Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sweet & Tangy SweeTart Rope Candy Review

I was recently given an opportunity to sample some SweeTarts Ropes through Smiley360 for free in exchange for my review.  I also got to share them with some family!  Here we are, excited to try them out.  My nephew who is making the funny face said he didn't want his eyes to get poked.  LOL  The kids loved the candy and were begging for more.  My husband really liked them too, which surprised me because he usually doesn't like anything sweet.  I thought they were good, definitely tart and definitely sweet like their name says and they're quite fun to play with too!  They are chewy and smooth and the perfect little sweet treat.  They would make a fun gift to add to their Easter basket.  I was impressed that they have no artificial flavors or colors.  They are a flavor explosion compared to plain licorice ropes.  I would recommend them the next time you're in the mood for a tart treat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fried Squash, Zucchini, Mushrooms....

IMGP1355Do you have an over abundance of squash or zucchini from your garden?  Let's be honest, you can't always choose healthy recipes for them.  If you can, I need to know your secret of self control.  I mean, every once in awhile you just have to bust out the grease and fry something.
What You Need:
*Crisco (I like butter flavored)
*Crackers (Ritz or Saltines)
*Salt to taste
*Squash, Zucchini or Mushrooms
*Optional: sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top
1.  Slice squash or other item you are frying.  You want a nice med-thin uniform cut.  (No need to remove skin)
2.  Melt Crisco on med. heat.  You want enough to cover the bottom of the pan (approx. 1/3 cup). Smash crackers in a ZipLock bag.  This is a fun way for the kids to help.  My mom used to give us the rolling pin and let us go to town on the bag.  The finer the crumbs, the better they will stick.  Just be careful not to puncture a hole in bag or you'll have crumbs everywhere!  Whisk eggs together (start with 2-3, depending on how much you will be frying.  You can always add more later.)
3.  Turn heat up to med.-high.  Dip squash in egg and then coat in cracker crumbs.  Now you're ready to fry!
4.  Watch closely and flip as soon as you get a nice golden brown crust.  Remove and place on paper towel to drain grease.
5.  Sprinkle with salt, parmesan cheese if you want and serve as is or with a dipping sauce.  These are best served warm.
This is a very basic breading recipe that can be used with practically anything that you want to fry.  I grew up eating morel mushrooms this way.  We'd go mushroom hunting every spring.  These are a family favorite, so when it is not mushroom season, we substitute them with zucchini or squash which have a similar texture.

Refreshing Limeade & Cherry Limeade

So there is this awesome place down the road from me called the Bargain Factory.  I love this place.  They have a little bit of everything and at majorly discounted prices.  Some of the items are damaged, some are expired and some are perfectly fine.  Last week I found limes that were 10 for $1 and I couldn’t pass them up.  It is extremely hot outside so I decided what better use for them than to make some cold refreshing cherry limeade.
What You Need:
6-8 Limes or (approx. 1 cup lime juice)
1 cup sugar
1 jar of maraschino cherries
2 liter bottle of lemon lime soda of choice
Optional: Cherries and lime slices for garnish
1. Chill ingredients in freezer (my soda got a nice little slush, just don’t forget it!) or fridge.  If using fresh limes (which I recommend), roll limes around on a hard flat surface to release juices.  Cut limes in half and squeeze juice into a bowl or glass measuring pitcher until you have approximately 1 cup.  You can strain the pulp or leave it, just make sure there are no seeds.  I like a little pulp texture in my limeades, but then you’ll want to make sure you serve with a straw.
2.  Get a large pitcher and combine soda, sugar, lime juice and jar of cherries with juice (reserve 1/2 jar of cherries for garnish, but use most of juice).  If making original limeade, combine everything except cherries and cherry juice.
3.  Stir everything together well, then chill in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes or serve immediately over ice.  Do not add ice to pitcher because you don’t want the mix to get watered down.
4.  Optional: Serving in an awesome boot mug and garnishing with lime slices and/or cherries.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Garden Fresh Garlic Butter Green Beans

These are super simple and delicious green beans.  You can use green beans straight from your garden, the farmer's market or fresh beans from the grocery store.  This recipe only serves 2-3, so double, triple or quadruple recipe if you need to!

What you need:
-1/2 cup boiling water
-1 lb. fresh green beans
-2 T. salted butter 
-1 T. minced garlic
-Garlic salt or reg. salt to taste

1.  Rinse, trim ends & cut fresh green beans in half.
2.  Add to saucepan with 1 cup bowling water.  Let boil for approximatley 6-7 min. until beans are tender, but still have some crisp.

3.  Drain water.  Add beans back to stovetop (heat reduced) with butter, minced garlic and garlic salt.

4.  Toss until butter is melted and beans are coated with butter & garlic.

5.  Serve and enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2014

good2grow - Where Healthy Meets Stealthy

I am always looking for new ways to sneak veggies into my kids.  That being said, juices seem to be the only way I can successfully get by with it.  I have tried several different kinds of fruit and vegetable juices and it has usually ended with frustration because the containers are not easy for the kids to use, they squirt out all over the place or they are filled with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives & high fructose corn syrup.  It wasn't until we tried good2grow that I could really just relax and know that my kids were getting good stuff and that they weren't going to be a sticky mess when they were through.  
As soon as our kit arrived in the mail, my 3 year old daughter was going crazy over the Sophia the 1st SippaTop cap.  The reusable character tops add a fun amount play to a practical drink.  Plus, did I mention that they are spill proof?  I could give the Thomas one to my 1 year old and not worry about juice being all over the floor or furniture.  The top does not have to be pushed in or pulled out, it is always ready and always spill proof.
Here is why good2grow is our juice of choice:
     *No high fructose corn syrup, no added sugar, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
     *They are Non-GMO and are available in organic
     *They are BPA free so you can reuse them and refill them and are recyclable when through
     *They are available in 100% fruit juice flavors or fruit & veggie blends

Enter to win a $5000 scholarship or free coupons!!
good2grow wants to invite you to play with your drinks and your kids by creating and sharing a video storybook starring them and their favorite good2grow characters.  Post your videos to Vine using #storystitcher then visit good2grow.com/storystitcher.  Choose your favorite scenes and stitch them together to create a magical story.  Have fun & good luck!

Enter to win a themed birthday party AND get a free refill pack coupon
The winner will be notified by email on August 16, 2014.
Good luck!

Did you get your free coupon?  Which characters are your family favorites? 
  1. **I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinon on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Easy Cheesy Buttery Quiche Crust & Filling

 What you need for crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 T. cold butter cut into small pieces
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or favorite)
5 t. ice cold water (maybe a little more)

1. Put flour & butter into a mixing bowl.  Rub/cut in butter to flour until mixture looks crumbly.
2. Add shredded cheese and mix together.
3. Sprinkle cold water over mixture, one teaspoon at a time, stirring gently after each addition.  Add just enough water that dough cleanly leaves the side of bowl and forms a ball.  Refrigerate for at least 30 min. or until ready for use.
4. Preheat oven to 375 F.  Lightly flour surface & rolling pin.  My dough was a little crumbly and I had to add a tiny bit more cold water at this point to keep my ball from falling apart.  Do not add too much and do not over work the dough.
5. Gently roll out dough.  It will most likely not form a perfect circle and that's okay. Fill in the gaps with any dough that overlaps.  Do not push dough into pan or it will stick to edges more.
6. Take a fork and prick some holes in the bottom of the crust.  This helps release moisture and lets the dough cook more evenly.
7. Place in fridge until ready to fill & cook.

What you need for filling:
4 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup cubed cooked ham
1 cup shredded cheese
Salt & Pepper
Desired veggies (sautéed onions, sweet peppers, arugula, whatever you want)

1. Whisk eggs, milk, salt & pepper together in bowl.
2. Add ham, cheese and sautéed or fresh veggies.  (Do not add spinach or arugula yet.)
3. Pour mixture into crust and with whisk, distribute ham & veggies evenly.
4. If you are adding spinach or arugula, do that now, placing on top and gently pushing down until egg mixture partially covers.
5. Bake for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is cooked through.
Serve and Enjoy! Crust is buttery and flaky with small crunchy bits of cheese that give it great flavor.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

15 min. Perfectly Thin & Crispy Pizza Crust

I love pizza and I have been on the hunt for an easy & yummy crust recipe.  This is it!  It comes together so fast and the dough does not need to rise, so you can literally make homemade pizza in approximately 30 min.  The crust is crispy, chewy and flavorful.  I loved sharing it with my friends and being able to say that I made my crust from scratch.  Plus, as often as we eat pizza, this is a quick, delicious and cheap alternative.  

What You Need:
3/4 cup warm-hot water
1 pkg (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or reg. salt)
1 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 500° F with pizza stone or pizza pan inside 
2. Heat water in microwave on high for 15 seconds (water should be like very warm bath water 105°-115°)
3. Dissolve sugar and yeast into water & let set for 7-10 min. until creamy & bubbly.  
4. Combine flour, salt & italian seasoning into a mixing bowl.
5. Pour yeast mixture into flour mixture and combine until you have a dough ball.
6. Put dough onto lightly floured surface (I love my pastry cloth) and knead for 2 minutes.
7. If needed, sprinkle a little more flour on surface, flour your rolling pin and roll dough into a circle, the thinner you roll it, the crispier your crust will be.  Tips: While rolling, continue to flip dough over, always add a little more flour if dough is sticking and roll firm, but not too hard or dough will stick.
8. Trim your dough to fit your pizza stone or pan.  Slide your arms under the dough and transfer to the hot stone or pan.  Be very careful not to burn yourself!  Pizza does not have to be round, make it square if you want or use the dough trimmings to make random shapes.
9. Bake empty crust in 500° F oven for 4-6 min.  If you want, you can brush very lightly with olive oil to give a little flavor and extra browning to the crust.  Wipe off any excess oil to keep from getting soggy.  If using right away, go to step 10.  If baking later, cover and set aside until ready to top.
10.  Add your favorite toppings, but not too much!  A little goes a long way, especially with sauce.
11. Bake an additional 8-10 min. until crust is a nice light brown color.

I used a chunky tomato basil sauce, shredded mozzarella, half was pepperoni and half was portobello mushrooms, sweet peppers and arugula.  It was delicious! What are your favorite pizza toppings?