Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nesco Giveaway

Now that it's cold outside, it's the perfect time to make comforting and hearty meals.  Soup, chili and stews are my favorite go-to chilly weather meals.  Sprinkle oyster crackers in the soup or serve bread on the side for a crowd-pleasing meal.  The best comforting meals are the ones where they cook for hours in a crockpot, letting all of the flavors come together.  Nesco surely shares this philosophy with me.

Nesco made its first debut in the early 1930's with the Nesco roaster. Many decades later the original roaster is still very popular and new products have been added to the lineup.  Nesco is the headquarters for all of your small kitchen appliance needs.  Need a new roaster, a a dehydrator, a jet stream oven, a food steamer, or even a grinder? There are so many appliances that would fit wonderfully in your kitchen and help your food prep tremendously. 

Now that the holidays are upon us, your cooking and serving will be stepped up a notch from all of the holiday parties you will be having and going to.  Let Nesco make your life easier by doing the hard work for you.

The Nesco roaster is one kitchen item that nobody should go without.  This fantastic kitchen tool is the perfect size for entertaining and small families.  You could easily make a batch of chili or any kind of stew in it.  Why not also use it for making lasagna, baked ziti, a pot roast, Cornish game hen, or a whole chicken in it? The unit roasts, bakes, cooks, steams, slow cooks, and serves all in one! The unique "circle of heat" heating element provides moist, even cooking. The possibilities are endless and the roaster is waiting for you to make a fabulous meal in it that the whole family will love. A recipe and cooking guide comes with the device to give you food for thought. 

This kitchen tool would make an excellent Christmas present for that budding chef or resident foodie in your family. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FruitFlowers Review

As everyone knows by this point, I'm a chocoholic.  There's nothing that I won't enjoy chocolate on or with. Sure I love cookies, brownies and cake just like everyone else, but chocolate dipped fruit is by far my favorite.  That fresh and juicy fruit mixed with the sweet taste of chocolate is the best thing ever.  If you haven't enjoyed dipped fruit recently, I urge you to indulge in some as soon as possible!

FruitFlowers combines everyone's love of chocolate, flowers, and delicious fruit in one fantastic package.  The end result is a beautiful assortment of fruit shaped flowers!  Whether you choose a chocolate dipped assortment or just plain fruit arrangement is up to you.  The fruit is fresh, of high quality, incredibly sweet and full of fantastic juicy fruit flavor.  The arrangements are stunning and will make you smile the second you see them. The fruit varies from each basket but the main fruits used are pineapples, melons, grapes and strawberries. There are locations for FruitFlowers in various states in the US. There are certain themed baskets for major holidays and occasions.  A basket from FruitFlowers would make a great Christmas present for a friend or relative, or a great present for your boss or anybody else for Christmas. Why not send one to a loved one just to show that you're thinking of them?  They make fantastic hostess gifts and housewarming presents too.  Whatever you do though, make sure that you included some dipped fruit in the basket. :)

Look at this beauty.  Who wants a pineapple daisy?

I was sent a fantastic Deluxe Dipped Tulips and Daisies arrangement from FruitFlowers.  To say that the arrangement was beautiful is a complete understatement.  It blew me out of the water with its beauty! It showed up at the door in a beautiful basket and I knew I instantly needed to introduce the fruit to my stomach. :) The fruit was very fresh and the color of it was bright and vivid. The fruit is so fun and unique, definitely a conversation piece.  The pineapple daisies were my favorite, as were the strawberry dipped tulips!  To cut fruit into flower shapes is a true talent.  I would love to learn some day! The best part about the basket is that you're not overwhelmed with chocolate since there is a lot of fruit that isn't dipped.  There is just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, but you certainly won't feel overloaded with chocolate.  The balance is perfect.

I looked over the basket and contemplated what to sample first.  Should I try the grapes? A strawberry? It was a hard decision to make. I finally settled on sampling a pineapple daisy.  With the first bite, I was instantly transported onto an island in the Caribbean. The pineapple was juicy and bursting with sweet pineapple goodness. It was the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and was simply excellent. I loved it!  The fruit pieces were large and in charge. The cantaloupe in the center was a nice added touch and helped bring down the sweetness slightly.  

The dipped strawberry tulips kept catching my eye in the basket.  I couldn't resist the sweet chocolate any longer.  I had to try one! The chocolate was a beautiful dark brown, almost espresso hue.  The white chocolate spiral design around it was beautiful and very artistic.  It did remind me of a tulip.  I took a bite and was quickly whisked away with a first class ticket to chocolate town. The bite was  an equal amount of strawberry and chocolate, all at once. Chocolate makes everything better.  The chocolate was rich and luscious.   It danced on my taste buds and blanketed them in sweet flavor.  The strawberry was sweet and full of fabulous flavor as well.  It was very fresh and I loved the bright red color of the berry. I couldn't get over how delicious the chocolate strawberry was and of course the pineapple daisy too.  It was the best one I've had in a while.  Everyone knows that strawberries and chocolate are a classic and timeless combination.

I am highly impressed with FruitFlowers and look forward to trying the rest of the fruit. I strongly recommend them for any of your future gift needs. I keep looking at the basket and smiling.  I can't help but to admire its beauty. Why not spoil yourself today with an arrangement of FruitFlowers? You won't regret it!

Check out FruitFlowers on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mups Shoes Giveaway

Being a shoeaholic doesn't come easily.  To say I have a few pairs of shoes is an understatement. I probably have close to 35 pairs of shoes.  What can I say? I love shoes! I don't discriminate against them.  Flats, boots, heels, sandals, they are all my favorites.  Now that the holidays are upon us, it's important to look your best when you're dressing up for a party.  Let Mups Shoes make you look your best.

Mups Shoes allows you to be sexy or sophisticated, or even classic or trendy with your footwear.  Why not experiment with the endless combinations and possibilities that the world of Mups brings you? Whether you're looking for a plain black flat with simple detail or a beautiful blue flat with a cute black flower on top, they have you covered.  Mups is very original as you can change the detail on the shoe depending on your mood.  Want to wear silver flats with a red bow on Monday? Sure thing.  How about blue flats with a green bow on Tuesday? You bet! There is a pair of flats for every woman and girl's taste and style.  Let your inner Mups personality shine through when you wear them!

These are some of my favorites:

These are adorable.  I could definitely see these winning a space on my shoe rack in my closet.  This picture is also a great representation of the varied style the brand carries. 

If you're needing a new pair of Mups, I highly recommend this company.  Why not give a pair to a friend or family member for Christmas this year? They will surely love them.

Everyone loves to win shoes, right? Mups is giving away one pair of shoes per week for the next 10 weeks! That would be now until 1/29/13.  Please check out #MUPSinHollywood.  It's an instagram campaign shot by shoe expert, Meghan Cleary. Make sure to follow @Shoeareyou on Instagram.  All you have to do is login to Instagram/Webstagram and embed the photo.  The link to enter is included in the description.  If you don't win my shoe giveaway, entering the Instagram contest would give your shoe dreams a second chance at winning!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jungle Island Review

I'm a huge lover of animals. I enjoy learning about different types and I feel it's important to educate yourself about all of the animal species in the world. I've been to many zoo's in my lifetime and I always have a great time when I visit. I never pass up the opportunity to be up close with furry friends!

Jungle Island is a wonderful interactive theme park where you can meet some of nature's most amazing creatures.  What I love about Jungle Island is that it's not your typical zoo.  You're not going to see only bears, elephants or giraffe's. You will see beautifully colored macaw birds, prarie dogs, lemurs, kangaroos, 150 pound tortoises, goats, and so much more!  Everywhere you turn there is something new and exciting to lay your eyes on.  Jungle Island has fantastic interactive shows where you can meet the animals up close and learn more about them.  This theme park is a great place to take your family and it's very educational for children.

I had been to Jungle Island once previously, about 16 years ago.  I didn't remember much about it.  Since I'm a big animal lover I didn't see why I wouldn't like it again.  I was able to go again this past Friday. 

From the minute you walk into Jungle Island, it's like being in the jungle!  You're surrounded by a beautiful lush green forest filled with parrots waiting to meet you and be fed!  I was able to feed a bird and it was very gentle with me.  It took the bird food right out of my hand.  It even said hello to me too!  I loved that.  The placards below the bird's enclosures give you great information about them and explains their breed very thoroughly.  I loved seeing all of the brightly colored birds and being exposed to types I had never heard of previously.

Polly want a cracker?

Feeding the bird

Me holding a bunny!

There were park workers walking around with animals that you could hold and touch.  Some of them were too adventurous for my taste, like a snake and a gator!  I did hold a bunny and a Chinese silky chicken though!

As you made your way through the park you were able to see different exhibits of animals.  The signs were easy to follow and large so you wouldn't miss them.  The park was very clean and well organized.  All of the park workers were friendly and willing to help you with anything that you needed, or questions you may have.  I had two very cool experiences while at JI.  I was able to go into the petting zoo and give a goat a bottle, and I also was able to touch and be near a kangaroo! I don't think I could do these sort of things anywhere else! Certainly a once in a lifetime experience. You can buy a bottle of watered down gatorade for $2 to feed the goat.  The goats were very friendly and as soon as he saw I had a bottle he didn't take his eyes off me, or it.  He certainly loved it! The kangaroo was very soft and I enjoyed seeing them hop around their enclosure.  The one I pet really liked it.  He sat down and let me pet him for a good two minutes.  The cost to go in the enclosure with the kangaroos was $5 and you could stay as long as you like.

After I checked out some of the animals, I made my way to a show, "Doc Wasabi's Wild Adventures."  This was a fun and interactive show where you were able to meet different animals and learn more about them.  I didn't know that most of these animals existed, so it was interesting to find out about their species and learn facts about them.  The show workers do a fantastic job of engaging the audience and making sure everyone has a good time.  The shows offered at Jungle Island are all different, for everyone's varied preferences and taste.

A pretty shot of the park

Everywhere you turn, there was something new to see.  Monkeys swinging from bars, a herd of flamingos in their enclosure, penguins in their cage, and a 150 pound tortoise too! There is certainly never a dull moment while at Jungle Island!

Look at these Flamingo's!

He loves this bamboo plant

I loved seeing all of the families and children at the zoo.  The kids were so excited about the animals and you could see they were having a fantastic time.

One of the coolest things that I experienced while nearing the end of my visit was the orangutans.  Oh no, these weren't just your typical orangutans.  These orangutans were painting!!!!! I was amazed! They have a stick in their mouth or hand and the workers hold a canvas up to their enclosure and they paint on the canvas through the bars.  I had never seen anything like it before and I absolutely loved it.  The best part was that you could buy their artwork! Of course I had to purchase a picture.  I couldn't leave the park without it.  The staff working in the orangutans area were very friendly and even let me custom choose my colors for the canvas, which I appreciated.  I chose the colors I wanted and soon after that I was watching orangutans art come to life!  You could tell they enjoyed painting and really wanted to do it.  They never once walked away or seemed like they weren't interested. 

This is the finished artwork!  How cool is it?  I love it!  I have a space on one wall in my living room that this picture will be hung up on.  This is a fun and very unique conversation piece.  No picture is the same either!

I had a fantastic time while at Jungle Island.  I highly recommend it if you and your family are planning a visit to Miami, Florida in the future.  It's fun for all ages and you will walk out of there with new knowledge and lifelong memories.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Jungle Island for providing me with complimentary tickets in exchange for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are strictly mine and not based on anything else.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Spice up your Cyber Monday with some jewelry from Blue Nile!

How does taking 20% off silver, gemstone or pearl jewlery sound to you? Please use code "special20%off" valid from November 26 at 8:00 AM ET to November 29 at 8:00 AM ET. 

Let Blue Nile help to make your Christmas a special one this year!
Friday, November 23, 2012

QVC Review

Anyone who knows me knows I love kitchen items.  I flock to the housewares department of a store like a moth to a flame.  I've been cooking and baking much more recently than ever.  I truly enjoy it and I want to have the appropriate tools and resources to make my culinary dreams come true.  Presentation is key in cooking and serving and QVC helps to make my food the star of the show!

QVC is the multinational corporation specializing in televised home shopping.  Founded in 1986 by Joseph Segel, it broadcasts in five countries as QVC US, QVC UK, QVC Japan, QVC Germany, and QVC Italy to 200 million households! The name is an acronym standing for Quality, Value, and Convenience.  Whether you're looking for a new sweater, a blu-ray DVD player, pots and pans, makeup or skin care items, or even a new comforter set, QVC has you covered and of course has everything in between.  The best part about QVC is that you can order via phone or online, and you don't even have to leave your house!

I've done many QVC reviews in the past and anytime I can do another one, I am always excited for it.  I love their merchandise and have so many items in my home.

Since the holidays are coming up and entertaining is in full swing for most, I wanted to make sure I had some new serving pieces.  I was offered two fantastic pieces that were must haves for the holiday season.  I knew I had to have them! I received a Rachael Ray stoneware chip and dip set, and a Cook's Essentials three tier rotating party platter.

The Rachael Ray chip and dip set is absolutely beautiful.  The orange is a bright, vivid shade and is perfect for serving a multitude of things in it from hummus and pita chips to any kind of chips and baked dip.  I chose to serve quesadillas and salsa for a fun and unique appetizer for Thanksgiving yesterday.  The serving piece is very roomy and I had no problem filling up almost all of the tray with quesadillas.  The little dip bowl held my salsa perfectly.  I thought the presentation of my appetizer in the tray looked beautiful.  The set is quality made and durable. It's also very easy to hold too. I have Rachael Ray's stoneware 3 piece oval stoneware baker in red and I use it frequently.  I knew I had to have this chip and dip set to make my Rachael Ray dreams come true! Everyone commented on how pretty it was and that they would love to add it to their collection.  The best part is that it's oven and dishwasher safe.  It would make a perfect addition on your table for Christmas too. 

The three tier party platter was a complete hit at Thanksgiving! I'm sorry for the bad picture, it was hard to not have anyone in the picture since there were so many people over for dinner yesterday.  The top of the platter has a nice round knob and is attractive.  The tiers are made of a nice durable plastic and you don't have to worry about it breaking.  I absolutely love this platter. As you can see, I set up Thanksgiving desserts on it.  Of course we had many more other desserts too!  You don't have to serve desserts on it, appetizers would work just as well.  The platter was very easy to put together and in no time I had it set up and sweet treats were having the time of their lives spinning!  I think the platter is much more fun when it's turned on and the contents are rotating.  You don't have to make it rotate if you don't want to.  My guests enjoyed the rotating desserts and had fun choosing one as they came around and around.  The speed was perfect, it didn't spin too fast.  It went just the right speed in order for you to see and choose what you want. The platter was able to hold the weight of the desserts with no problem.  If you're looking for a fun and exciting modern twist to a normal serving platter this Christmas, why not choose this one?

Thank you to QVC for making my hosting dreams much more exciting this year!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to QVC for providing me with these items in exchange for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are strictly mine and not based on anything else.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Smart Buy Glasses Review and Giveaway

There's nothing like a fantastic pair of sunglasses to make you feel your best.  Sure you have the stylish outfit, shoes, and purse, but of course you have to top it off with a rockin' pair of shades. Many pairs of sunglasses have come and gone from my life, but few have stood the test of time.  I love to have 2 or 3 different pairs at all times to wear, depending on my mood and the day.  Ladies, you know what I'm talking about!

Smart Buy Glasses offers you a complete collection of designer brands such as Prada, D&G, Ray Ban, Prada, and many more.  This is certainly the headquarters for all of your sunglass needs for men and women! The website also provides you with over 100,000 pairs of prescription eye glasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses. All of the glasses on the site are high quality and come in many different styles and colors for anyone's needs. I've owned many pairs of designer sunglasses over the years.  The quality and craftsmanship is unbeatable.  Why spend $20 on a pair that can break when you can spend $150 on a pair that will last for years? I always choose quality.

When I was allowed to choose a pair for review, I was very excited.  I browsed through page after page of gorgeous glasses, imagining myself holding each pair and wearing them.  I currently have a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses that I love, but I wanted a second pair.  After wiping away the drool from my screen after seeing so many beautiful items on one page, I decided on a stunning pair of Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses.

I am so in love with these.  I had a pair of D&G's in 2008, but I accidentally left them in the subway.  My heart was ripped from my chest when I discovered it.  I was very upset.  I knew one day I would get another pair of D&G's.  Well that day is here! They were shipped extremely fast and before I knew it, they were here.  The glasses came in a pretty case with a bold D&G branded logo on the top, a cleaning cloth, and glasses cleaner, which is very handy.  The rich, tortoiseshell is beautiful and vibrant.  The glasses fit me comfortably and I love the way they look on.  Style is very important to me and these glasses get a top notch check on Sammi's stylish meter! I love the shape and frame very much.  The great thing about these glasses is that they work year round.  Wear them to the beach, or to a weekend mountain getaway trip! 

A pair of glasses from Smart Buy Glasses would make an excellent Christmas present for a friend or family member. Just be prepared for a huge hug and a smile when the recipient receives the glasses!

One lucky winner will win a beautiful pair of these Ray-Ban sunglasses! I just love them, and I know you will too!

Pine Brothers Giveaway

Now that the cold weather is here, the flu and sickness is inevitable. Cold and flu season lasts from late October to April.  I very rarely get sick, but when I do it's pretty bad.  I was sick last year, and in bed solidly for about 3 days.  It was awful.  I like to make sure I am well stocked with cold and flu medication and cough drops at all times.  Make sure you arm yourself against any germs and sickness with a flu shot, it's very important!

The Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops have been trusted by American families for minor sore throat irritation for over 140 years! There is a certainly a reason for this. This brand knows throat drops like no other, and they are there to help your throat feel better! The throat drops come in two flavors, cherry and honey.  The little oval shaped pieces of relief are gluten free and only 5 calories each.  

Whenever I have a sore throat, I always turn to throat drops.  I prefer cherry best.  The little bit of sweetness is comforting to my throat. Pine Brothers offers their throat drops in bags, or pucks.  I love the idea of the pucks.  They are very convenient for throwing into a child's backpack, your purse, a glove compartment, or even a desk drawer at work.  Make sure you are never without throat drops when your throat needs some TLC.

Throat drops really do work.  If you're tired of using cough medicine or sore throat tablets due to their unappealing taste, why not try Pine Brothers? You'll instantly fall in love with the delicious taste and how quickly they work.  Keep this brand in mind with you throughout the cold and flu season and you'll be good to go. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

All Laundry Detergent Review and Giveaway

I'm very particular with my clothes.  I like to keep them as stain free as possible.  In the event that I do get a stain on my clothing, I want to turn to a detergent that is powerful enough to kick those stains to the curb! We've all had stains on our clothes and we want to use a quality product to keep our clothes looking their best.

All Laundry Detergent is a recognized leader and laundry partner with consumers for more than 50 years.  The brand provides an incredible clean at an unbeatable value.  All has many detergents in its laundry lineup. If you have sensitive skin, All Free and Clear, which is free of potential irritants like dyes and perfume is the pick for you.  It is also hypoallergenic.  It is uniquely formatted with SkinSmart Surfactant technology, which has a proprietary blend of active surfactants that tackle kids dirt and stains while being gentle on your family's skin.  It removes 99% of top seasonal  and everyday allergens with every wash. Looking for a great stain removal product? All Free and Clear with Oxi-Active is your go-to choice for heavy-duty stain removal.  It tackles your family's toughest dirt and stains with stainlifters and the added power of natural cleaning boosters helping to give you incredibly clean clothes. I've only used All twice previously, but I was very pleased with the results.

Did you know that All is the #1 detergent brand recommended by Dermatologists and Allergists for sensitive skin, and the #1 free detergent brand recommended by Pediatricians.  All is there to make sure your family's clothes look and feel their best.

I was able to review an All laundry detergent of my choice.  The coupons came on laundry day which couldn't have been more convenient. I also was running low on my regular laundry detergent too.  I walked to my local Target with laundry dreams dancing in my head.  When I got to the laundry care aisle, I surveyed my options.  I finally settled on All Free Clear Oxi Active. I was promised incredibly clean clothes and stain lifters to whisk away my stains.  This was definitely the right option for me.  Earlier in the week I accidentally got a stain on my shirt while cooking.  I knew I needed a strong stain lifter to help my shirt.

The bottle is a nice solid white with an eye-catching "All" written in yellow and blue. The colors stand out and you can't miss the bottle in your laundry care aisle.  This detergent is safe for all washing machines.  I loaded my laundry into the machine and prepared my clothes to be washed like never before. I did not add any stain removal tablets or anything to help the stain removal process. I wanted to see what All could do for me on its own.  The product easily poured into the drum of my washing machine.  Soon after that, it was time to transfer the clothes into the dryer.  Of course I had to inspect the shirt before I switched it over.  The stain was gone! I was very thankful as it was a chocolate stain from baking, and those can be hard to get out.  I was prepared to have the stain not be fully removed, but it was.  I was impressed.

The clothes dried beautifully and looked fantastic. They definitely looked like they were washed with a high quality product.  I smelled them and they had a wonderful clean scent, a scent that can only mean a true clean.  I really liked how well of a job All did with cleaning my clothes.  All's Oxi Active is one product I will be keeping in mind for my tough stains.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Let Bob Evans help you spice up your holiday meals!

Christmas and Thanksgiving are just around the corner.  If you don't have your menu's finalized, I'm sure you will soon enough.  I love to cook and am always in the kitchen making something delicious. Cooking everything from scratch for holiday meals is not always possible for all, and of course it's very time consuming. Bob Evans is there to save you time in the kitchen, but still keep your guests satisfied with a delicious meal!

I was recently allowed to submit questions to Chef David Eisel, who is the brains behind Bob Evans food.  You know, the delicious mashed potatoes, sausage and macaroni and cheese? You can thank him for those! The purpose of the interview was to have him answer my questions about how to make holiday meals more exciting and unique. 

I asked him the following questions:

What are some delicious crowd-pleasing appetizers to make for a Thanksgiving or Christmas party? 
How can you make mashed potatoes lower in calories and fat but still keep that delicious taste? 
Everyone loves desserts, but I get tired of serving the same old pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie.  Do you have any exciting and different twists on how to spice up these

If I want to try a new side dish for the holidays, what are some of your recommendations? 

What is one dish that you can't complete the holidays without making?   

Please watch the video here. I cannot directly upload for some reason.

I really enjoyed what he had to say.  First of all, it's very cool to have an interview personalized to me. I loved his idea of serving mashed potatoes in a martini glass.  It makes for a fun side dish and is more elegant than just having them on the side of your plate.  

Chef Eisel is very thorough and explains his ideas well so you can easily follow them.  If you're looking for mashed potatoes that don't pack as high of a calorie and fat content, why not use a layer of real mashed and sweet potatoes? You'll still get that creamy, mashed potato goodness, but it'll be lower in calories.

A great holiday appetizer that he suggests is serving Bob Evans sausage and cheese on toast points.  Everyone always loves those and I can guarantee your tray will be cleared in no time.

I will certainly be taking some of Chef Eisel's recommendations into account this Thanksgiving! 

Bob Evans is there to help you this holiday season with fabulous recipes and comforting food to make your holiday one you won't soon forget.  For more recipes and ideas check out

What are you making for Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Campbell's Review

Nothing is better on a cold winter's day than a bowl of chicken noodle soup.  The warm, hearty and comforting soup melts everything away, leaving a smile in your stomach and on your face.  I love soup throughout the cold months of the year.  The best part about it is that it's so versatile that you can never tire of it.  Campbell's is one soup brand that can't be ignored.

Campbell's Soup is a brand of soup that has been around since 1869! I am sure you can easily understand why.  The soups in the soupy lineup will leave your taste buds asking for more! Over the years new product extensions have been introduced.  If you go to any supermarket, you'll find Campbell's condensed soups, Chunky, 100% Natural, Slow Kettle Style Soups, Healthy Request, and microwavable soups.  There are some new products such as Gourmet Bisques, and Campbell's Go Soups.  Whatever soup you like, from chicken noodle to clam chowder to chicken broccoli cheese and potato soup, they have you covered. There is a soup for everyone's taste and preference.  Of course you can't forget the oyster crackers or piece of bread to dip in your soup too! I grew up eating Campbell's Soup and I have a few cans in my kitchen right this moment.  I only trust Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and chicken broth when making meals that call for it. 

When I received the opportunity to try the new Campbell's Skillet Sauces, I was more than interested.  I love anything that makes cooking easier and tastier.  Who doesn't? I was sent four flavors to try: creamy chipotle with roasted corn and black beans, marsala with mushrooms and garlic, Thai green curry with lemongrass and basil, and toasted sesame with garlic and ginger.  The other two flavors in the line up that I was not sent are fire roasted tomato with red bell peppers and chiles, and scampi with white wine and garlic. Each sauce packet is meant for two people. The sauce packets were sent to me in a white box exploding with silver shredded paper.  How festive! 

It's recommended that you use the sauce with chicken, but I didn't have any chicken defrosted.  When I saw the toasted sesame with garlic and ginger, I knew I wanted to combine it with rice and scallops.  I thought it would be fun to bring a a little Asian flair to my kitchen. I love to cook and anytime I can try something new in the kitchen, it makes me happy. 

The sauces are very easy to use, just pour over the meal and mix together.  I cooked my rice and scallops and then poured the sauce over all of the food and mixed together. I did not season the rice and I only cooked the scallops in a very small amount of olive oil. Be careful though, the sauce easily pours out.  Make sure you don't pour out more sauce than you want. My end result looked like this:

How great does that look? The entire meal was ready to eat in just 22 minutes! Yes, I'll share!

The sauce really complimented my rice and scallops wonderfully.  I even threw in some crunchy noodles for added texture. The decadent sauce turned my food a lovely toasted shade of brown.  I instantly could taste the sesame flavor the second I had my first bite. The sesame flavor is light, but subtle. Next a layer of ginger and garlic danced on my tongue.  The ginger was zippy and gave the sauce a touch of spice, which was nice. The spice brought extra depth to the meal, which I enjoyed. The sauce is very light, not heavy and thick at all. What's great is that the toasted sesame and ginger and garlic are flavors that work marvelously together and they all combine to form a sauce that will make your taste-buds explode! I usually just season rice with some all-spice or stir-fry sauce, but this time I wanted something different, out of the ordinary. Experimenting  with new flavors with food is something that appeals to me.

I really look forward to trying this sauce with chicken, fish, and other seafood too. I can't wait to pair the marsala sauce with chicken and the Thai green curry sauce with fish. I am sure it will be two meals I won't soon forget.  The possibilities are endless as to how you can bring new depth and flavor to your favorite meals. Let those old favorites become brand new favorites again! It can be hard to cook healthy and tasty meals on a nightly basis if you don't have a lot of time, but thanks to Campbell's your family will crowd around the table again to enjoy a delicious meal!

*DISCLOSURE* I received these sauces in exchange for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are strictly mine and not based on anything else. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lenox Review and Giveaway

If you regularly entertain and have company over, it's important to have nice, quality dishes to serve your guests with.  Having a beautiful place setting is just as important as the food you serve.  Warm conversation and delicious food definitely makes the occasion extra special too. When I think of quality dinnerware, this brand instantly comes to mind. Why not serve your guests this holiday season with Lenox dishware? 

Lenox is America's leading tabletop and giftware brand. They offer fine china, casual dinnerware, crystal, flatware, home decor and tabletop products. Lenox's main mission is making your tabletop beautiful with quality dish and flatware. There are so many styles and patterns that you'll quickly fall in love with. I could browse the website for hours.  I wish I had room in my kitchen for all of the gorgeous patterns and designs.  If you're looking to give your dishes a makeover, I highly suggest Lenox.

I've been using the same dishes for many years and I really wanted something new and different.  I love to regularly update things in my life from time to time.  It's nice to have something new to look forward to.  When I was offered the chance to review a gorgeous set of L by Lenox Gilded Tapestry dishes, I jumped at the opportunity.  I had never had a dish set like this before and I knew I had to have it!

It's okay, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now.  They are beautiful, aren't they?

My dish set came very quickly and I immediately opened the box to admire the contents. As soon as I saw place setting, it instantly brought a smile to my face.  Each set comes with a 5 piece place setting. The place setting contains one cup and saucer, one bread plate, one salad plate, and one dinner plate.  What I love most about this dish set is that it looks straight out of 1975.  I really enjoy mixing modern kitchenware with old.  I have old matching Corelle cups and saucers from the late 70's that I pair with modern day dessert plates when I serve company.  The contrast is fun and funky. Even though these aren't technically old, I love the fact that they look vintagey.  The gorgeous flower pattern along with the bright and vivid colors is utter perfection. Each item has a different pattern and they look fantastic when they are set on the table all together. The dishes are very high quality and built to serve you for many years to come.

The best thing about this set is that it's oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe. I can't wait to use these regularly. My food won't know what hit it when it's served on these plates!  If you're looking for something other than your china to serve your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners this year, why not consider Lenox? They can dress up your holiday table in no time! You can buy the set here.