Monday, June 30, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Making a fruit crisp is one of my very favorite ways to enjoy the summer season.. Whether served plain, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, it's always a delicious dessert my family and I love.

While I'm not really a big rhubarb fan, I do like the unique flavor it gives to this crisp. And this was one of my favorite dessert growing up, so it has a bit of nostalgic meaning for me.

I like this dessert best when it's still warm from the oven, with that scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it. But it's also great for breakfast. Either way, it's pretty yummy.

Recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp


For the fruit filling:
1 pound fresh strawberries, cut into slices
6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, well packed
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, zest, and ginger. Place the mixture in a shallow 8-cup baking dish. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

While the fruit mixture is baking, make the crisp topping. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger and butter, until the butter is distributed evenly.

After the fruit has baked for 30 minutes, remove the foil and cover with the crisp topping. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve warm, or at room temperature. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

Makes 8 serving.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Italian Sausage and Kale Pizza

The thing about pizza is that it's pretty much perfect anytime of the year. During spring and summer, there's even more veggies to pick from to put on top of them.

I made this really delicious pizza with my super easy pizza dough. Along with Italian sausage, I used bell peppers, red onions, kale, and mozzarella cheese.

I just really love this easy to make pizza dough, and the recipe easily doubles to make two pizzas. You can also use half regular white flour, and half whole wheat flour to give it an extra healthy boost.

Recipe for Italian Sausage and Kale Pizza


 For pizza Dough:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 package all purpose yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 pound of Italian sausage
1/2 bunch kale, sliced thinly
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook sausage over medium heat, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook through thoroughly.
 In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Stir until smooth. Let dough rest 5 minutes.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Sprinkle with extra flour if the dough is sticky. Transfer crust onto a lightly greased pizza pan.
Spread a medium layer of pizza sauce on dough, and lay on kale, red onion, bell peppers, and sausage. Top with cheese.

Cook in the oven for 20-22 minutes.

Makes a large size pizza.


Monday, June 23, 2014

My Favorite Recipe For Cooking With Almond Milk, Easy Coconut Cream Pie

I am a member of the Collective Bias® and Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and it's advertiser.

Ever since I discovered Silk Almondmilk a few years ago, my list of almond milk recipes has gotten longer.

I wouldn't dream of making this delicious, family favorite, Coconut Cream Pie without Silk Almond Coconut Blend. It lends a rich flavor to my recipe, and I love how Silk contains 50% more calcium than dairy milk.

I know quite a few people who are lactose intolerant, and have to drink non-dairy products. Thankfully, my family and I don't have this situation to deal with. We simply love the taste of Silk.

During the warm summer months and no school schedule, my family isn't always in the mood for a real breakfast. But I know how important it is to start out the day with something nourishing in our system. That's when I use Silk Almondmilk, yogurt, a banana, and some berries to whip up a delicious fruit smoothie.

And with the new Protein + Fiber blend, those smoothies are even more nutritious.

I drink Silk Almondmilk daily. There are always a couple of different flavors in the refrigerator, and my grandchildren love it, too.

I use it for drinking, cooking, and even making fruit-based popsicles during the summer. The kids love it, and are always asking me to make 'Nana's popsicles', which I'm happy to do.

One of our favorite summer time desserts is frozen Coconut Cream Pie. I put it in the freezer and then let it thaw out for about twenty before serving it. It tastes delicious when it's so cold, and there is never a piece left over for seconds.

The recipe is embarrassingly easy, but toasting the coconut is the secret to an unbelievably great coconut flavor.

I picked up the Almond Coconut Blend and the new Almondmilk Protein + Fiber at Safeway. They really have an amazing variety of Silk flavors to choose from.

I'm a big Safeway fan, and can't wait for the grand opening of one that is right near my house.

Like I said, this recipe is super easy to make, but the great taste doesn't reveal that. This pie is easy enough to whip up for a weeknight dessert, or fancy enough to impress your guests at a dinner party.

Recipe for Easy Coconut Cream Pie


2 packages (3. 4oz. each) vanilla flavored instant pudding
2 cups Silk Almond Coconut Blend
2 cups thawed whipped topping, divided
1 cups toasted flake coconut, divided
1 8in. ready-to-use graham cracker crumb crust


Beat pudding mixes and Almond Coconut Blend in a large bowl with a hand held mixer for 2 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup thawed topping, and 3/4 cup toasted coconut. Mix well, then pour into crust and smooth out. Top pie with remaining thawed topping and remaining coconut.
Place in freezer. Let pie thaw 20 minutes before serving.

To toast coconut, place desired amount in frying pan over medium heat. Stir frequently, and cook until toasted lightly.

Drinking #SilkAlmondBlends is a great way to enjoy a cold, delicious tasting, dairy-free beverage during the summer, and it contain no artificial flavors or coloring.

Try Silk Almond Coconut Blend, and the new Silk Almond Protein + Fiber. I'm stocking my fridge with these two great flavors to make smoothies, popsicles, and other favorite desserts.

You can find Silk on Facebook, and on Pinterest, where you can find some great recipe ideas.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

See's Candies Summer Variety Review and $25 Gift Card Giveaway

For many generations my family has enjoyed See's Candies. The way the store looks, the smells of chocolate and even the ladies dressed in the white uniforms make me smile from the memories I recall and the ones being made in that moment. Its more than a candy store to us and the summer time we go just as often as the holidays.

My son knows what he likes in See's, trying to convince him why Mommy NEEDS black licorice is tough

With my birthday being in the summer I always get a box of See's dark and milk chocolate truffles, but this year I want a box of the Summer Variety candies. I normally get the same thing each year out of tradition but after trying a box of the Summer Variety for my review I have a new summertime favorite. The use of white chocolate on nuts and caramel is amazing! The flavors of summer like coconut, apricot and lemon are in this box making it light and sweet. This box of candy is perfect for wanting sweets but not a heavy dark chocolate. My favorite is the Key Lime Pie and my son loved the Apple Pie Truffle. We also bought a few Blueberry Truffles to try and they are beyond delicious!

We ate most the candies before I got a picture :)

It would not be a trip to See's without picking up some lollipops. Even if we are going to the mall for one thing we always manage a quick stop into See's for a lollipop. See's has many Summer friendly candies that you can pack into a camping trip bag or mail to a loved one like lollipops, black licorice, peanut brittle and my son's favorite the red, white and blue sour chews.

My son also picked out a few smaller chocolates like a chocolate clown, chocolate apple and a milk chocolate candy bar for his Dad. We are always satisfied with the quality of ingredients in See's and the people who work their are always as sweet as the treats. I look forward to my birthday in July to get myself another box of Summer Variety candies.


Win a $25 Gift Card to See's Candies

Enter in the Rafflecopter Form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts June 19, 2014 and ends on July 3, 2014 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent a product to review for this post.


Monday, June 16, 2014

#ad Help End Hunger With Tyson and Champions For Kids Know Hunger Project

I am a member of the Collective Bias® and Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and it's advertiser.


I am thrilled to be participating in the Tyson and Champions for Kids Know Hunger project with a food donation in my local community.
Tyson Foods has partnered with Champions for Kids to create the Summer of Giving, where every time you buy a specially marked Tyson product, Tyson will donate a meal for a child in need.
In an effort to help create awareness of hunger, Tyson created the Know Hunger project.
The project is designed to encourage people to KNOW the scope of hunger in their own communities and get involved in relief efforts, so someday there will be NO hunger in our country.
I purchased Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken to create a meal of chicken tacos for my family, and to make a donation of a dinner to a mom in our community. This mom and her kids are going through some rough times, and I knew she would welcome a home cooked meal. We also gave a package of Tyson chicken nuggets that the kids could eat later.
My grandson Jayden came along with me to make the donation, and I know it did his heart good to help others.

Hunger is something that many of us are fortunate enough not to have to go through. But of course, many children go to bed hungry each night. And 1 in 4 Americans is worried about having enough money to put food on the table in the next year.

By buying specially marked Tyson product packages, you can help in the fight again childhood hunger. This is such an easy way to help out, and provide delicious tasting meals for your own family at the same time.

I purchased my Tyson chicken products at my local Walmart. Through the Know Hunger project, Walmart has promised to feed 5 million kids this summer.

I always love cooking with Tyson's Grilled & Ready Chicken. The chicken is already cooked and frozen with delicious flavors, and it's super easy to just pop it in the pan.

Tacos are one of my family's favorite meals, so I make them pretty often. And it feels great that when I purchase Tyson products, I am helping to fight hunger.

I really enjoyed making my family these chicken tacos for dinner. But even more so, I enjoyed making them and donating them to a family in need.

It doesn't take a whole lot sometimes to make a difference in other people's lives. But sometimes we aren't truly aware of the needs that exist, even in our own communities. Community involvement is often the first step.

Thanks to Tyson and Champions for Kids, the Know Hunger project helps make us all aware of the pressing needs of feeding others in our own communities, and nation wide.

Please make this your #SummerofGiving by purchasing the specially marked packages of Tyson products.

You can also look for the Summer Of Giving display board at your local Walmart.

Thank you!!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Glazed Blueberry Donuts

I'm loving all the delicious berries that are now in the stores and farmer's markets. It's hard to pass them up when they look so good.

I decided to combine my favorite vanillas donut recipes with some fresh blueberries, and they turned out to be a great combination. And there's a little less guilt for making donuts for no reason if they have healthy blueberries in them!!


Recipe for Glazed Blueberry Donuts


 1 cup all purpose flour
6 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Ingredients for glaze:

1/2 cup powered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (or more as needed) tablespoons milk, heavy cream, or half & half


 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a donut pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Add buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, and melted butter. Stir to combine. Stir in blueberries. Carefully spoon batter into prepared donut pan, filling 2/3 full.
Bake 8-10 minutes, or until donuts are baked through. Allow to cool 5 minutes and remove from pan.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and choice of either milk, heavy cream, or half & half.
Stir until smooth, adding more tablespoons of liquid as needed. Drizzle glaze over donuts.

Makes 8 donuts.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Enjoy Summer Family Fun With DIGIORNO® Pizza

I am a member of the Collective Bias® and Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and it's advertiser.

One of my family's favorite summertime activities is playing board games together. We spend hours out on the deck playing, and there is always some friendly competition going on among us.

We love playing Scrabble, and there are plenty of word challenges where we have to get out the dictionary to settle things. I love this, and it makes me grateful that we can spend this time together.

All the game playing calls for some great tasting food, of course. So this weekend I bought some DIGIORNO®  pizzas for us to enjoy. The weather was gorgeous, and we had a lot of fun.

I went to Walmart to pick up my pizzas, some drinks, and some snacks. I love the DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza. My family loves them too, so I usually pick up a few.

Since I always enjoy trying new products from brands I like, I also bought the new DIGIORNO® Design A Pizza™ Kit, and the pizzeria! from DIGIORNO®.

It saves me so much time and money when I buy these oven ready pizzas, and with so many different kinds to choose from, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

My grandson made this masterpiece from the DIGIORNO® Design A Pizza™ Kit. The kit is a fun way to get creative, and there are severable kinds to choose from.

In the middle of our game, the pizzas were ready. Yum, hot and delicious, just the way we like them!

What kids don't like pizza, and my grandchildren certainly do. I like that when I buy DIGIORNO® Pizza, I always know it's going to be family pleasing.

This Tuscan Chicken flavored pizza was my personal favorite, and one I will have to go back to Walmart and stock up on. Really delicious and flavorful, and I love chicken on my pizzas.

Our summers here in the Seattle area are unpredictable, and we do get rain at times. That makes the time that we do spend outdoors even more special.

Family time is precious to me, and I don't want to spend a lot of time cooking when we manage to get everyone together. So, great tasting, oven ready DIGIORNO® Pizza is a favorite for us.

Look for the DIGIORNO® Design A Pizza™ Kit, DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza, and the pizzaeria! from DIGIORNO® at Walmart.

Summer is a great time to enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun, either by playing classic board games like my family does, or creating your own way to make some fun memories.

Pick up some great tasting pizzas and lots of #summergoodies for plenty of summertime fun.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Favorite Pasta Salad Recipe, Black Olive Italian Pasta Salad

Soon it will be officially summer, and it's time for all those delicious summer side dishes. Pasta salads, roasted corn, and macaroni and cheese are just some of my favorite foods to pair with grilled meat.

I like making a double batch of this delicious, and simple pasta salad. I can eat it for lunch, or serve it with dinner during the week.

 Either way, I hope it's as big a hit with your family as it is mine!

Recipe for Black Olive Italian Pasta Salad


3 cups multi-color rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pesto
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1cup Italian salad dressing
salt and pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a large bowl, toss well to combine. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight to bring out flavors.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

This is a recipe that is easy, fast and super delicious. Even if the kids in the family don't like spinach, they just might eat this up like my grandchildren did, without even mentioning the veggie.

Pair it with a green salad, and warm garlic bread, and you have a meal that is great for a weeknight dinner.

This recipe is from the blog, where you can find lots of great tasting, low fat recipes.

Recipe for Spinach Lasagna Rolls


9 lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
32 oz tomato sauce
9 tablespoons (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle 1 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.
Place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lay out noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodles. Roll carefully and place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
Ladle tomato sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.

Makes 9 rolls.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Old-Fashioned Banana Cake Recipe From The Barefoot Contessa

It's almost summer, and that means there are lots of family celebrations, barbeques, and picnics coming up.

It's nice to be able to bring a cake that is moist and delicious, and everyone asks for the recipe. This cake is all three of these things, and another one of my favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes. It is from the How Easy Is that? cookbook.

Yes, I have had an Ina Garten crush for many years. She is just the most warm and gracious person on her Food Network TV show, and a fabulous cook, of course.

All of her recipes that I have tried have always come out great, and her books are always so beautiful, and filled with so much helpful information that the home cook will find useful.

So, if you need a delicious cake, filled with banana and walnut yumminess, this recipe for Old-Fashioned Banana Cake is one I really recommend making.

Barefoot Contessa Recipe for Old-Fashioned Banana Cake


3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, divided to use 1/2 cup on top of cake

For Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners, sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the bananas, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on low speed until combined. With the mixer still on low, add the oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix just until just combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.

To make the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don't whip. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

Spread the frosting thickly on top of the cake and decorate with remaining walnuts.

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