Showing posts with label collective bias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label collective bias. Show all posts

9.15.2013

Fall Dessert: Oatmeal Cookie Apple Pie Bake

This Apple and Oatmeal Cookie Fall dessert is brought to you by Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community and Smart and Final.

Fall is coming!
Fall is coming!
To me that means crisp sunny days...
pumpkins...warm sweaters...colorful leaves...
apples...and baking!
Yes, Fall makes me want to bake...and bake...and bake.

Oatmeal Cookie Apple Pie Bake by 504 Main #ChooseSmart #shop

Sometimes there is too much happening in my life to bake a treat completely from scratch, but yet I still want to make something with that special homemade feel. For that reason, I challenged myself to create a go-to Fall dessert that was totally yummy, but also super easy to make. I purchased First Street Bakery Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, one of Smart and Final's pre-made bakery items!

I have made dessert with cookie crusts before...but man oh man it takes time.
By using the First Street Bakery Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, I was able to skip quite a few steps, and save on time and ingredients!
Perfecto!

8.03.2012

Stepping Out Of His Comfort Zone With #MaLoUnderwear

It is back to school time here.
To me that means new socks and underwear for everyone along
with the backpacks, school supplies, and clothing.
My son has a very difficult time understanding
or caring why new socks and underwear are a part of this "package"...
but I am the mom...so I win!
And I decided to surprise him and get him to step out of his comfort zone.


Mario Lopez has a new line of underwear at Target  - MaLo Underwear - and I was given the opportunity to shop this line and let you know what I think....
or more importantly what one of the men in my life thinks.

Before I go on...I just have to tell you I have met Mario Lopez before.
Anyone remember that show he was on back in the early 2000 with Dick Clark and Danny Bonaduce? Yep, I was on that show...and they were all very nice.

4.30.2012

Sandra's Summer Carnival in NYC #bysandralee

Last week I jumped on a plane and headed to
NYC for Sandra Lee's Summer Carnival.
Now, I have come and gone and
am full of inspiration and amazing memories.
Prior to leaving I received an invitation with
a cute Carnival-inspired ticket, a note from Sandra Lee,
and oven mit from Sandra's collection.

There is so much to share
I will be splitting up my posts and show you the
professional photos and some recipes later this week.
But this is a great overview of the carnival.
(I am regretting not bringing the bigger, better camera...
I wish my photos were better)

This event was held to celebrate the launch of Sandra's home collection, Sandra by Sandra Lee, which is available in Sears and Kmart stores. It was a great group - about 20 bloggers, the talented teams from Sears and Kmart and of course Sandra Lee.

2.01.2012

Mud Pie Ice Cream with Fudge Swirl! #MyBaristaMoment

I don't think I have ever tried to hide the fact that I LOVE coffee - in all forms - hot mochas, iced coffee, blended coffee concoctions, and even, simply, with cream and sugar.

But, you know what I really love?
When you combine coffee and ice cream!
Oh yeah, I am talking about Mud Pie ice Cream!


I have made a pledge to myself to buy coffee out a little less
and make yummy sweet smelling coffee at home.
Recently I had the opportunity to try Smart and Final's Ambiance...
and I am loving it! I am enjoying a good, quality cup of coffee at my house.

I picked up the Ambiance Ground Coffee in Kona Style, Gourmet Supreme, and Italian Roast. I also picked up some Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals too (Instant Coffee is the key to my morning "at home" mochas, and I was so excited to see this and at a great price!). Head on over to google+ to read all about my shopping experience!


After enjoying the flavors of the coffee, I decided it was time to create a sweet masterpiece! A sweet, frozen masterpiece, as in ICE CREAM!  



Here is how to make...
Mud Pie Ice Cream
(seriously who cares if it is cold outside...this is too good to wait for!)


Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons of Ambiance Kona Blend Coffee, brewed (see directions)
  • 1 cup First Street Whole Milk, chilled
  • 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream, chilled
  • 3/4 cups First Street Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups First Street sliced almonds, toasted
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons First Street Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tablespoons, Hot Fudge Sauce
  • 12 Oreos (with cream scrapped out) and crushed. You can use chocolate wafer cookies - we prefer the Oreos.



Equipment

  • Ice cream maker (mine has a freezer bowl..if yours does make sure it has been frozen for 12-14 hours)
  • Mixer
  • Basic kitchen supplies (spatula, measuring cups, measuring spoons, whisk)



COOK IT!

  • Roast Almonds: (I did this in my toaster oven) Preheat oven to 400F, place 1 1/2 cups almonds on a cookie sheet ( try to get them single layer); Place cookie sheet in oven for about 5 minutes; check for doneness; remove or toast for another 1 to 2 minutes.


  • Scrape centers out of Oreos and crush (big pieces are OK)
  • Brew Coffee: I used Kona Style Coffee in a French Press. I made this coffee extra strong for the flavor in the ice cream. Use 3 heaping Tablespoons of Kona Style Ground Coffee in French Press; boil water; add 1 cup boiling water; let brew for 5 minutes or so (you can brew for longer...a strong coffee is good!).


  • Take 1 Cup Whole Milk, and slowly add the 3 Tablespoons of hot coffee to it, while stirring. You will end up with about 2 cups of liquid.


  • Combine: Coffee/Milk mixture, heavy cream, Vanilla extract, 3/4 sugar, Cocoa Powder. I tried mixing with a whisk, but found it easier to get a good mix using my stand mixer. Mix thoroughly.



  • Break out the freezer bowl and place it on the ice cream maker.
  • Add the mixture into the ice cream freezer bowl. Place mixer and lid on ice cream maker.
  • Turn on and let run for 20 to 30 minutes. Check consistency at 20 minutes. I ran mine for 30 minutes.
  • While still mixing, add in 1 cup of the toasted almonds and the crushed Oreo cookies. Let them just mix in. (Then stop machine.)


  • I LOVE these containers from Smart and Final and have used them for years. 10 oz food container and vented paper lids. They are remarkable for ice cream and also work well for soups and other yumminess.


  • This recipe makes either 3 very full pints or 4 semi-full pints. I choose to use 4. Place 2-3 spoonfuls of ice cream in each container. Divide remaining ice cream among the containers.
  • Heat the Hot Fudge for about 15 second - just enough to make it flow.
  • Place the end of a spoon in the center of the pint.
  • Take 1 Tablespoon of the hot fudge and using the spoon as a guide (it kind of makes a hole in the ice cream) pour the hot fudge in the hole. (remove spoon).


  • Sprinkle toasted almonds on the top of the ice cream.
  • Let freeze up. 

Look at that!
Crushed chocolate cookie, a fudge center,
and toasted almond in a delicious coffee ice cream!


When ready...ENJOY!
And I do mean ENJOY!

This ice cream is a heavily requested item...
especially when placed in a chocolate cookie crust and served as Mud Pie!

So, I am off to enjoy a cup of Kona and I must mention these adorable Hot Beverage Sprinkles (cinnamon and mini marshmallows!) from Ambiance too..perfect for setting up a fun coffee bar at your next girlfriend get together!


Now, here is a deal for ya!
IF YOU SWITCH to Ambiance coffee from Smart & Final, go to 2012 Ambiance Switch Challengeenter the code on the receipt from your purchase of Ambiance and be entered to win some of these amazing prizes:
First Prize (one grand prize per week, 3 total!): DeLonghi BCO264B Cafe Nero Combo Coffee/Espresso Maker, a $200 value!, or one of six $50 SmartCash cards (Two winners per week, 6 winners total)


PLUS visitors to the 2012 Ambiance Switch Challenge will be able to vote for their favorite Ambiance Coffee recipe (that means me, right???) and
EVERYONE who votes will be entered for a chance to win $50 worth of Ambiance products! 
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This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias #CBias. Opinions are my own and recipes are original.







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1.11.2012

Smiley Chicken! Shop at Save Mart and Save at the Pump with Fuel Rewards

Each member of my family likes their food slightly different - hubby requests no green stuff, kids like green stuff...on the side and nothing too spicy, and I like the green stuff - mainly the green stuff. So, when I cook, I tend to make food that is sort of a blank canvas - meaning I prepare meals that generally appeal to everyone and then each "individual" can add their own special touch. (I also like to cook so that we have leftovers for lunch the next day.)
I have a new appreciation for food bloggers with pretty food photos!


On Sunday it was chilly and the family was craving some warm yummy (but healthy) comfort food for dinner. I am not even sure what to call this dish - but it must have a name...right? It is a chicken and rice dish and it makes everyone happy…maybe I should call it Smiley Chicken?

This dish is pretty easy to prepare. I generally have the foundation of the meal on hand – broth, herbs, sea salt, black pepper, short grain brown rice, and stewed tomatoes - they are mainstays in my pantry. We did however need the star of the show – the chicken - and some fresh veggies to go with it. 

Jules and I headed to Save Mart to pick up what we needed. I shop at Save Mart regularly because I like the store and it is conveniently located...and now they have the Fuel Rewards Program and I LOVE it! I have been using it since they began offering it.  For every $50 I spend (on qualifying purchases), I earn 5 cents a gallon at the fuel pump…not bad! And, since I shop at Save Mart all the time, that adds up quick! The Fuel Rewards program has saved me a lot of money…my favorite was the first time I used it and saved 50 cents a gallon on gas – oh yeah that is impressive! 

AND…guess what I just learned…I hopped on over to their web site and discovered I can also earn Fuel Rewards points by shopping at over 700 online shops that are part of the Fuel Rewards Network – many of the stores I shop at already. You can read all about my shopping trip over in my google+ story about Save Mart and the Fuel Rewards Program!
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Now let's get to the Smiley Chicken!
This is a versatile dish that you can change up with different herbs and spices to your liking. If I had it my way, there would be spinach incorporated into this dish...
but I lost that argument!
(There is no reason for the "smiley" part -
other than it makes my kids and hubby smile when I make it)


Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (or more if you'd like) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts or drumsticks too)
  • 2 cups (uncooked) short grain brown rice (you can use long grain or sub for white rice, just adjust your cooking time)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (low sodium, organic)
  • 1 cup white wine OR 1 additional cup Chicken broth
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (mine happen to be Mexican-style)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Olde Thompson Chicken Grilling Seasoning
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • OPTIONAL: (not used in these photos due to protest) Spinach



Cook It!

  • Start your rice - add 4 cups of water, a sprinkle of salt, and 2 cups of rice to a large sauce pan and cook for approximately 30 minutes.
  • You want the rice to be slightly under done as you will be adding it to the chicken pan soon.
  • Chop red onion.
  • Chop garlic.
  • Wash and pat dry your chicken thighs.


  • Season with sea salt, pepper and Olde Thompson Chicken Grilling Seasoning (feel free to add a different seasoning...but my family loves this one!).


  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Add chopped garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add chopped red onion and cook for another minute.
  • Add chicken and brown on each side, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Add 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup white wine (or 2 cups of chicken broth).


  • Add one can stewed tomatoes.
  • Simmer for about 15 minutes over low heat
  • If your rice has cooked for 30 minutes, add in the rice and let simmer and absorb liquid with the chicken. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat about 15 minutes. Check for done-ness of rice and chicken, if necessary cook a little longer (continue to test in small increments of time). You may add some additional broth to scoot the rice along, if necessary.


OPTIONAL: after about 10 minutes, I would add some spinach! YUM! 


Also, you can make it different every time- think about adding peas, eggplant, spinach, even some turkey sausage!



I served this meal with steamed broccoli with a touch of fresh lemon juice and sea salt and I also made up a broccoli salad (the kids LOVE this!)

So, that is it, Smiley Chicken - 
a simple meal that you change up!
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    • This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. This is an original recipe and all opinions are my own. #cbias

12.20.2011

Wrap Up Your Holiday! Elmer's Holiday #GlueNGlitter

I am the queen of Christmas wrapping...
procrastination!
Every year I manage to squeak out a few tags and cards before the deadline...and every year I say I am going to wrap beautiful packages...
and every year I fail...until NOW!

Thanks to Elmer's and #gluenglitter  and a quick trip to Walmart, 
I got a jump start on my wrapping...
and it is looking G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!
I had so many ideas running through my head (as usual).
I was going for a plaid/ruffle/dot sort of theme -
ya know, some boyish looks and some girlish looks (gotta keep the kiddos happy)...
but then I started creating and this little ensemble is what fell into place.
The best part, my little one created right along side me
decorating the present she picked out for her brother.

The one thing that did remain constant is a basic "background" for my look. I have used Kraft Paper to wrap presents since the 80's! So I figured this was the perfect starting point. I also picked up some really inexpensive red and white dot paper while I was at Walmart - just to add a little color!

Of course I picked up some of my favorite Elmer's and X-ACTO supplies while I was there...plus a few more things (of course!). Have you checked out the selection of Elmer's and X-ACTO products at your local Walmart? Walmart has an amazing and complete selection of these products...I seem to discover a new product each time I shop! And lots of people must be shopping  - this wall was well shopped!

You can read all about my shopping trip on google+

Did you know Elmer's is having a  "Win the Wall" contest too?
Click on their button down on the bottom of my post to enter to win the wall of Elmer's! Take a look at that wall...wouldn't that be awesome! 

Now let's wrap!
(Not everything I used is in this photo)
SUPPLIES


DIY IT!
Wrap it: I used a combination of the Kraft Paper and the dot wrapping paper to wrap the gifts. They all look pretty now because I also used Elmer's Permanent Scrapbooking Tape - it is double-sided, so it is perfect for wrapping pretty presents! See no ugly tape lines!


DIY Flowers
1. Use the X-ACTO Circle Cutter and cut:
5 - 3" circles in red
5 - 2" circles in Kraft Paper
5 - 1" circles in white

2. Ink the edges of each circle - it is not supposed to be perfect and if you prefer a "cleaner" look, you can skip this step. (you could also brush on glitter now if you want sparkle)
3. Use the Precision Tip Scissors to make fringe. If necessary use the next smallest circle and center with the larger circle; trace lightly around the smaller circle with pencil - this is a guide for how deep to cut in to make fringe. I did this for the first few and then just was able to "eyeball" how far I could cut for the rest (it is not science!). With the Precision Tip Scissors make small cuts into the center of the circle, using the pencil line as a guide to not cut too far. Make cuts all around the circles, each one, in each color.

4. Give the flower some dimension by wrapping the fringe around a pencil to curl it up.
5. To create my flowers, I used the Foam Mounting Tape - I felt like that little bit of foam gave a nice dimension to the flowers and brought them to life. Cut: 5 1/4" and 5 1/2" sections of the Foam Mounting Tape. Place the 1/2" piece in the center of the red circle; remove backing. Place the Kraft paper circle on top of the Foam Mounting Tape, centered. Apply the 1/4" pieces of Foam Mounting Tape to the top center of the Kraft paper circle, remove backing. Apply the white circle to the Foam Mounting Tape. Press down to adhere.

6. Use the Dual Tip Flexible Glue Pen to apply a small amount of glue to the center of each flower (on the white circle); add rhinestone/gems. Let dry.


7. (Optional) Finish flowers by apply glue with a CraftBond Glue Stick to the back side of the flower; affix on leaf; apply more glue; affix other leaf.

DIY LEAVES
1L. Cut leaves from green cardstock using the  Decorative Shapes Template and a Craft Swivel Knife. I have never used the swivel knife before- it took a minute to get used to the feel/flow, but after that it was great!
2L. Ink the edges of the leaves.

DIY BANDS/PAPER RIBBON
1B. For the larger Kraft Paper band, measure off a 4" wide strip on the Kraft paper.
2B. Align the desired edge of the Decorative Shapes Template to the line and using the Craft Swivel Knife, cut and edge.
3B. When necessary, re-position template to continue with the length of the band.
4B. Repeat on the opposite side.
5B. For the smaller band, measure off a 1 1/4" strip of paper. Using the Decorative Edge Scissors (in your choice of edging), cut each side of the strip to create a smaller band.

DIY PLEAT
1P. Measure a length of wrapping paper 6" wide
2P. Cut one side with scissors fold top half over 1"
3P. Cut the other side with Decorative Edge Scissors
4P. Beginning at one side, make 1/2" pleats all across the length of the paper.
5P. Use Glue Spots to hold pleats in place, by placing one Glue Spot in the fold of each pleat.
6P. You may need to make multiple length of pleats to get the desired length.

DIY STARS
1S. Cut star shape out of green cardstock using the Decorative Shapes Template and Craft Swivel Knife; Ink the edges of the star.


2S. Use the X-ACTO Circle Cutter and cut:
3 - 2" circles in red
3 - 1 1/2" circles in Kraft Paper
3 - 1" circles in white

3S. Ink edges

4S. Fringe edges of the circle using the Precision Tip Scissors, See Step 4.

5S. Construct stars using the Foam Mounting Tape and the same method as Step 5.

6S. Apply rhinestone, see Step 6.

TO ADORN PACKAGES
A. You can simply use a glue stick, Foam Mounting Tape, or Glue Spots to place multiple flowers all over the package. (not shown)

B. RIBBON: Cut a length of decorative ribbon long enough to wrap around the package. Use a glue stick or Glue Spots to place the ribbon about 1/3 way down the package and hold in place; Apply approximately 1" of Foam Mounting Tape to the back of the flower and then place on the ribbon. (back, center)


C. WIDE BAND AND FLOWER: After cutting wide band of Kraft paper, wrap around the package and secure on the back side using a CraftBond Glue Stick or Glue Spots; place flower/leaf combination on top of the band using 1" of Foam Mounting Tape. (shown, left)


D. PLEATS: Apply Glue Stick to the top back edge of the pleated paper; place in the desired position on the package - begin on the front and then wrap around the sides. Secure with CraftBond Glue Stick. Apply the smaller band of green cardstock with glue stick; cover band with glue, and line up top edge of pleat and band; press down; wrap around package and affix with glue stick. Place flower using the Foam Mounting Tape in desired position. (shown, right)



STARS: Place a length of ribbon vertically on the package and affix with Glue Spots or Glue Stick. Use the Elmer's CraftBond Dual Tip Flexible Pen and apply glue to three positions on the ribbon. Set the stars on the glue and let dry.


There ya have it...some pretty packages...
all ready to go under the Christmas tree.
No one will believe my wrapping is done...
until they read this post!


Are you wrapped and ready to go?????

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Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #ElmersHoliday #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias. All projects and all opinions are my own.