Friday, November 26, 2010

Fresh Express Salad Coupon Giveaway

(Giveaway is now closed!)

I know I promised another giveaway for last week, but I confess--I just did not take the time to get it all together! So I decided to simplify, simplify, simplify, and run it as it is!

It's been a busy, stressful week in a lot of ways not the least of which was the Thanksgiving holiday, where I ate my fair share of rich, delicious food. And this is only the beginning--Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year are upon us, where we have family gatherings and social occasions galore, each with food more delicious than the last. It's a real struggle to not just give in and wind up facing down January with an additional 10-20 pounds and a bad case of indigestion!

One of the things I'm trying to do this extended holiday season is to get back on track with my healthy eating as much as is possible during the everyday, in-between times.

Having a ready made, bagged salad is one thing that can make that easier during this busy time. I love the convenience of having everything already washed and cut and ready to go, and I especially like the variety available--instead of buying several different types of lettuce and vegetables, I can get it all together in one bag if that what's I want! I like to take the Italian blend with all of the darker greens, then add a little grated cheese, some sunflower seeds and dried cranberries, and if I'm eating it as a meal, a little protein on top--diced leftover chicken, or even a can of tuna--and of course my dressing of choice--anything creamy!

Fresh Express and the FoodBuzz program sent me a coupon for a free bag of Fresh Express salad, and not only that, they gave me 10 extra coupons to share! These coupons are good until January 31, 2010, so whether you want to try a Fresh Express salad now during the busy season, or save it for that sure-to-come New Year's resolution to eat more salad, this one will work for you!

To enter, just leave your name and email address in the form below, and tell me your favorite way to use bagged salad--do you you use it straight out of the bag, or as a foundation to build on? This giveaway will run until Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 6:00 p.m., when 10 winners will be chosen at random and notified via email.

The giveaway is now closed, the winners will be announced shortly!

(The opinion stated is that of my own.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fall Favorites--Sweet Potato Souffle with Pecan Praline Topping

With Thanksgiving here in ten days, I though I'd share my favorite sweet potato casserole recipe. This is not your typical Thanksgiving-day-yams-with-marshmallow-topping sweet potatoes, this dish has a yummy topping made with brown sugar, pecans, and butter that melts together into a praline flavored crust on top of soft and sweet mashed sweet potato souffle.
  • 6 c mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c melted butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
If you're using canned sweet potatoes/yams, drain and mash. If using fresh sweet potatoes, bake these ahead of time, then scoop out the insides. Add the sugar & melted butter. Beat eggs separately, and add after the butter has cooled a little. Add vanilla, and beat with mixer until ingredients are well blended. You will probably still have some lumps, unless you run it through a food processor. You can also mix by hand, but the batter will not be as smooth. Pour this into a greased or cooking-sprayed 9 x 13 pan or equivalent casserole dish.
(Note: the pictures below are a half recipe)

In a separate bowl, mix together :
  • 1 c chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 5-6 T melted butter or margarine
Mix together the nuts & flour, then add the brown sugar and stir together. Add the melted butter last, and stir until everything is moistened. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sweet potatoes.
If I use especially fine chopped pecans, or for special occasions when I want the finished product to look especially pretty, I add extra pecan halves on top.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, (longer if you make this ahead and refrigerate overnight) or until topping is melted together and browning on the edges.
There's something that happens when I add the pecan halves on top that's more than the sum of the separate ingredients--the nuts take on a completely different taste, with a smoky, roasted flavor, which combines with the brown sugar and butter to a make a candied pecan taste that is out of this world.
My husband loves this so much, he eats it as a side dish with his meal, and then usually gets more for dessert. I think it would make a wonderful pie--I keep telling myself that someday I'll try it that way, but it's so good just as it is that I can't bring myself to change it up!

This recipe is linked to:

Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory
This Week's Cravings at From My Tiny Kitchen
Mouthwatering Monday at A Southern Fairytale
Tuesday Night Supper Club at Fudge Ripple
Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Pantry Recipe Swap at Home and Pantry
What's Cooking Wednesday at the King's Court IV
Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Giveaway Winner--Pillsbury Pie Crusts Package

Thanks to everyone who entered the Pillsbury Pie Crust package giveaway, there were 130 entries! The winner, as always, is chosen by random number generator.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-11-16 01:01:06 UTC

And #71 on my spreadsheet is:

Tonya D! Tonya stated that she would like to use the pie crusts and other items to make a caramel apple pie. That sounds like my kind of pie!

Thanks again to everyone who entered! Be sure to check back later in the week, I have another giveaway schedule, this is a simple one, but will have multiple winners!

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Favorites--Pumpkin Pie Cake

It's finally beginning to actually feel like fall here in the deep south. We had frost on the ground this past weekend, and while I haven't broken out the flannel sheets yet, I did at least have some hope that we might end up with some cozying up weather before much longer.

I don't know about you, but thinking about fall and of course the Thanksgiving holidays that are just around the corner, gets me in the mood for cooking and baking. The air conditioner may still be running during the daytime, but these long dark evenings make me want to wrap myself around a nice hot bowl of soup and a spicy dessert--preferably one with some vanilla ice cream or whipped topping on top!

And so in honor of fall and the (somewhat) cooler weather, I'm going to re-post some of my seasonal recipes, with maybe a new one slipped in there here or there.

Today's recipe is a favorite, one that I made for the first time last year. It's quick and easy to make, as always, and tastes (and smells!) like the perfect fall dessert.

  • 1 29oz can of pumpkin (or two 15 oz cans)
  • 1 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c sugar
  • 4 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 c chopped nuts (I used pecans, you could use walnuts, too)
  • 2 sticks of butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Pour into a greased or Pam-sprayed 9 x 13 pan.

Sprinkle the entire box of cake mix on top

Cover with chopped nuts

(I think I used more than 1 cup--I just eyeballed it until I thought it looked right--I like lots of nuts)

Drizzle with 1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I baked this for 60 minutes, then covered it with foil and baked for another 6 or 7 minutes, then turned off the oven and left it for another 5-7 minutes or so. I think I should have covered it with foil a little sooner, but that's due to a peculiarity of my oven.

If you serve this hot, it's a "scoop" dessert. Once cold, you can either scoop a portion or cut it into squares. This would be excellent with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or even a dollop of whipped cream, but it's delicious just by itself.

I'm linking this post to:
Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage
Recipe Swap Thursday at Prairie Story
Tasty Traditions at Coupon Cookin'
Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom
Recipe Swap at the Grocery Cart Challenge
Friday Food at MomTrends
Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory
What's Cooking Wednesday at the King's Court IV
Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pillsbury Pie Crusts--Review, Recipes, and Giveaway

(This giveaway is now closed, thanks for entering!)

MyBlogSpark and Pillsbury have done it again with what I think is the best goodie box yet!

As part of a review/giveaway opportunity, I received a coupon for a free package of Pillsbury Pie Crusts, as well as all of the cute kitchen things pictured above--a glass pie plate, pot holder, cutting board, apple slicer, nested measuring cups, and apple-shaped kitchen timer.

Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts have to be one of the greatest commercial kitchen achievements since sliced bread! I grew up in a household where we made cakes and bought pies, and if it weren't for pre-made crusts I probably would have made very few pies in my lifetime! I've made exactly one "from scratch" pie crust in my adult life, and while it tasted fine, it definitely wasn't pretty! I love, love, love the ease and convenience of these crusts, and they taste, in my opinion, better than most frozen pie shells I've eaten.

Let me just show you some of the ways I've used Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts:
(click on the links to go the recipe posts)

During Purim in the spring, I've cut out circles of pie crust and made these little apple tarts known as Hamantaschen....

During berry season in the summertime I've used one as a bottom crust and cut the other into strips to make this Lattice Top Blackberry Pie...

...or pre-cooked the crust and filled it for this Chilled Blackberry Pie...

And last but certainly not least, made this beautiful full-of-spice-and-smells-of-fall custard style Navy Bean Pie.

This giveaway is now closed, thanks for your interest!

And now for the giveaway---thanks to Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark, one reader will recieve a package identical to the one I recieved. To enter, just leave your information on the giveaway form, and let me know what kind of pie you'd make with your Pillsbury Pie Crusts. The form will stay active until next Monday night, November 15, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. Central Time, and the winner will be chosen at random and notified via email.

Good luck!

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

(The opinion stated is that of my own.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Giveaway Winner--Pillsbury frozen Mini Grands Biscuits

Out of 173 entries, the winner of the Pillsbury frozen Mini Grands Biscuits prize package is:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2010-11-08 19:20:30 UTC

#45--Marcia G. ! Marcia, I'll be sending you an email to get your shipping/mailing address.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered--I got a lot of nice feedback and recipe ideas from the entry comments, I'm looking forward to doing some other posts with these handy-dandy frozen biscuits.

Be sure to come back later this week, I have another review and giveaway that should be ready by tomorrow, and it's the best prize package yet!

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sugar Free Sunday--Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Earlier this week I made a yummy personal-pan-sized cinnamon pull-apart bread as part of a review of Pillsbury frozen Mini Grands biscuits, but it was so good, it deserves a post of it's own.

  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • pecans
  • 6 frozen Pillsbury Mini Grands biscuits

Spray an oven-proof with cooking spray, then throw in a few pecans. Dip the biscuits first in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place in bowl. Add a few more nuts, and pour the leftover butter and cinnamon mixture over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the biscuits are firm to the touch. (you won't be able to tell from browning because of the cinnamon.) Invert onto a plate.

This was so very delicious, I have to admit, I ate the whole thing myself, although not at one sitting (it was two sittings).

Then this weekend, since I had about a dozen of the cute little mini-biscuits left, I decided to try a sugar-free version, as well.


  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 4 T Splenda (or sugar if you don't need/want sugar-free)
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 12 Pillsbury frozen Mini Grands biscuits
  • chopped pecans (I didn't measure)

Just as in the regular version of this I made earlier this, I melted the butter in a small bowl, and mixed the Splenda and cinnamon in another. After spraying a load pan with cooking spray, I sprinkled in a handful of nuts. Dip the frozen mini biscuits first in melted butter, then roll in Splenda-cinnamon mixture, then place in the loaf pan. The leftover cinnamon mixture and melted butter I poured over the top, then added anther handful of chopped nuts. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are firm to the touch. Invert onto a serving plate.

This was pretty good, but I have to admit--the one I made using sugar was better. The sugar-free version was good if you haven't had sugar in a while, but I've been pretty hit-or-miss with my sugar intake lately, so having both in the same week may have disturbed my taste buds just a wee little bit. I thought the sugar-free version was a little drier, and not as sweet tasting. Splenda dissolves much quicker and more thoroughly in liquid than sugar does--so it works well in many things, like the ice-box pickles I made this year. And in baking, you definitely need to follow the package directions and add additional powdered milk and baking powder to make up for the bulk and other that sugar adds. But it also doesn't melt the same as sugar, either, hence the drier result, and it doesn't candy-fy. Yes, yes, I know that this is not a technical term, but I don't know what else to call it. So I think this particular recipe, the sugar-free version at least, would be better with some additional moisture. Not butter--but maybe a little evaporated milk? Hmmm. I'll have to think about that. Any suggestions?

Meanwhile, I'd love to have you link any sugar free recipes or product reviews that you may have.

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

This post is linked to:
Recipe Swap Sunday at Remodelaholic
Just Something I Whipped Up at the Girl Creative
Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free
Tuesday Night Supper Club at Fudge Ripple
Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff
This Week's Cravings From My Tiny Kitchen

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pillsbury Mini Grands Biscuits--Review, Recipe, and a Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed!
As a member of My Blog Spark, I had a chance once again to review a great product, as well as a giveaway to share.

Pillsbury and My Blog Spark sent me a coupon good for a free bag of frozen Pillsbury Mini Grands Biscuits, a bread basket, butter dish and spreader, and a $15 Visa gift card to buy any additional ingredients I may want to use with the biscuits.

I first tried the biscuits alone...

...or to be honest--smothered in butter and fresh fruit spread or honey. I bought a new bottle of local honey and it was so good on these fresh made hot biscuits. And since I'm home alone most of the time during the week, I really enjoyed being able to bake just as few (or as many!) as I wanted with no extra or leftovers to deal with.
I think these bite sized biscuits would be perfect to serve at a holiday brunch, or maybe to kids to tend to enjoy "kid-sized" foods. Or you could even make this yummy "goodie" that I came up with...


  • 6 Pillsbury frozen Mini Grands biscuits
  • 2 T butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • handful of pecans

In a individual sized oven-proof bowl, greased or sprayed with cooking spray, throw in about 6-8 pecan halves. You can use chopped pecans if you have them--halves were all I had already open, and I didn't want to dirty up the chopper for just these few, so I just used halves. Mix together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or on a saucer. Dip each frozen mini-biscuit in melted butter, turning to coat, then roll in sugar cinnamon mixture, and place in the oven-proof bowl. Sprinkle a a few nuts on top or between the biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Regular mini-biscuits are ready in about 20 minutes, but I allowed some extra time because of the way these were stacked on top of each other. I checked them more by feel than anything else, since I couldn't tell from browning. Cover with a small inverted plate/saucer, then flip the whole thing over and gently lift the bowl off.

The only thing better than the way this looked is the way it tasted--delicious! And because I used the mini biscuits, I could make as much, or as little, as I needed.

And now for the giveaway---Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark will give one lucky reader the same prize package I received--bread basker, butter dish and spreader, $15 Visa giftcard, and coupon for a free package of Pillsbury frozen Mini Grands biscuits.

To enter, just leave your information on the entry form below. The form will stay active until Monday, November 8th, at 12:00 noon. The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email.

Giveaway is now closed--winner will be announced shortly!

Be sure to check back next week, I have several more great giveaways lined up!

Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!

(The opinion stated is that of my own)