Saturday, May 25, 2013

Basket Giveaway

Hey Peeps!!
Do you like to send gift baskets? Receive gift baskets?  Win gift baskets?   Well the folks over at AA Gifts & Baskets are hosting an amazing Food Gift Basket giveaway!! Yep, you heard me right a basket for you or a friend if you are feeling nice but it's valued at up to $150 and you get to pick the basket yourself.  They have over 80 amazing gourmet food baskets to pick from, you know so you don't end up getting say coffee when you'd rather have cheese!!
I've browsed around and picked out just a few that caught my eye.

This is the Ghirardelli Classic Basket, it's full of all kinds of Ghirardelli chocolate goodies.
A great idea for that friend who's going through a rough patch and you can't be there but want her to know you are thinking about her.   Maybe someone just got a new promotion and you want to celebrate with them, nothing says happy happy like chocolate.

Another goodie is the Taste of Texas basket.  Look at all those yummy Texas treats and maybe you know someone who is moving to Texas or gonna head off to college in this great state, send them a Texas Howdy gift basket style.
And what about this Party Starter Gift Tub?  Know someone who just moved?  This would be an awesome let's break in the new house with a party basket.  Hey, you gotta get yourself invited over somehow right?
This little All American Snacks Care Package is an example of the baskets we'd send the college kids during finals.   Some goodies to munch on during those late night study sessions at the library and to let them know we were thinking about them.  A coffee house gift card and a free pizza coupon added in lets the students know you really care about them and those good grades.  No need to spend the time at the convenience store searching for goodies when you could be studying and munching on the good snacks!!
What about that kiddo maybe having a little surgery? Hey gift baskets aren't just for big kids...the little fellas like to know you're thinking of them.  A cute basket like this can take their mind of the yucky stuff for awhile.
What about this Family Game Night basket? No one ever said you can't send a basket to yourself!
Maybe your family is going on a big camping trip this summer, be the mom who pulls this cool family gift out one evening around the campfire or even one Friday night when you find the whole family at home!  What the what?  Everyone home at the same time?  That's a reason to celebrate!

And finally what about this cute basket for that college student leaving in the fall (hmmm, Merebear maybe??), someone moving to a new apartment or hey, send it to yourself to jumpstart that cleaning spree you've been meaning to get right on.  

I could go on and on and on about 80 more times because that's how many baskets you'll have to choose from!    You can have your pick from the Gourmet Foods gift page. So enter below and go browse around and see what strikes your fancy! Then tell me in the comments which basket you'd pick. 

So now you just have to enter!  The contest ends June 2nd so don't dilly dally around, get to it!
This contest is open to all residents of the 48 Contiguous States and only to those 18 years of age or older!
Let's get started, just use this Rafflecopter and enter now!!  Good Luck Peeps!!!
(please see giveaway rules summary below for all the deets)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to fill out your entry before midnight on June 2nd and hey, if you win PLEASE make sure you let me know! Oh and take pictures and I'll post them here on the blog!!   I would love to see one of my magnificent peeps win this goodie!       


Giveaway Rules Summary
 Any of the options for entry are acceptable and entries per person are limited to the number indicated in this contest form. Entries will be reviewed and any duplicate or incomplete entries will be removed.
NOTE - You must complete the specified entry task in order to be eligible to win the contest.  If you click the entry button without completing the task, your entry will be disqualified from winning.
If you have issues using the Rafflecopter form, be sure you are running the latest version of your web browser and JavaScript.
Winners are picked randomly.  The lucky winner will receive their choice of Gourmet Gift Basket (valued at up to $150) from the Gourmet Food Baskets page.
Prize will be fulfilled by the contest sponsor
Winners will be notified via email, so please provide a valid email address. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that time, another winner will be chosen.
The full list of rules can be found here.
Giveaway ends at midnight EST on June 2nd, 2013. The giveaway winners will be announced by June 9th, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Keeping it Real on the Meals

Happy Friday Ya'll

Now that we've got a little dancing out of our system let's talk about keeping the meals real!

The Hubster has been in New Jer-zee all week so the kids and I have been chilling and having dinner.
I have Made dinner every night and it hasn't all been from scratch but let's get real, how many of us have the time or energy to do that every single night??  We're keeping it real here so this is what this week has looked like.   (partially anyway)

Monday:  Mr. Health Miester Abogg wanted fish so I dug around in the freezer and found some frozen spanish mackeral from this trip

We baked that up in just some olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika with sliced lemons on top.
Yummy, very yummy.   We also had some of leftover rice, corn and green beans and Abogg and I had some salad.  Mere just had corn, green beans and chicken nuggets.


We had these burgers on the wheat sandwich thin buns, some sweet potato fries and some regular fries and tater tots.  Basically I cleaned all the handfuls left bags of frozen potatoes in my fridge.  We baked them all up while Abogg and his bud Fluty grilled the burgers.  
(We buy these burgers at Costco and occasionally Sam's Club in case you were wondering)

Wednesday night it was just the Mere and I and quite frankly I use her as my excuse to eat otherwise unwise meal choices.   We had the Schwan's frozen corn dog nuggets, baked beans and the mac & cheese from the box.  Yessireee bob, the orange stuff.  Don't judge, you know you've done it too.
(I always add a little extra butter and milk than it calls for and a little extra cheese).  Makes it less "orange" and tastes better.

Wednesday LL and I went to lunch at this fabulous new place Canteen in Boyd.  I had the Greek Salad Hummus Wrap with slaw for lunch.  I only ate half so this is the other half I brought home, that was breakfast!!  Just as good the next day!

Thursday evening we met our "circle" of friends and had dinner at a new place in Roanoke, Los Molcajetes.   I had the sampler platter from the appetizer menu. It was pretty tasty as were the margaritas.  I'd show you a picture but I didn't take any because we were all 1)hungry and 2) excited to catch up after a few weeks of not getting together.  So the chatting was rampant told especially by the fact that the girls were on one end of the table and the guys on the other.

Later Hubster and I came home and had some of this:

the Merebears birthday cake.  Yep the baby of the family is not a baby anymore.
She's 18 and buying lottery tickets and stuff.   She had dinner with her mom last night so we're doing the birthday dinner tonight, still don't know where we are going either.  She's may be 18 but she still takes forever making a decision!!!   We love her anyways, Happy Birthday Mere!!!!

So that's it. Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate, just dinner.  We did sit down almost every night together and eat as a family and in the end, isn't that the most special part of dinner?
Till next time...keep it real peeps!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

TuTu Tuesday Tumblings

Hey there Hi there Ho there Peeps!!   It's TuTu Tuesday so let's dance.

yeah, I know I sorta promised we'd get back on the food blogging but let's face it, I'm currently experiencing technical difficulties.  So forgive me and let's just enjoy todays edition of Tuesday Tumblings.  Shall we?

We had grilled steaks, baked potatoes (or sweet potatoes in my case), salad and Texas toast.
(oh, that's blue cheese butter on my steak and it was da bomb so here is your recipe of the day:  butter, blue cheese, mix well, chill) I think we are having burgers tonight and that baby will find it's way onto my black bean burger I'm sure.

Ok, breakfast confessions.   I am a fan of eating the same thing day after day...for breakfast.  I can get on a kick and stay there for months and never feel bored or want anything else.  Lately it has fluctuated from a whole wheat waffle with peanut butter, banana and honey to a whole wheat flatbread sandwich of boiled egg and laughing cow cheese. But now, oh me oh my, I'm loving mashed avocado and sliced boiled egg on toasted whole wheat flatbreads.  mercy mercy me, I sure hope avocado's stay reasonably priced for awhile!   Please tell me you do the same with breakfast?

The weather has been crazy this year, hot then cold then hot then cold but whatever my rose bushes are loving it!!

Flower update, I now know what that mysterious tall plant is, Hollyhocks.
They haven't bloomed just yet but that's what they are, mystery solved.
Oh, I'm having serious pink flamingo love this year.

Roses outside kitchen window and those are gladiola's popping up in there.
I found this really awesome flamingo and I think he would be awesomesauce all up in there too!

tell me he's not the bomb?!
(I have a small one at our beach condo too)

roses outside our bedroom window and my hidden wisteria bush is finally growing.
whoop whoop

This was planted last spring and it grew last year but never had a single rose on it, this year's blooming (and growing)  like crazy!

So this is my kitchen the night I made PW's Fried Chicken Tacos and if you click on that link you may notice her first comment is how messy these are to make. She is NOT FREAKING KIDDING!!
oh mercy what a mess but oh so worth it, so worth it.
Helpful hint:  make sure you have some help in the kitchen assembling these when they come out of the hot oil and be ready to eat dinner right away after frying. 

I also made her Mexican Rice.  Now the night we had it we were all like eh...take it or leave it.
Then Abogg comes home and proclaims this rice AMAZING so we had some baked spanish mackerel for dinner last night and I heated up the leftover rice to serve with the fish and man, he wasn't kidding this rice is crazy good.   It's not too messy to make either.  

Keeping on my Instagram photo a day challenge I give you the recent additions.
(# hashtags are in front of that days prompt)
If you follow me on Instagram feel free to scroll to the bottom of the post and leave a nice comment at this time.  If you don't follow me on Instagram and would like to just click on that link over on the left.
I'd love to have you and I'll follow you right back!

Unnecessary #sunglasses on a rainy day

This photo was to enter the contest for a Soda Stream party.  4th times a charm hopefully!
Caption:  All this backyard needs is a #SodaStream party

My newest snack obession: honey greek yogurt with a big spoonful of peanut butter and mini chocolate chips stirred in.  Thank me later people cause this is sooooooo goood!!!!

Barely made it outside to catch the last bit of #sunset for this day.

I'm blessed beyond words to be this guys #mom

Good #friends sharing beignets and laughing, that's a good life indeed.

A precious #memory of my grandmother.

That's my pigpen sliding into second.  He's a thief in the night protect your base.
(If you see this photo in regular size there is a big dust cloud around him).

So what have you guys been cooking up?  Anything yummy?
Is your house getting crazy this time of year??  

Hopefully soon I'll resolve my personal technical difficulties and be back on a regular basis!

Peace, Love & Tu Tu's 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tuesday Tumblings May 7

Hey Samma,  it's not Tuesday it's Wednesday!!  Is that what you are saying right now?

Yep, I know it's Wednesday, it's Sprouts day you know, but I read a blog post this morning that just may have been the kick in the blog pants that I needed.  My cooking and blogging has been in a funk lately and when I read this sweet re-post from Little Miss Momma well I just felt all inspired again and remembered that my grammar doesn't have to be perfect, my food doesn't have to be fancy and my words should just be "me". Nothing more, nothing less and my bloggy friends will still be there. In the celebration of keeping it real we shall now have Tuesday Tumblings on Wednesday.

First up....the Merebear had a wee little accident.  Car in front of her stopped and poor Toothless (her car) didn't.   Air bags deployed, car totaled, Merebear only had a cut on her lip.  Toothless was a good car.   We've found her a new one and hopefully this weekend we will all be back to driving normalcy.

The weather has just been delightful and this fatty fatty boom ba latty has been enjoying basking in the sunshine.    We hit mid 80's yesterday and he wandered back into the house, poor thing spring is too short lived in Texas.
(as an update, he really is only 6 months old)

In other dog news....Sir Winston seems to have some serious food intolerances and I'm still cooking for him.   This morning he had scrambled eggs with spinach and cottage cheese followed by a second course of oatmeal and applesauce. Dang dog is eating better than we are!    Nothing like the highlight of your day is going to the yard and inspecting poo to see how he's reacting to the 50 bazillionth food you've tried.  File that under First World Problem #78.

Back in November I posted this picture of the gorgeous fancy smancy necklace that Southern Living and Coldwater Creek sent to me, just because.  I blogged about it and posted pics and was generally just all around mucho grateful for it and I assumed that was the end. But then out of the blue and completely and wonderfully unexpected....... Coldwater Creek sent me a $250 gift card.  Yeah, you heard me TWO HUNDRED FIFTY smackaroni's!!! 
Seriously, I was stoked and now on the lookout for some CC bargains.

I finally spotted a doozy sale one day (you know cause I'm cheap  thrifty and I wanted to maximize my windfall) so I got the above items for oh about $115 bucks.  So yeah, I still gots money all up on that gift card.  And let me just say, regular value of those items, $280.  Oh yeah baby!!
That green silk shirt was the most expensive of the items but I love it so it was worth the splurge.
So from the bottom of my pea picking heart....THANK YOU Coldwater Creek!!!
muah muah muah  kisses to you!!

Since technically this is a food blog I have really been making dinner and this is one of those examples where there was really no "recipes" to post.   Grilled chicken, yellow squash, grilled asparagus and some boxed scalloped potatoes.   With the Mere living with us we get to enjoy a few non-healthy additions to dinner that encourage a 17 year old with lightening speed metabolism to eat something besides chicken nuggets and lunchables.

I made this one morning at 9:30, too bad there isn't more.
It's been a crazy week and I could use some, even at 9 a.m.

Since I found my picture taking was lagging as well I decided to follow along with The Idea Room's May Photo A Day challenge.   It's not too late to follow along on Instagram and/or Twitter.

Day 1 was #Colorful, so this is my Colorful Table centerpiece

Day 2   #Path down the road to wasting time
(Seriously, step away from the Candy Crush)

When you are #Empty this is where you go to refuel on Day #3

Day #4 was #water and I had every intention of taking a picture of my Kentucky water at the Derby Party on Saturday but alas I forgot. Probably because drinking too many mint juleps will make you forget to do a lot of things.

Oh we went to this place Saturday evening with some friends Hyenas Comedy Club.  It was quite
Hi-Lar-E-Ous!!  Grab a coupon for $5 entry and 2 drink minimum and have a fun night.

Day 5 this was found #OnMyDesk
I open it frequently just to sniff the glorious smell of its contents

Day 6  #Today I finished this AMAZEBALLS bottle of wine from my wonderful hometown of Paducah, Kentucky.   

Day 7 #Flashback of a favorite childhood breakfast

So that's all I got for you today and I promise promise cross my heart I swear to get out of my crazy food/blog/photo funk soon. Which sadly means tomorrow you are likely to get photos of a pizza buffet.

What's been up with you?  Is your house as messy as mine?  Is this spring weather dragging you outside too and the inside is highly neglected?  It's ok, right??

Peace, Love & Yummies of all kinds

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Redbook, L'Oreal & House Party

Good Afternoon Peepers!!!

I have been so bad with taking photos lately so I actually skipped Tuesday Tumblings yesterday. I've decided to do the The Idea Room's May Photo a Day challenge.   I know it's unrealistic to think I'll actually get through the whole month but I like that doing it reminds me to find the beauty in something I see everyday or to look at something from a new perspective.   So here's to hoping Tuesday Tumblings makes a reappearance next week!!

Now let's talk House Party's.   I've had the joyous pleasure of hosting several of these parties and this past Friday night I was happy to host another great party.  This one featured Redbook and L'Oreal.  Let's take a little step back and I'll show you the lovely package the day it arrived.

It's always an exciting day when the nice UPS man rings the doorbell with a House Party package.

And here all the goodies are spread out on the counter.
I just love looking at all the goodies my friends will get to take home.

Now let's fast forward to this past Friday and it's party prep day.

What?  You don't make frozen wine slushies at 9:30 in the morning?
You should, that's all I have to say about that.
Oh and they were yummy.

Doesn't everyone iron the tablecloth AFTER you put it on the table?

Here we go, now it's looking like a party don't you think?
My chosen theme: Paris Bistro
(I'll explain how I came up with that in a bit)

In the big wood bread bowl we nestled some juicy grapes, universally loved Lorna Doone's and the Cream Puff.  You should never buy those unless you will have lots of friends to help you eat them.

The big silver pail is filled with baby's breath and baguettes.
Seemed logical to me.

A wine box makes a nice holder for the napkins, plates and flatware.

I made a Black & White Angel Food Cake.
You can find the recipe here and I used the box mix, little f.y.i.
Party days you take the help where you can get it.

Another view of the party table.

We had some uber yummy spinach dip.  It's the Knorr Spinach Dip.
Don't change perfection people.

There was also a nice pile of mini croissants.  Oui, Oui!!

Here's that silver pail of flowers with some nice cold lemon water in the background.

A little fromage tray decorated with some grapes.

Some veggies to go with that spinach dip.
(Seriously no one touched the veggies!  I have no clue what they were eating the dip with unless it was just with a spoon. Not that I've ever done that )

Another smaller pail holds some pretty white roses for the bistro table.

One day when I actually buy a lottery ticket and win the lottery, I will have fresh flowers EVERYWHERE!!!

Now let's move over to the goodies.  Each lady got to take home a little goodie bag.
The bags contained: nail file, full size sample of Miracle Blur, a sample of BB Cream, a sample of Total Repair 5 shampoo, conditioner & damage erasing balm, a full size bottle of Color Riche Nail polish , a nail file and a free one year subscription to Redbook magazine.   All of these things were part of that nice little goodie box I received, except the nail files, I added those. 

There were also Door Prizes but you had to play the games!!
First prize went to the winner of the purse scavenger hunt.  With 79 points Courtney C. won the Redbook cosmetic bag filled with a full size bottle of the Miracle Blur, a fluffy bath scrubby, some chocolate and some little toe separators for painting the piggie toes.  And a suggestion that she might need to clean out that purse.

Door prize number 2 went to the person who had the most unusual item in her purse.  Miss Melissa B. easily won that prize with, wait for it......rose pruners!!!  Yep that deserved the prize package containing a copy of the book "The Paris Wife", Color Riche Quad Eyeshadow and Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain.  Those weren't sample sizes either peeps, full size products.
Oh and the book is where I decided on the theme, well that and L'Oreal PARIS products.

Door prize number 3 went to the winner of a word scramble that yours truly spent hours coming up with.  I kid you not peeps...HOURS.   It wasn't easy, I taxed those ladies brains. In all fairness I gave them food and wine first.  It was much easier when I kept reiterating that all the words could be found on the table.    Door prize 3 was the same as door prize 2 and Miss Allison won that with her intellectual prowess of word scrambles.  

The table was laid out with some extra samples to try and a nice container to drop those free subscription cards into.  Each lady also got a card to take home to a friend so lots of folks will be enjoying those Redbook magazine subscriptions. 

There were also product guides printed and laid out you know in case anyone had some questions about the products and/or ingredients.

A few more flowers in a twine wrapped can and a nice tall jar of cotton balls and qtips round out the useful decorations.

As part of my "party pack" I agree to post a picture with at least 10 guests in the photo so we took this as soon as guest number 10 hit the door.  You know so we could start drinking wine and such.  Sometimes its hard to gather everyone back together after the food and drink start flowing.

Hubster hung around and snapped a few photos of us all having some snacks.

I can't tell you how much I love hosting these parties.  I didn't even get a goodie bag of my own but I loved watching them trade nail polish colors and dig through their purses for a receipt over a month old and just generally making merry and making new friends.    So in the end, I really do get the best prize of all, a house full of wonderful friends!! 

And maybe one day I'll finally win that Keurig Vue party or that ever elusive Soda Stream party. I mean isn't 6th try a charm??   If this sounds like fun to you go to and sign up and then find the parties that interest you and apply.  It's that easy!!

So I'm off to clean up the "land mines" in the yard left by Sir Winston Churchill so Hubster can mow.  It's been low to mid 80's for a week now and tonight we're getting wind chills in the 20's and the high tomorrow in the 40's.  Someone please call Mother Nature and tell her this is NOT funny. 

Peace, Love & House Parties!!

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