processor-about 2 cups when crushed
1 1/4 cups smooth, creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
For topping:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 TBS coconut oil
1/8-1/4 tsp ground chili pepper, depending on your tolerance for heat
zest of 2 limes, more if you like lime flavor but make sure you put the freshly zested lime on top RIGHT before you serve them
Instructions:
Combine all of the first layer ingredients in a big bowl until fully combined.
Press into a 9″X 13″ pan and set aside
In a double boiler or a stainless steel bowl over boiling water, melt 2 cups chocolate chips with the coconut oil and the chili pepper. Stir until all is melted and combined
With a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture onto the peanut bars
Sprinkle the lime zest over the chocolate layer and refrigerate until chocolate is hard (I actually stuck mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes since I was in a hurry to get to the party).
ENJOY!!!
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.

Chef Tim Love Teaches Me How to Cook!

521732_10151263867090205_650499033_n.jpegI have to say, there are some really great perks to being a blogger. Some days you get to go movie screenings. Other days, you try out brand new products. And then you get to meet celebrities. But I never thought that when I started blogging more than 8 years ago that I’d get to film a cooking video with a famous chef.
Well, thanks to Hellmann’s I did just that when Chef Tim Love welcomed me into the kitchen and showed me how to make parmesan crusted chicken. I had so much fun being his sous chef — even though he could tell I was a bit nervous about spreading all those ingredients on the chicken. In fact, he even called me “Two Step Beth” when I confided that I usually do two things with a chicken. Step 1 – scatter poultry seasoning on the chicken. Step 2 – stick it in the oven.
Well, get ready for an all new improved Beth as chef. I’m adding a few more steps to the mix and take a look at how it turned out:

Want to recreate this recipe at home? Then follow these steps and you can impress your family too!
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Ingredients
1/2 cup Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
Directions
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Real Mayonnaise with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange chicken on baking sheet. Evenly top with Mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Also terrific with Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise or Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise. Cost per recipe*: $7.16 Cost per serving*: $1.79 *Based on average retail prices at national supermarkets.
Timesaving Tip: Try making this dish with thin-cut boneless skinless chicken breasts! Prepare as above, decreasing bake time to 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. TIP: Omit Parmesan cheese and have “Magically Moist Chicken” on the table in less than 30 minutes.
For more of Tim’s awesome recipes, check out the Hellmann’s Facebook page.

Got 45 Minutes? Then Listen & Laugh with our Latest Blog Talk Radio Shows!

We took a two week break from our Blog Talk Radio Show, but came back strong this week with our take on the Superbowl, the latest celebrity news, Oscar countdown, health advice and so much more.
Even I laughed out loud while playing back the show and I already knew what I said the first time around. So if you have some time in your day to listen in, trust us, you will not be disappointed!

Listen to internet radio with Role Mommy on Blog Talk Radio

Take Back the Kitchen with Alma Schneider

IMG_4245.JPG Who knew carrots could be so beautiful, so healthy, so easy and so delicious? Here’s a recipe that even children might like!

5 medium sized carrots, washed and peeled if not organic
Olive oil
Flavor infused Balsamic Vinegar or just balsamic vinegar (I like Chocolate vinegar from Olive That and More out of Montclair, NJ)
Kosher salt
Place a rack in upper third of the oven
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Slice the carrots into 1/4 inch thick discs and place in a bowl
Drizzle enough olive oil all over them until they are coated, about 2 tsp.
Massage oil into carrots if you like
Lay carrots on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer, place in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes
Check with a fork for tenderness
Remove from the oven when tender and drizzle with vinegar.
Sprinkle with Kosher salt. YUM!!!
For more great recipes from Alma Schneider, visit her at Take Back the Kitchen.