Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe

This post brought to you by LIBBY’S Pumpkin. All opinions are 100% mine.

We are right back in the swing of activities now that summer is here.  Swim team, swim lessons and tennis lessons are daily for each of my 3 kids for the next 6 weeks.  We are on the GO and not always able to cook a full breakfast before rushing out the door.  Since we’ve been enjoying the whole pumpkin theme for ingredients lately, I thought we’d try a breakfast bread that can easily be brought on the go, with and without the glaze. So here is our latest- Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe that’s easy to do and everyone loves it!

 

Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe

glazed-pumpkin-bread-recipe

Ingredients

1 15 oz. can of LIBBY’s 100% pure pumpkin

1 C. oil (you could also substitute applesauce if you’d prefer)

2 C. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

3 C. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

pumpkin bread in process

Glaze Ingredients –

2 C. powdered sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tbs. butter, softened (I prefer using real butter, not margarine)

2-3 tbs. milk (this depends on how thin or thick you want your glaze. The more milk you add, the thinner the glaze will be and vice-versa).

pumpkin bread baked

Directions –

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour 2 loaf pans.

 

#1. Combine all the wet ingredients – Libby’s pumpkin, oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.

 

#2. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.

 

#3. Pour the pumpkin batter evenly into the two greased loaf pans.

 

#4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Bread will turn a light golden brown color.

 

#5. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool completely. While they are cooling mix up the ingredients for the glaze.

 

#6. Once the loaves are completely cooled pour the glaze over them. **The glaze will melt if the loaves are too hot.

glazed pumpkin bread recipe

 Don’t forget to follow LIBBY’S Pumpkin on Pinterest and also make sure you check out our Pumpkin Pancakes with Pumpkin Butter, Pumpkin Meatballs and Sauce,  and Pumpkin S’mores Bars!

Why pumpkin?  It’s easy. Pumpkin is a superfood. Pumpkin adds extra fiber and Vitamin A to recipes. It’s packed with Beta Carotene. It can be used to replace the fat in some recipes and cut the amount of sodium per serving in others. When used as a replacement for butter, eggs or oil it can also reduce calories. It can be incorporated in breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and beverages – all that taste great.  You can feature the pumpkin flavor and create your recipes around pumpkin, or you can “tuck” it into other recipes to get the added benefits of pumpkin and not have the dish be all about the pumpkin.

Share your fave #PumpkinCan fact via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for a chance at a weekly prize! Good luck!


What will you make with pumpkin next?
 

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5.0 from 6 reviews
Glazed Pumpkin Bread Recipe
 
Pumpkin bread topped with a sweet glaze
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz. can of Libby's canned pumpkin
  • 1 C. oil (you could also substitute applesauce if you'd prefer)
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Glaze Ingredients -
  • 2 C. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tbs. butter, softened (I prefer using real butter, not margarine)
  • 2-3 tbs. milk (this depends on how thin or thick you want your glaze. The more milk you add, the thinner the glaze will be and vice-versa).
Instructions
  1. Directions -
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
  3. #1. Combine all the wet ingredients – Libby's pumpkin, oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
  4. #2. Slowly fold in the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.
  5. #3. Pour the pumpkin batter evenly into the two greased loaf pans.
  6. #4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Bread will turn a light golden brown color.
  7. #5. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool completely. While they are cooling mix up the ingredients for the glaze.
  8. #6. Once the loaves are completely cooled pour the glaze over them. **The glaze will melt if the loaves are too hot.

 

 

10 Easy Weeknight Meals

Sometimes it’s easy for the day to race by, whether it’s because you’ve had a hectic day at the office, the kid’s busy schedules or you’re just taking time for yourself. Dinners aren’t always planned and at the end of the day, it can be hard to gain motivation to cook at all, let alone a big extravagant dinner. Eating out is always an option, but it’s costly and usually not very healthy.

Don’t worry though, because there are other options! This list is composed of some super easy weeknight dinners that you can throw together in minutes, and be eating in less than an hour! Check them out and give them a go. There’s even a frozen pizza that requires no effort, which is absolutely amazing after a long day when you just want some food in your stomach without putting in the work.

10 Easy Weeknight Meals

10-easy-weeknight-meals

1.  Ristorante Frozen Pizza

pizza-vegetale-ristorante

We love our pizza around here.  Even if the kids aren’t up for some more gourmet toppings, we are… and Ristorante is our go-to brand for frozen pizza because of the delectable toppings and quality ingredients they use.  Lucky for us, all three of our kids have a pretty good palate and have loved each of the Ristorante varieties we’ve had for dinner.  Paired with a nice salad, this is one of the fastest dinners that everyone in the house can enjoy!

To see if Ristorante pizzas are available near you, check out the Store Locator. Don’t see Ristorante in your supermarket? You can put in a request with the store manager!

2. 15 Minute White Chicken Chili

15-minute-white-chicken-chili

White chicken chili is my personal favorite kind of chili. I love beans so I’m always happy to enjoy a bowl of chili, but chicken is my favorite meat and I’m always up for a change of pace from the “norm” of our menu items.

3. Gluten Free Crab Cakes

gluten-free-crab-cakes

 

With so many folks living a gluten free lifestyle, we’re making our own effort to build up a repertoire of gluten free menu options so that we can be sure to please any of our guests.  My husband LOVES to go crabbing and often has  bits of crab leftover after he enjoys his meal. One of his favorite things I make are the crab cakes using the leftover crab meat. Spoiled? Maybe. But this one’s easy to change up to make it gluten free and we’ll be trying this recipe very soon.  Quick and easy, just how we like our dinners!

4. Spinach Artichoke Spaghetti Squash

Spinach-Artichoke-Spaghetti-Squash-recipe-Taste-and-Tell-1

This recipe’s in honor of my friend Ally.  She’s the first who introduced me to the goodness of spinach and artichoke together, and now I’ve found a quick and easy meal idea combining those two ingredients.  Ally, you’re welcome, love!

5. Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Chicken-spaghetti-3

You can totally speed this up using all leftovers.  I do my best to cook once and eat twice whenever possible, so when we cook chicken? I make extra.  When I make pasta? I cook extra.  Makes other meals even easier!

6. Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

ham-pepper-and-cheese-quesadilla-11

Quesadillas are great because they can so easily be transported for a picnic or meal on the go. I’ve lost count of how many nights we have had dinner on a ballfield in the past few months and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas that we can bring with us!

7. Sloppy Joes

SloppyJoes3

Sloppy Joes are one of my all time favorite comfort foods. I wish my husband liked them more, but the kids and I all love them so he (sad for him) gets outvoted and they end up in the menu rotation!

8. Throw Together Black Bean Burgers

beanburger1

This black bean burger recipe is one I’ve been anxious to try. My oldest stopped eating meat several months ago and seems to think she can live on boxed meat-replacment products. Not the healthiest option for sure, and not one I want her to continue doing.  Black beans are SO good for you, and since we all like them, why not make our own burgers?

9. Quick and Easy Pesto Quinoa

pesto-quinoa

A recipe to use the basil from the garden?  Yes, please!!  This would be great on its own but would also pair nicely with the Pizza Quattro Formaggi or Pizza Funghi.

10. Green Chile Stuffed Burgers

green-chile-burgers-1-800We love burgers, but really, I’m getting tired of plain old burgers.  My goal is trying a new kind of burger at least 5 times this summer.

savor-your-summer

Once your easy week night meals are cleaned up, use some of that time you saved and check out the Savor Your Summer for a chance to win 1 of 5 grand prize packages! http://bit.ly/1iVUjMl

What are your easy week night meal ideas?

 

Moonshine BBQ makes me smile. #OutbackBestMates

I have a confession to make.  Recently, I took my family to Outback Steakhouse for a fun family night (the nice folks from our local Outback invited us). Now, I knew all about the Moonshine BBQ menu items because I had sampled them in April at the Bloomin’ Brands headquarters…but I hadn’t been able to talk about it with anyone until quite recently. Finally my family could understand and share with me in the Moonshine BBQ sauce that makes you want to lick the plate or bowl of whatever you are eating.

Outback_Menu_Top copy

We started out with 2 Aussie-tizers- Seared Ahi Tuna for my 6 year old son (he loves it with the wasabi!)…

outback-seared-ahi-tuna

 

and Moonshine BBQ Wood-Fire Grilled Wings.

moonshine-bbq-wings

 

There was nothing left on either platter.  NOTHING.  I forgot to get a picture, too.  Boo, on me.

As the fam was deciding what to eat for their main meals, I encouraged my husband to get something from the Moonshine menu. Not because I wanted to push the new items, but because I knew he LOVED the sauce like me and wanted him to taste it on some other tasty foods in addition to the wings.

Naturally, he listened to his smart wife and got the Combo Platter. Even my son listened and asked for his meal to come with Moonshine BBQ on his ribs.

moonshine-bbq-combo-platter

 

I realized after that I probably should have focused on NOT mashed potatoes, but if you have ever tasted the taters at Outback Steakhouse, you totally understand why they were front and center here.  They are amazing paired with the Moonshine BBQ sauce.

While hubby was happily enjoying his ribs, steak and chicken, and glaring at me when I stole little bites of his mashed potatoes, I was excited to have my Moonshine BBQ  salad with grilled chicken breast. (I almost always seem to order salads with chicken when we’re out to dinner).

moonshine-bbq-chicken-salad

Halfway through, we swapped plates. There was no way I could eat that much salad, especially not after 2 amazing Aussie-tizers and half of hubby’s mashed potatoes.  No way!  We were both happy to try so many of the menu items. I kept telling him “I told you so!” when he liked something on his plate or mine.

The kiddos were oh so very happy to have some of the mini milkshakes I’d been telling them about since my trip in April.

mini-milkshakes-outback

We don’t normally do milkshakes with dinner- but really, if and when we do, the kids share one because the portions are HUGE.  They were over the moon excited to have their OWN milkshakes, although my littlest one was (just like her mama) wanting to bring the milkshake glass home with us.

My oldest has become a vegetarian in recent months and as such, didn’t really get to have a full sense of the Moonshine BBQ sauce.  She did get to taste some, but she was happy to enjoy her mac and cheese with some fruit on the side. The sauce has a little too much kick for my 4 year old so she went with a milder choice for her dinner. (The boys were quite happy that this meant more for them!)

We are having a date night this week- I’ve already been promised we can eat at Outback for some more of Moonshine BBQ!  YUM!

The first of its kind Moonshine BBQ menu includes:

  • Sirloin with Moonshine BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp – Outback’s signature sirloin with Moonshine BBQ Bacon wrapped shrimp and your choice of one freshly made side
  • Moonshine BBQ Ribs – each succulent rack is smoked, wood-fire grilled and brushed with Moonshine BBQ sauce, served with Aussie Fries
  • Moonshine BBQ Wood-Fire Grilled Wings – tossed with our chef-inspired Moonshine BBQ Sauce and served with ranch dressing
  • Try all three Moonshine cocktails including the Huckleberry Hooch and Watermelon Hunch Punch, made with Ole Smoky® Blackberry Moonshine™ and Just Peachee made with Georgia Moon® Peach Moonshine


Additional menu items to hit the sauce include the Moonshine BBQ Combo Platter, complete with Moonshine BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, 1/3 order of Moonshine BBQ Ribs and Grilled Chicken on the Barbie, the Double Moonshine Burger and Moonshine BBQ Chopped Salad. Of course, no menu is complete without dessert and what better way to finish off a Moonshine BBQ meal than with Outback’s new Skillet Apple Pie, made with warm apples and cinnamon baked in a flakey crust, topped with Blue Bell® Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

In addition to the nationwide sampling event, Outback is making it easy for everyone to get their ‘shine on with the Moonshine Name Generator at www.Outback.com/Name. With a few simple clicks, fans can determine their Moonshiner name and determine if they are a “Rebel,” “Outlaw” or “Maverick.”  Last but not least, guests can learn the “true” secret behind why Outback’s Moonshine BBQ sauce is so dang good by visiting www.Outback.com/Shine.

Have you been to Outback lately? Have you tried the Moonshine BBQ?

This post is brought to you by our friends at Outback through the Outback Best Mates program.  Opinions are my own.BestMates-logo little

 

Credit monitoring is not proactive identity theft protection #lifelocksafety

Have you ever been in a fender bender? If so, you know the headache and inconvenience it causes. What if you got in a fender bender (one not your fault), and found out afterwards that the insurance policy you had been paying for each month didn’t actually cover anything.?! Your vehicle would not be fixed. Chances are you’d be upset, frustrated, and feel like you were mislead. After dealing with your feelings, you’d then have to either come out of pocket to have your vehicle fixed, or live with the ugly damage it caused. The thing is, this is the exact scenario that could happen…. with your credit.

 

Most Americans are aware of importance of our credit score in today’s society. It’s everything. Credit score can be used to determine a number of things; your trustworthiness, your grasp handling responsibility, your maturity and more. It can be used to determine financial worthiness, employment, and more. Weigh this next to the threat of identity theft in our society, and you see why it’s so important to protect it.

 credit-monitoring-identity-theft-protection

How does this tie into car insurance? It’s the same concept. Credit monitoring is great. It alerts you to changes in your credit score, and offers suggestions on maintaining and/or improving your credit score. Things are swell. Until… your identity is stolen. At that point, you will quickly learn; credit monitoring is not the same as identity theft protection.

 

Identity theft protection doesn’t only monitor. It stands at the front lines and actively fights for your identity. You have the peace of mind that even if your identity is stolen; you STILL don’t have to bat an eye. LifeLock provides you reassurance, peace of mind, and a solid support system to help you keep your identity yours, and to keep you fully covered.

Use 10% off promo code “LifeLockSafety” at the Lifelock site.

Do you Advertisementuse identity theft protection?

 

 

This post is brought to you by our friends at LifeLock. Opinions are my own.

Follow the World Cup with Windows Apps #worldcup #brasil2014

Calling all (fellow) soccer fans!! Happy World Cup!  #WorldCup and #Brasil2014 are here, and I have some Windows and Windows Phone apps help you to make the most of World Cup 2014! Don’t miss a beat!

Follow FIFA World Cup with Windows Apps

follow-world-cup-windows-apps

ESPN FC on Windows and Windows Phone offers comprehensive worldwide football coverage 24/7 for all major league teams.

espn-fc-windows-app-world-cup

With Bing Sports on Windows and Windows Phone you can keep up with all the sports and teams you care about with top headlines, scores, schedules, standings, statistics, team information and personalized team tracking.

bing-sports-follow-world-cup

Wherever your friends and family are in the world, Windows and Windows Phone apps help you enjoy the fun of the World Cup together! With Air Soccer Fever you can play an online multiplayer soccer game in real-time against your friends and family on your Windows or Windows Phone devices and take home the title!

air-soccer-fever-windows-app

 

 

Or face the goal keeper one-on-one and play against your friends around the world to win the Online Cup with Penalty Kicks on your Windows Phone.

soccer-windows-app-penalty-kicks

 

With FIFA 14  (I just included this in my best Windows Apps for Sports Fans post) you can build your ultimate fantasy team with more than 16,000 real players and feel the excitement of every pass, shot and tackle with new touch controls – even listen to commentaries in a variety of languages.

fifa-windows-app

 

Whether you are playing a game on these Windows apps, keeping up with the latest scores or streaming the games live, the Lenovo Yoga 2 has the perfect position for the best viewing experience! From laptop mode to stand mode, tent mode to tablet mode, the ThinkPad Yoga flips around 360 degrees so the screen is always right where you need it – for work or play!

Want to see what others are saying about World Cup 2014?  Visit the #brasil2014  and/or #worldcup hashtags on Twitter!

 

Who are you cheering for in the World Cup?

I am a Windows Champion and this information was shared with me as part of my partnership with Windows and Microsoft.  Opinions are my own.

Best Windows Apps for Sports Fans

If you are still thinking of what to give the man in your life this Father’s Day, worry not! I’ve got you covered with some of the best Windows apps for sports fans! With a Windows App, you don’t have to worry about even leaving your house to pick up a gift. There is no shipping and handling involved. Your gift won’t be forgotten about in some deep dark corner of the house that holds all of the “world’s greatestest Dad” memorabilia he’s received over the years! Instead, your gift will remain at the tip of his fingers whenever he feels like utilizing! It won’t fade, shrink, or expire!

 

Here are a few the best Windows Apps for Sports fans:

 best-windows-apps-sports-fans

Baseball Pro+

For the baseball fanatic. Live scores, up to the minute standings, and news about your favorite teams! Go Red Sox! :)

baseball-windows-app

Watch NFL Network

Access NFL network programming AND your NFL Redzone, directly from your Windows 8 device!

watch-nfl-windows-app

Tactics Board

If you have a coach in your life, they’re bound to LOVE this app! Tactic board allows you to strategize and plan out plays right on your Windows 8.1 device.

team-tactics-windows-app

Car Fanatic

It’s no secret that most men love cars! This app will allow them to access to the fastest cars, right at their fingertips, making it very easy to pull up and show off to their buddies!

car-fanatic-windows-app

My Golf Hub

If you have a golfer in your life, this app is an essential. The app actually helps you improve your golf game by analyzing your swing, based on a video you’ve uploaded! It’s like having your own personal golf coach, right in the palm of your hand (but for much less money)!

golf-windows-app

 

FIFA 2014

Soccer fans will love this app.  Featuring 34 leagues, over 600 licensed teams, and more than 16,000 players. From the English Premier League to La Liga and beyond. Plus, for the first time on mobile, listen to commentaries in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish!

fifa-windows-app

 

 

Men’s Health 

An important app for men that allows you to make a fitness plan, create a healthy diet, reduce stress, enhance sleep, and more! (And if he’s PLAYING any of these sports he’s loving the app to, he’ll want to be healthy so he can continue to enjoy them!)

mens-health-windows-app

 

These are just a very small sample of what’s available for sports fans using Windows Apps! Head on over to Microsoft and see for yourself!

nokia-lumia-2520

Of course, he’ll need a tablet for all of these cool apps. Why not get him a Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet? Head over to your local Microsoft Store and pick one up- knowing how helpful the folks are there, I’m sure they would be happy to help you load some of these apps onto the tablet before you leave so he can turn it on and play right away!

nokia-lumia-2520-tablet

This tablet has it all- Create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on the go. Synch your email and calendars with Outlook. And with up to 64GB of expandable memory and OneDrive, you can save your documents and pick up where you left off whenever you want. As you can see from the picture above, the profile of the Lumia 2520 is teeny tiny.  Not a lot of extra weight for him to tote around when he’s travelling or commuting to work (or the playground).

 

The Nokia Lumia 2520 with high-res Full HD display is crisp and clear even in bright sunlight. So you can see whatever you’re working on, wherever you’re working, indoors or outside.

Snap on the Nokia Power Keyboard and let your fingers do the talking. With up to five hours of extra battery life, a touch pad and two full-sized USB ports, getting things done on the move has never been easier.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 can store an 80% charge in just one hour, leaving you 100% free to unplug and do your thing.

 

One reader will win a Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet!

 

 

 

I receive information and devices as part of the WindowsChampions program.  No compensation was received for this post.  Opinions are my own. 

Identity Theft is real.

Ever had your home or vehicle burglarized? If so, you’ll fully understand the feelings of violation, fear, and anger that come along with having your personal property and/or space violated. We work hard for the things we own, and for someone to take them without permission is often devastating and lots of times downright scary. Imagine if this thing they took, however, was not a product you could replace. A friend of mine dealt with this exact same situation.  Actually, as I write this, it isn’t just a friend of mine.  It’s multiple. Some near, some far. The end result is always scary.  Frustrating.  Time consuming.

We’ve all heard the stories. Seen the commercials, read the articles. Identify theft is real, and it’s happening all over at an extremely alarming rate. As with any other catastrophe, however, most of us walk around thinking this could never happen to us. Think again. Identify thieves’ strike anyone at any given time. Race, ethnicity, age, and even credit score don’t matter; you’re still able to become a victim of this horrendous time. It doesn’t matter if you keep your passwords fresh and hard to guess (although that is a great idea, nevertheless). It doesn’t matter if you lock away your cards and vow to never type in a single digit of any of them onto a computer ever. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you decide to forego cards and checks all together and resort back to paying for everything in cash from a shoebox under your bed.

 identity-theft-can-happen-anyone

Original photo credit: Don Hankins

At the end of the day, identify theft is real. It happens. It’s hard to correct once it occurs. It took my friend years, and lots of leg work to feel like she had finally won back her identity. Her name. Her credit; which is so often used to determine a person’s ethics, morals, and level of responsibility. When I asked my friend what, if anything, she would have done differently to protect herself, that’s when she told me about LifeLock.

Identity theft doesn’t just happen in other places, other towns, other parts of the country.  In the time it took you to read that last sentence, someone else’s identity has been stolen.  It happens every 3 seconds.

Every 3 seconds!

 lifelock-identity-theft-every-three-seconds

What is LifeLock?

LifeLock  gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your identity is safe and secure. In the event that anyone did try to infringe on your unique personal footprint, the LifeLock team is there to combat, and keep you safe from  identity theft. Their fraud identity protection is unrivaled

 lifelock-identity-protection

Head over to the LifeLock site to read reviews, and find out more about identify theft protection. Use the promo code “LifeLockSecure” for 10% off!

Do you know anyone who has been affected by identity theft?
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Updated Straight Talk plans and promotions

Straight Talk has some new updated plans and great promotions going right now and they wanted me to let you all know about them! I’m really excited about the new plans- well, one is updated, one is new- but I’m still excited!

new-straight-talk-plans-updated-plans

New and Updated Straight Talk Plans:

Updated! With the updated $45 30-day plan you get Unlimited* nationwide talk, text and data (high speed data for the first 3.0 GB of data use)

Now, with 10X more data than the other guys, they bring us  3.0 GB of high speed data each month

After reaching 3.0 GB of high speed data, data speeds will be reduced for the remainder of the 30-day cycle

Also updated! Straight Talk also launched an updated plan for casual users – $30 a month for 1,500 minutes of talk, unlimited texting and 100 MB of data (plan not compatible with most smartphones)

Promotions:

Each Saturday in May, you can visit your local Walmart wireless center to learn more about Straight Talk. Find out what you want to know and take advantage of the free gift card with purchase promotion when you buy a Samsung Galaxy Centura or Galaxy Discover from Straight Talk through May 31, 2014. (At participating stores)

 free-gift-card-samsung-smartphone-purchase-#straighttalktesters

Straight Talk is now on Instagram  @MyStraightTalk. Be sure to follow them because they are having a fabulous contest right now and you could win $1000!

straighttalkhere contest

Enter the #StraightTalkHere Instagram contest for a chance to win $1,000 and a new Straight Talk smartphone!  How awesome is that?  Entry is pretty easy (and fun, if you ask me) – you just have to share pictures of where in the USA your cell service has you covered.  Tag your photo with #StraightTalkHere and @myStraightTalk. Have some FUN with it, you guys!! Be silly and creative!

Begins Tuesday 5/6/2014 and ends Monday 6/2/2014

There will be 4 winners (one each week) who will win $1,000 and a new Straight Talk device

Remember, you can also bring your own phone over to Straight Talk.  I’ve had an iPhone with Straight Talk for 3 years now (give or take) and I’ve been thrilled with my service.  Both locally and when I travel with family or media trips, I’ve been extremely pleased with my coverage and, of course, the awesome pricing that comes with Straight Talk.  I’m an Ambassador for Straight Talk this year, but I’ve been a customer for a few more years, and will continue to be for a long time.

Have you thought about breaking up with your cell phone contract and moving to Straight Talk?

This post is brought to you by our friends at Straight Talk as part of my Ambassadorship with the brand.  Opinions are my own.

Summer Food Recipes Ideas

Memorial Day is HERE!  The unofficial kick off to summer. The start of all of the fun cookouts, picnics, BBQ get-togethers. The start of longer days and a more relaxed schedule (hopefully). The start of one of my four favorite seasons!

With all of these cookouts, picnics, BBQ get-togethers comes the question some love and some don’t love as much- what do we serve our guests? With so many dietary needs, it’s hard to be able to please all of our friends and family with one kind of food, so I have some fun suggestion that can work for just about anyone!

 

Grilled Pizza

 summer-food-recipes-dr-oetkers

Pizza? At a cookout?  Why, yes! Why not? Ristorante by Dr. Oetker has some fabulous flavor combos, you can make sure to have a substantial dish for those who may not want meats grilled. One thing I love about this brand is that the pizzas aren’t topped with just the right amount of flavorful toppings so nothing slides off when you pick up a slice…. making it a great option for BBQ and cookouts. Cut them small, cut them large, these would be a great addition to your party foods list this summer!

We are actually planning to grill a few Ristorante pizzas again  this weekend, so stay tuned!! We have been so happy every time we have grilled pizzas and I think with the already thin crust of Ristorante pizzas combined with the grilling flavor added to the already fabulous sauce and cheese we are going to have a huge hit on our hands. Pizza Funghi would be a nice option for your Vegetarian friends, with mushrooms, tomatoes, Edam cheese and Mozzarella. The Pizza Vegetale has lots of peppers, tomatoes, onions and chiles atop the thin crust – this is one of my husband’s favorite pizzas right now. Lots of flavor, lots of great tastes. When you grill these pizzas, be sure to turn  your grill to the lowest heat so you don’t overcook.

summer-food-recipe-ideas-grilled-pizza

Find out if Ristorante is sold near you by visiting the Store Locator. If your local stores don’t have it, I’d totally recommend asking them to start carrying it. We LOVE it!

 Burgers

Instead of plain burgers for your cookout, mix things up at bit. Make sliders with a few flavor options for guests. Sliders cook faster than burgers, so you can spend less time grilling and more time with your friends and family. You could also make sliders from smaller Portobello mushrooms and have some great toppings to choose from.

 

Some slider flavor combo ideas:

  • Bacon and blue cheese
  • Fiesta Sliders (black beans, corn, salsa mixed in with your burger meat)
  • Pepper and Onion Sliders
  • Mushroom and Swiss

 

I would sauté the veggies ahead of time and mix them with the meats once cooled. Most everyone enjoys a burger, but why not add some new flavors and add a little bit more sophistication?

 

Some side dish ideas:

  • Quinoa – there are so many options out there for making dishes with quinoa. Find a fabulous salad dish that can be served cold and add that to your menu. Skip any dairy for the recipe and you can satisfy your Vegan friends’ bellies as well.
  • Heaven Potatoes

 

Salads with Seasonal Fruit

 

We always have watermelon around in the summer. Why not cut some up and add it to a salad? My mom used to make a salad with spinach, watermelon, onion, a little feta cheese… there are lots of options.   Pick a fruit that’s in season, get it in a salad, and set it out. Who says BBQ foods have to be traditional?

I’ve also seen watermelon salad set inside of a hollowed out watermelon – watermelon, mint, olives and feta cheese.

 

Not into watermelon? What about salads with strawberries? Berries, spinach, pepitas and some dressing would make a great salad, super simple to make. There are so many options for fresh fruits and veggies in summer, so have some fun with your salads!

 

Beverages

 

Go to your seasonal fruits with your beverages again.  We made Honey Rhubarb Iced Tea a few years ago for the first time and it became an instant family favorite.

 

With or without alcohol, making cocktails and mocktails with seasonal fruits is a great way to add some great flavor to your drinks (and not break the bank, since seasonal fruits are generally less expensive).

What are your favorite foods to serve at a cookout?

 

This post is brought to you by our friends at Dr. Oetkers Ristorante Pizza as part of my Ambassadorship with them.  Opinions are my own. 

Mother’s Day at Hammonasset Beach State Park #SiennaDiaries

After a delicious breakfast made by my family on Mother’s Day, I realized we had no plans for the day, and decided since it was due to be absolutely gorgeous out, we needed to head down to the Connecticut shore and spend a day unplugged together.  AWESOME choice, I have to tell you.  

hammonasset-beach-madison-ct

If only I’d remembered to pack myself a sweatshirt.. but oh well. Thankfully, we have the use of a 2014 Toyota Sienna for a few months as part of the Sienna Diaries program and were able to ride in comfort AND luxury down to the shore.  It was nice to have so much space to throw in all of our gear we might need (and some we’d probably never need…I’m good at overpacking). 

toyota-sienna-day-at-beach

Yes, this is almost all stuff packed for one “quick trip” for our family to the beach.  Can you imagine what we’d pack if it was to be hot and we needed extra drinks? We didn’t have swim suits but I did have a bag with a change of clothes for all of us. I knew at least one kid was going to go into the water no matter how cold it was (I was right).

The kids were super excited to go to the ocean.  We’ve actually not really been very much (twice for the littler two).

road-trip-to-beach-#siennadiaries

There are no members of my family who will just take a normal picture.  My oldest thinks we’re all crazy so she tends to hide for car pics lately (see her hand?)

Once we got to the beach I was so happy we decided to do this day trip. We went to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT.  Tons of beach space, and lots of different areas to explore.  We headed way down by Miegs Point so we could do some exploring on the point to start our day around the Salt Marsh.

exploring-hammonasset-beach-state-park-ct

 

As you can see, I didn’t plan their footwear (or my own) well at all for anything but sandy beaches. Live and learn.  We had a blast. We’ve never gone to the ocean much, and never on a day that was chilly like this, so it was a lot of fun to explore and see a lot more of what Hammonasset had to offer besides sandy beach and cool ocean water :)

climbing-rocks-hammonasset

There were treasures to be found, tons of snails, scallops, and other fun creatures around.  We found all kinds of cool rocks and shells to check out. I was pretty amazed there was not a boo-boo for anyone since we were (almost) all in flip flops.

shells-hammonasset-beach-ct

My oldest was always far ahead and loved climbing the rocks.  I kind of think she may be part monkey at this point. She’s quite obsessed with climbing trees but none near the beach seemed to be tall enough for her climbing preferences.

climbing-rocks-hammonasset-beach-ct

 

Everyone liked this area with the logs.  Fun for photos. (I wish I’d brought my camera not just my phone!)

exploring-hammonasset-beach-#SiennaDiaries

Once we were all kind of ready to be done climbing on rocks, we thought we’d head back to the Sienna, grab a snack, and then off to spend some time with our toes in the sand.

I did grab this shot of all 3 kids and I think it was the best Mother’s Day gift I could get- a shot with all three kids and it so totally “grabs” their personalities. My oldest is being a mother hen, my youngest is a total goofball (like her mama) and my son is acting all “cool.”  I love this photo for tons of reasons!

mother-day-hammonasset

This is the entirety of my time in the water.  It was about 78 inland on Mother’s Day, and probably 68 at the shore. Too cold even for me.

toes-in-water

 

Not, however, too cold for the kids.  Or at least, for my oldest.  I wish I’d grabbed a picture of her “falling” into the water.  She thought it was great.  Until the wind picked up an hour later and she got cold anyway!

running-water-hammonasset

The little kids were quite happy to settle in and play in the sand away from the water and I was happy to just sit back and enjoy the day.  It was awesome.

sand-play-hammmonasset

I have to say, I think this was one of the best beach days my family has had.  NOT having hot temps meant we were all more comfortable and able to enjoy ourselves longer.  We had so much fun at Hammonasset and are actually talking about possibly renting one of the campsites later in the summer and camping out in the tent!  There’s so much more we need to explore and do at this beautiful State Park!! When we do, we’ll be glad to have the Sienna- so much room for all of the gear that we can’t seem to pare down!

hammonasset-beach-state-park

 

Thank you to Toyota for inviting us to take part in this semester of the Sienna Diaries program.  We’ll be sharing more of our adventures with the Sienna over the next few months!

 

Where have your adventures taken you lately?