Sunday, January 31, 2016

#FreshTastyValentines: Kicking off 2/1/16! Meet the Bloggers, #Sponsors, and get the #GIVEAWAY Details!

#FreshTastyValentines is kicking off TOMORROW! An amazing group of 22 bloggers have teamed up with some pretty amazing sponsors to bring you not only a TON of fantastic, delicious, fresh and tasty dishes to inspire you in the kitchen for Valentine's day - there is a HUGE giveaway that begins on February 1st. See the rafflecopter link below!

The Bloggers

The Sponsors

The PrizesThank you to #FreshTastyValentines sponsors for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #FreshTastyValentines recipe development without additional compensation. All opinions stated are those of the bloggers.

BenBella Vegan is a division of BenBella Books, a boutique book publisher located in Texas. BenBella Vegan has published over twenty plant-based books and cookbooks in the past decade.

They are providing a prize package that includes five different cookbooks from their 2015 publishing releases! One #FreshTastyValentines winner will receive a print copy of the following cookbooks: The Plant-Based JourneyDining at The RavensPlant-Powered FamiliesThe China Study Quick & Easy Cookbookand The Plant Pure Nation Cookbook

While there's been a growing awareness of whole grain benefits in recent years, Bob's Red Mill been providing whole grain products to customers since 1978. Their philosophy: provide whole grain foods that have endured the test of time. They are providing one #FreshTastyValentines winner with a package of Hulled Hemp Seed HeartsWith a nut-like flavor and creamy texture, their hulled hemp seeds are a nutritious, healthy, and delightful addition recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Keep an eye out for event recipes that feature the hulled hemp seed hearts!

Casabella grew out of the idea that housewares and cleaning products could be great looking, fun and functional simultaneously. And, to that end, they strive to deliver products that are attractive, intuitive and functional. Additionally, all of their products are designed and assembled in America. They are providing a prize package of kitchen gadgets that are perfect for your Valentine cooking and for the rest of the year as well. One #FreshTastyValentines winner will receive: Casabella's Clip n StripShears and a Garlic Roaster.

Envy Apples were born in New Zealand using natural plant-breeding methods by cross-pollinating Braeburn apples with Royal Gala apples. They have since planted trees in Washington state and Chile. They are providing a prize package for one #FreshTastyValentines winner that will include Envy apples, an apple corer, and more.

Gourmet Garden loves herbs and spices and strives to make everyday cooking easier and more enjoyable. Their herbs and spices are washed, chopped and prepped within 18 hours of harvesting through patented processes that seal in the natural essential oils to maximize the fresh flavor and aroma of the herbs. They are providing one #FreshTastyValentines winner with each of their stir-in pastes (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, dill, Italian herbs, garlic, chunky garlic, ginger, lemongrass, oregano, parsley, and Thai seasonings), each of their lightly dried herbs (basil, chili pepper, cilantro, ginger, and parsley), and two Gourmet Garden logo coolers.

KitchenIQ is the new houseware branch of Smith’s Consumer Products, Inc. and embraces their long-standing reputation for innovation and quality, reflecting their commitment to producing smarter products for the kitchen. They are providing a prize package of kitchen gadgets that are perfect for your Valentine cooking and for the rest of the year as well. One #FreshTastyValentines winner will receive: KitchenIQ's Strawberry Tool and Better Zester.

Mann Packing was founded in 1939 and is now a third generation, majority women-owned company. Their mission is: Fresh Vegetables Made Easy™ and they value honor, passion, quality, and vision. Additionally, they support local school and donate generously to numerous charitable organizations throughout the community and the industry. They are giving one #FreshTastyValentines winner a $25 gift card. Keep an eye out for event recipes that feature the Mann Packing vegetables!

Not Ketchup was created by Erika Kerekes who also writes the kitchen blog In Erika’s Kitchen. She shares: "When we think of ketchup, we think tomatoes. But it hasn’t always been that way. The first ketchups were actually made several centuries ago from pickled, fermented fish in China, Malaysia and Indonesia." Not Ketchup got its name because the United States has bizarre regulations about what can be labeled as 'ketchup.' Since Not Ketchup does not contain any tomatoes, according to the powers that be, it’s Not Ketchup. Not Ketchup is providing one #FreshTastyValentines winner with a bottle of their NEW No-Sugar Added Tangerine Hatch Chile fruit ketchup. Keep an eye out for event recipes that feature the newest flavor of Not Ketchup!

Pacari Chocolate is a family owned business created in Ecuador by Santiago Peralta and Carla Barbotó. They wanted to revolutionize the chocolate industry; pacari means “nature” in Quechua, and was selected to embody everything that Pacari Chocolate represents. They are providing one #FreshTastyValentines winner a package of their premium organic chocolates!

Sun Basket is a convenient ingredient delivery service that was created by a top San Francisco-based chef and approved by an in-house nutritionist. Each delivery includes easy, delicious recipes and seasonal, sustainably sourced ingredients from West Coast farms. Sun Basket has generously donated THREE prize boxes. Winners must reside in the following states: CA, WA, CO, UT, OR, AZ, NV, & ID to win these prizes.

T.Lish began because each Christmas, Tiffany Denson would make dozens of mason jars filled with her signature dressing and marinade for her neighbors, friends, and family. Then, they began requesting the sauce throughout the year; a neighbor recommended she start selling it retail. She did. And word spread. T.Lish is Tiff's line of all natural and extremely versatile dressings, marinades and sauces. They are providing a prize package of their three marinades and dressings to one #FreshTastyValentines winner. Keep an eye out for event recipes that feature the T.Lish dressings and marinades!

UncommonGoods was founded by Dave Bolotsky who, at a craft show at the Smithsonian in 1999, was captivated by the unique handmade goods and the craftsman behind them. He had a vision to create an online venue to connect makers to individuals searching for special and uncommon goods.

UncommonGoods ( is an web-based marketplace offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices. They are providing one #FreshTastyValentines winner a $150 gift certificate for a shopping spree at the online marketplace.

Particularly timely for this time of year - glassware for when you uncork a bottle of wine with you sweetheart (here), or the corkcickle in case you forget to put the beer or wine to chill ahead of time (here). And I might just have to leave this link - for Valentines' gifts ideas - open on my computer!

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi began over thirty years ago, when Robert Mondavi had a goal of getting great California wine on every table in America. In 1979 he established the Woodbridge Winery near his childhood home of Lodi, California to make fruit-focused wines for everyday drinking. They are providing a prize package for the raffle. One #FreshTastyValentines winner will receive two bottles of Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi wine - one bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and one bottle of Pinot Noir. 

The Giveaway
For FOURTEEN Different Prizes
begins February 1st and ends February 8th
If you are visiting before the rafflecopter opens, please check back!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

#FreshTastyValentines Kicking off on February 1st! #sponsor

The wonderful Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is at it again! She's brought along a few blogger buddies to highlight some delicious Fresh and Tasty Valentine's Day dishes you can share with your special someone this year. 

We've received some pretty fantastic goodies from our amazing sponsors - look at all the fun things I've been working with the for the past week or so! 

Strawberry huller and slices, and am AMAZING zester (it's seriously amazing - I used it the other day for my lemon meringue pie, recipe coming soon, and it knocked my socks off) from KitchenIQ.

A tantalizing sauce from Not Ketchup.

A lovely garlic roaster and very handy fresh herb shears from Casabella.

A lovely pinot noir and sauvignon blanc from Woodbridge (the pinot made a LOVELY red wine sauce for some tasty beef tips - also coming soon!)

So stay tuned, this fun event kicks off on February 1st and you won't want to miss all the fantastic dishes we'll be sharing!

Monday, January 25, 2016

#MuffinMonday ~ Cinnamon Pear Muffins

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

This is a wonderful, tender, perfectly flavorful recipe that we enjoyed a lot! It makes a big double batch of muffins so we were able to enjoy these for several days - though they were so tasty that they really didn't last very long!

These muffins are packed full of delicious fruit (I used a combination of ripe pears and homemade applesauce, pureed together in the Vitamix to blend and it worked really well). They are lightly sweet, and deliciously fragrant and lightly spiced with cinnamon. The streusel topping gives them a wonderful texture. There is nothing I would change about these - we will definitely make these again soon!

See all the muffin recipes this week to inspire you to get in the kitchen and whip up a batch of muffins - take your pick between sweet or savory:

Cinnamon Pear Muffins from Little Dairy on the Prairie
Makes: 24 muffins

¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
4 cup pureed pears (or sub partially with applesauce if needed)
1 tsp vanilla
3 ¾ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 TBS cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
½ cup quick oats
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin pans with liners or nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oil with the white and brown sugars. Mix in the eggs followed by the pureed pears, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix only until combined, mix in chopped walnuts gently (if using).
  5. Pour batter evenly into prepared muffin pans (fill each cup about 3/4 of the way full).
  6. Combine the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon for topping in a small bowl and cut the butter in with a fork or pastry cutter.
  7. Sprinkle topping mixture evenly over muffins.
  8. Bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

#SRC ~ Carrot Flowers

Welcome to the January 2016 Group D reveal day for Secret Recipe Club! I hope you will take a moment to visit the Secret Recipe Club if you've never heard of it before - it is a wonderful group of food bloggers who are given a secret assignment of another member's blog each month and our goal is to pick ANYTHING from their blog to make and post about on our designated reveal day.

For this month's assignment, I received Shirley's blog Enriching Your Kid. I took my time browsing through the numerous tasty dishes she's shared over the years before deciding I had to share the adorable carrot flowers she posted about in 2012. I also saved her oatmeal pancakes to make soon! Shirley has a ton of amazing Indian dishes on her blog as well that I was itching to make - but did not find the time to get out to our International Farmers Market to hunt down a few of the key ingredients I would have needed.

I have a picky 2 1/2 year old and since Shirley's blog is all about "Enriching Your Kid" I thought this simple and fun recipe was the perfect highlight from her blog. Anyway I can find to help my kids be more interested in healthy choices makes me happy!

Carrot Flowers from Enriching Your Kid


  1. Peel carrot, Chop in half and use the thicker top half. Slice 5 wedges length wise down the carrot - use a fork to help scrape out the wedge if needed.
  2. Slice into thin round pieces and serve as a healthy snack, side dish, in your child's lunchbox, etc.!
  3. Serve with ranch dip, hummus, etc. if desired.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

#BundtBakers ~ Six Flavor Bundt Cake

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage

This is such an interesting cake! I was very intrigued when I saw the name and wasn't quite sure what to expect. The result? An incredibly moist and tender white cake base infused with subtle flavors - I primarily tasted a touch of butter, rum, and lemon. My sister noted the almond extract as well. They are just hints of flavor which somehow blend into a lovely and unique cake soaked in a delicious glaze for extra sweetness and moisture. The  outside edges get crisped and almost caramelized which adds another dimension of flavor and texture to this lovely treat.

See all the incredible selections of strange flavor combinations shared today at the links below:

Six Flavor Bundt Cake from

1 cup butter, softened
12 cup shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour
12 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon butter flavor extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

12 cup white sugar
14 cup water
12 teaspoon coconut extract
12 teaspoon rum extract
12 teaspoon butter flavor extract
12 teaspoon lemon extract
12 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tsp almond extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease a 10-inch Bundt cake pan.
  3. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  4. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and 1 teaspoon of each of the 6 extracts; set aside.
  5. In mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and 3 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
  7. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  8. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until cake tests done.
  10. Let cake cool for 5 minutes and then pour 1/2 of glaze over cake (while still in pan).
  11. Let sit for another 5 minutes and then turn cake out of pan onto wire rack (with waxed paper under rack to catch drippings).
  12. Slowly spoon remaining glaze onto top of hot cake.
  13. Cool completely before serving.
To make the Six Flavor Glaze: 
  1. In saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, water and 1/2 teaspoon of each of the 6 extracts.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Seven Flavor Cake/Glaze: Add 1 teaspoon pineapple flavored extract to Six Flavor Cake and 1/2 teaspoon pineapple flavored extract to Six Flavor Glaze.

Friday, January 15, 2016

#FishFridayFoodies ~ Creamy Crab Topped Flounder

Welcome to the inaugural posting for #FishFridayFoodies! This week we are sharing whatever seafood inspired dish that sounded good to us. Incorporating lean healthy seafood more regularly into my diet has been a goal of mine for awhile now, so when the lovely Wendy from A Day In The Life On The Farm suggested this group I was quick to raise my hand and jump on in! Inspiration and encouragement to try new delicious seafood recipes out? Yes please! Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month.  To join our group please email Wendy at

Visit our Facebook page and Pinterest page for more wonderful fish and seafood recipe ideas.

As most seafood dishes are, this is a quick and easy dinner that was perfect for a busy weeknight. I had some imitation crab meat in my refrigerator that needed to be used and had bought some flounder fillets at Sam's Club not long ago. I'd been craving a creamy shrimp dish, but when we discovered the shrimp were gone we pulled out the bag of flounder and did a quick recipe search and voila! This dish came together in no time.

It is rich, creamy, and satisfying. It went well with a light pasta and fresh steamed green beans on the side. The mild fish is lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder and the star of the show is the crab and creamy topping. Adjust seasoning of the creamy mixture to your taste preference with additional herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, etc. Happy #FishFridayFoodies!

Creamy Crab Topped Flounder adapted from

16 to 18-oz flounder fillets
salt, pepper, garlic powder
6-oz imitation crab meat, diced small

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
2 TBS parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Layer fish fillets in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, season both sides of fillets with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  2. Top fish with the chopped crab meat.
  3. Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth, pour over the fish fillets.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes (baking time will vary depending on thickness of fillets). Fish should flake easily when cooked through.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#BloggerCLUE ~ Sophie's Chopped Salad

Welcome to the January reveal day for the lovely C.L.U.E. Bloggers! Our theme this month is healthy eating - which means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To me it's about balance and incorporating fresh foods onto my plate at each meal. With that thought in mind I headed over to Liv Life, Kim's lovely blog full of tasty recipes, alongside beautiful pictures of food, family, and travels. Stop by soon and find a dish you will fall in love with! I had so many amazing options to pick from - I narrowed my list down to Grilled Tomato Pasta Salad, Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado, Tomato and Lime, Chicken Salad with Mango Chutney and Quinoa, Greek Salad Sandwiches, Sophie's Chopped Salad, California Corn Salad, Chinese Chicken Salad, Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, or a Caprese Salad!

I love this salad combination - lots of fantastic hearty ingredients that blend well together to leave you feeling full and satisfied. There are tons of great nutrients packed into this dish.

I've included two recipes below for dressing - the original recipe on Kim's site was for the balsamic vinaigrette but we thought with the black beans and pepper jack cheese that a zesty ranch might balance with the flavors better. You decide which version you might like to try!

Sophie's Chopped Salad adapted from Liv Life

1 heart of romaine lettuce, chopped and washed
1/2 cup canned chick peas, rinsed
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
3/4 cup canned corn, drained
1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup diced jalapeno jack cheese
1/4 cup diced cheddar cheese
Crushed tortilla chips sprinkled on top

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper

Zesty Ranch Dressing:
2 TBS prepared Ranch dressing
2 TBS sour cream 
1 TBS lime juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Distribute salad greens between 3 - 4 plates. Combine remaining salad ingredients in a medium bowl, toss gently to combine. Distribute evenly over greens and sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and crushed chips.
  2. Choose which dressing you would like to serve this with and prepare by whisking ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  3. Drizzle prepared salad with dressing and enjoy.
  4. If desired, serve sliced grilled chicken on the side, or lay slices on top of salad before serving.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Christmas Collar for Puppies

This is

I received a couple products from Pet's Mum to try out with my doggies.

One was the very cute Christmas themed collar you see above (and below - modeled by our handsome Max)! I think this collar is perfect for the Holiday season for any puppy. It's easily adjustable and well constructed. Max seemed to enjoy having his boring brown collar swapped out for a little while - or he was just eating up the extra attention. :)

I received this product in exchange for an honest review via Tomoson.