What’s Your FlavorPrint?

Sometimes, someone who thinks they know what they like (umm, me) finds out that believe it or not, there’s a whole new world of things they like as well.

Things that may have seemed unusual for them.

Things that just didn’t seem to make sense that a FORMULA – a computer program- could possibly know.

But someone found out otherwise.

I was asked by my friends at One2One to check out the new McCormick FlavorPrint site, take a flavor profile quiz, and then try out a few recipes based on what the site recommended for my proposed flavor profile.

I was hesitant, but hey, like I said, it was friends, so why not?

I did.

I created my login and password on the McCormick site, then answered a few simple questions.  The website was super easy, fun, and strangely enough, nailed me spot on, even with questions I thought made no real sense!  From there, it recommended a few recipes, and all of them really did sound like things I would honestly want to make.  Simple recipes, quick and easy, but with flavor pairings I may not have considered on my own.

Based on my FlavorPrint , I wasn’t surprised at all to see these particular flavors rising to the top.  But that the site had me pegged so well was kind of amazing!  I do love chocolate, cheese, and vanilla, and so many of the recipes containing onions/garlic.  They KNEW me!

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I tried 3 different recipes – Oven Roasted Red Potatoes, Ginger Glazed Carrots, and a Barbeque Chicken Pizza.  All were great, and all fit my FlavorPrint.

Let’s start with the potatoes.  The profile said these were a 99% match for me.  Garlic & onion notes (of course!) and only 3 real ingredients. Great for us!  The prep was simple, and took no time at all.  I did throw in a few chopped onions, and that was a nice little addition. Great side dish!

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The carrots I knew I would love as well.  We are a carrot family, and ginger is a spice we can’t get enough of.  Again, easy prep, and they went well with the potatoes, believe it or not.  Any protein would have been great, like chicken or steak, but I went with pork, and it was amazing.  I’d serve these flavorful carrots time and again.

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Finally, the BBQ Chicken Pizza.  What’s not to love?  Pizza is good. BBQ Chicken? Also good.  We had this going in no time at all. using some of our homemade pizza dough.  The seasoning was full of punch, and all of us enjoyed it.  A nice change from the typical mozzarella and pepperoni pizza!

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What exactly is McCormick’s FlavorPrint?

It’s a site I’ve now been back on multiple times, because it offers so many great options that fit me and my family, but finally get me thinking a little outside of the box and mixing things up!  You should give it a try!

McCormick® & Company, a global leader in flavor, has been driving innovation in the kitchen for 125 years with products that make life taste delicious. Now its new FlavorPrint recipe recommendations, which offer personalized recipe suggestions tailored to an individual’s flavor profile, is set to revolutionize the way people plan, shop, cook and eat – making it easier to put something on the table that the whole family will enjoy. Because flavor is at the heart of every meal, FlavorPrint recommendations are powered by the flavors you love. The recommendations also consider foods you might be trying to avoid, specific dietary preferences, how you like to cook and ingredients you typically have in your cabinets.  
How It Works  
Each person has a unique flavor “fingerprint” that is conveyed through a distinct visual mark, which has 33 “spikes” to represent different flavors in your personal flavor profile. The bigger the spike, the more prominent the flavor. The service compares each person’s FlavorPrint mark with thousands of ingredients, recipes and products – each with its own FlavorPrint mark – and recommends the best matches. 
In less than two minutes, you can find your unique FlavorPrint mark by answering a series of questions about flavor preferences. Like other expert online services that offer personalized music and media recommendations, the more you share through recipe interactions or refining your profile, like cooking styles and ingredients and equipment you typically have on hand, the smarter your recommendations become – so you can look less and cook more. Get started today at www.McCormick.com/FlavorPrint – your personal recipe recommendations await.

Disclaimer: I was sponsored by One2One and McCormick to try out the new Flavorprint site and these recipes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

What Makes You Sparkle? #SparkleWithDasani

I’m a lucky girl today…I was sponsored by Dasani to share some fun information with you…You know, the water people.  I know you don’t live in a box, but yeah – THAT Dasani (Did you know they have a new flavored sparkling water? They do!)- including the details on how YOU can win a fantastic all-expense paid trip!  So read on!

dasani

But first, they asked me a question.   The question?

What makes me sparkle.

What makes ME sparkle?

Do I sparkle?

If I do, it’s because I feel like I am finally becoming ME.  Here I am, getting older by the day (aren’t we all?), and despite the new forehead wrinkle, despite the ombre hair color that may or may not be hiding some gray, I finally feel like maybe NOW I am starting to get it.  Finally starting to find a balance of who I am and who I want to be.   I’ve started hitting the gym pretty hard – heck, I even own multiple pairs of workout pants – and I do my best to eat better as well.  And I am seeing and feeling a difference.  I take time now to have my nails and hair done, I take the time to shop for myself and buy things I would never have tried on before.  I feel like age is maybe agreeing with me…I feel like maybe there is peace somewhere, and I am on the cusp of it.

I do believe that exists.

I have also started trying to find a happier balance between work, family, life, and ME.  I think we all struggle with this – where to draw the line.  Bloggers, we are lucky, but until you live with us, you really don’t know how much we actually work.  Sure, we can sometimes drop off early and hit the pool.  Yes, we can cook and write in our pajamas if we want.  But there are also days – many, many days – when we are up at 8, cooking, writing, photographing, editing, posting, checking social media – and we stay at it until after midnight.  Somedays, a desk job sounds like an amazing alternative.  But would I trade it?  Trade what I do?

No.

I am finding a balance.

So now, I challenge myself to take time for ME.  To take time for Seven, to go to the movies or hang out by the pool or at the park.  To take the time to go out to dinner on a weeknight with Jon, on a whim.  Because don’t we all deserve good things?  Don’t we all deserve to know what it is we are working for?  If all we do is work, what’s the point?

So do I sparkle?

Maybe I do.  In my own way, in a way that I feel on the inside.  If anyone sparkles, it has to start on the inside.  It has to start with us.

So find you.

Find your own sparkle.  I know you can.

 

Sparkle with Dasani on an amazing Florida Vacation!

 

Dasani has an AMAZING contest that you can enter! It’s as easy as uploading a photo of what makes you sparkle to twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SparkleWithDASANI. You’ll also want to like @dasaniwater so they can contact you if you win. The Grand Prize is a Sparkling Getaway to the Westin Diplomat in Ft. Lauderdale, and includes airfare, hotel and spa treatments for 4. The winner will be selected in early August, and I DO hope it’s one of YOU.  So enter!  You know you are on Twitter all the time anyway…so snap a pic, upload it, and tag away.  That’s all it takes!

Good Luck!!

Disclaimer:  As mentioned, I was sponsored by Dasani to share this information with you.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Behind the Yellow Sign of KOA Kampgrounds #CampKOA in Hurricane, Utah

I’m not a camper.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of it…the great outdoors, sleeping with the stars overhead, a campfire to cook breakfast on, the sounds of nature outside of my tent.

But.

I’m spoiled these days.

Tents are fine, sure. But doesn’t an RV sound better? A real bathroom? A refrigerator? A TV to watch the Travel Channel? Or how about a cabin? All the comforts of home without giving up being in nature?

Sign me up.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know that last month I packed up my little family and we headed out on a 3 week tour of the United States. 25 states, countless National Parks, and lots of oohs and hash from breathtaking vistas along the way.

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While we didn’t plan each and every stop, nor did we have hotels scheduled along the way, we DID have ideas of things we HAD to see (Yellowstone, Yosemite, where the Goonies was filmed) and things we HAD to do (drive the Pacific Coast Highway, touch a giant Sequoia, hike The Narrows of Zion).  And I’m glad we left our schedule flexibly planned, as it opened a few doors for us to be able to see and do things we hadn’t really counted on.

But back to camping.

One of the stops we knew we wanted to make was Zion National Park, where The Narrows are located.  I saw The Narrows on television once- this steep gorge created by a small river, with canyon walls that climbed overhead at staggering heights. What really drew me in was that you could hike into the canyon, through the river, miles into that gorge, surrounded by millions of years of natural beauty.

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I’m not a hiker.

Heck, I’m not even what you’d classify as an outdoor girl. But I have had in my mind for years that I was hiking that canyon, and nothing, even the 25 pounds I managed to lose in advance of the trip, was going to stop me.

But…where to stay?  There aren’t a lot of hotels to choose from around Zion.  Though there are a few, I just couldn’t commit to such prices (over $200-$400 per night) in a little touristy town full of well, tourists.  So imagine my delight when I receive an email from a PR friend asking if is be willing to try out a KOA Kampground – and soon.

Perfect!

We we traveling in my husbands truck, loaded down with 3 weeks worth of clothing, snacks, and electronics for the three of us, but no tent, no sleeping bags, no way to really camp. So I WAS a little worried, until I realized that many of today’s KOAs have cabins!

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From my iPhone, I began searching the KOA website (they do have an app as well!), and found that in Hurricane, Utah, there is a KOA campground that had cabins…and even better- they were FULLY EQUIPPED! All linens were provided (somewhat unusual, but check the KOA site as many sites now offer this convenience). A queen sized bed, a set of bunk beds, full bathroom, mini kitchen- it was above and beyond what we needed, but utter perfection for us!

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Upon arrival, we checked in at the Welcome Center, where the general manager of the property checked us in to cabin #5, gave us the site map, walked us through all there was to offer, and even provided us with directions to nearby shopping and dining, as the KOA is remote in feel but is actually only a few miles from civilization.

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We quickly found our cabin (and oh, the view from that covered porch!) and entered to find the most adorable room!  A quilted bed with lots of cushy blankets was already made, and the bunk beds were ready to be made with the provided clean linens. A good sized bathroom was complete with travel sized shampoos and soaps, plenty of towels, and even a hair dryer, which was totally unexpected.

Back in the main living area where our beds were located was a small dining table and tiny kitchen area, which had a coffee maker, microwave, and mini-fridge…plus a toaster, sink, and lots of plates and silverware for our use. Nothing was overlooked!  We even had a TV with lots of stations, and an air conditioner that was so well received in the 105 degree summer heat.

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Just across from the cabin was the RV camping, which had several people staying. And just across from that was the in ground pool, where most of the kids splashed around in the late afternoons. There was even a putt putt course, and FREE TO USE. Gotta love free, especially with a six year old in tow, right?

One of the things I was thrilled about was the free Wi-Fi. However, I was warned at check in that because the office had just been moved, the Wi-Fi was down until a tech could come remedy it. But I was able to get enough cell service (thankfully) to keep up with my emails and twitter. But the fact that they even offered it was awesome, and a great convenience in a world where so many of us rely on the internet. Love the thought!

After a great first nights sleep (seriously, we slept great, and $109 for a night in a cabin? Amazing deal) we headed the few miles to Zion where as a family, we made it over 4 miles round trip up The Narrows.

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Can’t even tell you how good that made me feel!

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Knowing we had a comfy bed to return to was a huge relief as well, and after a round of miniature golf, 3 rounds of showers (never ran out of hot water!) we all tucked in and slept like the dead.

We opted not to cook while there, but there was a grill outside our cabin, as well as a firepit if we had wanted to. Our neighbors were cooking the evening we came back from Zion, and they seemed to be enjoying it, but on vacation, I want someone else to cook.  So, imagine our surprise that our KOA Offered a free pancake breakfast on the morning we left out for the Grand Canyon!

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I would definitely recommend checking into a KOA- they are very convenient, even for folks like me that are RV and tentless. Camp showers, bathrooms- all available. Seems like a great compromise to be able to camp and yet have the conveniences we’ve all gotten so accustomed to.

Like Wi-Fi.

And a toilet.

And a pool.

So I’m spoiled! Aren’t you?

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Great Grilling Recipes for Camping

Now, like I said, we weren’t equipped to cook (nor did I want to, I was tired!) but Camp Grilling is a fun way to get everyone together.  Food brings us all together, so why not make it GREAT food?  Here are a few of my favorite grilling recipes for you to try:

 

 

 

 

Behind the Yellow Sign of KOA Kampgrounds

If you are looking for a great place to camp, whether in a tent, camper, RV, or maybe even a cabin, you should definitely look in  to what’s behind the yellow sign of a KOA Kampground.  There are so many to choose from, and you can check pricing and availability from their very user friendly website.

Have you stayed at one already?  Where was it, and what did you think?  I’d love to know…I’m always up for a little more travel!

For more ways to find KOA Kampgrounds

Trekaroo bloggers and Mom It Forward bloggers are sharing their discoveries of “What’s Behind the Yellow Sign”.  You know, that KOA yellow sign that you often see whizzing by you on road trips? Well, wonder no more. Read honest reviews as well as family tips on fantastic camping recipes, crafts, camping activities and much more.  Get a look of KOA life through their photos and stories. Snag some camping tips for your next camping trip and then win a chance to stay in a Deluxe Cabin or to camp at a KOA this year.  You’ll get to discover for yourself “What’s Behind the Yellow Sign.”

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The Steal: KOA Giveaway with 3 winners

Whether you’re looking for total relaxation or family fun; KOA creates amazing camping experiences.  Learn more about KOA and Win FREE camping at any KOA Campground in North America.  Your family’s next great memory is waiting just Behind the Yellow Sign

Details: One (1) winner will win the grand prize and two (2) runner up winners will receive the second prize.

Grand Prize:

3 complimentary KOA Camping Vouchers good for one night apiece; including Deluxe Cabins, at any KOA campground in North America. Prize Value: $500

Runner Up Prizes:

2 complimentary KOA Camping Vouchers good for one night apiece; including Deluxe Cabins, at any KOA campground in North America.  Prize Value: $300

How do you enter to win?  Just follow this link!  Good Luck!

I have received a complimentary stay at a KOA via Kampgrounds of America. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post for Mom It Forward.

Envy Apples

Hello, I’m Christine and I’m delighted to be guest posting for Susan today. Thanks for having me!

I blog over at Cook the Story where I share recipes that fit life. These are recipes for quick weeknight dinners, side dishes and fast ideas for entertaining. Today I’m telling you about my newest quick dinner that also works at a barbecue: Sausage and Apple Kebabs! Oh, and do scroll down to see more tasty apple recipes and to enter today’s giveaway for a big box of Envy Apples and a $150 Visa Gift Card, all sponsored by Envy Apples.

Kebabs with apple and sausage Did you know that you can make kebabs with sausage? Maybe you did (aren’t you smart!). But I discovered it on Pinterest very recently when I was adding kebab recipe ideas to my Skewers Board. I think these are brilliant because the sausage is fully cooked (think kielbasa and wieners). That means you’re not dealing with raw meat, which is perfect for a party or get together. Everything is cooked and edible. Your only job is to warm it up (and maybe get some grill marks going). I’ve mentioned the brilliance of not dealing with raw meat at a barbecue before when I shared this Make-Ahead Ribs recipe. It just plain makes life easier. And I like that. These kebabs use Chicken & Apple Sausages (I found them in the organic lunchmeat section of my grocery store, near the organic weiners), sweet Vidalia onions and juicy crunchy wedges of Envy Apples. The Envy Apples are perfect for grilling because they don’t brown when cooked, or even after being cut like most apples do. Instead they stay white for a long time. I even cut them in the evening and pack them in my kids’ lunches. No lemon juice or anything and they stay nice until lunchtime. Kebabs with apple and sausageBefore grilling, the kebabs are doused in a honey and grainy mustard mixture. The mustard is of course great with sausages but it also does good things to the apples and onions. I know you’re going to love how quick and easy these kebabs are and how tasty they are. In addition to this delicious recipe, today I’m bringing you Envy Apple Recipes from some of my favorite bloggers, check out the delicious links below. And there’s also a giveaway for a nice big box of Envy apples delivered right to your door and a $150 visa gift card. How sweet is that?

Kebabs with apple and sausage

Apple , Sausage and Onion Kebabs

Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup grainy mustard
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 8-6″ skewers
  • 12 oz fully-cooked sweet apple and chicken sausages, cut into 16 pieces
  • 2 envy apples, cut into 8 wedges each

Instructions

1. Preheat grill for direct cooking over medium heat.

2. In a small bowl combine the mustard, honey, lemon juice, and salt.

3. Divide the layers of each onion wedge so that you have two pieces.

4. Onto a skewer thread a piece of sausage, then an apple wedge, onion piece, sausage, apple onion. Put it into a 9″x11″ pan. Repeat with remaining skewers and ingredients.

5. Pour mustard sauce over skewers.

6. Put skewers on grill. Grill on one side until undersides of sausages are blackened in spots and apples have some grill marks, 3-5 minutes. Flip and grill until undersides are browned as well, another 3-5 minutes.

 

During the summer in the U.S., pears and apples abound in New Zealand. When you see New Zealand pears and apples in the stores they’re super-fresh and ready to eat. That’s why we’ve teamed up to come up with a bunch of delicious summer recipes featuring New Zealand pears and apples. Today, we’re focusing on recipes using Envy Apples. Check them all out below. And follow along all summer on social media using #loveNZfruit.

More Summer Envy Apple Recipes:


The Giveaway

Fill out the form below to enter to win the big box of Envy Apples and the $150 Visa Gift Card. Every entry also enters you to win our #loveNZfruit summer grand prize (drawn in August) of a Vitamix Blender and $100 Whole Foods Gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Envy Apples. They have compensated me for my time and they provided me with apples for recipe development. They also provided the giveaway items. All opinions are my own.

Shrimp and Waffles with Pina Colada Sauce…#CoastIntoSummer and a Huge Giveaway!

Shrimp and Waffles?  Did she stutter?

No, I did not.

The rage for months and months has been Chicken and Waffles.  Syrup topped, or strawberry sauce topped, or honey glazed…you name it, it’s been done.  So, when my friends at SeaPak asked ME how I would Coast Into Summer using shrimp…my mind went to waffles.

Shrimp and Waffles.

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Now wait, I didn’t douse them in maple syrup, no.  I made a Pina Colada sauce that plays so perfectly with the SeaPak Jumbo Butterfly Shrimp that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.  And as for the waffles? Well, make any recipe you want for those – sweet or savory, or heck, even out of the freezer section if you want.  I made malted buttermilk waffles, but that’s because hello, I am an overachiever.

(That was supposed to be funny.)

Laugh, for crying out loud.  I’m fragile.

In all seriousness though, folks, give this a try.  Yes, it makes a great meal, but if you use the tiny little waffles, these would be adorable skewered and served as appetizers at your next shindig.  They only take 15 minutes start to finish, and those 15 minutes are spent stirring for a brief minute and then waiting for the oven to beep at you.

So. Easy.

You can thank me later.

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Shrimp and Waffles with Pina Colada Sauce

Assembly

Arrange waffles on serving plate with cooked shrimp (follow package instructions).  Top with desired amount of pina colada sauce.  enjoy!

For the Pina Colada Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup piña colada mix
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar

Combine all ingredients, chill and serve.

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The Giveaway

Told ya it was big.  I have big friend, like SeaPak, and they are too kind to me! (And I love it, because that means GOOD THINGS for YOU!)  Just follow the instructions in the widget below, let us know how YOU #CoastIntoSummer, and you are entered to win!  Good Luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  I am an ambassador for SeaPak.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. Giveaway courtesy of SeaPak.

Bacon Roasted Vidalia Onions…and a Huge Giveaway

Sometimes in life, the simplest recipe is the best recipe.  No need to gussy it up, no need to use some new fangled technique.  No need for an exotic ingredient.

Nope, just simple and insanely delicious can be the exact same thing.

Vidalia-Onions-Roasted

Take for example, these Bacon Roasted Vidalia Onions.  Gorgeous Vidalia onions, thickly sliced, sprinkled with nothing but salt and pepper, filled with a little butter, and topped with bacon.

The end.

I dare you to try them and not love them.

Double dare you, even.  Do people still Double Dog Dare?  I can’t rightly say I even know what that means, but go on…I double Dog Dare you, come what may.  I’m that confident.

You will curse all the previous meals where you have NOT been making these.  I know firsthand, because I, too, am ruing the days.

Rue.

I love that word.  Rue.  Rue the day.

I digress, as I am wont to do.  So sorry.

So let me tell you how this recipe came to be.

I was invited to Vidalia, Georgia a couple of weeks ago, to see the onion harvest in person.  I know, I know…I am spoiled.  You have no idea.  Getting hauled through vast Vidalia fields on shiny green tractors with my girlfriends, eating deep fried fresh onions, going to amazing dinners, and then a concert featuring Parmalee and Uncle Kracker?

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Yeah, be jealous.

The Vidalia Onions folks are about as sweet (no pun intended) as you can get, and hosted a fabulous tour.  We visited the Vidalia Onion Museum, the Vidalia Onion Festival, ate a meal in which every single dish features onions (even cheesecake!), met tall bartenders with nice smiles (okay, that was me, not everyone), and overall, learned so much about this amazing vegetable.  I knew I loved onions, especially sweet onions, but now I am a true fan of everything Vidalia.  There’s just nothing quite like them.

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Did you know there is only ONE Vidalia Onion Season?  There is.  And it’s NOW.  Late April through the end of summer, if they last that long.  There’s no warehouse full of Vidalias – once they are gone, they are gone.  So get them while you can!

While there we toured an amazing family farm – McLain Farms.  The owners are young and hip, and run one heck of a business.  Vidalia Onions are their main priority, but because the Vidalia season is so short lived they also process onions from other parts of the world in the off season.  I made friends with Melissa, the wife of Rusty McLain, and let me tell you – she’s a hot ticket.  Spunky, feisty, and willing to drive up to Atlanta a few days later to hang out with me?  See?  Good stuff.  Even GOOD-er?  When she came up, she brought me some fresh off the farm Vidalias to cook with on my Daytime Blue Ridge segment.

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Cook with them I did.

WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

 

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I took this basic recipe I am sharing with you today, but placed the onions on squares of puff pastry.

Holy Bejeezuz. I can’t even tell you how good that is.  The flaky, buttery goodness paired with the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the bacon?

Heaven on a plate, I tell you.  Sexy sexy.

Vidalia-Onions-Roasted

Bacon Roasted Vidalia Onions

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 Vidalia Onions
  • 4 tablespoons  butter
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into pieces

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.

Remove tops and bottoms of onions, as well as outer layer of skin. Slice each onion in half and remove core. Place each half on a baking sheet.
Fill center of each with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with bacon pieces.
Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes, or until onions are tender. Serve hot.

 

The Giveaway

Courtesy of the Vidalia Onion Commission, I have a great $250 Visa Gift Card to give you!  Just enter via the Rafflecopter Widget below!  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The Vidalia Onion Committee sponsored my trip to Vidalia and the accompanying giveaway. Recipe and opinions are my own..

Muddled Pear Moscow Mule #LoveNZFruit

Do you know me?  Like…know me, know me?

Then you know I am not much of a drinker.  It’s just not something I ever got a taste for.  Sure, I’ll have a cocktail now and again, a glass of wine maybe.  But it’s pretty rare, unless I’m at a mommy blogger conference and I need something to take the edge off.

Oh, stop judging me.  If you haven’t been to a mommy blogger conference, you are not allowed to judge. Those things are vicious.

So – that being said, I do still like a cocktail.  It just has to be REALLY good.  For a while there, I was all about the Pimm’s Cup, thanks to my friend Rachel who used to work at The Bank Food & Drink.  She can make a mean Pimm’s, let me tell you.  Now?  Thanks to my friend Brooke of Cheeky Kitchen, I am into the Moscow Mule in a big and bad way.

Gee, thanks, Brooke.

A combination of vodka, a little lime juice, and ginger beer are all it takes, and believe it or not, that’s plenty refreshing when served with fresh mint.  But me?  Well, I like to twist things.  Make them a little different.  Fancier. More flavorful.

Pear-Mule

In steps Taylor’s Gold Pears.

A month or so ago I was asked if I would be willing to create something summery with Taylor’s Gold Pears (versus the typical autumn themed recipe most of us think of when we think pears), I was intrigued.  And then, a bit later,  when I came home from one of my trips to a huge crate of these gorgeous pears – I knew I had made a great decision.

Now, you may not know this, but pears have got to be one of my favorite fruits.  But they are so hard to find – at least GOOD ones.  Oh my word, you guys…these are the best pears I have ever eaten.  Kid you not, I almost didn’t have enough left to work with because I kept eating them out of hand.  A deep rich brown skin, soft and utterly dripping with juice on the inside…so sweet and sinful.  I couldn’t get enough.

I might need to move to New Zealand (where these pears hail from) for a at least a few months a year to keep myself in these things.  I’m told they are ripe there from April-July, so, if you see them in the store here (LOOK FOR THEM!) – snatch them up.  Not joking.  Best.Ever,

So back to my drink.

I took the Moscow Mule and made it a little fruity.  To keep it majorly simple, I just muddled the pear, skin and all, in the bottom of my super sexy Mason jar.  Yes, I live in Virginia, and no, not ALL of my mason jars are full of moonshine.  At the moment.

Once the pear was muddled, I topped it with a bit of fresh lime juice, added the vodka, and gave it the traditional shake.  I added my crushed ice directly to the jar, then poured in my favorite ginger beer for a kick.

And then I drank it all up.

You will too!

pear-moscow-mule

Muddled Pear Moscow Mule

makes 2

Ingredients

  • 1 New Zealand Pear, cored and sliced
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • crushed ice
  • 1 – 12 ounce can ginger beer

Instructions

Muddle the pear in a large glass or jar.  Add lime juice and vodka; shake vigorously.

Add crushed ice to two glasses, pour half of mixture over each glass of ice.  Top with ginger beer and garnish with pear slice, if desired.

 

New Zealand Pears

During the summer in the U.S., pears and apples abound in New Zealand. When you see New Zealand pears and apples in the stores they’re super-fresh and ready to eat. That’s why I have teamed up with some amazing bloggers to come up with a bunch of delicious summer recipes featuring New Zealand pears and apples. Today, we’re focusing on summer pear recipes, like my Mule. Check them all out below…. And follow along all summer on social media using #loveNZfruit

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Tweet With Us!

Tomorrow night, May 29th, at 8pm EST, we will be sharing recipes, tips, and all things Pear on Twitter! Join us for some fun and prizes (yep, prizes!) – I’ll be there along with these other lovely bloggers, so swing on by!  We will be using #LoveNZFruit so follow along!

Visit Taylor Gold’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaylorsGoldPear

 

How about a giveaway?

Would you like a $150 Visa Gift Card and a large box full of Taylor’s Gold Pears?  Then enter!  Not only does that enter you to win THAT, but, every entry in this giveaway also gives you an entry into the grand prize drawing for a Vitamix blender and $100 gift card!

Good stuff, right?

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored by Taylor’s Gold Pears.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Great American Cheeseburger…and a Giveaway to see Brad Paisley!

I love lots of things.  Food, of course. Family. Music.  Fun.

Sometimes…these things all coincide, creating a cosmic happening that blows my mind.

Like The Kraft Great American Cheeseburger and Brad Paisley.

Brad Paisley.

You may not know this, but I grew up in West Virginia.  So did Brad Paisley.  Sure, we were separated by hundreds of miles, but he totally knows me because all West Virginians know each other.  Or so we must.  I swear, I’ve been in far off lands, and I’ll say I am from The Mountain State, and the person I’m talking to will ask if know SuchAndSuch who once lived in West Virginia.

Of COURSE I know SuchAndSuch. We ALL know each other.

True story though, my cousin married a girl who grew up on the same street as Brad.  That little tidbit of info means one thing – Brad Paisley is related to me and we sing songs together in our spare time.

But I digress.  What’s al this Brad Paisley business about, anyway?

Kraft is giving away trips to see him, in concert – with your friends.

I can’t even.

It’s true!

Kraft Foods banner 2

 The Kraft Foods and Brad Paisley Great American Cheeseburger Giveaway

 

Over 400 photo-sharing fans will win a pair of tickets to one of Brad Paisley’s unforgettable summer concerts. Simply head to the Great American Bacon Cheeseburger site, click the “enter now” button, and upload a photo of your "Cheesy Family Moments". Plus, ten lucky entrants will win a Grand Prize or First Prize trip!

Five Grand Prize Winners

A three day/two night trip for four (4) to a Sponsor specified location to attend a Brad Paisley concert. Trip includes roundtrip coach class air transportation for four (winner and three guests) from major airport nearest winner’s residence to Sponsor specified city on Sponsor selected dates in 2014, two (2) nights hotel accommodations (based on quad occupancy), roundtrip ground transportation to/from airport/hotel/concert venue, four (4) tickets to the Sponsor-selected Brad Paisley concert and $1,500 spending money, awarded in the form of a check made payable to the winner (ARV: $6,800 each).

Five First Prize Winners

A three day/two night trip for two (2) to a Sponsor specified location to attend a Brad Paisley concert. Trip includes roundtrip coach class air transportation for four (winner and one guest) from major airport nearest winner’s residence to Sponsor specified city on Sponsor selected dates in 2014, two (2) nights hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy), roundtrip ground transportation to/from airport/hotel/concert venue, two (2) tickets to the Sponsor-selected Brad Paisley concert and $1,000 spending money, awarded in the form of a check made payable to the winner (ARV: $4,900 each).


Bring on the Burgers!

Now you need to have some great burger recipes, don’t you?  I know you do.  Kraft has you covered there, too!  Easy and delicious – and full of yummy goodness Kraft is known for.  I LOVE their Singles on a burger – it tastes like home! And BACON?  I don’t even need to continue, do I?  Bacon makes the world go round.  These are some droolwrothy burgers – I highly suggest you check them out!  So… Tickets to a concert AND incredible burger recipes?  It’s like Christmas came early.

Rockin’ Burger Recipes

Win Brad Paisley memorabilia or Walmart gift cards~

Since you’re already a Brad Paisley and Kraft Foods fan, make sure you get extra rewards when you purchase select Kraft Foods products. Sign up for the Paisley Points rewards program, buy participating Kraft Foods Cheese brands,and scan your receipts. Every receipt scanned featuring eligible products will give you points that you can redeem for Walmart gift cards and awesome Brad Paisley memorabilia.

So…are you a Brad Paisley fan?  Tell me about it!  I’d love to hear why…do YOU sing with him too??

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

Join Me For a Twitter Party!

 

Are you on Twitter?  If you aren’t – why not?  it’s a great way to communicate with friends, strangers, and brands.  I use it constantly, and am a huge fan.  I’ve made countless friends, (I became friends with Duff Goldman there!), I’ve flirted with celebrities (hello, Harry Connick, Jr. tweeted me about an ice cream date!) and I’ve made connections with brands that I use and love.

Take for example, Tyson Foods.

Tyson Foods products are already in our house, and at times, are a life saver.  Especially in the mornings!  So, when I was approached by the fine folks there to co-host a Twitter party with Audrey McClellan, I was all in!  Of course!

So…what are the details?

Glad you asked.

On Tuesday night, from 8-9pm EST, Audrey and I will be tweeting along with Tyson Foods to share their new Tyson® Day Starts™ product line.  It’s great stuff, and we would love for you to join us!  Anyone who tweets @TysonTweets and #TysonDayStarts during the party is entered to win one of (5) five prizes (details below). Winners will be chosen at random….so you should definitely join in on the fun!

Tyson Foods Twitter Party  #TysonDayStarts

May 20, 2014

8-9pm EST

Follow @doughmesstic, @AudreyMcClellan, & @TysonTweets

 


For more information on Tyson® Day Starts™ Breakfast Sandwiches

Who: Tyson Foods introduces its first line of breakfast items to offer families a delicious, protein-packed meal to start the day with new Tyson® Day Starts™ breakfast sandwiches.

What: Tyson® Day Starts™ breakfast sandwiches offer a protein-rich way to start the day with high quality ingredients like real cheeses, zesty vegetables, fresh eggs, and quality Tyson® sausage, ham and chicken. Tyson® Day Starts™ sandwiches are ready to eat in less than two minutes – ideal for busy families who want a wholesome breakfast, but don’t have the time. Consumers can choose from varieties like, biscuit sandwiches, breakfast flatbreads and wrapped omelets.

Why: Tyson Foods has been a long-time leader in providing families with nutritious meal options and is always striving to introduce new products to meet consumer needs. Tyson® Day Starts™ sandwiches give families the quality foods consumers can expect from Tyson Foods, now also in the frozen breakfast aisle.

How: Whether enjoying breakfast at home or on-the-go, Tyson® Day Starts™ products provide a convenient way to start the day with warm and savory breakfast sandwiches the whole family can enjoy.

Availability: Tyson® Day Starts™ products can be found in the freezer aisle at leading food retailers. For more information visit www.TysonDayStarts.com and Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Tyson-Day-Starts.

Products: Tyson® Day Starts™  breakfast sandwiches are available in seven varieties: Southern Style Chicken Biscuit; Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit; Natural Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese Crispy Wrapped Omelet; Ham, Onion and Green Pepper Crispy Wrapped Omelet; Egg, Bacon and Colby Jack Cheese Flatbread; Egg, Sausage and Colby Jack Cheese Flatbread and Ham, Egg, Cheese, Onion and Green Pepper Flatbread.

 

Disclaimer: I am co-hosting the Tyson® Day Starts™  Twitter party, and this post is sponsored along with my participation.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

By: ifood.tv