Tuesday, December 16, 2014

$100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!


It's the most wonderful time of the year! And for most of us, that means lots of get-togethers with friends, family, co-workers and classmates. And it also means food, and lots of it! I'm one of those people who cook with a lot of onions and garlic. I love flavorful food! 

The downside of that, of course, is bad breath. A long time ago, I had a friend that took her toothbrush and travel toothpaste everywhere she went because she was really nervous about ever having bad breath. But when you consider that brushing your teeth actually misses 75% of your mouth, well, you can guess why that's not the best idea out there! Eventually she switched out her toothbrush for a travel sized container of LISTERINE® Antiseptic Mouthwash. Now that was a great idea because LISTERINE® Antiseptic reaches nearly 100% of your mouth and kills the germs that cause plaque, gingivitis and bad breath.


Research also shows that LISTERINE® Antiseptic also kills up to 52% more plaque and 21% more gingivitis than brushing and flossing alone. Why is that a big deal? Because the majority of American adults will develop gingivitis without even knowing it.

The four essential oils that have been protecting your mouth for more than a 100 years are still working together in the LISTERINE® formula:

Eucalyptol – Derived from trees usually found in Australia, this essential oil acts as both an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent.

Menthol – Identical to menthol found in natural corn mint, this essential oil is known for its germ killing properties.

Thymol – Identical to the thymol in natural thyme and ajowan herb, research continues to demonstrate this essential oil’s effectiveness against bacteria

Methyl Salicylate – Identical to the methyl salicylate in natural wintergreen, this essential oil is also often found in chewing gum due to its fresh flavoring properties.

No other branded mouthwash has this unique, fixed combination formula that kills millions of germs on contact, helping keep your mouth healthy and holiday party ready.

For more information on LISTERINE® mouthwash, its unique essential oil-based formula, and how you can improve your oral health, visit http://www.listerine.com/products-essential-oils.

And to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, leave me a comment (include your email address so that BlogHer has a way to contact you!) naming the four essential oils found in LISTERINE® mouthwash, and telling me what event you will use LISTERINE® Antiseptic to prep for!
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#Listerine” and “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification e-mail will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher.com e-mail address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 12/16/14 – 1/15/15.
Be sure to visit the LISTERINE® brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Monday, December 8, 2014

$100 Macy's Gift Card Giveaway!


One of the fun Christmas traditions we've had since I was a little kid (actually, since before I was even born) is the annual Christmas Eve party.

When I was a little girl, my dad's whole family lived in California. We weren't all in the same town, but we all lived close enough to get together at least once a year, and that gathering always occurred on Christmas Eve.

Different family members would take turns hosting the gathering, and everyone came out dressed to the nines. It was SO much fun.

Now, my parents, brother and I all live in Arkansas, and the rest of the family has also spread out all over the country.

I knew that when we had kids, I would want to recreate that special Christmas get together, even if it only meant 15 people getting together instead of 50!

What we decided to do was start a new tradition. We still have our fun, family get together on Christmas Eve, but now with a bit of a twist! We've added a special element to our parties, in the form of an ugly sweater contest! Here's a picture of Chris, the kids and I from last year! It is so much fun!



Of course, once the contest portion of the evening is over, we are free to switch to more normal looking attire. Many of us do - as you can probably tell from the picture, my sweater was really uncomfortable.

That's where Macy's comes in! I've already gone shopping for my boys this year. I headed on over to their great selection of children's clothing and browsed around for awhile (because everything is cute!) and ended up ordering these outfits!


Aren't they adorable? The sweater is from Tommy Hilfiger and you can find it here. The jeans are Levi's 505 Regular Fit and you can find those here.



Christmas isn't always about red and green or silver and gold, and these sweaters, paired with timeless Levi's are the perfect look for my boys. I have never been big on dressing them in the classic southern way (hey, I'm from California!) but I do love dressing them up like little men!


And now, I've teamed up with BlogHer and Macy's so that you can have a little extra holiday cheer too! How about a $100 Macy's gift card to get you started on your holiday outfit planning?

All you need to do is visit Macy's site and tell me what item you are looking to buy for yourself or your little one. Leave me a comment (and be sure to include your email address so BlogHer has a way to contact you if you win!) telling me about your outfit and you'll be entered for a chance to win!


Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 12/8/2014 – 12/25/2014.
Be sure to visit the Macy’s Kids Holiday brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Renting a stroller for Disney!

* A free stroller rental was given to me in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted on RealMomsDisney.com!

One thing that I recommend to everyone who is traveling with small kids to Disney is this: RENT A STROLLER!

Unless you absolutely need to have a stroller in the airport with you, I highly recommend skipping that fiasco. It's just one more thing that I personally do not want to deal with on top of everything else.

However, if you've got little kids like I do, then you really do need a stroller at Disney. Why? Well, for starters, it's a TON of walking. In fact, I wore my jawbone step counter while I was there and logged 15,000 or more steps every single day. We ended up walking over 50 miles during our trip! I know that my kids couldn't have handled all of that!

This time, I decided to rent from Simple Strollers. We went with the city mini double stroller. We've used this stroller before and really love how easily it pushes through the various park terrains and its simple folding mechanisms. Since we utilized Disney's bus system quite a bit this trip, it was important to have a stroller that folds easily and quickly (strollers must be folded on the bus).




The rental process itself was so easy! Just head over to their website and browse through their list of strollers. In addition to the City Mini's they have BOB's, Baby Trend Snap and Go's and Joovy Sit and Stand's. They are also the only company offering triple strollers! They've got the Joovy Big Caboose Sit and Stand Triple for those of you with three littles!

I added on the optional insurance just for peace of mind. One thing I loved about renting from Simple Strollers is that the include a drink/storage caddy. The company we used last year did not and we had no where to store drinks! You can also rent other goodies like rain covers and car seat adapters from them.


Simple Strollers also delivers to you at your resort. When you make your online purchase, just let them know what time they will need to drop off and pick up the stroller. Simple! Plus you don't have to worry about messing with the bell desk (which can form quite a line!). They hand deliver the strollers to you. Everyone was so nice and accommodating, even for for those coming in on late flights. I highly recommend them!

If you're headed to Disney World and need a stroller, be sure to check out Simple Strollers!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Our Trip to Disney: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney Dining & Magic Bands!

Well, we are back from another fun trip to Disney World! If my blog seemed abandoned last week it's because I was in the happiest place on earth! ;-)

So, you might have heard that a few friends and I started a Disney planning blog. We aren't travel agents but we are moms who love taking our families on well planned Disney trips! We want to help you do the same and we have all sorts of free resources for you. Head on over to Real Mom's Disney for more information. You'll also be seeing some much more in depth posts about every aspect of my latest trip posted there, so keep checking back in!

So, today I'm going to cover three topics in one post! If you want more info on any of these things, then pop over to RMD! =)



When Chris and I were first considering going back to Disney, we weren't planning on going again so soon! After all, we were just there 11 month ago. Now, if it were up to me, I would go back every month, but A.) that's not feasible and B.) it's not practical either. Ha!

However, the free dining deal came along and we just couldn't pass that up! Disney occasionally offers a free dining deal, meaning that if you stay at certain Disney resorts and buy your tickets through them as well, they will give you free food. We ended up deciding on the Animal Kingdom Lodge (and each getting 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal and 1 snack per day).



The Animal Kingdom Lodge catches some flack for being "out of the way" or "the furthest from most parks." We utilized their bus system and had no issue getting around quickly! The lobby is very pretty and the rooms are small but clean and cute. Unfortunately, we didn't see very many animals from our savannah view room, and I probably wouldn't stay here again...but, even if I LOVED it, I probably wouldn't stay here again because there are so many great hotels to try out!



When it comes to the free food, I'll be honest. I was nervous. Would it be enough food? Were there enough places to choose from? Would the kids find things they like? I am here to report that there was an ABUNDANCE of food and everyone found things they liked!

We used our table service credits at Be Our Guest, Disney Junior Play and Dine, O'Hana, T-Rex, Tusker House and Cinderella's Royal Feast (which takes 2 table service credits per person).  Be Our Guest was by far my favorite dinner! I highly recommend it!

Our food at Be Our Guest (not including dessert!):



As far as the quick service meals go, we ate a several places but my favorite were Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney (we ate their twice!) and Pinnocchio Village Haus and Magic Kingdom. I'm shocked that Wolfgang's is quick service - the food is so good and much more like a table service meal!



A new addition from our last trip is the Disney Magic Band. They were actually just trying them out when we were there in December last year and only a few guests had them. Now they are everywhere and even if you aren't staying onsite, you can purchase a magic band.

Our magic bands held our room key, all of our fast passes, dining reservations, our photo pass and our credit card. What's that mean? You don't have to carry a whole bunch of stuff to the park with you. I didn't even take a wallet! The kids though they were so cool and they fought over who would get their bands scanned after each photo opportunity. You can check out my easy tutorial on how to link Memory Maker to your Magic Band here!

Much more from our vacation is coming up! Leave me a comment and let me know what you want to hear about, both here and on RealMomsDisney.com!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Turkey Lasagna


Turkey Lasagna
Source: JennaBlogs.com

10 lasagna noodles
1 lb ground all white meat turkey
1 small yellow onion (or half of a large one) finely diced
4 cloves garlic
1 15oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 15oz cans tomato sauce
1 6oz can tomato paste
2 Tablespoons sugar
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 cups low fat cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine turkey and onions in a saute pan over medium heat. Once turkey is cooked, add garlic, let cook for one minute. Add all tomato products, parsley, basil, oregano and sugar to the pan, stir to combine and reduce heat to medium low.

While tomato sauce is cooking, heat a large pot of boiling water. As you wait for the water to boil, combine cheese mixture by adding ricotta, cottage cheese, salt and pepper to a bowl. Separately, shred your cheese.

Once your water is boiling, par cook your noodles for about 4 minutes. They should be pliable but not cooked completely.

In a 9*13" pan, put a thin layer of sauce. Top sauce with a layer of 5 noodles. Top noodles with a layer of cheese mixture and a layer of grated cheese. Repeat: sauce, noodles, cheese mixture, shredded cheese. End with a final layer of sauce.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 35-45 minutes, until noodles are cooked and the dish is hot.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

(Better Than) Restaurant Salsa

I don't know about you, but everyone in my house loves salsa. I've been making it for years and fine tuning my recipe. It's finally blog worthy!



(Better Than) Restaurant Salsa
Source: JennaBlogs.com

1 28 ounce can of San Marzano peeled tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 jalapeño, seeded, de-ribbed and chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Pulsa all ingredients in a blender. Adjust seasonings if needed (if too acidic for your taste, add another teaspoon of sugar).

Serve or chill and serve. It only gets better as it sits.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Buttery Cheese Stuffed Rolls



My kids love cheesy bread. Like, really love it. They also really love crescents (you know, when I'm not making my easy and oh so delicious yeast rolls). In a stroke of genius, I decided to combine the two.

Make these with...well, whatever you're having tonight. ;-) 



Buttery Cheese Stuffed Rolls
Yield: 8 rolls

1 can of crescent rolls (I like the buttery version)
1/2 a stick of unsalted butter
4 mozzarella string cheese sticks
1 clove of garlic (optional)

Preheat oven to package directed temp. 

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Unfold crescents. Melt butter with un-chopped garlic clove in the microwave. Use a pastry brush to spread a little of the butter onto each crescent. 

Slice cheese sticks in half and place one piece on each crescent. Roll up rolls, tucking the ends in so they cover the cheese completely.  Brush with butter. 

Bake as directed on roll package.

Friday, October 24, 2014

40 Elf on the Shelf Name Ideas

I love our Elf on the Shelf and over the years, I've heard some super cute elf names. Here's a list of my favorites for those of you who might be getting a new elf this year!

And checkout my other elf posts:




    Belle
    Bernard
    Brownie
    Buddy
    Candy
    Carole
    Charlie
    Chippy
    Clarice
    CoCo
    Cookie
    Dash
    Dazzle
    Elfie
    Ellie
    Holly
    Honey
    Jingle
    Jolly
    Joy
    Kris
    Mistletoe
    Noel
    Nutmeg
    Pip
    Scout
    Skippy
    Sparkle
    Snowball
    Snowflake
    Spice
    Sprinkles
    Star
    Sugar
    Sugarplum
    Tinsel
    Tinker
    Tiny
    Twinkle
    Zippy

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Favorite Things & A $100 Target GiftCard® Giveaway


A few weeks ago I introduced you to an up & up product by Target.  And as much as I love my up & up Disinfecting Wipes and Disinfecting Spray, these other products I'm going to talk about are just as great. 

I've been a loyal user of up & up's cotton swabs and sensitive skin body wash, but recently I had the chance to try their Cleansing Towelettes for Sensitive Skin and their Kids' 3-in-1 Body Wash

I've talked about this several times, but I have super sensitive skin and it seems to get worse the older I get. I'm newly allergic to most of the products I used to use to remove my makeup and recently, I've just been using water, but it doesn't remove everything. 

After seeing that up & up has new sensitive cleansing wipes that are dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, I decided to give them a try. You can't imagine how excited I was that these towelettes easily and quickly removed my makeup without causing a rash on my skin. Even better? They weren't sticky (I hate sticky wipes!), they're fragrance and oil free and they removed my waterproof mascara.



When I'm at Target, I usually have at least one of my boys with me. One of their favorite things to do while we shop is pick out their own stuff. I let them select their mouthwash cups, their toothpaste and their body wash. Usually they pick out things based on the packaging, but I've found that a lot of those products weren't so great. I now let them pick from option A or B (which I choose!) so that we're getting better quality products. 

When I went to pick up some body wash for them I had Brody with me. Brody LOVES turtles, so before I was even able to select and A and B option, he picked out up & up's Orange Mango body wash for kids. It worked out perfectly! 

The body wash is a great consistency, (some of the kids stuff I've purchased before just slides right off your hand) it lathers well and it smells really good too! It's also an all in one - it shampoos, conditions, detangles and is a body wash! Best yet is that it's tear free.


I hope you've had a chance to try up & up products. What's your favorite one or which one are you looking most forward to trying? Leave an answer in the comments below and you will be entered for a chance to win one $100 Target GiftCard!

Be sure to leave your email address!


Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/22/2014 – 11/22/2014.
Be sure to visit the Target’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Simple Chocolate Croissants

One of my favorite treats is a good chocolate croissant. Not many bakeries here have them, but Starbucks makes a pretty good one. ;-)

While I'm still working on a traditional chocolate croissant recipe (preferably one that doesn't take 4 days to make!) this is a great shortcut version!


Simple Chocolate Croissants
Yield: 8 pastries 

2 sheets puff pastry (one box)
1 4oz bar of Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 of a 4oz bar of Ghirardelli bittersweet (60%) chocolate
1 egg
1 Tablespoon of water
Flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop chocolate and mix together (unheated) in a bowl. Set aside. 

Dust a board with flour. Lightly roll out the dough to make it smooth. Cut down the middle and then across the middle so you end up with four squares. 

Place about 1.5 tablespoons of chocolate pieces in the center of each square.

Crack egg into a bowl and whisk with about 1 tablespoon of water. Using your fingers, put a line of egg wash around the edges of the square. Fold into a triangle and seal with fork tines. 

Bake until just done, about 8-10 minutes. Serve warm and reheat in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

PS: There are some SUPER cute monogrammed cutting boards on Jane today for just $9.99. These would be adorable served up on those (and they'd make a great Christmas gift!).


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cinnamon Snack Stix

If you want something a little sweet and very easy, then this is for you. It would be a cute, fun little snack item (place it in a cup with the sticks sticking straight up!) for any get together or party!


Cinnamon Snack Stix
Source: JennaBlogs.com
Yield: About 20 sticks

1 can refrigerated pizza dough
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup white sugar (you can use less)
1 teaspoon (about) cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Spice (a few sprinkles)

Preheat oven to 400.

Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry brush, brush melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

Cut dough into 3/4" strips, twist (or leave flat) and placed on a greased baking sheet.

Bake for about 7-9 minutes or until just done. Serve warm or cold!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love any excuse to eat cream cheese frosting. Who doesn't? It's so delicious. Coincidentally, I also adore pumpkin and so this recipe? It was a no brainer.

If you're in the mood for a deliciously moist and flavorful treat, whip these up today.

And while we're talking pumpkin, here's a few other recipes for you:

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Super Simple Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Pops
Chocolate Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
GIANT Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
5 Ingredient Chocolate Caramel Muffins
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins



Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: JennaBlogs.com
Yield: 12 cupcakes

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Small pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) cloves
Small pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk (or whatever milk you have mixed with 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar)
2 eggs
1/2 of a 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting:
1 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Add pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Combine well. Add in dry ingredients. Combine until mixed.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake 22-27 minutes or until just done. Let cool completely.

For the frosting: In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, combine butter and cream cheese throughly. Add vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Combine.

Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Bread


Pumpkin Bread
Source: JennaBlogs.com
Yield: 2 loaves

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 egg whites, whisked (or you can use 2 whole eggs)
1/2 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, soda, powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

In a mixer, combine sugars, eggs, milk and pumpkin. Add in dry ingredients slowly.

Pour into greased bread pans. Bake about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clear. Do not over bake!

Cool and serve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Creamy Caramel Apple Cider

 

While I love hot drinks, I don't drink coffee (I could never get used to the taste). I do however love hot tea, hot chocolate and hot cider. This hot cider is soooo decadent. 

Next time you have guests over (or really just want to impress someone) make this. You won't regret it!


Creamy Caramel Apple Cider
Source: Jennablogs.com
Serves: 4

8 cups cider
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup half and half
Whipped topping
Caramel

Over medium heat, combine sugar and half and half in a saucepan. Let come to a boil for one minute. Whisk in cider. Let cider heat to desired temperature.  Serve in glasses. Top with whipped topping and caramel.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Peach Cobbler

I may be a self-professed chocoholic, but I have a soft spot for peach cobbler. 

This is my mom's peach cobbler and it's the best one I've ever had. I grew up eating this and I love it SO much that I actually have never had another version that I would even eat. Huge bonus? It's ridiculously easy to make.




Peach Cobbler
Source: JennaBlogs.com
Yield: 9*13, enough for 8-10 large portions

3 cups flour (about 1/4 cup less if using fresh fruit without juice)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 sticks margarine
3 tsp baking powder
1 large, undrained can of peaches in juice OR 3-4 fresh peaches, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add your margarine to a 9*13 pan, and stick it in the oven until the margarine is melted.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, sugar, milk and baking powder.

Remove pan with melted margarine from the oven, and add your flour mixture directly to the hot pan. Stir around to incorporate the margarine. Evenly spread out the peaches.

Bake until just done about 1 hour - 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Note: If it starts to get too brown as it cooks, cover with foil. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Citrus Chicken with Garlic Wild Rice

Looking for a new way to cook chicken? Then you have to try this. This chicken is SO flavorful. It's a fun and healthy way to spice up your menu planning. 


Citrus Chicken with Garlic Wild Rice
Source: JennaBlogs.com adapted from Rachael Ray
Serves: 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet of dry Italian dressing mix or Italian seasoning
1 orange
1 lemon
1 full head of garlic
1 cup wild rice blend (mine also had brown and white rice)
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 red onion

Heat oven to 425. Slice the very top "handle" end of the garlic bulb off to barely expose the tops of the garlic cloves. Place on a pice of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and wrap. Place wrapped bulb in the oven. Cook for about an hour (you may need additional time) until the cloves are browned and squishy.

Slice chicken breasts horizontally in half to make 4 thinner pieces of chicken breast. Pound with a meat mallet until flat. Season with packet of Italian dressing mix on both sides. Grill chicken until cooked through. Remove to a plate. Grill citrus fruit. Squeeze citrus juice over cooked chicken and set aside. Let sit in juice for up to an hour before serving.

Next, place rice and stock in a pot. Squeeze cooked garlic paste into the pot and whisk to distribute. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes then fluff with a fork.

When rice is almost finished cooking, slice onion into 1/2" rings and grill. Serve chicken over rice with onion on top.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chewy Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whenever we're in Dallas, I have to stop by the Grand Lux and get a box of their pecan chocolate chip cookies to go. They are so delicious! 

This recipe was a result of many attempts to replicate their cookies. It's pretty darn close. I hope you will love them as much as we do.



Chewy Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 30 Cookies

2 cups flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
1 ¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together flour, soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a mixer, combine butter and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs. Add flour mixture in two batches. Fold in nuts and chips.

Bake rounded teaspoonful’s on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for about 10 minutes, or until just done.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A new Pinterest group board for food bloggers!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love Pinterest.

Over the last couple of years, I've been invited to several group boards and had a great time being a part of those groups. So great, in fact, that I decided to start my own group board for fellow food bloggers!

So, if you're a food blogger (at least 50% of the time) who wants to be a part of a group recipe board, visit this link and read the rules of the board. If you want to request an invite, you can follow the directions there!

Right now I'm looking for 15-20 bloggers who would like to join this new board. Once I see how it works, I might send more invites, so don't be bummed if you don't get an invite right away! I've never led a group board so bear with me while I figure out how it works!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

I hate coffee.

There, I said it.

And you know what? I'm a little envious of all these people that get SO SUPER EXCITED about the pumpkin spice lattes. My husband is one of those people. When he orders one, the car smells heavenly.

I'm a little peeved that Starbucks hasn't thought to offer a pumpkin spice hot chocolate. So, I decided to make my own. It smells just as good as it's latte counterpart, but without the (ick) coffee.



Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate
Source: JennaBlogs.com
Serves: 1

1/2 cup half and half
1.5 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

In a double boiler, heat half and half and both kinds of chocolate chips. Once chips are dissolved into half and half, add milk and pumpkin pie spice (I use two good shakes which is about 1/8 of a teaspoon).

Serve hot. Makes one serving.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pumpkin, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't think I accurately express my love for pumpkin and all things chocolate. 

But I'll try.

With this recipe.

And these:



This cookie combines my favorites (pumpkin and chocolate) with Chris's favorite thing; oatmeal. It's a match made in cookie heaven. 


Pumpkin, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: About 22 cookies 

1/2 of a 15oz can of a pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 heaping cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, oats, soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Set aside.

In a mixer, combine butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla and pumpkin. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake on greased cookies sheets for about 14 minutes or until just done.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Considering Disney? Here's what you NEED to know.




It seems like everyone I know is going to Disney, thinking about going to Disney, planning a trip to Disney or trying to convince a spouse that they need to plan a trip. And because I LOVE Disney, I, along with two great friends, started RealMomsDisney.com. We love helping people wade through the influx of Disney planning information and give you the best basics for planning an outstanding trip.

That said, here are five basic posts (some from us and some from other great sites) that will give you the information you need to get started planning your Disney trip. And if you still have questions, head over to RealMomsDisney.com and ask away!



First up is our newest post from Melissa. If you're confused about Disney Dining Credits and how to use them, then you have got to check this out. Melissa has made a free printable calendar with free printable tokens to help you visually plan out your credits. It is such a GREAT tool!

Click here for those printables and instructions!


Dining seems to be one of the most confusing issues for anyone planning a Disney trip, so, in keeping with that theme, I wrote a post all about the ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation). It includes everything you need to know about booking ADR's including when you can begin and how to get those difficult ones (Hello? Be Our Guest, anyone?!).

For that post, just click here.




Next up is the age old question, WHEN should you go to Disney? Lindsey wrote a great post full of information that will help you make that choice. And once you review that, check out this post on how to read Disney Crowd Calendars. They have been instrumental in helping me plan our family trips. Even if you have your dates already picked, still take a glance at it - they will help you figure out which park to visit on each day.


Confused about the new Fast Pass + system? Now that I've used it, I can safely say that it was really easy to navigate. That said, I LOVE Shannon's (from WDWPrep) video on how to navigate the new system. You can check that out here.

Lastly, if you are headed to Disney World between now and February, check out this feature on WDWInfo.com. They've got a great list of all the times for every parade and fireworks display as well as extra magic hours!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I don't know about you, but I'm always on the hunt for a new and exciting dip recipe. I love dips. If I could survive on dips and chocolate I probably would. 

I can't, so I content myself with working up new dip recipes for football season and using our friends and family as guinea pigs. (PS - Thanks mom for being my hand model in the second photo!)

This one was a resounding "WE LOVE IT!" 

I used two pretty large jalapeños and everyone loved it. It was pleasing to both the spice wimps (ME!) and those who like it hot. If you're feeding a crowd, I would leave this recipe as is. If you're feeding people who love to burn their tongues, go ahead and add another pepper.  


Jalapeño Popper Dip
Source: JennaBlogs.com

2 jalapeños, seeded, de-ribbed and minced
1 block reduced fat cream cheese, softened to room temp
3/4 cup mayo
1 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese

Topping:
20 crackers, crushed (I used Ritz whole wheat, Club crackers would also be great)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine cream cheese, mayo and jalapeños. Fold in cheeses and place in a baking dish (I used my 1.25 quart Rachael Ray bubble and brown, or you could use a 8*8 or pie pan). Melt butter and combine with crushed crackers.

Store, covered in your fridge until ready to heat and serve. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Serve immediately.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple Streusel Muffins with a Cinnamon Glaze

Brayden has been requesting "apple muffins" lately, hence this recipe. I know, I know...can you believe there's no chocolate in this one?!

So, while I thought about calling this "To Brayden, Love Mom" I ended up going with Apple Streusel Muffins with a Cinnamon Glaze instead.



Apple Streusel Muffins with a Cinnamon Glaze
Source: JennaBlogs.com
Adapted from Taste of Home
Yield: 12 muffins

1 large or 2 medium Red Delicious apples, peel, cored and chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons COLD butter, cubed

Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 Tablespoons milk (start with 2)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine dry muffin ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, soda and powder). Melt butter in a microwave proof dish. Add butter, eggs and vanilla to dry ingredients, combine well. Mixture will be very thick/stiff. Fold in apples.

Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray. Fill 3/4 of the way full. Combine streusel topping ingredients in a separate bowl using a fork to cut butter into the mixture. Sprinkle 1 heaping tablespoon onto each muffin.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until just done. Do not over bake. Remove from oven to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Once cooled, whisk together glaze ingredients. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze onto muffins. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, September 8, 2014

$100 TARGET GiftCard® Giveaway!


If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I have a love-love relationship with Target. You might also know that I tend to be a teensy bit of a clean freak. Now, that's not to say I'm the neatest person on the planet (I'm totally not, just ask my mom) but I am dedicated to having a clean house with clean surfaces.

My obsession with cleanliness started when we brought Brayden home from Arkansas Children's Hospital. He had a compromised immune system and I had to keep things super clean. That habit has stuck with me and I'm always looking for tips, tricks and products to make keeping things clean and sanitary even easier.

My love of both things, Target and cleanliness, has merged. For years I've been buying products from their in-house brand, Up & Up. Everything I've purchased from Up & Up has always been great. In fact, I've stopped buying several name brand products because I've found that Up & Up products are just as good and sometimes even better than the name brand. Bonus? They're cheaper, and I don't know anyone who wouldn't benefit from saving a little money!

I want to tell you about two of my very favorite cleaning products and how I use them every day. First, is the all important Disinfectant Spray.


As you can tell from the picture, I put ours to good use in the playroom. It is the easiest way I've found to clean toys. It not only eliminates odors, but it kills 99.99% of fungi, viruses and bacteria, and with cold and flu season fast approaching, this is a great way to keep my kids from getting sick.

Not only do I use the Up & Up Disinfectant Spray in the playroom, but I use it on lunch pails, backpacks, car seats and almost every surface in our house!

Speaking of surfaces, some of them need a little elbow grease. I love spraying things with the disinfectant because it's so easy - it literally only takes seconds. It's always good to give surfaces a wipe down and my favorite way to do that is with Up & Up Disinfecting Wipes.


These are great to use in the bathroom, on countertops in the kitchen and for the playroom table. I also love using them to clean my computer keyboards, door knobs, our phones, iPads and other devices, and even my car steering wheel!

Like the Disinfectant Spray, Up & Up's Disinfecting Wipes kill 99.99% of common household bacteria in just seconds. It's also bleach free and safe to use on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Both of these cleaning products save me time, keep my house clean and fresh and even save me money compared to the products that I used to buy. I hope you'll check them out the next time you're at Target!

One of you can try them out for free by entering for a chance to win a $100 Target GiftCard®! Just leave me a comment telling me what product you'd like to try! Be sure to leave your email address so that I have a way to contact you if you win!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#OnlyAtTarget” and “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher.com email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/8-10/22.
Be sure to visit the Target up & up brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Blogging tips