Monday, March 02, 2015

Piczzle Photo Puzzles #Review + #Giveaway!


Today I am excited to share with you these adorable Piczzle puzzles! Turn your favorite family photos into beautiful puzzles. I chose to use one of Lindsey's recent Valentine's Day pictures for our Piczzle puzzle and it came out so stinkin' adorable! I absolutely love it! My mom was a huge puzzle fan and had stacks of puzzles in her hall closet, and there was pretty much always one in progress in her crafting room. Kenneth's mother also keeps several puzzles around and one of my fondest memories from spending Christmases at their house would be pulling out a puzzle and all of the girls (usually, sometimes a boy or man would pop in and out to help) would sit, munch on snacks, chit chat or work in companionable silence and complete a puzzle over the course of a couple days.

Source: Piczzle
Make sure to use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win your OWN Small Cardboard Puzzle from Piczzle!

Don't miss any of the giveaways going on now! Visit the Giveaways Page and enter to win!

Lindsey was so excited to see herself on the front of the puzzle box!

Piczzle Photo Puzzles are a fantastic gift idea, or make one for yourself to preserve and share a treasured memory or family photo. Find Piczzle Photo Puzzles on Facebook! You can also find Piczzle Photo Puzzles on YouTube.


Lindsey hugging her "puzzle self".
Lindsey was pretty excited to see herself on a puzzle box! She kept pointing to her picture and squealing "Baby, baby, baby!" It was pretty adorable!

Source: Piczzle
 Product Information:

Piczzle - your own puzzle from your special image.

Piczzle's Cardboard Puzzles are made of outstanding materials, top craftsmanship and the highest print quality. They are constructed of a premium grade cardboard that has been laminated with a glossy finish. Our cardboard puzzles are precision press cut so that all pieces will be perfectly match one another and they are printed using an advanced digital printing technique that results in sharp, multicolored prints.


*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Piczzle for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own. 


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Honey Almond Granola


I tested out two granola recipes today - hubby asked me to make a bigger batch then I made last time, so instead of one big recipe, I made two different ones - that should tide him over for a week or two - I hope!


This recipe is really yummy - the cook time totally threw me since I'm used to a lower temp, and longer time. The original recipe actually only calls for 10 total minutes. I did 15 total and got a nice, crunchy granola that I was happy with. The flavor is very nice - the nuts add a good crunch, there is just enough salt, and you can taste that honey and a touch of vanilla. Delicious!


Enjoy your granola with some cold milk and fresh diced fruit, or sprinkled over some yogurt, for a wonderful start to your day! There's just nothing quite like homemade granola.


I was offered the chance to try out some super fun Liquid Chalk Markers from Ander Blake (Amazon link below) which I love - this set comes with 8 beautiful, vibrant, bright colors. You can uses these markers on everything from chalkboard (and my favorite - chalkboard labels!), to glass, whiteboard, plastic, ceramic and more! Write a message on your children's mirror, label projects on stickers, or directly on the boxes or jars, label gifts, write a sign, write a message on your car or house windows, etc. Lots of great options - and EASY to clean, just wipe with a wet cloth!


Honey Almond Granola from Lovely Little Kitchen

Ingredients
1 cup almonds, divided
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put half of the almonds in a blender or food processor and pulse until pulverized to a fairly fine consistency. Rough chop the other half of the almonds. Place all of the almonds into a large bowl and add the oats, salt, and brown sugar.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl place the coconut oil and the honey; microwave for about 30 seconds, stir until all of the pieces of coconut oil are melted. 
  4. Pour the honey / coconut oil mixture along with both extracts into the bowl with the oat mixture, stir well until evenly combined.
  5. Spread mixture onto a large baking sheet covered with a silpat, baking mat, or parchment paper. 
  6. Bake for 5 minutes, stir. Return to oven for 5 more minutes, stir and return to oven for about 5 more minutes or until it's beginning to get golden browned along the bottom. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to air dry for at least an hour, or until completely cool. Store granola in an airtight container (I like to use a large Ball jar).




Breaking Bad - Walt's Birthday Plate

I was trying to decide what Breaking Bad inspired food item to share today - after running a few internet searches I discovered that in the Pilot Episode of Breaking Bad, Walt is given a birthday plate of eggs with "50" spelled out in veggie bacon.

http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120210202842/breakingbad/images/a/af/1x01_-_Veggie_Bacon.jpg

I love the idea of this - it seems like something we in our household would do - well I suppose it is a variation of what we do. Every year on my son's birthday he gets a pancake bear and sometimes his age in pancakes too - I think a side of scrambled eggs with bacon spelling out the number to accompany the pancake bear would be well received, so we might just be adopting this one as a birthday tradition!

Find more Breaking Bad inspired recipes here, or here, or see the link to the Breaking Bad: A Parody in Cookbook link below!


I received a pair of Breaking Bad inspired earrings to review via Tomoson, and so of course I had to find a recipe to go with the review. These earrings are perfect - simple, stainless steel, periodic table "Br" and "Ba" - if you love this show, you will love these earrings!


And if you love breakfast, you will love your own birthday plate of eggs and "age" bacon (I didn't use veggie bacon - it's forbidden in my household of bacon lovers).

Inspired by this breakfast platter, here is "Walt's Birthday Plate":


Walt's Birthday Plate

Ingredients
6 eggs
1 - 2 TBS milk
salt and pepper to taste
3 pieces of bacon, cooked to desired crispiness

Directions

  1. Whip the eggs and milk together in a bowl.
  2. Heat about 1 tsp of oil in a large nonstick skillet (or spray skillet with cooking spray) - heat to medium-high heat.
  3. When oil is ready, add whipped eggs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir regularly with a spatula, when eggs are starting to set, reduce heat to medium. Continue stirring until eggs reach desired consistency.
  5. Arrange eggs on a large plate.
  6. Tear or cut bacon into workable pieces, and place atop eggs to form the number you prefer.
  7. Serve immediately.




*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Vision Creations for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Half and Half Pizza and Cheesy Bread Sticks + Pizza Cutter #Giveaway!

Don't miss any of the giveaways going on now! Visit the Giveaways Page and enter to win!



I love pizza - everyone in my house loves pizza (well, except for the 17-month old, she's not on board yet). What do we all love in addition to delicious, cheesy, tasty pizza? Cheesy bread!! Oh yes, the cheesy bread... yumm...


This recipe brings both of those happy delicious worlds together into one complete and cheesy meal! I love making one dish that will be completely devoured, leaving me no leftovers to put away, and happy full tummies in the process. Perfection.


The cheesy bread side is amazing. Ooey, gooey, garlicky, parmesan-ey, and mozzarella-ey... everyone was making happy googly eyes at these cheese sticks. There was gnashing of teeth over the last slice. These were happily devoured. Make sure to have a side of good marinara to dip these in - if you're a dipper.


I was offered the chance to review the Bru Joy Pizza Cutter Wheel and to give one away! I am very excited to share this terrific pizza cutter with you today, and just as excited to share the DELICIOUS half and half Pizza and Cheesy Bread Sticks recipe below with you. If you can't decide which you like better - pizza or ooey, gooey, garlicky cheesy bread sticks - then this recipe is definitely for you.


The Bru Joy Deluxe Pizza Cutter Wheel is fantastic - it has a great weight to it, and is perfectly sharp to give you nice, clean, all the way through cuts just the way you want them (without having to roll back and forth, and back and forth, or press so hard you're afraid you're going to break something). It's a fantastic, quality pizza cutter that you will enjoy for many years!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter to win your own deluxe pizza cutter wheel!


Half and Half Pizza and Cheesy Bread Sticks adapted from Lauren's Latest

Ingredients

for the pizza dough
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup...depending on the heat & humidity}

for the cheesy garlic bread sticks
2 tablespoons softened salted butter
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

pizza toppings
1 can mushrooms, drained
1/4 cup bacon bits
1/2 cup sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup BBQ sauce or marina
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions
  1. Prepare pizza dough by adding the yeast and honey (or sugar) to the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine and allow to proof for 5 - 10 minutes, or until yeast is bubbly.
  2. Add in the salt, yeast, and half the flour. Fit the mixer with a dough attachment, and allow to combine, slowly adding more flour until the right consistency is achieved. On low-medium speed allow the dough to combine, when it starts forming a ball, set a timer for 5 - 6 minutes and allow it to combine and knead the dough.
  3. The bowl should be fairly clean, and the dough ball well formed. Remove the dough from the bowl, add a little bit of oil to the bottom of the bowl, return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Set in a warm place and allow to rise for 1 - 2 hours (will not double in size).
  4. When dough has risen, turn the oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour your counter, and roll the dough out to the size of a 16" pizza stone (or pan if you don't have a stone) - it should be fairly thin.
  5. Place prepped dough on the pizza stone.
  6. Combine the softened butter and minced garlic (for the cheesy bread), and spread that mixture on half of the pizza dough. Top the butter, garlic mixture with the 1/4 cup grated parmesan and the shredded mozzarella.
  7. On the other half of the pizza, spread the marinara or BBQ sauce, then top with sausage, bacon bits, and mushrooms (or use other pizza toppings of your choice). Top with shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted, starting to brown, and crust is golden brown and cooked through.
Bru Joy Pizza Cutter Product Information:
  • THE BEST PIZZA CUTTER WHEEL - If you looking for a professional pizza cutter that is easy to use and gives restaurant style pizza slices, then you've found it! The Bru Joy pizza wheel slices through any toppings and cuts even the largest pizza effortlessly thanks to its extra large 4" stainless steel blade that is super sharp.
  • EXTRA SAFETY PROTECTION - Bru Joy's pizza cutter wheel's handle is longer, softer, more comfortable to grip and slip-resistant. More importantly, its built-in finger guard not only protects your finger from being cut, but also lets you cut through pizzas more easily.
  • RESTAURANT STYLE PIZZA PRESENTATION MADE EASY: Larger 4" blade means by just one easy roll over, you will get a beautifully sliced pizza that lives up to any pizza lovers' expectations.
  • MADE OF TOP QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL THAT WILL NOT RUST - Clean is easy. Simply wash it in hot soapy water then towel dry or pop the cutter into dishwasher. The stainless steel blade will not rust.

*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Bru Joy Products for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


Super Crumb Coffee Cake


It was a coffee cake kind of morning... but I don't yet have "THE" coffee cake recipe that will make me forsake all others... yet.


So I keep trying - when the urge for coffee cake strikes, I pull up the trusty laptop and play around on Pinterest and see what jumps out at me.


Today's cake was this incredibly moist, buttery, and cinnamon-sugary deliciousness from Sally's Baking Addiction. My cake did NOT come out at all like hers - as you can see from above, the cake batter decided to try to take over the crumb topping and somehow came up around the edges and tried to obscure the cinnamon sugar yummy topping - it was all good though! That just meant the cinnamon sugary yumminess ended up almost like a gooey filling layer.


This was a delicious coffee cake, and I would definitely try it again and see if I can get mine to behave and bake up like it's intended. Either way though - it's a winner and a keeper. My son gave it two thumbs up and said "10 out of 10, I would eat it again!" (Yes, that rhymed too - he's special like that).


If the coffee cake "bug" bites you anytime soon - pull this one out and give it a try! Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee, and some delicious fresh fruit and you'll have a wonderful start to your morning!

Super Crumb Coffee Cake from Sally's Baking Addiction

Ingredients
Baker's Joy Baking Spray (or use butter to grease and flour generously)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 TBS granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
10 TBS (1 and 1/4 stick) butter, chilled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (or add 2 tsp of distilled white vinegar to enough milk to equal 3/4 cup and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using)
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a 9-inch springform pan (or 9" round baking pan) with Baker's Joy Baking Spray (the one with flour in the spray) or grease with butter, sprinkle heavily with flour, and tap out the excess.
  2. Blend the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl by whisking until combined. Slice your cold butter into smallish pieces and add to the bowl, cut in with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture (set aside for topping). 
  3. Add the baking powder and baking soda into the flour mixture in the bowl, followed by the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla (use a stand mixer to blend if the batter is too thick - mine wasn't super thick and I used a Danish Dough Whisk to combine). Blend batter for about 2 minutes, until well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan, smoothing the top as needed.
  4. Into the reserved 1 cup of flour mixture, add the cinnamon and brown sugar and blend with a fork until combined. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the cake batter, pressing down lightly and spreading evenly across the top.
  5. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 50-58 minutes (I baked mine for 55 minutes). Cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan. Slice and serve warm if desired, or if you want it to be completely set before serving, allow to cool for a full 2 hours.



Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Blogger Recipe Challenge: Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatloaf



Have you taken the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Challenge yet? If not - you have until the end of March to do so! Find all the details here.

I requested to receive a packet of the Italian Meatballs Healthy Solutions Spice Blends which contains: Dehydrated onion, parsley, lemon peel, spices, dehydrated garlic, sea salt, and paprika. Contains (8 tsp of seasoning mix per packet). I had an idea in mind as soon as I picked my seasoning blend, and although I need to apologize for the poor pictures (this meatloaf was dinner, and there was nothing left to take better pictures with the next day when there was decent natural light again), I am overall pretty happy with how this one came out!

This is an easy to make and family friendly twist on traditional meatloaf. The spice blend gives the meatloaf tons of flavor, and the meat is kept moist from the spaghetti sauce mixed in and poured over top. Serve this cheesy loaf up with some garlic bread and a crisp Caesar salad for a delicious and filling dinner!

Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatloaf 

Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 packet Healthy Solutions Italian Meatballs Spice Blend
1 cup spaghetti sauce, divided use
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (or 2 mozzarella cheese sticks)

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine ground beef, spice blend, 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce, grated Parmesan, egg, and oatmeal together in a large bowl.
  3. Place half of the meat mixture on the bottom of a loaf pan / meatloaf pan.
  4. Create a small indentation, leaving about a 1/2-inch margin along the edges. Fill the indentation with the shredded mozzarella cheese or two cheese sticks, side by side. 
  5. Shape remaining meat mixture into a rectangle approximately the size of the loaf pan, and place over the top of the shredded cheese topped meat mixture already in the pan. Carefully press mixture to seal any edges (to try to prevent the cheese from seeping out during baking).
  6. Spread remaining spaghetti sauce over the top of the meatloaf, and cover with foil.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for one hour. 
  8. Optional: after 1 hour baking time, remove meatloaf from oven, sprinkle about 1/4 - 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese over the top and return to the oven, uncovered, until cheese has melted and begins to turn lightly brown (about 10 minutes).
  9. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 - 15 minutes before slicing and serving.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Tranquility Silicone Teething Necklace #Review + #Giveaway!



Eternal Love Parenting offers several styles of Silicone Teething Necklaces - if you haven't heard about these yet, definitely swing by their website and check them out to learn more! These are intended to be worn by mom for your baby to chew on and play with, and should not be given to an unsupervised child.


As you can see - my 17 month old thought this thing was something pretty wonderful! She played with it for nearly an hour straight - wearing it, taking it off, chewing it, spinning it, chewing it, chewing it, on off, on off... I sat with her, photographed her, giggled as she played and we both had a great time!


The necklace is made of great, durable quality silicone that feels good on baby's gums and teeth - and whether or not they're teething (which Lindsey does happen to be) your baby will get great use out of this. And bonus points, it looks really nice on - no one will guess it's a teething necklace (or keep it under your shirt, in your diaper bag, or in your purse and pull it out when you need to entertain baby).

I am excited that I have the chance to give one of these amazing necklaces away to one of my readers! I hope you will enter via the Rafflecopter widget below - and make sure to visit the Giveaways Page and enter to win all of the current giveaways going on now!

If you want a special discount on this fantastic necklace right now - visit this page and enter your e-mail for an instant 25% discount code!




*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Eternal Love Teething Jewelry for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.