Friday, September 30, 2011

InstaFriday #3

Morning Friends! Happy Friday to you all. This week I’m linking up for InstaFriday over at Life Rearranged.

Couch Hopping. It’s a new sport. Don’t believe me? Look it up, it’s legit, I swear.
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It wasn’t my son’s first rodeo, but it was the first carousel ride for my baby girl. See the look of utter joy on her face? Oh, not buying that either? Yeah she was terrified. Did much better the second time we rode it, when we sat down on the lame benches for grandmas.
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Holding hands in the car. I know! My heart is melting from the sugary, cuteness too. Didn’t last long though.
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Justin went on a baking spree, and made Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Cake. Delicious!
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New friends delivered some fresh homemade Sourdough bread. It was so good. We ate the whole loaf in less than 2 days. And baby girl loved it. Loved it so much it gave her a crazy eye.
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And after eating the homemade sourdough bread from Nicole and Phillip, my husband was on a quest to make some himself. Here’s the sourdough starter we’ve got going… day one and day two.  If making your own sourdough from scratch isn’t DIY, I don’t know what is. :)
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life rearranged

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Betty Crocker Molasses Cookies Giveaway Winner

Hey, you know I am always late posting the winner post, but hope you guys don’t mind too much.

The winner of the Betty Crocker Molasses Cookies Giveaway was comment #11

molasses cookie winner

That was Makayla! Congratulations Makayla. Email me with your contact information please so I can get ti to the company!!

 

And you know the rules, if you don’t contact me within 48 hours I have to pick a new winner.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perfect Mexican Style Rice using #NewKnorrStock

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I am going to show you how give your rice a “Mexican” flavor, so that it will be the perfect side dish to any Mexican or Southwestern inspired meal. 

This is a great recipe, and so easy to make.
Ingredients:
Rice (brown or white)
Butter
Chicken Broth or Stock (I used the new Knorr Stock they have at Walmart and it was great)
Tomatoes (chopped or diced)
Onion (chopped or diced)
2 cloves of garlic (minced or crushed)
1-1 1/2 tbsp. of Chili Powder
1-2 tsp. of Paprika
1-2 tsp. Cumin
Salt and Pepper

**This was my first time using the new Knorr Stock, so I want to make sure I tell you guys a little bit about it. I found it at Walmart, and it sells for $3.88. There are 4 individual small cups in the package, and each small cup contains concentrated stock. You can add water to the concentrated stock to make what would normally amount to 3 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Now if you normally buy chicken broth from a box or a can then you know this is a great deal because one box or large can of chicken stock can run anywhere from $2-$4.
You are only paying $3.88 and essentially get 4 “boxes” of chicken broth for the price of 1!
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I like to use brown rice when I cook any kind of rice. I feel like it’s healthier than white rice, and when it’s paired with other ingredients like this rice is going to be, my family can’t even tell the difference. So why not get them to eat a little bit healthier if you can, right?
If you’re going to use brown rice, start off by putting the rice in the pan, along with a tablespoon of butter. You can toast the rice just for a minute or two in the pan, so that cooking time is actually shortened.
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Then you can add the chicken stock and warm water to the pan. Stir it all together until the stock had mixed with the water.  Once it comes to a boil you can lower the heat, put your lid on the pan and allow it to simmer until all the liquid had been absorbed.
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When the rice is close to being done you can get out a second pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook them on medium high for a few minutes.  Then add the tomatoes. Drop the heat to medium low or low and allow them to simmer until the rice gets done cooking. When the rice gets done add the Paprika, Chili Powder, and Cumin to the tomato mixture and mix it together.
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Pour the tomato mixture into the pan of rice and mix it all together. You can add salt and pepper to taste if you would like.
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When it’s all mixed together, get out a big plate and serve it up along some other yummy Mexican dishes, add it to your burritos, or do what I did and serve it with some grilled chicken and roasted corn with cilantro, lime butter. It will be so yummy!
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I am really excited about using the rest of my Knorr Stock, and I know it's something I would purchase again.  I have already been browsing through the Knorr site for some recipes that I might want to make next. Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken and Dumplings are at the top of my list.

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias. My opinions on the yummy #NewKnorrStock are completely my own though. Here is a look at my shopping trip to find the #NewKnorrStock, and how I put my recipe together. http://my.thismoment.com/moment/view/75523/newknorrstock-and-a-yummy-recipe

Friday Finds- Marilenn Alcantara’s Shop

So my wonderfully, sweet friend, Marilenn doesn’t know it yet, but I am featuring her new shop today!

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Marilenn has to be one of the most creative people I have met through blogging. I just think she is so talented and amazing.  She recently filled her Etsy shop with these gorgeous, handmade, beaded jewelry and accessories. They just made me “ooh” and “ahh” from the first moment I saw them.

 

Beautiful Beaded Bridal Bouquet

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This bracelet cuff is so trendy and screams *buy me!*

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How lovely would this look on any bride walking down the aisle?

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This pearl necklace is so gorgeous

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And I love the unique shape of these pearls on this necklace

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I know you guys are loving these pieces as much as I am right? I really wanted you guys to see how talented Marilenn is, and I hope you take the time to get to know her and visit her blog. (P.S. she’s even having a giveaway that doesn’t end till tomorrow, the 24th!)

 

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Molasses Cookies from Betty Crocker and a GIVEAWAY

Just in time for the start of Fall, last week I received a package in the mail from My Blog Spark.  Inside the package was some fun goodies from Betty Crocker.

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Justin and I got to try out their Molasses Cookie Mix, and use the new baking pan, spoon, and apron they sent me.  It took a little convincing, but Justin finally let me snap his picture in the red apron.

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He only got to wear it for the picture though because our son was pulling on it, and begging to put it on and help make the cookies.

 

I had never even had Molasses cookies before last week, so when they came out of the oven and had cooled down enough to eat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t even sure my kiddos would like them since they can be picky about cookies. (Normally if there’s not chocolate in them they don’t want them.) But both kids surprised us and chowed down on the cookies like they hadn’t eaten all day. Levi had 3 and tried to steal one of mine too.

 

Justin and I both came to the conclusion that they reminded us of Gingerbread cookies, but softer, and maybe a little more sweet. Totally yummy, and fitting for Fall. They had a great cinnamon and spice flavor, and made me wish that the weather would cool down so I enjoy all my favorite fall traditions.

 

By the way, it might be wrong, but I kind of love premade cookie mixes sometimes. There’s no hassle, barely any clean up, and around 10-15 minutes after you open the package you’ve got fresh, hot cookies. Sometimes as a mom I need these helpful, cheats. You do too right?

 

I hope you agreed, because one of you lucky readers has the chance to win the same products I received from Betty Crocker.

You’ll get everything I got.  The Molasses Cookie Mix, the nonstick baking pan (works great by the way), the mixing spoon, and a fun red apron with the Betty Crocker logo on it.

Betty Crocker Molasses

TO ENTER GIVEAWAY:

1. Leave a comment with your favorite fall tradition. (1 entry)

2. You can share this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and leave me a comment with the link where you shared. (1 entry for each one, up to 3 entries)

 

This giveaway begins today, September 22, 2011 and ends Wednesday September 28, 2011 at 11:59 PM. The winner will be announced and contacted Thursday September 29, 2011.

You can also visit http://bit.ly/cookiescoupon to download a printable coupon for $0.75 off the purchase of one (1) Betty Crocker® Molasses Cookie mix pouch. And you can follow Betty Crocker on Twitter or like them on Facebook to get fun updates from them.

The product, information and prize pack has been provided by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark.

Fluff Post #1

Oh my word y’all. I feel like I haven’t blogged in the longest time! I guess 10 days can feel like forever when you’re so used to being consumed by social media, right?

 

So to ease back into blogging I am going to give you guys a fluff post. You know, a post full of randomness, that really doesn’t mean much to anyone other than me.

 

Saw a hilarious you tube video last night, courtesy of a local news channel. It’s now one of my favorites. (Warning, a few curse words, and lots of humor.)

Starbucks Rant

 

If you’ve ever wondered how to buy your own .com for your blog, and you’re using Blogger, then you should check out this post from blog goddess, Heather (Dollar Store Crafts)on Crafterminds.com.

 

Fall is here, and you know what that means, right?  Good TV shows are finally back! All summer long I wait for good TV shows to come back on (though I have been obsessed with Rookie Blue this summer), and they are finally here.  I can’t help it, kind of a TV junkie, we don’t get a lot of channels since we don’t have cable, and the channels that we do get don’t always come in clear, but when they do it makes my night so much better. After watching Disney movies on repeat all day long, I need a little escape or grown up TV shows.  I am a big fan of GLEE, Parenthood, Castle, Parks and Rec, Community, and so many more… BUT, what I really want to know is what are some of your favorites? What are you guys going to be watching this season?  Any of the new shoes look good to you yet?  I caught the X-Factor on FOX last night, and Revenge on ABC, and on Tuesday night I watched the NEW GIRL on FOX too.  What have you been watching so far?

 

While helping a friend this past week my thoughts have also been focused more towards giving back and helping those in need. One thing I’ve decided is to regularly donate to local homeless centers, woman’s shelters, or food banks. I have a new found appreciation for all the work they do and the help they provide for people in our communities.  If you have clothes, shoes, accessories, or extra food, think about taking it to one of your local homeless shelters or women’s shelters or food banks instead of throwing them away.

 

Justin, my hubs, is sick. No worries, he’s only got a cold. But his coughing is making me lose sleep at night. Ever want to shove a cough drop down someone’s throat when they are sleeping?  No? Okay, me either then.

 

P.S. I also have a giveaway post coming later today, and on Friday I am featuring a twitter pal of mine!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Snack Time with the Kiddos and #GrilledEssentials

Do you guys ever get stuck in a rut, when it comes to feeding your kids at breakfast, lunch or dinner? What about snack times?  I know I have the tendency to make them the same snack over and over simply because it’s easy and I know they’ll eat it. Plus my kids seem like human garbage disposals sometimes, they just eat and eat and eat. I guess little growing bodies get hungry. A LOT.  And seeing as how they eat all the time, I really wanted to try to find them something that was easy to make, tasted good, and was a healthy snack time option.

So I was really excited this past week when I got the chance to shop for and try out some of the new Grilled Essentials from Hillshire Farm. 

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My kids and I headed to Walmart last Friday to do some shopping and pick up the Grilled Essentials. I looked everywhere for them in the grocery section but couldn’t find them I saw a few other already cooked chicken breast in packages but none of the Hillshire Farm Grilled Essentials.  Finally, I asked a Walmart employee if they  could tell us where they were. He looked around the grocery section for a few minutes but couldn’t find them either.  I was super disappointed, but kept shopping for our other groceries.  Lucky for us, the same employee I had asked where the Grilled Essentials where, came out and found me still in the grocery section and brought out a box of them that they had in the back.  Yay! He told me they hadn’t put them out yet because they didn’t have a place for them, and that the Lemon Pepper flavor was the only one they had. I asked him if he knew how much they were and he scanned one and told me $3.48 each. With the .55 cents off coupon that would put each package under $3, so that worked for me.  I grabbed a few of them, said a very grateful thanks, and kept shopping with my kiddos.

 

While I was there I grabbed some romaine lettuce, some fresh fruit that was on sale and some fruit snacks for the kiddos...

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Totally had to bribe my kids with the fruit snacks in the store so they would stay calm when we were shopping. Rule number one for shopping moms, don’t hesitate to bust out the bribes. Hehe.

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When we got home both kids were starving and I thought then would be the perfect time to test out the Grilled Essentials we bought.

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Inside each Grilled Essentials package comes two seasoned and cooked chicken breasts. Each chicken breast is a 3 oz serving, and only 120 calories, but is packed full of 19 grams of protein.  They also come in 4 different flavors, Lemon Pepper, Italian Style, Hardwood Smoked Chicken Breast, and Grilled Chicken Breast.

 

The Lemon Pepper chicken breasts were great. Not dry or rubbery, and just had a really good flavor.  I especially loved how easy they were to make. As soon as my youngest saw me grab one from the fridge she climbed into her high chair and started yelling for some food. Good thing you only have to heat them in their package, in  the microwave for 60 seconds before they are ready to eat.

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When they are done heating up, you can open the package and serve them up however you like.

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For my kid’s snack time I took one of the chicken breasts, heated it up and then cut it into pieces for them to eat with their strawberries and blueberries. They would eat chicken and fruit all day long every single day if I let them, so the Grilled Essentials were perfect for them.   

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With the second chicken breast I heated it up and then cut it into slices, to use for my own quick snack.  I grabbed a tortilla from the fridge, a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese, some romaine lettuce and a few strawberries.

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Then I spread the cheese over my tortilla, and layered the lettuce, the chicken and sliced strawberries on top. I also drizzled some balsamic reduction I had made a few weeks ago over the top, and got to sit down just in time to enjoy snack time with my kiddos. (THAT NEVER HAPPENS! Usually I am too busy cleaning up things or still trying to figure out what to grab to eat myself!) 

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It was so yummy. The lemon pepper seasoning went great on my wrap, and I felt like I was eating something healthy and filling.  I could see using the Grilled Essentials for snacks, quick lunches, or dinners…on salads, in sandwiches, with some vegies and whole grain pasta, or some brown rice and stir fry veggies.  I know my husband even liked them enough to tell me to buy a few more so he could take them to lunch with him.

 

I felt like our yummy snack time was one of the best parts of our day. No hassle, easy clean up, and tasted like I spent a lot of time making it, when really all I did was throw it together in less than 5 minutes.  And I know that when I start off my morning or afternoon with healthy foods, I try to eat healthier the rest of the day too. Anyone else feel like that?  Maybe this could be a great option for you?!

 

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions and experiences have been honest and were definitely my own.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Asian Tomato Beef from Recipe.com

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I don’t know about you guys, but every once in a while I get a strong craving for some Chinese food.  Usually happens to me on a Monday, when of course all of the restaurants that serve great Chinese food in our town, are closed. (P.S. this also happens to me on Sundays with Chick-Fil-A.)  All week I have been craving Chinese food though, so I thought maybe I should make one of my favorite dishes at home. Or at least try to.

I was given a fun opportunity to go online to Recipe.com and search for a recipe to make for my family for dinner this week.  I haven’t tried Recipe.com in the past, so I was interested to see what their site was about.  After searching through recipes I found one I thought might be good.  The recipe I ended up choosing was one from the Slow Cooker section.  Asian Tomato Beef.  I told you guys I had been craving Chinese food, and Beef and Broccoli is one of my favorite dishes, so I thought this might be worth a try. I wasn’t sure how the tomato flavor was going to fit in with the “Asian” flavor but I had high hopes. 

I shopped for all my ingredients earlier that day when I went to Walmart and found everything I needed pretty easily. When I came home all I had to to was take 10 minutes to through everything in the our slow cooker, and set the timer and walk away. That’s one thing I love about slow cooker recipes.

Ingredients: Pepper, garllic, soy sauce, tomato soup, vinegar, and steak. You’ll also need fresh broccoli and uncooked rice, but not till the end.
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I poured the two cans of tomato soup into my slow cooker, and added the pepper, garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar.
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I stirred together all of those ingredients before adding my sliced strips of steak.
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I put all of the sliced steak into the slow cooker and stirred everything together before putting on the lid and setting my timer.
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I followed the directions and set my timer for 4 1/2 hours on high.  20 minutes before the timer went off I cut up the heads of broccoli I had bought earlier and added them to the slow cooker and meat.
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After I put my broccoli in my slow cooker I started my rice. Normally I just buy brown rice and cook it on the stove top or in our rice cooker, but I didn’t feel like taking the extra time to make it, so I bought Uncle Ben’s Boil in a Bag, whole grain brown rice. This rice is so easy to make, no one can mess it up, and it tastes good. Even my kiddos like the brown rice.
Just put your bag into your sauce pan, add your water, and boil uncovered for 10-12 minutes.
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When your rice is done boiling you can take it out of the water and drain it. Then you’re ready to open the bag and eat it. So simple!
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After the rice got down I scooped out some of the beef and broccoli and put it on top.
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Going to be honest with you guys and tell you that this recipe didn’t satisfy my Chinese food craving. In fact, there really wasn’t any “Asian” flavor in the recipe, at all.  I really liked the concept of the slow cooker beef, and the ease of adding the broccoli at the end. That part of the recipe was great and so simple to do, especially since I am a busy mom and it’s hard to spend a lot of time preparing meals for our family. But, neither one of my kids liked the flavor of the Asian Tomato Beef, and neither did my husband or I. I think that the tomato soup just overpowered the soy sauce completely, and adding the vinegar gave the meat and sauce a bitter taste. It kind of reminded me more of a stew than anything similar to Beef and Broccoli.  Maybe if they used beef broth/stock and soy sauce instead of the tomato soup it would have been better? 

Even though the recipe definitely made it on my do not make again list, it has made me determined to come up with my own version of Beef and Broccoli, and hopefully I’ll still be able to make it in our slow cooker. It had all the makings of a good, inexpensive, family meal, the flavor just wasn’t right. I haven’t had a recipe fail in a long time, have you?  I’d love to know some of your not so memorable dinners… Got any to share?

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions and experiences shared in this post are honest and completely my own.