Monday, April 18, 2011

NMEDA helps you get back onto the road of independence!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NMEDA. All opinions are 100% mine.

You wake up, jump out of bed, rush to shower and get ready for work. You then scoot downstairs for a quick cup of coffee, maybe take out the trash from last night's dinner and pick up the morning paper. Without missing a beat, you hopped into you car and you're off to work. All that in less than half an hour or so. Sounds familiar? It's just routine for many of us and many don't even think twice about it. However, for a person with disabilities, this can be a very a very daunting task. That's right, living with disabilities is hard. Not only is it hard for the person, but it can be sometimes tough for their caregiver as well. Something as simple as getting ready in the morning and heading off to work can be a big task. Thankfully, these days, there are a lot of wheelchairs, wheelchair vehicles and other aides to help people with disability regain more freedom and mobility in life. However, there are just so many out there, how do we know which is good and which one is the right fit for you? You see ads for them everywhere, on TV, in the newspapers and on the Internet. How do you know which is good for you? Sometimes buying something that doesn't fit does more harm than good.

Well, I got something to share with you today. Have you heard of NMEDA? Well, NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) is a non-profit trade association that advocates providing safe, reliable vehicles and modifications to enhance accessibility for all people. Not only that, they are also the only association that promotes safe driving and equipment for disabled people. Yes, they are non-profit and their members are required to adhere to the safety standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In short, they do not sell anything. NMEDA dealers (members) are the ones who sell handicap vans and vehicle modifications for disabled people.

Why buy from a NMEDA qualified dealer? Well, one of the biggest advantage you get when you buy from a NMEDA qualified dealer is that they conduct on-site evaluations to custom fit vehicles to your specific needs. You see, no two people with a disability is exactly the same, right? So why should their wheelchair vehicles be exactly the same? That is one of the main reasons why you should be careful of adapted wheelchair vehicles sold over the Internet or through catalogs. Why waste your money on something that might not be right for you? When you buy from a NMEDA dealer, you give a personalized “in-person” evaluation, so you can be sure that you are getting the right driving solution customized to your specific lifestyle and needs. If you need additional training or product refinements, your NMEDA dealer will always be there to help you.

Apart from having just dealers, NMEDA also has Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealers. The Quality Assurance Program (QAP) is the only nationally recognized accreditation program for the Adaptive Mobility Equipment Industry. It is based on the principle that in order to satisfy customers consistently, companies must have a systematic and documented approach to quality. What this means is, that in order to be a QAP dealer, your company must not only have high quality and safe equipment but you must also meet the satisfaction of your customers.

So, with the help NMEDA dealers, the elderly or disabled can get back onto the road of independence. Life doesn't really have to be this tough. After hearing about NMEDA, I went to to read up more about them. On their homepage, you can hit the dealers locator, type in your zip code and see if there is a qualified dealer near you. I did just that and found that there are quite a few in my area. I know I do not need a wheelchair now, but it's always assuring to know that if me or any of my loves ones ever needs one, NMEDA is always there to help. You should do the same. Just enter your zip code to find your closest qualified dealer. There are at least 8 dealers in less than 40 miles from me, now many are there near you? Tell me, I'm curious to know!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Southern Fried Chicken & Biscuits

If you are regular readers of this blog, you would know that both Kevin and I love fried chicken. We love all kinds of fried chicken, especially Southern Fried Chicken. I've never attempted to make any at home, cos it was so easy to just go to our favorite fried chicken place and pick up a bucket! However, it's been a while since we ate any (since we started our little "try to eat healthier' quest :P). Chicken thighs and drumsticks were on sale at our local grocery store not too long ago and I figured, why not? Let me try to make some Southern Fried Chicken at home. A few pieces of yummy fried chicken won't kill us. So, I googled Southern Fried Chicken recipes and found quite a few. I really like Paula Deen and The Neely Family's (I regard them both as gurus of Southern cooking!) recipe, so I took bits and pieces from each of that and came up with my own. Check it out!
Start off my cleaning the chicken pieces (I used thighs and drumsticks but you can pretty much use anything you like) and patting them dry with a paper towel. Season them with some freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder and seasoned salt. Make sure that you season both sides of the chicken. Then, set it aside.
Next, pour in a quart of buttermilk into a large bowl.
Then, add in some hot sauce. It doesn't matter what kind of hot sauce you use but if you are Paula Deen fans, you would know that she swears by Texas Pete. I personally like Texas Pete too, but it's entirely up to you. You can put in as much or as little as you like. The Neelys used about 2 tablespoons where else Paula Deen used half a small bottle!
After mixing the hot sauce into the buttermilk, add in 1 tablespoon of crushed cayenne pepper. You gotta be careful with this, cos it really packs a punch. If you don't like it to be so spicy, you should just use half a tablespoon.
Now, place the chicken pieces into a deep casserole dish. Then, pour the buttermilk mixture over it. You should allow your chicken pieces to sit for at least 15 mins after you season them before soaking them in the buttermilk mixture. If you do it any sooner, the seasoning will just wash off. Soaking the chicken pieces in buttermilk is really important, cos not only does it give it flavor, but it also really tenderizes the chicken. Cover the dish with an air tight lid and allowed it to soak for at least 2 hours. I allowed mine to soak overnight, it's better that way.
Once you are ready to fry the chicken, you can start preparing the flour mixture to dredge the chicken pieces. Combine some all purpose flour with some black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. You can also add in some corn starch if you like. The corn starch actually helps make your fried chicken really crispy! Mix it all together and you are all set to go.
Gently remove a piece of chicken from the buttermilk mixture and allow all access buttermilk to drip off. Then, slow dredge it in the flour mixture. Make sure you coat the entire piece of chicken well.
Then, place the chicken pieces in hot peanut oil. Make sure that it is hot enough before you place the chicken in. It should be around 350F. Also, do not over crowd the pan. If you put in too many pieces, it would lower the temperature of the pan and the chicken would not turn out right. Unless you have a really big pan or a deep fryer, stick to a few pieces for each batch.
Once the chicken turns golden and crisp, it's done! It should take around 8 to 10 minutes for white meat and 13 to 15 minutes for dark meat to fully cook through. Allow the oil to drain and then place the chicken pieces on some paper towels before serving.
While I was frying up the chicken, I also popped in some instant biscuits (yes, I's cheating!) in the oven. It should be nice and ready by the time we are done with the chicken. How did this recipe turn out? Well, I think it turned out awesome! Nothing beats some spicy southern fried chicken and freshly baked biscuits. I would have to say that this recipe is a keeper. Try it....I think you will like I too!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

File your taxes, the easy way!

For those of you who have yet to file your taxes, April 18th is just around the corner. Eight more days to be exact! Boy, time sure creeps up on you. It's pretty much the same every year. It's January and you think you still have a whole lot of time to do your taxes, and then BAM! It's already April. I don't know about you but I used to really dislike preparing our tax returns. There are just so many numbers, different columns and boxes to fill. I am usually not even sure what refunds we qualify for and I am pretty sure that we have never gotten the maximum refund, ever. Sure, it's easy to just bring it all to tax experts and let them do the work but their services sure don't come cheap. Also, it's a hassle to have to bring all our documents to their office and so on.

This year, things are a little bit different for us. By early February, we were all done with our taxes! No more last minute rush for us. If you have yet to get around to filling your taxes, I'll let you in on something. It really isn't all that difficult to file your taxes! In fact, I dare say that it's really easy. You can do it yourself, in the comforts of your own home. All you need is TurboTax! Seriously, that's like a god sent to us. What's TurboTax? Well, it's a tax software that helps and guides you through the whole process, from the start right til the very end. It offers step by step instructions and even calculates everything for you! Not only that, but they even guarantee that all calculations are 100% correct. If not, they will pay all IRS penalties plus interest. They also guarantee that you will receive the maximum refund that is due to you. So, goodbye guessing game. You can be sure that you will be getting all refunds that you qualify for. No wonder TurboTax is rated #1 and is the best selling tax software.

You might be thinking, wow, this is great but I only have 8 more days to get all my documents and act together. I really don't think I have enough time to do it all. I know I can file for an extension but how do I go about it? Well, TurboTax has the answer for you too. If you file your extension by April 18th, you will have til October 17th to finish your taxes! With TurboTax, all you need is about 5 minutes and that gets you an extra 6 months to get it done. They would guide you throughout the whole process of filling up the IRS extension form 2009. Not only that, you would even get an email from the IRS once your tax extension is granted. Really, it cannot get easier than that. So, to all of you who have yet to do your taxes, don't procrastinate any longer. It's not as difficult as you think it is. With TurboTax, filing your taxes just got a whole lot easier!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It’s fun to stay at the Hil-ton Ho-tel!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Remember the time when words like “funky” and “groovy” were to in things to say? When dressing up for a night out in town means putting on your favorite polyester leisure suit, complete with an open chested shirt? How about the time when it was fashionable for guys to sport an afro and wear a neck scarf? Ahhh yes, don't we all miss the 70s? A time when wars are out and disco was in! Well, guess what? It's time to wipe of the dust from your platforms shoes cos it's time to boogie once again. That's right, the 70s is back, baby! On May 13th, for one night only, the 70s will come alive, before your very eyes. The Village People are coming to Branson, Missouri!!!

Nope, you didn't hear me wrong. I said, young man, are you listening to me? The Village People will be coming to the Branson Tri-Lakes Center on May 13th! They will be performing 2 hours of their pop culture hits, songs like “YMCA,” “In the Navy,” “Macho Man,” and “Boogie Oogie Oogie”. Not only that, Maxine Nightingale & Janice-Marie will also be there! What's better than boogieing the night away at a 70s concert? Meeting your favorite performers after that! Yup, after the curtain falls, you will get a chance to meet your favorite performers cos they will be staying back to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans! How awesome is that?

 After you’ve grooved the night away with your favorite 70’s icons, you would what to head back to your comfortable room, to just kick back and relax. There is no better place to do that than at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing. Located on Lake Taneycomo, the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing Hotel is situated within the vibrant Branson Landing, a waterfront shopping, dining and entertainment district featuring over 100 specialty stores. This full service hotel with indoor pool is also directly across from the Branson Convention Center and Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel. Not only that, it is located in the heart of Historic Downtown, just minutes from the 49 live theatres, Branson golf courses, Table Rock Lake, Silver Dollar City, Titanic Museums and many more attractions.

Imagine this. At the Hilton Promenade, you can recover from a long night of working the dance floor, in your plush Hilton Serenity collection bed. It includes a pillowed topped mattress, down comforter and luxurious 250 thread count triple sheets. You can also kick up your feet and upload the pictures of your wild time-traveling night with the Hilton’s high speed Internet access. This makes the Hilton Promenade the only place to stay! To sweeten it even more, they are also offering exclusive ticket and rooming packages, from as low as $219.00 for two people.

To get into the 70s mood, tell me, what's your favorite Village People song? Don't be shy, I know you have one. Apart from the YMCA, I also love Macho Men (Oh yeah, I love macho men ;P). What about you? Are you excited about this coming concert? Head over to the Hilton website and book your package today! Oh yeah, everybody now. It's fun to stay at the Hil-ton Ho-tel!

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Home Made Indian Food for less than $3 in 20 mins!!

Both Kevin and I really enjoy Indian food. Not the real spicy Southern Indian style but more the creamy and mild Northern Indian. Therefore, we have always been big fans of Indian buffets as well as take out/delivery Indian food. You might be asking, why don't you try making some at home? Well, truthfully, I never really tried due to the fact that I've always thought that Indian food requires a lot of prep time and also uses tons of ingredients (it does!). That is of course, if you make it from scratch. I was walking through the "Ethnic Food" aisle at our local grocery store a while ago and saw some stuff on sale that changed my preconceived ideas about making Indian food at home. I realized that by just getting this three items, I am able to 'cheat' my way into making a really quick and affordable Indian meal at home.
Alritey, here are the three items that I picked up from the grocery store. The first is Patak's Original Tikka Masala Curry Cooking Sauce. There is a whole range of different sauces, from Butter Chicken to Rogan Josh to Korma. We like the Tikka Masala cos it's creamy and has a little hint of spiciness (just a little :P). That bottle set us back $2.99. Next is a packet of microwaveable Palak Paneer. It's already pre cooked and all you need to do is heat it up. That pack cost us only $1.99. Lastly, we picked up a pack of Tandoori Naan from the bakery section for $2.99 (two pieces in the pack). All that came up to just below $8. Oh, we also picked up a lb of chicken breast meat to make the Tikka Masala ($1.99 per lbs) the grand total comes up to a little less than $10. This is enough to feed about 3-4 people, so actually, the whole meals comes up to be less than $3 per person!
Now, let me show you how simple and fast it will be to whip up the entire meal. Just start off by heating some oil and browning 1 lbs of cubed chicken breast in a large pan. It doesn't really have to be chicken, you can pretty much use any type of meat that you like. Since Patak's Cooking Sauce is free from artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and is gluten free, you could also replace the chicken with vegetables and make this a vegetarian dish too.
After your chicken has been cooked through (it takes about 10 mins or so), pour in the cooking sauce and stir it in with the chicken.
Allow it to heat up and simmer for another 10 mins and you are done!
While the chicken is simmering on the stove, take out your naan bread and place them on a baking sheet. Brush on some melted butter and pop it into a preheated 400F oven for about 10 mins. It should be nicely warmed up and ready to eat by the time your chicken tikka is done.
After you have popped the naan bread into the oven, pour out the Palak Paneer into a microwaveable bowl. Microwave it on high for about 2-3 mins and that's all ready to go too! How easy is that?
There you go! A piping hot Indian meal, straight from your kitchen! Chicken Tikka Masala, Palak Paneer and some Naan bread. I made all that in about 20 mins and it cost me just a little less than $3 per serving! It's it awesome? Where else can you get a yummy Indian meal for about $3 per person? And all that in 20 mins? It would even take longer for your local Indian take out place to deliver that too you. Granted, its not made from scratch, but for $3 per person and getting to eat all that in just about 20 mins, I'll take it anyday! :P

Check Out The Express Spring 2011 Swim Collection Today!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Woohoo! Today is already the last day in March. I'm so glad that the weather is getting nicer and warmer each day. Isn't it great that spring is already here? I'm so done with all the heavy coats, thick chunky boots and scarfs! Can't wait to go around in my shorts and t shirts once again! Another thing that I can't wait to do is to spend more time out in the sun. I don't know about you guy, but here in Jersey, when the weather gets warm, we all head down to the shore! It's just the thing to do. Young people, older people, families...everybody goes to the shore. Apart from the awesome beaches, great food and non stop entertainment, another thing that I love about the shore is the people. I love looking at all the different types of swim wear that people would wear. From bright and bold colors to all kinds of cuts and styles. It's like walking into a real life fashion show!

Express Swimsuit

Talking about swimwear and fashion, have you heard of the new spring swinwear collection at Express? If you haven't, you really gotta check it out! I just love it. I love how it's not just any basic  women's swimwear but a collection of bright solids, on-trend graphic prints, nautical-inspired stripes, sleek metallic and essential reversible styles. The swim suits  can be found in all types from styles, from their always popular monokini, to two piece swimwear  like the sexiest string bikini, strapless and halter bikinis. Not only that, they also come with designer details that include flirty ruffles, sexy self-tie sides, glam beaded embellishments and polished metal hardware. Other features include removable padding in tops as well as the bottoms fit smaller to size, for moderate back coverage. My personal favorite is actually the monokini. It's just perfect for the shore. I feel that it's not overly revealing but due to the cut and body loving style, it has just the right balance of style and sexiness! Just perfect!

Express Swimsuit

I'm sure by now, you would all know that I always love giving you guys a heads up when it comes to awesome contest and sweepstakes. Guess what? Express is currently running their Express Yourself This Spring with Express Spring Fashion! Contest. It's really easy to join. All you need to do is sign up for Express e-mail and you will stand a chance to win one of ten $200 Express gift cards! How cool is that? You better hurry though, cos the sweepstakes ends on the April 30th, 2011 at 11:59pm, EST. More information regarding the contest as well as  sweepstakes rules can be found on their website. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to their website to check out their new spring swimwear collection as well as to sign up for Express emails today!


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