Month: March 2014

Knotts Berry Bloom!

Knotts Berry Bloom!

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BUENA PARK, CA:  April 12 – 27, 2014 – The second annual Knott’s Berry Bloom returns this spring season with larger than life displays of beautiful spring colors, interactive family-friendly activities, expanded gourmet food and wine tasting opportunities, and more! New for 2014, celebrate the nostalgic history of Knott’s roots (literally!) at the Ghost Town Boysenberry Festival.  This immersive festival honors the delectable berry that started it all in inventive and delicious ways.

As part of the festival, inside Wilderness Dance Hall guests will find a variety of boysenberry inspired gourmet food and wine offerings from around the world.  Just outside of the dance hall, towering sculpted topiaries provide shade during warm April days and twinkle brighter than stars at night. Ghost Town will be filled with the mouthwatering aroma of ribs, chicken, and other charbroiled treats smothered with boysenberry glaze and cooked on open-air barbeques throughout the streets of the festival.

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Besides the food (which is one of my main reasons to attend) my 4 year old will have a blast at the Easter Beagle’s ENORMOUS Egg Hunt. This year, all five of the interactive Easter Beagle locations will also be prize locations for kids 3-11 years old who are on the hunt for spring time fun.  The path will lead explorers to a grand finale meet and greet location with Snoopy in an area of Camp Snoopy created just for this attraction!

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In the Camp Snoopy Theatre, the all new musical revue, Flower Power, will showcase the Peanuts pals singing, dancing, and celebrating springtime to cheerful tunes – and they just might invite little ones on stage to celebrate with them!  As part of the 30 renovation of the entire land dedicated to kids, guests will enjoy the show in the comfort of the new audience shade structure!

RT KBF Spring Fling Vert Gardening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All this and many more events… but let us not forget about the thrilling coasters and all the other fun rides!  Join me for this awesome celebration… all happening this coming April.  See you there!

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.
A Four Tier Wedding Cheese Cake, A Contest For New Brides, And A Review Of “Blossom Street Brides”

A Four Tier Wedding Cheese Cake, A Contest For New Brides, And A Review Of “Blossom Street Brides”

Wedding inspired cake made of cheese and edible flowers

I relish the moments when I can spend a little me time alone with a book. It’s usually a Blossom Street Brides cover imagebig deal for me, so I try and make an event out of it.  I wait for my son to be tucked away and fast asleep, that way I could be sure there will be little to no interuptions. I put on my softest p.j.’s , make a little snack and serve myself a lovely beverage (either wine or tea….depending on my mood). Lately I have been reading an advanced copy of this book called “Blossom Street Brides” by Debbie Macomber. I’m a total sucker for a sweep me off my feet romance, especially when it’s an easy read, and this book is just that. If you love these types of books too, then you gotta read this one. I was so endeared with “Blossom Street Brides” I would make wedding cheese-cake plates at night as I read to fit in theme with the story. I couldn’t help it… I wanted to live vicariously through the characters, and the cheese-cake just made it all the more realistic! Okay, let me tell you just a little about the book without giving too much away….

It’s based in Seattle, and the story revolves around three woman and their relationships. It starts with Lauren Elliot who has been waiting for her long term boyfriend, Todd, to propose to her. When his timing isn’t working out with hers, she makes a bold choice and leaves him. Only to find herself on a new exciting adventure with a man named Rooster that she would never expect to like. Then there is Bethanne Scranton who is newly married to her second husband, Max. These two are blissfully in love, but there is one big problem…. Max’s business is in California, and Bethanne’s is in Seattle. The strain of distance is hard on their marriage, especially when Bethanne’s first husband Grant (who lives in Seattle) is trying to win her back. Lastly is Lydia Goetz,  a happily married business woman who owns a local yarn shop. Lately she worries about bringing in more business to A Good Yarn. Then without her knowing, someone hatches up a brilliant plan to drop baskets of yarn all around town with instructions to knit a scarf for charity and return it to Lydia’s shop. This is the exact boost her shop needs and the mystery starts to be the buzz on the streets, but who should  she thank for this great upturn?

As three woman’s lives intersect they realize that love heals every heart and the best surprises still lay ahead. There are lots of marriages, hearts filled with romance and an addicting story that doesn’t let you put the book down. You’ll be able to buy the book on 4.8.14 and it will be $17.97 only at Walmart (31% off list price of $26). Just for the record…. I got my cheeses at Walmart too.

Ingredients for mini wedding cheese-cake:

  • Queso fresco
  • fresh water mozzarella
  • cream cheese
  • laughing cow mini babybel
  • edible flowers

Directions:

  1. Stack cheeses on a plate with the largest cheese on the bottom as a base and the smallest on top. I shaped the cream cheese into a circle with a cookie cutter.
  2. Decorate each tier with flowers.
  3. Serve with crackers.
  4. Enjoy, read, and fall in love!

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ARE YOU A NEW BRIDE OR BRIDE TO BE? I GOT A CONTEST FOR YOU!!!!!             “Start your new lives together! Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Walmart gift card”  To enter the contest visit www.debbiemacomber.com ! Sweepstakes will run from now till 5/25/14! Winner will be chosen on 6/14! Enter now!

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Parmesan Crisps In A Creamy Zucchini Soup

Parmesan Crisps In A Creamy Zucchini Soup

         Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Mama Francesca Cheese. However all opinions and the recipe are 100% my own.

Parmesan crisps in a creamy zucchini soup #mamafrancesca

I never seem to tire of cheese.  The thought of cheese excites me.  It makes me want to plan an entire meal around it or just slice it up with a cracker.  I run the gamut on the types I like and usually will hunt high and low for a specialty cheese.  Come on, does this really need explaining?  My logo to this blog is a little mouse.  That didn’t happen on accident.  I say it loud and proud,  “I’m a cheese girl!”

You can only imagine my utter delight when I happened to come across the premium MF_logo_premcheese_blackMama Francesca Cheese (available in a variety of flavors) at my local Walmart.  I nearly jumped for joy.  I adore parmesan cheese and it can sometimes be a little bit of a pain to find a nice one at an everyday market that’s affordable.  For some reason most people only think of parmesan cheese as a spaghetti topper, and forget to explore all the other wonderful things you can do with it.  I like to mix it into my mashed potatoes or make it into a pesto or encrust my chicken in it and fry it to a crisp, or simply make parmesan crisps out of it for soup or salad.  It doesn’t matter what you do it, as long as you buy it and eat it right away.

Ingredients for parmesan crisps and creamy zucchini soup:

  • 5 – tablespoons Mama Francesca cheese ( I used Perfetto flavor)
  • 1 – tablespoon olive oil 
    LIneup shot Mama Francesca
  • 6 – garlic cloves
  • 1/3 – cup leeks (chopped)
  • 9 – zucchini (chopped in rounds)
  • 1 – tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 – teaspoon chile flakes (the kind you use on pizza)
  • 1 – teaspoons Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • 1/2 – teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 – bay leaf
  • 4 – cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 – cup 1/2 and 1/2

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with a baking mat.
  3. Pour 1/2 tablespoons of Mama Francesca cheese into little circle on the mat. Make sure they do not touch. parmesan cheese crisps #mamafrancesca
  4. Bake the cheese for 5 to 6 minutes or until golden crisp. baked parmesan cheese #mamafrancesca
  5. Set to the side to cool on baking sheet until ready to use.
  6. In a large pan over a medium flame add in olive oil and allow to get hot.
  7. Add in leeks and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.
  8. Cut zucchini into rounds. I used a variety of zucchini. colorful variety of zucchini
  9. Then add in zucchini, dried basil, chile flakes, Lawry’s, black pepper, and bay leaf. Mix to combine. Continue to saute for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the center of the zucchini starts to become translucent.
  10. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.
  11. Boil the zucchini until fork tender for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. Then remove bay leaf from soup.
  13. Working in batches, pour 1/3 of the zucchini soup into a blender with 1/2 and 1/2. Blend until completely smooth/pureed.
  14. Pour smooth/pureed zucchini mixture into a bowl, and continue with the rest of the zucchini soup until all is pureed.
  15. Serve in a bowl hot and top with parmesan crisp and EAT IT!zucchini soup with a parmesan crisp #mamafrancesca
Turkey Bacon Pieces For Baked Potatoes

Turkey Bacon Pieces For Baked Potatoes

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Butterball ®.  All opinions are 1oo % my own.

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It comes as no surprise that I love bacon. If you read my blog once every six months or even less… you still know I love bacon. I TRY and restrain myself from putting it in everything, because sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad. Unless you mix it up with a variety, and add TURKEY to the mix. This is where the story gets good, I recently stumbled upon an awesome app for Butterball ® Turkey on iTunes called Butterball ® Cookbook Plus (psssst…. it’s free for a limited time), as I was scrolling through all the delicious recipes I came to a baked potato recipe with a simple turkey bacon topper, my mouth watered at the idea. I flipped through the index and saw the simple instructions on how to make this comfort food heaven come to life on a plate before me (I posted the recipe from the app below). About an hour later I was eating my turkey bacon topped baked potato, and looking for more recipes to try. I spied a couple that are musts in the next few days. Take a look, you may find some you like too.

Butterball

There were lots of features on the app I found to be super neat. For instance it takes voice commands: you can search advanced recipe instructions, using simple voice commands. I loved that it plays to my social media side: I could share what I’m cooking off the app with friends through email or Facebook. Here is the last thing I’ll say about this awesome app so you don’t think I’ve gone too gaga over the little bells and whistles…. It has this cool kitchen tool that offers substitution lists and a measurement conversion chart. That’s what I call an app. Happy searching. 

Ingredients for turkey bacon pieces for baked potato:

ingredients

   

Sprinkle topping on top of a baked potato, like I did in the picture at the top of this post. Enjoy!    

 

Growing My Family Healthy With 3 Simple Goals

Growing My Family Healthy With 3 Simple Goals

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Knowledge Universe. However all opinions and the recipe are 100% my own.

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It’s that time of the year again.  Leaving is the dreary, grey and cold winter and coming is the fresh and pretty colors that is springtime.  With the changing of the seasons, so is my energy and my mindset.

I’m mainly speaking about my four-year-old boy, Max.  You see, he’s in his first year of pre-school and along with his trying to expand his little leaning mind and making new friends in school, it also means that he’s exposed to a lot more germs from other children.  I’m not kidding when I say that he was sick at least twice a month this past winter.  He had everything from sniffles, coughing, mucus, sneezing, projectile, high fever…. You name it, he’s had it these past few months.  Of course with him being sick so much, he also got the rest of the family sick. I don’t know if it was only that or if his unhealthy choices of snacks also contributed to it. Can you say sugar rush?

sugar-rush

Well, I’m officially done with it!  I’m starting to incorporate this new philosophy of a better mind, body, and food consumption into our life this spring. Not to mention I need to lose some weight myself, so this will be a good place to start. I figure with better nutrition and eating habits in check… we will all be in stronger body and hopefully sharper minds.  When we want to relax and slow down our hectic day we could play a board game or figure out a puzzle or read a book.   It’ll be full circle…  I love that!

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I recently got asked to join forces with Knowledge Universe, and set a few goals for my family…. which I was already thinking of doing anyway. You see…. Knowledge Universe is this great company that cares for 0ver 130,000 kids everday and are now teaming up with Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a healthier America (PHA) to help battle child obesity. The goal is to help families make little simple changes  that could lead to a healthier lifestyle.  This is perfect for me right now, and so inspiring. If Knowledge universe can teach and care for thousands of kids, I can get it together for my family of 3. Plus it should be no problem finding new ways to incorporate our new goals since Knowledge Universe created the Grow Happy blog which will feature practical, easy, and step-by-step guides on how to eat well and stay fit together: Fun cooking videos, a collection of kid friendly recipes (dietitian approved), and tips on how to bring small healthier habits into our everyday life.

strawberries

Here are the goals I am going to strive for:

FOOD:  We have a tendency to eat a lot of sugar in our house.  We’ll easily indulge in cakes & cookies a couple of times a week without thinking twice.  Our aim is going to be A LOT more fruits and vegetables, and maybe sweets only once a week.  I will also implement a  “vegetarian day” twice a week. I want my boy to learn to eat salads, and pick vegetables at the market…. eventually it will meld into his adulthood and he’ll make better eating choices.

kale-salad tomatoes carrots vegetables

BODY: Our son is very physical.  We just started him in swimming lessons.  It’s helped ease our minds with summer coming because he’s always the first one to jump in the pool.  Only now he’ll know what to do once he’s in the water! It’s me I need to concentrate on in this area. I plan on taking walks, dancing to the ever so popular zumba, and slimming down my mid-section with pilates. If I could commit to this type of movement 3 times a week… it will make for a healthier me.

pool IMG_0347 scooter water-time

MIND:  With the entire house being more active, it would do us some good to focus as a group to learn to calm down and not race around all day.  We’ll sit around the living room with the T.V. off and play board games or make 3-D puzzles, or even cook together. Not only will it teach us to focus and let the stress of the day go, it will also allow us to bond.

Cooking-together games

Do you want to set some easy goals for you and your family? Go to the Grow Happy site for more ideas and tips. Or download the goal tracker!

Download your own goal tracker here!

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A St. Patrick’s Day Feast: Corned Beef And Cabbage

A St. Patrick’s Day Feast: Corned Beef And Cabbage

slow cooker corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick's Day

Oh yeah,  It’s time for corned beef and cabbage.  Let me just set the record straight.  When I was a little girl the only way I had ever eaten corned beef was in a hash out of a can and in a hard taco because that was the way my grandfather prepared it.  It wasn’t till I was a teenager that I ate a proper corned beef  and cabbage that my Auntie Rosie had made for St. Patrick’s Day and I was so excited, I didn’t bother to ask her how she made it.  Over the years I have had many corned beef variations, everything from sandwiches to taquitos to hash with a poached egg on top and every once in a while I’m reminded of that first time I had the real thing with cabbage.

This year I decided to not let another St. Patrick’s Day go by without making my own corned beef and cabbage.  I looked up a few recipes on the internet and didn’t really like what I saw.  Then I thought, why not call my most reliable source in the world, my awesome Auntie Rosie!  She gets on the phone and I run a few ideas by her on how I want to prepare mine and she tells me all the methods I have suggested will work fine.  She’s a little “iffy” about my ground mustard rub idea but in the end tells me to go for it. Before we hang up, I ask her “Auntie Rosie, where can I buy corned beef?”  She said, “I buy mine at Walmart.”  That’s all I needed to hear.

The ingredients needed for a corned beef meal

Ingredients needed for corned beef and cabbage:

  • 1 1/2 – cups water
  • 4 – lbs corned beef
  • 1 – onion
  • spice packet: come included with the corned beef ( mustard seeds, coriander, black peppercorns, and bay leaf)
  • 2 – sprigs of thyme
  • 1 – teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 – head of cabbage
  • 10 – baby carrots (optional)
  • 1 – teaspoon olive oil
  • 10 – yellow potatoes
  • 1 – teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  1. Pour water into a slow cooker, then place corned beef, and onion inside slow cooker.
  2. Sprinkle the spice packet over the corned beef. Then sprinkle the ground mustard over the top, and add the thyme to the top. Corned beef ready to cook in a slow cooker
  3. Cover and cook for about 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  4. While the corned beef is cooking steam the cabbage and roast the potatoes an hour before dinner time.
  5. Cut the cabbage in 4 equal pieces, then place them in a steamer basket inside a dutch oven with about an inch of water at the bottom of the pot. Place a lid over the dutch oven and place over a medium high flame and steam for 40 minutes. You can add carrots to the cabbage if you would like. Cabbage in a steam basket in a dutch oven
  6. To cook the potatoes: place them on a baking tray and drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes. roasted potatoes out of the oven
  7. When corned beef is ready. Remove from the slower cooker and place under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly browned on top.
  8. Let the corned beef rest for 15 minutes before slicing it. corned beef browned from the broiler
  9. Serve with cabbage, and potatoes.
  10. Enjoy! Corned beef and cabbage for March 17th

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Food Craft: Radish Wreath

Food Craft: Radish Wreath

Springtime radish wreath

Looks like this spring break I will be home. Finally a long awaited rest en mi casa. I have been traveling and running around like a mad woman lately. Even though it may sound like a let down to some people, I just fantasize about staying home with my fiance and our son and maybe inviting some friends over for a nice dinner.

Okay so here’s the skinny… I decided to stop fantasizing about it and start planning my little staycation at home instead. I hopped in the car and headed over to Walmart. With no particular plan in mind, just as a way to rummage through the store and see what I could find. I walked aimlessly through the aisles and found myself in the craft area. There on a hook was a variety of wreath skeletons empty and begging to be filled with something. I remembered these cool wreaths I had seen a while back made of vegetables and thought “I have that white fence that needs some color to welcome in spring.” Before I knew it a wreath skeleton was in my cart and I had made my way to the produce section of the store to see what leafy beauty I could fill it with. I found little bunches of radishes and they were certainly priced right for my project. I grabbed 10 bunches and rushed to the cashier, so I could get home and start my project. Taking me one step closer to my staycation and making the place feel more like spring with a simple veggie wreath. Now all I have to do is pick up the phone and invite some friends over for dinner.

items needed for radish wreath

Items needed for radish wreath:

  • 8 inch wreath
  • 10 to 15  – radish bunches
  • thin floral wire (26 gauge)
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Start by spreading out your radishes in clusters.
  2. Then cut 6 inch pieces of wire and wrap them around the radish clusters where they are gathered by a rubber band.
  3. Carefully place the radishes onto the wreath with the radishes pointing toward the center and the leaves pointing toward the outer ring of the wreath.
  4. Then on the other side of the wreath twist the wire to tie it to the wreath. twist wire to tie radishes to wreath
  5. Continue until the entire wreath is filled with radishes.
  6. Hang and enjoy for a few days.  side view of radish wreath

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