Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Are Perfect For Holiday Gatherings #ShareTheHoliday #shop #CBias

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs Are Perfect For Holiday Gatherings

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareTheHoliday #CollectiveBias

The holidays are in full swing, with Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas shortly after.  This time of year usually means lots of holiday parties and different gatherings.  One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is to host a cookie exchange with my family and close friends.  I get to try new cookie recipes, and we all get to take home some delicious treats.

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My sister and I are planning our family cookie exchange this year and we’ve been looking for creative ways for our guests to take home their baked goods.  We were shopping in Walmart and came across the perfect solution.

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We found these Rubbermaid TakeAlongs on an end cap close to the other holiday offerings at the store.  Holiday TakeAlongs come in limited edition red, green and prints for the holidays and will be available in-store: 10/29 – 12/24.  I could believe the value of these products when I found them, especially since they come in multiple shapes and sizes.

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takealongs

The bigger TakeAlongs come in a 2 or 2 pack.  Most of the average size ones were in 4 packs.  I even found some in an 8 pack that would be perfect for guests at the cookie exchange to take home some goodies with them.  The best thing about these products is that once our guests go home they can wash and reuse the TakeAlongs multiple times.

TakeAlongs product features:

  • Quik Clik Seal™ keeps your food secure and helps prevent spills, you know it’s secure when you hear the clik.
  • The soft lid grips the container tightly for a very secure seal, and the large tab makes it easy to open.
  • You can use TakeAlongs in the microwave, it’s also top rack dishwasher and freezer safe.

These TakeAlongs are an incredible value at $3.97 a package.  I’ve been packing lunch for my husband and he always end up leaving his containers at work.  With these I don’t have to stress about him leaving them behind because of the great value.  The larger size TakeAlongs were able to hold enough food for our whole family easily.  They work great for serving dinner because once you’re done eating you just pop on the lid and store the leftovers in the refrigrator.  I can’t believe I haven’t been using these in the past.

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I mentioned our cookie exchange so I wanted to share one of the recipes we’ll be sharing with guests.  I’m making a Peach Preserve Thumbprint Cookie as one of my contributions.  What I like about a thumbprint cookie is that it’s such a blank canvas.  You can put just about any filling in the cookie shell you plan to use.  I like using preserves, jams, and jellies, but you can use any kind of filling for that middle section.

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The basic cookie recipe is really simple, all you need is butter or margarine, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla extract.

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Start by creaming the butter/margarine and sugar together.  Since you are using it cold it will take a little time to cream together.

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Once it’s creamed add in the flour and salt.  The mix will seem crumbly and try at first but let it mix together properly and you’ll end up with a soft dough.

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Roll the dough into small ball and then use your thumb to make and indentation in the dough.  I like using a measuring spoon because it gives me a nice round section to put the preserves.

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Once you’ve spooned the preserves in the dough place in the refrigrator for at least 20 minutes so the dough is chilled.  Bake in a preheated oven for 16 minutes.

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Once the cookies have baked and cooled, make the icing for the cookies.  Store these in an air tight container.

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For more holiday inspiration click here.  Be sure to check your Walmart for these Rubbermaid Holiday TakeAlongs the next time you’re shopping.  Connect with Rubbermain on Facebook and Instagram for brand updates and more.

 

Easy After School Snacks Created with NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Powder #StirImagination #ad

Easy After School Snacks Created with NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Powder

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StirImagination #CollectiveBias

Growing up in Trinidad as a little girl, I remember my mother making us chocolate milk with NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Powder.  It was always a delicious treat, and she would always remind us about not eating it straight from the package.  What can I say we were kids and just loved the flavor. Now that I’m a mother, I’m always looking for products I remember from my own childhood.  I choose these because they are familiar, they bring back memories of my childhood, and because they have my mom’s stamp of approval.

Nesquik

My oldest is a social butterfly, so she prefers to have breakfast at school.  Eating at school gives her the opportunity to see her friends who are no longer in her classes.  As a mom I want them to eat well and make sure they are getting the nutrition they need.  Nesquik contains seven essential vitamins and minerals, and has 45% less sugar that leading chocolate syrup brands. With no artificial colors or flavor, and 8g of protein when combined with 8 fluid ounces of low-fat milk, using Nesquik powder for chocolate milk is the only choice for me.

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Last week Nesquik powder was on sale at Target so we headed to the store to stock up on some canisters for the first few weeks of school.  I paid $3.48 for the 18.7 ounce canister.  That’s an awesome price and starting 9/11/2016 through 9/24/2016 you can save 30% off the small (10.9 oz) canister of Nesquik powder.  Take advantage of the Neqsuik Powder cartweel offer by visiting the app on your phone or adding it directly on the Target website.

By the time my kids get home from school they are looking for a snack.  Thanks to Nesquik I now have two great after school snacks to help fuel them back up before they start working on homework, daily reading, small chores around the house, and enjoying some time outside before dinner.  I love baking, and brownies are a popular snack for the kids.  It was only natural to try it in my favorite recipe.  It was so easy to make and the kids helped as well.

Nesquik Brownies Hero

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups NESTLÉ NESQUIK Chocolate Flavor Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Nesquik Brownies (3)

Start by melting the butter and setting aside so it’s not hot when you add it to your other ingredients.  While the butter is melting preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.  I measured out my other ingredients ahead of time.  I also take my eggs out early so they get to room temperature, which is ideal for baking.

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Combine the wet ingredients starting with the sugar, butter and water in large bowl; stir well. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.  Don’t over mix the batter.  If you’re using a mixer it only takes about a minute or two.

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Combine flour, Nesquik, baking powder and salt in medium bowl,  Mix until it’s well combined.  If you prefer a brownie with a fine cakey texture sift your flour after measuring out and then fold in the Nesquik, baking powder and salt.  If you bake with margarine you can skip the salt.

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Nesquik Brownies (9)

Stir the flour and Nesquik mixture into the sugar mix, stirring until it’s well combined.

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Spread into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.  Don’t overbake or the brownie will dry out.  Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars and enjoy.

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I cut my brownies into small cubes, so this one recipe yielded about 24 brownie squares for me.  The kids get a square for snack for lunch at school and one square for an after school snack.  This batch will last us the whole week as long and hubby doesn’t have a sweet tooth.  You can also freeze these so they last longer.  Be sure to store them in an air tight container so it stays fresh all week.

Nesquik Chocolate Frosted Shake

The next recipe we used our Nesquik powder for was a frozen treat.  You probably already have all the ingredients on hand and even if you don’t they are easy to find.  For this you just need Nesquik Powder, Vanilla Ice-Cream, and milk.

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You are free to use any brand of ice cream you choose.  You can also choose the amount of ice cream, milk, and Nesquik you want for the perfect recipe.  If you want a good staring guide start with:

  • 2 cups of vanilla ice cream
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 6 tablespoons of Nesquik

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Start by scooping the ice cream into your blender.  You can measure out the two cups or eyeball the amount you put in the blender.  Make sure you let the ice cream sit for a minute or two on the counter so it’s easier to scoop.  Add the milk to the ice cream in the blender.

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Finish by adding the Nesquik powder to the blender and turn on to combine them all together.  Keep blending until it’s fully combined and it’s a nice smooth consistency.

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You can enjoy this as a frozen treat in a bowl or as a shake in a cup.  My daughter ate hers in a bowl but my husband and son drank there’s as a shake.

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You an even take it to another level by adding mix ins.  I put a piece of brownie in mines, but the possibilities are endless.  You can also use the NESTLÉ® NESQUIK® Powder Strawberry flavor to create either of these recipes.

Don’t forget to shop Target next week from 9/11 through 9/24 for the special cartwheel Nesquik Powder offer to save 30% on the small 10.9 oz canister.  Visit Nequik on Pinterest for more recipes and like them on Facebook to keep up to date with any of their special offers.

Celebrating National Strawberry Month: Strawberry Shortcake Donut

Celebrating National Strawberry Month:

Strawberry Shortcake Donut

May is National Strawberry Month and I’m super excited to share that I was chosen an ambassador for Strawberry Shortcake.  I’m super excited about the partnership because it means I get to share some awesome things with you all about Strawberry Shortcake and her whole gang, delicious recipes, fun giveaways, and more.  This is my first month of the six month partnership and I’m starting off my sharing with you an easy treat that’s sure to satisfy the crowd – Strawberry Shortcake Donut.

Strawberry Shortcake

Last week my first ambassador kit arrived in the mail, right before I was heading out the door for a conference, included were all the items I needed to celebrate National Strawberry Month including a semi-homemade recipes for Strawberry Shortcake Donuts.  Now that I’m back I was able to open up my kit to see what goodies were included.

Strawberry Shortcake Ambassador Program Post 1 (2)

Strawberry Shortcake Ambassador Program Post 1 (3)

Included in my kit was supplies to decorate my donuts, a Strawberry Shortcake comic book, a digital code for Strawberry Shortcake movie: Sweet Sunshine Adventures, and a Classic Strawberry Shortcake Doll.  I couldn’t wait to get into my box of goodies and make a fun desert for the family to enjoy.  The directions in my kit called for either pre-made donuts or to bake your own.  I love baking so I had to try baking a cake ‘donut’ for our recipe.

Shortcake Donut Recipe 
– 12 Plain Cake Donuts
– 6 Cups Whipped Cream
– 1 lb of Fresh Strawberries (quartered)
– 1 Bottle pink Premium Gel Color by DecoPac
– Strawberry Shortcake Friends Forever Cupcake Rings

1. Bake or buy pre-made plain cake donuts. Cut each donut in half.
2. Tint whipped cream pink, and layer onto bottom half of each donut.
3. Place quartered strawberries on top of whipped cream, then sandwhich with the top half of each donut.
4. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a Strawberry Shortcake Friends Forever Cupcake Ring.

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I’ve had this baking pan since last year and I figured it would be perfect for creating my own version of a donut.  The pan made six and I found a great sponge cake recipe online that I figured would work great for the recipe.  The fun thing about this recipe is you can customize it to fit you.  Buying pre-made donuts work just as well as baking your own.

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Once the cake was in the oven I cut up my strawberries into pieces, poured some sugar on it because we prefer it that way and included a few drops of the DecoPac color.  We like our berries to have a red tint. You don’t have to do that at all.  You can keep your strawberries fresh like the directions above, or just a pre-made gel.  It’s really up to you.

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You can choose to decorate your donut anyway you want, adding as much strawberries and whipped cream as you would like.

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My son was excited about getting his hands on the donut and he didn’t want to share with Strawberry Shortcake either.  LOL.  To help you celebrate National Strawberry Month, I have a cool giveaway thanks to my friend Strawberry Shortcake.

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One lucky reader will win this Strawberry Shortcake National Strawberry Month Prize Pack, to help them celebrate all things strawberry this month (or next).  The giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older.  The giveaway ends May 25th, 2016.  Enter via the tool below.

Strawberry Shortcake Prize Pack

Julie’s Freebies & Sweepstakes

Trinidad Coconut Roll Recipe

Trinidad Coconut Roll Recipe

Growing up in Trinidad we didn’t buy much candies.  It just wasn’t in our family’s budget to get expensive candies.  One thing I remember growing up there is the number of sweets my mom used to bake for us every week.  My dad however was always planting all kinds of fruit trees so we always had something to snack on.

Trinidad coconut roll

This year for Christmas my sister challenged us to focus on recipes that reminded us of home.  Ones we grew up with and enjoyed all year round.  She however had a handy Carribbean recipes cookbook and I only had my Coconut Milk Fudge recipe that I’ve mastered, well aside from Curry Chicken.  However for family occasions my mom always makes the Curry Chicken and fudge was a no-brainer for me.  I wanted to try something different so I started searching the web for a recipe for coconut tarts.

Living in Trinidad we had two coconut trees in our yard, so we would use freshly grated coconuts for this recipe but since I didn’t want to waste time looking for them in the store I purchased Baker’s Grated Coconut in the packs.  It worked perfectly with the recipe.

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Dough rolled out with coconut filling

The key to pulling this recipe off well is the amazing short dough crust.  When I started looking for recipes online I could only find tarts like mini tarts baked similar to pie.  That wasn’t what I wanted.  I couldn’t rely on my mom for help with the recipe because since her stroke, she doesn’t remember most of the meals she prepared back when we lived there.  I searched and searched till I found the perfect recipe I could tweak to make the dough for the rolls.

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Coconut Roll ready for the oven

With this dough you can either use it to make rolls or cut them in rounds to make tarts.  I liked making the rolls because it seemed like I ended up with more.  One bit and I was instantly back in Trinidad, as a young girl in my mother’s kitchen.

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I couldn’t wait to take these to my family’s Christmas dinner.  I knew they would be a hit with my family.  My brother was the first to take a roll, since he had to leave early.  Once everyone tasted them they were gone before I knew it.

These are super easy to make and they store well in an air tight container.  It doesn’t require to many ingredients, so it’s a very affordable treat to make for your family.  Check out the recipe below and if you grew up on these and try the recipe let me know how it goes.

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Soft Baked Peppermint Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Soft Baked Peppermint Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Our family cookie exchange is quickly approaching and I’ve been looking for different recipes to try with the family.  I plan to make a Twix Cookie for the first time (be sure to check back for that recipe), some sweet treats we had growing up as kids in Trinidad.  I recently tried baking with peppermint bark and it was an amazing cookie so while shopping at Safeway I saw they had a white chocolate peppermint bar on sale.  I grabbed it not knowing what recipe I would use it for.  I ended up finding a soft baked sugar cookie recipe and decided to change it up a bit.

Cookie

I loved baking this cookie and mailing it off to my online cookie exchange recipient, it’s perfect for shipping because it stays soft and it can easily be warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds to make ti soft and chewy again.  It’s not heavily minty either.  To me it was the right balance of peppermint.  I would recommend though using the food processor to cut up the chocolate in to really small pieces or using a knife.  I broke mines up by hand and it was chunky.

Peppermint Bark Sugar Cookies (2)

This dough requires refrigeration, at least two hours before baking so you can make it ahead of time and pop into the oven when you’re ready to bake.  You can use the base of this recipe to create all kinds of sugar cookie goodies.  I didn’t roll in sugar but you certainly can to make it more like a sugar cookie you are used to making.  Here’s the recipe so you can give these soft baked cookies a try and customize it to you liking.

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Right now you can stock up on all your baking needs at Safeway stores.  Get the basics like flour, sugar, chips, and eggs at great prices.  To see all the current specials visit Safeway’s website for this week’s current sales circular and get a preview for the upcoming week as well.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s holiday baking season for me, I just love this time of year just because I can bake up a storm.  This year my family decided to have a cookie exchange and I’ve been looking for a variety of cookie recipes to add to our choices on Christmas Day.  We all love Chocolate Chip Cookies and I believe that these will be perfect for the chocolate lovers in our family.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies reminds me of a brownie with chocolate chips in cookie form.  I love baking mines so they are soft and chewy.  Some people in my family prefer a crunchy cookie, so go make that I bake a batch a little longer than I do the rest of the cookies.  These are best straight from the oven when the chocolate chips are still melty.  They can also be easily warmed up in the microwave as well for that same fresh from the oven taste.

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The best part about this cookie recipe is that it can be adjusted to create lots of different flavor combinations.  I’ve used it create various flavor combinations.  You can add walnuts to the cookie if you like, peppermint pieces would be great for the holidays, or add some marshmallows to make a hot chocolate themed cookie.

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Since I’m preparing for holiday baking for our cookie exchange I headed out to Safeway to stock up on all my baking essentials.  Right now Safeway is running specials on their store brand baking products.  I stocked up on sugar, flour, and chocolate chips to help me with all my baking I have planned for the exchange.  These Chocolate Chip Cookies are perfect for Cookie Swaps or gifting this holiday season.  I hope you give this recipe a try or save it for later.

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Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

Giant Foods sent me a package of their limited edition peppermint flavored items.  Included in my mailer was a package of  double filled peppermint sandwich cream cookies, a box of peppermint whoppie pie mix and a pack of peppermint bark.  I was so excited about the box of peppermint goodies I didn’t know what to do.  I opened up the pack of sandwich cookies and I was immediately in heaven.  They were spectacular.  I had to put the pack away or I would eat them all on the spot.

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I was thinking about what I should do with the peppermint bark.  My first thought was to give it to my sister but I was in the mood for baking and decided to use it for baking instead.

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Giant Food introduced the assortment of peppermint Limited Time Originals private label items that has more than 50 seasonal peppermint-filled products in both the non-perishable and fresh departments are now available for a limited time only at Giant.

Sweeten your next holiday gathering with peppermint cupcakes, ice cream, gelato, double layer cake or double filled peppermint sandwich cream cookies. Add flavor to your beverage offerings with the peppermint seltzer, peppermint craft soda or peppermint tea. Bakers will also find fun peppermint ingredients like crushed baking chips, milk chocolate covered marshmallows with crushed peppermint, chocolate bark, brownie and cookie mixes. You can even bring the holiday scent into your home with Giant’s variety of peppermint soaps, candles and cleaning products!

Crushed up Peppermint Bark for my cookies.
Crushed up Peppermint Bark for my cookies.

“Giant is excited to introduce the first-ever line of peppermint products for the holiday season this year,” said Dean Wilkinson, vice president of sales and merchandising at Giant Food. “Giant’s Own Brand items are top quality and a great value, which helps our customers save money while enjoying all the special holiday treats they like.”

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies (7)

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies (11)

To make this recipe I used a Chocolate Chocolate Chip recipe and re-purposed it to create this recipe.  Instead of using chocolate chips I used the peppermint bark.  It was easy to break apart into small pieces.  I do suggest you get them to bite sized pieces for baking.  That way when the cookies are done you get even bites of peppermint bark and cookies.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies (13) Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies (12)

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies (13)

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For holiday recipes, visit Savory, Fast, Fresh & Easy™ at http://giantfood.com/savorymagazine/.

Disclosure: I received a limited time mailer of Peppermint products from Giant Food.  Any opinions expressed are my own.

Basic Icing Tips for Cakes and Cookies

Basic Icing Tips for Cakes and Cookies

I’ve tried to take Wilton classes in the pass to learn about decorating cakes.  I love baking and during the fall I enjoy it even more.  Baking for me is a great way to relieve stress and in the colder months instead of turning on the heat I just turn my oven on and bake up some goodies.  With the holidays right around the corner Safeway has already started to advertise their fall baking specials.  This is when I stock up on sugar, flour, chocolate chips and other baking products for fall.  The kids have been asking me all month long to help me with cooking and baking.  When Curious Chef reached out to me about trying their Baking Set for kids I knew it would be perfect for baking up all kinds of fun with the kids.

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We received these cool cookie cutters and the Nylon Cookie Turner for review.  They are perfect for making Sugar Cutout Cookies during the fall with shapes like pumpkins, leaves, ghosts and a cat, this set was just what I needed to get the kids excited about baking some cookies with me.  To get ready for Halloween we made some cookies and decorated them with some orange buttercream frosting.

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My kids aren’t pros at decorating so they just pasted the frosting on their cookies.  For them it was something fun to do as a family and we enjoyed it very much.

 

If you’re like me and you like to decorate and want to learn some basic tips check out this easy graphic from E-Replacement Parts.  It shows what decorating tips you need to make some of the basic decorations that bakers use in their creations.  Some of these would be great on cookies for the holidays.  The kids and I will be trying some flowers the next time we make sugar cookies instead of just pasting icing all over our cookies.


Source: eReplacementParts.com;

Easy Homemade Biscuits with Sawmill Gravy

Easy Homemade Biscuits with Sawmill Gravy

My daughter recently started asking me about learning to cook and making dinner with me.  She’s eight so it’s time she start learning survival skills like being able to cook meals for herself.  I love cooking with kids and there are so many creative ways you can get kids excited about cooking and learning, without making it into a chore or something they don’t like.  One of our favorite things to make together is Sooner Specials, Mini Pizzas and S’mores Brownies.  I’ve partnered up with Johnsonville Sausage to share a breakfast meal I like to create with my kids.

I choose to make something different for breakfast because I wanted something that was fun to make and also apart of my husband’s southern culture.  That’s how we ended up with Homemade Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy with Johnsonville Sausages.  Not to toot my own horn but this meal was delicious and we can’t wait to make it again.

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Johnsonville Sausage (2)

Making the biscuits were so easy and it was a very fun way to get my daughter involved in the cooking process.  She helped me measure out the flour, milk, and other ingredients.  My kids like getting their hands messy when making dough for biscuits and roll-out cookies.  Kids can help with kneading dough and cutting out the biscuits as well.

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When making the gravy I had my daughter help me with pouring the ingredients into the pot and stirring while the gravy got thicker.  I also had her help me crumble the sausage patties and help with cooking the sausage links as well.  I always supervise her when she’s using the stove and a knife.  Safety is key when your are cooking with kids.

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Johnsonville Sausage (1)

Sawmill Sausage Gravy

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup bacon grease
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 Johnsonville sausage patty, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt
  • coarsely ground pepper
Instructions
  1. After frying bacon pour off fat and measure 1/4 cup drippings.
  2. Place back in pan and add flour. Stir until blended.
  3. Add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until bubbling and thick.
  4. Season to taste with salt and coarse ground pepper.
  5. Add crumbled sausage and bacon bits. Stir well and serve.

You can find a basic homemade biscuit gravy recipe online like the one I used.  Also visit the Johnsonville website for more recipe ideas.

Delicious S’mores Brownies Recipe

Delicious S’mores Brownies Recipe

For weeks the kids had been asking about making S’mores.  Its summer so who doesn’t want a nice warm S’more for an after dinner treat or a mid day snack.  We make ours indoors most of the time.  I purchased a gadget a few years ago that made it easy to make them inside or I would roast the marshmallows over an open flame on the stove top and we would make them that way.  So finally on my last visit to Safeway I picked up some items for S’mores.

smores brownie recpie

Right now Safeway is having their Huge Sale and last week they had a special on brownie mixes.  I’ve made brownies from scratch or from boxes but lately I’ve been wanting brownies but didn’t want to hassle of baking from scratch.  Lucky for me Safeway was holding their Huge Sale and had a great offer on Pillsbury Brownie Mixes for just $1 a box.

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Making S’mores Brownies are so much easier than you think.  For this recipe I used a box mix but you can certainly make your own brownies from scratch.  Mix the brownies according to the directions on the box.  Bake for about twenty minutes and then remove from the oven.  You can to take the brownie out as soon as the ends start to get a bit crispy.  I put foil in the dish so it’s easier to remove at the end of baking.

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S’mores wouldn’t be the same without chocolate bars, marshmallows and graham crackers.  We are huge fans of Hershey’s Chocolate here so of course we used those bars but you can use any kind you prefer for this recipe.

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Break apart the graham crackers and chocolate bars into bite size pieces and spread on top of the brownie and with the marshmallows.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes.

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Remove the S’mores Brownies when the marshmallows are golden brown.  This time I used regular sized marshmallows but the next time I plan to use minis because I think they would bake differently.

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We couldn’t wait to cut into our brownies.  These were so delicious and I am so glad we decided to give them a try.  These are best served warm but I promise you it’s also good at room tempature.  The next time you have to bring dessert to a function try making these gooey brownies.  Also don’t forget to check Safeway specials for special sales to help you save.

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Check out Safeway’s Specials for this Week:

15 Tequila Recipes to Try this Summer

15 Tequila Recipes to Try this Summer

Summer is in full swing and while some people don’t like cooking as much in the summer months I like being able to break out my grill.  It’s an electric indoor grill but we also head outdoors to the local park or my parents house when we have great weather.  Summer is also the time I like to try out different cocktail recipes on the weekend with my family.  Pura Vida sent me a bottle of the Pura Vida Silver Tequila for review purposes.  Any opinions expressed are my own.

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The Pura Vida Silver Tequila arrived just in time for Father’s Day and since my husband didn’t have any tequila in his liquor cabinet, it made the perfect addition.  The next set was figuring out a drink to make for him feature the latest addition.  Of course I head to Pinterest to find inspiration for a drink.  One of the first drinks that came to mind was Tequila Sunrise or some sort of margarita.  My pinterest finds were very rewarding because I didn’t just find drink recipes I found a variety of delicious dishes featuring tequila as an ingredient.

shrimp

I decided on trying a Tequila Lime Shrimp recipe instead.  It turned out delicious, the how family loved it.  You can find the recipe I used along with a variety of different recipes for the tequila sitting in your liquor cabinet.  If you don’t have any at home give Pura Vida Tequila a try.  My husband said it’s the smoothest tequila he’s ever had in his entire life.  He’s been mixing it with juice for a night cap on the weekends and he’s been enjoying it alot.  It was the perfect gift for him.  Pura Vida has four varieties of tequila for you to try.  Each featuring it’s own unique flavor.  Visit the Pura Vida website to learn more about their tequila and other products.

15 Tequila Recipes

15 Tequila Recipes

Cocktails

Pineapple-Margaritas-from-Miss-in-the-Kitchen-for-CocktailDay
Photo Credit – Miss in the Kitchen

Three Ingredient Skinny Margarita

Tequila Limeade

Grapefruit Tequila Slammer

Pineapple Margarita

Mexican Mai Tai 

Pink Lemonade Margarita

Food Dishes 

Tequila Battered Onion Rings

Tequila Jalapeno Crab Dip

Tequila Lime Shrimp

Tequila Lime Chicken Sandwiches

Desserts

Margarita-Bars-2-of-7w
Photo Credit – Crazy for Crust

Margarita Bars

Tequila Lime Cheesecake Bars

Deep Fried Tequila Shots

Homemade Gifts

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Photo Credit: Family Spice

Pomegranate Tequila

Liquor Lollipops

 

Bake Up Magic with Tastefully Simple

Bake Up Magic with Tastefully Simple

Most people wouldn’t want to turn on their ovens during the summer time but I absolutely love baking and I don’t wait for fall/winter to use my own and bake.  I actually prefer to bake up homemade goodies for my family instead of buying store brought products.  Whether I’m baking from scratch or using a box mix, doing it myself has a lot of appeal to me and it also helps relieve stress.  And I’m sure if you have kids home from school you know just how stressful summer time can be.  Tastefully Simple reached out to me to review some of their products, any opinions expressed are my own.

Tastefully Simple provides exceptional tasting experiences and lifestyle solutions, through simple, delicious food and enriching business opportunities.  Founded in 1995, Tastefully Simple started as a small company when founder Jill Blashack Strahan decided to offer taste-testing while selling her gift baskets.  Once she noticed the gourmet food she was offering tasting of were out performing her gift baskets Tastefully Simple was born.  It’s one of the first national home-tasting companies.  For a company that started with just nine consultants to hit over 28,000 within twelve years is remarkable.  Tastefully Simple is also one of the first corporate sponsors of Share Our Strength’s No Kids Hungry Pledge.  They’ve achieved a lot since their founding and I’m sure they are just getting started.

While browsing the Tastefully Simple website I knew I wanted to try one of their bake mixes and I was beyond thrilled when I came across the Decadent Desserts Assortment that features fives mixes, caramel sauce and ice-cream salts.  It was the perfect kit to try.  The products arrived and I immediately wanted to bake.  A few days later the urge to bake hit and I decided on the Chewy Chocolate Cookie Mix.

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Tastefully Simple (1)

Tastefully Simple Cookies (4)

Tastefully Simple Cookies (2)

Tastefully Simple Cookies (1)

Tastefully Simple Cookies (3)

These Chewy Chocolate Cookies were so delicious.  They were so easy to make.  All you need is a little oil and hot water for the mix.  The box says it makes about 24 cookies but I got about 18 cookies in total.  I use a mini ice-cream scoop to form my cookies so they were’s too big.  From start to finish I had fresh baked cookies in about 18 minutes.  They had a nice crunch on the outside of the cookie but when you bite into them they were soft and chewy.  These were gone by the next day, the kids ate almost a whole batch that same night after dinner.  They are already asking me to make them again.  With Tastefully Simple anyone can be a baker, these fool proof mixes brings gourmet food within everyone reach.

I’ve been thinking about what to bake up next with the rest of my items from Tastefully Simple and I think this M&M’s S’mores Brownie Pie from The Peanuts Gang is going to be my next attempt using the brownie mix from my package.  I can’t wait to see how it turns out.  I know it’s going to be a hit with the kids.  Be sure to check out Tastefully Simple for more gourmet food options besides baking mixes, and hop on over to The Peanuts Gang to try their recipe.

Bake Up Goodies With Among Friends Bake Mixes

Bake Up Goodies With Among Friends Bake Mixes

I love baking, it’s one of those things that just relaxes me and keeps me stress free.  When I first started baking I would mostly use store brought mixes and then I stepped into baking from scratch.  While that works great there are times when I mix is the best way to go.  You can bake up goodies with Among Friends bake mixes when you have a little time on your hands.  Take all the fuss and measuring out of baking and just enjoy high quality baked good for a fraction of what it would cost to buy from a bakery.  I received a sample from Among Friends for review.  Any opinions expressed are my own.

Among Friends Handcrafted Baking Mixes - Photo Credit Among Friends
Among Friends Handcrafted Baking Mixes – Photo Credit Among Friends

Among Friends Hand-crafted Baking Mixes boasts they are free of all the bad stuff.  Taking one look at the packaging I can honestly say they really do only include the finest ingredients in their mixes.  Mines had wheat flour in the mix and the other ingredients were organic.  They even have a few mixes that are gluten free for people who require those products.  Making the mix is so easy and prep time is a breeze. All you need is an egg, 6 tablespoons of butter or a substitute and a teaspoon of vanilla.  The cookies were good.  Although my kids were not expecting it to have oatmeal in the cookie so didn’t eat as much but my husband and I loved the addition of oatmeal.

among friends

Susie Q's

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Among Friends

My mix also contained ground flax seeds and although it didn’t affect the cookie at all I wanted to mention it because I know some people may not eat them.  If you’re planning on purchasing Among Friends Hand-crafted Baking Mixes you can visit their website to learn more about all their options and the ingredients included in the mix you choose.  They are very good at listing allergy information on the site so you can purchase in confidence.  The prices are right on these as well.  All the mixes from Among Friends cost $5.99, making them great gift ideas.  Send them to your kids in college, make creative gift baskets for the bakers in your life.  Give to newly weds, or pull out to make a quick after dinner snack for the family.

No matter how you choose to to enjoy Among Friends, you are in for a treat.  Be sure to also read the cute and creative stories for the names of the mixes from Among Friends when you are on their site.

Sweet Corn Bread Recipe with Corn

Sweet Corn Bread Recipe with Corn

My husband is from Oklahoma and he likes when I make southern inspired meals that remind him of home and his grandmother.  While we were living in Winston-Salem, NC I started making a corn bread recipe from scratch that he loved, over time I perfected it and made it my own.  It’s more like a sweet corn cake but he loves it that way.

cornbread

I’m actually surprised that I don’t already have this recipe on my blog.  I’ve made it quite a few times but according to my husband I haven’t made any in a while.  He picked up a box of corn muffin mix in the store, hinting to me that he wanted some cornbread and when I checked my baking bin I had some yellow corn meal so I decided to make some from scratch.  I’ve tried corn bread with pieces of corn in it so when I was making this I tried it for this recipe and I was so surprised at how well it came out. This is a very heavy corn bread, perfect for chili and other stews.  Of course if you don’t have to add corn to your recipe if you don’t want to, it’s really up to you and what you feel like baking that day.

I prefer to make my corn bread round, I don’t know why but that’s just my preference.  I sometimes make them in muffins as well but for the most part I use a round cake pan to bake my corn bread.  You can use whatever you choose to bake yours in.  When greasing your pan just lightly grease it because you don’t need that much grease.  Here’s the recipe I use to make this Sweet Corn Bread made with Cream Corn.

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Baking with Mrs Fields and Love Cooking Company

Baking with Mrs Fields and Love Cooking Company

I love baking, it’s my favorite thing to do in the fall.  I usually bake cookies for my family as a part of my Christmas gift to them and I am usually the one bringing desert to any of our family dinners.  With all the baking that I do you would think I have tons of baking sheets and other items, but I’ve been using the same baking sheets for years and a recent visit from my MIL resulted in them getting scorched.  It was time for an upgrade.  Thanks to Love Cooking Company for the Mrs Fields Baking Products for inclusion in my Holiday Gift Guide.

baking

Love Cooking Company is a company that believes there is no greater value than showing your loved ones you care.  Created to help you embrace and create more loving memories, these can occur while cooking together.  Love Booking Company partnered with Mrs Fields to offer high quality baking products.  When I reached out the Love Cooking Company about being included in my Holiday Gift Guide, they agreed and offered to send me three products from their Mrs Fields baking products.  They had so many great options I didn’t know what to pick at first and then I remembered my cookie sheets were ruined so I immediately decided on a baking sheet since I would be making lots of cookies during the holidays.

The Mrs Fields Cool Bake Cookie Sheet eliminates the need to transfer your cookies from the sheet to a cooling rack.  The rack is included in the pan, when you take your cookies out of the oven simply lift the cooling rack and leave your cookies to cool on the  rack.  It has vented holes to cool the cookies down and now you don’t have to worry about your cookies breaking when transferring them.  I loved baking with this pan, it kept my cookies soft and prevented them from burning.  Some of my cookie dough does get into the holes but it doesn’t interfere with the baking process and it’s easy to clean out from the cooling rack.  I couldn’t share my thoughts on the pan without sharing a delicious cookie recipe.  Instead of my traditional Peanut Butter Blossoms this year I made Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies.  They were delicious and my family loved them.

When making these cookies you must make sure you chill the dough for at least 30 minutes, when you chill the dough it’s easier to work with when rolling to form the round cookie dough balls.  Serve warm for the best tasting cookies.  You can print the recipe below.

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In addition to the Mrs Fields Cool Bake Cookie Sheet I also received the The Brookie Pan and the Mrs Fields Fill N Flip Locking Layer Baking Pan as well.

When I saw this pan I knew I wanted to give it a try.  Who doesn’t love cookies and brownies, now when you add them together you end up with a delicious desert item.  I’ll be using this pan to make some brookies for our cookie swap this Christmas.

About the Mrs Fields Brookie Pan:

Perfect for creative cooks that want to deliver a sweet surprise in every bite, Mrs. Fields’ Brookie Pan allows users to bake delicious cookies inside of moist brownies. With a durable, non-stick coating, Brookie creations are even protected from falling or pulling apart!.

The Mrs Fields Fill N Flip Locking Layer Baking Pan is perfect for baking filled cakes.  Usually  when I bake a cake with a filling I would use an icing well to keep the filling on the inside and prevent any from spilling out.  The only problem is that most of the times my filling will seep out through the icing.  This pan helps create a beautiful cake and ensure all the filling stays in the cake for your to enjoy.

About the Fill N Flip Locking Layer Baking Pan:

Create a surprise center by adding your favorite fillings to the inside of your cakes! Bake your cake in the Mrs. Fields Fill N Flip™ Locking Layer Baking Pan – Round according to the recipe. When it’s cool, flip the cake over and add filling – pudding, fruit, compote, anything you choose! – to the side with the opening. Then flip the non-filled cake on top, and you have an amazing layered cake your friends and family will love!

You can purchase Love Cooking Company products online from TARGET.COM, KOHLS.COM, SEARS.COM AND AMAZON.COM.