how-to-choose-a-gift-basket

How to Select a Gift Basket

how-to-choose-a-gift-basket

Special thanks to Hickory Farms for sponsoring this conversation.

how to choose a gift basket How to Select a Gift Basket

I may have mentioned a time or two that I am a sucker for a gift basket. I love to dig through there and see what treasures await me. And when you find that one thing that’s fallen beneath the excelsior and basket filler, it’s like you’ve discovered a gold nugget!

The thing about gift baskets, though, is they can be kind of overwhelming when trying to decide on one. Do I pick the cheese lovers or the sausage lovers? Maybe do one with some mustards or spreads…What the heck is the difference between these two identical looking baskets?!?!

Trust me – we’ve all been there. Here are a few gift baskets that everyone would love to receive. All baskets shown are from Hickory Farms.

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camerons-coffee-cups-wm

Introducing Cameron’s Coffee + a Freebie

camerons-coffee-cups-wm

Special Thanks to Cameron’s Coffee for sponsoring today’s discussion.

camerons coffee cups wm Introducing Camerons Coffee +  a Freebie

 Introducing Camerons Coffee +  a Freebie
These days, we’re all concerned about being greener. We recycle. We buy cars that are more fuel efficient. We’re trying to go paperless. Our paper, when we use it, is mandated to be at least 30% post-consumer waste, i.e. recycled. Yet there’s a scourge that is in most of our homes, and the majority of us never even think about – our single serve coffee machines.

What the heck are we supposed to do with all of those little plastic cups? Throw them away? And do you have any idea how long they’ll take to biodegrade? Like, forever. Forever and a day, maybe. There’s a better choice for our single serve coffee cravings – Cameron’s Coffee.

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Rustic Tuscan Flatbread Pizza Recipe

rustic-tuscan-flatbread-pizza-2-wm

Special thanks to Mezzetta for sponsoring this Rustic Tuscan Flatbread Pizza.

rustic tuscan flatbread pizza 2 wm Rustic Tuscan Flatbread Pizza Recipe

The holidays are upon us, and we’re going to more and more places, and hosting more get togethers. Whether we’re popping over for a small, impromptu get together, or we’re hosting a housewarming party, there is a need for snacks and light eats. The Rustic Tuscan  Flatbread pizza is a perfect hors d’oeuvre. Looking for something a bit more hearty? Pair the  Rustic Tuscan Flatbread pizza with a salad for a light meal.  Rustic Tuscan Flatbread Pizza Recipe [Read more…]

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie with Whiskey and Marshmallows

Sweet Potato Pie

Consider adding a sweet potato pie to your holiday repertoire this year.

Sweet Potato Pie 682x1024 Sweet Potato Pie with Whiskey and Marshmallows

In many areas of the country, Sweet Potato Pie is as essential of a dish at Thanksgiving as the turkey. Can you believe, though, that until a couple of years ago, I had never had Sweet Potato Pie? It’s true! Growing up mostly on the West Coast, it just wasn’t a big deal. Here in Missouri, though, mannn…people love their Sweet Potato Pie.
For those that have never had Sweet Potato Pie, it’s sort of a more mellow, yet richer version of pumpkin pie. It doesn’t seem as sweet as Pumpkin Pie, yet has a deeper flavor. Now that I’ve had sweet potato pie, there’s no going back for this girl.

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Green Beans Almondine

green beans almondine-wm

A tasty and delicious green beans almondine recipe to replace the green bean casserole.

green beans almondine wm Green Beans Almondine

The holidays are a time of traditions, and food is a huge tradition in most families. It seems that every year, there are a few dishes that always make it to the table. And for some reason, they’re never served at any other time – only Thanksgiving and Christmas. In my family, Green Bean Casserole is one of those “once a year” dishes.

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the classic Green Bean Casserole dish made with the gloppy soup and other stuff. Although the crispy onions for the top are pretty tasty. I prefer my vegetables less disguised, if you will. This Green Beans Almondine recipe is the perfect addition to your holiday table that your family will love.

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hickory-farms-for-the-holidays

Hickory Farms for the Holidays + Giveaway

hickory-farms-for-the-holidays

Thanks to Hickory Farms for sponsoring today’s conversation about the holidays!

hickory farms for the holidays Hickory Farms for the Holidays + Giveaway

One of my favorite things about the holidays has always been the food.  While I enjoy all the family meals, the cookie exchanges, the homemade cakes and candy, and the holiday get together, there’s one thing that just tops it all for me – those fantastic gift baskets that everyone seems to send you!

You see, my mom worked in an office, and they had a lot of customers and salespeople that would both send them these amazing gift baskets.  Loaded with lots of goodies like sausages and salamis, various cheeses and candies, these were something that I looked forward to.  A trip to the mall wasn’t complete without a stop at the Hickory Farms pop up shop.  The workers were almost always handing out samples, and you’d think that I had died and gone to heaven!  Usually, we would pick up a little sumtin sumtin, too.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar

mashed brown sugar sweet potatoes-wm

Make these mashed sweet potatoes for your family dinner.

mashed brown sugar sweet potatoes wm Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar

I never really was one much for sweet potatoes.  I’m not sure why. I love me some mashed potatoes, but had never even considered having the mashed sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. Nope, the mashed sweet potatoes were something that I just passed right over.

Maybe it was the overpowering sweetness of the traditional sweet potato dish or I got them confused for candied yams.  In any case, it wasn’t until much later in life that I realized how good sweet potatoes are.  Man, I’ve been missing out all these years!

These Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar are sure to delight even the pickiest eater in your family.

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Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Butternut Squash Soup-wm

Butternut Squash Soup is the perfect starter for a Holiday Meal.

Butternut Squash Soup wm Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

It seems that every family does Thanksgiving or a holiday meal a little differently. Part of my family serves everything at once buffet style, while another part makes sure everyone’s seated around the table. And yet another part of the family serves a first course of soup, usually Butternut Squash Soup, and salad.

In many areas of the country, Thanksgiving falls on a day that is cold. It may be snowing, or you may be suffering from freezing rain. Or maybe it’s just those awful cold blustery winds that cut right through you. No matter what kind of weather you’re having, you’ll need something to warm you up. This Butternut Squash Soup is just what the doctor ordered.

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mojo-marinated-turkey

Liven Up the Holidays with Mojo Turkey Recipe

mojo-marinated-turkey

Marinate your turkey in a collection of fresh juices, spices, and olive oil for a real treat with this mojo turkey recipe.

mojo marinated turkey Liven Up the Holidays with Mojo Turkey Recipe

Are you always trying to figure out some new and exciting way to serve turkey?  I know we are.  We have one person that loves loves loves traditional Turkey and Dressing and all the fixins, and everyone else is kind of like “yeah, we eat it once a year.”

You see, it’s not that we don’t like the traditional Turkey and Dressing and all that good stuff.  It’s just that…we want something more.  Something different and exciting.  Something that makes us enthusiastic about the big meal.  Enter this Mojo Turkey recipe with mojo sauce.  Mojo is a Latin American sauce that contains loads of spices, olive oil, and something acidic, like citrus juices.  It’s not usually spicy, just full of flavor.   When you serve this Mojo Turkey Recipe, your guests will be begging for more.

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing many unique twists on the normal Thanksgiving dishes.  Be sure to join us for the whole series.

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autumn-comfort-food-recipes

Three Fabulous Autumn Comfort Food Recipes

autumn-comfort-food-recipes

autumn comfort food recipes Three Fabulous Autumn Comfort Food Recipes

Autumn is famous for being quite chilly, and it’s around this time we all start craving comfort food. It’s in our nature to want to hibernate and stuff our faces with glutinous creations. However, that doesn’t mean that the Autumn comfort foods we eat need to be unhealthy! The following recipes are perfect Autumn comfort food, and very nutritious.

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pecan-pie-bars-recipe

Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

pecan-pie-bars-recipe

There are two things I love  – pecan pie and bar cookies.  Why not combine the two with these pecan pie bars?

pecan pie bars recipe Pecan Pie Bars Recipe

I am a sucker for pecan pie.  I have to say that it’s probably my favorite kind of pie.  Serve it with a big dollop of whipped cream, and I am so there.

Of course, it takes a while to make pecan pie.  Especially if you’re going through all the effort of making a pretty design on the top with the pecan halves.  Why not just cut to the chase, and make a great pecan pie bar?  These pecan pie bars are  relatively quick and easy, and you don’t have to feel the need to justify making a whole pie.

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acorn-squash-stuffed-with-kale-and-mushrooms

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Kale and Mushrooms

acorn-squash-stuffed-with-kale-and-mushrooms

acorn squash stuffed with kale and mushrooms Acorn Squash Stuffed with Kale and Mushrooms

With the cooler weather of fall upon us, it’s time for us to change what we eat.  I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for something that’s hearty, warm, and tastes good.  If I can sneak some good for you foods into my diet, well, that’s even better.

Squash has always been one of my favorite foods, in all of its many forms.  My mom always made stuffed squash when I was growing up, but she usually used zucchini.  This acorn squash stuffed with rice, kale, and mushrooms is a fall and winter version that is sure to please.

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spicy-red-velvet-cupcake-cones

Spicy Red Velvet Cupcake Cones Recipe

spicy-red-velvet-cupcake-cones

This post brought to you by Texas Pete. All opinions are 100% mine.

spicy red velvet cupcake cones Spicy Red Velvet Cupcake Cones Recipe

Have you been bored with your ho-hum meals lately?  Sometimes your food needs a little kick.  Texas Pete is here to help you spice up your life.  You just can’t beat freshly made sauces with premium ingredients, like   Texas Pete Hot Sauce.  Instead of dousing your meal in a spicy condiment, how about adding it to a recipe for the unexpected kick.  Red Velvet cupcakes are a traditional favorite, but sometimes, they need a little sumtin-sumtin.  These spicy Red Velvet Cupcake Cones are a perfect example of an unexpected spicy kick.

 Spicy Red Velvet Cupcake Cones Recipe

 

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hearty-italian-food-favorites

Hearty Italian Food Favorites Everyone Can Enjoy

hearty-italian-food-favorites

hearty italian food favorites Hearty Italian Food Favorites Everyone Can Enjoy

Everyone loves hearty Italian food. With the diversity in flavours and the rich ingredients, you could be forgiven for wanting to eat everything! One of the best things about hearty Italian food is that it is diverse. There are many different kinds of Italian cuisine that can be enjoyed that far surpass the common pasta and pizza. Due the diversity of Italy as a whole, the food that originates from there is different.

Typically, pizza and spaghetti come from Neapolitan forms of cooking. But, there are a total of twenty regions within Italy. These all have their own distinct flavours and a rich diversity of cooking methods.

Italian cuisine has become more prevalent in the last century. Due to the Italian immigration to the US, hearty Italian food came as a by-product. This is great news for Americans, as they can enjoy Italian cuisine as it was meant to be.

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lindt-hello

Say HELLO to Chocolate with HELLO by Lindt

lindt-hello

Special thanks to Hello by Lindt for supporting my candy habit.  Om nom nom.

lindt hello Say HELLO to Chocolate with HELLO by Lindt

 Say HELLO to Chocolate with HELLO by Lindt I love candy. There, I said it. Whenever I see a new candy at the store, I am tempted to try it. I mean, some sound icky, but most of the time…Most of the time, I’m seriously considering it.

Sometime during the summer, I happened upon these new Hello by Lindt candies. They’re little two-bite filled chocolates. Rich, creamy chocolates that are filled with your favorite flavors. Things like Strawberry Cheesecake, Caramel Brownie, Cookies and Crème, and Crunchy Nougat. Tasty, right?

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comfort-foods-fall-winter

Favorite Comfort Foods for Fall and Winter

comfort-foods-fall-winter

comfort foods fall winter Favorite Comfort Foods for Fall and Winter

The colder weather is here, and winter is well on its way. Soon the ground will be frosty, and we’ll all have a craving for comfort food like never before. Enjoying delicious comfort food is definitely one of the greatest things about winter! The following dishes are all hearty meals, containing lots of veggies and goodness:

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eating-drinking-napa-valley

Eating and Drinking Our Way Through Napa Valley

eating-drinking-napa-valley

I seriously debated what to call this post.  Eating My Way Through Napa Valley?  Gluttony in the Napa Valley?  How to Have a Really Great Time?  I think I selected the right choice.

eating drinking napa valley Eating and Drinking Our Way Through Napa Valley

Recently, Hilton invited me out to experience Napa Valley and San Francisco. Who could turn that down? While we were only in town for a few days, there were some serious highlights to our Napa Valley trip. Our group basically ate great food, and wine-tasted our way through the NapaValley.

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Modern Guacamole Recipe and Cocktail Pairings

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Guacamole is one of my absolute most favorite foods. “Guacamole is not a food” you say? Pffft…sure it is. Whatever you’re dipping in the guacamole is just a vehicle to get the guac in your mouth.

guacamole wm Modern Guacamole Recipe and Cocktail Pairings

We’re all familiar with the traditional guacamole recipe – avocados, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and a little lime. Modern guacamole recipes have all kinds of new things – artichoke hearts, goat cheese, even lobster! These new takes on an old favorite guacamole recipe will have you mixing up your guacamole game in no time.

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ruby-tuesday

Ruby Tuesday – Good Every Day + Coupon

ruby-tuesday

Ruby Tuesday provided us with a gift card for sharing.  All opinions are our own.

ruby tuesday Ruby Tuesday   Good Every Day + Coupon

Who doesn’t like to go out to eat? One of the places that we go when we want something a little better is Ruby Tuesday. With their modern twists on American classics, who can resist? It’s sort of like the best of both worlds – comfort food + current flavors and food trends.

And who can forget about the amazing Ruby Tuesday Garden Bar? I mean, Ruby Tuesday is pretty much famous for it. There are not a whole lot of places that serve baby spring greens, let alone have them on their salad bar. Factor in all the other topping options, and you’re in salad heaven.

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