Easy Peasy Spuds

I tried a product last night that I received complimentary for testing purposes.  The product is made by Idahoan at http://idahoan.com/product-category/idahoan-signature-russets/

Instant potatoes are usually not very tasty but I have to say, these are very different and very delicious.  These fluffed up nicely. I added butter and a pinch of salt and they were as good as if I had peeled them and made them from scratch.   The family loved them and asked me to purchase some on our next grocery shopping trip.  So, we have a winner!img_4241

#ItsYourThing SlimFast

Recently, I received this box of goodies from @SlimFast and @Influenster.  I have to say, most products promoting weight loss taste really bad.  I was happy to try #ItsYourThing campaign though.  Surprise to me!  I really have loved everything!  While I have always liked the shakes, they are now improved with more protein and very little sugar.

The sour cream and onion chips were so tasty!  This will make an excellent swap out for potato chips lovers.  They are crisp and crunchy and you will love them.  The same is true for the sweeter version chips/crisps.  I also ate the protein bar as a meal replacement.  It was excellent and filled me up just fine.  So, the verdict is…all systems GO for trying these new weight loss products!

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Ponds Rejuveness

I recently received Ponds Rejuveness cream to complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  I am always a bit skeptical with everything because I have skin sensitivities.  I have been using this product twice daily for about 3 weeks now.  After about 10 days, I started to notice improvement with the fine lines under my eyes and on my forehead.  I have continued to use it and it seems to be improving even more each day.  I highly recommend that you give it a try.  If you have sensitive skin, this one might work for you too!11203534_10206350555943647_6264884371196124313_o

Thank You @Ponds and @Influenster #seeforyourself #contest

Gluten Free Can Be Amazing!

Bloomfield Farms Gluten Free Mixes

Bloomfield Farms Gluten Free Mixes

A little over two years ago, my family made a decision to eat a gluten-free diet. Our daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and was having an extremely difficult time adjusting to the medications. After a lot of research, it seemed worth a try to assist her in healing by adjusting her diet. This included eliminating several foods, one of which, is wheat gluten.

It may seem like an easy task to accomplish but we discovered it is so much more difficult then one can imagine. Wheat gluten is an additive in so many everyday foods that you may purchase in the grocery store or at a restaurant. Even simple items like french fries, soy sauce, breakfast cereals contain wheat gluten. So, the mission before us was two-fold, we had to check labels and ingredients on everything purchased and we had to find workable alternatives to use in recipes for cooking and baking.

Checking ingredient lists and menu options in restaurants is a never ending task. The safest way to eat in restaurants is to select green salad options and grilled meats. The home baking and cooking, however, became very challenging quickly. There are quite a few packaged options for breads, cookies, cake, pancakes, biscuits, cereal, muffins, and pizza crust on the market shelves. The problem with many of those items for us was that they tasted very bland, dry, gritty and just plain awful!!! They are also pricey and the packages contain less amount of product. I was a bit vocal about my frustration and a local friend sent me an email about Bloomfield Farms.

I quickly found the All Purpose Baking Mix in my local Kroger. I tried it out making pancakes (which were very good), cookies (chocolate chip was relish), and a yellow cake
(which I made into a strawberry poke cake…where you poke holes in the baked cake and pour in jello). All of these baked goods were very good and you could not tell they were gluten free. This made me very curious about other Bloomfield Farms offerings.

A quick visit to their website and I discovered many gluten free products. I could not wait to place an order and try out more products. On my first order, I purchased a muffin mix, pizza crust, bread mix and pancake and waffle mix.

Pictured above is the Muffin Mix. First of all, the mix will make one dozen muffins. That is twice as many as any other mix I have tried. The mix comes plain and we wanted to test out a variety, so I added frozen blueberries, peanut butter and chocolate chips, chocolate chips, and finally cocoa and chocolate chips. I also added a little applesauce to the ones I added cocoa powder to. This was to add moisture and some needed sweetness. Each and every flavor is wonderful! My favorite is the blueberry and my daughter’s favorite is the peanut butter chocolate chip.

If you are already gluten free or just want to try out gluten free, go to http://www.thebloomfieldfarms.com and place your order. You can probably find the All Purpose Baking Mix and possibly the Brownie Mix in your local Kroger. I have requested to have more Bloomfield Farms items in my local store but for now, I have to order online. We are looking forward to trying out the other three mixes and I will certainly be letting you know how they taste! I love the convenience of purchased mixes and I am optimistic that the other mixes will by just as fantastic as those I have already tried. Happy Gluten Free eating!

This is an independent product review. I am not affiliated with or compensated by Bloomfield Farms. I just love their products!

The Dessert Buffet That Rocks!

Buckeyes, Snowman Red Velvet Cake Pops, Brownie Bites and No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Buckeyes, Snowman Red Velvet Cake Pops, Brownie Bites and No Bake Oatmeal Cookies

When taking on the job of creating, shopping for, making, packaging and setting up a dessert buffet, beware as it is a very tiring job for one person. This special holiday themed buffet was created to feed 150 people. I absolutely love baking and candy making but I do not really love time constraints and multiple batches of the same treat just to have enough. Since I said “yes”, I had to make certain that each and every selection was as close to perfection as I could make it.
The key is pre-planning and shopping first. I made a list of all needed ingredients then shopped holiday sales for chocolate, candy melts and any baking ingredients that might be on special at the grocery store. Staples like butter, sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, cream cheese were all on special when purchased. I then purchased mini baking cups, and candy papers/wrappers, sticks for cake pops and any sugar decorations that I was out of in my supplies to use on cake pop designs.
Once supplies were purchased, I started making items that could be frozen or refrigerated ahead of time. Some of those things are cake pops, chocolate dipped candies like buckeyes, vanilla creams,etc..) Then, I just systematically made several things every day up until two days prior to the event when more perishable foods could be prepared. Foods in this category are cupcakes and cookies.

Mexican Wedding Cookies, Banana Bread, Chocolate Covered Oreos, Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies, Banana Bread, Chocolate Covered Oreos, Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies


The photos I have shared are approximately half of the items on the buffet. It was a long two weeks and countless hours of prep but I feel that it was well worth the effort to complete the job without cutting corners on ingredients or time to make everything look great. The report back to me was that everyone loved the treats. So, will I do another dessert buffet? Right now, I would say I am too tired but ask me in a year and I might say “yes”!

Chocolate Covered Oreos, Santa Sugar Cookies, Christmas Mouse Sugar Cookies,

Chocolate Covered Oreos, Santa Sugar Cookies, Christmas Mouse Sugar Cookies,

Vanilla Cream Candy, Buckeyes, Fudge Truffles, English Crispies

Vanilla Cream Candy, Buckeyes, Fudge Truffles, English Crispies

Summer Is Over….Someone Tell the Tomatoes!

I just came in from our deck. It’s very cold and rainy today. As I looked over the edge of the deck to find our dog, I saw tons of green tomatoes and plants filled with blooms. The plants look as though they are thriving better than ever. I know about six plants are well over 6 ft tall from the ground to the top of the deck railing. They are hanging over and just loaded with fruit. You may be wondering why I am talking about tomatoes like it matters. Well, it does matter!
We have never had a successful garden before. This year was a first! We planted all the easy to grow seeds and lots of herbs. We have had buckets of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, yellow squash and zucchini. Today, on Oct 16, 2014, we still have buckets of tomatoes, bell peppers and flat leaf parsley growing. Sometimes, we just need to put the seed or seedling into the dirt and trust God to do the rest. He always blesses abundantly.
Tim had his annual tests and results this week. This is always a time for holding your breathe until you get the “all clear” that there are no signs of cancer. Once again, we are fortunate and blessed as “no signs of cancer” is now at the three years mark. Our trust is in God to provide us with that freedom that it is “gone for good”! Two more years to be at that mark….kind of like anticipating those seeds we planted to grow and be fruitful. We just don’t have to worry about it. You put it in the ground in May and here it is Oct and with abundance they are producing and we put our faith in the God that heals. He led us to an amazing doctor who took out the cancer and now we are blessed with the abundance of peace in knowing that healing is present. We don’t have to worry. For all these things, we are thankful.