Oct 302015
 

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Rubbermaid. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Fall is here, and that means it’s time for football and tailgating!  While my family loves to watch the games, I love all the great food – pizza, wings, burgers, dips…the list goes on and on!  Tailgate food is so great, isn’t it?  It’s fun, flavorful, and can usually be eaten with just your fingers.  I love it!

Often times, I will travel an hour away to my parents’ house to watch the game with them, and I will pack up a bunch of yummy tailgating food to take with me.  Since it’s such a long drive to my parents’ house, I always make sure I pack up my food in Rubbermaid® food storage containers.  They ensure that my food will not spill in my car or in my cooler, and that everything will stay nice and fresh on the long drive up.

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids

One of my favorite things to bring is burgers.  I make my burgers in advance, as well as chop up all of the toppings my family loves to pile on top of them – lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, and peppers.  I wrap the burgers in waxed paper so they don’t stick together, and then place them inside a Rubbermaid food storage container.  I then fill more Rubbermaid® storage containers with all of our toppings, and stack them up in the cooler for super easy transport. 

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids

When I get to my parents’ house, all that’s left to do is throw the burgers on the grill.  I love having everything all ready to go when I get there, so I can spend more time with my family, instead of working away in the kitchen.  There’s nothing worse than being at a party and spending all of your time chopping up vegetables!

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids

These Rubbermaid® Consumer Products’ Easy Find Lids™ containers are really so wonderful.  They make kitchen and pantry organization super simple by helping to keep containers and their matching lids together. The lids can together and/or snap to the bottom of matching containers, ensuring the right lid is easy to find.  The square containers come in graduated sizes that nest together to take up less room in a cupboard, fridge or pantry, too!  I also love that they are 100% BPA free, and microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids

I am also totally in love with this awesome party platter from Rubbermaid®

Rubbermaid Party Platter

It has a large divided base that keeps different types of food separated, plus a smaller leak-proof Twist & Seal™ inner container holds dip and nests snuggly in the base. 

Rubbermaid Party Platter

It comes with a secure lid that creates a tight seal, allowing for easy transportation.  This party platter is also 100% BPA free, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe.

Rubbermaid Party Platter

My family loves salt and vinegar chips, so I decided to try making a salt and vinegar dip.  I think it came out pretty fantastic, and it’s great served with pretzels, crackers and potato chips! 

Salt & Vinegar Dip

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 8 oz. Package of Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 Tsp. White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Sour Cream

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all ingredients together until well combined, and enjoy!

Find out more about the great food storage products Rubbermaid® has to offer:

Rubbermaid Website

Rubbermaid Facebook Page

Rubbermaid Twitter Page

Rubbermaid Pinterest Page

What are your favorite tailgating foods?

Oct 292015
 

This blog post was sponsored by Wounded Warrior Project® for Believe in Heroes but the opinions are all my own.

 

Support Our Heroes

 

I come from a large military family. My grandmother, grandfather, several uncles, great aunts and uncles, and cousins have all served in different branches of the military.  Luckily, they have all returned home safe and sound, and uninjured after their active duty tours, but unfortunately, not everyone that serves in the military is so lucky.  Many return with injuries that can cause a great strain on them and their families. 
 
Those that serve in the military sacrifice so much – spending time with their families, home cooked meals, a warm and comfortable bed, and more – all to protect and serve our country.  When these men and women return home with an injury, either physical or mental, we absolutely need to make sure the are taken care of, as they so deserve to be. 
 
You may be wondering what you can do to help our wounded warriors, and it’s actually very simple!  Now through November 20, 2015, you can show your support by taking part in the Believe in Heroes campaign in support of Wounded Warrior Project
 
The Believe in Heroes campaign has raised over $22 million since it was established in 2010.  The funds raised have helped enable the expansion of critical Wounded Warrior Project programs that now directly serve more than 77,000 injured service members and over 13,000 caregivers and families.
 
This campaign is supported by over 45 of the nation’s leading consumer brands and more than 170 retailers.  Each of these participating brands and retailers help to raise funds through a variety of promotional initiatives.  Brands have made a fixed donation of $1,150,000 to Wounded Warrior Project through the Believe in Heroes campaign this year, and it’s anticipated that this program will raise at least $5,000,000+ in total.  Isn’t that amazing?!

 

Participating Products Hi-res Image

 

You can view a complete list of participating brands and retailers here.  Feel free to print and use the shopping list below, and shop to support the brands that support our heroes!
 
Believe in Heroes

 

There are so many awesome brands on this list!  I’ll be heading out to do some grocery shopping tomorrow, and I am so excited to be able to show my support for these brands and our heroes.
 
 
Oct 242015
 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

KITCHENAID Appliances

I love to cook.  I am completely obsessed with it.  I binge-watch cooking shows all the time on Netflix and Hulu, I browse Pinterest on a daily basis looking for new recipes to try, and I spend more time in my kitchen than any other room in my home.  

I would absolutely love to be a chef some day, but for now, I just really enjoy cooking for friends and family in the comfort of my own home.  John and I have started to slowly update our kitchen appliances, beginning with the recent purchase of a new dishwasher from Best Buy.  With all of the cooking I do, I need a dishwasher that’s going to keep up with all of those dirty dishes I make!

I honestly cannot wait until we get a new range for our kitchen.  Ours is really old, and one of our stovetop burners doesn’t even work anymore.  A 3-burner stovetop for a chef-wannabe simply will not do!

I have been eyeing the KitchenAid line of appliances at Best Buy, which includes this really amazing Slide-In Downdraft Range.  This range is really cool because it fits in the traditional freestanding cut-out, but looks more like a built-in.  I love it!  It also offers both electric and dual fuel options, which is pretty fantastic because  I have always wanted to have a gas range.  I love being able to see the flame underneath, and having more control over the temperature my food is cooked at.

KitchenAid range

This range also has Even-Heat™ Technology which gives you flawless results in wall ovens and ranges.  There is even a baking drawer where you can keep your dishes warm, slow cook, or bake at a temperature that’s different than the main oven cavity.  I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to bake more than one thing at a time, but couldn’t because they needed to be baked at different temperatures.  This would definitely allow me to become more efficient in the kitchen!

In addition, this range also offers exclusive steam rack and steam bake cooking options, which are designed for amazing performance.

This range is definitely at the top of my wish-list!!

While we’re talking about new kitchen appliances, I certainly can’t leave out the refrigerator.  I’m not really a big fan of the refrigerator we have right now.  We bought our house last year, and we still have the refrigerator that came with it.  It is extremely loud, making knocking noises throughout the day and night, and we have never been able to get the light inside to work properly, so it’s almost always dark when we open the refrigerator doors.  It’s not really fun trying to find something in there with no light!  It also doesn’t have any cool features, like an ice machine.

I love the new KitchenAid French Door Refrigerator from Best Buy.  The new 36″ french door bottom mount built-in refrigerator offers a luxury fit, feel and finish, with soft close pantry drawers, new crispers, a platinum interior, and get this – undershelf lighting!!  I bet it’s not hard to find anything in that refrigerator!

KitchenAid Refrigerator

This refrigerator is just stunning, and I love that it has five doors to offer the ultimate in flexibility, organized storage and easier access to food. 

If you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen appliances too, now is a great time because Best Buy is offering some really hot deals on these KitchenAid appliances.  Now through 10/31/15, you can get a free 10-pc Painted Stainless-Steel KitchenAid Cookware Set with the Purchase of Any KitchenAid Range/OTR Pair.

You can also save an additional 5% with the purchase of 3 or more Kitchen Aid major kitchen appliances through 10/31/15.

Best Buy also offers 18 month financing on major appliance purchases of $599 and up or 10% back in rewards, and free delivery, haul-away & recycling on major appliance purchases $399 and up.

When we bought our new dishwasher from Best Buy recently, they delivered the new one to our home, set it up, and took our old one for us.  The service men were so friendly, efficient, and did an excellent job of installing our new dishwasher.  We were so pleased with how easy the whole process was!

Which one of these awesome appliances do you want most??

 

Oct 202015
 

You’ll love this delicious sockeye salmon recipe!

This sockeye salmon recipe post was sponsored by BlogMeetsBrand on behalf of Alaska Seafood. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Dinnertime in our house is usually pretty crazy. My husband, John, gets home from work most nights between 5:00 and 5:30, and the kids start to get all wound up the second he comes in the door. There are a lot of days when I have been so distracted by cleaning the house and taking care of the kids that I forget to plan anything for dinner. I usually keep our freezer pretty well stocked with meat – ground hamburger, chicken, etc., but if I forget to take something out to thaw earlier in the day, I can’t serve it for dinner that night.

On those nights when I’ve completely spaced on planning for dinner, it’s easy to just say “let’s order a pizza tonight”, but that’s not exactly healthy. I want to set a good example for my kids, and show them that no matter how exhausted or busy you are at the end of the day, and even if you haven’t planned dinner, you can still cook a healthy meal in the same amount of time it would take you to order a pizza. It really doesn’t have to be complicated or a lot of work.

One of my favorite healthy dinnertime meals is seafood, with vegetables and a starch on the side. I always keep a bag of frozen Alaska seafood in the freezer for those nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. One of the best things about the frozen Alaska seafood, is that I don’t have to thaw it out before cooking it. In fact, I can have a healthy and delicious meal on my table in about 15 minutes! How amazing is that?!

Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon Recipe

Nearly 60% of seafood harvested in the U.S. comes from Alaska, and you can find wild Alaska seafood in the freezer section of your local grocery store year round. There is an amazing variety to choose from, including five species of salmon, three species of whitefish, and several varieties of shellfish.

Alaska preserves much of the fresh catch immediately after it leaves the icy water by rapidly chilling the catch, then commercially flash freezing at well below zero, ensuring that the seafood is kept at the peak of freshness, and locking in the best quality and flavor.

The cold water and natural environment of Alaska produces seafood with lean flesh, firm texture, and superior flavor that is full of high quality protein, vitamins, minerals and oils essential to good health.

Alaska seafood is high in protein, low in saturated fat, low in sodium and one of the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, so it’s really a great dinner option for the whole family! You can learn more at the Wild Alaska Seafood website.

There are also several different cooking techniques and helpful how-to videos available on the Cook It Frozen section of the Wild Alaska Seafood website. If you’d like to watch some of these seafood cooking techniques live, you can visit one of the more than 600 Wild Alaska Seafood cooking demonstrations at a store near you during the month of October!

Tonight, I pulled some wild Alaska sockeye salmon out of the freezer, and had a healthy and delicious meal on my table 15 minutes later!

Sockeye salmon is my all-time favorite seafood, and I eat a lot of it. I love the firm texture, how flavorful it is, and how well it pairs with so many different foods. In addition to baking or roasting, sockeye salmon is perfect for grilling, broiling, sautéing, poaching, steaming, and smoking. There is just SO much you can do with it! Even after being frozen, the wild Alaska sockeye salmon stays so fresh and has that wonderful red color.

Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon Recipe

Below is a favorite sockeye salmon recipe of mine. It’s so quick and easy to make, and it tastes absolutely amazing!

Garlic & Herb Parmesan Crusted Sockeye Salmon Recipe

Garlic & Herb Parmesan Crusted Sockeye Salmon Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets (about 6 oz. each)
  • 6 Tbsp. Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic & Herb Seasoning Mix
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Melted Butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rinse salmon fillets under COLD water to remove any ice glaze; pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Brush both sides of fillets with olive oil.
  4. Place fillets (skin side down) on foil-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake fillets for 4 minutes.
  6. While salmon is baking, mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and herb seasoning mix, salt, pepper and melted butter in a small bowl.
  7. Remove salmon fillets from oven and gently press herb and breadcrumb mixture into fillets.
  8. Return salmon fillets to oven and cook for 11 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
  9. Serve with your favorite vegetable and rice, potatoes or pasta.

Flaky & delicious!

Garlic & Herb Parmesan Crusted Sockeye Salmon

Pumpkin Marshmallow M&M Blondies

 Posted by on October 15, 2015  10 Responses »
Oct 152015
 

I am such a sucker for pumpkin flavored stuff.  I was in the grocery store the other day, shopping for groceries we needed for the week, and I walked by an end cap that had pumpkin stuff all over it.  That was all it took.  They really know how to get you, don’t they?  I mean, who can resist a display full of pumpkin stuff?  Not me!  So, obviously, I had to pick up a couple bags of goodies and bring them home with me, right?  I snagged a bag of pumpkin spice chips and a bag of pumpkin spice marshmallows.  I really had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I just had to have them!

Pumpkin spice goodies

When I got home, I put the pumpkin goodies away in the cabinet, and waited for some inspiration to strike.  A couple of days later, John came home from work and handed me a bag of fall colored m&m’s – red, orange, yellow and brown – that he had picked up from the grocery store.  Apparently, he can’t resist the end caps full of holiday candy either! 

I just knew these colorful candies belonged with my pumpkin spice chips and pumpkin spice marshmallows, and I set out to Pinterest to figure out what to do with all of these delicious goodies.

I wanted to make some kind of a cookie or blondie, and when I stumbled upon these Marshmallow Blondies from Cookies and Cups, I just knew that was the recipe I was going to tweak with my pumpkin goodies.

Pumpkin Marshmallow M&M Blondies

While her blondies are made with butterscotch chips, mini marshmallows and white chocolate chips, these are made with pumpkin spice chips, pumpkin spice marshmallows, and also include those pretty fall colored m&m’s I love so much.  The end result is a delicious, chewy blondie with a very subtle pumpkin spice flavor.  These are the perfect treat to serve at your fall gatherings, or to even just whip up for yourself or your family.

I hope you enjoy these Pumpkin Marshmallow M&M Blondies as much as I do!

Pumpkin Marshmallow M&M Blondies

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup pumpkin spice chips
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin spice marshmallows
  • ¾ cup fall colored m&m’s

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 9×9 baking dish with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the pumpkin chips and butter together over low heat and set aside to cool slightly.  The mixture may appear to be slightly separated.
  4. In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and brown sugar together. Stir in the pumpkin mixture until combined.  The mixture will be dry and crumbly.
  5. Stir egg and vanilla into mixture until smooth.
  6. Add in marshmallows and m&m’s.  Stir until combined.
  7. Spread batter (It will be a very sticky consistency!) into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until center is just set.
  8. IMPORTANT! Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.  If you try to cut them too early, they will fall apart. 

For more Pinterest Remakes, visit a few of my favorite bloggers:

Oct 072015
 

Has there ever been a time when you ran out of something at the worst possible moment?  I remember one time when I was baking cookies and I ran out of sugar.  I had already mixed up the dry ingredients, and had creamed some butter in my mixer.  I went to the cabinet to get the sugar out, and realized that I did not have enough to finish the recipe.  I quickly ran over to the dish I keep the sugar for my coffee in, hoping that there would be enough in there to finish the recipe, but that was almost empty too.  I couldn’t believe that I had run so low on sugar and not even noticed.

So, there I was, with butter in my mixer, and a bowl full of flour and other dry ingredients sitting on my counter.  I had to load both kids in the car and drive up the street to buy a package of sugar at the corner store.  I was so frustrated and annoyed.  It was a huge inconvenience for me at that moment, and I remember thinking to myself that I would always check to make sure I had enough ingredients on hand BEFORE starting to bake something from then on.

While my little fiasco with the sugar put a damper on my day, it would really be a lot worse if I ever ran out of something more important than that.  Running out of bath tissue, for example, would be just awful, don’t you think?  Especially if it were at a time when I had company over.  Yikes!  I always make sure I keep a huge stash of Scott bath tissue on hand, so I never run into an embarrassing situation.

Scott has at least 600 more sheets per roll than any other National Brand, and now they have added 100 more sheets per roll with their new Scott® 1000 bonus pack, available at Sam’s Club®!   I just love shopping at Sam’s Club®.  They have so many awesome deals, and the cost of a membership certainly pays for itself over and over again. I love being able to buy products I use a lot in bulk, which saves me time and money.

Scott® 1000 bonus pack

This humongous package of bath tissue is already being sold at a bargain of a price, but right now you can save even more on the Scott® 1000 bonus pack when you download the Ibotta app

Ibotta AppAfter you download the Ibotta app, you simply search for Scott®, and it will bring up a deal where you can get $5.00 back on your purchase of the Scott® 1000 bonus pack at Sam’s Club®.  Take a poll and watch a short video to get started.  Then, after you purchase your package of bath tissue, simply scan the barcode and take a photo of your receipt within the Ibotta app.  After your purchase has been verified, you will receive $5.00 in your Ibotta account!

Ibotta App

I stocked my bathroom closet with the Scott® 1000 bonus pack, and I think we will be set for quite a while!  I had previously bought a smaller package of Scott® bath tissue a few weeks ago, and as you can see, I still have quite a lot left from that too.  This bath tissue lasts a long time, and I love not having to worry about running out!

Scott® 1000 bonus pack

What things do you stock up on for your home?

Oct 052015
 

This is a sponsored post for Dunkin’ Donuts through Blog Meets Brand.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I love everything about it – coffee, eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, bread… it’s all so delicious!  I don’t reserve breakfast food for only the morning time, though.  There are many days when I love to have breakfast food for lunch or even dinner. 

Yesterday, John and I headed out to town with the kids to run some quick errands.  We had a pretty busy morning of getting the kids ready to leave the house (it always takes hours for some reason!), so we did not have time to eat breakfast before we left. By the time 11:00 rolled around, we were starving, and in desperate need of some food and coffee.  Neither one of us was in the mood for lunch food yet, so we decided to stop at Dunkin’ Donuts to grab a hot breakfast sandwich and a coffee.  We didn’t feel like taking the kids out of their car seats to run inside, so we just went through the drive-thru.  I think the drive-thru is my favorite invention ever!

Dunkin' Donuts

I love that I can get a fresh and delicious breakfast sandwich from Dunkin’ Donuts any time of day.  Isn’t it awesome that they serve up breakfast all day long?!  We have several Dunkin’ Donuts locations near our house, so I can just hop in the car and grab a breakfast sandwich and coffee or other beverage any time I want.  As a Mom with 2 kids under 3, it’s really nice to have the option of going through a drive-thru where I can pick up my favorite breakfast food without having to get everyone out of the car. 

Dunkin' Donuts

There are a variety of breakfast sandwiches to choose from at Dunkin’ Donuts, made on your choice of croissants, bagels, English muffin or flat bread, and smaller portions like Wake-Up Wraps on flour tortillas.

I think I have tried every single breakfast sandwich from the Dunkin’ Donuts menu at one point or another, but my all-time favorite is the ham, egg and cheese on a bagel.  It’s so warm and hearty, and super tasty.  I also love the fact that it’s really easy to eat on-the-go, and in the car, without making a big mess.

Dunkin' Donuts

And then there’s the coffee… oh, yes.  It’s so delicious!  They have so many blends and flavors, that you can get pretty much anything you want!  Did you know there are more than 15,000 ways to order a coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts?!  Incredible!

So, the next time you’re in the mood for a tasty breakfast sandwich and beverage in the morning, afternoon, or evening, head on over to your local Dunkin’ Donuts and they will hook you up… you won’t even have to get out of your car!

P.S.  Check out DD Perks to earn reward points on your purchases, and for some pretty sweet offers, including a free beverage on your birthday!

Oct 012015
 

I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MilkWise. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

If you love a tall glass of milk, but hate the calories, then I have some good news for you!  A new, innovative milk beverage called MilkWise has recently hit stores in New England and Upstate New York, and it is has fewer calories, less sugar and MORE calcium than traditional dairy milk! 

MilkWise

I have tried all three flavors of MilkWise myself (Original, Vanilla and Reduced Sugar Vanilla), and they taste amazing!  I love that I don’t have to sacrifice great flavor for a lower calorie option.

MilkWise

If you live in New England or Upstate New York, you can find MilkWise right in the dairy aisle, but if you want to try it before you buy it, you just might be in luck because MilkWise is out on tour this month, and offering up some free samples!  Click here to find a tour location near you.