Monday, October 29, 2012

October Movies on Demand #Giveaway!

Now that Fall is OFFICIALLY here (the cold temps, wind and endless leaves tell me so,) it's perfect movie watching weather! Once the weather gets cold, I become a hermit crab.  I only leave my house if I absolutely have to!  LOL  Movies on Demand is going to make it possible for me to stay up to date on all of the new releases right from the comfort of my own home. YAY!

I'm going to be working with Movies on Demand on cable the next few months to bring you reviews and giveaways!  Below you will see a list of the October titles and release dates.

Here's a great video on how you can create your own "Fright Fest" right with Movies on Demand on Cable!  It's going to be "frighteningly cold" here, so staying in with some movies would be a great option!

Be sure to follow Movies on Demand on Facebook to make sure you don't miss out on the latest titles and news.  Personally, I can't wait to see Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection.  I think the Madea movies are hilarious and I don't have to "think" to watch them!  LOL

Enter to Win:

The Prize Packs include:
•             (1)$10 Cable Cash
•             (1)$25 Visa Gift Card
•             (1)Studio and title swag –When available (An October Title should be available)

To Enter:

Use the rafflecopter below.
*Disclaimer:  I am being compensated by Movies on Demand for this post.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I WON! Kenmore Blogger Summit 2012, Part 1

I am going to tell my Kenmore story in parts, but I couldn't help but share the ending first!  Why?!  Because I am still pinching myself to see if it really did just happen!  SO WHAT HAPPENED?!  I know you're dying to know!  Ok, here it is.........


AHHHHH!!  Can you tell I'm excited?!  

I'll get to the part about HOW this came to be, but first let me show you what it looks like!!!
Isn't she GORGEOUS?!  
It was love at first sight!
Let me tell you a little bit about her!
  • She has 26.7 Cu. Ft. of capacity.
  • Gallon-Size Adjustable Door Bins?
  • Full-Width Gourmet Pantry Drawers
  • Humidity-Controlled, Smooth-Gliding Crisper Drawers
  • Filtered Ice and Water Dispenser
  • Energy Star Rating
  • Spill-Proof Sliding Glass Shelves
  • Stainless Steel with Protective Coating
  • Smooth-Touch Electronic Controls with Green LED
  • Designer Lighting
She is SOOOOO dreamy.....and so MINE!  WOW!  (Pinch me again!)

So, I promised I would tell you "how" I won it, so here it is......
Part of my 2012 Kenmore Blogger Summit Homework was to answer this question, in regards to this refrigerator; 
"What do you like best and why do you need it?"
Here was my answer:

"Where do I begin?! First, let me tell you how many times I get up during dinner...let's see....someone needs ketchup, another needs ranch, but only wants it for dipping, so I get up again for a different kind of salad dressing. Oh wait! Forgot the mustard, or someone needs a piece of cheese, or an extra yogurt, a refill on milk.....and on, and on and on the list goes. I just said to my husband the other day, how amazing the day will be when I don't have to get up 20 times during dinner and can actually enjoy my dinner. Having the french doors would be amazing so I can access all of the above mentioned things EASILY!

Having the french doors up higher keeps my one-year-old from getting into the part of the refrigerator with breakable items. Yup, he knows how to get into our traditional fridge. And he knows how to find the breakable items and drop them on the floor.

The 26.7 cu foot capacity means I can make less trips to the grocery store! I drink Almond Milk, my husband and daughter drink skim milk and my son drinks Organic Vitamin D Milk. I also like to keep orange juice around for recipes and for my morning smoothies. We're CONSTANTLY going to the store for milk because we currently only have room for half gallons of all our beverages. 

The filtered ice and water dispenser means I no longer have to keep my nasty old brita in the refrigerator! YAY!!! It just takes up much needed space!

Having spill-proof glass shelves means that when my daughter puts her cups into the refrigerator without telling us, and then they get knocked over when she reaches for something else, it won't trickle through my ENTIRE refrigerator! When you're a busy mom like me, this would be a life-saver!

Having a full-width pantry door would be amazing! We go through a lot of yogurt here, and we kind of play the stacking game with them. You pray when you open the refrigerator that one, or the whole stack doesn't fall on you when you grab one! 

I take apples to work with me EVERY day, but they take up a lot of space! This means less room for other fruit, which ends up getting pushed onto the shelves....which don't have any room either! It's really a daily struggle. You see, my refrigerator is currently kind of like a tetris game. You have to envision what you're buying at the grocery store and "See" if it's going to fit in your already crowded puzzle. Lots of fun I tell ya! The smooth gliding crisper drawers would be wonderful to have. Every time I open my current drawers, they fall out, then I have to put them back on the track. When my daughter goes to grab fruit or veggies and then doesn't shut the drawer all the way, then closes the refrigerator door, it then gets stuck open. This lets precious cold air out.....and isn't always discovered right away, sigh. Did I mention yet this refrigerator would be amazing to have?! 

With the refrigerator being stainless steel with a protective coating, I won't have the "black" fingerprints all over my refrigerator like I currently do with my white one. The Mr. Clean Magic eraser has become my refrigerator door's best cleaning friend. I would like to retire those in my house!

The smooth touch electronic controls would honestly just be a major bonus. So you see, everything this Kenmore French Door Fridge has to offer makes it best suited for our household! This busy mom could really use a break, and this may just be it! smile

One more thing......did I mention I'm the slow cooker queen? Part of my gig as the author of A Busy Mom's Slow Cooker Adventures is preparing slow cooker meals. MOST of the time, I prep everything the night before and put the crock into my refrigerator. Each and every time I do this, it's like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together. The large capacity of this fridge would significantly take time away from this little "dance" I have to play several times a week! It would be a VERY welcomed change!"

And that was it, ladies and gentlemen!  As soon as I realized I won the Refrigerator, I began to cry.  I am so incredibly humbled and grateful to Kenmore for this entire experience!  Again, I still can't believe this is real!  

I have SOOOO much more to tell you about my Kenmore experience, like the other awesome prize I won!  So, to be continued.......   

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Apple Cider

I've been wanting to make my own Apple Cider for quite some time now.  After a little bit of research, I knew this would be a piece of cake in my slow cooker!

This was easy and super delicious!  Best of all, it's completely sugar-free and healthy for you, or your kids, or your guests!  It can be served hot or cold and you get the bonus of Chunky Applesauce out of the mix too!  BONUS! (see below)

You can let this simmer while you're out trick or treating, then warm-up with a nice hot mug of it when you get home.  OR, you can chill it and drink it with your breakfast the next morning.  Either way, you have a homemade healthy treat for your family!

Give it a try!

Apple Cider
Makes about 1 liter
9-10 Apples (Use a variety of apples, such as Gala, Red Delicious and Fuji)
4 cups water
1 cinnamon stick

Wash the apples, core and slice them.
Place them into your crock (keep the peel on) with the 4 cups of water.

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

Scoop out all of your apples into a colander and let the juice drain into a bowl.  

Pour the juice back into your crock with the remaining juice left from scooping the apples out.
Place the cinnamon stick into the juice and let it simmer on low for an hour or two.

You can either serve it warm, or refrigerate it and serve it cold.

Chunky Applesauce

Follow the method above for making apple cider.
After you drain the juice from the apples, place them in a bowl and mash them.
Add 2-3 Tbsp. of white Sugar.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"The Mexican Slow Cooker" Giveaway and Review!

Do you love Mexican Food as much as I do?!  9 times out of ten, when we choose to go out to dinner, we go for Mexican.  Now that I have "The Mexican Slow Cooker",  Mexican food can now make it's way into my very own kitchen!  The recipes are easy to follow and it's full of beautiful pictures that will definitely entice you!

The author, Deborah Schneider, is the executive chef/partner of SOL Cocina, with locations in Newport Beach, California, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Dubbed "the reigning queen of San Diego chefs" by Bon Appétit, she is the author of the James Beard-nominated Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta; Amor y Tacos; ¡Baja! Cooking on the Edge, which was one of Food & Wine's Best of the Best of 2006; and is the co-author of Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Latin Cooking.

Here's one of the recipes to entice you even more....

Mole Manchamanteles
Red Mole with Chicken and Fried Plantains
Serves 6

6 chicken breasts or 12 chicken thighs (about 4 pounds)
4 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 cup peeled, diced fresh pineapple (see Note)
1/2 apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup whole shelled almonds
1/4 cup seedless raisins
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 white onion, diced
2 small Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons whole dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
21/2 cups Caldo de Pollo (page  95) or water, or more as needed
To serve
Toasted sesame seeds
3/4 cup peeled, finely diced fresh pineapple (see Note)
Fried Plantains (recipe follows)
   Place all the ingredients except the chicken in a 5-quart slow cooker, and set the chicken on top. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or until the chicken is tender but not falling off the bone. Remove the chicken. If you like, you can remove the skin and bones now, or you can serve it as is.
Set the chicken on a warm platter covered with aluminum foil to keep warm while you finish the mole.
Transfer the remaining contents of the slow cooker to a blender. Blend on high for several minutes, until perfectly smooth. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more chicken broth or water and blend again. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary, remembering that moles are rich and thick but are never highly seasoned. For the perfect texture, pass the sauce through a food mill, but it is perfectly acceptable straight out of the blender.
To serve, liberally ladle the mole over the chicken. Lightly dust with the sesame seeds and garnish each serving with a few pieces of pineapple and fried plantain.
Canned pineapple may be substituted for fresh as long as it is well drained. If you are using it as a garnish, sauté the pieces quickly in a hot pan until dry and almost caramelized.
Fried Plantains
For the best results, use soft, ripe plantains with black skin.
2 large, ripe plantains
About 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Kosher or sea salt

Peel the plantains and cut into rounds 1 inch thick. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a small, heavy skillet. Working in batches, fry the plantains on both sides until a light brown crust forms. Remove and let cool slightly, then flatten gently with a spatula to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Return the plantains to the oil and cook until brown. Drain well on paper towels and serve warm, sprinkled with a few grains of salt.

I have the pleasure of giving away 3 copies of this wonderful cookbook!  To enter, please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget displayed below.  The giveaway will end at 12:01 a.m. EST on November 3, 2012.  Goodluck!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I was given a copy of The Mexican Slow Cooker to review in exchange for this review and for holding this giveaway.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook - Review

I had the pleasure of reviewing a copy of "The American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook."  The book contains a wide variety of recipes, from Soups to Desserts.  Most of the recipes are fairly straight forward and most use common ingredients.

I made the "Chicken and Bean Soup with Lemon and Basil" earlier this week.  I was actually out that evening and my husband served the soup before I got home.  He didn't know he was supposed to add the lemon zest and basil before serving, so told me the soup was just "ok."  I came home to full bowls of soup on my table.  Before I sat to eat, I added the lemon zest.  (I didn't have fresh basil) It REALLY made a difference in the taste!  There really is nothing like fresh lemon zest!  My son sat on my lap and ate it RIGHT up!  My daughter say how well he was eating it and asked for a new bowl.  My son and I share 3 bowls!!!!  LOL  It was a hit!

I also made the "Coffee Kettle Pot Roast" and it was incredibly delicious!  We ate ALL of it!  Instead of serving it over wheat pasta, we had it will a side of Couscous and we all cleaned our plates....two nights in a row!

With more than 200 easy-to-prep and delicious recipes low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium, HEALTHY SLOW COOKER COOKBOOK offers time-saving tips to make simple, satisfying dishes including:
  • Smoked Turkey Meatballs – 78 calories and 1.0 gram of fat per three meatballs
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup – 292 calories and 5.5 grams of fat per bowl
  • Sweet Potato Bread Pudding -  105 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per slice

Click here to order your copy!

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook in exchange for my review.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Print Friendly and PDF

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chorizo and Beef Enchilada Casserole

I've had this idea in my head for a few weeks now, but I MADE it happen the other day!  This did not disappoint!  It was INCREDIBLE!  Seriously.  I could have eaten this all day.....well, maybe not ALL day, but a good portion of it!  My husband liked it so much, he actually had thirds a couple hours later!  In his words, he said, "It was even more delicious a couple hours later!"  Now, that's what I like to hear!

Even though I used mild chorizo, mild red enchilada sauce and mild green enchilada sauce, this was still pretty spicy.  I would say it's about a medium level....maybe a tad bit less.  My kids tried it and didn't eat it.  Ella immediately said it was too spicy.  Gavin doesn't have those words yet, but didn't eat it.  More for mom and dad!!!!  LOL

This is VERY easy to assemble!  It really doesn't matter what order you put the "filling" in, so don't panic.  You can do this!  I promise!

Chorizo and Beef Enchilada Casserole

12 oz. chorizo, browned
3/4 lb. ground beef, browned
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups diced tomato (fresh)
1 (10 oz.) can Mild Red Enchilada Sauce
1 (10 oz.) can Mild Green Enchilada Sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
9 small round flour tortillas

Directions: (I used a 6.5 Quart slow cooker for this)
Spray your crock with non-stick spray liberally.
Place 3 of your tortillas into the bottom of your crock.  You may need to cut them to make them fit.
Layer in half of the browned beef, half of the onions,
half of the tomatoes and half of the chorizo.
Pour half of the red enchilada sauce over the top.
Top it with 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese.
(I forgot to take a picture of this!)

Do this process whole process once more, then top it with another layer of tortillas, the entire can of Green Enchilada sauce, and the remaining cup of shredded cheese.

Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Eye-Popping" Ribs

Looking for something "spooktacular" to serve your family for Halloween?!  Here it is folks!  Ribs, brewed with "Witches Brew" along side Apple "Eye balls!"

How did this come to be? Well, I had it in my head that I really wanted to make something with "Witches Brew" wine.  It actually caused me to run to the store for it at 10:40 p.m.  (I know, I know!  But, I really wanted to make this!)   Once I tasted it, I knew just what to do!  That's where the Apple "Eye balls" come in to play!  Apples are always good with pork, but with the flavor of the Witches Brew, I knew it would be awesome!  So, I used a melon baller to scoop "eye balls" out of my apples!

The results?!  A "Die-licious" creation!!!!!  Not only was this awesome, but my "eye balls" actually held up in the crock and still looked like I had intended!  BONUS!  My daughter got a big kick out of this meal!  She had a lot of fun at dinner!

"Eye-Popping" Ribs

2 lbs. Boneless Country Ribs, FROZEN
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
2 apples, "eye balls" cut out with a melon baller
2 cups Leelanau Cellars Witches Brew (this is wine)

Directions: (I used a 3 Quart Slow Cooker for this recipe)
Place the ribs into your crock.
Add the brown sugar, garlic powder and onion powder.
Add your apple "eye balls!"
Lastly, pour your Witches Brew over your ribs and apple "eye balls."
Cook on LOW for 9-10 hours or on HIGH for 4.5-5 hours.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Village Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil Bag'N'Box Review

I had the pleasure of trying this delicious Extra Virgin Olive Oil from New Zealand!  
I used it to make my family a delicious and healthy breakfast this past Sunday.  I used 2 Tbsp. in the bottom of my pan for my Potatoes and Onions as well as a tiny bit in the pan with my Fried Eggs.
It has a very smooth and clean flavor.  I snuck a taste un-cooked and it was incredible.  The taste reminded me of the really good Olive Oils I tasted while I was in Venice, Italy on my honeymoon.

A little information on this Olive Oil for you:
"The Village Press is a single cultivar, first press, cold press, unfiltered, additive-free, kosher & halal certified, extra virgin olive oil.  Founded by Wayne and Maureen Startup 12 years ago as a boutique grove on their home property, The Village Press produce d 105,000 liters of extra virgin olive oil in the 2011 season and is expected to produce 185,000 liters in the 2012 season.  Boutique compared to mass market producers, The Village Press grow, harvest and press by variety is fully integrated with all of its New Zealand produced olive oil - being the grower, harvester, transporter, processor, storer and packager.

We're excited to introduce The Village Press Bag'N'Box product to the US. You're probably familiar with this method of storage already but if you're not, here are some reasons why it's a great way to package and store EVOO:
1)  No sunlight penetration of the oil: The integrity of the oil is mai ntained and rancidity is eliminated
2)  No air oxidization of the oil: Since the bag collapses on itself air does not enter and the integrity of the oil is maintained.
3)  No-drip tap: Allows for drip flow to be controlled by the user and is ideal for recipes that require the slow addition of olive oil, i.e. Hollandaise sauce.  
4)  Hands-free: Allows chefs and home-cooks to prepare and cook without having to handle a bottle.
5)  Versatile shape: Square shape lends itself to ease of storage, transportation and stability when in use.
6)  Earth friendly: Box, bag and nozzle are fully recyclable"
I wasn't so sure about the Bag'N'Box, but now that I used it, it's actually really awesome!  Less drip than the bottles you pour from.  The tap really is no-drip like it says.  I love that!  I can't wait to continue cooking with it!  If you click on the link above, you can order the olive oil there.

*Disclaimer:  I was provided with a box of this Olive Oil in compensation for my review.  All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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