Thursday, March 05, 2015

Kitchen Supreme Spiralizer #Review

  

Have you thought about getting a spiralizer before? Like the idea of occasionally swapping out carb-loaded traditional pasta noodles with veggie noodles instead? The Kitchen Supreme piral Vegetable Slicer for Healthy Salads and / or Pasta makes it fun and easy to add more veggies (or fruits!) to your meals.



Stop by my Spiralizer Pinterest page for tons of great recipe ideas! I love how creative people get with spiralizers - everything from sweet potato spaghetti to spiralized pear yogurt / granola cups for breakfast. And I definitely want to try the spiralized apple funnel cakes I saw - yumm!

Here are a few direct links to recipes to get you inspired:

I am hoping to post some spiralized recipe made in my own kitchen soon - but until then, I hope you will check out this terrific spiralizer and some of these delicious looking recipes to whet your appetite!

This is a fantastic little set - the cleaning brush works very well, and I love the two different blade options. It's quick and easy to use - you can turn everything from a zucchini to a pear into a spiralized dish in no time!



I tried to do something with the sweet potato you see at the beginning of this post, but it just did not come out the way I wanted, so I will try, try again and get it right soon and then share some yummy spiralized dishes from my kitchen here soon.

Product Information via Amazon:

  • SUPERIOR VALUE for the Complete Spiralizer Bundle: The Kitchen Supreme Spiralizer + Flexible Cleaning Brush + Storage/Protective Bag + Spiral Slicer Recipes Digital Cookbook + Rapid Results Digital Guidebook - 101 Power Tips for a Fitter, Healthier You !
  • VERSATILE: Create NOODLES and JULIENNE SPIRALS from a great variety of vegetables: Carrots, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Squash, Radish, Sweet And Regular Potatoes, and lots others. 2 Julienne Sizes (1/16" x 3/32" and 1/8" x 3/16")
  • RELIABLE: Built from BPA-Free ABS Plastic and Heat-Treated Stainless Steel. Two High Class Japanese Razor Sharp Blades, guaranteed not to rust or loose sharpness qualities in time. Built-In Finger Guard Protection And Safety Cap. | CONVENIENT & USER FRIENDLY: Comes assembled and ready to use ! No Annoying Extra Attachment to set up, that take up your space and time. It's Dishwasher safe and Compact, easily stored in the kitchen drawer. Super-easy to use !
  • THE BEST CHOICE: Best spiral slicer for anyone on a Raw Food / Low Carb / Gluten Free / No Wheat / Paleo / DIET ! A PERFECT GIFT for Moms, Cooks and healthy-conscious people, making their life fun and easy. Most important for parents, it makes vegetables fun and attractive for children. PERFECT GIFT for FAMILY and FRIENDS !
  • HELPS YOU TO: ENJOY YOUR MEALS, even if you are on a DIET (Raw, Vegan, Low Carb, Gluten-Free, No-Wheat, Paleo, etc.), REPLACE HIGH CARB Pasta or Noodles with healthy and colorful veggie ones, Get your picky CHILDREN and FAMILY to EAT plenty of healthy VEGETABLES in disguise, SAVE TIME from slicing, dicing and conventional julienning methods, CRAVE for VEGETABLES ! Your veggies will look mouth-watering and still keep nutrients and minerals alive. Buy with confidence: We have thousands of Happy Customers and over 500 positive reviews!





*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Kitchen Supreme for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


Slow Cooker Chocolate Mousse + Slow Cooker Cookbook #Giveaway!



Slow Cooker Recipes for Beginners is a great recipe resource with 55 easy slow cooker recipes to make, in categories ranging from appetizers (snack mix, wings, meatballs), to soups and stews (Thai Chicken Soup, Cream of Mushroom), meats (meatloaf, ribs, roulade, etc.), sides (wild rice and veggies, mashed potatoes), and desserts (cheesecake, mousse). There is a good vegetarian section as well.

Source: Antares

I found the recipes easy to read and well written. There is a nice variety of "traditional" pantry ingredient recipes to ones that are a little more international in ingredients, spice, and flavor - so something for everyone!

The book is well laid out with a nice, brief introduction to slow-cooking and comprehensive recipe index. Whether you are new to slow cooking or not, this is a great addition to your recipe books!

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free now (or use the 30-day free trial offer Amazon is running).

This chocolate mousse is very easy to make utilizing the crockpot, creamy, chocolaty, creamy, with a hint of coffee flavor. It is perfect with homemade whipped cream and a sprinkle of shaved chocolate. Incredibly rich and satisfying - this would be a very nice and elegant dessert to serve at a dinner party. Whoever you choose to share this with (if you share) - I'm sure it will be enjoyed!

I hope you will enter via the Rafflecopter widget below for a chance to win your own e-copy of this cookbook - and make sure to visit the Giveaways Page and enter to win all of the current giveaways going on now!



Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/3 cup espresso or strong brewed coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped finely

Directions
  1. In a 4-qt slow cooker (it will cook faster in a larger slow cooker) place the heavy cream, yolks, sugar, espresso, and vanilla. Whisk to combine then stir in the chocolate.
  2. Cover and cook on low for two hours, stir at the 90 minute mark to blend in the chocolate pieces.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted and there are little bubbles on top (the mixture should be thickening as well), carefully pour the mixture into a blender. Blend on high until the mixture doubles in size (a few minutes). Pour into individual serving dishes (ramekins, cups, etc.) and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and shaved chocolate if desired.




*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Antares for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own. 



DIY Hand and Foot Scrub Made With Essential Oils


This is a super easy to make scrub that is perfect for dry hands and feet in need of a little TLC.


Combine just half of a cup of fractionated coconut oil with half of a cup of white sugar, then add your favorite essential oils and you will have softer, smoother, nourished skin in no time!


I used a combination of Lavender and Peppermint essential oils from InstaNatural and I used half of the called for FCO (fractionated coconut oil) from Pure Body Naturals and the other half from goPURE as I received both recently and wanted to see if there was much of a difference in their consistency and texture. They both work very nicely in this recipe for scrub - I noticed one was a slightly lighter consistency, but both felt silky smooth on my skin. I did like that the Pure Body Naturals oil came with a squeeze top, to make pouring easier to control.

The InstaNatural essential oils are absolutely lovely. Wonderful smell to the oils, and they work wonderfully in this scrub recipe! I have discovered the peppermint oil is also especially fantastic to rub directly onto sore and tight muscles - I have chronic neck and back tension / pain, and this peppermint oil has really helped me through a rough couple weeks lately.


I like to use ball jars for my homemade scrub mixtures, but you can use whatever container you have on hand. This mixture is on the "wet" side, so you can shake and then pour some onto your hands or feet, or scoop a little out as needed.

DIY Hand and Foot Scrub Made With Essential Oils from DoTerra Blog

Ingredients
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup fractionated coconut oil
10-12 drops of your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend

Directions
  1. Combine ingredients in a resealable container (such as a Ball Jar), stir and / or shake to combine.
  2. Use as needed on hands and feet for smoother, fresher, moisturized great smelling skin!


*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from InstaNaturals, goPure, and Pure Body Naturals for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


Homemade Cinnamon Dolce Coffee



Today I want to share with you a delicious and delightful way to start your day! This is sweet, warmly spiced, and creamy smooth coffee drink that will keep you out of Starbucks and in your kitchen. The cinnamon dolce syrup makes this drink super special, and I highly recommend you keep some of this goodness if your refrigerator at all times!



We used the Francois et Mimi Single Wall Borosilicate Glass French Coffee Press to make our coffee, and it is a gorgeous and wonderful french press to keep in your home. My husband is a huge fan of french presses, they really get the most out of your coffee beans. I love that not only is this beautiful to look at, but it's a nice large size - good for 3 or even 4 people to have a nice sized cup of coffee per use.

I also love that this french press works very well for cold brewed coffee, and you can bet I'll be putting that to the test this summer! I love me some iced caramel lattes! 



The Francois et Mimi Single Wall Borosilicate Glass French Coffee Press has an elegant chrome finish,holds 1500ml, or 50-oz, is dishwasher safe, has a micro-mesh filter, and it works great with coarse-ground coffee or tea leaves! This is a beautiful addition to your kitchen, and having a french press on hand allows you to get the most out of each cup of coffee.




Homemade Cinnamon Dolce Coffee adapted from Farmgirl Gourmet

Ingredients for Cinnamon Dolce Syrup:
1 1/2 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 cup plus 2 TBS brown sugar

To Assemble Beverage:
3 TBS cinnamon dolce syrup
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions 
  1. In a small saucepan, add the water and cinnamon sticks.  Bring to a boil, turn off heat and put a lid on the saucepan.  Let steep 10 minutes.  
  2. Discard cinnamon sticks and add the brown sugar to the cinnamon water mixture.  Return to medium heat and stir gently until the brown sugar is dissolved.  
  3. Remove from stove and allow to cool completely.  Store in a sealed jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Assembling the beverage:
  1. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon dolce syrup into 2 mugs.     
  2. Add 1/2 cup strong coffee along with 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream to each of the mugs and stir.  
  3. Optional: top with freshly made whipped cream and a dash of ground cinnamon for a beautiful and delicious finishing touch. 
  4. Serve immediately.


*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Francois et Mimi for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

A Good Way To End the Day and a Wine Opener Set #Giveaway!

What is the perfect end to your day? When I close my eyes and imagine an end to the day that brings me a smile, I imagine quiet... a sleeping baby, dogs drowsy on their pillows (as opposed to barking at a squirrel outside), our little electric fireplace emitting soft flickering light and warmth, lights off, snuggled up on the comfy couch and a lovely, aromatic glass of wine in my hand... ahh... that is a nice way to end the day!



I received a couple different products that all work just beautifully together to create the perfect end to the day for me - and my hubby too! Kenneth is not a big smoker, but he sure does appreciate a nice cigar every now and then, and there really is something about the smell of (good) cigar smoke on a man... it's comforting, and sexy too.


After getting our currently teething (read: cranky, snotty, and tired) 17 month old to bed, we enjoyed a delicious steak dinner, opened up a good bottle of wine, and sat on the porch together - I sipped my wine, and Kenneth enjoyed his cigar. That is definitely a great way to end the day in my book!


I have the opportunity to give one of these fantastic wine opener sets away to a reader - so make sure to use the rafflecopter widget below to enter for your own! The set includes not only a very nice corkscrew, but a magnet (pictured above), and a stopper as well. This is the perfect gift set for any of the wine lovers in your life, or treat yourself! The Amazon link is below.


Wine Opener Set Product Information:

Unique wine opener set contains a corkscrew, vacuum stopper and a souvenir fridge magnet.
The corkscrew utilizes a winged lever system to remove stubborn corks easily with little effort. However, unlike virtually all other winged corkscrews on the market which are flimsy and weak, the contained corkscrew is precision engineered and machined from stainless steel and zinc alloy. The construction is durable and tight, and is designed for the serious user with a long life.
Unlike cheaper wine stoppers which simply seal the bottle opening, the included wine stopper is premium grade and contains a revolutionary vacuum seal. The stopper simultaneously seals the bottle whilst extracting air, creating a vacuum which keeps your wine perfectly fresh for up to 10 days after opening.
It's a perfect gift for wine-lovers.

Find Cozy Bungalow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cozybungalow
Find Cozy Bungalow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CozyBungalow
Cozy Bungalow website: http://www.cozybungalow.com/
 


Edgy Wine Foil Cutter Product Information:

The EDGY Wine foil cutter features a sleek ergonomic design, making your quarter-turn of your wrist effortless. Whether enjoying wine alone, hosting a wine tasting party, or doing wine shots with your college buddies, The EDGY Wine foil cutter has your back. If you're someone who loves wine gadgets, or you're looking for wine wedding favors with an edge, we're always ready to take your top off - the wine bottle.

Now for those of you seeking a more intimate experience with your EDGY Wine foil cutter, our deep, dark red color can take any romantic, candlelit dinner to the next level. Although we cannot guarantee what happens when you take your top off, we promise you that the wine foil will be the easiest thing you took off all night.


Find Edgy Wine on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/edgywine
Find Edgy Wine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EdgyWine


Sucker Punch Cigar Product Information:

Sucker Punch cigars boast a full-flavored blend that hits you with a wallop of robust flavor when you least expect it. Seamlessly rolled in a silky Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that caps a Nicaraguan ligero core and a Cameroon binder, the smoke is well-balanced and complex enough to keep you guessing what's coming next. That's the beauty of Sucker Punch...they HURT SO GOOD! Exceedingly affordable. Enjoy this knockout of a cigar that'll--WACK!!! Purchase Punch Cigars Here.

Find Famous Smoke Shop on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FamousSmokeShop
Find Famous Smoke Shop on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamousSmokeShop
Famous Smoke Shop website: http://www.famous-smoke.com/



*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Edgy Wine, Famous Smoke Shop, and Cozy Bungalow for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.


Gestational Surrogacy ~ Cycling Schedule Received!

I am so excited!! We have a cycle schedule!!

I've been on lupron since February 19th, and here is the schedule I'm on, and my updated protocol I just received.

  • You will begin birth control pills today and take it until 2/26/15.
  • You will begin taking Lupron 10 units on 2/19/15
  • You will overlap Lupron and birth control pills for 1 week from 2/19/15 to 2/26/15.
  • You last birth control pill will be on 2/26/15
  • You should expect start a period within 1 weeks. Call RBA with Day of cycle 1. (Day of cycle 1 is when you start full flow. Spotting does not count). We will schedule embryo thaw when you call with your period. We will also give you a second protocol at that time.
  • DO NOT STOP LUPRON UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO DO SO.
2nd Protocol:
  • You are going to continue taking Lupron 10 units daily until 3/7/15.
  • You will decrease the Lupron dose to 5 units on 3/8/15 and continue until directed to stop.
  • You are going to start Estrace 2mg ½ tablet twice daily and Baby Aspirin (anytime) on 3/8/15 and then follow the protocol.
  • You will need an ultrasound to check your endometrial lining on one 3/18/15
  • Please review your medications to be sure that you have all the medications on your protocol.
  • Your embryo transfer will be on 3/27/15.
  • You first pregnancy test will be on 4/6/15.
YAY!! So exciting!! Estrogen starts in just 4 more days, and then our first lining check is just 2 weeks from today! Once you get to the point of starting actual cycle meds, things always move so quickly - so much hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, and then bam! It's the big day before you know it! At this point all I can do is hope and pray my lining cooperates and that things look like they're supposed to on the 18th and then count down the days to transfer. I have had some weird flashes / dreams of delivering a healthy baby boy for my IPs the past few days, so am feeling hopeful and positive for this cycle. (And I admit, having only carried one boy out of the six children I've carried and birthed I'm kind of hoping to carry a boy again - just to see if the pregnancy is different from my others and similar to my very first at all!)

Fingers and toes crossed, and positive thoughts heading out - ready to start estrogen and start balancing my hormones out again; I've been having lupron headaches ever since I stopped the birth control pills, so I'm ready for those to be on their way out again.



#FoodieExtravaganza ~ Reese's Cheesecake Brownies


Welcome to another month of #FoodieExtravaganza! This month we are highlighting the ingredient: PEANUTS and our host is the lovely Alexis from We Like To Learn As We Go! I love all things peanuts - peanut butter in particular. I think I almost ate my weight in PB and J sandwiches when I was pregnant with the twins (ok, not quite that much - but a half sandwich was often my "go-to" bedtime snack along with a small glass of milk, and I never got tired of them!) If you would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to the Facebook page to join.  We would love to have you!

When I learned we were cooking with peanuts this month, I did a quick Pinterest search for inspiration and these amazing looking and sounding Reese's Cheesecake Brownies hit my radar. I was sold. I have had this recipe saved in a draft for nearly a month, begging to be created!


It has been an exceptionally crazy month - we sold our house in Hiram just last Friday and Atlanta has had some ice and snow over the past couple weeks and between those two things our past couple weeks have been a little hectic and crazy. We still had Kenneth's old project trucks at the Hiram house up until about two weeks ago, and then with the bad weather we were limited on which days we could get out to the house to finish clearing out the basement. The rest of the house has been ready for months now, but we had to get Kenneth's F-150 towed to the scrapyard, replace the battery in the Bronco, load up the last couple loads of miscellaneous tools, lumber, and car parts from the garage and get it to the new house. In two days Kenneth almost single handedly accomplished all of that. I was pretty impressed, I must say. His Dad very kindly came out and helped on the very last day of work, and helped get the final load of "stuff" into the trucks, helped Kenneth get the Bronco started, and followed him home to make sure he made it safely (since it's been a LONG time since the Bronco has been driven - it's been up on jack stands getting worked on probably for over a year at this point!)


Ok, I am digressing... a lot. You want to see creamy, peanut butter, chocolaty goodness! And this recipe absolutely delivers all of that and more. I used my new favorite kitchen tool to blend the brownie batter together. The brownie batter gets a generous helping of chopped mini Reese's and then poured into a 9x13 pan lined with Reynold's nonstick foil. The peanut butter cheesecake layer is whipped until light and fluffy, and gently spread over the brownie batter. This beautiful concoction is baked for 35 - 40 minutes, until set, then refrigerated for an hour until cooled through.


A generous layer of melted chocolate is smoothed over the baked cheesecake and more delicious morsels of mini Reese's are distributed over the warm chocolate - then back to the refrigerator to chill just one last time so the chocolate layer can set up.

These are VERY rich - make sure you have a glass of cold milk to wash them down, and cut the pieces small. They are SERIOUS chocolate fix deliciousness! The brownie layer is very rich and fudgy, the cream cheese layer is creamy and peanut buttery - and this is an amazing combination of the two flavors and lots of textures that complement each other for an incredible sweet tooth fix. These were a huge, huge hit in my house - my husband and son were practically swooning. They each downed 2 (fairly large) pieces the very first night we cut into these, which is always a sure sign of praise and approval from my recipe critics! Of course, I guessed these would be a big hit with them both since they are both huge Reese's lovers and fanatics - it's an oversized, soft, creamier, fudgier version of a Reese's, how could I go wrong?!


We have a great variety of yummy recipes from main dishes to desserts to share with you.

Here are 11 delicious Peanut Recipes!
Enjoy!

Reese's Cheesecake Brownies from The Recipe Critic

Ingredients

Brownie layer:
¾ cup butter
6-oz dark chocolate, chopped
1½ cups sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 ½ tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 (12-oz) bag mini Reese's peanut butter cups, divided and chopped into fourths

For the peanut butter cheesecake layer:
8-oz block cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 egg
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter

For the chocolate layer on top:
1 (12-oz) bag milk chocolate chips
Optional: stir in a TBS of peanut butter to the chocolate chips

Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13" pan with Reynold's nonstick foil for easy removal of the bars. Chop your Reese's peanut butter cups in half, then divide the Reese's into 2 piles.
  2. In a medium sized nonstick pot, melt the ¾ cup of butter with the chopped dark chocolate. Stirring constantly until the chocolate has melted, keep the heat to medium-low so you don't burn the chocolate. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk the sugar and brown sugar into the butter / chocolate mixture. Whisk in the vanilla and 3 eggs, when those are incorporated, whisk in the flour. Gently stir in half of the chopped mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Spread the brownie batter in the prepped 9x13" pan.
Cheesecake Layer:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the cream cheese and softened butter for about 2 minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg, sugar, salt, and vanilla and continue to blend on high for about 2 more minutes. Finally, add in the peanut butter and blend on high for 2 more minutes (scrape down the sides as needed - mixture should be smooth and fluffy).
  2. Gently spread the cream cheese layer over the brownie layer until it is smooth and completely covers the brownie layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the top and edges are lightly golden brown and the center is set.
Finishing:
  1. Allow the bars to completely cool (I let mine sit out on a wire rack for about an hour) and then refrigerate for at least an hour before proceeding with the final chocolate layer. 
  2. To make the chocolate layer: In a medium nonstick pot over medium-low heat melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly with a spatula (if you want even more of a peanut buttery taste, add a TBS of peanut butter to the chocolate chips while melting).  When the chips have melted and are smooth, quickly and carefully smooth the melted chocolate evenly over the top of the cooled cheesecake layer, spreading evenly until it covers the entire pan.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining chopped mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on top of the chocolate while it's still wet. Return the bars to the refrigerator until the chocolate is set. Cut into squares and serve.
  4. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.