Friday, March 26, 2010

Nourish Your Inner Goddess...Giveaway!!! - CLOSED!!

Ok, I said I'd post about my giveaway this week, so here it is!!  Do you need a little something to help you relax?  If so, I have the perfect gift pack for you!  I am excited to announce this really awesome giveaway!  Yoplait Yogurt provided me with a wonderful "Nourish Your Inner Goddess" gift pack through MyBlogSpark!  They are also providing the same gift pack to one of my lucky readers and that could be you! 

The gift pack included 2 coupons for Yoplait's new Greek Yogurt. 

"With 12 grams of protein -- twice that found in leading yogurts-- new Yoplait Greek nourishes from the inside out. Available in four delicious flavors, Strawberry, Blueberry, Honey Vanilla and Plain, the brand´s newest offering has a unique thick and creamy texture with the unmatched taste expected of Yoplait."
I've never been much of a breakfast person, but in a recent attempt to eat healthier, I've been trying to make myself eat breakfast.  I've been eating yogurt for breakfast lately, so when I received this gift pack, I was very excited that this yogurt included 12 grams of protein!  I don't know of any other yogurt with that much protein in one serving!  I tried Strawberry and Honey Vanilla.  They were thick and creamy, not thin and smooth like their other yogurts.  The flavor was great and once I got used to the thicker texture, I really enjoyed eating this yogurt!  The best thing about it was that it filled me up until lunch!  I didn't have a craving for a snack in between meals as usual!  I will be purchasing this yogurt again!  Strawberry is my personal favorite and Honey Vanilla is delicious when used as a fruit dip!

For those of you that want to try this yogurt right away, click here to download a coupon!  (This coupon may not be valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Tennessee)

To celebrate its new Greek yogurt and to encourage women to nourish their inner goddess, Yoplait has teamed up with actress Izabella Miko, who plays Greek Goddess Athena in the epic adventure new Warner Bros. Pictures´ and Legendary Pictures´ film "Clash of the Titans," in theatres April 2 in 3D.  Click here to check out the trailer for the movie!

How to Enter:

Post a comment to let me know which flavor of Yoplait Greek Yogurt you'd like to try the most! This entry is required.

Additional entries:

• Become a Follower on Google Friend Connect and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Follow me on Twitter by clicking here or by clicking the link at the top of this page and post a comment including your Twitter ID.

• Tweet about my giveaway on Twitter (Tweet must link directly back to this post) and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Blog about my giveaway and post 2 comments stating that you have done this (that’s 2 additional entries!)

Important:  Include your e-mail address so I may contact you if you are a winner. 

All entries must be received by Saturday April 3rd at midnight. A winner will be selected randomly and announced on Sunday April 4th. Winner will have 48 hours to respond. If winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be randomly selected.

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark provided both gift packs, coupons, and information.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is Here and Awards!!!

I’m so excited that spring is here! Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the children are enjoying playing outside. Our family tends to stay cooped up in the house when it’s cold outside! Once it warms up, though, we just can’t get enough of the outdoors! And for the first time in my life, we have a garden! My husband has been working hard preparing the soil so we can grow our own vegetables this year! I’m so excited!!

Now, it’s AWARD TIME!!

The other day, I received not just one award, but FOUR AWARDS from Pam at A Love for New Recipes! Be sure to check out her awesome blog! Thank you so much Pam!!

Here are the awards:





Now, I’m supposed to name seven things about myself and pass this award onto seven others, so here it goes: (Hope you enjoy!)

Seven things about myself:

1. I have a Bachelor’s Degree that I’m not even using right now. I guess you could say that I’m underemployed.

2. The closets in my house are color coded. I started this years ago when I worked at a department store and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s so much easier to find clothes this way.

3. When I was a little girl, I pretended to have my own cooking show, just like Julia Child.

4. My favorite fruit is pineapple.

5. I get distracted really easily. Really really easily. Just ask my husband.

6. I love to scrapbook, but haven’t really had time to do it in a few years. I spent $3,000 on scrapbook supplies the first year I started (Many of it still goes unused).

7. I just started a new blog, Bless Our Soles, where I plan to post about other family related things besides food. I did this so I could keep this blog purely food related! It will only take you a minute to check it out…there are only a few posts so far!

Seven bloggers I’d like to pass these awards to:

1. Megan at What Megan's Making

2. The Veggie Mom at My Veggie Table

3. Me, Myself, and Pie

4. Kitchen Koala

5. Pam at From my Motorhome to Yours

6. Kelli at Come Join Me In…

7. LeAnn at Dinner at the Osbornes

Congrats!  If I had all day, I'd choose many more blogs, but unfortunately, I have work to do! 

Also, keep checking back...I will be posting another Giveaway this week!

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pot Pie

After a successful shopping trip the other day, I scored some great deals on items that I probably wouldn’t have purchased otherwise. I picked up a few bags of Bird’s Eye Steamfresh Vegetables and some Pillsbury crescent rolls for almost free. I wanted to come up with a recipe that used these items, so I put my brain to work! I thought about doing a Chicken Pot Pie, but I wanted something different. So, I took the base that I use for my Chicken Pot Pie and simply added cheddar cheese to it. Then I decided to add bacon to kick the flavor up a little bit. And of course, the broccoli! I tasted the stuff before I had even baked it and couldn’t stop tasting it! It was SO GOOD! I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you! By the way, my husband said it was BETTER than the original Chicken Pot Pie! Let me know what you think!!

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Pot Pie

3 boneless chicken breasts
6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1 (12 ounce) bag Bird’s Eye Steamfresh Broccoli Florets
½ cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water and 3 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 package frozen puff pastry sheets (includes 2 sheets), thawed (If you do not do a lattice design, you can use only 1 sheet by just laying it on top) (See below for other options)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until almost done (just before becoming crisp). Remove from skillet and place in small bowl. (It’s up to you whether you discard the bacon grease or not. I saved some of it because it gave the chicken a nice flavor).
3. In same skillet, cook chicken over medium-high heat until almost done (slightly pink in center). Remove from skillet and cut into small pieces.
4. Place chicken back into skillet. Add bacon and Creole seasoning and continue cooking until chicken is completely done. Set aside.
5. Meanwhile, cook broccoli florets according to package directions. Leave in microwave until ready to use.
6. In large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Stir in chicken broth and gradually whisk in the flour until thickened. Then add cheddar cheese and mix until cheese is completely melted.
7. Remove from heat. Stir in broccoli florets and chicken/bacon mixture. Pour mixture into a 9X9 casserole dish.
8. Place pastry sheet on top of the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until pastry is done.

*If you don’t have puff pastry sheets on hand, or you are looking for a cheaper option, there are many out there! I recently purchased refrigerated crescent rolls that were on sale very cheap (with coupons) and used those as a topping. Pie crusts, biscuits, and of course homemade crusts can also be used. I can’t say that I have a personal favorite…they are all great! It’s the inside that counts :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Favorite Baked Ziti

I’ve decided to start working out at least 5 days a week so I can squeeze into my clothes from last spring. I tried to start a month ago, but I was only managing to work out 2 days a week. I’ve also decided to work myself back up to a 5k and eventually a 10k to give me something to really work toward. So, I’m doing a “Couch-to-5k” program to get me ready! My husband asked me the question, “When are you going to have time for this?” He’s right. I’m already limited on time. But, it doesn’t hurt to set a goal and at least TRY, right. So far, I've already worked out 3 days this week!

Eating healthier has also been something I've been trying to do. It works for a while and then I start craving something like this delicious Baked Ziti. But, it’s ok as long as I don’t eat 3 platefuls, right? I did substitute ground turkey in this recipe last week, which cuts down on some of the fat, and it was still delicious!

This is my absolute favorite Baked Ziti recipe, and I sometimes use various cheeses, depending on what I have on hand! This recipe has been adapted from

My Favorite Baked Ziti

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped OR 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
1 (45 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 (6 ounce) package provolone cheese, sliced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
1 (6 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded (I usually buy a larger bag and use more than it actually calls for, but if you don’t want any leftover mozzarella cheese, the 6 ounce bag will be fine)

1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until tender. Add garlic or garlic powder. Transfer to a small bowl. (In order to shorten this recipe up a bit, I sometimes skip this step and put garlic powder directly into the meat mixture. It’s great with onions and fresh garlic, but our family really doesn’t miss them).
3. In skillet, cook ground beef (or ground turkey) on medium-high heat until evenly brown. Stir in the onion mixture and spaghetti sauce. Add salt, if desired.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In prepared dish, layer ½ of the cooked pasta, provolone cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, and ½ of the meat mixture. Then add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella cheese (reserving ½ cup for top), and remaining meat mixture. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese are melted.

Important: I have tried layering this various ways, and it just wasn’t as good! This way, the cheeses melt onto the bottom layer of pasta nicely, while the meat, mozzarella, and pasta blend on top.

Also, you may not think everything is going to fit into the dish, and it definitely is a tight fit, but it will fit! You may want to put a pan on the bottom oven rack to catch spillovers, just in case!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We have a winner!!!

Congrats to Brandy from The Windy {City} Wilsons!!  She won the $25 Kroger Gift Card! Brandy said that she plans to stock up on cereal!

I used to select a winner.  Brandy posted our 12th comment!  Sorry for the poor photo, I didn't have my camera with me and my phone takes really terrible photos!

I also have another awesome giveaway coming soon (HINT: It's something to help you relax!)

Time to get back to posting more recipes :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

2 days left to enter my Giveaway!!

Don't forget to visit Kroger or Kroger family of stores by Sunday March 14th to take advantage of the Cart Buster Savings Event! Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway so that you can win a $25 Kroger Gift Card! Click here to enter!!

MckLinky Blog Hop
Click here to see the entire Blog Hop List....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pink and Black Polka Dot Cake

Ok guys, sorry for the poor photo here, but I forgot to take a final picture the morning after I finished the cake!  I made this cake last weekend.  Trust me, this cake was much cuter in person!  It's all buttercream.  Rather than pipe the polka dots directly onto the cake, I used the buttercream transfer method.  It was so much easier, and I think I'm going to start using that method more often, especially when I have to draw very detailed images.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $25 Kroger Gift Card!  It ends very soon!!  Click here to enter!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giveaway: $25 Kroger Gift Card!!! - CLOSED

I’m so excited to announce my first giveaway!! I was fortunate enough to receive a $25 Kroger gift card from Kroger Family of Stores and General Mills through MyBlogSpark! The great news is that they are also offering another $25 Kroger gift card to one of my lucky readers!!
The Cart Buster Savings Event is going on now through Sunday March 14th at Kroger and the Kroger Family of Stores. Prices are so low that you can stock up on all your favorite name-brand products without breaking the bank (though you might bust your cart!)

Don’t miss this great event!! To find a Kroger store near you, click here!

How to enter:

Post a comment to let me know what you plan on stocking up on while prices are so low! This entry is required.

Additional entries:

• Become a follower on Google Friend Connect and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Follow me on Twitter by clicking here or by clicking the link at the top of this page and post a comment including your Twitter ID.

• Tweet about my giveaway on Twitter (Tweet must link directly back to this post) and post a comment stating that you have done this.

• Blog about my giveaway and post 2 comments stating that you have done this (that’s 2 additional entries!)

Be sure to include your e-mail address so that I may contact you if you are a winner.  All entries must be received by Sunday March 14th at midnight. A winner will be selected randomly and announced on Monday March 15th. Winner will have 48 hours to respond. If winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be randomly selected.

Thanks for entering and GOOD LUCK!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On TV tonight: Food Wars

I’m always excited about new cooking shows on TV. Lucky for me, there’s a new one coming on and I don’t want to miss it! It’s Food Wars. It’s actually coming on in about 30 minutes on the Travel Channel. From the looks of it, it seems to be like Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay, which I thoroughly enjoy. They’re going all over the U.S. to settle debates of which restaurant makes the best dish in town. It looks like two episodes will be on tonight. They are “Chicago Italian Beef War” and “Buffalo Wing War.” I think they are airing the same episodes tomorrow night for those that can’t catch it tonight!

Click here to view a sneak peak of Food Wars

I'll let you know what I think of it after tonight's episodes!

Barbecue Country Style Pork Ribs and Rice

Is anyone else enjoying warmer weather? I love it! I’m already dreaming of relaxing in the pool or going to the beach and feeling the sand between my toes! Then, when school gets out, I can stay home with the kids every day and feel like I’m a stay-at-home-mom for a little while! I can’t wait!

This recipe is great for a lazy day when you want a good meal, but don’t feel like slaving in the kitchen. It’s a crock pot recipe, but requires some boiling first, so it’s not really something you can prepare on a workday.

Boiling these country style ribs first makes them so tender! Plus, you are left with a wonderfully seasoned broth for rice. Add some veggies, and you’re done!

Barbecue Country Style Ribs

6-8 Country Style Ribs
8 cups water (approximately – I usually just make sure the ribs are covered)
1 bottle of barbecue sauce
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

1. In large pot, bring water to boil. Add ribs, reduce heat to medium, and boil for about one hour.
2. Remove ribs from water. Place ribs in crock pot.
3. Add barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and Creole seasoning.
4. Cook for 3 hours on high setting or 6 hours on low setting.

Pork Seasoned Rice

4 cups broth left over from above recipe
2 cups white rice
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning

1. Bring broth to a boil. Add bouillon cube.
2. Once bouillon cube is dissolved, add rice and reduce heat to medium-low.
3. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until rice is done and all juice is absorbed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Exam results and Warm Cinnamon Apples

Well, I got my Economics Exam results back and…I made a B. A low B. I’m not happy about that since I’m trying super hard to make straight A’s, but I realize that this is grad school and not like undergrad, so it’s a little bit harder.  Well a lot harder. Plus, I have many more responsibilities now than I had before, including a husband and children and a full-time job and a cake business and a blog and I could go on….Ok, so I guess I should be satisfied with a B, but I’m still going to try to pull my grade up to an A!

I’ve always loved those yummy Cinnamon Apples that most country restaurants, like Cracker Barrel, serve. I ran across this recipe at and figured I’d give it a try. Of course, I adapted the recipe to our liking.

Cinnamon Apples

10 apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin (I used Granny Smith Apples – they are best for baking)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice (this is optional, and I didn’t add it because I didn’t have any, but I will definitely add it next time)
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, mix all ingredients. (You can mix in the baking dish for less clean-up, but I like mixing in a bowl).
3. Put apples into a 9x13 baking dish that has been covered in aluminum foil. (Use double layers of foil, just in case. It can be messy to clean if it happens to get onto the baking dish!)
4. Bake in oven for about one hour. Stir about every 15 minutes to ensure that they are evenly cooked.  They are done when all apple slices are tender and the juice has thickened.

I really enjoy eating these cinnamon apples alone, but they are also very good served with ice cream. Eaten alone, they are like a healthier version of an apple pie!

Or you can top an oatmeal bar with cinnamon apples, top that with vanilla ice cream, and drizzle with caramel! YUM!


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