Monday, June 29, 2015

zen cafe' coffee

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A while back I had a birthday and someone sent me bag of Zen Cafe' Coffee as a gift.  (Side note: Coffee is always the perfect gift for a coffee drinker.)  So I ground up the beans, brewed a pot of coffee, took a sip and realized I had to find out where this coffee came from.  After a quick internet search I found out a little more about this coffee roaster located in South Bend, Indiana and have since tried more of their coffees and am happy to share what I learned with you 
 
In business since 2010, the owner of Zen Cafe' has made a few trips to source his coffee beans.  You can see pictures of some of his travels on his instagram account.   While traveling in Honduras and Hawaii to visit coffee bean farms he looks for quality in product, elevation, growing practices, milling practices (i.e. wet fermentation/dry fermentation, pulped natural/honey, natural process) and for farmers who are passionate about their crop.  This attention to detail is reflected in every cup of coffee as I sampled the Honduras, Cafe' con Miel (pictured below).  As I recall this coffee had some fruit like characteristics that complimented some mild spice notes.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Water Wipes

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“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for WaterWipes. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”
With having 2 babies in 3 years, no body knows Baby Wipes better than us. I can tell you what designs they have on them, what different varieties and brands smell like, packaging, pricing, you name it... I know it.  But we also learned early on that our kids have sensitive skin so we tend to look for more natural and fragrance free wipes.  When I recently learned of WaterWipes I was intrigued to find out that they are a chemical free wipe that only contain 2 ingredients... water (99.9%) and grapefruit seed extract (.1%).  I found them to be very soft and have a non greasy feel to them, almost like using cotton balls and water.  They come in a package of 60 wipes which is easy to store on a changing table or put in a diaper bag.  If you have a newborn, this is definitely the brand of wipes you want to start out with and I would recommend them to any first time mom.

(Here are the wipes tucked inside our diaper bag.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mugs Coffee

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When I sampled Mugs Coffee out of Anderson, Indiana I figured I better select the right mug from my mug tree to enjoy their blends.  And, my biggest mug was a good choice.  
Mugs Coffee & Tea started out as a wholesale coffee roaster and by 2014 opened a coffee shop in Anderson.  After just a year, the company now has 2 locations (one of which has a drive thru) and a menu of great drinks and food items.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Danish Cherry Spread

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This Danish Cherry Spread is going to be so great this winter to use on cheesecakes, ice cream or even on toast.  I canned up some delicious sweet cherries in a syrup sauce and will now look forward to enjoying the taste of summer all winter long.  I got this recipe out of Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving, and love that I can serve this as a runny sauce on things like ice cream or esily thicken it up to use on cheesecakes.
 I received the cherries for this recipe from the Washington State Fruit Commission.  For more ideas on how to preserve cherries check out SweetPreservation.com


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cherry Marmalade

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I was recently sent a sample of sweet cherries from the Washington State Fruit Commission to preserve.  The older I get the more I like the taste of cherries, so I was excited to get to work pitting and canning these delicious red beauties.  First up on my list was jam and after looking through my Ball Blue Book I decided on a recipe for cherry marmalade.  Although i had never made this recipe before I was really pleased with how it turned out.  the jars look beautiful and the marmalade has that citrs flavor that complements the sweetness of the cherries very well.  This is a breakfast jam we are sure to enjoy all year long!!!   
For more recipe ideas and canning tips be sure to visit SweetPreservation.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

cozy coupe footprint card

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Like most families with toddlers, we have a cozy coupe.  (You know those red cars that toddlers can climb in and drive with their feet like Fred Flintstone) It gets played with just about every day.  So when I was thinking up a fun idea for a Fathers Day card I thought.. why not use one of the kids footprint and make it into the cozy coupe?  Something dad is sure to recognize and cherish from all those days of playing outside with it.  But then again this could also be cute for a birthday party or thank you card.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

101 Blue Ribbon Recipes Review & Giveaway

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I've mentioned before on this blog that I was a ten year 4-H member and about my summers of baking countless cookies, muffins and pies to practice my skills and get a product that was "county fair" worthy.  Now, while they all tasted good, the one that goes to the county fair has to be the nut bread that cracks perfectly down the center, or the bundt cake with the perfect amount and location of crumble topping on the inside or the pie with the perfect golden brown crust or the... well you get the idea.... it has to be perfect to take on into the fair.    So when Gooseberry Patch sent me a copy of their new cookbook 101 Blue Ribbon Recipes I instantly started flipping through the pages to look for those unique recipes that would satisfy a county fair judge, and started baking up desserts that were county fair and blue ribbon worthy!
Here is a round up of the three recipes I tried, and one lucky reader will have a chance to win a copy of this cookbook and check out the 98 other blue ribbon desserts.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Black Heart Coffee

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Today I'm drinking a cold brew coffee from Black Heart Coffee made in Indianapolis.  This is actually only my second time ever drinking and enjoying cold brew coffee, and I have to admit I have been missing out by not drinking this sooner.  If you aren't familiar with cold brew coffee then let me tell you a little bit about it.  In general cold brew is brewed by soaking coarse coffee grinds in cold water for prolonged periods of time.  After filtration the coffee is left in a concentrated state and then bottled and refrigerated.   When you are ready to enjoy your cold brew coffee you can dilute it with a 1:1 ratio of water (or more or less depending on your taste preference.)  Cold brew coffee can be enjoyed hot or cold, but whatever you do, don't confuse it with iced coffee, which is brewed hot and then served over ice.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chocolate Pumpkin Crunch

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If you've never experienced pumpkin and chocolate together... you are missing out!  We love the combination of the spices in pumpkin with the sweetness of chocolate.  Ott, E asks for this recipe time and time again and I've blogged some similar recipes in the past.  But today I adapted this recipe out of the new Gooseberry Patch Cookbook 101 Blue Ribbon Desserts  while their version does not call for chocolate but pecans instead... trust me you will want to give the pumpkin/chocolate treat a try!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

EVOL's Frozen Food Revolution

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Today I am blogging on behalf of Meijer Stores and their new product line EVOL.

I was recently asked to swap one meal with a new EVOL frozen meal as a healthy alternative for my family to try.  Since Italian food is a weekly meal at our house I selected these Butternut Squash & Safe Ravioli to try out.  I have made butternut squash lasagna in the past, so I had a hunch this ravioli version would taste good.  
EVOL foods is revolutionizing the frozen food market by producing food that is good for you and made with wholesome ingredients.  EVOL foods has food selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They offer a variety of Meals for 2 to heat up in a skillet on your stove, such as Teriyaki chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala.  Then there's single serve meals to fix in your microwave like Truffle Parmesan Mac & cheese or Quinoa & Roasted Veggies.  They also have individual burritos, quesadillas and street tacos.  And for those health conscious individuals they offer a lean & fit line with fewer calories.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tequila Lime Tart

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I love the taste of lime in summer time.  (Hey that rhymes.)   So when I find a refreshing lime tart recipe then I know I'm going to have one tasty dessert for my next cookout.  However this recipe uses tequila!!!  So now I can make a lime flavored dessert and a margarita, at the same time.  Now you know it's going to be a great get-together and have your guests asking for seconds. 
I found this recipe in Gooseberry Patch's 101 Blue-Ribbon Desserts cookbook.  The recipe tells you how to make your own crust, but I just used a store bought pie shell.  And if tequila isn't your thing, no worries, you can easily substitute a lemon-lime soda and your dessert will taste just as good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chicken Bulgogi with Sunny's Korean Teriyaki Sauce

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Sonny's Korean Restaurant and Gourmet Products, in Mishawaka, Indiana has been in business since 1992.  Serving up fresh and healthy Korean cuisine in a warm and friendly restaurant setting.  Dishes can be ordered mild, spicy or hot and contain No MSG.  Sonny's also provides catering, room for large/private parties and cooking classes.
  
As for Sunny's Gourmet Products they offer a Kimchee Seasoning and Teriyaki Sauce for sale so you can cook some of your favorite dishes as home.  I recently tried Sunny's Korean Teriyaki Sauce and was impressed by the flavor of this sauce.  I have used various national brands of Teriyaki sauce before but this was just a touch sweeter and had a subtle tangy flavor that I don't normally detect in teriyaki.   
You can purchase Sunny's Korean Teriyaki Sauce on Amazon, select Whole Foods and Martins or at their restaurant in Mishawaka, Indiana.  And here is a recipe of Sunny's for Chicken Bulgogi that I prepared using their Korean Teriyaki sauce.

 
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