Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lucky Leaf Pot-A-Cakes {and a Giveaway!}

Ok, so ultimately, I love to cook and bake from scratch.  But it's not always feasible, and sometimes I really need a shortcut.  This recipe today is a shortcut recipe - but the final product is so tasty!!  The folks at Lucky Leaf wanted to know if I'd like to try some of their premium pie filling, and I was excited when I also received some recipe cards.  This recipe was a prize winner, so of course I had to try it out!  The only problem?  The recipe calls for 8 10-ounce baking cups.  Well, I don't have 10-ounce baking cups, so luckily, it also gave instructions for a one dish method.  And really, I didn't make it for a fancy occasion, so the one dish method worked just fine!

You can't really tell by looking at the above photo, but this dessert is filled with all sorts of deliciousness.  A pie filling on the bottom, topped by a cream cheese/pudding mixture, and topped with a streusel cake.  There is nothing about that that I don't love!  And pretend there is icing on top - mine is missing because somehow, I managed to run out of powdered sugar.  But even without the icing, this was delicious!

If you are looking for something different to put on the table for dessert after your Christmas meal, this is a great recipe!

Lucky Leaf Pot-A-Cakes
from Lucky Leaf

1 21-ounce can Lucky Leaf Premium Blueberry Pie Filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 3.4-ounce package (4 serving size) French vanilla instant pudding
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
1 17.4 to 18.3-ounce package cinnamon streusel quick bread mix
2/3 cup water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide pie filling among eight 10-ounce custard cups or ramekins (for one dish recipe see below). Set cups on a large baking sheet; set aside. 

In a large bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in pudding mix. Gradually beat in whipping cream until well combined (mixture will be thick). Spoon evenly over pie filling in cups. 

In another large bowl combine quick bread mix, water, eggs, and oil. Stir until combined but slightly lumpy. Spoon 1/4 cup of the batter over the cream cheese mixture in each cup. Sprinkle evenly with all but 1/4 cup of the packaged streusel mixture. Spoon remaining batter over the streusel (batter won't cover the streusel layer). Sprinkle with reserved streusel. (Note: Cups will be full.) 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into top portion comes out clean. Cool slightly. If desired, drizzle tops of cakes with icing* before serving. Serve warm. 

*Icing: If your quick bread does not contain an icing packet, in a small bowl combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. If necessary, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make drizzling consistency. 

One Dish Method: Prepare batters as above. Spread pie filling in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Dollop pudding mixture atop. Spoon on about 1/2 of the batter and sprinkle with all but 1/4 cup of the streusel. Spoon on remaining batter and sprinkle with reserved streusel. Bake in a 350°F for 40 minutes. Cool slightly and drizzle with icing.     

And now for the giveaway!
What can you win?

A selection of Lucky Leaf Premium pie fillings - perfect for the holidays!

Here's how you enter:

Mandatory:  Comment on this post and tell me your favorite pie or recipe that uses pie filling.

For extra entries:  (Please leave a separate comment for each)

This contest is open to US residents and will run through Wednesday, December 22nd.  The winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced on December 23rd.

The prize package for this giveaway was donated by Lucky Leaf.  I was not paid for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cheesy Taco Bean Dip {And a Giveaway!}

The winner is Marci H who said:

tristatecruisers said...
i like using taco seasonings in chili--it's great for that extra kick :)
I'm sending you an email Marci - congrats!!
One of my very favorite flavors to cook at home is Mexican/Tex-Mex.  Taco night?  I'm a total fan.  In fact, I think that soft tacos were the first thing that my husband and I made together when we were dating.  And to this day, tacos are what I turn to when I'm feeling like something easy for dinner, or when I just have that craving for tacos!!

And what makes taco night easier than Old El Paso?  Especially at this time of year when time is short but everyone still needs to eat.  Why not take some help from the store?

When I started thinking about tacos the other day, I got the Tex-Mex bug and all of the sudden, I was thinking of all sorts of recipes I wanted to make.  But the one that kept coming to me was a taco dip.  As much as I love 7-layer dip, it wasn't what I was craving.  I wanted something warm.  So I grabbed a few recipes online and combined a few things and came up with this recipe.  The perfect Cheesy Taco Bean Dip!  This recipe makes a TON - so be ready to share!

Cheesy Taco Bean Dip

1 pound ground beef
1 package Old El Paso Taco Seasoning
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1 8-oz. bottle taco sauce (not salsa)
1 16-oz. can refried beans
1/3 cup water
8 oz. sour cream

In a skillet, brown the ground beef.  Add the taco seasoning and cook as directed on the package.

In a separate pot, Stir the beans and water together.  When warmed through, add the cooked taco meat.  Stir in the cheese and cook until melted.  Stir in the sour cream.

Serve warm with tortilla chips.

And now for the giveaway!
What can you win?

A packet of original Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, a Cactus Chip & Dip Serving dish, a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes and a $10 gift card to purchase your taco fixings.

Here's how you enter:

Mandatory:  Comment on this post and tell me your favorite way to use taco seasoning!

For extra entries:  (Please leave a separate comment for each)

This contest is open to US residents and will run through Tuesday, December 21st.  The winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced on December 22nd.

The prize package for this giveaway was donated by Old El Paso through MyBlogSpark.  I was not paid for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.

Harmon's Back of the Store Tour

I am such a bad blogger!!  I've been meaning to blog about this for almost a month now - how does the time get away from me?

I often get jealous of people that live in New York City, or Seattle, or lots of places in California.  Gorgeous farmer's markets, fresh seafood, any ingredient you can imagine is right at your fingertips.  Here in the middle of Utah?  It's not always so easy. But years ago, I found my secret weapon - Harmon's grocery store.

So needless to say, when I got an email inviting me to a "back of the store" tour at Harmon's, I was all in.  In fact, it was supposed to be my last day of work, but I took off one day early just so I could attend this!!  It was held at the beautiful store on Bangerter in Draper.  Can I just say right now that I want to move to Draper now - just so that I can be near this store?

We started off with a chat with the Vice President for the Customer - Bob Harmon, and the Culinary School director, Bob Bryant.  (Yes - they have a culinary school at the Draper location.  Check out these classes!)  Bob Harmon talked about the history of the store, and some of their values and beliefs.  Let me tell you - if I wasn't sold on this store before, that would have sealed the deal.  I didn't realize how much education and support that they give to their employees.  They send their employees all over the world to educate them about the food that they are selling.  The head of the bakery?  A CIA graduate.  The cheese department manager?  She got to go to Italy.  These people know what they are talking about!!

We headed down through the store - and these are just a few of the highlights.

1st - their gelato is a-ma-zing!  I have been tempted many times to drive the 30 minute drive up there just so I can have a treat!!

Next up - my favorite department - CHEESE!!

I could seriously be happy, just visiting their cheese counter every day and trying a new cheese.  There are TONS to choose from - I don't know anywhere in Utah that has a better selection.  And they know what they are talking about, too!

We got to sample some of their salami and an amazing cheese - and I wish that I would have written down what it was.  I have seriously been thinking about it for the whole past month!  (so if any of you that were there remember what it was, I'd love to know!!)

And the Parmigiano-Reggiano?  The real deal.  Straight from Italy.

Not only do they have great imported cheeses, but a great selection of local cheeses as well.  Like this Peppercorn Gouda from Rockhill Creamery.  I will definitely be trying this one of these days!

Just check out this selection of blue cheeses.  You aren't going to find a selection like this anywhere else!

The next stop was the produce department.  The produce department is actually the first reason I fell in love with Harmon's.  If it is to be found in Utah, you will find it at Harmon's!  Things like turnips, which I needed for a recipe recently - I could spend my day going from grocery store to grocery store looking for them, or I can go to Harmon's where I know I'll find them!  And if it's grown locally, Harmon's will have those products in the store from local growers.  That means a lot to me - supporting local business, being friendlier on the environment, and let's face it - it always tastes better when it's local!

I had my first try of a fresh fig.  I've never even seen fresh figs anywhere else around me!

And this is what I think is called a refractometer.  (Correct me if I'm wrong!)  It actually measures the sugar content in fruits.  That way, they know if what they are selling is worthy of being on their shelves.  And they only put out as much fruit and vegetables as will sell in one day - that way you're not getting produce that has been sitting on the shelf for a week!

There meat section is also pretty impressive.  See that picture above?  Dry aged beef.  My mouth was watering.  I can't wait for a special occasion to make my hubby a fancy dinner with some of those steaks!

And then there's seafood.  I didn't know this, but Harmon's doesn't sell seafood that has been frozen.  It's all fresh.  Their crab legs were amazing, and I even tried my first oyster!

After I ate it, I realized I probably shouldn't have done that since I'm pregnant, but I knew I could trust that it was fresh!  And yes - I actually did like it.  It was a little bit slimy, but it tasted mostly like the sauce that was on it.  I would definitely eat oysters again in the future!  (Thanks to Frieda for taking and sending me the picture!)

Their bakery does not look like a grocery store bakery.  There were some delicious looking confections.  And I loved that the head baker said that she gets to pretty much do what she wants and she gets to get creative.  A little different than most grocery stores where all you can find are those cupcakes with the spray-painted frosting on top!

Their bread section is equally impressive.  All of their breads are preservative and additive free. 

Other sections included the deli, which serves up dishes, sides and salads that are all made in house.  They have a very fresh salad bar, as well as Chinese food, soups, and even a wood-burning pizza oven!

This grocery store really is top of the line.  (Especially this location!!)  I was already a Harmon's fan, so they didn't need to sell me, but I also learned so much and was so happy to have this experience!  If you are in Utah and haven't checked out this grocery store yet, I guarantee you'll be sold on your first visit!

It was also great to meet and get reacquainted with some great Utah bloggers.  And being that I'm so late posting this, most of them have already posted about our experiences, so click through to see what they had to say!

Laura from Real Mom Kitchen
Nisha from Healthy Mom's Kitchen
Gabi from The Feast Within
Frieda from Frieda Loves Bread
Carriann from Sweet Basil
Lisa from Gourmified
Mariel from Or So She Says

*Disclosure:  I was not compensated for this review.  I am a Harmon's shopper, and wanted to share my love of the store with you!!  I was offered an afternoon of learning about the store - along with lots of samples and a delicious lunch - but was not required to write a review.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce and a Giveaway!



I sometimes think that I am the most forgetful person alive.  Seriously.  You tell me something, and I'll probably completely forget 10 minutes later.  And I think it's even worse when I'm pregnant.  So I feel a little silly - I was sent some coupons from the wonderful people at PrĂ©sident® and Precious® cheese to try some of their products - and they sent along some extras for one of you!  Every week, I planned on making something with one of their cheeses, and every week I would forget.  Well, I finally remembered - and now the coupons are about to expire!  So - this is going to be a quick turnaround giveaway - so I can get these out to one of you as soon as possible so that one of you will be able to try out these wonderful products!

This recipe is one of those that falls under "this is so easy you don't even need a recipe".  But this is a perfect recipe to have on hand for one of those nights when you have 15 minutes to get dinner on the table.  I know that December is a super busy month - so these kinds of recipes really come in handy right now!!

Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
adapted from The Skinny Cheese Cookbook

serves 4

1 pound gnocchi
1 cup tomato sauce - homemade or store bought
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
3 tablespoon Ricotta cheese
Fresh parsley, for serving

Bring a large pan of water to a boil.  Add the gnocchi and cook until it rises to the top of the water - 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add in the tomato sauce and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese.  Add the gnocchi and stir to combine.

Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

And now for the giveaway!

The winner will receive 6 coupons - 3 coupons for FREE ricotta cheese, and 3 coupons for FREE feta cheese - all from President and Precious.  

Plus - anyone can go to to download a free cookbook!

Here's how you enter:

This is a simple one with a fast turnaround - just leave a comment letting me know your favorite dish that features cheese.  Easy as that!
This contest is open to US residents and will run through Thursday, December 9th.  The winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced on December 10th.  These coupons do expire on December 31st, so you'll need to use them quickly!

The coupons for this giveaway were donated by Precious and President Cheese.  I was not paid for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cookie Swap Giveaway!


Dawn said...

I love to make and decorate Gingerbread men with my daughter. I like to give friends and neighbors our Christmas card with gingerbread men cookies. They are large so I give one cookie per person.

Since December is full of cookies and baking, how about a virtual cookie swap?

Tomorrow - Monday, December 6th, McCormick is hosting it's very first Virtual Cookie Swap!  McCormick and the author of Cookie Swap - Lauren Chattman, will be joining together on Facebook for this fun event.  Joining in is easy:

1 - Like the McCormick Spice page on Facebook
2 - Check out recipes and swap some of your favorites on the McCormick Facebook wall
3 - There will be a LIVE webcast from Lauren Chattman on December 6th at 8:00pm EST.  She will give hints on throwing a successful cookie swap, she'll share some great recipes, and she'll even highlight one of the recipes that one of the Facebook fans shares on the McCormick page!!

And just to get us in the mood for this virtual cookie swap, I'm having a giveaway!  In the giveaway package is:
  • A special holiday selection of McCormick extracts and spice
  • Martha Stewart collection holiday cookie cutters
  • Crate & Barrel Mini-Spatulas
  • Red Mixing Bowl
  • Cookie Swap! By Lauren Chattman

So much fun stuff - and a great way to get you started on a cookie swap of your own!

Here's how you enter:

Mandatory:  Comment on this post and tell me your favorite cookie to give and/or receive at a cookie swap.

For extra entries:  (Please leave a separate comment for each)

This contest is open to US residents and will run through Sunday, December 12th.  The winner will be chosen randomly and will be announced on December 13th.

The prize package for this giveaway was donated by McCormick.  I was not paid for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders - and a giveaway!

Contest is closed - the winner is Kim from Stirring the Pot!  Congrats Kim!

I remember the day I brought my daughter home from the hospital.  I was elated and excited - and scared to death.  No matter how many books you read or how many classes you take, you can never really be prepared for that moment that you realize that you are a mom and that you are in charge of the life of another human being.

As your child grows up, you realize that some things come naturally, some things you run to your mom, sister or best friend for answers, and other times - your child will leave you scratching your head, not knowing what in the world you are supposed to do.

Before I had any kids, I had this idea in my head that I would never have one of what I call "chicken nugget" kids.  You know the kind - the ones that will only eat one food and no matter what the rest of the family is eating, that child has his or her chicken nuggets (or whatever the food may be!)  I was going to have a well-rounded child that was a good eater.  And, really, for the most part, I've been pretty lucky.  At 1, she was eating anything - from enchiladas to egg rolls.  But as she's gotten older, her eating habits have definitely changed.  And this week - at almost 22 months - all I can get my daughter to eat are goldfish crackers, toast, and fruit snacks.  Oh, and chocolate - she'll rarely turn down chocolate!

So baffled at what I am supposed to do, I decided to make her chicken fingers for dinner.  Every child likes chicken fingers, right?  As I was cooking, I was writing this blog post in my head about how as a child, it was always a treat to get chicken fingers, and how I was finally able to get my child to eat something besides goldfish crackers and fruit snacks.  And all the words from that blog post went down the drain as she spit them right out.  I sure am hoping that this is just a stage that she will quickly get over!!

But don't let her be the judge of the taste of these chicken fingers.  I love making chicken fingers with panko bread crumbs, because you can bake them in the oven and still get the crunch that usually only comes with frying!  This is a chicken finger dinner you can feel good about feeding your children!

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders
adapted from

serves 4

1.25 pounds chicken tenders or chicken breasts, cut into strips*
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1 cup Progresso Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with foil, then put a baking rack on top.  Spray the baking rack with cooking spray.

In one shallow dish, place the flour.  In a second shallow dish, mix the egg and the water.  In a third shallow dish, place the panko bread crumbs, the Parmesan and salt and pepper.

Dip each chicken strip into the flour, then the egg mixture, then the bread crumb mixture.  Place on the cooling rack.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until no longer pink and the coating is golden brown.

*Chicken tenders are usually so much more expensive than chicken breasts, so I'll just take each breast and cut it into strips.  Depending on the size of the breast, you can usually get 3-4 strips per breast.

Giveaway time!!  CONTEST CLOSED

If you have never cooked with Panko bread crumbs before, you really need to give them a try!  Head over to Progresso's website for a coupon for $1 off any Panko bread crumb flavor. And check out how you can win a trip for 2 to Napa to join Chef Michael Chiarello for a food-filled weekend!

Want to win a box of Progresso panko bread crumbs and Michael Chiarello's new cookbook Bottega?

Here's how you can win:

1.  Leave a comment and let me know if you've used panko bread crumbs before and your favorite way to use them.  If you've never used them before, just let me know!
2.  Subscribe to Taste and Tell via Twitter, Facebook or RSS feed.  Leave a separate comment for each.

This giveaway will end next Wednesday, November 24th at 11:59pm Mountain time.  The winner will be notified via email, so make sure there is a way for me to get a hold of you!

Disclosure - This giveaway was provided by My Blog Spark via General Mills.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tried and True or Something New? {and a giveaway!}

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Swanson.


Biggest debate is ...pie or cake!

NOVEMBER 9, 2010 12:38 AM


Have you seen Swanson’s “Great Stuffing Debate”? It all started with the debate of whether you cook your stuffing inside the bird or on the side.  (I’m an “on the side” kind of girl myself.)  But every Monday, they list a new Thanksgiving debate.  This got me thinking about what the debate would be in my kitchen.  And I realized my biggest dilemma every year is:

Tried and True or Something New?

I’ve never hosted Thanksgiving before.  Luckily, I have great family (on both sides!) and it usually ends up being more of a pot-luck event. In the past, I’ve brought pies, I’ve brought sweet potatoes, I’ve brought salads.  But no matter what I bring, I always debate on whether I should make something that I know is good, or if I should use the opportunity to try a new recipe.  Now, many of you know that I’m always game for a new recipe.  In fact, 90% of the meals I make at home are recipes I’ve never made before.  But when you are cooking for others, is it better to make something that you’ve made before and that you know will be good?

I don’t know what I’m contributing to the Thanksgiving feast this year, but I thought I’d have fun with testing out my debate.  I made two dressing recipes – one tried and true and one a new recipe that I’ve never tried before.  And do you know what?  I think I would have been safe bringing either of these to the Thanksgiving table!

First up – tried and true.  This recipe is actually one that my sister makes every year, and I LOVE it.  I have to be honest – I love turkey and all, but I mostly get excited about the side dishes.  And the dressing – one of my favorite side dishes!!  This dressing has so many flavors going on and it really brings all of the flavors of Thanksgiving to the table for me.

Sausage, Apple & Cranberry Dressing

1 ½ cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 ¾ cups cubed white bread
1 pound turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped celery
¾ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
2 ½ teaspoons dried sage
1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
½ teaspoon thyme
1 golden delicious apple, chopped
¾ cup Swanson’s chicken broth
4 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes or until evenly toasted.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage and onions in a skillet, breaking up the sausage.  Cook until browned and cooked through.  Add the celery, sage, rosemary and thyme and cook another 2 minutes to heat through.

Put the toasted bread cubes in a large bowl and pour sausage over.  Add the apples, cranberries and parsley.  Mix lightly.

Grease a baking dish and pour dressing mixture in.  Cover with foil.  Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook an additional 10 minutes to brown the top.


Then there is something new.  I chose to make this recipe for 2 reasons.  First – I wanted something meat-free since I knew the tried and true recipe I was making had sausage in it.  Second, I wanted something very simple and fuss-free that anyone could make.  This recipe was perfect for both reasons!!  This recipe could even easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock.  And on the easiness scale – it really doesn’t get any easier than this!  In fact, this recipe could easily be made up as a side dish for dinner any night – not just on Thanksgiving!  The only change I would make would be to use a different vegetable blend next time.  I made the mistake of going to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon – and in Utah, if you go on a Saturday afternoon, you can expect half of the things you want to be gone!  This was the only kind of mixed vegetables I could find, and I really think a good, high quality mix would make this so much better.

Garden Vegetable Stuffing

1 ¾ cups Swanson Chicken Broth
1 bag (16 oz) frozen vegetable combination
5 cups Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing

Heat the broth to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan over high heat.  Add the vegetables and heat to a boil.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the stuffing and mix lightly.

Spoon the stuffing mixture into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until the stuffing mixture is heated through


So in the end, I still didn’t even solve my own debate!  I guess that means I need to bring something tried and true and something new!



Do you want to win a $500 Visa gift card so that you can throw a killer Thanksgiving dinner?  It’s your lucky day!  Swanson broth has given me one $500 Visa gift card to give away.  Here’s what you have to do to enter:

REQUIRED:  In a comment below, let me know what the biggest debate is around your house at Thanksgiving.

For additional entries (please leave a separate comment for each):

*Tweet about this post with a link to it (and put your tweet URL in the comments below)
*Blog about this post with a link to it (and put your blog post URL in the comments below)

Read the official rules for alternate form of entry

  • Check out the official BlogHer/Swanson rules HERE.
  • Want to save some money on your Thanksgiving feast?  Check out the Swanson website for money saving coupons!
  • Check out the other 4 bloggers who are sharing their debate stories!
  • exclusive offers page
  • This giveaway will end on 11/30/2010 at 11:59pm Mountain time.  The winner will be announced December 1, 2010. 


This was a paid post sponsored by Swanson Broth and BlogHer, but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Holiday Traditions

This is sponsored content from BlogHer and Folgers.

Me and Santa - 1983

I think that I was probably like most kids growing up. I couldn’t wait for the holidays to come. I still remember waking up on Thanksgiving to the smells of turkey and pies cooking in the kitchen. And being so excited on Christmas Eve for Santa to come that I didn’t know how I would wait through the whole night. Holidays were always special to me.

My favorite memories of the holidays growing up would have to be of Christmas. Every Christmas Eve, we would all pile into the car and head out to look at Christmas lights around town. We would travel through neighborhoods, following long lines of cars with lights turned off, ooohing and aaaahing at all of the lights and decorations. I would look forward to that night all year. Once we got home, my mom would set out to wrapping presents. We weren’t like most families that have tons of presents under the tree for weeks leading up to Christmas. We would only have a few – mostly from friends or relatives. But on Christmas Eve, my mom would lock herself into the bedroom and start wrapping presents. We would all be eagerly waiting outside her door, and when she had a few wrapped, we would take turns carrying them downstairs to put under the tree. Once they were all under the tree, I would be amazed at the amount of presents there. They seemed to reach out through half of the living room! (With 5 kids, I guess the presents started to add up quickly!) On Christmas morning, Santa would come and leave presents, and us kids would quietly play for what seemed like hours, until my parents came down and we got to unwrap all of the gifts under the tree. It was always so exciting, because we would unwrap them one by one, while everyone watched. It took hours to unwrap all the presents, but it was the best part of the day.

Now that I am grown with a child of my own, our own traditions have been started. My husband and I decided a few years ago that we needed to start our own traditions, and Fried Scones on Christmas morning soon became our first tradition as a couple. I know my husband looks forward to Christmas morning, just for those scones, and I’m sure our daughter will feel the same way soon!! As we are adding to our family and as our children grow up, I’m excited to see what kinds of traditions form in our family!

How about you? What was your Christmas morning like when you were a child?


Do you want a chance to win a trip home for the holidays? Folgers is sending 5 people home for the holidays! All you have to do is write - in 200 words or less - "What is the best part of wakin' up at home during the holidays with Folgers® coffee?"  It's as easy as that!  You can even enter as many times as you'd like, but each essay must be different.  Imagine a free trip home for you and 3 guests!  Check out their website to find out how you can win!

Also, 9 other bloggers are sharing their holiday traditions and stories. Make sure you check them out! exclusive offers page

This post was sponsored by Folgers, but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rhodes Rolls Gift Pack

The winner of the gift pack from Rhodes Rolls is:

Barbie and Kyle!

Congrats!  Contact me with your address so I can get it sent out to you!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chicken Filled Stuffing Rolls - and a Giveaway!

Remember a few weeks back when I wrote about my night out at the Rhodes Rolls office?  Well, a few days after I got home, I received a surprise in the mail.  Actually, not so much for me, but for one of you!!  At the event, I received a cookbook, an apron, and a coupon for free Rhodes Rolls product.  And the surprise I received in the mail was a second set of these goodies for one of you!!  I am super excited to give these away, because I have already made a few items from this cookbook, (the rolls from this post are in that cookbook!) and everyone can use a new cookbook and an apron.  I have become a real convert to keeping these frozen rolls in the freezer!!

Details for the giveaway will follow, but I wanted to tell you about these rolls first.  I was so excited to try these out, because they kind of reminded me of a family favorite recipe that I've been making for years.  I accidentally let the dough thaw a little too long, so my rolls rose a lot more than I think they are supposed to in the original recipe.  But these were delicious!  The only thing I would change next time would be the crumb mixture.  It calls for herb bread stuffing, and I'm guessing that it meant something similar to Stove Top Stuffing, dry before it's made.  That's what I used.  But now I have a part way used box of stuffing in my cupboard, and I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  I think next time, I would just use bread crumbs and season them, just because that would be more convenient for me.


And now for the giveaway.  This giveaway will go from now until next Tuesday, October 26th at 11:59pm Mountain time.  The winner will be announced on Wednesday.  You'll have 3 ways to enter:

1 - leave a comment on this post letting me know your favorite fall treat to eat
2 - become a fan on Facebook
3 - follow me on Twitter @tasteandtell

Please note that you must leave a separate comment for each entry - if you leave them all on one comment, it will only count as one entry!!  If you are already a Facebook fan or follow on Twitter, leave a comment letting me know.


Chicken Filled Stuffing Rolls
from Fresh Ideas with Frozen Rolls

makes 12 rolls

12 Rhodes Texas rolls, thawed but still cold
8 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 3-oz. package cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup herb bread stuffing
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare 12 muffin tins by spraying with cooking spray.

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes.  Saute the chicken in the butter until cooked through.  Let cool.

Mix the chicken, cream cheese, thyme, salt and pepper.

Press the rolls into 3-inch circles and divide the filling among the 12 rolls.  Pull the edges to seal.  Crush the herb bread stuffing into crumbs.  Dip each filled roll in the egg and then roll in the crumbs.  Place smooth side up in the prepared muffin tins.

Bake fro 20-25 minutes.  Serve warm.

**Disclosure - The prize pack being given away was supplied by the lovely people at Rhodes Rolls.  I received no compensation for this post and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Baking With Betty - Part 2

All of us!

First off, I have to warn you - I have a little bit of a picture addiction. If you have read my personal blog, you will know this, but this serves as a warning that there are TONS of pictures ahead! I really did narrow it down, and this is what I narrowed it down to. You're lucky you didn't see it before!

I was so excited when I received an email inviting me to join 30 other bloggers in Minneapolis to visit the Betty Crocker kitchens at General Mills. I was a little apprehensive since I didn't know anyone, and because it would be the first time I left Abbi overnight, but I was still so excited. Counting down the days until I went excited! It was really such a fun experience, not only to visit the kitchens and to learn more about some Betty Crocker products, but also to be able to meet some pretty amazing bloggers from across the country.

Before the trip, I did some google searching and found 3 other Utah bloggers that were also attending this event (Jessica from Utah Deal Diva, Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up and Laura from Real Mom Kitchen). Utah had a good showing - no other state had 4 bloggers there!! I had never met any of them in person, but we decided to meet in the terminal before the flight. I didn't see them before the flight, but luckily, our seats were kind of close on the plane and we were able to spot each other out before the plane took off.

Once on the ground in Minneapolis, we met up with 2 other bloggers while waiting for our shuttle (Megan from Megan's Munchies and Amy from MomSpark).

from left to right - Jessica from Utah Deal Diva, Laura from Real Mom Kitchen, Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up, Megan from Megan's Munchies

Once we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by the PR agent who put everything together, as well as a bag of swag and lunch. We all sat down and got to know each other a little better.

A delicious lunch

The swag bag!

The boat that took us around the lake

After a brief rest in our rooms, we all headed out on a bus to Lake Minnetonka where a lovely boat awaited to take us on a dinner cruise around the lake.

Just some of the gorgeous real estate that lines the banks of the lake

The lake was gorgeous, and there were some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G homes on that lake. Apparently, once you make tons of money, you move to Minnesota and buy a house on Lake Minnetonka! (I actually did a little search and learned that the prices of the homes on the lake range between $500,000 and $20 million. There were definitely some humongous houses there!)

A beautiful sunset!

The night was beautiful, especially as the sun set and the temperature went down a little bit. The food was good, and the company was even better!

Amanda from I Am Baker and Molly from The Snyder 5

A mural in the lobby of General Mills

The next day, we headed over to General Mills. What an exciting day! On our way to the Betty Crocker kitchens, we got to see some of the history and memorabilia from years past.

Some of the General Mills history - top left - and old school Easy-Bake Oven (I want it!), top right - the first design of Cheerios (Cheerioats back then), bottom right - carved cheerios that are in one of the courtyards (sorry about the glare from the window), bottom left - a few different designs of the Wheaties box.

And then the kitchens. This view was from above, and I will tell you that you could look around and see the excitement on everyone's faces!

View of the kitchens from above

We were split into 4 groups and spent the day rotating through 4 stations. (To see the food we made and sampled, check out my previous post.)

Some of the kitchens off to the side, with women busy working

Off to the side were many more kitchens. It was interesting to look over and see other women busy at work, creating and/or testing recipes.

Myra from My Blessed Life and Kerri from Save at Home Mommy

Catching up on Twitter or Facebook??? Marla from Family Fresh Cooking (Photo by Matt Holland)

Most of my "baking group" (minus 2) from left to right - Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up, Jen from 4tunate, Myra from My Blessed Life, the Betty Crocker cookie station worker, Joscelyn of Mami and the Multiples, me, Liz from Hoosier Homemade (Photo by Matt Holland)

Left to right - Nicole from Baking Bites, Marla from Family Fresh Cooking, Amanda from I Am Baker (Photo by Matt Holland)

Me in action! (Photo by Matt Holland)

We had all had quite a bit of sugar by the end of stations, but it was all worth it. I have to admit, it was over way too fast for me! After we finished baking, so many people had asked to see the photography studios that they took us on a little unscheduled trip through the studios and the prop room.

One of the food photo set ups

Can I say that I was just in heaven?!? I wanted to get home and ask my husband if he would build me a seperate room off the side of the house that I could turn into a food photography studio!! It was really interesting to see. You didn't see the photographer with his camera taking pictures like you or I would. Instead, they have these huge, commercial cameras that almost look like professional video cameras. But wow - do they take great pictures!!

They had shelves with dishes and settings set out for the day's photo shoots

I want them all!

Then we went through the prop room and everyone was drooling. So many bowls, plates, napkins, just about everything you could imagine or want. I seriously want that room!

Then sadly, the day was over and it was time to go back home. I'm so grateful for the new friends that I made, and I wish we would have had just a little more time so that I could have really gotten to know everyone! I have been inspired by Betty Crocker and already have many things to try on my list. Thanks to Betty Crocker and General Mills!!

And if you want to check out some amazing blogs - here are the gals that attended!

Amanda from A Few Shortcuts
Amanda from I Am Baker
Amanda from Fake Ginger
Amy from Mom Spark
DaMora from From My Kitchen
Deb from Frugal Living and Having Fun
Deborah from Taste and Tell
Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up
Jacquelyn from Musings by Jacquelyn
Jen from 4tunate
Jessica from Utah Deal Diva
Joscelyn of Mami of the Multiples
Julie from Joy's Hope
Kerri from Save at Home Mommy
Laura from Real Mom Kitchen
Liz from Hoosier Homemade
Marla from Family Fresh Cooking
Marta from My Big, Fat, Cuban Family
Mary from Blogmania
Megan from Megan's Munchies
Melanie from Modern Mami
Melissa from Your Fun Family
Michelle from Gourmet Mom on The Go
Migdalia from Latina on a Mission
Molly from The Snyder 5
Myra from My Blessed Life
Nicole from Baking Bites
Nika from Nika's Culinaria
Sherri from The Adventures of Kitchen Girl
Silvia from Mama Latina Tips
Trisha from 24/7 Moms

Disclosure - General Mills paid for my travel and accommodations. All opinions expressed are my own.