HouseParty: Bertolli® Al Fresco Taste of Tuscany Party with Creamy Basil Alfredo #BertolliAlFrescoTasteOfTuscany

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As Summer approaches, I tend to get as busy as I do when it’s holiday time (November and December). It’s that six month mark I call, when changes start taking place, projects get started and making dinner needs simplification. The barbecues start getting prepped early in Spring here in Southern California because we have pleasant weather most time of the year. This means I so welcome kitchen help. I still want a meal that is healthy and leaves my family and friends full and happy.

In comes Bertolli, changing things up by adding more to their sauce line. Forget about the red and think about white base sauces that come with new flavors to welcome the new season. A white sauce is not something we enjoy (at least here) as I we usually make red based sauces. I am always looking for a way to use my overabundance of tomatoes, so that means I am always making tomato-y sauces! They are great but it can easily create a rut. I have come up with Greek style, South American to Italian “red sauces” that I think my family is on to me! When Bertolli came up with the Al Fresco Taste of Tuscany Party and I saw Basil…..well, say no more.

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Retail Price Point: $1.99 for a 15 ounce jar at Target. They are currently on sale at Target from the regular $2.25 price point. You can also find Bertolli and other selections at Von’s, Stater Bros., Albertson’s and other major stores.

Ingredients: Water, Cream, Butter (Cream, Salt), Soybean Oil, basil, Modified Corn Starch, Parmesan Cheese (Cultured Part-Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Enzyme Modified Egg Yolk, Sherry Wine, Salt, Whey, Natural Flavors, Yeast Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Garlic Powder.

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Verdict:
I like easy but I ask a lot from it. I also want a meal that is well liked and not filled with the bad ingredients. In other words, I don’t want my family picking up that I am using a jarred sauce. There is nothing wrong with sauces out of a jar and you can find brands that keep the sauce honest. In this home, jarred sauces are called “cheater sauces”. Okay, the family is a little spoiled but I prefer they welcome the better foods and if the sauce makes the cut, it also gets welcomed in the pantry. Bertolli’s Creamy Basil Alfredo is very simple to prepare. You just pour, reheat and serve. You can easily make it part of your meal or the meal itself by making it a main dish. For this occasion, I wanted to get maximum benefit out of the jar and the one jar needed to yield enough servings, so everyone could try it. I open the jar and the smell is pleasant and inviting. You have a nice milk and cream base that is followed up with the aroma of herbs, basil of course being the predominant one. Being that my basil plant was attacked by squirrels last year, my 5 year old plant never returned. I also welcomed the basil plant seeds that Houseparty and Bertolli included. I use to fear frost or excessive heat damaging my basil plant, never thinking a Squirrel with gourmet tastes would go nutty for an herb! With the amount of basil packed into this creamy Alfredo jar, my passion for basil and craving will definitely be satisfied. I opted for ricotta and spinach filled raviolis and made this my starter dish. I tend to now fry my raviolis in butter and olive oil.  This method not only gives the pasta a firmer texture but also that golden buttery taste that everyone seems to love. I warmed the sauce and other than adding some parm and a fresh slice of a baby heirloom tomato, the Bertolli Creamy Alfredo sauce was doing all the talking here.

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And, the talking it did. I never have enjoyed a jarred cream based sauce. They always broke when heated and/or had an off taste. This one does not! The Creamy Basil Alfredo from Bertolli stayed whole when heated and did not have an odd after taste. You just taste cream, butter, some cheesy notes and the basil. That is all. The sauce does not overwhelm what you are eating. The tomato gave the ravioli that fresh kick but because it’s mild in flavor, it played well with the sauce. The acidic properties played like a balsamic would, but mild enough to not just kill the entire plating. The spinach in the ricotta filling was made for a basil pairing, so Bertolli made a simple dish that much better. Some guests added a crack of pepper to top, so you can really make the Creamy Basil Alfredo sauce from Bertolli make any dish work and to your liking. No one even asked if the sauce was jarred any I was asked how I made it because so many tend to rush the process and end up with a broken sauce. I told them I would print out the recipe because it’s on-line. I shared a coupon after for my guests to use but I was not letting the cat out of the bag on this one from the start!  I also love that everyone was gifted a Basil plant to grow at home, just watch out for those squirrels who think basil flavored acorns are the it dish this season!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bertolli and HouseParty.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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HouseParty Chatterbox: HP Envy 5540 All-in-One Printer with HP Instant Ink #HPInstantChat

With all the advances in computers recently, sometimes it feels like printers are being left a little behind. HP sought to try to remedy that by updating it’s venerable Envy series of printers with a touch screen, wireless capabilities, cloud printing and HP’s service, HP Instant Ink.

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I found the HP Envy 5540 AIO printer fell a little short almost everywhere, and way short in some places. To start, I’m not a fan of the “Instant Ink” service. Not only does it have a lot of intrusive, near constant pop-ups, but it wants to order ink way before the current cartridge is depleted. Not only that, it wants me to order paper, photo paper, and it does it every time you connect. That alone would have led me to box it up and take it right back. HP wants to claim “photo lab-quality prints” on pictures, and while the included photo sample paper made for a lovely print, it was obvious even to my untrained eye that I printed it at home. And HP’s yield for their ink is still near the bottom of the pack. The scanner wasn’t a lot better, but gave me good results for documents. There’s also no feed tray at the top for copies, faxes, or scans, just the flatbed, which after about 10 pages gets tiresome. Lastly, the minuscule monochrome touchscreen controls are frustratingly small. My hands were fine, but Hubby’s sausage fingers had him ready to pull his hair out. With everything tech under the sun having a big, bright color touchscreen, this is nigh unforgivable.

On the plus side, it grabs and holds the wifi signal, a clear improvement from the last HP Envy I tried out. It’s fairly quick to print, especially plain text black and white. The setup was painless, and going back to just two ink cartridges after using the 4 required for my Brother All In One printer was a welcome relief.  And while Hubby found the touchscreen on the “too small” side, I didn’t have any issues entering commands and found the interface very user friendly. And while I liked some things a lot, the things I disliked weighed more heavily on my mind because while they weren’t the kind of things that make the printer useless, they’re annoying enough to me that I wouldn’t have bought, kept or highly recommended this printer to anyone. HP has always made good to great hardware hamstrung by bad to awful software, and it seems this printer is no exception to this rule. In the end, I went back to my Brother printer, and this is coming from someone who had only had HP printers for over a decade.Whether these things would be deal breakers for you is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

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Connect with HP:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from House Party/Chatterbox/HP. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HouseParty: Chromecast with a side of Game of Thrones Premeire Event and #Review #ChromecastGOT #Sponsored

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It always seems like the best shows take forever to come back, and Game of Thrones, Season 6 was no different. Pretty soon I will start forgetting what happened the season before if they keep doing this! I knew (spoiler alert!!!!) Jon Snow was killed but was unsure if he would stay dead, plus all the other stuff with all the families….okay, it’s starting to sound like a soap opera but this one is always a bloody one, which I tend to enjoy shows like this. When Houseparty said Game of Thrones party, plus Chromecast……I just heard the first part and said yes and told myself I’ll learn about the second part.

I already own a “stick” from another company, so even though we went so long getting rid of antennas you could see on television sets, here we go sticking devices on them again. I will say at least these “bunny ears” need no foil, or someone to hold them (did I just date myself here?). Chromecast is another device used for streaming, which just plugs in via an HDMI port on your television. You need a Wi-Fi network and Chromecast also has an app for phones (or mobile devices), and computer. Easy to install and disconnect…..but what does it do? Well it opens up a new world of entertainment from movies, television shows (both new and old), to sporting events, music and even games. You are also not limited when it comes to viewing from streaming sites like:

  • YouTube
  • NetFlix
  • Hulu
  • HBO Now
  • Showtime Anytime
  • MLB.TV
  • to Watch ESPN and More!
  • There are over 200,000 movies and TV shows at your fingertips, plus millions of songs to access. Okay, that is a lot!

Retail Price Point: At just $35, Chromecast allows you to cast from your iPhone, iPad, any Android device or laptop and television. You can learn more here about what Chromecast.  HBO Now is just $14.99 a month and no television package is required!  Plus, HBO Now offers a free trial for new members.

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What comes with your Chromecast:

  1. One Chromecast Unit (You can pick from black, coral or lemonade). Available at places like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Staples and the Google Store. Coral and Lemonade are exclusive colors to the Google Store.
  2. One Power cable
  3. One Power adapter
  • Ports/Connectors needed-
    HDMI
    Micro-USB
  • Resolution- 1080p

Verdict:

I already have HBO, so that means I have HBO Go but decided to check out HBO Now for this premiere event.  Sunday gets here and I have planned for this event all week.  I wanted to serve something new and out of the ordinary, so I went with Lobster Raviolis on a bed of spinach, with large prawns.  Needed something round (Hey, the Chromecast is round in shape), so went with a homemade pizza, topped with sausage, pepperoni, bell peppers, red onion on a bed of 4 different cheese blends.  Call it the Stark Pizza, if the Stark family served pizza 🙂 Plugging in the Chromecast is really as easy as plug and go.  I know many of these units sometimes state this and then when you get ready to be entertained, half the entertainment is getting them to work.  We experienced zero issues with connecting, our Wifi network being recognized and watching.  The Chroecast also plays nice with the surround sound system, so you do not lose the quality of sound if you have a home system and the resolution was as beautiful as ever.  So, Game of Thrones comes on and the first episode of season 6 starts playing.  I thought I would have more of my questions answered but I ended up with more questions at the end of the episode.  My weeks now seem longer until Sunday arrives again!  Being part of this event was fun because Houseparty included a nice journal to keep and I got to play with a new device.  I like being able to see what these units bring and will be signing up to one of the movie streams (30-day free trial) because of it.  I figured give them a try again since I was happy staying connecting, which when I first tried the service, that was not as easy before with another unit.  The price point for everything the Chromecast brings to your television and other devices makes it an affordable purchase, plus not trying to find room for another box on the entertainment console is very much appreciated.

 

Connect with Chromecast and HBO at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Chromecast and HBO. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

HouseParty: Boursin® Gournay Cheeses in Pepper, Shallot and Chive, and Garlic and Fine Herbs #Review #BoursinCheesePack

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I was fortunate to be able to have Boursin® Cheese be a guest at our holiday table and I was very lucky in visiting Von’s Markets and finding all the cheeses in stock.  The deal became sweeter when Von’s had a promo going of Buy-one-get-one-Free (BOGO), so using the free item coupon provided by Boursin, yielded an extra cheese item.  We were Boursin-ing it at our house this holiday so much, that 2016 will also feature a nice cheese platter when it comes to welcoming the new year.

Some companies have cheeses that tend to all taste the same no matter the flavor listed.  They use the same base and are not generous with the add-ons, so when you buy one kind, you pretty much bought them all.  Not with Boursin cheeses!  Every flavor tastes different from the other.  You may have a texture that resembles each other but if the package states Pepper, peppery goodness is what you will enjoy!
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Boursin Gournay Cheese in Garlic and Fine Herbs-
Ingredients: Cultured pasteurized milk and cream, granulated garlic, salt, white pepper, parsley, chives*.*Dried

I was worried that the garlic would be overwhelming even though I love garlic, however I worry when it comes to dairy based products, that the ingredient can drown all the others out.  Again, Boursin found the right balance and you taste garlic but it has not permeated the entire cheese.  The white pepper provides a zingy taste that differs from the usual black peppercorns.  You get a mild spice that is perfect for even non-pepper fans!   The parsley and chives bring the herb notes, but chive also provides a nice mild onion flavor that tends to also brighten up the cheese’s overall taste.  This is the one you buy if you are new to the Boursin family.

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Boursin Gournay Cheese in Shallot and Chive-
Ingredients: Cultured pasteurized milk and cream, shallots*, salt, chives*, green onions*, potassium sorbate (preservative). *Dried

This version of Boursin cheeses is one of my favorites.  You have a blend of dry herbs and that creamy Boursin cheese that is smooth in texture and flavor.  The onion notes are real and not like what you get from a powdered product, that tends to even dry a cheese out.  There is freshness here and if you like onion based dips, this is the cheese that takes your taste buds on an onion-y adventure.

 

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Boursin Gournay Cheese in Pepper-
Ingredients: Cultured pasteurized milk and cream, salt, black pepper, potassium sorbate (preservative).

You have black pepper as the main ingredient and this is the more simpler flavor that tends to combine with all other toppers or spreads you may want to add with the cheeses.  The peppercorns are mild in flavor and thankfully the texture is pleasing.  You do not get huge chunks that disrupt the smoothness of the cheese’s texture and Boursin was still able to produce a smooth textured product that is enjoyable on a cracker or even added to a dip.

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Verdict:

This year we enjoyed the cheeses as-is and added them to crackers.  I visited Costco and they sell a trio package there.  Costco was sampling the cheeses by adding them to mashed potatoes and it created a smooth and appealing product.  It was a nice way to spruce up a comfort food and give it a little gourmet twist.  This New Year’s Eve, I will be baking fresh loaves of Rosemary rustic bread, cutting the loaves (not all the way through) to create pockets (crisscrossed pattern) and filling them with a a little butter and then Boursin cheese with shredded cheeses, and then baking.  This will create a nice pull-a-part bread that guests can enjoy eat while still being able to enjoy the festivities.   It is an easy appetizer to add to our others and melted cheese is something we all love.  I may add even some pancetta to some of the loaves to create a different flavor.  Boursin cheeses go with anything you serve because they stand on their own on a cheese platter, or you can add them dishes and dips.  There is no rules or limits here, so I highly suggest bringing a smile to your guests this year by welcoming 2016 with Boursin!

 

Find your favorite(s) with Boursin at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Houseparty/ChatterBox and Boursin Cheeses.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HouseParty: Bertolli® Imported Cask Aged Balsamic Vinegar Paired with Caramelized Onion #Review #BertolliSauceParty

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I usually make our sauces from scratch and especially when the heirloom tomatoes start hitting the markets, with the quality and season being at it’s peak. I enjoy incorporating everything from a bell pepper medley to a combination of different onions. I make several jars worth and then have the freedom to create different meals and additions like ground lamb to pork. Then time gets in the way and especially during the “bottom months” where holidays start coming and I’m trying to make every comfort food we have been waiting to enjoy and sometimes you get that simple request of spaghetti and meatballs. I open the fridge and then memory strikes…..I used our last jar I made last time and now have none! So, I always purchase emergency back-ups and this means a jar or two of previously made sauces. I already feel bad when I let time get the best of me, but I don’t want to add by feeling bad about what I am serving at dinner time. So, I pick wisely and have found a few brands that I can depend on.

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Bertolli makes everything from sauces, olive oils, vinegars to frozen meals. They are a company that has been around family tables for over 150 years. Their sauces range from organic, white bases to their newer variety called Riserva. The Riserva brand is a rename of the Imported line “Gold Label”, you previously saw with the colored “old-style” font. Even the flavors are identical, so thankfully Bertolli did not discontinue the “Gold Label” line. I was able to pick-up a glass jar of the bottles, with the older version label, at my local Von’s.

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What I look for when purchasing a jarred sauce is simple ingredients like I would use when making it from scratch and also variety. I want something away from the norm, so I look for blends with wines or vegetables that we don’t commonly consume. I want also a sauce that does not need to be “fixed” to be enjoyed. I’m not going to dedicate 20 minutes to get a sauce to taste right when I could allot the same time to one made from scratch. So, the first thing I do is take a label apart when it comes to ingredients and thankfully the sauces by Bertolli contain what the label in the front states. The Balsamic vinegar is there as is the caramelized onions. Tomatoes in all forms from puree, diced and even in juice form are listed. To intensify the tangy notes, grape must was added and mostly you have real ingredients in this sauce. My only pause was to caramel coloring even though I know manufactures add it to enhance the look of the sauce since it may not look too pleasing in the jar without it, but I could have done with out it. I hope when Bertolli changed the label, they dropped the coloring off the list too.

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Verdict:
The Balsamic Vinegar and Caramelized onions by Bertolli advertises a nice balance in flavor where the sweetness from the caramelized onions goes very well with the tang you get from the vinegar. No bitter notes or after taste, and the sauce has a rich texture and taste. Very enjoyable and not a jar that needs additions to correct it, but you can always add a protein from chicken and beef to enhance it. Upon opening the jar, I expected to smell a wine like scent  from the vinegar, as I do when I add Balsamic to my marinara sauces. I unfortunately did not. I taste the sauce and it’s ultra sweet, like way too much sugar. It’s not the sugars I’m use to even when I have used sweet onion varieties like Cipollini onions. Even Shallots when caramelized never give off this much sugar and then I notice actual sugar noted in the list of ingredients BEFORE garlic and spice. Okay, so I start thinking what can I make with this and it hit’s me……a dip. This way the sauce stays unaltered and I make Mozzarella sticks from scratch. Everyone can then enjoy the sauce as it is and I can curb the sweet factor by the spices I add to the breaded cheese. Simple to make and also quick, plus batches can be kept warm in the oven while I make more.  This is unfortunately not a sauce I would buy again.  I will try this version again under the Riserva label if the ingredients differ.  So, far the only change I can tell is that the new label does not state “Imported” on it.  Unfortunately, Bertolli does not list the ingredients of their sauces on the site, just the nutritional facts, so I wan unable to compare beforehand.  My Mozz sticks are always a hit but I did ask for feedback on the sauce and thankfully received some honest remarks.  It’s sweet was the chief complaint and maybe this was a batch where the sugar over-spilled, but I was left with dip and this is uncommon at my house where I witness guests usually use even bread to clean a plate.  I feel that without the overpowering sweetness, this sauce could actually be good and enjoyed.  The warming of the sauce intensifies the sugar and when tasted cold, the sugars mellow out a bit.  Maybe adding a little to a pasta salad would help.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bertolli and HouseParty.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HouseParty: Lavazza Taste the Passion House Party #LavAzza #Review

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Lavazza has been a household name and favorite for over 100 years in Italy! That is a lot of roasted coffee beans! Once I tasted this coffee, it has been my go-to for drinking and a must for baking. Nothing intensifies chocolate notes like coffee, so like wine, you want to use the very best and Lavazza is just that.

Now, that I can find the coffee here, I have noticed new items and selections available. I was so fortunate in being able to host another party and decided with the colder days ahead, baking a Coffee Chocolate Chip cookie, which went perfectly with the coffees. Simple, quick and the bittersweet chips mixed with the semisweet ones, makes this an irresistible cookie!

First Let’s start with what LavAzza’s Taste the Passion House Party included:

  • 1 Barista apron with the Lavazza logo for host
  • 4 bags of Lavazza Coffee in different varieties
  • Coffee Mug for host with the Lavazza Logo
  • Generous Coupons for guests to save on Lavazza coffees
  • Magnets shaped like a coffee mug for guests
  • Coffee Cups that were just like you get from your local Coffee Shop, with even the little sleeves to go over the cups
  • Fun cards and games to entertain guests, including the “Italian hand gestures” game, which we all tend to “speak”.

The LavAzza Selections:

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  • Gran Aroma- Medium roast, smooth & aromatic, with citrusy notes.  This is the coffee that appealed to everyone and a perfect “everyday and at any season” cup you can enjoy.

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  • Classico- Medium roast, rich & full-bodied, with hints of dried fruit.  This was my second favorite and most guests really enjoyed this variety.  For some the roast was a little stronger than expected but welcoming.

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  • Gran Selezione- Dark roast, intense and chocolaty. 100% sustainably grown coffee that comes exclusively from Rainforest Alliance™ certified farms.  My favorite and every dark roast lovers favorite! This one is just delicious and strong, but without the bitter notes.  The aftertaste is nice and just makes you crave another cup of coffee!

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  • Perfetto- Espresso roast, dark and velvety with a lingering caramel finish.  I’m an espresso girl and this is it without the work.  You get the strength that wakes you up and also everything you love about coffee in one cup, but just in a non-espresso size!

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LavAzza Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2/3 cup of All Vegetable Shortening
  • 3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 3 Tablespoons of any LavAzza Coffee (I brew a strong cup so I can get that intense coffee flavor. I used the Gran Selezione in this batch)
  • 1 1/4 cups of Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Whole Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg at room temperature
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 cup of mixed Chocolate Chips (I use Bittersweet & Semi-Sweet)
  • Optional- you can add 1/2 cup of toasted pecans or walnuts if you desire. You can get adventurous and even add dried fruits and the Lavazza Classico variety is perfect for that combination with it’s fruity notes.

Set your oven to 375 degrees (I use convection)

Using your mixer with the beater attachment, just combine the shortening, butter, coffee and brown sugar. Beat until you have a nice creamy and fluffy consistency. Then add the milk, extract, and egg and blend well. Remember to scrape down to make sure you get a smooth batter. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients, the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to your mix and blend until combined. Make sure to not over beat. Then add the chocolate chips and combine (fold) with a spatula, so the chips do not get destroyed by the beater.

To make the cookies, I like to use a large ice scream scoop and just scoop (leave in ball form) about six scoops (cookies) on a silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 14 minutes and allow the cookies to rest for about 5 minutes before moving them onto a cookie rack to cool.

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The cookies will be nice and soft, plus gooey when split open to eat. Really delicious and they hold well in a covered plastic container (room at temperature) for about 3 to 4 days. You will get about 12 cookies that are medium/large in size out of this recipe.

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Don’t be sad if you a one cup machine!  Fate would have it that LavAzza sent me this postcard via mail, so their great coffees come in K-cups too.

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Connect with LavAzza and find your favorite cup of coffee at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from HouseParty and Lavazza.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HouseParty: Mixing it up with Mezzetta Party #MezzettaMixer

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Mezzetta has been a brand we have used in our home for decades. From the roasted peppers that go great on a pizza, blended to add to a sauce to the Peperoncini that I slice up for sandwiches or eat whole with a salad. I have started baking our own breads because finding a bread with “friendly ingredients” is possible but at a hefty price point. I don’t believe you should pay more when you want less chemicals! When HouseParty announced they had openings for a Mezzetta Party, you bet I signed up.

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Mezzetta Party Kit contained:

  • (1) Apron with a cute Mezzetta logo that has an Olive and finally an apron with 2 large pockets. Those that give you one pocket don’t realize that I have 2 hands and usually I act like I have three by grabbing more utensils that I can hold.
  • (1) Visa Card for the Host to purchase products/ingredients for the event.
  • (1) One of the cutest Slotted Spoon that is perfect for draining the brine/liquid but still getting the olive and/or pepper you seek. No need to attempt to “harpoon” a pepper with a fork or pretend I can balance an olive out of a jar like Houdini.
  • (16) Coupon Booklets that included Mezzetta inspired recipes.
  • (16) Reusable Mezzetta branded Tote Bags that were very welcomed by my guests, due to the new state law, which will make California the first state to pass a state wide law of banning shopping bags.

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I have been doing really good with puff pastry and just like that, you can make the dishes savory or sweet. Easy to use and a great way to showcase what is in season. I found the most beautiful baby heirloom tomatoes, so they were a must mixed with a ricotta and Mezzetta’s Sun Dried Tomatoes “bedding” for them to rest on. I allowed guests to make their own dish by pre-chopping veggies they could add to their tart. Easy and almost mess free (well, bunching up the used parchment paper can be labor intensive 🙂 ).

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Combined with an Italian braised pork that I used Mezzetta’s Sweet Cherry Peppers and also paired with fresh Italian (Cubanelle) Green peppers, and doused in Pinot Grigio wine. You simply brown the seasoned pork first, brown the veggies and then add the peppers with a nice healthy wine bath. I add a bouquet of Lavender and Herbs, and just stick in the oven (covered in a braiser) at 350 degrees for a couple hours. Easy and tastes like you took all day to make when it was the oven that did all the work. I also love the all in one pot cooking method!

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The Olive bread was a cinch too. I use my “lazy girl” method, which can be used with any combination of Mezzetta’s Olives and most of their peppers.

Mezzetta’s Olive Blend Bread:

  • 1 3/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of warm water (105 degrees)
  • Olive Oil to baste bowl and bread

I put the above in my mixer (with dough hook) and make a well with the flour. I add the yeast and the warm water and allow it to “bloom” (bubble a bit) for about 5 to 8 minutes. I add my salt and then mix. If it needs more water to allow for a dough that is supple, I add by the teaspoon. I knead (well, the mixer does it) for about 7 to 10 minutes. I then get a bowl and add some Olive Oil to allow the bread to proof in the oven (105 degrees) for an hour (cover lightly with plastic wrap). Once the dough is proofed, I then put it in the fridge (do not punch the dough down).

I used about 1/2 a cup of mixed Mezzetta Olives, you can use peppers of your liking as long as the seeds are removed and they are chopped. Same goes for the olives, no stones or anything. Once I chopped what I want, I then take the dough out and start kneading my ingredients in. I sometimes add cheeses and a mix of dry and fresh herbs. Try to not over knead when incorporating your olives/pepper mixes. This can produce a rough dough. I will then shape the loaf into a desired shape and I then put the dough on a baking stone (a pan is fine with parchment or at least oiled to reduce sticking). Cover with a light towel and allow the dough to proof again for about 40 minutes to an hour. I sometimes baste mine with more Olive Oil or you use Warm Water to create a nice crust. I have sprinkled Parmesan to even Maldon (flake) Salt on mine before putting it in the oven. Add a couple slashes to allow the bread to breathe (steam escape) and bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on size/shape) or until done. Allow to completely cool before slicing! You can also make the dough ahead and leave it in the fridge for up to a week after the first proof (the dough gets a richer flavor if you at least leave it overnight in the fridge)…….told you it was a friendly
recipe 🙂

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Mezzetta allows us to make dishes that look beautiful, taste great, but took only a few minutes to make. I like that! The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I can spend with Family & Friends!

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Get you Mezzetta Fix and Make it betta’ at:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from HouseParty and Mezetta.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

HouseParty: Triscuit Thin Crisps in Sour Cream & Chive, Wasabi & Soy Sauce and Cinnamon Sugar #Review #TriscuitParty

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Who does’t love a house party? This HouseParty, sponsored by Triscuit, was not only filled with goodies for the host and guest, but we were able to try the three newest flavors. The HouseParty kit also included the following:

  • Large totes for each guest
  • Free coupons that guests can redeem for free Triscuit Thin Crisps
  • Triscuit boxes for guests to take home
  • 3 boxes in the new Wasabi & Soy Sauce flavor
  • 3 boxes in the new Sour Cream & Chive flavor
  • 3 boxes in the new Cinnamon & Sugar flavor
  • A chip bowl to share Triscuit Thin Crisps with guests
  • Recipe card for the loaded baked potato dip
  • A dip bowl for guests to try different dips I made

As always, Houseparty is very generous with the kit and provides you with pretty much everything you need to hold a successful event. You just supply the guests and party on! I had each guest provide feedback on the each flavor and also if they enjoyed attending the sponsored event.

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The new Triscuit Thin Crisps are very different from the original recipe, as these are made with brown rice. The flavors are also not typical but delicious indeed.

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Triscuit Thin Crips in Sour Cream & Chive– This was a liked crisp but ranked third in likability. Some guests reported that the crisp tasted more like a sour cream & ranch chip and could not pick-up the chive notes that usually resemble onion. The texture was very well liked, as were the ingredient’s list on the box. You have a short list and everything is identifiable. 10 crackers are just 130 calories and 25 only come from fat. Definitely a savory snack that not only satisfies your taste buds but does not punish your waist line. The dip most enjoyed with this cracker was the caramelized onion dip I made because it helped bring out the desired onion notes some felt were missing.

Ingredients-
LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE, WHOLE GRAIN SOFT WHITE WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR (CONTAINS MUSTARD), SALT, ONION POWDER, SOUR CREAM POWDER (CREAM, NONFAT MILK, CULTURES), NONFAT MILK, BUTTERMILK, YEAST EXTRACT, SPICES (INCLUDES CHIVE), CITRIC ACID, SUGAR

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Triscuit Thin Crisps in Cinnamon & Sugar– This is the crisp that satisfies your sweet tooth and can even be paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Some even dipped it in a caramel sauce and guests reported the flavor is addicting! I liked that the crisp is not too sweet or overly covered in cinnamon. The base on this cracker is brown rice and sweet potato. You taste the sweetness the potato gives, but it pairs very well with chocolate or just munching as is. I had a few guests comment that this flavor tasted like what you find on “deep fried ice cream” but again at 130 calories for 10 crisps, minus the frying mess.

Ingredients-
LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE, WHOLE GRAIN SOFT WHITE WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED SWEET POTATO, SUGAR, CINNAMON, BROWN SUGAR, SEA SALT, NATURAL FLAVOR, YEAST EXTRACT.

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Triscuit Thin Crisps in Wasabi & Soy Sauce– The most liked of the savory variety was this one and it has a flavor that bites back! New and not the common flavor you would expect in a snack but it does not only satisfy your salty cravings, it makes you come back for more. This one was great with a horseradish pub cheese dip I had out for the sour cream & chive flavor. We were all surprised a cheddar based dip went so well with it! Same 130 calories per serving as the other flavors!

Ingredients-
LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE, WHOLE GRAIN SOFT WHITE WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, SUGAR, SEA SALT, MALTODEXTRIN, DEHYDRATED SOY SAUCE (FERMENTED SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT), YEAST EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, PARSLEY FLAKES, NATURAL FLAVOR (CONTAINS MUSTARD), DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, WASABI POWDER

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This Houseparty was easy and everyone did not dislike any of the snacks or dips that were available!  Guests enjoyed taking home gifts and of course being able to redeem a coupon towards a free box.  I did find a coupon on-line so you can also save when try these.  For more information on the new Triscuit Thin Crisps, please visit the links below.

Connect with Triscuit Thin Crisps:

  • On-line Coupon– http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=vdupdvh57561263&bt=vg&o=116999&c=TL&p=eRQ3gNZj
  • Triscuit On-line– http://brands.nabisco.com/Triscuit/
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/triscuit
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/TheRealTriscuit
  • Pinterest– http://www.pinterest.com/TRISCUIT/

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I received the above product free of charge from HouseParty & Triscuit.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

 

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