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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Date Night - Steve's Pizza


This past Friday, my parents offered to take the kiddos for the night.. um, yes - please - thank you! I love my boys to pieces, but it is nice to have a night off once in awhile. So we took them to Grandma and Papa's house, said our good-byes and  sped off in a flurry decided on dinner. It was easy - pizza, some good pizza with quality toppings.

One of our New Years Resolutions was to not eat out this year. but that went out the window on Valentine's Day when we decided to get our favorite Chinese take-out instead of cooking. No regrets, I promise. Even the kiddos loved it! The 2nd time was a day full of errands and we decided to have a lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant - again, no regrets. It was delicious and the kiddos loved it as well. So this was the 3rd time "breaking" our resolution, and you could probably guess - no regrets. :)

What's wrong with eating out once a month?


Mr. Hungry Harp mentioned Steve's Pizza and it sounded perfect! We ordered a pitcher of Pyramid Outburst (an awesome IPA), Cheesy Breadsticks and a "The Steve" pizza. It was SO delicious, the crust and ingredients are both wonderful.

I miss my kiddos when they are not around - but it was SO nice to spend some time, 1-on-1, with my awesome hubby. Parents everywhere - have a date night once a month!! Even if you have to wait until the kids are in bed and it's simply snuggling up on the couch together and watching a movie while drinking a cheap bottle of wine. Take the time for yourselves, you will feel so refreshed! I do, and I am ready to get back in the kitchen. :)


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Movie Night & Potato Chip Chocolate-Chip Cookies #MoeSnackrs4UrMoney


We recently hosted a The Three Stooges-Movie Night, complete with our very own "Speedy Service Drive-In". The "Speedy Service Drive-In" was featured in the episode, Get That Snack Shack Off The Track, and I thought it made the perfect addition to our evening.

You may be wondering, how would she know random Three Stooges trivia like that? haha, Well... I am quite familiar with The Three Stooges for one reason - my Dad's name is Larry, which caused him to be the recipient of endless Three Stooges gag gifts over the years. We always had a plethora of The Three Stooges on VHS...

And now my kids can remember us having them on DVD... :)


To fill up our concession stand we headed to Smart & Final for their Snack'rs products. There are 2 reasons that I am sold on the Snack'rs brand, 1) most of the bags are resealable and 2)their outstanding quality that is backed by a guarantee. We had previously tried Snack'rs Pumpkin Seeds and Trail Mixes and thought they were really good - so we wanted to check out what other products they carried.

There were A LOT of items to choose from, but we finally came away with Roasted & Salted Pumpkin Seeds, Yogurt Covered Pretzels, Banana Chips, Waffle Pretzels, Pine Nuts, Wavy Potato Chips and Honey Roasted Peanuts (not pictured below).

Photobucket

How about those Potato Chip Chocolate-Chip Cookies? Let me share...


These cookies are the perfect dessert for someone who likes the combination of sweet and salty!

Potato Chip Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Yields 4 dozen
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups crushed Snack’rs Wavy Potato Chips
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Combine flour and baking soda, set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, until mixture is smooth.
5. Slowly add flour to wet mixture until fully combined.
6. Fold in Snack’rs Wavy Potato Chips and chocolate chips.
7. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet, 2” apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Allow to cool before enjoying.


Smart & Final is currently running a promotion with their Snack'rs products; if you purchase two participating Snack'rs items you will be given a code on your receipt that can be redeemed for a FREE movie ticket!

Here are all the Snack'rs products from our local Smart & Final - there is still so much to try!


Our movie night was a hit - filled with laughter and good snacks. It was also fun introducing our kiddos to The Three Stooges movies, our toddler thought they were so silly.

Tip: If serving nuts for a group, small cupcake liners make the perfect small dishes for easy serving.

And last, but certainly not least... Little Brother got to try his first Red Vine (also found at Smart & Final), he loved it!! I can't wait for our next movie night. :)

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias #CBias

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Springing into the Season with #TCBYGrocery


That is right, your eyes are not deceiving you - TCBY is now sold at grocery stores! 

This is a big deal for people like me who LOVE frozen yogurt but never seem to make it in to a yogurt shop. When I first heard that TCBY yogurt was going to be hitting stores I fell out of my chair started planning a Yogurt Tasting Party and a countdown of when it would be released in a store near me... then I waited.

As soon as the day arrived, we headed to Walmart to find the TCBY products.  We found 1.5 Quarts, 1 Pints & Yogurt Novelties and decided to get a couple several of each. Check out our shopping trip on Google+.

Here is what we ended up bringing home...

1.5 Quart:
Strawberry Swirl, Supreme Cookies & Creme, Classic Vanilla Bean, English Toffee Crunch

1 Pint:
Tropical Mango Peach, Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate

Yogurt Novelties:
Orange & Vanilla Bars, Classic Vanilla Sandwiches, Strawberry Swirl Bars, Chocolate Fudge Bars

I was ready to start trying them when we got out to the car - but I resisted. ;)

Not only does Mr. Hungry Harp go to the store with me to buy insane amounts of frozen yogurt, he also makes signs for all of our little get-togethers. I really love that guy!


Here is our finished yogurt bar...


The toppings. A little something for everybody...


Our Spring-themed beverage station! The drinks were put in $5 planters we found at Wal-Mart. Just add ice - but don't forget to drain...


Guests had a variety of drinks to choose from and festive straws!


Here are some of our beautiful creations! It was so much fun to have our own little yogurt bar set up at home - we were all like kids in a candy store. :)


If you want to learn more about TCBY at your local grocery store check them out on Facebook or Twitter.


Ok, ok - the verdict. I have to be honest - it knocked my socks off. I was a bit skeptical on how good frozen yogurt could be when it is not coming fresh out of a machine, but it tastes just as good. I swear. The kiddos loved the bars and sandwiches and the adults stuck to making their own bowls of yogurt. The top flavors? Hands-down, English Toffee Crunch was the favorite. All of the flavors were phenomenal - yes, phenomenal. I rarely praise a product this much - but this time it was amazing. Check it out!!


This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions are my own. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chocolate-Guinness Cupcakes


One of the goodies we served for St. Patrick's Day this year were Chocolate-Guinness Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. They were so delicious and pretty darn easy to make.

The cupcakes were made from scratch – the frosting was not. Sometimes it’s just easier to use the stuff in the jar…

Chocolate-Guinness Cupcakes
adapted from Dave Lieberman @ Food Network
Ingredients
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine salt
1 bottle Guinness
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in muffin pan
2. Whisk together cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt
3. Mix together the Guinness, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, 1 at time. Add sour cream and mix until smooth
4. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until just combined
5. Fill cupcake liners up 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pan once during baking. Bake until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean.
6. Cool cupcakes on rack. Frost with Cream Cheese frosting and enjoy!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 St. Patrick's Day


We had an absolutely wonderful time this St. Patrick's Day. We played it very low key at home with a few friends and family.

Our lads had a great time, which really makes everything worth it. :)


I had a total "Blogger Fail" moment. Here is the ONLY pictures I got of the Corned Beef & Cabbage and Bangers with Warm Mashed Potato Salad. The food was incredible - and it is a total shame I didn't get any other pics. :(


We set up a couple drink stations. One with ice-cold Irish beers and another with fresh brewed coffee, Irish coffee creamer and Jameson Irish Whiskey.


One of our friends brought this ooey-gooey-deliciousness to the St. Patty's Day celebration. This is one of those foods that is really, really good on your taste-buds, I am talking REALLY GOOD. The ingredients include potatoes, cheese, bacon, fried onions and I am not sure what else - I need the recipe, and once I get it I will share it with you!


For dessert I made some Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They were great and I will post the recipe late this week. They really would be good year-round, not that I am a Guinness-lover or anything...


I also made my very first loaf of Irish Soda Bread! It is so easy and turns out wonderful, the recipe will also be up by the end of this week. :)


We couldn't have a get-together without some cookie decorating! Umbrellas are not really Irish, but it has been raining non-stop here for a week - so I had to include them!

We had a great time, it was one of our best St. Patrick's Day yet! The day was complete with Irish Pub music, a little dancing and laughter everywhere. Hope you all had a good time as well. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Breakfast for Bacon Lovers - Tyson Bacon Breakfast Bread Bowls


Tyson is a name that has been around for as long as I can remember - and for that reason, I love to see them coming out with new products. It is like having a company grow up with me. When I was young, Tyson was for one thing and one thing only in our home - chicken. Now they have a line of products that include chicken, beef, pork, appetizers, sandwiches, entrees and more. Check them all out here

So, the reason for this post...


Ok, ok - maybe I am bragging a little. :) Oh, and that Tyson box?

Well, inside that box was a brand new product by Tyson - just waiting to be chowed down by the Hungry Harps!! Have I ever mentioned how much we ♥ bacon?


Bacon Breakfast Bread Bowls!! Everything about these sounded right, from the bacon to the bread to the eggs to the cheese. (You know I ♥ cheese!!) Plus, they are microwaveable. This is usually not something that appeals to me, as I am an oven-kinda-girl, but I had my hubby in mind here. These would be perfect for him before he heads off to work. A piece of fruit, a glass of milk and a couple Bacon Breakfast Bowls would be great for him!!

I would love to cook him eggs, bacon and toast every morning - but with the kiddos running around, we need something a little quicker. In fact, a lot quicker...


Since we received our shipment at 8 in the morning, we decided to try them out for breakfast. The kiddos had already had their cereal and fruit - and like usual, we were going to be skipping the most important meal of the day... so thank you, delivery man, for delivering to our house so early!!

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of frozen foods - but I do have several exceptions, and these have become one of them. When it comes to prepared frozen foods, I look for 3 things:
  • It does not turn out soggy
  • It does not turn out chewy
  • It does not turn out greasy
These Tyson Bacon Breakfast Bread Bowls are delicious and are NOT soggy, chewy or greasy!


Mr. Hungry Harp and myself were completely impressed with these Breakfast Bowls. We both thought the flavor of the bacon was great - and we are both "bacon snobs". The eggs were the perfect texture, which was a relief because usually frozen egg products leave a lot of room for improvement... And let's not forget the cheese - it was exactly the amount that I would add, and I am a cheese ♥'er.


Check out where to buy Tyson's Bacon Breakfast Bread Bowls here. Tyson is also on facebook and twitter - so check them out - they have a huge line of products for so many needs, now including breakfast!

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias. #TysonBreakfast

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Teaching Sustainability in the Kitchen #GoGreenNGiggle


I believe that teaching our children about sustainability is one of the most precious gifts we can ever give them. My son is 3 years old, a huge helper and an eager learner, which makes teaching him about caring and loving the earth a blast.

The first responsibility my son ever had was to help take the recyclable items out to the recycle bin. From the time it takes to walk from the kitchen to the recycle bin outside we talk about what the items could be turned into and how we are helping the earth by re-using. I love it, he loves it - how perfect is that??

Another way I teach him about sustainability in the kitchen is by using fresh produce from our home garden. One major perk of growing your own produce is that there is no packaging. Recycling is good, but no waste is even better! Since he is now 3 years old and is able to understand about plants growing we figured it was time to let him start his own garden.

We found this fun site, Gigglin' Garden Gang. There is content for both kids and parents, along with videos and music - which my son LOVED!

Meet the Garden Gang!!Ollie Onion is my son's favorite, hands down. :)


Also on the Gigglin' Garden Gang site is The Mindful Chef, Daniel Lanzilotta, who is an Eco-Friendly Chef Educator. If you check out their facebook page he shares fun recipes, making healthy snacks and help on getting your kiddos to try tasty new foods.


The Gigglin' Garden Gang website also has a few items you can purchase to help get your kids interested in gardening.We chose the "Go Green and Giggle" Book & Tote Garden Activity Gift Set. The kit includes a book, cd, magic growing pellets, sunflower seeds and a tote. Very cute!


My sons 2 best friends were over when the package arrived and they were all SUPER excited!! Although I only ordered one gift set, there were no worries - these kids are great at sharing. *Note: My kiddo is giggling and the box isn't even open yet. ;)


The kids opened the box and immediately started checking everything out. I love that the box was packaged so that when it is opened it looks like a gift. So great!


The first thing the kids wanted to do was read the Go Green and Giggle book. All 3 of them were so into it, smiling throughout the whole book. Then we got to the last page...

It was our sunflower seeds to plant, what an awesome way to end the book!! The kit comes with a little greenhouse that will fit 6 plants - so each kid was able to plant 2 seeds. They were so good with it and so excited to be gardening - even if it was on the dining room table. We talked about what plants needed to grow and which foods we eat that come from gardens. It was a great time!


If you want to check out more about the Gigglin' Garden Gang you can go to their site, here or check them out on facebook or twitter. Good day!

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Alexia Foods - Oven Reds


Don't those just look delicious? I wish I could take credit for them, but I can't. 

All credit is due to Alexia Foods...


That's right, you can find these in the frozen foods section at the grocery store!

Although I love cooking from scratch, sometimes you need something quick to prepare when you are on the run. (Not on the run from the cops, but on the run to an appointment, etc. haha)

Just preheat the oven, lay the potatoes in a single layer, bake for necessary amount of time, remove from oven and serve while still warm.


We ate ours with ketchup - the perfect pairing to potatoes!


Even the kiddos liked them, which is always a good thing. :)


Check out the rest of the Alexia Foods products on the their website here. They carry an awesome line of products that include Appetizers, Breads, French Fries, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Sides. Delicious!

*My bag of Alexia Foods Frozen Reds were supplied as a part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, all opinions were my own. :)