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.

Tryazon: Orange Crate Food Company Dips and Bakers Review #OrangeCrateFoodCo

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With time constraints and wanting to enjoy the weather, holidays, Summer time is as hectic for me as the month of December. I feel like I’m being pulled in all directions and meal times sneak up on me, along with dinners that include guests. I don’t want to miss out on the events and I don’t want to resort to catering or serving less than spectacular meals. So, when Orange Crate found me via Tryazon, I was more than happy to get some help!

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I welcome new ideas, short cuts but the most important factor is that things need to work for me. I don’t want to miss out on flavor because I use a “boxed item”. Yes, things out of boxes are easy because they are pre-measured and you just add a few ingredients and are told it will be as good as made from scratch or even better, however boxes have failed me. I end up with what I call salt lick boxes because that is the first and most prominent ingredient. What ends up claiming to save me….well dooms me.

When I received the parcel from Orange Crate Food Company, I noticed that I could smell the mixes before opening the box. Yes, Orange Crate teased my UPS man! It also smelled delicious and tempting, so they so far satisfied the “sniff test”.

Next came the unveiling and this is what Orange Crate sent:

I noticed on the dips that there was flexibility when it came to the creations. Orange Crate’s dip boxes encouraged you to think outside the box! They allow the consumer to make hot to cold dips and even use the seasonings in dishes. It’s a way to infuse dishes with flavor to trying new ingredients, so it goes beyond the sour cream tub and cream cheese brick. So far Orange Crate Food Company has separated themselves from the other dip companies, plus the ingredients are as listed. You must understand that when you see a cheese dip and you flip the box and the only cheese listed is the cheese they ask you to add……well, that upsets me! Then it’s not a cheese dip in my book but thankfully that is a memo that Orange Crate Food Company did not miss. Okay, you now got my respect Orange Crate Food Co.! 🙂

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Taste matters and for 4th of July everyone always does barbecue and it’s delicious but I wanted something new. Yes, we had the rib rack but this year I wanted a twist from the ordinary and Orange Crate had just what I was looking for, the Chipotle mix. This year I was doing a dry rub on the ribs so no sauce and just flavor to add to the change factor. I crossed my finger and when I took the ribs out of the overnight brine, I started rubbing in the Chipotle mix. I admit, I had that moment where my brain said, “what did you do”! But too late and it smelled delicious. Chipotle being just smoked jalapenos really is a match made in heaven when it comes to pork, but I’m not use to just depending on a rub from a packet. This is the girl that buys the whole peppers and makes her own seasonings, so this little packet have better make it worth it and especially since we were smoking the ribs for 3 to 4 hours. I allowed the rub to stay on for a couple hours while we prepped everything for the smoker and in they went! Okay, I’m now crossing my toes!

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I pretend everything will be fine because the minute the ribs hit the grill, within 20 minutes I know they will be divine by just how the smoke that lets out is smelling. Okay, that is +2 for the sniff test by Orange Crate Food Company. I start making the rest of the meal from baked beans, freshly baked corn bread and the baked potatoes. Four hours later and this baby back ribs look delicious with a gorgeous bark (crust) and a smoke ring that is to die for! We allow the ribs to rest and 15 minutes later I sneak a taste-test because that corner rib that has been peeking out from the foil is calling my name…….yes, food does that! It also helps to convince yourself that you are pre-tasting the ribs for a good cause, like before giving food to your guests in case it is not good.   I bite in and you taste the pepper but the overall flavor made me think why did I not do this before. These ribs are smoky, tasty, and the Chipotle just increases those flavor notes but also adds that spice that remains mild but that reminds you why jalapenos are so used in cooking. Easy ribs that took longer to cook than to prep!

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The Orange Crate Food company also has beautiful bakers and cold dip servers. The cold dip ones you just add ice and the dip holder conveniently fits over the column, which keeps the food cold and at a safe temperature. The brie bakers can be used to bake anything and not just when it comes to different cheese varieties.  I found that they are larger in size than all the other cheese bakers I own.  This is welcoming because no worries when the cheese begins to bubble in the oven and you can dip without caution that you will cause a cheese avalanche on the other side. Not nice when that happens because your bread/chip ends up with bare naked with nothing on it, and you just made a mess!

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Orange Crate Food Company not only satisfies your taste buds via their dips but also can use their products on other foods. They have a Lemon Dill that just screams for fish or even a chicken breast stuffed with spinach. The dips are easy to make and also adjust to your needs. I bought a lower fat sour cream and added less mayonnaise because I’m not overly wild about the latter condiment and the dip remains a hit. If the dip says cheese, it comes with cheese and you then add your own. The dip packets are also twice the size than other dip packets I have purchased and it’s not just salt! I have to fix other dip brand’s mixes because they all start tasting the same of just a mix of salt and pepper. Orange Crate Food Company is not like the others and you can with confidence just depend on what is included and not feel like something is missing. So, the next time you want to try a new dip company that goes beyond the dip and chip, I encourage you try the Orange Crate Food Company because you don’t know what you are missing!

Connect with the Orange Crate Food Company at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon and the Orange Crate Food Company.  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.

 

Tryazon: Gourmet du Village Dipping Party #Review #GourmetDuVillage

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Tryazon has been very good to me and when I got to host the Gourmet du Village party…..I even did a happy dance. I love to cook and try new food companies and Gourmet du Village has a site where you can get happily lost looking at everything and your mind, plus tummy will be making a list of all the things you want to try. I spent one late evening looking around and it turned into me going to bed late because I just love everything Gourmet du Village has to offer.  In my book, I call that doing research 🙂 .

You don’t need to host a party to enjoy Gourmet du Village’s products and kitchen essentials. You have items that come in all quantities and even a single person can easily purchase what they want and need, without having to purchase in bulk. I always keep that in mind as it’s usually just Hubby and I at home. Gourmet du Village satisfies your savory tooth by offering dips, mixes, cheese toppings, to potato chips that are not like what you buy at the usual supermarkets. Got a sweet tooth? They have chocolates to candies, dessert toppings and more! You will love the bakers they sent because I love not only using but collecting articles of this kind that tend to not only bake great foods, but they sort of find a way to bake memories into them too. I can pick-up a baker and clearly think back to a time I made such and such, for this event and what a great memory of the people that were there. It’s nice when things serve more than a purpose than cooking with them, so join me while I share a little of our Memorial Day weekend with you!

The Dips:

Let’s start with the dips.  Each dip has a beautiful illustration of the kind of dip it holds.  I love the pictures and artwork so much, I kept the front cover of each dip packet and decorated the back of my pantry and the cabinet that holds my baking dishes with them.  I told you I collected bakers and the such!  The dips are easy to make and most require dairy products like cream cheese, mayo, to sour cream.  What is needed to complete the dip varies by type, like the artichoke one requires the vegetable in can form but what I like best, are what I call “off-road” uses.  Using products beyond what they were made for and Gourmet du Village provides just for that to happen.  They not only give you ideas but I was able to create a stuffed scallop cake using the Gourmet du Village Crab mix.  I simply took homemade country bread and used it as a base for my stuffing.  I added Bay scallops and scooped them into gorgeous shells.  It makes the plating look expensive but Bay scallops are those smaller ones that are also called “baby scallops”.  They sell at a lower price point and you get the scallop craving satisfied and pay less.  A little parsley and chive topping and you are done.  It was so simple just using the entire seasoning packet from Gourmet du Village and it provided a full amount of flavor that kicks out any bay seasoning that comes out of a shaker any day!  Flavorful and not salty is what I look for and that is what you get with these dips packet.

Retail Price Point: $3.99 each but you do save when you purchase more and they have trios to collections.

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The Bakers:

Gourmet du Village has beautiful bakers that are perfect for Brie to any cheese that plays well with melting.  You can use those grilled cheeses for added texture and flavor to even blends.  The bakers I received are a beautiful Cranberry red and easy to wash and clean after use.  I love adding these to my collection and the larger size does not limit me as much when it comes to serving and uses like my previous bakers. I got my hands on a beautifully aged Manchego cheese and you bet I added it to the Brie.  These dishes allow your guests to add what they want and make it their own way and that is sure to please everyone on any day.  The bakers also come with recipes, so it’s a great value.  They are oven and dishwasher safe too!

Retail Price Point: $19.99 per baker and you have gorgeous colors to choose from.

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The Chips:

Next, comes the chips for the dips.  These babies are just simple russet potatoes and some salt.  Simple foods make for the best eats!  The chip has heft where it can withstand dipping without breaking.  I found myself munching on these on their own and because they are not salty, the don’t interfere or ruin the flavor of anything you combine them with.  As odd as it may sound, we also enjoyed the “real tater” taste.  These are real slices and not just a mash of potatoes to resemble a chip.  The crunch of the potato is just as you desire and they are not oily.  Many of the kettle type chips are an oily mess that even if they are natural, who wants pools of oil?  Gourmet du Village makes a chip that is not ordinary and very crave-able.

Retail Price Point: $4.00 per 5 ounce bag

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This was not only an enjoyable an event but a time to spend with those we care.  Friends enjoyed the food, Gourmet du Village made it simple to create and everyone was left with a full and satisfied tummy.  Good memories and make your own by visiting Gourmet du Village and seeing what catches your eye.  You won’t be disappointed! Also, save while you are there and that just makes the deal even sweeter.

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Connect with Gourmet du Village at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon and Gourmet du Village. 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: TLC Love, Lust or Run Premiere Party #LoveLustRunParty

 

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The new year means new shows and on January 23rd, we started off with the Premiere Party for TLC’s new show, Love, Lust or Run. The show is hosted by Stacy London and as always, she is helping someone from a fashion disaster, or better described like someone who is a repeat offender and commits a fashion felony on an everyday basis! Stacy London revamps a person in each episode, and this is not just to pick a better cut of jeans, this is a top to bottom re-do. Make-up, hair, shoes, you name it…..Stacy fixes it.

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TLC provided all the fixin’s to get us started and celebrating Love, Lust or Run, because you can’t talk about others when you are not shining yourself. The party kit included:

  • Love, Lust or Run paddles
  • Love, Lust or Run large handheld mirror
  • Love, Lust or Run Nail Polishes in a gorgeous silver color
  • Love, Lust or Run Nail files and buffers
  • Love, Lust or Run Hair Make-up remover
  • Love, Lust or Run Hair bands

Of course gamming it up takes energy and time, so I made little finger cookies with the “TLC” logo. I figured we’d party with homemade alfajores, which I cut into heart shapes, filled with dulce de leche and dusted with unsweetened coconut. Hey, we are still dieting over here! Alfajores are cookies that are traditional to Spain and resemble a shortbread in both taste and texture.

TLC’s Love, Lust or Run party was very fun to watch and keeps us in line. Even though none of us suffer as badly as some of the guests on the show, it sure opened the door to point out certain fashion faux pas! Tune in on Fridays at 9:00 PM (CST) and have a few laughs, plus with Stacy London, you always learn a thing or two with every episode!

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Connect with TLC’s Love, Lust or Run at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from HouseParty and TLC .  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.

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