Archives For Food

#Birthday, #Party, #Book

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I have been on a party planning kick. With both my girls old enough to be a big help, I am enjoying throwing a party here and there! Still, I am apprehensive about party planning. I did not get that gene. I like to write, but three dimensional creations worry me. (And that’s putting it nicely).

So, I need all the help I can get to create a special yet not super pricey bash here and there. Enter, “Birthday in a Book: The Complete Party Planning Guide and Toolkit,” by Angie Morrissey.

Angie is one of those amazingly crafty, creative genius people, and through her book series, she is sharing her secrets as she walks the reader through the entire party planning process!

Princess Tea Party

I got to review her ebooks on the Princess Tea Party and Mad Scientist Party this Summer.

Mad Scientist Party

I was thrilled to see these because my niece is almost to the tea party age and my nephew is a mad scientist and should be very impressed with his Aunt Heathers ideas for his next party.

Angie says that “Each book has everything you need to create a themed, on budget, kids birthday party. You can pick and choose which parts of the party theme you want to do based on your time and resources.” And I agree from what I see.

Features of the book series include:

  • PRINTABLES included for invitations, party décor, costumes and more!
  • DIY step-by-step instructions for crafts so you can recreate the party or use the ideas for other celebrations or events. (I just used a few of her Princess Tea Party recipes and ideas during another party I had for my daughter.)
  • Tips and tricks and detailed illustrations that take the guesswork out of party planning.
  • Budget friendly style and philosophy.
  • Buy It directory so that the parties can easily be recreated.

There are 7 chapters in the Princess Tea Party Book, with around 62 pages of detailed directions. Truly detailed! Look at some of the beautiful things you can make:

Princess Tea Party

You’ll see ideas for everything from invitations to party games, from table décor to full menus with recipes.

I especially like the tablescapes, costumes, printables and full recipes. And, if you do not want to make something, she offers online links and suggestions on where to buy that item. Another unique part of her book is her “little Helper” sections, where Angie mentions ways the kids can help with their party, making it so much more meaningful to them!

The Mad Scientist Party is hilarious!

Mad Scientist Party

 

This book follows a similar format and has tons of fun experiments, like Egg in a Bottle, Slime, and Erupting Volcano the kids can do while dressed up in their lab coats. Need security badges? Angie’s got them. Cool.

There are more themes coming up! I’m waiting with excitement to see her Owl Sleepover Party (we are SO doing that).

  • Mad Scientist and Princess Tea Party – Available Everywhere eBooks Are Sold
  • Superhero and Owl Sleepover – August 2013
  • Over the Rainbow and Dinosaur Dig – September 2013
  • Camping and Under the Sea – October 2013

* Paperback books of the entire series will be available at all major bookstores and are scheduled for release in spring 2014.

Go check it out on Facebook and Twitter, and visit the Birthday in a Book website!
This was really fun and I bet you’ll enjoy taking a look. Plus, Angie even shares party photos, printables and sometimes giveaways on her site.

 

Breakfast Wrap with Udi's tortilla

Breakfast Wrap with Udi’s tortilla

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During the Summer, I can get really lazy about breakfast. I mean, the kids are getting up later and at all different times and I am not craving something hot like I do in the Winter. Yet, ironically, Summer is when the family is super busy physically, going swimming and hiking and traveling and we need a healthy breakfast to get going.

I like to just go ahead and call our Summer breakfast “brunch.” Seriously, do not wake up kids if you don’t have to, right? But I do like to feed them decent meals…so we just start later in the day.

When I got an Udi’s Gluten Free Foods Sampler last week, I was glad to test out some new breakfast goodies.

Now, we are lucky in that no one in our home is officially celiac. But, I do have sensitivity to gluten, so I try to avoid gluten in general.

When I first tried Udi’s, I had been gluten free for over six months and I was thrilled to find something I could eat I did not have to bake for myself! (And the Udi’s bread and cookies I tried at the time were way better than mine).

If you or a loved one need to totally cut out gluten, many of Udi’s choices are very useful. All Udi’s Gluten Free Foods are certified gluten free. I wish they were organic as well, but most are certified kosher. Many Udi’s products are totally nut free unless clearly marked (like some granolas) and some are even dairy, soy and egg free.

I was expecting to try a new granola flavor or bit of bread so and I was pleasantly surprised to find a large number of new baked goods in my sampler.

Udi's baked goods

Udi’s baked goods…and they must know I have kids, some granola bars on top:)

When my children tried some out, there was definitely no contest about which baked goods they would try first. They ate all the muffins and cinnamon rolls right away that week. I thought the cinnamon rolls were good when heated. Not especially great for you, but a really nice treat! I really liked the muffins. A little less sweet than the cinnamon rolls and so moist, you would never guess they were gluten free.

Then, I was curious to try the tortillas. My family enjoys a breakfast burrito, with scrambled eggs with monterey jack cheese and onion and green pepper, rolled up in a tortilla. I wondered how a tortilla could really be gluten free and still taste good. When I made these, I heated the tortillas up individually in the skillet with a bit of butter. I did need to be delicate as the tortillas can break easily. Once they were heated up though, the wraps were almost more like crepes in texture and were very easy to work with. The breakfast burrito wraps were a hit!

I think my favorite things of all were the bagels and the cinnamon bread. Oh my goodness, a bit of that bread, toasted, with coffee was delicious. The cinnamon bread tasted just like regular cinnamon bread, I thought.

 

Cinnamon Bread toast

Cinnamon Bread toast

And, the Everything Inside Bagel and the Mighty Bagel were very good.

The Everything Bagel has 7g of protein, 3g of fiber and non GMO canola oil. The Mighty Bagel has 8g of protein, 3g of fiber and some great flavors, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. The kids loved these also except for the flax seeds. These would also travel well for a healthy breakfast.

While we were gobbling down the bagels, my husband quietly took the granola samples. He always likes Udi’s granola and I do buy the Vanilla granola for him. This time, the difference in the newer type of granola was that they have added Antioxidants and Omega 3’s to their Active Granola line. The bag is 11oz, just a teeny bit smaller than the older versions of granolas at 12 oz per package. My husband did like the Blueberry Cashew flavor and found it full of nuts and fruit.

You can find Udi’s even at Walmart, now, I see. You can also buy them online if you cannot find locally.

Don’t forget to check out the Udi’s Website. You can read many tips about Gluten free living and get tons of recipes, as well as get a $1 off coupon for Udi’s.

You can also find ideas for recipes on their Pinterest and on Facebook.

*I received Udi’s samples to review for this post. I have given my honest opinion and received no additional compensation.

Udi’s Gluten Free Granola

Heather —  June 30, 2012

Eating granola

When I went gluten-free, I assumed I would never be able to eat some of my favorite foods again. Yet, it was worth it to me to feel better.

Over time, I have discovered that many of my old favorites do exist in a gluten-free form. In fact, my whole family likes many of the gluten-free recipes I make and products I use, which makes cooking much easier, since I can make one thing for all of us.

When I first found Udi’s products, I was glad because they made my life easier because I did not have to make something from scratch to have some bread or cookies…even a hot dog bun.

Udi’s offers four types of gluten free granola right now, and we just tried all four!

  • Original
  • Vanilla
  • Cranberry
  • Au Naturel

I have to say, I love having all kinds of “stuff” in my granola, so my favorite was the gluten-free cranberry granola. It was full of big chunks of cranberries and walnuts. It is such a treat to enjoy an old favorite food without having to worry about Gluten.

I also like the fact that the Udi’s granola has very few ingredients. In fact, the Au Naturel variety has three (what??? only 3!!) ingredients! This is good. Certified gluten free oats, Colorado sourced wildflower honey and canola oil.

The main problem?

My kids want to eat it all because they are delicious. I will have to hide a package in my closet!

Udi's granola

These run around $6.50 for the package. You can also buy them online if you cannot find locally.

Do not forget to check out the Udi’s website. You can read many tips about Gluten Free living and get tons of recipes, as well as get a $1 off coupon for Udi’s.

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

*I received Udi’s samples to review for this post. I have given my honest opinion and received no additional compensation.

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udi's gluten free buns

When I first went Gluten free, I seriously missed having a hot off the grill hot dog with relish, ketchup and mustard in a warm bun. And watching my husband eat one of my famous gouda burgers was painful too!

One day, when my husband felt sorry for me, he brought me home some Udi’s bagels. They were really good. A different texture than the bagels I was used to, but delicious in their own way, toasted up with butter and honey…YUM.

That was my very first Udi’s experience!

Now that Summer has come and the grilling season is on, I get to have burgers and hot dogs and stuff again, as long as I use the Udi’s.

In fact, right now, Udi’s is running a “Countdown to Summer” promotion, where they are asking fans to get ready for grilling season with Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. Instead of having a BBQ, they are encouraging grillers to have an UDI-Q.

Udi’s asked me…How would you fill an Udi’s Gluten-Free Bun?

udi's buns

They sent me some Udi’s Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns (whole grain and classic) and Hot Dog buns to try. (I also got some delicious snickerdoodle cookies!)

I LOVED the hot dog buns. I use the organic hot dogs and a homemade relish…my husband lightly grilled the bun and I ate several. I had not had a hot dog in a bun in a few years!

I shared the hamburger buns with the family and when they were toasted up full of burger and extras, the kids liked them. They actually held together better than I had expected, and were good. The next day, I polished them off using them for an egg sandwich. Ummmmmmmm.

I have a big family, and I feel it isn’t really cost effective to buy Udi’s for everyone – but they do not all need that, either. So, now I get some for myself here and there and freeze them for a treat for myself. It is nice to know I can use them for everyone if I want.

Check this out: “Udi’s is creating a fun BUN-GO game on their Facebook page. BUN-GO is our way of getting fans exciting for summer and giving them the items they need (like our gluten free buns) to host a great BBQ.  From May 7th thru June 19th, visit Udi’s Gluten Free Foods Facebook Page. You must be an Udi’s Gluten Free Facebook fan to participate. Each participant will get their own BUNGO board, similar to a BINGO board. Each square has an associated task, such as answering a question about your favorite hot dog toppings. Once you complete a row, diagonal, or column of squares (i.e. tasks) you earn points toward Udi’s Gluten Free bun coupons and other barbecue essentials. If you complete your entire board, you’re entered to win a $500 gift card to one of the following retailers: Home Depot, Williams-Sonoma, or Whole Foods.”

*I received an Udi’s pack to review. I have given my honest opinion

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Delicious Brownie Gifts

Heather —  May 2, 2012

During the Holidays, I was able to try using GourmetGiftBaskets.com and had a marvelous organic Gift Basket  delivery. It was fresh and such a great surprise. I heard recently that GourmetGiftBaskets.com now also has Baked Goods.

It sure is getting easier to send a gift to friends or family!

I knew I was going out of town, so it seemed perfect to have a delivery of brownies for my family while I was gone…how thoughtful could I be, yes? Haha!

So, they received a custom package with each of the flavors in the Brownie Sampler from GourmetGiftBaskets.com.

I hear they were delicious and immediately disappeared. The kids remember it fondly, and that is important.

If you are looking to send a special gift, I really recommend checking out GourmetGiftBaskets.com. The gifts range from fun to downright elegant, with so many choices.

Is your mouth watering for brownies now? Want to impress a special client or thank someone?

The Gourmet Brownie Gift includes two of each flavor:

· Belgian Chocolate Chunk
· White Chocolate Macadamia Blonde
· Butterscotch Blonde
· Cheesecake
· Peanut Butter
· Fudge Walnut

$34.99. Visit GourmetGiftBaskets.com to order and follow them on their facebook page.

I received a sample of brownies from GormetGiftBaskets.com to review.

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Nutella For Breakfast?!

Heather —  March 28, 2011

nutella clipOoohhh, I just had a yummy review party, thanks to Nutella and Mommyparties!

If you’ve tried Nutella, you know it is a delicious spread of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of cocoa. Hazelnuts are a main ingredient in Nutella®. Each 13 oz. jar contains more than 50 hazelnuts. The spread does not contain peanuts or peanut ingredients, it is Kosher and gluten free.

I have had Nutella before and enjoyed it, but my Mommyparty was about experiencing Nutella as an ingredient in a fun and balanced breakfast.

I was sent a box of supplies to treat some other Mommy friends and sample the breakfast ideas. I put together some goody bags full of Nutella breakfast recipes, coupons, an ingeniously designed spreader and a travel tumbler.

nutella1

I actually had our Mommyparty after an early morning soccer game and my friends were thrilled to enjoy a fun time for themselves complete with Nutella, English muffins and strawberries!

We tried out the recipes I got, which included English Muffins with strawberries and Nutella, Tortilla wraps with a bit of Nutella and fruit, and waffles and Nutella. Needless to say we had to share with the kids!

We talked about the idea of using Nutella at breakfast, which is apparently common in Europe. A few moms thought it should be reserved for a snack or treat. Many moms thought it made a great breakfast item, especially for picky eaters, helping to get kids to sit down and enjoy breakfast. As some of us have high schoolers, we talked about how many of our kids skip breakfast and how we could hand them a Nutella waffle and a hard boiled egg on the way out the door.

It was definitely a neat way to a spend Saturday morning…and high schoolers do love this idea, See!

Nutella2

If you are interested in using Nutella to spice up your family’s breakfast, check out the “Build Your Own Breakfast” tool on the Nutella website: The Nutella® “Build Your Own Breakfast” tool is an interactive exercise that allows users to experiment with a sampling of breakfast combinations and compare basic nutrient values. Click here to try it out!

You can also get a $1.00 off coupon valid til May 31st on the site.

Find out more about Mommyparties online and see them on facebook.

Thank you Nutella and Mommyparties, for a great party experience!

Nutella and Mommy Parties provided me with the materials to host this party.

Whole Foods Holiday Gift Boxes.

Heather —  November 8, 2010

I love gift boxes!! Honestly, my favorite treats are gift baskets. It is even better when the mailman comes…and you don’t know what you’ll find inside…I just love the anticipation with this kind of gift!

Anyway, suffice it to say I’m a sucker for the Holiday gift boxes and baskets. So, when I saw that my favorite store, Whole Foods, is offering Holiday Gift Boxes this season, I got, well, a bit over-excited. Those of you who know me, know that I did.

So is it wrong to have that kidlike eagerness?

Nah. Enjoy life, right?

And, if you want to treat friends and family…but not load them down with foods with artificial preservatives, flavors and hydrogenated fats, this is a great way to go. All the products inside the gift boxes meet the Whole Foods Quality Standards.

I may just order myself another one. Or two.

As you can see in my video, I got the Ciao Down Package. This is a great one for large families—A healthy, full meal, with a special appetizer and bit of dessert!

I loved the selection of Whole Foods Gift Boxes. You can choose from:

  • The Gift of Grub – Summer sausage (with no artificial nitrates!), shortbread, nuts, caramels, chocolate and more.
  • You’re Zenzational — Lotions, bath salts and other personal care products.
  • Get Warm, Get Fuzzy – Coffee, tea and cocoa together with plenty of sweet treats.
  • “You Rock” Box o’ Choc – A tremendous amount of chocolate, including bars, cookies and brownie bites.
  • Ciao Down – Pastas, sauce, pesto and other classics combine for easy Italian feasts.

I can’t decide which other one I’d really want. Shortbread vs. Coffee? Spa products? Who decided what was to be in the boxes? They are geniuses. The only hard thing about giving these gift boxes is making the choices. Seriously. (If you really cannot decide, they have gift cards, too)

Also, how often have you felt badly when you get tons of packaging? I was impressed that my package was sturdy but not overpackaged. Whole Foods says that they went green for these gift boxes. Want specifics? Here you are:

“By using a higher quality corrugated cardboard in one box instead of lower quality in two, we were able to use fewer resources. And the cardboard we did use is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (license code FSC-C101601).”And, for packing materials, they use 15% post-industrial waste shredded paper that is compostable and recyclable.

Prices range from $40 to $60 (plus shipping).

You can’t get these in-store—they are only available online. You can also check out Gift Box FAQ!

I received a Ciao Down Gift Box from Whole Foods for my Review. I have given my honest opinion.

Attention all gluten-free bakers and cooks!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED Last year, when we were trying to figure out what might be wrong with Emma, I did some research into the possibility that she might need to go gluten free. In the middle of all that, we found out she had epilepsy—and I never followed up figuring out about a possible gluten allergy.

But, anyway, I met some people who do need to follow a Gluten Free diet so I wanted to check this Bisquick Gluten Free prize pack out. The pack included a box of Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix, a pancake pan, pancake pen and a pancake flipper. I was extra excited when I realized the pancake pan was a cast iron pan!

Anyway, we tried the Bisquick® Gluten Free baking mix the other day. At first, I was a bit worried about how our pancakes would turn out—the batter seemed a little grainy (yes, I’m a bad batter eater!) But, after cooking the pancakes, I found them fluffy and delicious.

This Bisquick® Gluten Free baking mix is very similar to regular Bisquick–you can make pancakes, waffles, biscuits and other easy meals.

To find great recipe tips and ideas, visit www.bisquick.com/glutenfree. There, you’ll find countless gluten-free recipes for family favorites such as Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcakes and Gluten Free Pizza Crust, using Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix. They are adding more recipes every day.

Look for Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix in the baking aisle at your local grocery store. You can visit http://www.myblogspark.com/uc/main/8b49/ to download a printable coupon for $1 off Bisquick Gluten Free baking mix!

And, Enter to Win your own Bisquick Gluten Free prize pack!

Mandatory Entry: Tell me what you would make with your Bisquick!

  • Visit Bisquick on Facebook to “Like” the brand (+2)
  • Follow Faith, Family and Fun in Reader  (+2)
  • Follow Faith, Family and Fun in Google Friend Connect
  • Follow me on Twitter @ quinnschilling (+2)
  • Tweet the giveaway — you can tweet once daily! It would be great if you can Include the Twitter hash tag “#myblogspark” (+2)
  • Follow Faith, Family and Fun on Facebook (+2)
  • Share the giveaway on Facebook (+2)
  • Publicly Blog about this giveaway and give a link back (+5)

I will choose a winner on 11/1. Giveaway is for USA and Canada only. Please remember to leave a way for me to contact you in your comments!

Bisquick provided me with the product, information, and prize packs through MyBlogSpark.