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SILK+collage-1

Silk’s Tastemaker Challenge


I have been selected by Silk and DailyBuzz Food to be an ambassador for Silk Soymilk.  While I have been compensated for my time, all opinions are completely my own.  

When I told my kids that the new taste of Silk Soymilk left me speechless, their reaction was, well…you can see for yourself.

 

Indeed.  While I did not capture photographic evidence of Mike’s reaction, it’s safe to assume the refrigerator is going to be well stocked with Silk.  Ha!  I didn’t remain speechless for long though.  Let me tell you how Silk Soymilk transformed two of my everyday staples into something so extraordinary that it almost left me speechless!

I began my Silk Tastemaker Challenge with the most important meal of the day: breakfast!  I enjoy the same old breakfast day after day: oatmeal, unsweetened cocoa, and flaxseed, all cooked in water and topped with a sliced banana.  It’s basic, it’s simple and it’s tasty!  I decided that replacing the water with Silk Soymilk would be a good way to test the new taste of Silk.  And now enter the speechless moment.  My (slightly) boring old breakfast became something different; something better! 

For my next Silk Tastemaker Challenge, I decided to use Silk Soymilk in my favorite mixed berry smoothie.  I replaced the usual juice with Silk Soymilk.  The result?  Let’s just say this post-workout smoothie did not last long.  In fact, the only thing slowing me down was the ice cream headache.  You know, when you consume something icy cold so fast that your head literally hurts?  I think some people call it a brain freeze.  Anyway, I  have not had an ice cream headache since I was a child!  I told Mike ‘This is the best smoothie I’ve ever had in my life.  You have to try it!’  Mike took a sip and his eyes lit up.  I could tell he wanted more, but he politely declined since he knew how starving I was after a long run.  However, the next day, when I got back from my run, I found two glasses innocently placed next to the blender.  I guess I’m not the only one who was left speechless by the new taste of Silk Soymilk!

  Be sure to visit Facebook.com/SilkUS for a chance to create your own taste description and to be a part of Silk’s Tastemaker Challenge!


This post is brought to you by Silk. Take the Tastemaker Challenge on facebook.com/silkUS.

healthy blueberry strawberry blackberry yogurt smoothie

Diet Mixed Berry Smoothie

healthy diet mixed blueberry strawberry blackberry yogurt smoothie

This Diet Mixed Berry Smoothie is quick and easy to make and perfect for breakfast on a busy morning, a post-workout recovery drink, or an afternoon pick me up.  Made with just a few healthy ingredients, it’s a vitamin-packed smoothie that can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime (and portable too for when you’re on-the-go!).

 

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try Ocean Spray’s Diet Juice Drinks and thought it would a tasty addition to this smoothie recipe.  At only 5 calories per serving, swapping out full-calorie juices in favor of Ocean’ Spray’s Diet Juice Drinks can help save calories (and carbs, if that’s a concern), while still tasting delicious.   For this recipe, I used Ocean Spray’s Diet Cranberry juice and it went nicely with the berries used in the rest of this smoothie.  For next time, I have my eyes on the Diet Blueberry Pomegranate!

To learn more about Ocean Spray’s Diet Juice Drinks, visit http://www.oceanspray.com/Products/Juices/Diet-Light/Diet-Cranberry-Juice-Drink.aspx.

 

 

Diet Mixed Berry Smoothie
 
Yields: 1 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Diet Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Drink, any flavor
  • ½ cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen and cut into slices
  • 3 ounces fat free plain or berry-flavored Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender (or Magic Bullet). Blend on high speed until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour into a chilled glass. Enjoy!
Notes
Tip: slice banana before freezing...it's much easier!

 Adapted from Ocean Spray

 

I have partnered with Ocean Spray through DailyBuzz to help promote their new Ocean Spray Diet product. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product, however my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

panera+soup+smaller+spacing1

Soup’s on at Panera!

A couple weeks ago, we got blasted with snow, and it’s been a chilly December ever since.  Definite soup weather!  Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to check out Panera Bread’s soup line…and am so glad that I did.  While I’m not generally a soup person, I found a soup that I not only love, but have been dreaming of ever since!

 

 

I’m always trying to find a soup that I like, so thought it best to test out a few different flavors.  Mike and I made a weeknight dinner of it and shared 3 different soups:  broccoli cheddar, French onion and low-fat garden vegetable pesto.

Mike and I both liked all three soups, though Mike’s favorite was the broccoli cheddar.  There were actual chunks of broccoli, as well as a generous amount of carrots, all in a smooth cheese soup.  It really was delicious…especially for dipping the baguette.

Hands down my favorite soup was the garden vegetable pesto. So many delicious fresh vegetables, including Swiss chard, chunks of zucchini, and bell peppers, swimming in a light tomato broth, topped with a nut-free pesto. It’s one of those things I would happily eat every.single.day. (hint hint, every day please Panera!) 

Panera Bread has a new website (panerabread.com/soup) devoted to their soups, which hosts the daily soup schedule, as well as other fun facts about their soups.

 

Disclaimer: As part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, I received a giftcard and stipend to try Panera Bread Soups.  All opinions are my own.  

 

rp_RedLaser-Welcome.jpg

RedLaser – the secret weapon for smart shoppers!

 

For several weeks now, I have been sharing favorite recipes for cookies, bars, and cakes to help make your holiday celebrations a little sweeter. In lieu of a recipe today, I am excited to share with you a secret weapon designed to help you save money and make your life a little easier ~ all with ease using a free app on your smart phone, called RedLaser.  I tested out several of RedLaser’s features, including price comparison, loyalty cards storage, and scanning food items to get allergen and ingredient information and more. Here are some of the highlights:\
Welcome to Red Laser!

 

Save Money with Price Comparison and Deals! 

This feature is by far my favorite, and what I found most useful (and timely with holiday shopping).  I was shopping for a few Christmas gifts for Adam and wanted to save money by getting the best price possible.  I powered up RedLaser, entered “b symphony.”  The handy app let me know the lowest price was just down the street at my local Target store.  Easy!


To locate a product, simply enter the product into the search bar (left)
 or scan a barcode (right).  I entered B Symphony and easily found what I was looking for in the search results (left).

The search results for B. Symphony in B tells me the best price is at Target. Later that day, we drove to our local Target down the street and picked up this toy…happily knowing we found it at the lowest price!


Whether I was at home searching or scanning a product at the store, RedLaser helped me find the best price available for toys, toiletries, clothes, etc.  I was able to easily verify if an in-store price was better than online since RedLaser did the research for me with one quick scan.  The app also pulls up current deals associated with each store (powered by Retail Me Not), which saved me yet another internet search.

Consolidate Your Loyalty Cards!  

Mike was most excited about the ability to scan all of his loyalty cards into his smart phone.  With so many cards, his wallet is out of control.

How nice is it to be able to just whip out a smart phone (you always have it with you, right?) to access your card.  There are pre-loads, such as CVS, Walgreens, Panera, etc, where you can just scan your card. You can also scan local grocery cards, and I even scanned my fitness club card ~ all easily accessibly on a smart phone.  Your wallet will be a little lighter, and you will never be without your cards again!

Allergen Information:

As a person with a tree nut allergy and a mother to a child with a peanut allergy, I was most interested in this feature of RedLaser.  I had very high expectations for the ability to scan food items and get allergen information.  I did some test scans with various food items to see how this feature works.

First I scanned pretzels. As you can see, the details (left) show nutrition information as well as allergen information. I expanded the allergen information (right) and it gives a nice snapshot of allergens associated with these pretzels.

Next I scanned peanut butter to see how allergen information would appear for a peanut product.  It was consistent with what I would expect.  The allergy information is informative and helpful.  So far so good!

As I continued additional scans on a jar of peanuts and a bag of whole wheat pastry flour, I expected both to be flagged for allergens.  Unfortunately there was no allergen information for either item.

So while the allergen information is useful when present, the inconsistency makes me uneasy.  People without allergies or folks with newly discovered allergies always have lots of questions about what foods are safe.  I was hoping to be able to point them to RedLaser.  However without reliable results, I just can’t do that…yet.  I see great potential here and am interested in seeing where RedLaser goes with this.  Like I said, when it does work, it really is an amazing feature.

 
RedLaser is available for download on iPhone, Android and Windows smart phones and has been downloaded over 22 million times. Clearly the secret is out!


This post is brought to you by RedLaser. Get the free app at RedLaser.

Disclaimer:  As part of the DailyBuzz Moms program, I have been compensated for my time on this post for RedLaser, however the details and opinions are completely my own.   

Cookies+for+Cancer+Collage-PM1

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer ~ Cookie Exchange

Every year I have a list of must-make holiday cookie recipes, including Peanut Blossoms, Pretzel Kiss Candies, something with ginger, as well as several others.  It’s always fun to add new recipes to the mix, and that is where the genius idea of a Cookie Exchange is great.  You get the benefit of trying several new recipes without a) having to do all that work and b) the risk of making several dozen of something that you wished turned out differently (or sadly wished you never made!).

This holiday season, I had the privilege of hosting a Cookie Exchange, courtesy of GLAD, to help raise awareness for the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer campaign.  And I was GLAD to be a good cookie!

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a non-profit organization founded by parents inspired by their young son’s fight against cancer.  Pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease of children in the United States, due in large part to the need for funding research into new and improved therapies.  It is unthinkable, yet according to the National Childhood Cancer Foundation, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer.  While many children are cured, there are still many children who will not survive.   

In the spirit of holiday giving and in being a good cookie, I made a personal donation to the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer program.  I have also created a Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Donation Page so that you too can be a good cookie and help fight pediatric cancer!

Thanks to GLAD, you can also join in the some fun by exchanging a virtual cookie with a friend at www.glad.com/Glad-Cookie-Exchange. GLAD will donate up to $1.00 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each cookie sold, exchanged or given this November and December 2012 – up to $100,000! Encourage your friends, family, coworkers, anybody and everybody, to do the same!   

As far as my Cookie Exchange, I am very excited that GLAD is generously donating $1 per cookie that was exchanged.  How awesome is that!  There were several dozens of cookies sampled and packaged, recipes printed and exchanged.  As a result, I have many recipes to share with you!


I have partnered with The Glad Products Company through DailyBuzz to help promote their Food Storage products. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product.  However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Thank you GLAD!

Diclaimer: The donation page is my personal page that I set up to offer an option for people to assist in the fight against pediatric cancer.  It is not affiliated with the sponsor(s) of this post. 

 

 

Golden Grahams S'mores Bars from Alida's Kitchen

Golden Grahams S’mores Bars

This post is sponsored by Nestlé® Toll House® Morsels, the perfect special ingredient for all of your family’s favorite treats!
Golden Graham’s S’mores Bars are a no-bake, graham, chocolate, and marshmallow bar that is super easy to make.  These classic flavors never get old, and it is always fun to find new ways to enjoy the taste of s’more.  These bars are similar to a rice krispie treat, only using graham squares cereal , and chocolate is melted with the marshmallow mixture.  They take about 10 minutes to melt and mix together and then about an hour in the refrigerator to set the chocolate.

I found the recipe years ago on the back of a Nestlé® Toll House®Morsels bag, but had not had an opportunity to make them. Fortunately, as part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program with Nestlé® Toll House®Morsels, I received a baking kit and coupon for free Nestlé® Toll House®Morsels and was invited to spend the afternoon baking with my favorite little man. It just so happens that Adam is very interested in all that goes on in the kitchen these days. He was more than excited to help!

This was the perfect recipe to get Adam involved in the kitchen. He served as chief ingredient pour-er and chief mixer (before melting, of course), and may have done some on-the-job sampling. He took his jobs very seriously and took great pride in his work. It was fun to have a little baking buddy, and fun to have an excuse to make these Golden Grahams S’mores Bars!

Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
 
Yields: 24 bars
Ingredients
  • 12.5 ounce box Golden Graham's Cereal
  • 6 cups (10.5 ounce bag) miniature marshmallows, divided
  • 1½ cups NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Milk Chocolate morsels
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Pour cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. 5 cups of marshmallows, chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal, stirring until well coated. Add remaining marshmallows and stir.
  4. Spray 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan, using a spatula or back of wooden spoon to press the mixture into the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour, until firm. Cut into bars and serve.

Source: back of the Nestlé® Toll House® Morsels bag

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a baking kit, a coupon for free bag of Nestlé® Toll House® Morsels, and a stipend.  Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content.

healthy buttermilk chocolate banana swirl bread

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread is a moist banana bread with a chocolate swirl.  The addition of chocolate to the classic comfort food of banana bread is not only delicious but it’s pretty too!

Truth be told, the first time I made this bread, the result was less than stellar. The bread was pretty, and it tasted okay, but texture was off. It was dense and chewy, not quite the light and fluffy texture I look for in a banana bread. And actually come to think of it, even though it tasted good, it didn’t taste like banana bread.   Clearly, this recipe was in desperate need of a do-over!

Thankfully Frigidaire is encouraging folks to share do-over moments, which gave me the extra push I needed to try again.   I never like wasting ingredients on an unsuccessful recipe, but I loved the concept of the chocolate swirl in banana bread.  So I took the original recipe and gave it a makeover.

I made several tweaks, such as using buttermilk instead of yogurt, oil instead of butter and eggs instead of egg substitute. I also added some vanilla and a few extra chocolate chips on top. Then…I crossed my fingers!

A little over an hour later, the results of this do-over were in.  The bread rose nicely, had the perfect banana bread texture, and the chocolate swirl was harmonious with the banana bread.  This is exactly what Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread should be like!  I look forward to making this recipe again and again, and I thank Frigidaire for this do-over opportunity!

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread
 
Yields: 1 loaf (16 servings)
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup low fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray
  • Additional mini chocolate chips, for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8½ x 4¼ inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil on medium until blended (about 1 minute). Add banana, egg, buttermilk and vanilla, and beat until blended.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture, gently stirring batter until just moist.
  5. Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute (on high) or until almost melted. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds, if needed. Stir until smooth and let cool slightly.
  6. Add 1 cup batter to the chocolate, stirring until well combined.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, alternating between plain batter and chocolate batter. Swirl batters together using a knife. Sprinkle top with additional chocolate chips, if desired.
  8. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack and the remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Adapted from Cooking Light

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Frigidaire. When you share your own do-over moment at Facebook.com/Frigidaire, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, Frigidaire will help cover the costs for one lucky visitor to win the ultimate do-over.

easy creamy s'more pie

Easy Creamy S’more Pie

This Easy Creamy S’more Pie is very simple to make and tastes like a chilly, creamy version of a s’more.  It starts with a graham cracker crust, topped with a smooth chocolate layer. It is then topped with a fluffy marshmallow layer, which has a similar consistency to the soft, pillow center of a marshmallow that has been toasted in the fire. The result is a creamy, delicious s’more pie.
This pie is made with only 5 simple ingredients, which can be kept on hand at all times. The hands on time takes less than 10 minutes, making this pie a cinch to make any time.
Easy Creamy S’more Pie pie is a refreshing treat for a hot summer day, a tasty way to end any day or share with family and friends. The recipe is easily doubled, making it perfect for get-togethers or to have one as a spare. Enjoy!

Easy Creamy S’more Pie
 
Yields: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust
  • 1½ cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1¼ cup skim milk, divided
  • 1 (1.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
  • 4 ounces COOL WHIP whipped topping
  • COOL WHIP whipped topping, optional, for garnish
  • graham cracker crumbs, optional for garnish
  • chocolate squares, optional for garnish
Instructions
  1. Stir marshmallows and ¼ cup milk together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1½ minutes and stir. Continue to microwave and stir in 30 second increments until marshmallows are melted. Refrigerate until cooled (about 40 minutes).
  2. Once marshmallow mixture has cooled, fold in 4 ounces of COOL WHIP whipped topping.
  3. Whisk together the pudding mix and remaining 1 cup of milk for about 2 minutes or until mixture thickens.
  4. Pour pudding mixture into graham cracker pie crust.
  5. Spoon dollops of marshmallow mixture on top of pudding mixture, and then gently spread using a silicone spatula.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. Decorate with additional COOL WHIP whipped topping, chocolate squares, and graham cracker crumbs, as desired.

 

Adapted from Kraft and allrecipes

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received coupons for free COOL WHIP Whipped Topping and a stipend. Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content.

What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms

Adam+Drumstick+Collage

Summer Kick Off with Drumsticks!

We have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather lately, which has put us all in summertime frame of mind.  With summer comes lots of time with family and friends over barbecues and ice cream cones.  Accordingly, we decided to celebrate the unofficial kick off to summer in all its glory, christen our new grill and try Nestle’s Drumstick Pretzel Dipped Cones.

We had a busy day planned, so I wanted dinner to be a no-fuss classic summer menu.  The low-maintenance menu for our perfect summer day included:

  *Crudites

  *Cheddar Cheese Burgers with Caramelized Shallots
  *Grilled BBQ Chicken (recipe to follow)

  *Baked Sweet Potato Rounds
  *Roasted Broccoli

  *Watermelon
  *Drumstick Pretzel Dipped Cones

I was able to prepare the burgers, marinate the chicken, chop the veggies, and cut up the watermelon, all the night before.  Thanks to Nestlé Drumstick, dessert was easy.

This left very little work to do the day-of, so we were able to enjoy our day of outdoor recreation, which included a trip to the park, blowing bubbles, and playing with Grandma and Grandpa. 

Come dinnertime, grill master Mike grilled the chicken and burgers to perfection. The roasted broccoli and sweet potato rounds were delicious and healthy accompaniments to our dinner.  We enjoyed every bite, and then it was time for dessert.

Once we opened the box of Drumsticks, that’s when the magic happened.

Everybody started talking and reliving memories of Drumsticks.  It was so fun to have different generations sharing memories of eating Drumsticks as kids.

These were the same old Drumsticks that we all remembered, except with pretzels in the chocolate coating instead of a peanut topping.  We savored every last morsel from the chocolate-pretzel covered vanilla ice cream down to the chocolate at the bottom of the cone. 

Our summer celebration went off without a hitch, from our activities to dinner to the magic of Drumsticks.  With today being the unofficial start of summer, in the months to come, I hope that you get to enjoy many perfect summer days with many magic moments!

Disclosure:  Nestlé has provided me with free product and other items in order to help with my review, but anything I receive from Nestlé does not affect my thoughts on its company or their products.

guacamole grilled cheese sandwich

Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Cheese has always been one of my favorite foods.  As a child I remember sneaking some cheese whenever my mom was in the kitchen, or simply grabbing a Kraft Single on my way out to play.  I also remember my mom always made my brother a ham and cheese sandwich using Kraft Singles, but I liked my cheese plain.  That is…until I discovered the grilled cheese sandwich.  Melty cheese on bread?  So simple yet so delicious!

When I went to college and had my own apartment, I started experimenting with grilled cheese sandwiches.  It was around this time when I noticed Kraft Singles came in more varieties than American, and I was very excited to see they came in Swiss!  I made a tasty little combo with a slice of cheddar, a slice of Swiss, some sauteed onions, all on multi-grain bread.  Grilled cheese perfection every time.  Oh…the memories!

That was all many years ago, yet my love for experimenting with grilled cheese sandwiches continues to this day.  Mike and I like to mix it up with tomatoes, sunflower seeds, onions, bacon (for him)…really nothing too crazy, but always tasty.  This time, I thought it would be fun to experiment with guacamole and make a Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

For a while now, I have had a recipe flagged for a grilled cheese made on the stove top and in the oven, without any butter.  This sounded like the perfect method for the Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  The result?  Amazing!  The stove-to-oven method gives the bread a crispy exterior without any frying or being greasy.  The cheese is perfectly melted, and the guacamole can shine right through.  This Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a fun and tasty twist on a childhood favorite.

Do you have childhood memories or a family story to share about Kraft Singles?  You can share your story at https://www.facebook.com/KraftSingles. Put your story on the map and join the conversation about Kraft Singles!

Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwich
 
Yields: 1 sandwich
Ingredients
  • 2 slices whole grain bread
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons guacamole, any variety, such as Edamame Guacamole
  • 1 or 2 slices Kraft Singles 2% Sharp Cheddar
  • Cooking Spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Spread guacamole evenly on one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Place a Kraft Single cheese slice on top of the guacamole on each slice of bread, and then flip to make a sandwich (so cheese on cheese).
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Place sandwich in pan for about 1 to 2 minutes or until bread is toasted. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  5. Transfer sandwich from skillet to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, cut in half and serve immediately.

Disclaimer:  As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for free Kraft Singles and a stipend.

no-bake peanut butter pie

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

My initial impression of this No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie was that it’s a perfect pie for summer. While I still believe that to be true, let’s be honest. This pie is so amazingly delicious (and easy!) it should not be limited to any single season or occasion.  This pie is the perfect any time pie!

We all know, some of the best desserts are quick and easy.  This No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie is no exception.  It can be whipped together in a matter of minutes, and then just popped in the freezer until time to serve.  The texture is smooth and creamy, almost like an ice cream pie. The peanut butter flavor is nicely balanced with the COOL WHIP whipped topping and cream cheese. I halved the amount sugar from the original recipe, and the result was just the right amount of sweetness.

The recipe makes two pies, one for now, one to share, or to simply make ahead for later.  It’s great for a holiday, potluck or really any day.  The ingredients will soon become pantry staples in my house (thanks to Mike!), so we can enjoy this any time pie…any time!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
 
Yields: 2 pies, 8-10 servings per pie
Ingredients
  • 1 block (8 ounces) ⅓ less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 can (14 ounces) fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 ounces COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (I used COOL WHIP FREE Whipped Topping)
  • 2 ready made pie crusts (graham cracker or chocolate cookie)
  • additional COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, for topping
  • chocolate syrup, for topping
  • peanut butter cup candies, chopped, for topping
Instructions
  1. Put cream cheese, peanut butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat on medium for about 3 minutes, or until combined and fluffy. Gradually add milk, beating until well-blended.
  2. Fold in COOL WHIP until combined.
  3. Divided mixture evenly between 2 pie crusts.
  4. Freeze pies until set (at least 2 hours hour to overnight).
  5. Before serving, remove from freezer and (if solid) let sit for 10 minutes before cutting. In the meantime, decorate as desired using COOL WHIP whipped topping, chocolate syrup, peanut butter cup candies or whatever inspires you. Then slice, serve and enjoy!

Adapted from Cooking Light

Disclaimer:  As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received coupons for free COOL WHIP Whipped Topping and a stipend. Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content.

What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms

DSC08287-1

Ooey-Gooey Peanut Butter Brownies

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Duncan Hines, I was a lucky recipient of several coupons for free Duncan Hines products. Even better…they gave me extra coupons to share with you!  I promise the entry details will be very easy, but more about that in a little bit. First, let me tell you about these brownies!

The first time I made these brownies was over 5 years ago for a party.   I had to whip something together quickly and fortunately remembered seeing this recipe using a cake mix.  Chocolate brownies, marshmallow and peanut butter – bound to be a hit, and using a cake mix ought to speed thing along, right?  So I gathered the ingredients and got to work.  The convenience of using the cake mix was very useful, and the result….these bars were fab-u-lous!  The best part of the night – I caught someone tucking a couple bars in a napkin and placing them in her purse 🙂   I took that as quite the compliment! 
Not that I needed any convincing before, but these bars sealed the deal. Always keep a box of cake mix in the pantry.  Which leads me to the coupons for a free Duncan Hines product for you.   I have a coupon for 8 of you, so you can make these brownies, stock your pantry or do whatever delicious idea tickles your fancy.  
The rules are simple – if you want a coupon, send me an e-mail with your mailing address (U.S. mailing addresses only), and I will send you a coupon.  That’s it.  The first 8 e-mails I receive with a U.S. mailing address will get a coupon.  Once the coupons are gone, I will update this post noting the offer has expired.  So go!  E-mail me at alidaskitchen@gmail.com with your mailing address and get baking!   ~ The coupon offer has now expired.

Ooey-Gooey Peanut Butter Brownies
Yields 24 servings
3/4 cup fat free sweetened condensed milk, divided
1/4 cup light butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup skim milk
1 (18.25 ounce) package Duncan Hines devil’s food cake mix
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
3/4 cup peanut butter morsels
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup condensed milk, butter, milk, cake mix, and egg white. 
  3. Spray 13 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Press two-thirds of batter into pan; pat evenly (layer will be thin).  Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, in a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup condensed milk and marshmallow creme.  Stir in peanut butter chips.
  5. Spread marshmallow mixture evenly over brownie layer.  Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over marshmallow mixture. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.  Cook completely in pan on wire rack. 

Adapted from Cooking Light

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received a coupon for a free Duncan Hines product (up to $3.99 value) for free.  I also received 8 coupons to share with you.  The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.

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Land ‘o Lakes Eggs

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program with Land ‘o Lakes, I was the lucky recipient of coupons for 2 dozen free Land ‘o Lakes eggs.  We use so many Land ‘o Lakes products, from cottage cheese to light butter to ice cream, I was definitely excited for the opportunity to use their eggs.  The Land ‘o Lakes website has a wealth of information about their eggs, including the Egg Essentials Brochure, which details their different types of eggs, as well as their benefits.  I chose the Omega 3 eggs.  Since I don’t eat any fish, I’m always looking to get my good fats from other sources.

I used the eggs in several recipes, including Cottage Cheese Pancakes, Skinny Pumpkin Pie, Peanut  Butter Surprise Muffins, Easy Spinach and Cheese Lasagna, and here are a couple pictures of others that will be posted in the coming weeks.  I absolutely love these eggs, but something happened that makes me love Land ‘o Lakes even more.
 One night I was making Pumpkin Banana Pancakes.  I opened the refrigerator to grab the eggs, and then SMACK!  The egg carton slipped out of the fridge and onto the ceramic floor.  Oh NO!  This happened once before, with a different brand of eggs (full carton, mind you) and I lost them ALL.  Now Mike was gone, Adam was asleep, I had partial pancake batter, thought I lost the rest of my eggs, and was dreading the mess.  It was 10pm, and I was tired.  I reluctantly picked up the carton, looked through the clear packaging, and….I saw only one little crack.  Could it be?  I opened the carton, picked each one up and indeed…I only lost ONE egg.  Whoever created the packaging for the Land ‘o Lakes eggs is pure genius!  It saved my eggs from a potential disaster.  Premium quality eggs, premium quality packaging, Land ‘o Lakes eggs rock!

Tomorrow I will share with you the recipe for the Pumpkin Banana Pancakes.  Adam absolutely LOVED them and so did we!

healthy chocolate peanut butter oat coconut bites

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls

 

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls are an addictive, no-bake snack, made from simple ingredients found in your pantry.  

It is no secret that I love peanut butter.  So you can imagine my excitement when I was selected to participate in the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with the National Peanut Board.  The task was to create a snack recipe using peanut butter and incorporating other ingredients found in most homes. Easy enough!

I wanted to make something healthy, convenient and easy.  I also wanted to make something with oats.  It was time to roll up my sleeves, grab ingredients from the pantry and experiment.

After adding a little here, a touch there,…voila! I finally got the results I was looking for, using simple wholesome ingredients found in my pantry.

This healthy snack could not be any easier to make. The recipe requires no baking; simply measure, mix, roll and chill. The mixture may seem a little dry at first, but as you continue to mix it comes together (or add a little more honey or peanut butter to moisten the mixture to a consistency that works for you). Rolling the balls in a coating as optional. It makes the balls a little less sticky on the fingers, and also is a fun way to vary the flavors, but it is not necessary.

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls are a healthy and delicious snack, or even a quick breakfast on-the-go, featuring one of my favorite foods of all time…peanut butter!

Healthy Peanut Butter Balls
 
Yields: 16-18 balls
Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter, natural is preferred (chunky or creamy)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
  • cocoa powder, wheat germ, powdered sugar, chopped peanuts, (optional) – for coating
Instructions
  1. Heat peanut butter and honey in the microwave until easily mixed, about 15-20 seconds. Stir until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix oats, flaxseed and coconut (if using) until combined.
  3. Add peanut butter mixture to oat mixture and stir until incorporated. (Mixture may seem a little dry at first…just keep mixing).
  4. Form a rounded tablespoonful of the combined mixture into a ball and place on a plate. Repeat until all mixture is used. Now, if you do not want to coat the balls, skip to step 6.
  5. Roll each ball in whatever coating suits your preference. Cocoa powder, powdered sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon sugar and chopped peanuts are some ideas.

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with 2 jars of Planters peanut butter, from the National Peanut Board, for free.  The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.

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Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate

I was pretty excited to find a small-ish package at my doorstep. I was expecting some samples of Ghirardelli® Intense Dark chocolates. Little did I realize that a “sample” would equate to this…

Pardon the photo quality.  This was taken from my phone to text to an out-of-town Mike.  I knew he would be excited to come home!
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Ghirardelli® Intense Dark chocolates, I was given the opportunity to taste three varieties of their Intense Dark chocolate line.  That’s right.  I got to sample top quality chocolate for free.   You don’t need to twist my arm for this one!   As a lover of all things chocolate, especially dark chocolate, this was right up my alley. 

The task was to share the pairings we put together with the chocolates. I enjoyed some plain, some with coffee, and was busy in the kitchen as well.    Well, you’ll see…let’s get started.
Twilight Delight – 72% cacao
When I first opened my chocolate bounty, Twilight Delight is the chocolate that I was immediately drawn to. After the first bite, I knew I was in trouble. The chocolate is smooth, dark, and is a perfect accompaniment with my coffee (or water, or wine, or milk, or Tuesday…you get the idea). I really wanted to just sit and eat all of this lovely chocolate plain, but the baker inside of me had other ideas.    It just so happens, that weekend I rediscovered a brownie recipe,..it was as if fate was working its little hand here.   Check out Brown Sugar Brownies for the recipe.
I really enjoyed the Twilight Delight chocolate with the caramel flavors of the brown sugar in these brownies. I also enjoyed Twlight Delight with dried apricots, coconut and pretzels.
Midnight Reverie – 86% Cacao
The darkest of the bunch, Midnight Reverie boasts 86% Cacao, and unrivaled chocolate intensity. To a dark chocolate lover like myself, it’s perfect.   Again, I really wanted to just enjoy the bar plain (and I definitely did!), but I wanted to make a dessert that would really highlight the beautiful chocolate. The idea of the darkest of dark whipped into a mousse was SO appealing, so I made Chocolate Ricotta Mousse. The Midnight Reverie chocolate was well pronounced throughout this dessert, and the result was a nice dark chocolate treat! 
I also enjoyed Midnight Reverie with marshmallows and pretzels.
Sea Salt Soiree – Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Roasted Almonds
How delicious does this sound!  There is something about the sweet-salty combination that is so appealing.  Now, I did not personally sample this chocolate because I have a tree nut allergy. *tear*  Fortunately Mike and my mom were willing and eager participants for this task!  They both devoured the chocolate.  You really can’t go wrong with dark chocolate and almonds, they say.  The sea salt puts it over the top, they say.   I will have to take their word for it.  *tear*  So for me, Sea Salt Soiree pairs best with sharing and smiles 🙂  (My taste testers thought they were perfect without accompaniment).  

So there you have if folks!  While these chocolate pair well with many accompaniments, they are quite delicious just plain.  It’s nice to have options…and chocolate!
Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with 3 bars and 2 bags of Ghirardelli chocolate for free. The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.
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Brown Sugar Brownies

Back in college, I had a recipe for Brown Sugar Brownies.  They were honestly the best brownies I’ve ever had (aside from my grandmother’s of course). I still remember them, but that was ages ago, and sadly my dear recipe is long gone.  Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was in the middle of baking and ran out of brown sugar.  Mike went on an emergency brown sugar run for me.  When he set the bag down on the counter, it happened to be recipe-side up (hmm…do you think that was intentional?).  What did I see?  Brown Sugar Brownies!

Quick and easy to prepare, this recipe makes a delicious brownie that is more fudgy than cakey.  In fact, they are light and airy and almost melt in your mouth.  Now, I used dark chocolate that I received from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Ghiardelli.  This would be delicious using unsweetened per the original recipe, but I was pleasantly susprised at the results with what I used.  I also used light butter, which has half the fat and calories of regular butter.  I like using light butter when I can, because if it works why not, right? 

Now for the best part.  If I told you these brownies were under 115 calories each, would you believe it?  I hardly believed it myself!  I did the calculation a few days after making them (and after I had already eaten a few bars).  I was eating half a brownie each time because I expected they would come in a lot higher.   I did the calculation once, checked it again.  It’s true.  These babies clock in around 112!

Brown Sugar Brownies
Yields 16 brownies

1/2 cup (1 stick) light butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces unsweetened OR dark chocolate (such as Ghirardelli Twilight Delight), melted, cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
powdered sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until combined.
  3. Beat in eggs, adding one at at time. 
  4. Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
  5. Gently fold in flour, until combined.
  6. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Cut into squares, and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Adapted from back of sugar bag (recipe found here here)

Disclaimer: While this is not my formal write up of my experience with Ghirardelli chocolate, I feel obligated to disclose the following:  “As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with Ghirardelli chocolate for free.  The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.”  I will be sharing a full write up of my experience later this week. 

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Vegetable Quichetata with Roasted Garlic Hummus and Goat Cheese

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Sabra, I was invited to create an original recipe suitable for a cocktail party using Sabra hummus.  My head has been swirling with several tasty ideas ever since, and I am very excited to share with you my creation!

We all know the basic difference between a crustless quiche and a frittata.  A crustless quiche is made with milk (or cream or half & half) and mixed with your veggies/meats.  A frittata is made with no milk and with whatever mix-ins you want to use.

Well, when you use hummus, but no milk, is the hummus a substitute for the milk, or is it considered a mix-in?  The answer wasn’t quite clear, so I married the two, and the ‘Quichetata’ was born!

In this variation of a Quichetata, I used Sabra’s Roasted Garlic hummus, spinach, roasted red pepper and goat cheese.  It is amazing how well you can really taste the hummus, which is good and garlicky, and balances nicely with flavors of the goat cheese and vegetables.  The result is fabulous.  Made in a mini-muffin pan, these Quichetatas are the perfect hot h’ors d’oeuvres for your next cocktail party, holiday party, open house or brunch.

Hummus Quichetata
Yields 24 mini-muffin-size quichetatas

8 large eggs
6 tablespoons Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese, plus additional for topping
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray 2 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray.  Set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and hummus together until combined.  Add roasted red pepper, spinach and goat cheese, whisking until incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
  3. Distribute egg mixture evenly among mini muffin cups (cups will be full).  Sprinkle additional goat cheese over each cup.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until eggs are set.  Serve immediately. 

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was given Sabra’s hummus for free.  The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.

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    Rosemary Parmesan Dipping Oil & Crisco Olive Oils

    As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I got the opportunity to sample three olive oils from Crisco: Light Tasting, Pure and 100% Extra Virgin.  Since I use olive oil often, I was excited to give them a try.  But then I wondered…what would I possible do with these three olive oils?  What’s the difference? 

    Well, thanks to the handy little labels on each bottle, Crisco answered that very question for me and then some.  Light Tasting is best for frying, baking and as an everyday cooking oil.  Pure is best for grilling, sauteing and marinades.  100% Extra Virgin is best for dipping, dressing and sauces.  To give a true test, I decided to remake a couple of old favorite recipes using Light Tasting and Pure, and to make a new recipe for you using 100% Extra Virgin.

    Light Tasting

    Since Crisco’s Light Tasting olive oil is great for baked goods, I decided to remake my Rosemary Cornbread, but this time as muffins.  The oil had little to no fragrance and was otherwise very nice to use.  The result?  These muffins were fantastic!  This was the best batch of Rosemary Cornbread yet, so I’m very pleased with the Light Tasting olive oil. 


    Pure

    Given that Crisco’s Pure olive oil is ideal for marinating and grilling, it will definitely be popular around this house.  I decided to remake Mustard Rosemary Chicken, but this time we grilled the marinated chicken breasts (i.e. not on skewers).  The result?  Delicious!  We both remarked about how this chicken was one of the best we’ve had.  Another score using Crisco’s Pure olive oil!


    100% Extra Virgin

    Crisco’s 100% Extra Virgin olive oil is best for dipping, so what better way to test this than by making a dipping oil.  This recipe was inspired by a little pamphlet that came with the oils.  Rosemary Parmesan Dipping Oil is simple, quick and easy to make, and tastes incredible!  Three for three…thanks Crisco!

    Rosemary Parmesan Dipping Oil
    Yields 4 servings

    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, such as Crisco® 100 % Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced (or grated)
    Pinch salt
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
    1-2 tablespoons grated or finely shredded Parmesan cheese
    Crusty French or Italian Bread

    1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.
    2. Pour into serving saucer(s) and add Parmesan cheese. 
    3. Serve with crusty bread. 

    Adapted from Crisco pamphlet

    Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with a bottle of each of the above named Crisco olive oils for free.  The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.