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Monthly Archives: March 2015

National PB&J Day April 2, 2015


 

I tend to think that just about everyone on the planet has either had or heard of a PB&J sandwich. It is as American as baseball and Apple pie in this blogger’s eyes and it should be in a food category all of its own. You can use creamy or crunchy, any flavor of jelly or jam and even add some items that might make others think : what are you thinking”. A few years ago I added banana slices to my peanut butter sandwich and even though this is an old version I had never tried it but now I am hooked. Another good one is peanut butter, banana and marshmallow fluff on a toasted sandwich, kind of like a grilled cheese.

I like to experiment in the kitchen and came up with the following twists on the good old PB&J sandwich.:

  • Peanut butter, raspberry jam and just a little bit of dark chocolate, grilled is best.
  • Crunchy peanut butter, grilled peach slices, and just a tablespoon or so of caramel sundae topping. or brown sugar works great too! and grill the little treasure!
  • peanut butter, thinly sliced apples and caramel sauce or marshmallow fluff, this one is better grilled in my opinion.

And I could go on and on…               

Did you know that April 2nd, 2015 is National PB&J day? I didn’t until I received an email from Welch’s. Everything has a National Day now but I am glad to see PB&J getting its due notice. Some version of this classic sandwich has graced millions or maybe even billions of lunch boxes from school kids to construction workers and I say it will some day be voted the best sandwich in history. Taking a bite of a PB&J sandwich for me is like stepping back in time with every bite and it is amazing to me how one bite evokes a flood of memories and takes you back. Whenever I eat one I immediately think of third grade and sitting in the small little lunchroom of our elementary school with my closest friends as we inspected each others lunches and made our bids for some serious lunch box item bartering.

My friend Beth loved Doritos and I always has one of the fun size bags in my lunch, courtesy of my amazing mother and she would always want to trade. I told her to start bringing PB&J and we could ” work something out” I am sure I sounded like a mobster giving her the old ” an offer you just can’t refuse.” or at least in my mind I sounded tougher. The next day she came to school with the sought after sandwich and for half of her sandwich she received my bag of Doritos. To this day I don’t remember exactly what products her mother used but it was the most mouth-watering and amazing PB&J I had ever had. The raspberry jelly had big slices of raspberry in it with a very sweet taste and the peanut butter was crunchy. Her mom even added extra slices of fresh raspberries as well as some kind of sauce that Beth told me her mother made herself. Since we stayed friends even through high school I later found out it was called a raspberry reduction which I still make to this day almost 30 years later. It was my first introduction into ” gourmet” versions of a PB&J and I have never lost the love of them.

Welch’s invites you to their Facebook page to share a comment about how you will celebrate national PB&J Day! I would love to hear your PB&J stories as well. Tell us your favorite version of the sandwich, a funny story involving a PB&J or anything related. For me this sandwich belongs in the comfort food category because it always makes me feel better with every delicious bite.

 

Recipes from Welch’s                                                                                         

Recipes from Jif

Chaquita Recipes

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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Old Navy: Today Only Instore: Women’s T-Shirt Dresses Just $10


I absolutely love Old Navy and their jeans are my favorite! Today only and in store only you get women’s T-shirt dresses for just $8 and girls for just $8. Hurry in because these won’t last at these prices. Also if you want to shop online instead get free 2-day shipping when you spend $75 or more and use code HAPPY plus get 35% off sitewide. this code ends today though 3/29/15.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Kitchen Collection: All Presto Brand Items Ship Free


Presto Brand products have been around for a very long time and I would say most of us have at least one in our kitchen right now. Kitchen Collection offers many, many brands but now through 3/31/15 all Presto items ship for free. No code is needed and it will reflect in your cart. If you add items that are not Presto, you will have to pay shipping on those brands. From the Fry Daddy to  the Air Popper, I am sure you will find what you’re looking for! Since no code is needed for the free shipping. use this one for $5 off a $30 purchase. Use code bb  at checkout. just checked it out myself and it works perfectly.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Jelly Beans On Your List For Easter? You May Wanna Re-Think That!


Jelly Beans have long since been a representation of Easter and have graced, dare I say, billions of Easter baskets over the years. But how much do you know about just how these sugary treats are made? You just may want to re-think putting these in your child’s Easter Basket this year.

Although jelly beans as we know them are not a great thing for anyone to consume just for the sugar and corn-syrup content alone but do you know how jelly beans get that pretty, shiny outer coating on them? Well after you read this you may not only never buy another jelly bean, even those super-cool, fancy-flavored gourmet beans everyone loves. So if you love jelly beans so much that you really don’t want to give them up and do not want to know how they are made you are going to want to stop reading this now and munch away but you may want this information and quick since Easter is about a week away.

Okay here we go… have you ever wondered where jelly beans get that shiny coating that covers the gooey sugar inside? Maybe you have never even thought about it like me but now that I know I will never buy or eat another one again. I have accumulated a long list of so-called edibles over the years that once I found out how and with what they are made that I have never touched again and had many a nightmare over. This is just yet another “food” that has gone on that list.

The shiny coating on those pretty colored beans is a shellac, you know kind of like the layer of coating over a hard wood floor or shelf. This particular shellac is considered GRAS, which means generally recognized as safe, by the FDA and we all know that the FDA would not allow bad things in our foods, right? Yeah right! The completely disgusting reality is that the shellac that is used to cover those brightly colored jelly beans is made from the excrement of beetles. Yes, you heard that right! The female beetles “poop” forms a tunnel-like tube on the branches of trees in Thailand and India and these tunnels are called cocoons even though they are not cocoons in the way we all know. These bugs live off the sap from the trees and leave their excrement behind and the beetle dung is heated. The raw shellac contains bark pieces and even parts of the bugs themselves and when heated begins to liquefy and the tiny pieces of bug and bark are strained out. The sticky shellac is dried out in flat sheets and broken up into flakes, bagged and sold.

Are you completely grossed out yet? Did you throw away the 5 bags of jelly beans you have already bought? The dried shellac that has been sold by the bagful is then added to some denatured alcohol in order to dissolve the flakes and make a liquid which is the shellac. Shellac is used in everything from the making of furniture, mascara, aluminum foil, hairspray shampoo and more, even fertilizer. In foods, shellac is most commonly used as a glaze made from being mixed with confectioner’s sugar and is even used on coffee beans.

As a general rule, all candies that have a shiny outer shell contains this mixture. This includes Malted Milk Balls, sugar babies and so much more that I can not possibly list them all. M&M’s are an exception to this rule and do not contain shellac. Even expensive, luxury chocolate brands like Godiva use this shellac. So it’s up to you if you want to still indulge in these Springtime treats but they won’t be in my house anymore, along with a lot of other items. This is why an organic lifestyle is quickly becoming the choice of many, many people.

Resources:

WWW.Villagegreennetwork.com

Wikipedia/shellac

Babble.com

 

 

It has been brought to my attention that I did not add a disclaimer stating that this is my opinion and everyone is welcome to their own opinion. I guess I figured most people know already that they have their own opinion and really didn’t need me to reiterate that fact but here it is… Guess what everyone, you have your own opinions!! I know, startling information isn’t it? I ran across this information in a magazine article and decided to write a blog post about it because it really shocked me that the FDA allows some of the things that it does to be allowed as food safe.  Yes these concoctions such as the shellac go through many processes before it is added to our foods but for me that does not make it any less disgusting or anymore acceptable. I also read the information on many, many websites and even went to the local library to look up the information so I did not make this up nor did I change how the process comes to be in our foods. Yes I also do understand that food that is considered organic and grown on an organic farm still comes into contact with animal excrement and needs to be washed, which I do as I am sure most people do as well.  The difference for me, the “green Person” is that it is a natural occurrence and unavoidable unless those products are grown in a “clean” environment, which soil most certainly is not, and not a process that our government deems safe yet does not disclose the information to the public nor on food labels and that should disturb most of us.  Just because it “happens all of the time” should not excuse the fact that it does happen.  In my opinion ( see I disclosed it’s my opinion) the government has no business allowing things to be added to our food without full disclosure and then we, the people, can make the decision to eat or to not eat those items.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Bullet designs Jewelry Review and Giveaway 3/25/15- 4/25/15


 

One of the things that I love most about jewelry is that you can find just the perfect piece that not only looks amazing but shows off your unique personality. The right piece of jewelry can transform your look as well as your mood and make you feel strong, sexy or confident. Now you may be thinking that’s a huge responsibility to put on a little piece of jewelry but if you really think about it, it has probably already happened in your life and you never really thought about it.  Remember the day when your man placed that ring on your finger and asked you to be his wife? I would bet that having that ring on your hand-made you more confident and may have even added a little swagger to your walk especially when you showed it off to envious girlfriends. Do you remember getting dressed for prom and looking in the mirror at yourself in that dress that took two weeks to find and then adding the jewelry you either bought because it matched perfectly and you just had to have it or maybe your mom loaned you her best necklace and earrings that you had admired forever and when it all came together you felt like a princess in a fairytale and floated on air all night. Jewelry does hold power!

My wild-child daughter stealing my Bullet Designs.

My wild-child daughter stealing my Bullet Designs.

 

For me, I like jewelry with a little attitude! I like finding pieces that when added to the outfit of my choosing, gives me an air of mystery,some boldness and maybe even a little dangerous edge. For me Bullet Designs gives me just what I am looking for. These amazingly crafted pieces are made with bullet shells! I have loved guns and everything that goes along with them since I was a little girl and my dad would take me shooting in the back hills of Kentucky. We started with air guns and moved our way up and my first experience with a real gun was at 12 years old when I got to shoot my dad’s 38! I fell in love and have logged many hours at the range since then so jewelry that incorporates one of my favorite past times with elegantly designed jewelry( one of my other loves) is perfect for me!

Bullet Designs Beautiful necklace

Bullet Designs Beautiful necklace

Every piece they make is unique and beautiful and will definitely be conversation starters. When I wore my necklace and earrings out for the first time I got a lot of looks and many questions about them and I was more than happy to point them in the right direction to get a set of their own. While I am wearing them I feel empowered and strong and it puts a little umph in my step!  I received the 40 caliber Nickel Fire and Ice earrings Winchester, with Swarovski crystals and they are silver plated. I also received the Necklace to match. I love that you can choose the center stone in your birth stone and you also choose the length of the necklace. I cannot tell you just how beautiful these pieces are in person, the pictures in no way do them justice. They are absolutely gorgeous!  They are so beautiful that my lovely, hunting loving, wild-child of a daughter, took them from me and is wearing them as I write this.

Bullet Designs offers so many choices that you can spend hours just browsing through the pages, I know I have. They have necklaces, earrings, cuff links, pendants, body jewelry, ceiling fan pulls,key rings, rings, money clips and so much more. We are re-doing our kitchen and I so want one of the ceiling fan pulls to add to the decor. One of my favorite pieces is the 40 Caliber Concave Band Bullet Ring but unfortunately right now it is not available in size 6 or it would be mine!  20150305_160432

Whenever I buy something or do a review for a new company, I always look at the company’s About Us page. I want to know all that I can before I decide to buy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they are a faith-based company and I love their stated core values:

OUR CORE VALUES:

  • Put God first in all that we do.
  • Provide high quality products.
  • Serve our customers humbly.
  • Care about the environment.
  • Provide a great place to work.
  • Build open and honest relationships.
  • Be adventurous and open-minded.
  • Be innovative, flexible and forward thinking.

It is rare these days to find a company that put God first and for me that is a huge decision factor for me when placing orders with a company. It is not only their commitment to God that impresses me but their commitment to the environment as well and how many companies do you know of that are committed to providing a great place to work?

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Bullet Designs offers something for everyone, including the men in your life. Whether you are an avid hunter, a gun enthusiasts or just want a unique item that you can add to your jewelry collection, you are sure to find something that catches your eye. Bullet Designs also make an amazing gift idea for just about any occasion. Make sure you head over and browse through their unbelievable variety of stunning items and give one or two a new home. As soon as I am done writing this I know one item that will be coming home to me is the Nickel Bullet Ankle Bracelet. Summer is coming and this will look so cute with my capris, shorts and skirts for the warm weather and at just $14.95 it is easy on the wallet as well!

Bullet Design was recently awarded the 2014 LED Small Business Innovation award from the Louisiana Economic Developement  and the US Small Business Administration. You can read the Newspaper Article from the Shreveport Times.  You can follow Bullet Designs on Facebook and on Twitter  and sign up for their newsletter and you will be the first to know about new products and promotions.

Now for the Giveaway:  The amazing folks at Bullet Designs are offering a giveaway! One lucky reader will win the Fire and Ice set for themselves, The Necklace and earrings!!  Approximate $45 value! Entering is easy, just follow the rafflecopter form! This giveaway will run 3/25/15 through 4/25/15. It is open to entrants from the US and Canada and must be over 18 to enter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with any social media sites and couponfreestuff is not responsible for prize fulfillment.  Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

My Soap Box: A New Way To Be Rewarded For Your Opinion


I belong to many online survey sites and each one is a little different but most of them tell YOU what your rewards will be, with My Soap Box, you choose your own rewards! I really love that! Now I choose where I want to shop not where they tell me to! Sign up is FREE and easy and there aren’t a million questions to answer and such. You choose when you want to do they surveys or even if you want to do them at all. You won’t be bombarded in your email account either. If you want to make a little extra for giving your opinions, head over to MY Soap Box and sign up!

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

No sugar Added Old Fashioned 2 day Apple Cake


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this is your ingredients

 

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This is the finished cake. It is not a pretty cake but oh baby is it good!

 

 

 

 

 

My family is from Kentucky and through the years we have had some amazing recipes passed down. Every year in Painstville, Ky, they have Apple Day. This is a fair that has been held as far back as I can remember and then some. They have parades and food and carnival rides, live music, craft booths and so much more. One of the things that I must have whenever I get to go the festival, which is held the first weekend in October, is an old-fashioned apple cake. If you have never had the chance to taste one of these masterpieces, oh Lordy are you missing out. Moist and appley ( yes that’s a word I made up lol) it just melts in your mouth. Unfortunately the original version is chocked FULL of sugar and since I can no longer have all of that sugar I decided to create a version that I CAN have. So the No sugar added old-fashioned apple cake is born. Now nothing takes the place of the original but it’s pretty darn good if I do say so myself. The nutritional info that I have included is based on using the exact products I used and using a square cake pan. I based this on 22 thin slices that I got by cutting the square cake in half and cutting 11 thin slices from each half. This is still a good size portion since the cake has 2 layers. See the info at the end of the post.

 

No Sugar Added Old Fashioned Apple Cake Recipe

1 box Pillsbury sugar-free cake mix

5 pound bag of sweet apples  Michigan Macintosh (or  I use fuji or braeburn)

1 tbs vanilla

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbs cinnamon

1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar

1/3 cup Splenda granulated

1 stick unsalted butter

To the prepared cake batter add 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and a dash of vanilla and mix again.This gives the cake a “spice flavor”.

Directions:

Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box.( with the additions above)  I baked mine for about 35 minutes.

Pour the cake mix into two round cake pans( I used square pans as my round one bit the dust)  sprayed with cooking spray. make sure they are as equal as possible.

bake as directed until toothpick or fork comes out clean. Let cool on plates. If the cakes crack a little don’t worry the apple will cover it.

 

peel the apples and cut into small  chunk pieces

In a large skillet melt the butter on medium low  heat and add the apple chunks

make sure to stir often as they will stick. after 5 minutes place the heat on low.

add in the splenda sugar and Brown sugar and continue to cook on  low heat and stir to mix completely

add in the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and stir to mix    keep cooking the apple until they are fork tender.

Once tender , remove from heat.

take one  of the cakes and place on a cake plate. Put a layer of the apple mixture over the top of the cake til covered. generously

place the other cake on top of the apple mixture and layer that piece with the rest of the apple mixture apples.

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cutting the butter into pats helps it melt faster

 

use a topper to cover the cake but you do not want to cover with anything else but foil if necessary. Plastic wrap tend to make it sweat. It’s better if you have a place to leave the cake uncovered and untouched ( the old-fashioned way 🙂 )   Leave the cake for 2 days as is.  All of the moisture and spices from the apples will infuse into the cake as it sits.  This cake, when done, is super moist and flavorful!   Believe me this cake is perfect as is but you can also serve it with some no sugar added or sugar-free  vanilla ice cream and can even add some Smuckers sugar-free caramel topping for a caramel apple cake.  If you are going to add the caramel I suggest after each layer of apples , place the caramel then in a light layer instead of pouring it on the cake after it’s done. The caramel flavor will infuse into the cake too as it sits. Now many people make this cake with four or more layers but since we are going for a skinnier version we will stop at two. I promise it is just as good! At about 12 hours of sitting time, take a spatula and gently press down on the apples to even them out and to press into the cake. At hour 24 or so do it once more. Very gently.

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apples chopped into small pieces

Now apple is my favorite and I will always argue that you cannot beat the flavor of an apple cake but you could do this with other fruits as well. Which I plan on doing in the future. I would love to try peaches, pears, a berry medley and possible pineapple.  For even more decadence you could use this recipe below  in between the layers, on top of your fruit but you will have to refrigerate the cake when using this topping.

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this is the apples with all ingredients added

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the batter with the spices added

1 tub of sugar-free Cool Whip placed in a mixing bowl.  Add in a box of sugar- free cheesecake flavored instant Jello Pudding ( the large box) as is in the powder form.  Hand mix or use a hand mixer and beat til fluffy. After  you put on your fruit layer to the cake add this mixture on top of that and continue layering. ( remember if you use the Cool Whip you must refrigerate the cake and it will affect the texture and moisture of the cake,. It’s still delish, just different)

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the apples when they are fork tender

 

 

Nutritional info

calories  210       ( based on 22 slices)

fat          3 grams

carbs     17 grams

fiber       .8 gram

sugars      6 grams

protein      1 gram

This is how the cake looks after 12 hours of sitting. The apples are soaking into the cake and running down the sides.  I can't wait to cut into it.

This is how the cake looks after 12 hours of sitting. The apples are soaking into the cake and running down the sides. I can’t wait to cut into it.

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one done cake layer

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2 done and cooled cake layers

 

 

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  the first layer of apple mixture. be generous and cover the whole layer.

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top layer added and ready for apple topping

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all done! covered in delicious apple mixture

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2015 in Uncategorized