3Nov/130

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic, Bacon, and Parm + HIC Choco.Nut.Cheese.Grater Review

I get it. Not everyone likes vegetables. (Try convincing my husband to eat squash or cooked carrots.) However, I love squash, especially spaghetti squash because it's so easy to prepare. I decided to dress it up a little and created Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Garlic, Bacon, and Parm that I grated using the Harold Import Co.'s Blossom Choco.Nut.Cheese. Grater.
Ingredients:

  • 1 - 4lb Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 TBSP - Salted Butter (You can substitute with EOO if preferred.)
  • 3 - Garlic Cloves Minced
  • 4 to 5 Slices Bacon (Cooked and chopped)
  • 1/2 Cup - Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheet lightly with butter.
  2. Cut off stem end of squash, and then cut lengthwise. Remove all seeds and stringy parts.
  3. Place face down on baking sheet and cook 25 minutes or so until a fork can be inserted easily into the fleshy part. Once done, remove from baking sheet and allow to cool.
  4. Shred squash flesh with fork into a separate bowl.
  5. Saute minced garlic in 2 TBSP of salted butter (or EOO) for approximately 1-2 minutes. Add squash and reduce to low and allow to reheat and incorporate the garlic and butter.
  6. Add minced bacon while reserving some for garnish.
  7. Add grated Parmesan cheese reserving some for garnish.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Remove, garnish, and serve hot.

The Blogger Recipe Challenge was sponsored by Harold Import Co. for the month of October. (Obviously I'm a little behind on this.) We were each given a Blossom Choco.Nut.Cheese. Grater to use with our oven month recipes. It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to use it for. We don't typically keep chocolate or nuts in the house, and most of the time we purchase softer cheeses. But, one afternoon I got hungry and did some digging as usually and came up with the recipe posted above. And guess what? I happened to have a wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese stuffed away in the back of my fridge. Suh-weet!

"Take the next step in the kitchen gadgetry: Blossom Choco.Nut.Cheese grater. Our patented grating disc and plunger do the dirty work for you, so you're free to get creative and add exciting flavor to all your meals." ~ Blossom

This is one of those gadgets where I really needed to read the directions, but once I did, I realized it wasn't quite as difficult as I thought it seemed. Once you get the plunger up to the top and attached to the lid, just open it, add in your ingredients you want to grate, and then remove the lid. Grating is as easy as twisting so the plunger pushes the cheese/nuts/chocolate down and through the grater.

I loved how easy it was to use, and best of all, I didn't scrape my knuckles like I usually manage to do, AND all of the cheese was grated. There weren't any tiny pieces left that you can't typically grate due to the fear of losing a finger nail or the tips of your fingers. Nobody wants bloody cheese.... or nail bits. Ew.

The grater completely disassembles for easy cleaning. There are 5 parts to the core unit, so thankfully there was a set of directions on how to take it apart, and how to put it back together. Unfortunately this isn't exactly dishwasher safe, so it's best to hand wash. Then again... with such small parts, I don't think you'd want to put it through the dishwasher.

Overall this is a pretty neat gadget, and I'm glad to have it in my kitchen. I finished grating up the rest of the Parmesan cheese and I'm just storing it in my fridge for when we're ready to use it. It's super simple to figure out and definitely saves your arms from all of that hand grating and finger tips. It's also pretty small, so finding a place to store one more kitchen goodie shouldn't be difficult.

Make sure you check out HIC on Facebook too!

I received the above mentioned product free of charge from HIC in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

29Sep/136

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies #GlutenFree & Love Cooking Mrs. Fields Cool Bake Pan Review & Giveaway

A flour-less cookie? With... bacon?! Yup. These cookies whip up in a pinch, and they're great for anyone with a gluten allergy. (Not so great for the people with peanut allergies though.) I had the opportunity to test out a new baking pan from Love Cooking Company. The coolest part about this baking pan is that it comes in two pieces. The first is your regular cooking sheet, and the next is a removable try that allows you to transfer your cookies to a cooking wrack without actually having to remove them from the baking sheet. Ingenious!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Slices - Fried Bacon (Chopped)
  • 1 Cup - Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup - Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup - Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp - Baking Soda
  • 1 - Egg
  • Sugar for coating

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together sugars and peanut butter in a mixer. (Approximately 2 minutes.)
  3. Add in baking soda and egg. Mix for another approximate 2 minutes.
  4. Fold in chopped bacon.
  5. Roll dough into walnut size balls and coat in granulated sugar.
  6. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 10-12 minutes.

I found the Love Cooking Company while browsing through a friend's blog, and I realized that I can't ever have too many baking sheets. They're great from everything from cookies and biscuits to bacon and warming up some smoked eel for sushi. But, that's the problem. I use my baking sheets for EVERYTHING, and have admittedly ruined several of them because I had nothing else to use. So, I've started dedicating what are my cookie sheets, and what are my "everything else but the kitchen sink" baking sheets.

When the Love Cooking Company offered to send me their new Cool Bake Pan for a review, I was thrilled. THIS would be THE cookie sheet in my house. I might have to cut someone if they use it for something else.

"The secret to great looking cookies is in the Mrs. Fields Cool Bake Pan. With this pan, you no longer need to transfer the hot cookies one at a time to a cooling rack and run the risk of ruining them. This unique pan has the cooling rack built right into it!" ~ Love Cooking

The Cool Bake Pan, made from non-stick carbon steel, is very sturdy, even with having two pieces that separate completely from each other. The two pieces fit perfectly together, which makes removal of the inner tray while wearing oven mitts super easy. Throw in the fact that there are extended handles out the side, and you'd have to be pretty klutzy to drop the sheet. (I'm pretty klutzy, so I'm sure it'll happen. But, if I didn't drop it during my initial run with the Cool Bake Pan.... just sayin'.)

I loved that the surface area, while probably standard, didn't feel all that cramped. I could fit 15 cookies on the tray. I also found cleanup to be a breeze. For this particular recipe I did line the baking sheet with parchment, which I'm sure aided in the cleanup process. However, I'm excited to use the baking sheet again without the parchment and see how it holds up. The little air holes make me nervous for a particular dough recipe I use occasionally. I think perhaps that one might not work so well since it's a bit soft.

Otherwise, I absolutely love this pan and I love the concept of being able to remove the ENTIRE pan to cool without having to take the cookies off one by one and risk breaking them. Awesome!

Love Baking Company is giving away a Mrs. Fields Cool Bake Pan to one lucky DealPeddler reader. Enter below on the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

25Aug/130

The Product Farm – Vino2Go (Perky Purple) Product Review

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Admittedly I've been sitting on this review for a lot longer than usual because really I wanted to figure out what to say and how to say it. I have a friend who loves her Vino2Go from The Product Farm. I like to call it "mommy's sippy cup" because guess what? I'm a bit of a wino, and I like to pretend my kids are the reason why I like to drink. So anyway, my friend has a Vino2Go and loves it, and of course I wanted one because I'm a wreck and spill just about anything liquid, especially my wine.

"Enjoy wine on-the-go while tailgating or while relaxing at the pool in style. The Vino2Go is a SAN acrylic plastic wine sippy cup - with clear benefits over the standard wine glass in many situations. It's lid design prevents spills on choppy oceans or while carting down the golf court. Vino on your wedding day with with less chance of ruining your white wedding dress or black tux! Keep bugs and dirt from getting in your wine while relaxing at the beach or in the garden... keep your wine cool for longer by insulating the exterior wall from the interior drink compartment." ~ The Product Farm

The product itself is pretty ingenious. It looks like a plastic encased wine glass with a lid. How is that concept not awesome? The pool in my condo complex allows non-breakable containers for alcohol and I thought that this would be absolutely perfect. And, for the most part it is. I even had the chance to tell a friend of mine who lives in the complex about The Product Farm and Vino2Go. She had been asking about them, and I could recount my first hand experience. Unfortunately I couldn't only say nice things about it, which REALLY is a bummer. I wanted to love the Vino2Go. I REALLY did. (I don't think you have any idea how excited I was about this thing, but you may be able to tell from my bug-eyed scary-smile photo.)

When my sippy cup arrived I immediately unboxed it and poured in as much wine as it could hold. (Holds 8oz in case you were curious.) I had requested the Perky Purple because obviously purple is my favorite color. So, I'm drinking out of my mommy sippy cup completely happy as a clam. It's not leaking when I take a sip. It stands up without feeling wobbly. It feels comfortable to hold. And really, I just feel like a cool bad-ass. Then I did the final test. I closed the mouth piece, and tipped it.... OMG IT LEAKED. Now, I'm not sure if this is a product flaw in general, or if there was just a bad batch. I'm kind of thinking product flaw because The Product Farm was AMAZING and sent me another because I had complained about the first one leaking. But... that one leaked too. (That's why I took so long to get this review written... I really wasn't sure what to say.) Typically, if I hate a product, I'll just not write about it.... but I don't hate this product, and that's where the write up gave me some issues.

I think the Vino2Go is a fantastic concept, and I still feel like a super cool kid when I use it. Yup, I still use it. "Nee ner nee ner, look what I have!" But, at the same time I'm so bummed the mouth piece leaked on both cups. It's not a huge deal, really, because how many people are going to tip their glasses over like that and get upset about a few drips coming out? But, at the same time if you're going to advertise it saving your wedding dress in the product description, the lid really needs to be leak proof. I expect it to leak a little from the air hole, but when the mouth piece is 100% closed.... nothing should be coming out (IMO). Otherwise, if you don't mind a few dribbles coming out if you tip it over, it's really a fun product that almost borderlines useful novelty. It definitely works for pool-side fun, and that's what I'd use it for anyway. Plus, if I'm using it around my house it'll at least keep any spills to a minimum if my spawn get their sticky fingers on my Vino2Go.

Definitely make sure you check out the Vino2Go and the rest of The Product Farm's products. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

*I received the above mentioned product free of charge from The Product Farm in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

 

26Jun/130

June: Farmer’s Market Challenge – Rustic Bacon Mushroom Scalloped Red Potatoes & EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale Product Review

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Potatoes are one of my favorite fresh vegetables. I had several pounds of red potatoes in my house that I really needed to use up. Ended up stocking up on bacon last week too, and there were baby portobello mushrooms in my fridge just begging to be used in a savory dish. What to do? What to do? After some brain storming and Pinterest browsing, I decided to go with a more rustic version of scalloped potatoes. I like the skins on my red potatoes, and I highly doubt mushrooms and bacon are not considered traditional ingredients. Our Blogger Recipe Challenge group was sponsored this month by EatSmart. We each received a kitchen scale for us to try out and measure our ingredients with. For my Rustic Bacon Mushroom Scalloped Red Potatoes recipe I used it to measure out my potatoes and my mushrooms. Loved that thing!
Ingredients:

  • 12oz - Hickory Smoked Bacon (Chopped)
  • 2lbs - Red Potatoes (Sliced 1/8" Thick)
  • 1 - Medium Yellow Onion (Chopped Finely)
  • 10oz - Baby Portobello Mushrooms (Coarsely Chopped)
  • 2 - Garlic Cloves (Minced)
  • 2/3 Cups - Heavy Cream
  • 3/4 Cup - Milk
  • 8oz - Sharp Cheddar Cheese (You could probably also use a smoked Gouda)
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Pinch of Nutmeg

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large skillet, cook chopped bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon has become crisp. Transfer onto a paper towel lined plate.
  3. Remove all but 2 TBSP of bacon fat from skillet. Cool onions on medium high until softened. Approximately 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. All of the liquid should be gone from the pan and the mushrooms should be cooked down.
  5. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Cook an additional 1 minute.
  6. Remove pan from stove, stir in bacon, and set aside.
  7. In a small sauce pan, bring cream, milk, and a pinch of nutmeg to a simmer.
  8. Pour JUST enough to cover the bottom in a 9x9" baking dish.
  9. Layer (while overlapping) half of the potatoes into the bottom of the dish.
  10. Top with half of the onion/mushroom/bacon mixture. Top with 1/2 of the cheddar cheese.
  11. Repeat the potato layering process one more time.
  12. Pour milk/cream mixture over the top, evenly soaking the potatoes.
  13. Top with bacon mixture and cheese.
  14. Cover with foil and bake for 45-55 minutes. It should be easy to pierce the potatoes with a fork.
  15. Let cool before serving.

So, like I said, I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by EatSmart this month for our challenge. They provided a Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale (which was really awesome until my kids thought it'd be funny to try and weigh themselves with it.) Fortunately I was able to use it several times over the last few months since having it, and it was definitely a big help in the kitchen.

"The EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale is an economically priced multifunction home scale, perfect for everyday tasks from weighing food or ingredients to calculating postage." ~ EatSmart

What I loved the most about this product, was that it was super easy to figure out. Of course it comes with a manual, but it wasn't even needed. There are TWO buttons. On/Off and the Unit button. The Unit button allows you to select pounds, ounces, grams, and kilograms. I've used the scale to measure everything from potatoes and mushrooms in this meal, to figure out how much a squash weighed (which I promptly complained about and got my money back from the store).

Sometimes it's just impossible to measure something outside of a container without creating an even bigger mess. the Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale also offers a tare feature which allows you to subtract the weight of the container you're using so you know your measurements will be accurate. The scale is also very light weight and comes ready to use with two AAA batteries. It's absolutely the best when a product already comes with the batteries.

Right now, this scale is on sale at Amazon for only $25! This is definitely a very cool kitchen gadget to have on hand when you need to measure out precise ingredients.

Follow EatSmart on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

*I received the above mentioned product free of charge from EatSmart in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

4Jun/130

June: Farmer’s Market Challenge – Curried Potato Salad & Epicurean Non-Slip Cutting Board Review

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I am VERY picky about potato salad, and my husband is even worse. A couple of summers ago I whipped up this recipe, and much to my surprise (and delight) my husband LOVED it. The only problem with telling you this recipe is that most of it is "to taste". The good thing about this, as long as you have the ingredients you can make it to suit your preferences, which is what cooking is really all about, right? Epicurean was super awesome and sponsored our entire Blogger Recipe Challenge group this month. We each received an 11.5" x 9" non-slip cutting board. This is usually my go-to cutting board when I only have a little prep-work to do, or when I'm getting ready to add some garnish. For my Curried Potato Salad recipe , I used it for the potatoes, eggs, and parsley. Awesome!
Ingredients (Serves 8-12):

  • 8 - Medium Russet or Red Potatoes (I prefer red for the softer skins.)
  • 6 - Eggs
  • 2 TBSP - Dijon Mustard
  • 1 TBSP - White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup - Mayonnaise
  • 4 TBSP - Butter
  • Paprika - To Taste
  • Black Pepper - To Taste
  • Curry - To Taste
  • Salt - To Taste
  • Garnish of Choice (I used parsley but you could easily use chives or green onion.)

Process:

  1. Largely cube potatoes. I personally prefer to leave the skins on. I like the added flavor and texture, especially if using red potatoes.
  2. Bring a large pot add water and 2 TBSP of butter (and salt if you wish) to a boil.
  3. Add potatoes, cover and cook until soft, but not mushy. Approximately 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, mix together mustard, vinegar, mayo, paprika, curry, and black pepper. Taste test as you go! Remember, you can always add more of something, but you can't take it out.
  5. Drain potatoes, and rinse with cold water. Add back into the pot or a large bowl.
  6. Combine potatoes with 2 TBSP of butter and mayo mixture. Stir roughly so the potatoes start to break up, but don't become mashed.
  7. Add more salt, pepper, curry, etc. to taste.
  8. Chill the potato salad.
  9. To hard boil eggs, add 6 eggs to a medium saucepan covering the eggs with an inch of cold water.
  10. Bring eggs and water to a boil.
  11. Once boiling, remove from heat.
  12. Reduce heat to low and place pot back onto the burner.
  13. After a minute, remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit 12-13 minutes.
  14. Cool by adding cold water to the pot.
  15. Peel, cut and add to the salad and chill until time to serve.
  16. Garnish with your choice of greenery and paprika.

"Our signature material is made with multiple layers of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood fibers,compressed with a food-safe resin. We also have introduced a line of Eco Plastic products that utilizes 100% post-consumer recycled milk jugs. All of our products are made in the USA." ~ Epicurean

Now, back to Epicurean and their Non-Slip Cutting board! You can never have too many cutting boards. Well, I'm sure that's not a true statement, but I love having multiples for different things. As previously mentioned, Epicurean sent us all their 11.5" x 9" Non-Slip cutting boards for us to test out. Honestly, this size is a little small for my unskilled cutting abilities, however it really is great to keep right next to the stove, or used for small portions of food. (It's even fine for large chopping tasks as long as you have some place to put the food in as you're going along.) The Epicurean non-slip cutting board is special in the fact that the silicone corners are removable for easy cleaning. To make cleaning even easier, the board is also dishwasher safe! (Not something you can really say about a bamboo board.) This little baby cleans up immaculately even without pre-rinsing before going into the washed, and I noticed I haven't used a single food item on it that has stained it.

One of the things about Epicurean (and this cutting board) is that their products are made from the same materials as skate board ramps. In fact, was founded by custom skate park manufacturer TrueRide® as a way to repurpose excess skating surface material. How cool is that? Add to the fact that all of Epicurean's products are made in the USA and you've got yourself a winning combination in my opinion.

The Epicurean non-slip cutting board is also knife friendly, and is heat resistant up to 350°F - which means cutting hot meat isn't a problem especially for those of you who have little kids you need to cut things up for.

This is definitely a great little product, and honestly I'd like to have one in a larger size too. I love how it stays put on my counter, and how the knife just kind of glides across the top of it, instead of cutting into it. Easy to clean too.... yup, I'm sold!

 

*I received the above mentioned product free of charge from Epicurean in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

18May/130

May: Meatless Challenge – Baked Ziti with Sharp Cheddar & Baby Bellas + Core Bamboo Large Color Board Product Review

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I make a pretty decent baked mac and cheese, but I've been feeling like something is missing. For our Meatless May Blogger Recipe Challenge, I decided to see what I could come up with. Hubs had brought home an extra container of mushrooms despite his mushroom reservations. (Love it when he brings extra food home that I love cooking with.) I had plenty of noodles, and cheese is regularly stocked up in the house. The few things I really needed were dried marjoram (I still really don't know what this is), and a couple of leeks. I have to say, I'm never going back to regular ol' baked mac and cheese again. This recipe was phenominal. Everyone in my house loved it (except my picky eater of a daughter). The best part, is that it's prepared like you would prepare a baked mac dish. Super simple and that's just the way I like it to be!

For this recipe I'm also reviewing a Core Bamboo cutting board. They were SUPER generous and sponsored our entire group this month by sending along their Large Color Board in magenta and a few extra goodies including their matching Madrid Utensil Set, and a matching Easy Grip Rolling Pin.
Ingredients:

  • 1lb - Ziti
  • 8oz - Baby Bella Mushrooms (Chopped)
  • 2 - Leeks (White Parts Only. Quartered Lengthwise then Sliced)
  • 3 TBSP - Salted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup - Flour
  • 2 Cups - Sharp Cheddar (Divided into 1.5 and .5 cups)
  • 3 Cups - Milk
  • 1 TBSP - Dried Marjoram
  • 3/4 to 1 TBSP - Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tsp - Salt
  • 1/8 Tsp - Nutmeg
  • 1 Cup - Regular Panko
  • Pepper to taste

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. At the same time bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add in mushrooms, leeks, and marjoram. Cook for approximately 5 minutes or until mushrooms become soft.
  3. Add into the mushrooms and leeks the flour and combine.
  4. Quickly whisk in warmed milk.
  5. Allow mixture to simmer for 15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add in salt, pepper, mustard, and nutmeg.
  6. At the same time the mixture is simmering, cook your ziti according to package instructions. Remove from hot water when noodles are just barely done. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  7. Combine sauce, 1.5 cups sharp cheddar, and noodles. Pour into an 8"x13" baking dish.
  8. Top with remaining sharp cheddar and panko.
  9. Bake 30 minutes or until top becomes a golden brown and cheese sauce is bubbling around the edges.

I absolutely love my Large Color Core Bamboo cutting board. I've owned several Core Bamboo boards in the past, and currently have a massive one that I use almost every time that I cook. My husband actually bought several of the large ones for Christmas gifts when they were on sale on some deal site a few months back. However, there's just something about the magenta coloring along the outside of this board, and the unique contoured shape it has that makes this rank up to at least the #2 spot out of all of the cutting boards I have owned and still do own.

"This large bamboo cutting board is ideal for all food prep, presentation and serving. Made of durable, long-lasting renewable bamboo that is harder than most traditional hardwoods, this magenta accented board won't dull knives and are maintenance free. Prepare everything from weekday meals to Thanksgiving dinner with these durable cutting boards or present your newest culinary creation at your table with pride." ~ Core Bamboo

One thing that I love about bamboo boards is the fact that they're less absorbent than wood ones and is a natural anti-microbial, which means less bacteria remains on the board. Personally I wouldn't suggest using this board for cutting meat (but I've definitely done it myself and the description says all food prep is fine). Because bamboo is a grass, bamboo cutting boards are considered more eco-friendly than boards made from other materials. Bamboo grows quickly and regenerates itself as long as the roots remain intact. Bamboo is stronger than maple, extremely lightweight, and best of all it won't dull your knives. Core Bamboo goes a step further and makes all of their products from 100% organically grown bamboo. They make sure their adhesives are food safe and water based, in addition to using top grade oils, and and a lacquer from natural cashew trees. I love that their cco-consciousness doesn't just stop with their products. Whenever possible Core Bamboo also tries to use recycled and eco-friendly packaging materials. Awesome!

Like I said, I love this board. It's the perfect size for large quantities of vegetable cutting, and it fits nicely on my over-crowded counter. It's extremely easy clean and always comes out looking beautiful and like it's brand new. I will be honest and say I've put my into the dishwasher the few nights that I was feeling lazy. This is not recommended (but it's easy to clean by hand). It is recommended that to extend the life of your board that you use a food-safe mineral oil every now and again when your board starts getting that "tired" look. From my experience in the past with bamboo boards this is when it starts to dull a little and there are some knife marks in it.
Make sure you take the time to find Core Bamboo online and browse around. You will LOVE their awesome selection of products, the unique designs, and how beautiful everything is. You can also find Core Bamboo on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Definitely a brand worth checking out. (I could honestly say I'd die happy if my entire kitchen was stocked up with their products.)

*I received the above mentioned products free of charge from Core Bamboo in order to facilitate this recipe and review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

30Apr/130

April: Canning Challenge – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe + Ozeri Serafino Artisan Series Double Wall Glasses Review

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Thankfully we had a rainy day yesterday so I could knock this recipe out. I've never made Roasted Butternut Squash Soup before. Or really any sort of squash soup except for that zucchini one from last month. This recipe for the April Canning Challenge is very simple, and all of the spices are pretty much to taste. I didn't measure much of anything but I can give you the guidelines based around what I did.

This month (or next month depending on what the bloggers are feeling), Ozeri has been generous and has sponsored the entire Blogger Recipe Challenge group. For this particular review I decided I would love to try out the Ozeri Serafino Artisan Series Double Wall Glasses. I don't have anything like them, and have really been wanting to make soup shooters. I think they just look really fun, and less dishes to do if you just drink it right from the glass!
Ingredients:

  • 1 - 3lb Butternut Squash
  • 1 - 14oz Can of Chicken Broth (Use your favorite kind)
  • 1/2 - Yellow Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 - Anju Pear (Peeled & Chopped)
  • 2 TBSP - Butter
  • 1.5 Cups - Water
  • 1/3 to 1/2 Cup - Heavy Cream
  • Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Nutmeg & Curry Powder To Taste
  • Sour Cream for Garnish

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F Degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut squash in half. Clean out the seeds. Brush on 1 TBSP of butter. Salt & Pepper generously.
  3. On a rack in the center of the oven, roast squash for 50-60 minutes. When squash is done you should be able to insert a fork easily into the flesh.
  4. Set pan with squash aside on a cooling rack until cooled enough to spoon flesh out and discard the skins.
  5. In a large sauce pot saute onion and pear in remaining 1 TBSP of butter until soft. This takes approximately 6-8 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Add water, chicken broth, and squash to the onion and pear.
  8. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes while breaking up any large pieces of squash.
  9. Add salt, pepper, paprika, nutmeg & curry powder to taste. (I went heavier on the salt and paprika, and did a pinch of curry powder and a dash of nutmeg.)
  10. Remove from heat & add heavy cream.
  11. Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend the soup mixture until smooth and creamy.
  12. Serve hot & garnish with a small dollop of sour cream.

The Ozeri Serafino Artisan Series Double Wall Glasses are PERFECT for serving soup shooters. Because they're insulated and made with borosilicate these stunning glasses work well for hot and cold beverages. That's right. You could have a hot cup of coffee in these glasses and you won't burn your hands. Heck, I still burn my hands on my coffee MUGS.

Features:

  • Set of 4 heat and shatter resistant borosilicate glasses that each hold 8 oz
  • Stronger and more durable than common glass, each glass features a wraparound contour that provides a natural aesthetic grip.
  • Patent-pending double wall design that suspends drinks within an inner wall, creating an engaging optical effect.
  • Designed to keep your hands cool with hot drinks, and free of condensation with chilled beverages.
  • Completely dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe.

You have to admit these are pretty nifty looking. The double wall design creates a unique effect, and adds a little something extra to the overall plating of the food. The wraparound contour is not only aesthetically pleasing, but makes the glasses comfortable to hold. I tend to have the dropsies and break a lot of things, and loved that the glasses felt more comfortable and easier to grip while holding.

I sent a couple through the dishwasher last night and they held up beautifully. I'm always wary about sending new glass through a dish washer, so just in case they didn't hold up, I would have only been out 2 glasses. These are definitely some of my favorite kitchen items, and I can't wait to make more soup shooters. Maybe I'll get creative with drinks next time around too. The possibilities are endless!

Make sure you check them out on Amazon. Looks like they're on sale right now too. Originally priced at $48.95 as of right now you can get a set of 4 Serafino Artisan Series Double Wall Glasses for $29.95 + FREE shipping! Also make sure you keep up with what we're doing in the recipe challenge too. More Ozeri products will be reviewed including knives and pans.

*I was provided the Serafino Artisan Series Double Wall Glasses free of charge from Ozeri in order to facilitate this recipe and review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

25Apr/130

April: Canning Challenge – Pineapple Jam Recipe + Can It Yourself with the Fagor Duo Pressure Canning Kit

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I've never canned anything in my life before. My grandmother used to can strawberry jam every year, and sometimes she'd let me help when I was a kid, but doing it myself? Yeah, right. Our Blogger Recipe Challenge group was generously sponsored by Fagor for two of our recipes this month. We were each provided with a Duo 9-Piece Pressure Canning Kit. Have to admit, I took one look at the box and packed it away until last minute because I was pretty intimidated. I've always wanted a pressure cooker because they can save BIG time when cooking (and you can practically cook everything in it), but for canning purposes? Save me!

I decided to go for something relatively simple for my first try. So, here's a Pineapple Jam Recipe - originally found on Canning Confessions. (Only 4 ingredients!)

Ingredients (Makes Approximately 2 Pints):

  • 4 Cups - Freshly Chopped Pineapple
  • 2.5 Cups - Granulated Sugar
  • 1 - Lemon (Seeded & Thinly Sliced w/ Peel)
  • 1 Cup - Water
  • (1/2 Package of Pectin - OPTIONAL)

Process:

  1. Sterilize your jars and lids. (You can do the stove top method or possibly the dishwasher method.)
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Stirring continuously, melt sugar, and bring to a boil until mixture has thickened and reached the gel stage. (This is where I was a little unsure of what it was supposed to look like, and to avoid having a runnier jam I might suggest using a little pectin to make sure it gels properly.)
  4. If mixture is a little chunky, you can take an immersion blender to it to smooth it out a little.
  5. Ladle mixture into jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  6. Using the Fagor Pressure Cooker/Canner, place jars into 2-3 inches of hot water, close lid and lock.
  7. Over high heat on the stove pressurize the cooker. Cooker should also be on HIGH.
  8. Once cooker is pressurized bring stove heat down to medium and pressure cook jars for 10 minutes. Lids should either pop inside of the cooker or once set out to cool.
  9. Naturally release pressure by turning dial to "off". Once pressure is released, remove jars to cool and set for 12 hours.

I am SO glad I got used to using the Fagor Duo Pressure Canning Kit. It was AWESOME and really super easy. (I think canning in general is kind of a pain, but if you're going to do it, you might as well do it with some pretty great equipment.) It came with just about everything you'd ever need too.

  • Includes: Duo 10 quart 18/10 Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker/Canner. Can be used for both pressure cooking & pressure canning.
  • Home Canning Cookbook with recipes
  • Canning Rack
  • Stainless Steel Funnel
  • Stainless Steel Ladle
  • Jar Lifter
  • Jar Wrench
  • Bubble Freer
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Works on all domestic cooking surfaces: gas, electric, ceramic & induction
  • Instructional DVD
  • User’s Manual
  • Pressure Cooking Booklet with Recipes

There are so many great features about this pressure cooker/canner that make using it super simple. There is a 3-way locking mechanism that prevents unlocking the canner if there is ANY pressure in it. This is just fantastic because I'm a klutz and impatient. Talk about a bad combination. This safety feature definitely saved my fingers from getting burned off. The pressure indicator is also nice to have. It's small. but designed in a very obvious yellow color. When it pops up, that means there's pressure in the pot. When it's down, that means it's safe to open. See? Easy peasy.

Absolutely love all of the lifters that came with the kit, and having a nice stainless steel ladle and funnel is great. I didn't have either of those on hand so it was a great addition to the kit. Plus, I can use them for other things around the kitchen.

My favorite addition though to everything is the cook book that is included. There are recipes for EVERYTHING. From meat and jams to salsas, and cheesecake. Yumm! I can't wait to try out more of these recipes. I have a few of my own ideas swimming around in my noggin that are just dying to be tried. This has quickly become one of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment, and all fears and apprehensions are gone. Bring on the Fagor Duo Pressure Canning Set!

Make sure you check out the other recipes from this month's challenge. Many were created to use with the Fagor Canning Set!

*I received the above mentioned product free of charge from Fagor in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

20Apr/130

Minted – Wall Art Print 16in by 20in “Cherry Blossom Tree” Product Review

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"So Long, Sad Walls!"

About a week or so I was contacted by Minted to see if I'd like to work with them on a product review (and giveaway). I have been aware of Minted for awhile. There are some stunning wedding invitations on Minted, birthday invitation, party supplies, journals, stationary, and occasion cards, however I wasn't in need of any of those items. As I kept browsing I found out that they also offer Wall Art Prints! In December we moved from Maine to Virginia and have realized that we have more open wall space. A LOT more open wall space, and all the walls are an off-white color. Can you say BORING?! Minted was awesome  and sent a 16" x 20" limited edition, unframed art print titled "Cherry Blossom Tree" by artist Niniane Wang to help with our bare wall conundrum. I figured since we're super close to Washington DC and have been loving Spring, what better way to celebrate our move than by hanging up Cherry Blossom art!
Now, the last time I bought any sort of art print was while I was visiting DC several years ago and was at an art museum. (I still have it too and it hangs by my stairs.) I really have no idea what I'm looking for as far as quality and archival abilities go, but Minted seems to have it down so you don't have to worry about it. They also ship FAST.

"Minted's Art Prints are printed on museum-quality cotton rag archival paper with archival pigment ink. The result is a stunning, museum quality print with rich and vibrant colors. This paper and print method is used on all Art Prints. For protection, each Art Print is shipped in an acid-free and lignin-free sleeve." ~ Minted

And, because it's a limited addition print (only 1,000 made in that particular size), you know you're going to have a relatively "rare" piece of quality art hanging in your home! I have to admit I was a little wary about how these prints would be mailed. I'm used to things arriving in tubs, and this creates a slight problem because it takes forever to flatten them out. Minted however places your print in a lignin-free and acid-free sleeve packaged inside a sturdy cardboard envelope with two additional pieces of cardboard to make sure the print stays flat and wrinkle-free.

What I thought was a super awesome touch was the card of authenticity that was included with the print, and a little thank you note from the artist. I can't wait to get the print up on my walls. I was hoping to have a photo ready for ya'll with it hanging up, but we just haven't had the chance to go out and buy a frame. However, I promise you that the print looks EXACTLY like it does on the Minted website which is AWESOME. There wasn't a difference in color at all. It's nice to know that if you're going to buy something you can't see in person, it's going to look the way it's meant to once you get it into your home. Definitely a place I would order more Wall Art from, and the next time I need some snazzy invitations or cards, I'm definitely checking out their site FIRST.

"I am overjoyed that you've chosen my artwork. Thank you with all my heart!" ~ Niniane

Make sure you take the time to find Minted on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Minted also has an Inspiration Wedding Board Challenge going on where they are giving away $4,000 worth of Minted goodies! There are weekly winners through 4/29 so if you're interested you'd better get a move on.

Roses and Strawberries at Sunset by April, see more unique Minted wedding invitations

Roses and Strawberries at Sunset board by April. See more unique Minted wedding invitations

Additionally, Minted is also offering my DealPeddler readers a giveaway for a $65 Minted Credit! This credit is enough for a 11"x14" or 11"x11" non-personalized art print. You'll be able to enter the giveaway [HERE] once it is live. Giveaway is open to legal residents of the USA who are 18+ and complete the mandatory entries. Giveaway will run for approximately 1 week.

*I received the product(s) mentioned above free of charge from Minted in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.

25Mar/130

Ozeri – Prestige Electric Wine Bottle Opener Product Review

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Picture it. It has been a long grueling day. The kids have been possessed by the, I'm-Not-Going-To-Listen Demon. The pets have left a massive mess on the floor. Dishes are piling up. Dinner needs to be made. Then you see it. The unopened bottle of wine you were saving for such an occasion. You take it out of the rack, grab your corkscrew wine bottle opener and get to it. Thirty seconds in and you're still twisting the screw down into the cork. A minute in and you're wondering why the cork isn't coming out. Two minutes in and you've now successfully broken off bits of the cork that fall into wine that you still can't get to. Five minutes in and the cork has been pushed completely into the bottle, essentially ruining it, but you just don't care and start downing it without bothering to use a glass. ...Sound familiar? Sometimes I could personally bypass all of that drama with a loud yell to the husband in the next room. "HONEEEYYY!!! I CAN'T OPEN THE WINE. GET IN HERE!" But, when he's not home? I was usually SOL.

"Ozeri is also an emerging brand in the consumer marketplace. Ozeri products are made available to the consumer through an efficient business model. Unlike competitive brands, with Ozeri products the final price borne by the consumer is not burdened by advertising, the marking and other traditional costs that support brand equity. The Ozeri brand is instead built on the relationships formed by touch-points that countless guests have with our products at vacation residences around the world." ~ Ozeri

When Ozeri offered to send their Prestige Electric Wine Bottle Opener for a review I was beyond stupidly excited. Not only could I open a bottle quickly by myself, but that also meant I could open MORE within a shorter amount of time. (Have I mentioned how much I love wine?) This baby is SLICK and very simple to use, which as you know by now means that if I can figure it out without an instruction manual, anyone can use it.

The Prestige Electric Wine Bottle Opener is cordless (so when you're doing charging it you can put the cord away while keeping the base and opener at an easy access spot in the kitchen) comes with a charging stand, cord, foil cutter, and an aerating spout. I did realize you technically don't need the foil cutter. The opener is strong enough to go right through the foil, and I haven't had any pieces of the foil break off while using it. (I'm also lazy and prefer as few steps as possible to get into my "happy juice".) I also thought the foil cutter was a little cheap. But, as an added bonus it's kind of nice to have on hand. I don't use the spout either, however there's nothing wrong with it as far as I can tell. I just don't find that necessary, and I'm not really a wine snob so I rarely worry about aerating.

Features:

    • As seen in restuarants, the Ozeri Pro Electric Wine Opener makes opening wine bottles easy and entertaining.
    • New improved 2nd generation battery opens up to 40 wine bottles on a single charge.
    • Opens a bottle of wine in just seconds with push button ease.
    • Ultra-light cordless design features an ergonomic rubberized soft grip that fits in the palm of your hand.
    • Includes an elegant recharging base, compact foil cutter and a bonus pourer and stopper.


The Prestige Electric Wine Bottle Opener says it can do 40-80 bottles on a single charge. I've never had more than 6 bottles in my house at once so I can't tell you how true that is. If it is true, I think they'd have to be opened relatively quickly and consecutively, because I found that if I didn't charge my opener after 3-4 bottles spanned out over a week or so, the charge would die. That's not a huge issue for me since I'm not a restaurant, and I have a plug right where I keep my stand.

I love that it fits my hand easily so it's comfortable to hold onto while using. And there are only two buttons.... up and down. Just place the opener over your bottle of wine (hold the wine bottle tight or else it'll start spinning), and just push the down button until the cork is fully released from the bottle. To get the cork out of the opener, just press the up button until it falls out into your hand. Super simple. It doesn't leave any cork bits in the bottle, and gets you into it within a matter of seconds.

I absolutely LOVE this product and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a wine drinker. Easy to use, affordable (can be purchased on Amazon or Sears.), and really makes life a LOT easier when it comes to opening those darn bottles. This is one of the most used kitchen gadgets in my house, and has definitely already proven to be worth more than what it sells for.

 

* I was provided a product free of charge from Ozeri in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% mine. See Disclosure Policy.