Saturday, September 20, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate: Cheesy Bean Dip

Welcome to #10DaysofTailgate! A group of enthusiastic bloggers are joining together to give you 10 straight days packed full of delectable and delicious ideas for your tailgating adventures this football season.

Today I am sharing this creamy Cheesy Bean Dip - a classic dip dish to serve at any tailgate or football viewing assembly. Just a few staple ingredients which come together for a rich and creamy dip that works wonderfully as a chip accompaniment as well as an addition to tacos and burritos! We enjoyed this dish both ways!

Don't forget to link over to the Give Away post here! You will find FOURTEEN fantastic prizes from our amazing sponsors - make sure to enter!

Cheesy Bean Dip adapted from Lil' Luna

1 16-oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4-oz (half a brick) cream cheese (softened)
scant 1/4 cup taco seasoning (or 1 package)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/4 cup salsa

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In an 8x8 baking dish pour the kidney beans in, mash lightly with a potato masher or fork. Add in the cream cheese, taco seasoning, sour cream, salsa, and about 1/2 cup of the cheese. Stir until evenly blended.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese has melted.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips or as a spread for tacos and burritos.

And here's what the rest of the fantastic #10DaysofTailgate team brought to the table...

Loaded Baked Nacho Supreme by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Baked Blueberry Pork Egg Rolls by The Pajama Chef
Gazpacho Shooters with Spicy Shrimp by On The Move-In the Galley
Soft Pretzels and Buffalo Cheese Dip by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Cheesy Bean Dip by Making Miracles
Garden Fresh Salsa by Eliot’s Eats
Pineapple Salsa by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Devilish 7-Layer Dip by Miss Laura’s Kitchen
War Eagle Sangria by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Iowa Sunrise by From Gate to Plate

Deviled Egg Potato Salad by Cooking In Stilettos

El Diablo’d Lamb Lollipops by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Ginger Chicken Kabobs by Summer Scraps
Chili by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Baked Mac and Cheese  with Bacon Pretzel Topping by Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
Asian Duck Sliders  by Curious Cuisiniere
Pineapple Chile Lime Wings by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches by Love and Confections

Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies by The Spiffy Cookie

Friday, September 19, 2014

#10DaysofTailgate - Get Excited, It's Kick Off Time!! GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to #10DaysofTailgate! We have nearly two dozen bloggers with over one hundred recipes scheduled to inspire you through an entire tailgating season. Think chicken wings, burgers, skewers, sweet nibbles, dips, and cocktails. The event runs September 20th through September 30th. Just remember: your fork does not go into your monitor - no matter how much you might want to taste some of these dishes through the screen. Okay? Get ready, get set...

Go! Let's start with a huge - HUGE! - thank you to our event sponsors who have graciously donated prizes for our readers. These sponsors have contributed great prizes for a gigantic giveaway. We have incredible prizes for this event. There are fourteen different prize packages which are detailed in the rafflecopter. The rafflecopter is below and will go live on September 20th. Please check back if you're reading this before our kick-off - and I will of course link you back here to this giveaway rafflecopter in my upcoming posts throughout the event!

Our #10DaysofTailgate Sponsors
in alphabetical order with links to their homepages

Our #10DaysofTailgate Bloggers
And...THE giveaway!
Terms and Conditions
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment with What's your favorite tailgate dish? Many more ways to enter in the Rafflecopter widget [below].
This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only, age 18 and older. The #10DaysofTailgate 2014 giveaway runs from Saturday, September 20, 2014 12:00am PT through Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 6:00pm PT. Winners will be randomly chosen and announced on October 1, 2014. Winners will also be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond to the email. If a winner does not respond in that time a new winner will be chosen. For more information, see the full terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget.

Disclaimer: Our generous sponsors are providing the prizes free of charge.  Participating bloggers may have received product related to these brands to use for #10DaysofTailgate. All opinions stated are their own.

Scroll through our fourteen prize packages!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday baby girl...

Our baby girl turns 1 year old today. Where has the time gone? We did 1st birthday pictures at Emory University and I was pretty happy with how they came out. I wanted to get a few more specific shots that I wasn't able to because it was so hot, Lindsey was getting flushed and overheated so we had to call it quits and went and had a nice lunch at Panera Bread and let everyone cool down for awhile. She had a good time exploring and walking around. I just can't believe it's already been a full year since she was born! Such an amazing year of milestones and moments to treasure and tuck away into my memories. I am so blessed that I can call Lindsey my girl, that I was chosen to be her mommy. She brings me so much joy, and fills my heart with love and laughter. It has been such a different experience having Lindsey so many years after her brother. He has taught me to value each and every precious moment, as I fully realize just how quickly the years pass by. So crying, fussing, smacking, smiles, laughter, and kisses - I soak each moment up and am grateful for them all. It is a joy to watch this little girl become her own person with her own strong will, smart, sassy, independent, but affectionate and so loving and happy too.

12 months old and you are my light little one. I am so thankful for you!

Lindsey's fun facts:
  • Sleeping is going GREAT. Except for the rare exception when teething or sickness interrupts, Lindsey goes to bed around 6:30 pm and gets up between 6 - 6:30 am the next morning.
  • Walking is going wonderfully. Lindsey has been walking well since 11 months and gets steadier and stronger each day. We still call her "drunk baby" when she is very tired (first thing in the morning and before bedtime) when she is much less stable and tends to weeble wobble and fall more often.
  • Strong willed, sassy, and smart. She is very observant and watches how things are done and tries to copy. She likes to let me put food on a spoon and then put it in her mouth (when she's in the right mood - otherwise the spoon is just good for banging on her tray). She has figured out how to put rings off and on the stacker quickly and uses the little wood mallet for her pounding bench well.
  • Eats well most of the time - usually loves most everything we give her to try and she prefers to feed herself. She loves broccoli cheesy rice, and I love that she'll eat her broccoli!
  • She had a blast with her chocolate and banana pudding cupcakes at her birthday party!
  • She is wearing size 18 months, and many of the pants are still a little long on her so I think we should get through the next 3 months in this size (at least - fingers crossed).
  • Her 12 month check up is coming up in a couple weeks, but at the doctor's office a couple days ago for a sick appointment she weighed 22lbs 6oz.
  • She has started to pet the puppies more gently and we are very glad (so are they)!
  • When she gets upset and mad she tends to smack (whacky baby) but then often pets gently or gives a kiss when she knows she shouldn't have done that.
  • We're still using bottles and haven't made the switch to sippy cups yet.
  • We're still using Stage 2 formula and will ask about transitioning to regular milk at her check up.
  • Lindsey's favorite toys usually involve music - her baby Einstein take along tunes is probably number one right now. She loves her new rubber fruits / veggies and little kitchen she just got for her birthday too, and her ball pit!
  • Bedtime involves bath (which she still loves) where she plays with lots of toys (rubber duckies, squirters, and foam numbers and letters), then nighttime diaper, lavender lotion, and pajamas (this usually involves a lot of fussing, because she doesn't want to go to bed!!). Then we sit in her rocking chair and read about 3 books while she drinks her night bottle. Lights go off, noise machine and night light turtle on. We'll keep rocking until she's done with her bottle or she gets squirmy. Then into bed with her glow seahorse and she usually slips off pretty quietly within 5 - 10 minutes listening to her seahorse.
The "ONE" poster I made for Lindsey's birthday party.

Size comparison - Lindsey's newborn onesie she came home from the hospital in, and her 18 month sized onesie she wore at her party!

#10DaysofTailgate - Introducing El Diablo Hot & Spicy Mustard, ThermoWorks, FireWire, and Mr. Bar-B-Q!

This one is jam packed full of goodies in preparation for the #10DaysofTailgate - coming up September 20th - 30th (make sure you come back on September 19th for the Kick-Off post with all the fantastic giveaway details!)

In the past few days the post office has been busy with deliveries to my house and I am one excited and happy blogger!!

Look at these goodies that I get to work with for #10DaysofTailgate!

El Diablo Hot and Spicy Mustard - visit their website here, or Facebook here. I was excited when this package showed up - the box these were packaged in was incredibly cool; look at it - don't you want to dig in?

I received a 3-pack sampler of mustards, ranging from medium to hot - flavors include:
Smokey Chipotle, Mango, and Habanero (HOT)!

El Diablo's slogan is "The Mustard That Bites Back"! So be prepared for some HOT FLAVOR with these fantastic condiments!

Next, I'm excited to introduce you to FireWire, maker of flexible grilling skewers. Or grilling genius as I like to think of it. See a post Camilla wrote about using these amazing skewers here. Visit FireWire at their website here, or on Facebook here.

The next product I am itching to try out is a grilling skillet from Mr. Bar-B-Q (look at all of the baskets they have available!). Visit them at their website here or on Facebook here. These are amazing tools - they really open up the way you can use your grill to cook meat and vegetables. I already know EXACTLY how I'm going to use this terrific grilling tool and can't wait to share it with you!

And last, but certainly not least, for today I am introducing you to ThermoWorks - they are the makers of thermometers, timers, and more. Check out the ThermoPop that we get to test out. (My hubby was particularly excited about this product - I can see visions of perfectly cooked burgers and steaks dancing in his head already)! Visit ThermoWorks on their website or Facebook!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

These are so YUMMY! They are quick and easy, and a great little treat to store in the fridge or freezer when you just want a little something sweet. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate goes perfectly together, and the flaxseed meal makes these healthy - right?! The original recipe called for AP flour, but I didn't feel comfortable using raw flour in this dough ball recipe so I swapped flaxseed meal and thought it worked really well! I might even give a little taste to my 1 year old and see what she thinks - though I'm pretty sure I already know she'll love it as much as everyone else in the house did!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls slightly adapted from Life on Food

Makes: 8-10 balls

3 tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup quick oats
3 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, peanut butter and brown and white sugars. Cream on high speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. 
  2. Add in the salt and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. Gradually add in the flaxseed meal and quick oats on low speed, mix just until combined. 
  4. With a spatula or large spoon, incorporate the mini chocolate chips by hand.
  5. You can put the dough into the refrigerator and allow to chill slightly to make the balls a little easier to create, or go ahead and shape the cookie dough balls and then refrigerate or freeze.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Man Crates - Summer Cookout Essentials

Check out Man Crates on Facebook, or at their website here.

The Man Crates Manifesto:
We say 'no' to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets. We don't save wrapping paper, we don't do ribbons.
We ship bragworthy gifts for guys. Gifts that you can't wait to arrive because you know the recipient will love opening them.
Gifts that people gather round at the office, people following the sounds of wood being torn from wood by the included, laser-engraved crowbar.
We are Man Crates, and we deliver awesome gifts for men.

There are several categories across the top to browse through - from Carnivore, Survivalist, Beer Lover, Snack Enthusiast, Gamer, to Athlete! There is a little something for everyone at Man Crates - my son would probably flip for the Zombie Annihilation Crate or The Bacon Crate...! They have a Grill Master Crate featuring a cast-iron smoker box with wood chips, steak thermometers, brass-knuckle meat tenderizer, and Bone Doctor's BBQ sauces. Sounds like a pretty amazing combination!

Now - tell me, if you could pick your top 5 or so FAVORITES for a summer cookout, what would they be? What are the essentials? I had a bunch of thoughts run through my head when I first was asked to pick my top 4 - 5 must haves. A cookout is more than just grilling - it's about the whole package; the food (of course), the atmosphere and mood, the family and friends, the laughter, and the good times.

I came up with the finalists below.

This fantastic camp loveseat chair (we have one from REI that we love!).

Stansport Apex Double Arm Chair
From Staples

A drink tub - or cooler.
From Target: Artland Oasis Copper Oval Party Tub

S'MORES. 'Nuff said.

Love these telescoping grill fork / skewers.

Fantastic Grilling Gadgets.
Flexible Fire Wire - Grilling Genius (made by FireWire)
I think a fire pit is pretty fantastic as well, an "Off" candle to keep the mosquitos away can come in super handy, a fun bottle opener is well loved and appreciated, and some good heavy duty grilling "weapons" (aka grill brush, tongs, and a spatula) are also going to come in very handy for your next Summer Cook Out. Oh yes. Don't forget a big 'ol juicy watermelon. It's a requirement.

Lindsey says - MORE WATERMELON!!

I could go on, and on, and on... as I love entertaining, love grilling, and love summer time!