Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rhythm Superfoods Great for Summer Snacking!

Rhythm Superfoods


With school out for the Summer and all four of my kids home, I am now having to come up with two extra meals and a couple of snacks a day for the children to eat while they are home.  Meals aren't that hard since I can easily come up with a protein, a veggie, a fruit, and a dairy for each meal.  Snacks are a different story altogether.  As a mom on a mission for healthiness and green living I want them to enjoy healthy snacks; however, as kids they would rather have things like chips, snack cakes, and fruit snacks that are primarily sugar.   I try to sneak in healthy snacks that are akin to the junk food "everyone else" is eating and make my children happy.  It's a win-win situation since they get healthy food while also satisfying a snack food craving!

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Rhythm Superfoods is a perfect solution for our home because they provide 100% all-natural snacks that are local and organic.  They are vegan, gluten-free, rich in nutrients, raw, and quite delicious!  They offer both kale chips which are rich in Vitamin A, C, K, and filled with anti-oxidants and sweet potato chips which are packed with vitamin A, C, Beta Carotene, and full of fiber!

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We were blessed to receive the Zesty Nacho and Kool Ranch kale chips to help with our review.  Mika, my youngest was so excited to see we had two bags of "chips" to eat and was eager to eat some.  I couldn't think of any good excuse not to indulge him so we decided to open the Kook Ranch kale chips first!  I have made both baked and dehydrated kale chips before, so the first thing I noticed was how well Rhythm Superfoods kale chips held their shape but were still crunchy like a chip.  I am not sure how they do it, but the end result is yummy!

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Mika really liked these and ate half a bag before I told him he needed to save some for his siblings when they got off the school bus.  They have such a great ranch flavor it was easy to forget we were enjoying something healthy because it tasted like it should be bad for us!

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I saved the Zesty Cheddar to share with my mom when she was visiting the following weekend, and she fell in love with them!  My dad grows a bunch of kale because my mom eats it nightly in her salad, and mom said if she can't find this brand in the store, she would just bake some.  It would be futile to show her the website because she refuses to have anything to do with a computer, so it seems she may be getting Rhythm Superfoods for her birthday in November!

The general consensus among the four kids and myself is that this is a really yummy snack.  I even have had requests for it since they ate it all, and I have it on my list to purchase in the next week.  I would definitely recommend their food to people, and if you are trying to cut down or completely do away with junk food in your life, I would suggest you try these chips!

You can find out more about Rhythm Superfoods via their website as well as Facebook and Twitter

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Rhythm Superfoods. for the product(s) I received to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. Please do your own due diligence when making decisions on purchasing something.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sweetstacks, Inc Giveaway 6/24!

Sweetstacks, Inc


Growing up, every summer my sister and I would go visit my Auntie Vesta for a week or two, and I remember that never fail, Auntie would make us pancakes for breakfast.  I fondly remember her allowing us to help measure out the milk, butter, eggs, and other ingredients and waiting with my mouth watering for her to finish cooking the last pancake so we could eat until we were Thanksgiving Day full!

As a mother I serve pancakes for breakfast once every month or two, and I have tried every box mix they make and been sorely disappointed.  I can still taste those wonderful homemade pancakes, and all else pales in comparison.  I do make some pretty mouth-watering homemade pancakes myself, but they are quite pricey to make so I find myself using the mix more often.  I have finally found a mix that isn't as good as my Auntie's, but is BETTER!  Ask anyone who has  enjoyed her pancakes, and you will know what a scandalous statement I have just made; however, it is very true! 

Sweetstacks Inc uses  homemade Pacific Islander recipes from their ancestors to make the most delicious pancakes I have ever eaten.  This is a close knit family that grew up on the Islands and were taught by their older family members the secrets to great food.  The result is authentic, high quality, gourmet food products that are in a league of their own.

I was blessed to receive a package of Sweetstacks Gourmet Pancake Mix in order to facilitate my review, and I have to admit I was excited to try it because the picture on the front of the package looked delish.  My baby boy Mika loves pancakes so I decided to have a "date with daddy" morning and try out these pancakes.  Mika was so excited as he watched me cooking the pancakes keeping daddy posted on the progress, and the general consensus was these are pretty darn good pancakes!


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I could tell an immediate difference when I tasted the batter.  It was sweeter and had a hint of vanilla like a homemade yellow or white cake, but retained the consistency of pancake batter.  One of my biggest complaint about store bought pancake mixes is that even if you follow the directions to the letter, the batter is too thick and won't cook properly through.  Not with Sweetsacks!  Each and every pancake turned out the perfect thickness, and they were  "oh em gee" good as my niece would say.

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Sweetstacks Gourmet Pancake Mix is pricier than most store bought mixes at $7.75 a package or $23.25 for four packages, but it is NOT more expensive than making them homemade if you use the finest quality ingredients as Sweestacks does.  If you like pancakes, you will likely love this mix.  I know it is a keeper in our household.  Since I only cook pancakes once a month or so, I can afford to pay a bit more for something I truly enjoy, and trust me, it is worth every penny!

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Now that your mouth is watering for pancakes, head on over and check them out on the Sweetstacks Inc. website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.  

Who wants to win some?
Sweetstacks, Inc has generously offered one of my readers the chance to win some Sweetstacks Gourmet Pancake mix of their very own!  All you have to do to enter is to complete one or more entries on the Rafflecopter.  Happy Entering!

Shop online and Earn Cash Back with yhoti!

Win a $50 Gift Card from yhoti!!!




I have been raving lately about a new online shopping mall/experience, yhoti, and I am excited to tell you that yhoti is offering a giveaway to my readers!! With four kids, there is rarely a week that goes by that I don't need to purchase something, whether it be clothing, shoes or a new appliance for the home. I mean how frustrating is it to try and vacuum my floor only to find out my trusty vacuum is gone, and I need a new one as soon as possible.  I have to buy a new one regardless, so why not earn 2% cash back while purchasing it from the comfort of my computer chair?


yhoti boasts over 300 stores you know and love such as Dyson, Best Buy, Barnes and Nobles, Bloomingdale, KMart, and even Amazon.com.  The percentage you earn goes from 2% to as high as 25% and with over 300 stores, I know I can find what I need without having to spend hours pushing a stroller and shopping with four less than eager children.    Also, I love that yhoti has a special focus on fashion so I can find any quality, fashionable clothing, accessories, shoes, etc that I need.  I can even shop at Bloomingdales!

You may be wondering why you should do this, so let me explain.  You will get paid on the 20th of every month by check or Paypal (whichever you prefer) for balances $10 or greater!  I can think of so many  ways to use this money:  save it all for a Christmas fund, save it and put it towards a vacation, use it to fund smaller fun excursions such as the zoo, a picnic, or to go see a movie, etc.  Since sign up for this website is free, you earn money back on all purchases and you get rewarded for referring your friends and family, the bigger question is why not?

Find out more about yhoti or sign up to be a member at their website and connect with them socially on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post; however, all opinions expressed 100% mine and completely honest. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. Please do your own due diligence when making decisions on purchasing something.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings Recipe with Knorr Homestyle Stock

Great New Product I would like to share


Okay, so it isn't exactly brand new, but it is one of my new staples for Sandra Lee Style cooking.  What is this miracle product?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  It's Knorr Homestyle Stock.  I have never been a huge fan of store bought homestyle stock because it is so expensive for a small container.  And, when I am cooking soup, I need at least 2-3 containers so it just isn't cost effective for a family of 6.  So anytime we de-bone meat, I freeze the bones for a later use when I need stock.  In 20 minutes I can cook up a big pot of stock with just those bones, an onion, a carrot, a stalk of celery and some seasonings.

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Knorr Honestyle Stock isn't expensive like the rest in my opinion.  For right over $2 I can get four tiny tubs of this stock which is a congealed stock about the size of a shot glass.  You can add it to anything to add a great depth of flavor.  I have used it in mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, and today, in my homemade chicken and dumplings.  It truly is awesome, and I am going to share with you my personal Chicken and Dumpling recipe.  Be warned it is good, NOT healthy at all.  

Ally's Chicken and Dumplings

For the Chicken:

1 whole Roasting Chicken
2 big Vidalia Onions
1 lb of baby carrots
2 tsp celery seeds (can also use a stalk of celery cut up)
2 TBS Poultry Seasoning 
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup of flour
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 containers of Knorr Homestyle Stock

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1.  Fill a stew pot half full of water and put the whole chicken in to boil on high heat for an hour or until the leg easily pulls off of the bird.

2.  While the pot is heating to a boil add 2 large pealed Vidalia onions, Poultry Seasoning, Salt and Pepper, and Celery Seeds

3.  After 30 minutes of cooking add in the lb of baby carrots (and the celery ribs if you are using fresh celery instead of celery seeds)

4.  Take the chicken out of the pot when it is done, let cool, take the chicken off the bones, pull it as you would pork BBQ.  Stir the two pots of Knorr Homestyle Stock into the Stew pot mixture, and add the chicken back to the pot reducing the heat to medium.  Pot should be at a slow boil/fast simmer.

5.  In a separate small pan melt a stick of butter on medium heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of flour.  Cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes to cook out the flour taste.  Cook until the mixture smells nutty but isn't browned at all

6.  Whisk the flour mixture into the stew pot and continue to whisk frequently until the mixture is at the desired consistency.  Should be thick like gravy when it is done.

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For the Biscuits:  

2 cups of self-rising flour (White Lily is the best for any bread products especially biscuits since it is so light)
1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of whole milk

1.  Using a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands, mix the cold butter into the flour until the butter is about the size of peas and incorporated in the flour

2.  Stir in the milk until it is in a dough ball, but DON'T OVERWORK THE DOUGH OR YOUR BISCUITS WILL BE HEAVY~  This is super important and the trick to light biscuits. I don't even use a spoon.  I use my hand so I can get it in a ball with the least amount of working!

3.  Keep the stew pot mixture at a low boil over medium and drop in peach sized dollops of dough into the gravy which will make soft ball sized dumplings.  If you want smaller dumplings, make smaller dollops.

4.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP SO PAY ATTENTION:  Put the lid securely on the pot for 20 minutes and DON'T LIFT THE LID until the timer goes off.  I don't care how much you want to peek because it smells good.  Don't lift the lid or you will end up with rocks or golf balls that are chewy or hard and not light and fluffy dumplings.  When it is done, serve one dumpling on a plate and ladle the chicken gravy mixture over the top!

Thanks Knorr® Homestyle Stock for my free sample of the new great-tasting stock. It truly made my homemade dish even more delicious! Check out celebrity Chef Marco Pierre White in our latest TV commercial. http://bit.ly/A3aN0Q

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Update your Bedroom, Living Room or Bathroom with Accessories from DENY Designs!

DENY Designs 

I am an artistic person when it comes to music-I studied Classical Piano for 17 years, and taught it for 6 years.  When it comes to actual artwork I have no talent whatsoever, but I have a deep love for it.  I didn't often have the time to visit the Smithsonian when I lived in the DC Metro area for 5 years. However, when I did, I could easily waste away an entire day walking through the vast art galleries and gazing at the amazing artwork of various artists.  I love many of the classics such as Monet, Van Gogh, and I do own some replicas of Monet and Henry Whistler since owning originals will always be way out of my price range!  The point is I adore art, and I am always looking for new great artists as well as products that boast wonderful artwork

 DENY Designs Home Accessories is like a gallery in and of itself, only it sells accessories  in addition to art pieces that hang on the walls.  The purpose of DENY Designs is to pair high end furniture with artwork at an affordable price.  Additionally, you can customize the pieces you choose, so that you are buying what you truly want in the proper sizes instead of buying stock from a warehouse shelf. 

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I stumbled across them while working on my blog one day, and I have to admit that I was lost in the DENY Designs website for close to two hours before I got back to the task at hand.  I just adore much of their artwork, and even the styles that aren't "mine" still evoke a passion and respect from me that the art itself deserves.

I was blessed to receive a Valentina Ramos "Aaron" 18"x18" Throw Pillow to facilitate my review, and I fell in love with it the minute I saw it.  Funny but true story.  My mother  visited 3 weekends last month and decided we needed a new sofa and love seat.  Ours was only a year and a half old, but she felt we needed leather instead of micro suede.  So, when we shopped for my furniture, we made sure it was black to match my pillow!


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The Valentina Ramos Line seems to be mostly animal inspired, although there are some shapes and design pieces as well.  What I love the most about DENY designs is that if I love a specific throw pillow, I can find a shower curtain or a duvet cover with the same artwork on it.   You can find everything from Jewelry Armoires, Clocks, Duvets, Sheets, Throws, and much more on the DENY Designs website which boasts well over 60 different artists so there is sure to be an art that is just "your" style!  You can also connect on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to see more of their art work and stay socially connected.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to DENY Designs for the product(s) I received to facilitate this review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.  Please do your own due diligence when making decisions on purchasing something.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Earth Balance Giveaway 6/19

Earth Balance

My son Max was about 8 months old when we realized he was allergic to milk.  It really was silly that it took the doctors so long to figure it out, but when I was nursing, they told me it was what I was eating.   I gradually started eliminating until I had eliminated most foods, and my milk dried up. Then they told me it was the colic, and back then, there weren't many formulas like today, so they gave him steroids to help his tummy, but it didn't solve his diaper issues.  When that didn't help they decided 12 stinky diapers a day, and all the other measures we tried didn't help meant it was a milk allergy.  We put him on a soy base formula and distilled water, and Viola!  Tummy troubles be gone!

A few years back, Max my 13 year old was tested for allergies, and he is allergic to milk, eggs, pecans, and a few other things.   So now, in addition to avoiding milk, he has to avoid products with eggs in them as well which makes it quite interesting at times.  Although we aren't a vegan household, because of Max's allergies, I have taken to making vegan treats, and using vegan products in a lot of cases because they are egg free and milk free.

Earth Balance is the perfect solution to our milk/egg issues because they are an all natural company which offers products that are vegan, 100% plant based, lactose-free, gluten-free, egg-free, and have 0 trans fat!  To put it simply these foods are healthy for all of us, and they cover a broad range of tummy issues and allergies as well! 

I was blessed to receive products from Earth Balance to help facilitate my review.  Because Max has had an aversion to soy milk since he turned about 5, I decided to try the Earth Balance Chocolate Soy milk and pour it in a cup before he saw the package.  Also, I selected the Earth Balance Crunchy Peanut Butter and the Earth Balance Mayonnaise.

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The Chocolate Soy milk went over as well as I expected and my four darlings only took two nights at supper to go through a half-gallon.  I heard lots of "yum" and "may I have more" comments so I knew this is a keeper in our home.  

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We tried the Olive Oil Mayonnaise when my parents were visiting this past weekend and it was a big hit.  I asked my dad to try it, because he has never tried any prepackaged healthy foods.  They eat mostly garden products anyways, but as far as mayonnaise, it has been the same brand for years.  He said he could taste a difference, but that it was "good" and proceeded to request it the rest of the weekend when I put out "his brand" of mayo for him which means he really liked it!  I also love the mayo.  It has pea protein in it and I can ever so slightly taste the pea, and it adds such depth of flavor.  It is tangy and just plain good!  I have been using it exclusively since, and will continue to do so since I like it so well and it is so healthy for me.

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The peanut butter quickly became pbj sandwiches, and the kids gobbled them right up!  I bought the Crunchy Peanut Butter, and it was a nice thick butter with lots of chunks in it. However, it still spread well.

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In the last few months I have been making our peanut butter homemade so I can prevent preservatives and such, but it is surely nice to know there is a brand I can go in the store and grab that is so healthy for us!  This will save me a lot of time.  You can find out more about Earth Balance products on their website, and access them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube as well.

Earth Balance has generously offered one of my readers some Earth Balance products of their own via product coupons so you can choose your own items!  All you have to do is complete one or more options on the Rafflecopter in order to be entered to win!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Yhoti-Earn Cash While Shopping-Count me in!

Yhoti

A while back I briefly mentioned a great new online store I had stumbled across, and I want to share a little more with you today!   It is really great opportunity to earn some money while doing what I have to do anyways:  shop.



I can go to Yhoti, choose from over 300 stores to shop in, and I can earn a percentage back while doing so!  It has a great daily deal aspect to it, so as you are browsing which store to shop at you can see how much percentage you get back that day just for shopping.  For example, if I shop at Corkcicle today, I get 6% cash back while I get 2% back for shopping at Sears or Kohls!  I don't know about you, but with four kids, I have to do a good amount of shopping, and it gives me a thrill to do so from the cool comfort of my home AND get paid to do so!

Additionally, I have joined Yhoti's Blogger Program where I will be helping spread the word, etc. Anyone interested in earning money while you shop, or maybe inquiring about the Yhoti blogger program, simply jump over to the Yhoti website and sign up.  Sign ups are free, very easy, and I bet when you start seeing the great stores and things they offer, you will be browsing away as I have been!

Disclaimer: I am part of the Yhoti blogger program where I will receive compensation. However, all opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. Please do your own due diligence when making decisions on purchasing something.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Judith August Cosmetics Giveaway 6/17

Judith August Cosmetics

For years now I have not needed to wear any sort of foundation, liquid makeup, or corrective pencils.  For the most part skin has been in pretty good shape with few blemishes, and I just didn't feel the need to wear it. However, in the last couple of years, I have developed a nice case of rosacea which makes my cheeks really red, and my  skin appears broken out even though it's not.  While I still don't wear a full cover makeup every day,  I have begun looking for solutions to cover up the red rosacea when I leave the house.  

Judith August became interested in cosmetic corrective products as a model because of the bags under her eyes.  When surgeons refused to operate because she was simply too young, she learned to use makeup and lighting to solve her bag issue.  Years later she is now designing corrective products for everything from a simple blemish to severe skin discoloration.

I was blessed to receive The Everything Pencil:  Face and Body Concealer that does Everything...For Everybody...Everyday to facilitate my review.  It comes in six different shades to match various skin tones, and you can even blend two pencils together to get your perfect shade if need be.  It is the perfect size to fit in your purse so you can add touch ups any time or place you need to!  It's Doctor approved, scent free, and contains aloe, and can be used as an eyelid or lip base as well as a highlighter and corrector.

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I have to admit, this pencil is amazing, and does everything it claims to do in regards to covering up and correcting skin discolorations.  You can see for yourself in the pictures how wonderful this product works.  The pictures speak for themselves.

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I have fallen in love with their products, and if I worked outside of the home, I would definitely be using this pencil every day to go to work.  Since I work from home, I will still use it when I go out, and to appointments and such.  They offer so many products such as leg products, eye products, and much more.  All are geared towards covering up specific issues, so check them out on the Judith August Cosmetic website as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.