Monday, March 30, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Blu-Ray Giveaway #TheHobbit

I am a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings series and now the Hobbit movies. I find it exciting to get lost in another world of wizards, elves, rings with the common human stories of survival, love and loss. Seeing it with hobbits, elves, dwarves and other make believe creatures make it a little more fun! The landscape of New Zealand where the film is made is amazingly beautiful. We saw the movie in theaters and are excited to see it again on Blu-Ray.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpieceThe Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.
Special Features on the Blu-Ray combo pack include:

• New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3• Recruiting the Five Armies• Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga• Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey• The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes• Music Video• Trailers
Own it on Blu-ray NOW
The Hobbit The Battle of The Five Armies App:
• Are you Brave like Bilbo? Take the quiz to find out if you have the bravery it takes to journey through Middle Earth!

• Mouse over the Interactive Map to learn fun facts about Middle-Earth.

• Watch the official trailer & click the box art to bring the film home today!

We are hosting a giveaway for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Blu-Ray, you can enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 *Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts March 30, 2015 and ends on April 13, 2015 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. Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brown Rice Veggie Mix Recipe

As much as I really enjoy eating meat, especially beef and chicken, sometimes I like to make a meatless meal. It doesn't hurt to skip eating meat a few times a week, in fact it can be a nice break for me. And let's face it, meat is expensive.

I do make and eat quite a lot of brown rice, often making it ahead and keeping it for when I want to eat it during the week. Brown rice is healthier that white rice, and I love it's nutty, earthy flavor.

This recipe is super easy to make, and you can vary the veggies if you don't have these on hand. The bell pepper gives it a touch of color, and red bell peppers are so good for you.

Recipe for Brown Rice Veggie Mix


4 cups cooked brown rice
3 tablespoons olive
1 onion, chopped
1 read bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1-1/2 cups broccoli florets
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


In a large frying pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and broccoli. Sauté vegetables until softened, about 6-8 minutes.
Stir in rice and heat through. Stir in balsamic vinegar, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Little Caesars Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza Review and Giveaway

Its no secret I have a love for Pizza. Even so much my 5 year old seems to know since he was "interviewing" me and asked what my favorite food was, I 
hesitated and he said its pizza! When I asked my son what he wanted to do on my next day off he said he wanted to have a pizza picnic at the park. I thought that was an awesome idea and it is something we try to do every so often. Some people bring sandwiches and chips to a picnic we bring pizza and bread sticks

Since Little Caesars is HOT-N-READY and affordable it is our go to pizza place for pizza at the park. We wanted to try the new Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza. Pizza and Bacon are always a delicious combo but this is the first time I have ever eaten a bacon wrapped pizza. I must say it was delicious. Its a very filling pizza like the deep dish I have eaten before just better cause there is bacon on it!! 

Little Caesars proudly introduces their HOT-N-READY Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza, for just $12 bucks. That’s a large, 8 crunchy corner slices of Deep!Deep! Dish Pizza topped with pepperoni and bacon, then wrapped in over three and a half feet of crispy bacon. No calling ahead or waiting for your pizza, because it’s HOT-N-READY everyday between 4pm to 8pm only at Little Caesars, world’s fastest way to pizza. Available for a limited time at participating locations, $12 plus tax. 

We had a wonderful time with our pizza picnic at the park and even had leftovers. My son was wanting seconds as soon as we returned home. You can find the nearest Little Caesars Pizza to plan your own pizza picnic or other pizza adventure by using the store locator.

You can win a $20 Little Caesars Pizza gift card to have your own pizza adventure with the new Bacon Wrapped Crust Deep!Deep! Dish by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts March 23 2015 and ends on April 6, 2015 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 gift card to review the pizza for this post.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Pear Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Yesterday when I was in the grocery store, I couldn't help noticing all the gorgeous looking fruit available. Everything just looked so ripe and luscious, especially the pears.

Since I love desserts made with fruit, like my Apple Cake, and my Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, I decided to make this Pear Upside-Down Cake with the pears I had bought.

It turned out delicious, and my family had a great dessert on a busy weeknight, which they really appreciated. I didn't have a lot of time to make these kinds of cakes when my five kids were growing up. So much of motherhood is just getting through the day with everyone clean and fed.

So it's nice to be able to spend the time making a cake like this now. It's not really that food is love, or maybe it is, but taking the time to make something for the people you love.


Of course everything tastes better with a scoop of ice cream on it, right? This cake is well worth the effort, and holds together really well, perfect for taking it to a friend's house to share it, or even on a picnic.

Just make sure your pears are nice and ripe, and try to use Bosc or Anjou variety. And when you flip it over onto the cake plate when it's done, I let it rest for a couple of minutes like that so the cake comes out in one piece.

Recipe for Pear Upside-Down Cake


3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 firm but ripe pears (like Bosc or Anjou) peeled, cored, and sliced
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-or-10 inch round, metal cake pan, over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter with the brown sugar. Stir until butter melts and mixture is slightly caramelized, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Arrange pears slices, slightly overlapping, in a neat circular pattern on top of the caramel.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter with flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla for 1 minute on low speed. Increase speed to high and beat 3 minutes longer. Pour batter over pears in the pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Run a thin spatula around the edges of the cake and then invert onto a heat-proof cake plate. Let rest for 2 minutes and then remove pan.

Serve cake warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
Serves 6-8.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cherry Bread Pudding With DOVE® Fruit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #LoveDoveFruits

Ever since my kids were little, we have been a family of snack lovers. As in we can't get into the car, walk down the street, or sit down to watch TV without having a snack in hand. My kids are all grown up now, but my grandchildren love snacking too, and we are always looking for yummy new snacks to try.

So when I came across DOVE® Fruit at Walmart, I knew I had found something delicious that we could all enjoy. DOVE® Fruit are whole pieces of real fruit, dipped in DOVE® creamy dark chocolate.

Since I'm such a fruit lover, and I never say no to dark chocolate, these have become my favorite new snack. I get to indulge in something sweet and delicious, and it's a much better choice for me than some of the other snacks I sometimes have on hand.

My favorite kind of DOVE® Fruit has to be the Cherry, so I used them to make Cherry Bread Pudding. I love bread pudding because it tastes so good, and it's one of those old fashioned desserts that make me nostalgic just thinking about it.

Even though I love the Cherry variety the best, the Cranberry and Blueberry aren't far behind. My grandkids eat lots of fruit, especially blueberries, so they really loved the Blueberry kind.

These also make a great addition to yogurt, granola, and cereal. And when I'm running out the door and know I'll be needing a snack, it's so easy to toss a bag in my purse to enjoy when I start feeling hungry.

I made my bread pudding with whole wheat bread and non-fat milk. It's a healthier version of how I used to make it, and I think it tastes just as good.

I'm finding that little changes add up, so using the whole wheat bread makes me feel better about indulging in some of my favorite foods. The chocolate in the DOVE® Fruit melted into the bread and tasted so good. The cherries had just the right amount of tanginess to satisfy me and my craving for a great tasting dessert. Yum!

Recipe for Cherry Bread Pudding with DOVE® Fruit


2 cups non-fat milk                                           
1/4 cup butter 
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups soft whole wheat bread cubes
1 cup Cherry DOVE® Fruit  pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium saucepan, heat milk and butter until butter is melted and milk is warmed.
In a large bowl, mix milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in bread cubes until bread is completely moistened. Stir in DOVE® Fruit pieces.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Serve warm or cold with whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 5-6 servings.

Look for DOVE® Fruit at a Walmart near you. I found them at this display near the checkout stands, but you can also look for them in the candy aisle.

I always use coupons to save money whenever I can, and you can save too by using the $1.00 off coupon available here for your DOVE® Fruit purchase.

And you can find some really great recipes to inspire you on the DOVE® Fruit social hub

What about you, have you tried DOVE® Fruit yet? What's your favorite variety, Cherry, Blueberry, or Cranberry? Please leave me a comment and let me know.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Chicken and Rice Bake Recipe

This is a recipe that my family really loves, and I love how easy it is to put together. It uses two cups of cooked, cubed chicken. I try to have cubes of cooked and frozen chicken in the freezer, and this really helps to make this a quick meal for a busy weeknight dinner.

The black beans and tomatoes give it a healthy boost, and I'm finding that the kids will eat it as long as I don't add any hot sauce to the recipe, and serve it with corn muffins.

The leftovers, if there is any, can be put into a warm tortilla with salsa and sour cream the next day for a yummy lunch. And it's a great make-ahead recipe too. Just pop it back into the oven awhile and it still tastes great.

Recipe for Chicken and Rice Bake


1-1/2 cups white or yellow rice
1 cup chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 (10oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups grated Mexican style cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare rice according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, sauté onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium heat 10 minutes or until tender.
3. Combine hot cooked rice, onion mixture, chicken, beans, corn, diced tomatoes and chiles, and 1- 1/2 cups cheese in a large bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 3-qt. or 13- x 9-inch baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
4. Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serves 6.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Switching To Purina® Pro Plan® and A Recipe For A Doggie Birthday Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ProPlanPet #CollectiveBias

As a dog owner, nothing makes me happier than knowing that I'm doing everything I can to make sure our dog is happy and healthy. He's such a big part of our family, and I just can't imagine life without him. So one of my biggest concerns is finding a dog food for him that is packed with great nutrition, and a taste he will love.

We've tried feeding him a few different brands of food, but then I found out that switching him to Purina® Pro Plan® dry food would be a smarter choice. The goal of Purina® Pro Plan® is to give your dog the nutrition to be his absolute best, helping him to be energetic and resilient, and maintaining an ideal body condition, healthy skin, and a stunning coat.

These are all very important concerns for our dog, so making the change to Purina® Pro Plan® was an easy decision for us.

I found the most amazing selection of Purina® Pro Plan® at PetSmart, and a helpful staff to answer my questions about which formula of food to choose. I love shopping at PetSmart because I always find everything I need there, and the selection of pet items is the biggest I've ever seen. And of course, I love finding all the cute toys, Halloween costumes and treats there as well.

This is our sweet boy Chewy. He really is the best dog I've ever met, so good natured and loving, and very gentle with my grandchildren. He loves watching any show with animals in it and growls and barks at them. I think this is one of his favorite things in life, besides eating and playing fetch.

Making the switch to Purina® Pro Plan® was easy, and Chewy loved it right away. There was no tummy upsets or noticeable changes that we could see. I really like the fact that real chicken, beef, lamb, or salmon is the #1 ingredient found in all Purina® Pro Plan® dry formulas.

It's the first dry dog food brand to use and be founded on the idea of real meat as the #1 ingredient to help promote total body health. Every high quality ingredient is chosen for a specific purpose.

And just like people, what kind of food that dogs eat will help determine the quality of their health. I know as dog lovers, we all want the best for our beloved pets, so switching to Purina® Pro Plan® can be a healthy choice.

You can share about your dog with like-minded dog owners on the Purina® Pro Plan® Facebook
page here. Share what means the best life for your dog, photos, stories, and more.

We have a large family, so that means it's always somebody's birthday. Birthday cakes and presents are a must for all of those happy celebrations. The first year we had Chewy my grandchildren wanted to give him a party too. So we did, and when his second birthday rolled around, they wanted to do it again.

So now it's just a fact of life that Chewy gets a birthday party every year, just like everyone else. So of course he needs a birthday cake, right?

This year I made him a Peanut Butter Cake. It's got carrots, flour, honey and peanut butter in it. I frosted it with more peanut butter, then I sprinkled pieces of the  Purina® Pro Plan® on top of it. Though it's a dog cake recipe for dogs, humans can eat it too, minus the dog food on top.

Doesn't everyone bake their dog a birthday cake, put a hat on him, and sing him Happy Birthday?

I know it's silly, but it's become a happy family tradition for us, one that my grandchildren have come to love. Chewy even gets presents and it's the perfect time to spoil him.

This is a super easy cake to make, with ingredients I almost always have on hand. I gave Chewy one slice of it on his birthday and kept the rest in the refrigerator. He got a little piece of it for a few days, and I know he couldn't believe his good fortune.

Recipe for Peanut Butter Dog Birthday Cake


1/2 cup peanut butter, plus additional
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup whole wheat or white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup peanut for frosting the cake


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey in a large bowl, blend well with a hand mixer
Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly.
Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture.
Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Frost cake with additional peanut butter and top with dog food pieces.

 If you would like to try this food for your dog,visit the Purina® Pro Plan® MyPLAN website to get your dog's MyPLAN recommendation and a rebate offer for a free bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Dog Food (4-6lbs, up to $18.99.) Good only in U.S.A. A.P.O's, F.P.O's. Void where taxed, prohibited, restricted. Allow 6-8 weeks for shipment. LIMIT ONE REQUEST PER INDIVIDUAL, ADDRESS, or EMAIL ADDRESS. Offer expires 04/30/2015. See full terms.

Visit PetSmart to find the complete selection of all the Purina® Pro Plan® dog foods. And if you're like me, you won't be able to resist popping into the toy aisle to see what's new.

Needless to say, our Chewy is a well loved pup. He's a lucky guy, but we're pretty lucky too because we get to share our lives with such a loyal and loving animal.

Do you ever celebrate your dogs birthday, or bake him a cake? Is there some special treat you make him? I'd really love to know. Leave me a comment.


Carrot Tea Cake From Martha Stewart's Cakes Book

I have to say that carrot cake is one of my all time favorite cakes. But the thing is, they can vary so much in quality. And they are rather time-consuming to make.

I came across this easy recipe for whenever I need a quick carrot cake fix. It's moist and delicious, and the cream cheese frosting is simply fabulous. It's baked in a loaf pan, and the perfect size for snacking, or having a slice with a cup of tea or coffee.

It is from the book Martha Stewart's Cakes. I just love this book, and it includes over a 150 cake recipes, including ones for bundts, loaves, layers, coffee cakes, and more.

Recipe for Carrot Tea Cake


1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed grated carrots (from about 2 carrots

For Frosting:

8 ounces (1 bar) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan, dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Beat in carrots. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beat until just combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top with spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cake onto wire rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting:
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Spread frosting over top of cake.

I originally published this last spring. It's so good and perfect for the season, so I wanted to share it again.


Monday, March 9, 2015

SNICKERS® Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhenImHungry #CollectiveBias

I like to think of myself as a fairly mild tempered person. I roll with the punches, and at this point in my life, it takes an awful lot to make me angry. BUT there is one thing that brings on a major case of crankiness and irritability. Something that just makes me feel not like myself.

That happens when I get hungry. You know, the kind of hungry that you've been ignoring for hours because you are busy or rushed and there's simply been no time to eat. I try not to let that happen very often, so I like to have on hand my favorite candy bar in the whole world, SNICKERS®.

By keeping some in my purse or backpack, I can stop that awful, overwhelming feeling of being so hungry while enjoying this yummy treat. And I just found SNICKERS® Peanut Butter variety that is so good, it inspired me to put together a batch of Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars.

Since this is my favorite candy bar, I was excited when I heard about two other new varieties available too. Besides the Peanut Butter flavor, there's now Almond and SNICKERS® Extreme.

I love that when I get hungry, I have such a great choice of flavors to satisfy that hunger. The Peanut Butter bar actually comes in four pieces, so if I don't eat them all, I can save some for later. Of course I'll never give up the classic SNICKERS® Bar that I've loved since I was a kid, but it's nice to get a new spin on an old favorite.

One of my daughters makes excellent cheesecake and whenever it's around you can bet I want a big piece. But my attempts at making one just never work out for some reason. So even though I love cheesecake, I thought it would be a recipe I wouldn't try making anymore.

But them I discovered Cheesecake Bars!! Oh my, these are so creamy and delicious. Packed with the SNICKERS® Peanut Butter pieces, they taste just like the best combination of cheesecake and peanut butter ever.

And these are easy to make, so much easier than a regular cheesecake. You start by grinding up chocolate sandwich cookies, combine that with melted butter and pat into the bottom of a 8x8 inch baking pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. This gives you a crust that won't fall apart, but stays nice and firm.
Blend together the cream cheese filling ingredients and then stir in the chopped candy bar pieces. Top with additional pieces. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and let sit for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Recipe for Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars


22 chocolate sandwich cookies (I used Oreo)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
16 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup Peanut Butter flavored SNICKERS® pieces, chopped and divided


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil with foil hanging over the sides. Put aside.
For the crust: In a food processor or blender, pulse the cookies into fine crumbs. Stir the cookie crumbs and melted butter together in a medium sized bowl. Press evenly into the lined pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool as you prepare the filling.

For the filling: Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract together with a mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Fold in 1-1/2 cups of the chopped Snickers and spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Top with remaining 1/4 cup. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set and the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool for 30 minutes on the counter and then completely in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.

See more great SNICKERS® recipes and fun stories on the SNICKERS® social hub.

Enter the SNICKERS® "Who are you when you're hungry?" contest by uploading a personal photo or video from your Computer, Facebook, Instagram or use the SNICKERS® Meme Generator to create something new! Voting begins at Noon on 5/11/15 and ends at 11:59:59AM ET on 7/15/15.

Are you like me and find yourself getting cranky or irritable when you are hungry? When you're not you because you're just so hungry? And what is your favorite kind of SNICKERS® Bar?
Leave me a comment, I'd love to know your answers!

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