12.30.2012

Unboxing: Cravebox Winter Favorites

I had hoped to do a vlog for you guys but I'm not gonna lie... I have been swamped 24/7 since BEFORE mine arrived. The holiday season is always a tough one for me because I find that people assume since I'm a SAHM that means I'm free to bake and clean and cook and volunteer for everything. It's also the time of year my kids have a ton of stuff going on and my older two are Thanksgiving and Christmas babies... so you can imagine what that entails.

Alas, my Winter Favorites Cravebox arrived right as I was about to rush out the door. I only had a few moments to snap photos and then it was boogie time. I'm only even getting time to put this up tonight because the guys decided to go out for a movie and then burgers and beers, the teen went to a friends, and the tot's bedtime rolled around. lol So please forgive me for not having this up sooner, I've wanted to at least post pics and even moreso a vlog but well... such is my life. ;) Enjoy!

 
I was immediately doing a happy dance because the pretty colored envelopes felt like presents!


And then underneath it was obvious really fast there was a TON of great stuff. I've generally liked every Cravebox's overall presentation save for one and this one was quickly a favorite just based on how much was packed into it.

 
I haven't had the time to go use any of my goodie coupons are even do a value estimate on the box but if there's one thing I love finding in a Cravebox it's coupons to try a product for free. I've actually never seen Nancy's products before so when my company finally goes home next week I'll hopefully get time to find a local retailer that carries them.

 
I know there was a bit of fuss from some Cravers on Facebook over these International Delight coupons being in this box. Originally these were to be included in the Thanksgiving one and I do feel it would have been fair to mail these out to those Cravers but since I was one of those I was happy to find these in my Winter Favorites. I don't buy coffee creamer a lot in all honesty (it always upsets my tummy) but I was eyeballing the holiday flavors the last time I was in the store. Can't wait to try the Iced Coffee too!
 
 
These will definitely get used in our house. The hilarious part? I had literally JUST made the Double Peppermint Crunch Cookies from the recipe book the day before! I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of white 'chocolate' and they were a hit. Really delicious if you like candycanes and chocolate. Be sure and grab the recipe on the Pillsbury website and save it for next year.

 
The one item I couldn't get to photograph well for the life of me! Mary Kay Lip Gloss in a super sparkley shimmery red. I had actually seen an add in a magazine featuring this gloss and was surprised when I discovered it was Mary Kay. I'd always kind of thought of the brand as a bit dowdy and matronly. Way to bring the image forward. I'm totally planning to wear this for tomorrow's NYE bash at home. lol

 
If I like it I may just have to see if my cousin still sells it because it looks like there are more nice products including fragrances, which are my weakness hands down.
 
 
Now I'm sure we've all heard of belVita by now. They have some odd advertisements that I remember scratching my head at a while back. I'm still trying to get past the fact they strike me as breakfast cookies. If you're a sweet tooth like me, chances are your tummy just growled at that but my inner voice of reason tells me cookies for breakfast = bad. My coupon is torn, not sure if the store will accept it but I'll hopefully dig into these with my coffee tomorrow (thanks for the Keurig for Christmas honey).  What do you guys think of these?
 

This time of year our temps go below zero and pretty much don't rise above freezing for the next four months. I hate it. It kind of withers my soul. The only thing I really like about cold weather is soup. Seriously. I am a soup fiend. I grew up really poor so sometimes soup and nothing but soup was our meal. Thank goodness I don't have to live off soup now, but there's nothing like a yummy soup and a thick slice of buttered bread on a chilly afternoon. I've been wanting to try Campbell's Gourmet Bisques but in all honesty, they seemed intimidating. Golden Butternut Squash should make a tasty soup alone or with something added to it, I can't decide what though. Plus, there are three other flavors that sound even more daring!


Just when I thought everything in the box was going to center around my mouth between the food and lipgloss I found samples of four different Vitabath body washes! I actually have been reeeeally wanting to try the Dreamy Pink Frosting ever since seeing it featured in another subscription box that I don't get. Can you ever have enough lovely body washes? ;)


Last—and actually least for me lol—was Heinz Chili Sauce. How have I not heard of this before? I literally have no idea what to do with it. Is it for fries? Cooking? The American cousin of Sriracha? lol The recipe included with it for Ultimate Party Meatballs sounds promising but our party plans for the week fell through so I may have to hold it off for something later this month.

Overall, it was a fabulous box featuring mostly products I was aware of but didn't know intimately. I think as a product discovery situation it was excellent and now that the holidays are almost over I can finally sit down and take the time to get to know them all more. Because that... down there... in that pic... is literally me trying to figure out cooking time for our ham a couple nights before Christmas. My hubs let our 3 year old play with the camera... and as you can see my poor Cravebox was keeping vigil as I did lots of holiday prep work.

 
Next week I'll have the deets on how YOU can win one of two Winter Favorites Craveboxes that I received in the mail on Friday. Man do I wish I could keep these for myself. ;) And be sure to drop by Cravebox's website to enter the drawing for the Resolutions box. I'm really hoping to be one of the Cravers who gets one because I have some big motivation for improving some key areas of my private life in the near year. :) Till then... be safe, stay warm, and Crave on! 
P.S. -- If you'd love to get a Cravebox of your own... you can learn more about this unique subscription box on the website: www.cravebox.com
 

12.12.2012

Wino Wednesday: Guinness Generous Ale


My history with alcohol is a long and not always pleasant one. When you grow up as the child of a pretty functional alcoholic you develop some twisted attitudes about certain things, drinking being the obvious one. As the holidays approach I'm reminded of the few holidays I remember my dad being a part of them and why I chose to allow myself to enjoy my beer, wine, and spirits in spite of the family history. So before I plunge in to today's Wino Wednesday post let me remind you all... please drink responsibly!

At the beginning of the month as I grocery shopped I passed by the beer in hopes of finding some more of the hard cider I've been mildly obsessed with. Alas, it was all out but I found the most beautiful thing instead...

I think I may have actually done a *squee* in the aisle. The Guinness Winter Selection features 3 bottles each of Guinness Draught, Guinness Black Lager, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, and Guinness Generous Ale. Since Guinness is pretty much my favorite beer it was all I could do to hold back and only buy the one box since they had two. I was picturing the second one sitting under the Christmas tree with a big red bow and my name on it... ;)

Since I've already enjoyed the classic Draught and the new Black Lager—which has good Guinness taste but lacks the thicker body I like about the Draught—I decided to sit down and sample my taste of the new Generous Ale first.

I was surprised at the lack of head when I poured it the first time but my second bottle actually gave me a nice fluffy little one (I'm not beer geek so I assume this has something to do with the differences between ales, stouts, and such). The flavor lacked the chocolately tones I've always attributed to Guinness and have used as a 'selling' tool to convince other ladies who don't care for beer to try it. Instead a certain brightness that's not quite fruity or spicy but very warm and homey. It really does unfold like a Christmas party on your tastebuds. lol

Drink me! Love me! Give me!
The hubs, alas, hated it. Which on the one hand I wanted to chide him for—and I did tell him that I hadn't liked my first sip so he should try a little more—and on the other thought: 'Yay! More for me!'. If you're a hardcore Guinness fan it's worth noting that it's definitely NOT the Draught. Don't expect a dark, stewy flavor. While I definitely wouldn't want to sip Generous Ale in the summertime it has the warm flavors I associate with a great winter variety.

If you're in the mood for something special to bring to a friend's holiday bash or to sip while watching all the season finales (I downed mine to the crazy SOA finale) I highly recommend giving the Generous Ale from the Guinness Winter Selection a try. Beer not your thing? The Winter Selection box makes a nice gift for your favorite Guinness lover of legal drinking age... *ahem*... honey, are you reading this?

12.11.2012

Beauty Rhi-view: COVERGIRL flipstick (3 Stars)


I love any makeup product that lets me play around and customize my look so COVERGIRL flipstick was something I wanted to check out before the BzzCampaign came around.

Vixen, Stunner, and Minx were great colors to send out since each falls into a different shade family (pink, red, and brown, respectively). I was really iffy on whether any of them would work with my fair skintone, especially Stunner. Once I saw that Stunner looked great on both Sofia Vergara and Taylor Swift's complexions I went bold and found that it was a great shade that could be toned down with the gold-ish side. Minx didn't work as well but wasn't as bad as I had anticipated, I would definitely not wear it for anything other than a very bold-makeup appropriate situation but it might look great on someone with darker skintones. Ultimately, Vixen was the most flattering of the trio for my fair skin.

vixen deep shade all over +
shimmer on bottom middle
Though pretty long lasting two major factors played in COVERGIRL flipstick only earning a 3 star rating from me. #1 being that all of the colors were shimmer based which I actually avoid like the plague in everyday lipstick. I prefer a creme lipstick and usually put a little bit of shimmery lipgloss in the center of my bottom lip (a pro trick used to make lips look fuller). #2 being that the formula is SOOOO dry! My lips looked like plastic within an hour because the flipstick dried out super fast. Even after layering some clear balm to lock in moisture over it COVERGIRL flipstick was an unattractive dry mess by midday. I do live in a VERY dry climate though, so if you're in a humid area you may not have the same problem.

Overall, COVERGIRL flipstick has turned out to be something I personally wouldn't buy. It's just not for me. Shimmer overload, dryness, and a lack of creme-shade options make it a product that doesn't meet my needs as a makeup lover. If you have medium skin, like shimmer, and dryness isn't an issue I would definitely recommend giving it a try though. It's a fun product with pretty colors to play with and lots of potential for creative liplooks. If COVERGIRL adds in some creme based shades on one side of the flipsticks I will definitely reconsider adding them to my makeup stash.









Notes: I received this product for free through BzzAgent in exchange for creating Bzz about it through social media, review, and real life conversational outlets.
 
What's the Bzz?
 
BzzAgent is a word-of-mouth social marketing company. Basically, I get invited to campaigns for products I fit a demographic for and get supplied with products to try for which I give my honest opinion and spread the word about. Want to know more about how it works and find out how you can be a BzzAgent like me? Check out the BzzAgent FAQ.

12.05.2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Dino Lingo Language Learning Programs for Kids


Earlier this year my husband and his cousin got into a geneology project that ended up with them finding out they're more Irish than I am. Why? Because my Irish great-grandma turned out to be 100% Swedish. Isn't that funny? That'll teach them for teasing me about my Irish-American pride.

The discovery, however, got our son interested in learning Svenska/Swedish but our local schools don't teach it. Fortunately, Dino Lingo has exciting language learning programs for kids!

Dino Lingo Swedish for Kids is a Swedish language learning set where cartoon dinosaur characters introduce the most common 200 words and phrases in Swedish. The Swedish learning DVD set includes 5 DVDs and flash cards.
 
While Dino Lingo's language learning programs are a bit too juvenile to appeal to my 13-year-old... I just sat down with the tot and we watched a complimentary video clip from the Dino Lingo Swedish for Kids DVD set. Focusing on animals I was amused to discover that I did know a few of the words and phrases already. The tot wasn't as interested as I would have liked... but it's been one of those days when she's just not in the mood for watching anything longer then about 5 minutes. We'll have to give it another go after her nap I think. ;)

In the meantime you can check out Dino Lingo video clips on their official YouTube channel to see which languages would appeal to your kids or grandchildren.

While we'd probably choose the Swedish set since it would give the big kids something to do with little sis, there are several more languages available from Arabic and Irish to Hebrew and Thai. One of the reasons I think it's great is that you can teach your small children about their heritage through the languages their ancestors spoke.

Aren't these cute & colorful?
This program consists of 5 DVDs, 100 flash cards, posters and the parents guide.After watching the DVDs several times and playing with the flash cards, most children can easily name everyday objects and understand basic phrases in Swedish. Dino Lingo Swedish for Kids is suitable for all children between the ages of 2 to 7 years old.
 
Why not check out Dino Lingo and start your own Pinterest board to collect things for teaching your children about their heritage just like I did?

The sets have different price ranges depending on whether you opt for just the DVDs or add in the flash cards and posters. They make a great Christmas gift for the kid who already has too many toys and right now Dino Lingo has a 10% off Christmas Sale plus a FREE gift!









Notes: I received a complimentary viewing of the above mentioned video clip through Influenster in exchange for writing a post about said clip.

11.26.2012

CYBER MONDAY: Jewelmint Grandest Mystery Box

 
HURRY! Y'all know how much I loooove Jewelmint but I've been really broke and waiting for a great deal. Today was my lucky day and it can be yours too.
 
The details are in the above image and if you use my buy link for a first time purchase I will get points... which is awesome because I used all of my points to buy one of the mystery boxes for myself. Which means the hubs can give me what I want for Christmas but it's still going to be a surprise for me. Here's hoping I get one of the boxes with more than 4 pieces but even if I only get 4 that's like buying 1 and getting 3 for free! Unbeatable value!
 
Wondering what to expect from your mystery box? Check out my posts here or view the items I have for trade from previous mystery bags for ideas of what a mix you can get.
 
After the holidays I'll be sure and post an unboxing to share what I received. ;)
 
Enjoy your cyber steals!
 

11.21.2012

Wino Wednesday: Angry Orchard Hard Ciders

 
Before I get into my thoughts... did you guys decide if you like Wino Wednesday or not? I don't drink all the time but when I do... erm, wait... that feels so familiar...
 
So, yes, I'm planning to do a Wino Wednesday any time I've tried something new and interesting in the range of wine, beer, and spirits. Sometimes that will even include a recipe for a cocktail or something to bake or make with the featured drink.

Today, I'm featuring my new fall favorite, Angry Orchard Hard Cider.

As often happens, I was grocery shopping and debating whether my treat would be beer or wine. The gnarly tree on the box of the Ginger variety caught my eye but I'd never actually tried a hard cider before in spite of loving apple cider in general with a passion. I hate admitting to picking things up because I like their packaging but honestly, who doesn't do that sometimes?

I expected I wouldn't like it to be honest. But Angry Orchard Ginger is like blending the sparkling cider my grandma used to serve to us kids every Thanksgiving with ginger ale. The flavor is sweet and light with a satisfying bite of ginger that isn't overpowering. It even looks pretty (hence why I pulled out the clear plastic cup).

If you're a fan of sweet when you drink this is definitely something to try. It's a bit deceptive though. The alcohol kind of creeps up on you and before you know it you've had too many because it's just so easy to palate.

Since trying the Ginger, I've picked up the Traditional Dry and Crisp Apple versions to sample as well. Sweet and bright, the Traditional Dry is a strong contrast to the somewhat bitter Crisp Apple. If you like your spirits with a tart edge the latter is definitely the one to go for while the Traditional Dry is one I'd use for mixed drinks featuring hard cider. My husband tried making a Snake Bite (Guinness and hard cider) with the Crisp Apple and the pairing just tasted muddy to me, I couldn't find the contrast.

Overall, Angry Orchard is just that perfect switcheroo for this time of year. In fact, I think it'd be as welcome at the Thanksgiving feast as at the pub. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the Ginger gives me painful heartburn (something I've only ever experienced when I was pregnant with the tot) if I have more than one. Refreshing, friendly, and great for pairing with the right food it's going to be an autumn staple—if I can stop the hubs from polishing them off before I get to them—for me. Try serving it with turkey burgers, Irish Nachos (I'll be posting something about these eventually, if you don't know what they are already), or BBQ Chicken & Bacon pizza. They even featured this fabulous Turkey brine recipe on their Facebook page.

Happy Thankgiving and cheers!


11.19.2012

Unboxing: Knorr­® Ultimate Thanksgiving Cravebox™




 
Watch me! ♥
 
 
Dear readers,
 
I hope you'll take the time to watch the 'unboxing' video I put together. I won't even go into how difficult it was getting it up on YouTube. *faints*

Image credit: bosela @ sxc.hu
Thanksgiving is that meal I look forward to all year. Growing up in a divorced family with step-parents I often wasn't sure where I'd be each year. But if there's one thing I've learned about the holiday, it's that even if you're eating salmon burgers and green gelatin salad or you're halfway around the world eating it alone, it's all about being thankful for all that you DO have.
 
There's something inherently frightening about taking on the responsibility of preparing holiday dinners. I love to cook but only when I'm confident in my ability to prepare whatever I'm serving to perfection. It doesn't help that I married a really picky eater and inherited his lovely—but even more picky than he is—parents. :P
 
This year my MIL told me I was doing Christmas. Silly as it might sound that's the reason I wanted the Knorr® Ultimate Thanksgiving Cravebox™ so bad, because I need some serious inspiration. You see, I've done Thanksgiving before... but the only time I've done Christmas was when we lived in Germany and my friend helped me plan the menu and cook. Serving my picky in-laws always scares me (don't anybody tell them so!) and by nature I'm adventurous with food... as I'm sure you've noticed if you're a regular follower of RhiAlistic.
 
The Knorr® Ultimate Thanksgiving Cravebox™ was my first box since Cravebox's subscription system change. I comment on it a lot in the video so I won't go into it here. I love the beautiful new box but it's far from as sturdy as the old white ones. My box was discolored and bashed in on one side. :(

Aside from the beat-up box and the handful of flubs it's a great box, my favorite so far to be honest. Sure, not everything was quite Thanksgiving oriented but overall, everything in it is going to get used! It might be the first box where everything in it was a great fit for the family and I.

 
Pardon the tot's hiney-cameo... she wanted to be 'in the pitch-ur' but y'all know my policy on keeping my kids privacy so this was our compromise. lol

Technically, there are 7 items in this box. That's a LOT compared to the usual 4-5. When I did the math to calculate the retail value versus the $14 charged for it, the box has about a $67 value. Awesome eh?

The brands and products featured inside are:


 
There's a lot to love in this box. Recipes, coupons, a way to get started on those Christmas cards, time savers, and something fun to do with the kids. In the video I mention some of my thoughts on each product and what it's great for. 
 
 
I'm not alone in claiming the Dark Chocolate Pomegranates from Brookside as a favorite product from the box. They're delicious! I was thinking stirring some into brownie batter before baking would be a really delicious and unexpected way to use them. I'm still trying to pick my product from FoldedWords, there're just so many great things to choose from! I wish they had a customizable calendar for 2013, I want to do one for my grandmother who lives far away as our gift this year. I might even pass the gravy packets off to my MIL because she's had her fair share of gravy disasters too. The question is how to offer them without causing offense... *much chin scratching*
 
Overall, this is a terrific box and I was surprised to see so many complaints cropping up from other Cravers on Facebook about it. I'll be using everything in the box in one form or another. Maybe not all for this week's holiday, but definitely over the coarse of the month to come. I've already got plans for some of it that will get shared here on RhiAlistic and the blog Facebook page so be on the look out for some seasonal inspiration!
 
P.S. -- If you'd love to get a Cravebox of your own... you can learn more about this unique subscription box on the website: www.cravebox.com
 

11.15.2012

Book Rhi-view: COOKIES FOR GROWN-UPS by Kelly Cooper

Cookies for Grown-Ups by Kelly Cooper
Cookbook, Baking
Release Date: December 1st, 2012
Hardcover $23.99 (136 pages, RED ROCK PRESS)
Cookie-love is forever and yet for all the remembrances it evokes, our favorite childhood cookie is not always what we want. Even Proust lived on more than madeleines. Our tastes change. As adults, we're allowed to say no to milk, choosing instead a cup of good coffee or tea, a glass of wine, an icy cocktail or a stein of what's on tap. Kelly Cooper knows this. She also knows how to concoct delicious, handheld treats sweet or savory to go with those libations. Yet many of Kelly Cooper's most inspired cookies are built on memories. Her mother taught her to bake in California's orchard-rich Santa Clara Valley, where apricots, figs, almonds and berries overflowed. Her sweet cookies brim with these and other fresh flavors, enhanced by surprise grownup ingredients, such as Gruy√©re or orange liqueur. You may not be able to imagine precisely the favor fresh thyme does chocolate until you've sampled the cookie called Dark Desire. Her savory cookies are also amazing. No solo baker invented the piquant cookie, but leading culinary writers are beginning to note that no one creates cocktail cookies better than Kelly Cooper does! Indeed, a bite of her Antipasto cookie (featuring bits of Italian salami and cheese) may well convince you to bake for your next cocktail party. Her whimsical cookies are for adults not only because each is carefully paired with a drink but because they're deliciously suited for the discerning palette. We're talking hearty breakfast cookies with dashes of maple syrup and bacon, manly game-time cookies that incorporate beef jerky and late-late night cookies to stir the senses. For any occasion, Kelly Cooper knows just how to mix beloved, familiar flavors with enlivening, new ones and that's the true secret of successful sophistication. 
Publisher Site: redrockpress.com

Not your grandma's cookies... (4 stars)

When I stumbled on this title I was instantly intrigued. I'm a geek for all the weird cupcake trends out there (I make a pretty tasty Bacon Peanut Butter one my friends constantly ask me to make for social occasions) so a book with cookies made in unexpected combos sounded right up my alley.

Cooper's concoctions are definitely not your granny's classic staples so don't expect to see a lot of oatmeal, chocolate chips, or raisins in this collection. From liqueurs and fresh herbs to cheeses and meats this unexpected series of recipes is not for the unadventurous baker.

While I found the overall tone of the recipe inspirations and explanations of each cookie dull and unmemorable, the recipes themselves are mind-blowingly clever. Each recipe also includes a beverage pairing that is equally inspired. Think of this book as the perfect gift for your friend who loves to throw cocktail parties or your secret weapon for New Year's Eve.

My favorite recipe from the bunch was the effervescent 'Man Cookie'. Made with beer, sunflower seeds, lime zest, and chopped Slim Jims it sounded like the perfect one to test on my Sunday night TV guests. While many of the recipes require a lot of work or fresh herbs (which are costly in my area) the most difficult part of this one was zesting the limes. My guinea pig guests, husband, and even my kids (thank goodness the alcohol cooks out lol) all thought they were surprisingly good. My husband even smuggled some to work to share with his crew who shared in the sentiments of them being 'weird but good'. I will definitely be making them again with another type of beer just to see the results.

The great thing about COOKIES FOR GROWN-UPS is that there's something for just about everyone. From the wine drinker to the tea drinker, the chocolate fiend to the not-so-sweet-tooth, chances are you'll find something creative and fun to try. As with the strange cupcake trend this book lends itself to being an idea book. While many incorporate things that wouldn't go over well in my home (rotten tree nut allergies) the recipes have served as inspiration for experimentation of my own. Many could also be adapted and Cooper offers many suggestions for ingredient switches.

I highly recommend this as an idea book for the advanced baker seeking inspiration and those seeking something memorable to bring to holiday get-togethers. I think many of the cookies themselves would make awesome homemade gifts for friends and co-workers, I'd even gift the book itself to a pal who thinks baking is just for ladies. Gentlemen, this book has plenty of Monday Night Football friendly treats that won't get your mancard revoked.



Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


Check out these other inspiring cooking and baking titles:

10.29.2012

Foodie Rhi-flection: Monster Mash Bars Recipe

 
Sooo I utterly suck at life sometimes and October was a bad month for us financially. It's a long story but here we are at the end of the month and I couldn't afford to grocery shop without dipping into our savings. Before anyone panics... we're fine! There's plenty of food around here and if I needed it I could ask my in-laws to pick me up something... it's just one of those between pay-check spots when nothing seems to go together and I have to get creative.

As luck would have it the recipe I was going to make for last night's Dexter + Snacks night with our friends was one I had everything for... until I went to get the brown sugar out. *facepalm* Crap-on-a-cracker! The hubs was going to run out for some but by the time he'd done that I'd be late and so I went into freak-out mode tearing apart my cupboards for an alternative treat I could make.

As it happens my FIL had dropped by earlier in the day with boxes of cereal for the kids. Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Frankberry. Pretty much the only food we already had tons of was cold cereal so I decided I had to come up with something to make from them.

The answer... a mash-up of Rice Krispie Treats and Count Chocula. Only I had no idea what I was doing. After a quick search of the web I found something promising on The Marveous Misadventures of a Foodie. Only something went wrong in the process—it could have been the butter I added but I doubt it... cold peanut butter was my best guess—and I was left with a wad of thick marshmallowy peanut butter in the middle of a bunch of cereal. There was much F-bombing going on as I went into more panic. How could I fix it? I was out of marshmallows. My guest would arrive in 40 minutes. I was on the verge of tears. More F-bombs. Lightbulb!

Thus my 'bandage' for the problem actually made them even yummier and inspired the name of the recipe. You might like it, it's definitely a sugar rush and sure to be a hit with kids.

 

Monster Mash Bars

Bars

3 Tablespoons Butter, Plus 1 Tablespoon to grease bowl, Plus 1 Tablespoon to grease pan

4 Cups Mini Marshmallows

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (note: if using Adam's PB as I did let it hit room temp before using!)

6 Cups Count Chocula Cereal

Glaze

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

Orange Gel Food Coloring** (optional)


Grease 13x9 glass pan with butter*, set aside.

Grease large microwave safe bowl with butter and place additional butter inside. Add mini marshmallows to bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, making sure they don't overflow the bowl. Stir in peanut butter and microwave for another minute or until marshmallows are melted. Quickly mix in cereal and pour into prepared pan. Using a spatula or your hand and a piece of parchment paper, gently press mixture into pan until evenly distributed.

While bars are cooling place corn syrup and sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. If using Orange Gel Food Coloring about 1/4 teaspoon should do, quickly stir into mixture until smooth. Gently pour mixture over bars in pan from one end to the other. Quickly smooth with a spatula until evenly spread.

Once bars and glaze are cool slice into wedges*** and serve.
 
* I added butter to the recipe I found because I compared it to the traditional rice krispie treats recipe and didn't like that it was omitted. I also prefer to grease my pans with butter for the sake of taste. I just really dislike cooking spray's aftertaste but you can certainly swap it in if you like it. :)

** I bet you could use regular food coloring but ever since I started using gel I prefer it for the high pigment and less mess factor.

*** You can certainly change the shape! I considered using a skull cookie cutter of mine to make these more festive but didn't have time to get fancy. I chose wedge shapes 'cause it's Halloween and thought of Count Chocula's vampire teeth. ;)

 
Didn't they turn out colorful? The mix of peanut butter and chocolate was a hit. Now I need to find something to do with the Boo Berry cereal. Gack!
 
If you try the recipe let me know what you think... I'm really bad at describing what to do when I write one up. Thank goodness it was an adaptation of 3 others put together so I could remember how I made it today. :P Happy Haunting!
 
 

10.24.2012

Wino Wednesday: Cupcake Vineyards Angel Food

 
Continuing in my blends exploration I decided to try Cupcake Vineyard's Angel Food this past week. A while back I was having a whine about wanting wine and a cupcake after a really rotten day and my friends said why not just have a bottle from Cupcake. I have the smartest friends ever don't I? ;)
 
I chose Angel Food since I've been on a blends kick and wanted to go white this time around. Here's the details from Cupcake's website:
 
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes:“Made with premium chardonnay grapes as a base, this proprietary white blend is luscious, aromatic and delightfully reminiscent of an Angel Food cupcake. Flavors of baked Granny Smith apple and hints of toasty vanilla combine for a creamy mouthfeel that has become a signature of Cupcake Vineyards.”

Food Pairing Recommendations:A heavenly pair with white cheddar fondue, pancetta wrapped figs or simply as an aperitif.

Winemaking Notes:Our proprietary Angel Food wine is a delicate blend of white grapes where each variety shows structure, aroma and depth of flavor with a long creamy finish. The grapes are harvested from vineyards in some of California’s finest viticultural areas, each picked for their ability to engender these grapes with distinct characteristics. Each varietal is fermented separately, blended and then put through a unique oak regime that imparts a certain creaminess.
 

Last week was the premiere of season 2 of American Horror Story so I sat down to enjoy that and my wine but found I really didn't care for Angel Food. (Season 2 of AHS is going to be pretty crazy though!) All I could taste was a bitter apple tone in that first glass. I was really disappointed. Later in the week though I figured I'd give it another go and since I wasn't photographing it for the blog did what I usually do... poured it into a drinking glass... because I'm a rebel like that. lol


Apparently, something about my favorite pewter goblet must have not agreed with Angel Food because it was like trying something completely new. While I wasn't getting the baked apple notes I could catch the hint of vanilla and a subtle green tartness with a mellow finish I wasn't expecting. If Cupcake Vineyard's signature is the creamy mouthfeel I am definitely going to try another one of their wines very soon.

Overall I'd probably only rate Angel Food at a 4 stars because I did like it. I just didn't love it. I'd recommend it for someone who plans to sip it alone or strictly with cheese because of the creamy mouthfeel. I love the color but don't think I'll buy it again.


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