HouseParty: Kikkoman Grilling House Party #Review #KikkomanParty #Sponsored

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We have been a Kikkoman family for several generations now. No other soy sauce has ever come through the door and my father always treated the brand like the one and only when it came to his soy sauce selections. From original to low sodium versions (red top or green top), the soy sauce sat by on the table with the everyday condiments. Kikkoman over the years has expanded their brand and products greatly. I recently found a Kung Pao recipe and needed Chinese Rice Wine……Kikkoman again was there for me.

Hosting a party for brand you are already familiar with, enjoy and trust is super simple. I already know where to hunt for what items and my only con is that all stores carry a Kikkoman product but not all carry a decent selection of the items they make. I even resorted to Amazon when I could not find what I wanted and knew Kikkoman made it. Heck, I have the bottle with 1/4 left of Ponzu sauce and I knew there was a lime version because I had the bottle in the fridge. Then I found out they also make a chili version, so the hunt begins again.

My Kikkoman Houseparty kit was phenomenal:

  • 11 Kikkoman Shirts with the Kikkoman logo
  • 11 Free Item Coupons
  • 11 Kikkoman Ready, Set, Grill! Booklets
  • 11 Washoku (Issue #13) Culinary Insiders Booklets
  • Receipe cards
  • 1 Set of Kikkoman branded Tongs
  • 1 Kikkoman branded Shopping Bag
  • An AMEX gift card to help with costs associated (i.e. supplies) with the Party

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I was super excited when I saw the shirts! Yeah, I have this thing about brand logo shirts and sort of unintentionally collect them. Due to Kikkoman being so generous with the party pack and including a gift card, this means I can make this party rock. I even bought shrimps to make a shrimp lo-mein. I went with the easy route of making beef short ribs and chicken sesame thighs. When choosing your short ribs, just make sure they have a decent thickness, as you will be grilling them and you also want your guests to get a good amount of meat from each rib. I was able to find beautiful ones at Sprout’s Farmers Market, which also carries the Teriyaki Takumi line of Kikkoman products. Chicken thighs remain juicy and because again we are grilling, I opted for skin on and they are usually priced economically. The shrimps were on sale the week of my party and because I was making the lo-mein that same day, I went with a mini cooking class on how to make the most from everything and even used celery leaves versus stalks for my entree.

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We started the night before by marinating the chicken thighs.  I simply mixed the sauces from Ponzu Lime to Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce and Soy Sauce.  I also added a few dashes of a Schezwan spice mix and big dollop of sriracha paste.  You simply mix the ingredients to taste and then add the meat of your choice.  Allow the meat to marinate over night and this means no prepping the following night.  You simple just grill the thighs until fully cooked and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds while they rest.  The sugars from the sauces allow the seeds to stay in place.

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Then came the Lo-mein.  I first cleaned the shrimps and then made a quick marinade.  I made a medley of vegetables from green and red bell peppers, onions, some chopped fresh ginger and garlic.  The marinade was a dollop of Teriyaki Takumi, Garlic & Green Onion, some fresh onion, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.  I found some Schezwan whole peppercorns and was able to add a small dash to the mix too.  You start by heating up your wok and cooking the fragrant (harder) vegetables.  I like a crunch still left, so I do not allow them to fully soften.  I then add the shrimps and celery leaves, then the lo-mein noodles.  Quickly toss and done!

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The beef short ribs were a cinch to make to.  The night before I marinated them in the Roasted Garlic Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce and that was all.  Next day, simple grill and you want you can glaze them with the sauce again but we opted not to, as the Kikkoman flavor was perfect with just the marinade.

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You have simply meals full of flavor and that equals enjoyment!  Thank you Kikkoman and HouseParty for another super event.  Don’t forget to pick-up some pot stickers!

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Get your Kikkoman Party on started at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from . I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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BetterBody Foods: PB Fit, Peanut Butter Powder and PB Chocolate Powder #Review Panettone Pound Cake #Tryazon

I have looked at powdered peanut butter but never actually purchased it. I sort of walked around it and wondered how it was when it reconstituted, how it baked when used in recipes, to even how it was when sprinkled over my morning breakfasts.  I even imagined mixing the powder with peanut butter, creating a grilled PB Nutty &J sandwich that would make everyone stand in lines to get their fix.  The BetterBody Foods PB fit is a brand that I saw was preferred mostly and touted as being the “must try” when it came to venturing into Peanut Butter powders.

Powdered Peanut Butter is not just one of those products that is made just so you can see if you can be done! It has it’s applications because I myself sometimes wish I could up the “peanut flavor” without having to add more nuts or even the butter itself. Formulations have doomed me when I cooked recipes or was experimenting and added too much peanut butter that created an unpleasant texture. From too much oil to even producing bake goods that baked up more like a crunchy paste than a bread or a cookie dough. Thankfully, our dog saves us when my PB creations have failed.

The BetterBody Foods PB fit is also a different product all together than what comes out of a jar and no butter knife required. You can easily add flavor and not sacrifice texture. You also have health benefits that come in to play that I had overlooked. The BetterBody Foods company powder offers:

  • A Gluten Free Peanut Butter Powder
  • Lower in Fats, which depending on the variety you buy that can be from 75% to 85% lower
  • 1/3 less calories per serving compared to standard peanut butter
  • Good source of protein and also fiber
  • The Peanut Butter powder is also natural with no artificial ingredients, dyes, or preservatives.
  • Simply Peanuts, Salt and Sugar made from non-GMO ingredients

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Okay, this Peanut Butter is a different nut all together in my book. It’s a cleaner and a more intense tasting peanut, so I opted to make a recipe and using the PB Fit powder because of the lower fat content but not lowered peanut tasting! With the holidays approaching, almond cakes and pound cakes are some of my favorite baked goods. They just go with anything from the seasonal fruits and berries, to just plain with a dollop of whipped cream or a warm sauce. I figured since I was being adventurous, why not make an Panettone Pound Cake and use a combination of products that are nut based.

Let’s Begin….

  • 7 ounces of Almond Paste (grated)
  • 2 sticks of Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups of White Sugar
  • 4 Eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 drop of Lemon
  • 2 drops of Almond Extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 4 tablespoons of PB Fit Powder (you can use plain or even the chocolate variety.  You can also divide the batch to make a marble cake by using both varieties)
  • 1 cup of Cake Flour
  • 1 cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup of Hazelnut Flour (ground hazelnuts)
  • Zest of one Orange (any variety you desire)
  • 1/2 cup of Milk (room temperature)
  • Optional 1/2 a cup to a cup of nuts like Pistachios to even mini chocolate chips.  You can even add candied fruits, dry fruits (imagine figs) and crystallized ginger in lower amounts.  You can also add slivered almonds on top when 1/4 baked through, and then make sure to cover (with foil) to avoid burning when they have toasted.

Set oven to warm at 325 degrees

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I start by grating 7 ounces of Almond Paste and added it to the butter and white sugar. Blend until creamy.  Add eggs to the butter mixture and blend again until smooth and combined.

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In a separate bowl, add zest of the orange to your dry ingredients (flours, Salt, PB Fit Powder, and Baking Soda) whisk, and set aside.

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Add extracts.  You then grab your dry ingredients bowl and in shifts add some of the dry ingredients and then some of the milk until all ingredients are combined.  Do not over mix, as this produces a dry cake.  You can then fold in the optional ingredients if desired.

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I use a large pound cake pan, but you can even use a cake pan and make two layers with the cake batter.  No rules here because I can imagine making a custard/pudding that would be divine with this cake.  You bake the cake for 60 minutes and if it starts to brown too much on top, cover with foil.  At the 1 hour mark, raise the temperature to 350 degrees and bake until done.  Cool for 5 minutes and then flip the cake on to a wire rack to cool an additional 1 to 2 hours before slicing.

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This cake is like a Panettone in flavor but with a heavier texture to resemble a pound cake, which has a crumb that can withstand more than the airiness you get from a Panettone batter.  You bake it slow to allow the flavors to build, the butter to brown, and to yield a moist pound cake.  Enjoy!

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Verdict:

So, it’s a product with the name PB fit and I made cake (I know)!  Well, I’m a girl that thinks even fit focused products can create magic with what is seen as naughty.  They talk about clean eating, well I think that applies to baking too.  Alienating a product because it carries the word “fit” would just be silly and the BetterBody food company is about making products better for the consumer, and I always say when you use top quality ingredients, you can never go wrong and this cake proves it!  It’s a little of naughty and nice to go with the holiday season.  The holidays are about experiencing flavors from pumpkin to dark chocolates, and peanut butter is no longer seen as just the “poor man’s nut”.  Many companies make exceptional peanut butters that are even considered gourmet creations.  BetterBody Foods, allows the consumer to take a known product that is just not like any peanut butter I ever tasted.  There is that cleaner taste that is more intense and closer to the nut’s true flavor because of the simple process they use that equates to just less processing in the first place!  I can make the powder into a butter by adding water, so don’t think your sandwiches are in jeopardy.  I can’t wait to make a peanut butter cookie because this is the product I have been waiting for!  On Halloween, I added the PB Fit Chocolate powder to crispy rice (cereal) treats and they were different and gone before the evening was over.  It was one of those moments where I was about to add peanut butter and thought I already add mini chocolate chips to the top of the treats when they are cooling, so why not add the powder to the marshmallow and butter mix.  It took just 4 tablespoons to create a flavor that made my treats vanish, and any cook and baker loves that!

Connect with BetterBody Foods and get your PB Fit fix at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from PB Fit and Tryazon.  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.

The Complete Slow Cooking For Two by Linda Larsen

If you’re like Hubby and I, you may have given up on trying to use the electric Crock Pot for meals because 90% of the recipes out there are for 4 or more servings, and there’s times you just don’t feel like making a huge mess for two meals or two people. Especially after a long, grueling day. It is sometimes easier to make a sandwich or nuke some leftovers, taste and texture be damned. In fact, we got rid of our Crock Pot years ago, and after this book, I’m kinda wishing we hadn’t.

With plenty of advice about what slow cooker best suits your particular needs, tips and tricks, as well as helpful hints61ws2v3SSEL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ and healthy debunking of the many “Yeah, but I heard that…” horror stories that tend to surround slow cooking, it was a read that was quick, easy, easy to follow and in fact even taught me a thing or two about cooking with an electric slow cooker, so much so that I may just have to buy one again soon! The recipes call for stuff just about everyone has already in their fridge, freezer or pantry, and lest you think a slow cooker is good for just chili or stew, There’s recipes for stuffed peppers, shepherd’s pie, breakfasts and desserts!! I was able to adapt quite a few of these to my Le Creuset dutch oven, too, so if you’re like me and short exactly one electric slow cooker, with some careful adjustments you’re still ready to open up your culinary world to the magic of slow cooking.

This book was a pleasurable read, because it broadened my horizons to the world of possibilities of electric slow cooking, especially after spending years and years as a “range-top and oven only” snob. It made me excited to try out an old method of cooking I’d written off, and I think you’ll find something (or two or three!) to love too.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from TVM.  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.

Dick Taylor Craft Handmade Chocolate and French Silk Pie Review and Recipe #DickTaylorChocolate

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Every once in a while, you run into a product that is a game changer. Someone who ups the bar so high that you don’t know who or if it can ever be topped. I really try to reserve some labels for a truly superlative product. Dick Taylor’s Craft Chocolate hits every metric for me to call it “The Very Best”. Nothing I’ve ever had before can even come close. It’s in a league all it’s own. I’ll go over why below, and even add a recipe that, should you have the willpower to not devour the chocolate immediately, will be dynamite.

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Chocolate in the United States has been done a great disservice. What was once an American icon, Hershey’s, can be held partly accountable for the woeful state of chocolate confections in this country. Because if you’ve only had Hershey’s, you’ve not had chocolate. Craftsmen like Dustin Taylor and Adam Dick are looking to right a terrible wrong with their small-batch craft Dick Taylor chocolates. With a hands-on approach that takes up to a month or more, it starts with selecting only the finest fair-trade raw cacao, all the way up to the pouring of this molten magic into it’s molds. You’ve not lived until you’ve treated yourself to a piece of Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. The vintage machinery used belie the dedication and skill inherent to this labor of love, because one would think to make the best chocolate, you’d need the latest and greatest in automation and innovation. The craftspeople at Dick Taylor chocolates scoff at the notion, and impart a love and devotion to being the best that I could only strive for. Heart will take you far, it seems.

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The list of ingredients for the 72% Madagascar, Sambirano is so simple it’s almost as if they left out a step on purpose to keep anyone else from finding the secret to a truly superior chocolate. Ready?

Organic cacao and organic cane sugar.

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That’s it. No emulsifiers, no fillers, no chemicals, no artificial gunk, no waxes. The flavor envelopes your mouth immediately, with no harsh bitterness, no oily or overly creamy mouth feel, no grit. Impossibly smooth from first bite to final swallow, you almost never want the experience to end. There’s nothing else like it. It was almost transcendent. Our bars of Green & Blacks now sit in the pantry, lonely and wanting. The Guittard Dark baking chips that were my baking cabinet queens have been kicked to the curb. I’m fully and completely in love with Dick Taylor’s Craft lovelies. I mean, they even look exquisite. We were so fortunate that the weather was in our favor when the box arrived, as I’ve have been inconsolable to have had this chocolate adulterated by the heat. There’s 5 different types of “dark” chocolate with cacao percentages from 72% up to 76%, as well as 4 specialty flavors (Fleur de Sel?! You had me at “chocolate”, you devil!), drinking chocolate, and even a Father’s Day Gift Collection! Should I gift one to hubby despite not being a father? Hmm… At any rate, there’s truly something for everybody there!

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Located to our north in Eureka, CA, we have a standing invitation to tour their facility should we ever find ourselves in the neighborhood. I don’t know if I’d trust my self (or hubby) to not grab everything we could carry and run cackling like madmen out the doors at first opportunity, probably to the tune of “I’ve got a golden ticket”. There’s thankfully an authorized retailer just a short ways away, but I’m not sure if my diet thinks this is a good thing. We finished the first bar in 5 minutes after the first nibbles, and we just don’t do that in this house. Chances are, there’s someone to sell you a bar locally. And if not, they do sell direct from the website, shipped to your door.

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Not since the mythical Willy Wonka has there been something so magical available to eat. Nothing you’ve had comes close. Be forewarned, after you’ve had Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, nothing will ever come close again. You’ll be spoiled for all time, chasing a chocolate dragon until your end of days. Do it anyways. It’s sooooo worth it.

Connect with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolates at:

 

 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate French Silk Pie:

With Summer here and the weather finally warming up for us, I wanted to bring back a classic but a goodie.  A good pudding always allows you taste the honest chocolate notes.  With Dick Taylor’s Madagascar, Sambirano 72%, I found it to be like the perfect espresso without the bitterness.  A good chocolate will not add oils or large amount of sugars, so neither shall I.  My Husband has always loved this pie but disliked what time has done to it.  It went from a way to showcase a fine chocolate bar and having a cold pie on a hot day, which hits you perfectly like a car ride (of course top down) with a chocolate shake in hand.  We now get ready-made puddings out of a box and the custard pudding below is good and rich enough to eat by the spoonful!  Say goodbye to eating desserts out of the box and treat you and yours with real pudding made like other, with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  If I could only find a way to transfer the design of their bars onto this pie…….life would be perfect.  I swear they should sell stamps of their bar’s imprint and of course paired with chocolate scented ink 🙂 Enjoy!

Lets Begin……

Filling (Custard Pudding)-

  • 1/3 cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of Whole Milk (at room temperature)
  • 1/8 cup of Corn Starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Egg Yolks (at room temperature)
  • 5 1/4 ounces of Dick Taylor’s Dark Chocolate of your choice
  • 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 of teaspoon of Cocoa Powder (reserved as you sprinkle it on the crust before adding the filling)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter (salted and used KerryGold)
  • 1 Pre-baked Pie Crust (search my recipes if you need one or you can use whatever recipe you desire)

You Start by pre-baking a pie crust.  The crust has to be fully cooked and cooled before you begin making the pudding for the pie.  Below is my crust, and I use a butter and shortening recipe.  I won’t judge if you even get a ready made pie crust, just as long as you make the pudding and you can just skip the crust and serve the pudding in cups with a graham cracker to dunk with!

Now, comes puddin’ time!  You first start by combining the dry ingredients.  This is the corn starch, sugar and salt.  I combine them in a bowl, whisk and then they go into the pot you wish to make your pudding in.  I use a non-stick for that added no stick insurance they have.  Next, combine the milk and the 2 egg yolks.  I use the same measuring cup I use for the milk and just whisk and set aside.  You then measure out your chocolate (break up bars **sniffle**), and you need 5 1/4 ounces.  If you go over, it produces a thicker product but trust me this is pudding that is as thick as it is and rich.  Add the 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder to the same bowl you have your chocolate in.  If you opted to make this a pie, add the 1/2 teaspoon and dust the bottom of your pie crust with it.

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Now comes the cooking process.  Combine the milk and egg mixture to the sugar, salt and corn starch mix.  Combine with a whisk and turn the stove’s burner on low.  Keep mixing, whisking (get those edges too!) and continue whisking.  You can set the burner to a low-medium setting if you are a heavy whisker at this point and the mixture will begin to show small air bubbles around the 3 minute mark.  You will feel some heat on you knuckles from the steam but keep at it.  After all, we’re burning calories here!  As you whisk, you will feel at the 5 minute mark (if not sooner), the mixture getting thicker and thicker and when it truly bubbles, just before it boils, off the heat it comes.  Turn off the burner and add the chocolate to your custard, along with the Vanilla.  You got pudding!

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Then add the tablespoon of butter.  Now, you have a glistening and rich pudding.  Heaven!

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Now, pour the pudding into the pie shell or if making pudding cups, you can pour into a container to cool (uncovered).  Once cooled, you can then add a cover to not have a choco-smelling fridge, but then that’s not a bad thing either.

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You allow the pie (or pudding bowl) to cool on the counter for an hour and then into the fridge it goes (uncovered).  I let it cool about 3 hours to avoid that condensation you can get if you covered it.  After the 3 hour mark, I then cover the pie (or pudding bowl).  I allow the pie to cool over night and yes, it tortures my loved ones.  I figure they can salivate while it’s cooling and you really get the pie to settle and this is why that 1/2 teaspoon of Cocoa is added.  Any wetness gets absorbed and there is no sliding around from the filling when cut.  Now, topping time!

I have made several topping from whipped cream with mascarpone cheese to salted caramel.  This time I made edible fun-fetti.  It’s a sugar cookie batter but why use white sugar when you can add color!

Fun-Fetti/Confetti Cookie Crumb Topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (cold)
  • 3/4 cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals
  • A Dash of salt
  • A Sprinkling of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals

Set Oven at 375 degrees and begin incorporating (cutting with fork or I use my hands) the butter and flour.  It’s cold and you want to create crumb with about pea sized crumbles.  Add a dash of salt (if wanted) and the 1 tablespoon of the sugar crystals.  Mix until incorporated and in it goes into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  When the 7 minute mark comes, add a sprinkle of the sugar if you want extra shimmer.  Then back it goes for the last 3 minutes of cooking.  You want the crumble set but not browned because it takes away from the appearance.

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Take out cooled Pie.

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Add whipped topping and Fun-fetti/Confetti topping and done………..well, you can do more and this is why I never decorate the entire pie!  You can also add red, white and blue sugar crystals for a 4th of July theme to the confetti crumble.

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You can opt for a Fleur de Sel Caramel topping with crushed Pistachios…….

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Or, you want it all!

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And, if you’re feeling nifty and want Fleur de Sel Topping with Maldon Salt Crystals (of course, Hubby fought me on not leaving the Fun-fetti out)……the possibilities are endless!

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Enjoy!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  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.

 

 

Ardenne Farm: Giveaway for Chocolate Cookie Gluten Free Baking Mix

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***GIVEAWAY ALERT***

Ardenne Farm’s is offering one of my wonderful readers one free Chocolate Cookie baking mix, just like the one I received. To enter, all you need to do is:

  • Follow the company on Facebook
  • Via Twitter and
  • And, leave me a comment on this posting (the review for the product).
    Almost as simple as baking these cookies!

I will announce the winner in March 7th, so you have a little over a week to enter. Good luck!  Ardenne Farm’s will be sending out the product to the winner.

Final Product as baked at home

Final Product as baked at home

I used a simple Vanilla Bean and then press and enjoy!

I used a simple Vanilla Bean and then press and enjoy!

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.

Siggi’s: Icelandic Style Skyr Strained Non-Fat Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry #Review

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I’ve been fortunate enough to get to try a whole host of yogurts, Greek style, European style, Australian style…the list goes on and on. Some have been great. Some, not so much. A few are now in my regular rotation. Siggi’s falls into that last category. You might not have heard of Siggi’s, but you really should make a point of finding yourself some.

Siggi’s is truly a different kind of yogurt. In fact, it called Icelandic Skyr, a protein-dense low sugar form of yogurt. Truthfully, they

My local Target carries the Siggi's Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Raspberry

My local Target carries the Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes in Blueberry & Strawberry

had me at “low sugar”. In the U.S.A., almost everything you can buy in the markets is salty or sweet. Overly so at that. Don’t believe me? Take a look at almost everything in the middle of the market. Sometimes I think the FDA has revamped the 4 major food groups as salt, sugar, corn and soy. So when Siggi’s skyr says it’s not too sweet, I jumped in with both feet. It’s got all the probiotics and active cultures of the best Greek-style yogurts, but the yogurt here is the star, not some syrup on the bottom or some packets of stuff in a sidecar either.

Here’s another bone to pick: the tubed yogurt marketed mostly to kids is loaded with sugar. It’s practically syrup itself . Yuck.

But not Siggi’s. The yogurt you get in the cups is almost identical to the yogurt in the tube! Nice. And while it’s not as thick as the cups, I’d assume to promote viscosity and ease of eating, it’s not some runny mess either. Finally, something you and the kids can share, and not have them hopped up on a sugar rush later! I’m in love with a tubed yogurt? I am, and I have no shame admitting it. It’s so good hubby made a tube or two a part of his morning breakfast routine.

I have tried only the blueberry tubes from Siggi’s so far, but I’m a big enough fan that I have plans to immediately go and get the other flavor as well.  You can also freeze them and have a healthy frozen yogurt treat!

This is a product unlike any on the market today in the U.S., and if you’re like me a day you’re fed up with all the sugar in everything, get some Siggi’s today. You’ll wonder how you ever ate yogurt any other way before.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Siggi’s.  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.

Oloves Olives: Veggie & Bean Delight Quinoa Salad #Recipe

 

 

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  • Veggie & Bean Delight Quinoa Salad

You have a great salad that is packed with protein and fiber that is perfect for a “Meatless Monday”. You can also make this in the evening and it holds well for up to 3 days in the fridge. No dressing needed and you can eat it over a bed of lettuce, fill two tomato halves, or stuff an avocado. I opted for a little bed of lettuce to go with my avocado and it made two beautiful and very filling cups.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 /2 cup of Tri-Color Qunioa (cooked, drained and cooled)
  • 1/2 cup of White Kidney Beans
  • 1/2 cup of Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/4 cup of raw Carrots (diced)
  • 1/4 cup of raw Celery (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of raw Zucchini (diced)
  • 1/8 of a cup of raw Red Onion (diced)
  • 1 pack of Oloves in Lemon & Rosemary
  • 1 pack of Oloves in Basil and Garlic
  • Optional- Feta crumbled Cheese (add this before serving as a topper)

 

Begin by cooking your Tri-color Qunioa, draining and allowing it to cool.  I always cook mine with a touch of smoked salt and this is why I did not any more to the salad.  The flavor comes all from Oloves olives!

Then chop up all your veggies and add to a large bowl that is big enough to mix and toss.

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Drain and rinse both cans of beans and take 1/2 cup out from each type of bean.

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Add to veggies and toss.  Then open an avocado in half, so you are left with two equal sized halves.  I always brush mine with a little lemon or lime juice to preventing browning and add a little flavor.

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Then simply open 1 bag each of the Oloves pouches in Lemon & Rosemary and the Basil and Garlic varieties.  Add to salad and toss to combine.  Taste and if you want to add a little salt or freshly cracked pepper…….go right ahead but I found the flavors were perfectly balanced by just using what Oloves provided.

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Then simply lay out some lettuce (even Kale) so the avocados don’t feel lonely, top with the salad and you can add some Feta cheese if you desire.  You can store the remainder in a glass container for up to 3 days.  I never store with the cheese because for no reason it sounds “icky” to me, so I top just before serving.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Get your Oloves and you can make the above recipe and more at:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Oloves.  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.

 

Siggi’s: filmjölk Swedish-style drinkable yogurt Blueberry Quick Bread #Recipe

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This is a bread that uses very little sugar and delivers a wonderful texture derived from the combination of flours and the moisture from Siggi’s Filmjolk yogurt. At 0% fat with Siggi’s drinkable yogurt and the little amount of sweetener used, this is a great bread you can enjoy with less guilt!  I am able to enjoy it as a breakfast bread or even a dessert bread. Goes great with seasonal fruit and you can adjust this recipe easily by using any of Siggi’s yogurts. Very versatile and best of all…..very tasty!

Let’s get started……

Ingredients:

1 cup of Whole White Wheat Flour
1 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup of Almond Flour/Meal
1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups of Siggi’s Blueberry Filmjolk or any flavor you desire

You have your choice when it comes to sweeteners in this recipe and the goal is just to use 1/2 cup to get there and I used:

1/4 cup of Dark Molasses
1/4 cup of Maple Syrup & Orange Blossom Honey

1/4 Unsweetened Dried Blueberries and make sure to plump them before adding by using hot water and waiting 20 minutes for them to re-hydrate. You can get creative and warm a fruit drink (i.e. blueberry juice) to hydrate them and I have used the microwave method where I add the blueberries to a bowl, add water and then microwave to warm.

1/2 cup of fresh Blueberries

Optional- Sprinkling the top with Turbinado Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by re-hydrating your dried fruit and I went with blueberries but you can use whatever fruit or combination of fruits you desire.

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Grab a bowl and mix your flour with a whisk.

Then add the Salt and Baking Soda, and whisk again.

Measure out your Siggi’s Filmjolk and set aside.

Make 1/2 cup of any sweetener mix you desire.

Add the re-hydrated fruit to your dry mix and fold until well mixed.

Then take the wet ingredients (Siggi’s Filmjolk and the liquid sweeteners) and add them to your dry ingredients.

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Fold all ingredients making sure everything is well incorporated and mixed.  You want to make sure there is no dry mix lurking and everything is mixed nicely and wet.

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Grab a loaf pan, spray with non-stick cooking spray.

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Add the mixed batter to your pan and spread evenly.

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Take the 1/2 cup of fresh berries and start studding the top of the bread.

Then, you can sprinkle with sugar to create a nice flaky crust (crisp top) and also sweeten the fresh fruit.  I went with Turbinado sugar because I love the texture and how it makes a loaf just glisten!

Bake the bread at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.  My Blueberry loaf took 47 minutes and I did not need to cover the pan with foil at anytime but if yours starts to over brown, so ahead and cover loosely (tent) with foil.

 

The loaf is cooled for 20 minutes and I use a cake tester to loosen any stuck edges before flipping and allowing it to fully cool.

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I start slicing always after 1 hour or more of cooling to allow everything to rest and not lose any moisture.

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I served mine with more fresh Blueberries and a nice smothering of whipped topping.  The whipped topping was a cinch to make, just softened cream cheese, a little powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream.  You just then let the mixer do the work until it’s nice and fluffy.  You want an airy topping, not very stiff peaks……just a cloud for the berries to float on when served.  Enjoy!

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I highly suggest using Siggi’s Filmjolk yogurt and you can get your Siggi’s fix at:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Siggi’s.  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.

 

 

Smoked Turkey Legs with Gourmet Nut’s Northwest Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt…Yes Please!!

I am very fortunate. Not only do I have my hubby who goes out of his way to make sure I never lack for “special” eats, I get to try awesome goodies from awesome companies. Companies like Gourmet Nut, who have lines of treats and seasonings that enhance ANY dish. Like hubby’s County Fair Smoked Turkey Legs.

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See, we used to frequent the L.A. County Fair. Every year, without fail, we’d be in line opening day to be some of the first people through the gate. The food, the neat bric-a-brac, the food, the animals, the food. Did I mention the food? We even had season passes one year. Then, as is now the norm in Southern California, prices started jumping higher and higher. Not incremental increases mind you, but by leaps and bounds. Getting in and parking? Nearly $40. Footlong hotdog, fries and a drink? $25. Each. We were down nearly $100 by lunch. No thank you.

Hubby loved the BBQ. I liked it, he loved it. And it made us both sad to say “Buh-bye” to real, Southern style BBQ. So we bit the bullet, bought a smoker, and through much trial and error, duplicated (or improved on) everything we loved from the Fair. Hubby has become a regular pit master, and there’s not much he doesn’t do well on a grill. Prime rib for the holidays? Check. Steaks, chicken, burgers? Child’s play. Roasts, ribs, whole birds? Done and done. Whole smoked turkey for Thanksgiving? Oh, yes.

So wIMAG0926-1-1hen I decided I’d done without that old fair staple of stoked turkey legs long enough, I told hubby so. And sure enough, I got some fresh and beautiful turkey legs from Sprout’s Farmer’s Market. At less than $5 for two, it’s a no-brainer. And with summer right around the corner, and 100° heat coming, it feels like it’s time for summer grillin’. Normally my recipes are pretty involved and detailed, but as this is a hubby recipe, it’s simple, straightforward and easy.

Start with 4 total ingredients: Turkey legs, peanut oil, fresh cracked black pepper and the secret to a smokey, yummy turkey leg…….

 

Gourmet Nut’s Northwest Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt.  I was blown away by the taste and smell of this salt. We have smoked salts, a few actually. None so far blew us away like this one did. Just amazing. Hubby thought we could get away with doing them in the oven. But we didn’t. Rub the oil on the legs, add the pepper and salt, and you’re good to go.

 

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Here’s another secret: Make use of your leftover heat. We have a little Weber Smokey Joe grill that sees a lot of use, since it’s just us two. And hubby uses mostly natural lump coal and real wood chunks and chips. But when you make a quick couple of steaks or burgers, you now have a grill full of heat and flavor…what’s a guy to do? Usually some hot links, or a roast. But today, it was turkey legs. Take your coals pile them up to one side, and put the legs on the other side, for what’s called “indirect cooking”. He threw a handful of hickory chips, covered it up, and we ate dinner. He snuck out a couple of times to turn and rotate for even cooking, but as he was told many years ago when it comes to “low & slow” cooking: “If you lookin’, you ain’t cookin'”.

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Three hours or so later, and voila…Eat your heart out, LA County Fair. You are officially old and busted. Enter the new hotness: Smoked Turkey Legs featuring Gourmet Nut’s Northwest Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt. I’ve now used this sea salt on just about everything, and there’s no dish it hasn’t enhanced. I love the aroma once it hits warm food, it’s intoxicating! One of my favorite finishing salts, by far. If you don’t see it at your local grocery store, be sure to have them special order it or you! You won’t believe how you got by without it!

 

Get in touch with, or find out where to buy Gourmet Nut’s fantastic products by visiting them:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Gourmet Nut.  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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