Easy Chopped Greek Salad

Whew, where is the summer going? It seems like just last week school got out - but here we are with just a few precious weeks of summer vacation left. We’re trying to squeeze in what fun we can with family hikes, day trips, visiting friends, - and of course enjoying some of our favorite summertime foods. One of my favorites is this Easy Chopped Greek Salad which can make a perfect dinner on a hot night or a side dish to bring to the neighborhood BBQ. | This post contains affiliate links |

Easy Chopped Greek Salad Recipe


  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 large tomatoes (or a bunch of cherry tomatoes)
  • half a red onion (I love red onions and tend to put in a lot... feel free to adjust the amount of red onion to your taste)
  • 4 oz canned black olives, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil (California Olive Ranch Brand is my favorite)
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of feta cheese
  • fresh chives for garnish

This recipe is a great way to use up tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs from your garden too!

Easy Chopped Greek Salad Recipe


  1. Chop cucumbers and tomatoes into bite sized chunks (remove seeds from tomatoes if they’re too “sloppy”).

  2. Dice up to half a red onion (adjust amount of onion to taste).

  3. In a separate bowl, make the dressing: juice one lemon, and add a splash of olive oil. Add about a tsp of dried oregano, and salt and pepper. Whisk together and add more olive oil or herbs/spices to taste.

  4. Combine veggies, black olives, and dressing in bowl and mix well.

  5. Add feta cheese and chives to garnish before serving.

  6. Enjoy!

I make this salad just by “winging it” each time and don’t have exact amounts for olive oil or spices - really it’s up to you and your personal taste. Just experiment and see what tastes good to you.

Easy Chopped Greek Salad Recipe
Easy Chopped Greek Salad Recipe

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Sampling “New England’s Finest”

I know I’m not the only one that has family and friends that are hard to shop for… but a gift box from New England’s Finest is always a great idea! New England’s Finest offers curated themed gift boxes to bring a taste of New England’s Finest to their door (or your own door if you’d like to enjoy these goodies for yourself). New England’s Finest was kind enough to send me their Ultimate New England Sampler box to enjoy with my family and I’m excited to share what’s inside!
| This post contains affiliate links as well as an honest review of products provided by New England’s Finest |

Ultimate New England Sampler by New England's Finest

The Ultimate New England Sampler Box is PACKED full of delicious New England-made goodies! In fact, I couldn’t quite get the box closed again after I looked through it, it was that full. All of their gift boxes offer free shipping and this particular box is currently on sale at the moment too, which makes it even more of an amazing deal!

The Ultimate New England Sampler Gift Box includes goodies such as: Goodnow Farms’ Almendra Blanca Dark Chocolate Bar, Untapped’s Chai Waffle, Homefree’s Vanilla Mini Cookies, Lucy’s Really Nutty Pecan Granola, Pork Beach Sauce Co’s Maple Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Port City Tasty Ranch Dill Pretzels, Cold Hollow’s Maple Vinaigrette, Jack’s Maple Apple Crackers, Coastal Maine Popcorn Co,’s Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popcorn, Potlicker Kitchen’s Beer Jelly, Bixby & Co’s Sea-Salted Caramels, and Homefree’s Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies. (You can check out the unboxing of this amazing gift box over on my Instastories today!)

Ultimate New England Sampler by New England's Finest

One thing I particularly love about NEF as a company is that for every 10 gift boxes purchased they donate a gift box to a family receiving care at Boston Children's Hospital as a way to give back to the community.  So if you're looking for that perfect gift for someone (or yourself!) who loves New England or is a New Englander at heart, be sure to check out New England's Finest and get "a little flavor and charm from the Northeast."  

Follow New England's Finest on Facebook and Instagram to see their latest promotions and boxes.

- I received this item for review from New England's Finest but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please read our full Disclosure Policy for more information - 

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Making Mealtime Fun with Nûby + GIVEAWAY!

Our young toddler has been behind on eating for awhile now. We’ve been working with a feeding therapist to get her more interested in self-feeding and used to textures, but we’re always looking for new ways to get her excited for mealtime. When Nûby offered to send some of their dishware we were excited to try them and give a lucky follower a chance to win all of these for their family! | This post contains affiliate links and an honest review on products provided by Nûby |

Nuby Dishware Review + GIVEAWAY!

The Sure Grip Miracle Mat Section Plate has been a great addition to working on our little one’s self-feeding skills - it lays out the food in front of her, keeps it contained, and the best part is that it suctions to her tray - no more thrown or tipped over plates! With Nûby’s Stainless Steel Utensils with Easy Grip Handles, it gives her a great opportunity to feed herself like a big girl.

Making Mealtime Fun with Nuby + Giveaway!

The Sure Grip Feeding Bowl also helps keep her food on the tray and off the floor! I love how these silicone dishes are BPA & PVC Phthalate Free, microwave/dishwasher safe, and one piece so they’re super easy to clean. The Sure Grip Feeding Bowl is a favorite to bring to restaurants since it fits easily in her diaper bag or lunch box and helps keep mealtime mess-free by staying put on the high chair tray or table.

Making Mealtime Fun with Nuby + Giveaway!

Nûby’s Flower Child Snack Keeper is a great way to bring snacks on the go. Whether we’re at the park, playdate, or at home it keeps our little one’s snack within reach without spilling everywhere.

Making Mealtime Fun with Nuby + Giveaway

Nûby’s Storage Bowls with Feeding Spoon has been a huge help for us on the go! With our little one’s restricted diet, we always have to bring her food with us whenever we leave the house. These handy storage bowls are just the right size to portion out meals and snacks for her. They are also BPA-free, dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.

Making Mealtime Fun with Nuby + Giveaway!


Giveaway ends 2/14/19 at 5PM EST.

Giveaway ends 2/14/19 at 5PM EST.

Would you like a chance to win ALL the great Nûby products I shared about in this post? Head on over to my Instagram (@birchlandinghome) and look for this photo for details and to enter! Good luck!

Nuby Parent Blogger

- I received these item for review from Nûby but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please read our full Disclosure Policy for more information - 

Nûby's products can be found at many retailers including Wal-Mart, Amazon, TJ Maxx, and Nuby.com.

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Inheriting Family Recipes - Interview in The Wall Street Journal

I was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about inheriting family history through recipe cards.  I was honored to share a little bit of my Great Aunt Stefie’s legacy and love for cooking with them.  WSJ also interviewed experts on the best way to preserve these treasures!  You can find the article in print in today’s newspaper as well as online. 

Saving Memories, Dish by Dish - Wall Street Journal Interview

( If you'd like to read the full article without subscribing, the Twitter link from Leah Latella, photo editor from WSJ should hopefully get you there )

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Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies + Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway!

Christmas is right around the corner and boy has it sneaked up fast! It’s always hard coming up with gift ideas for family and friends… but these days we’re personally trying to cut back on the amount of “stuff” we buy and give, and focus more on homemade items and experiences for gifts. What better gift than something made with love and the opportunity to create lasting memories? Read on for my tips to make the Perfect Christmas Cookies and then be sure to enter the amazing Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win some spectacular tickets to Boston-area events!
| This post is sponsored and contains affiliate links |

Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies + Giveaway!

5 Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies


Make sure to sift all your dry ingredients. Doing this breaks up any clumps of flour or baking soda, combines everything evenly, and helps make your cookies light and fluffy.

Parchment Paper

Always line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, this is key to getting the cookie bottoms that perfect light golden brown. If you're planning on doing several batches of cookies make sure to round the corners of the parchment with some scissors first, as the sharp corners of the paper can start to burn after a few times in the oven.

Cookie Scoop

A cookie scoop is probably one of the best little investments you'll make in the kitchen and I don't know how I ever lived without mine. Using a cookie scoop ensures you get uniform-sized cookies every time and makes the whole process of getting your cookies ready for the oven go so much faster.


Always bake your cookies for the lower suggested time.  Cookies that are just cooked all the way through make for the softest, chewiest cookies.  If they aren't cooked in the middle yet you can always put them back in for another minute or two, but it's best to start with the lowest time.  

Your Secret Weapon - the "Bread Trick"

Accidentally over-cook the cookies?  Forget to cover them on the counter?  Believe it or not, the magical solution for over-cooked or stale cookies is just a slice of sandwich bread and a big ziplock.  Put all the cookies in a gallon ziplock bag, throw in a slice of bread, seal, and leave for a few hours - the cookies will get softer as the bread gets staler.  Magic!  

Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway
There is so much to see and do for families visiting Boston. We have an amazing Boston Family Entertainment Package that will mean loads of family fun for one lucky winner! Get those Perfect Christmas Cookies Ready! Today's giveaway has been brought to you by the following sponsors: This holiday season, consider experience such as tickets to a show, museum passes or a gift certificate for other fun family entertainment. Experience gifts are a great way to help families create lasting memories.

Ultimate Boston Family Entertainment Package

One lucky winner is going to receive the Ultimate Boston Entertainment Giveaway Package that includes:
  • (4) tickets to Bricktacular at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston (every weekend in Dec.)
  • (4) tickets to Blue Man Group (to be used after Jan. 1st)
  • (4) tickets to American Girl LIVE, a new musical featuring the iconic American Girl characters playing at the Boch Center, Feb. 22-24 (for Friday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 pm)
  • (4) tickets to Archery Games Boston (can be used anytime)
  • Dinner for 4 at South Street Diner (can be used anytime)

Boston Entertainment Giveaway

Official Rules and Conditions: One winner will receive the Ultimate Boston Entertainment Prize Package. No cash value. Open worldwide to adults 18+. One (1) winner will be chosen. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours of announcement or a new winner will be drawn. Prize will be delivered electronically. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way associated with Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. Giveaway ends 12/16/2018. Enter using the widget below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out all the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

Click to Enter More Giveaways

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Protein + Fiber Packed Turkey Chili Recipe {and Instapot Giveaway!}

It's been cold and snowy here in New England these last two weeks (like 3 Nor'easters in two weeks snowy!), so what better way to warm up than with a bowl of hearty and healthy chili!  This recipe was done in our crockpot but could be made in less time in an Instapot.  Don't have an Instapot?  You're in luck - I've teamed up with several other bloggers to give one away!  {Scroll down to enter the givewaway}

Protein and Fiber Packed Turkey Chili

This chili is super easy to make and can be adjusted to your taste with whatever veggies you'd like to add.  I often make chili as an excuse to use up all the extra veggies we have in the fridge - once all the flavors meld together you can hide just about any vegetable in there (perfect for picky toddlers or husbands).  While not in this current batch, I've often added things like mushrooms, spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, squash, etc.  As far as using canned beans and tomato sauce I always buy store-brand organic varieties when I can - they tend to have less additives and salt than non-organic and are cheaper than the name brand ones!  


  • 1 lb of lean ground turkey (can also use lean ground beef if you prefer)
  • 2 cans of low sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 can of lentils (adds a lot of protein and you won't even notice them mixed in with the ground meat!)
  • 2/3 cup of frozen corn (using frozen veggies is a great shortcut)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen chopped peppers
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped jarred garlic
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (turmeric has great anti-inflammatory properties)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese and/or crackers to garnish


  1. Brown ground meat in a skillet, pouring off excess fat.  

  2. Add meat and all remaining ingredients (except for garnishes) to crockpot.  

  3. Cook on low in crockpot for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, until veggies are soft and flavors have melded.  

  4. Garnish with shredded cheese and crackers, if desired.  

Looking for a way to make this yummy recipe faster?  Use an Instapot! 
I've teamed up with several other bloggers to give one away to a lucky follower.  Enter below for a chance to win - good luck!  

Instapot Giveaway!

Instapot Giveaway!

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A Picnic Lunch with New England's Finest

Brrrrrr!  Anyone who lives in the Northeast knows just how brutally cold it's been here lately - in the past two or three weeks I don't think it's gotten over 5 degrees outside!  So when the thermometer hit double digits (10 whole degrees!), we decided to take advantage of the heat wave and head outside for a little snowshoeing and a picnic. 
| This post contains affiliate links and an honest review of New England's Finest |

New England's Finest Gift Subscription Boxes
A Picnic Lunch with New England's Finest

As you all know, I LOVE sharing about New England-based products on the blog and was so excited to find out about New England's Finest - a carefully curated subscription and gift box service that only features products crafted right here in New England. New England's Finest was kind enough to let me check out their "Picnic for Two" Box which made for a perfect lunch for me and my husband on our little hike. We're lucky enough to have some great trails here within walking distance of our house, so the second the thermometer hit 10 degrees we bundled up, grabbed our snowshoes, and headed out to enjoy the balmy weather (ha!).

A Picnic Lunch with New England's Finest

After a short hike we found the perfect little clearing, spread out our picnic blanket, and unpacked our lunch.  Each New England's Finest Box has a different theme (BBQ, sweets, cocktails, etc) and ours was full of yummy locally-made foods perfect for a picnic!  In this particular box we had a selection of delicious jams/jellies, crackers, and salami - all we had to do was pack a cutting board and grab some cheese from our fridge.  

A Picnic Lunch with New England's Finest

One thing I particularly love about NEF as a company is that for every 12-month gift subscription purchased they donate a gift box to a family receiving care at Boston Children's Hospital as a way to give back to the community.  So if you're looking for that perfect gift for someone (or yourself!) who loves New England or is a New Englander at heart, be sure to check out New England's Finest and get "a little flavor and charm from the Northeast."  

A Picnic Lunch with New England's Finest
A Picnic Lunch with New England's Finest

Follow New England's Finest on Facebook and Instagram to see their latest promotions and boxes.

Products included in the "Picnic for Two" Box: Tomato Basil Crackers from Jack's Crackers (NH), Perfect Peach Jam from Better Than Average (NH), Chorizo from Vermont Salumi (VT), Raspberry Smoked Maple Jam from Potlicker Kitchen (VT), and Cranberry Pistachio Crisps from Jan's Farmhouse (VT).

- I received this item for review from New England's Finest but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please read our full Disclosure Policy for more information - 

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Dealing with Extreme Food Intolerances in our Baby

Sometimes babies have a hard time processing breastmilk because of food mom eats - this isn't that uncommon.  In fact our first baby had MSPI (Milk-Soy Protein Intolerance), and I had to avoid dairy and soy while breastfeeding until she outgrew it around 15 months.  What is uncommon is a baby that is so sensitive that she can react to EVERYTHING mom eats.  Unfortunately, that seems to be where we're at now with our second baby and why I've been so MIA from the blog and Etsy shop these last two months.  | DISCLAIMER:  I am not a medical professional and am not suggesting medical advice - I am just sharing our experiences.  Please always consult your own doctors and specialists before trying anything. |
This post contains affiliate links.  

Dealing with Extreme Food Intolerances in our Baby

Going on a TED

Our baby's poops were "off" from birth... at first they were blamed on the medications I got during my c-section (she was breech), then on dairy/soy which I quickly cut out of my diet, but then she started having blood in her stool. After a particularly scary (bloody) diaper I immediately went on a Total Elimination Diet (TED). A TED is when you cut your diet down to just a handful of low allergenic foods in order to get your baby to "baseline" (baseline being no more bad symptoms, whatever that may be for your situation), then adding one pure food in a time to make sure your baby still does well with it in your diet. With the okay from our baby's GI specialist I started my TED of turkey, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and clean olive oil (a lot of olive oils are cut with soy or corn oil, and there are only a few brands that are truly "clean"). I also cut out all my vitamins and supplements in case those were affecting her.

Over the next few weeks things slowly improved (less blood and mucus, better color), but we couldn't quite get to baseline. I then started infant probiotics and epsom salt baths for her and a digestive enzyme-probiotic combo for me, with every new thing or change in dosage acting as a new trial... giving every little change a week to see if and how it affected her. Vaccines at her well-child checkup were treated the same as well.. each one done separately at least a week apart (and vaccines did cause her lower GI issues to flare up unfortunately.. so after each vaccine we'd have to give her a bit more time to settle back down). Everything I ate was recorded in a log with times and every poop she did was also recorded with times, descriptions, and even photos. It was a very, very tedious process and the results constantly felt like two steps forward, one step back.

After about 1.5 months we were finally flirting with baseline but couldn't quite keep there.  Nevertheless, I was desperate for more food varieties... my back was starting to hurt every time I ate - my body was getting tired of digesting only the same three foods each day and even though my blood work had been coming back normal this diet was still taking it's toll.  Unfortunately, every time I tried to add a new food in our little one would seemingly fail it (more mucus in stools, blood, and/or acidic poops).. it was incredibly disheartening and depressing.  It got to the point where I felt extreme guilt and dread after sealing Christmas cards because I didn't know what the glue was made out of and if it would affect our baby.  

FPIAP, FPIES, or Histamine Issues?

We won't know exactly what's going on with our baby until she starts solids since breastfeeding essentially "filters" everything to an extent.  In general most kids with these kinds of sensitivities seem to fall into at least one of three diagnoses: 

Food Protein Induced Allergic Proctocolitis (FPIAP) - This is generally considered the "milder" version that only affects the lower GI tract (blood, mucus-y stool, etc) and most will outgrow it by around 1-year old (we pray to God she has this version).  Some also refer to this as “Chronic FPIES” or just “Allergic Colitis.”

Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) - This is typically a more severe version of FPIAP that also affects the upper GI.  The most common adverse reaction to a trigger involves severe vomiting-to-shock, that often requires a trip to the ER to get under control.  There are foods that are considered to be more "common" triggers for FPIES but literally any food could be a trigger.  Most will outgrow it by 3-4 years old.  

Histamine Issues - This includes Mast Cell issues.. these poor kids have trouble regulating histamine levels in their bodies and anything and everything can effect them.  It can be a very difficult and overwhelming life-long road to navigate.  

The Decision to Go to Formula

I wanted to continue breastfeeding SOO badly - I love breastfeeding and the peaceful bond that it brings.  However, as hard as I tried I just could not keep our baby at baseline and it was not beneficial for her gut or for me mentally or physically to continue such a restrictive diet that seemingly got us nowhere.  

If our TED had been more successful and I was able to add back foods into my diet and keep our little one's diapers clear I would have been more than happy to continue with what I was doing, but unfortunately that wasn't the case for us.  Once we hit two months on this diet I decided it was finally time to try formula.  Her GI doctor made a recommendation to try first and while those first two days of bottle and formula feeding were SO hard (I cried more than our baby did), we finally had success.  Knock on wood, she's been doing awesome since and it's such a weight off my shoulders to not have to monitor everything as strictly as before.  

Going forward we're taking vaccines very slowly and will likely delay the introduction of solids until at least 7 months.  We're closely monitoring everything with the GI and will likely get another opinion at an allergist too to get more guidance on everything going forward.  I pray to God she has the more mild version of things and outgrows it quickly, but only time will tell.  Best of luck to other mamas out there going through similar things, it can be so hard.  

UPDATE:  The doctors believe she has FPIAP (which would be the best-case scenario), and I'm really hopeful that that is the case and she will hopefully outgrow all this in the coming months.  We've very cautiously and slowly started solids at 8 months and hopefully will keep progressing.
SECOND UPDATE: Now at almost 15 months we’ve made some great progress but she’s still very sensitive to new things and even vaccinations. We take everything slowly and allow for an adjustment period with new foods and most have been passes as long as she has time to adjust and get used to them. It’s still a very slow and tedious process...  Hang in there!

DISCLAIMER:  I am NOT a medical professional and am NOT suggesting medical advice.  I am simply sharing our experiences.  Do not take any information I provided as fact or advice.  Always consult your own doctors and specialists before changing your diet, adding supplements, or going on a TED.  Always get medical approval for yourself and your baby.  

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