4.29.2013

Recipe: Dill Pickle Egg Salad

 
How's your week going dear readers? I'm admittedly already worn out and it's barely lunchtime on Monday. The hubs and I spent Saturday morning painting a big wall at the local American Red Cross. I suppose it's not well known, but as a non-profit sometimes they can't afford to hire people to do these kinds of things. Since I spent what would have been my junior year of high school homeschooling and working doing cleaning and painting for low-income housing... offering to help paint the wall was a no-brainer. Now I've got to help get a local business to donate signage which I fear will be the hardest part. Do you do any volunteering?
 
This past week I decided it was time to try out a recipe I had been brainstorming since I started consulting for Tastefully Simple last month. They have a great new line of Spring-Summer products but one of the ones that most popped out at me was the Dill Pickle Dip Mix. Pickles have always been one of my favorite foods so I could hardly wait to find a way aside from the dip to make it. I had two ideas... using it mixed with yolks as Deviled Egg filling... and as a twist on classic Egg Salad. Since my hardboiled eggs weren't coming out of their shells pretty I went with the latter.
 
 
Dill Pickle Egg Salad

Ingredients

• 8 hardboiled eggs
• 2/3 c. mayonnaise
• 1/3 c. sour cream
• 1 packet Dill Pickle Dip Mix

Directions

Peel hardboiled eggs and rinse in cold water to make sure you get rid of all shell bits. Pat dry and place in large bowl. Using a knife, raggedly chop eggs and yolks until desired texture is reached. Measure mayonnaise and sour cream, add to bowl. Add packet of Dill Pickle Dip Mix. Gently fold all ingredients together. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight for best flavor. Serve on rye or other hearty bread. Makes about 4 servings.

Tips & Tricks

• You can chop your eggs before putting them in the bowl but I like to use my quick and rough chop method to save mess and time. Plus, I like the texture of the rough chop better.

• If desired chop a dill pickle up and fold in with other ingredients to add crunch.

• I recommend a hearty bread because regular white bread doesn't hold up well with this. I used Franz Columbia River Sweet Dark Whole Wheat bread which is one of my favorites for sandwiches or as toast.

• Don't like dill pickles? Try this with 2 Tablespoons of Spinch & Herb Dip Mix instead.

Eat me!









Disclaimer:
 
For the sake of legalities, I have to note that I am a Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant. The Tastefully Simple products I featured here in my recipe can be purchased through my website if you'd like to try this recipe.

4.28.2013

Unboxing: Cooking Light FAST MEALS Cravebox

 
The past month has been insane! Anyone else feeling like they'll never get caught up on blogging and such? I have three unboxings to write, four recipe posts, two product reviews... and that's just for this blog. *phew* All the more reason to be loving the Cooking Light FAST MEALS Cravebox. I just have not had the time to cook quite as well as I prefer to. I hate admitting it but we've had fast food three times in the past week!
 
So what's inside the box eh? Read on...
  
I'm actually a Lean Cuisine fan already, but I cut back on buying them when the expense was getting to be too much. As a very busy mom and blogger I am really bad about eating a decent breakfast and lunch. For years I bought Lean Cuisine entrees so that I could entice myself to eat lunches that weren't ramen noodles and toast with butter. The box included coupons for their new Salad Additions, which I've wanted to try but haven't gotten around to. A coupon for Fresh Express salad was also included, so you can get the greens to go with, naturally. With five different types I was hoping they weren't all chicken (bleh!) but I think I'll probably try them anyway. The Harvest Fruit & Chicken sounds pretty yummy.


My husband had Popchips years ago when he was out of town and they've since become a family favorite. I wasn't so sure I'd dig the ones in the Cravebox though. The bag arrived flattened (as in the seal was popped, oh the irony!) and the chips were pretty crushed. They were actually pretty good, just not wowing. I wouldn't go for the Salsa ones again but I will be on the lookout for more of the tortilla Popchips, especially the Chili Limon ones, when I'm at the one store I can find them at locally.

One of my favorite items to find in Craveboxes is actually the coupons. One of the cashiers at my Walmart is a fellow coupon geek and she always asks where I get such great ones. The FREEBIE item ones are awesome, of course, but I also like high value ones that let me save $$ on products I already enjoy or have wanted to sample. This time it's Triscuit crackers, Belvita breakfast biscuits, and fruit Newtons! All products I enjoy and buy for my family.

And speaking of Fruit Newtons... I have to giggle because my daughter saw them and had to have them. So I gave her one and she took the other from me because she liked them so much! I'm pretty sure the 100% Whole Grain Triple Berry are new too, because they're not even listed on the Newtons website.

The other product that is shown here with them is the Zone Perfect nutrition bars. I've had these in past Craveboxes and they're okay but not something I would intentionally buy. Like most protein/energy/nutrition bars they're pretty chalky and I just don't enjoy them.
The most exciting addition to the box has to be the spice blends from McCormick. I'm already a big fan of McCormick's Gourmet Collection and their Recipe packets specifically—the Bourbon Spiced Pork with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples and Sweet Basil & Oregano Bruschetta Chicken are my favorites.

As a bit of a foodie I'm always excited to find new spice blends to make exotic dishes with, especially since they save me time by having the various spices pre-blended. I loved the Moroccan Seasoning and the Easy Moroccan Chicken recipe we got to try (sent in an email and part of a contest) it in.

The Perfect Pinch line of spices is awesome because many of them are salt free (something I'm trying to cut back on). Included in the box was the Perfect Pinch® Salt Free Southwest Sweet 'n Smoky Seasoning. I also made the recipe for the contest featuring it and while I only thought it was okay, my husband loved it. Follow me on twitter or here to see the recipe featured later this week!
 
One of the other items in the box that I was happy to see was an herbal tea sampler from Stash. If you've followed my blog for a while you know that I've had this from another product discovery box before and that I've been a Stash fan for more than a decade.  My favorite is the Licorice Spice, which is included in the box, and I am dying to try a couple of their new ones, Breakfast in Paris in particular.

If you're a tea drinker, you should definitely hop over to the Stash website. Not only do they have more teas than you can imagine AND they have an amazing selection of tea pots, strainers,  scones, honeys, and even chocolate! It has lots of gorgeous giftable items too so if you're still looking for a gift for your mom (Mother's Day is only two weeks away!) you might want to give it some consideration.

The final two items in the box were sweetener products, neither of which I can have. :\

Equal has recently redone their packaging and has a new product so if you need artificial sweetener info do check out their website. I don't do artificial sweeteners unless they're in chewing gum because they give me the shakes, a headache, or they leave a taste in my mouth—usually all three at once. I'm just not a fan at all. I think I might ask my grandmother—who is struggling with diabetes—if she uses it and send it her way. There are some nice recipes that came along with it that might be nice for her to try and you can find them on the website if you want to see more.

 
Stevia (as you've read in other unboxings here) and my digestive system do not mesh. Pure Via might be a good choice for those looking for a sugar and artificial sweetener alternative though. My mom is a big stevia lover and used to carry a little baggie of it in her purse for when we went out. lol

So there you have it Cravers. Another Cooking Light box featuring some good products and a few duds. It happens. Overall, I'd probably rate it a 4 star box because I didn't love it, but I liked most of it. While none of the products were new to me it was a great overall collection of products. We even got an email to receive a free digital issue of the magazine—which I've been too busy to get to yet. So as far as the value goes... it was a pretty good box.

Would you like to get this box for yourself? Check out the Instant Boxes page on Cravebox, it's currently available for $16 and be sure and grab the Girl's Night In box too... I'm going to write up an unboxing for it too and it was so good that 15 minutes after I opened mine I logged on and ordered one to be sent to my mom for Mother's Day. New to Cravebox? When you sign up tell them rhiviews referred you and I can earn Cravebucks too. :)


 

 

4.25.2013

Recipe: Easy Moroccan Chicken [Cooking Light FAST MEALS Cravebox]

 
Cravebox & McCormick are having a contest focused on the spices from the Cooking Light FAST MEALS Cravebox. They email Cravers a recipe (one for each of the spices from the box) and we either make the recipe, adapt it, or make something of our own featuring it.
 
As it happens one of my favorite recipes is one called Chicken Sultana. It's pretty much this same recipe but with chicken breasts and curry and no honey. My family isn't fond of it and I usually make it when company comes to stay for more than a week since it makes a nice change from the everyday.
 
What can I say? I grew up in the culturally diverse Pacific Northwest where many of my childhood friends and/or their parents were from other parts of the world. I've been to a Hindi wedding reception (wow!) and grew up with much of my family not eating red meat. I've tried ostrich and eel. When it comes to food, I'm pretty adventurous and love to try new, exotic or unusual things. But if you have picky children or a spouse who was raised on white bread and their greatest culinary adventure was chicken alfredo... you know my plight.
 
This dish only takes about 30-40 minutes total prep and cook time but looks so fancy it's perfect for entertaining. I had a Malbec with mine but was thinking my new favorite Reisling from Pacific Rim might be nice too. I'm no wine snob and this dish is spiced but not spicy making either a lovely accompaniment. I was also thinking a coconut ice cream with almond wafers would be a perfect dessert.
 

Easy Moroccan Chicken


Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 small bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 pounds)
2 medium onions, sliced into thin wedges
4 teaspoons McCormick® Gourmet Collection Moroccan Seasoning
1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup raisins

 

Directions

1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning once. Remove from skillet.

2. Stir onions into skillet; cook and stir on medium heat 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add Seasoning, garlic powder and salt. Stir in tomatoes and honey. Return chicken to skillet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in raisins; cover and simmer 10 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through.

3. Serve with cooked couscous, if desired. Garnish with toasted slivered almonds and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.
 
 
 
Tips and my adaptations:
 
I chose to use 3 large chicken breasts cut in half when I made this. I wanted smaller portions because of my kids and I admit I'm not fond of chicken so I didn't want a giant piece to eat either. Sliced in half longway makes them cook much faster too so it can cut down on cooking time.
 
• I also swapped the garlic powder for another product, and you can easily use fresh garlic though I would recommend less if using fresh. Just add the fresh garlic at the same time as the onions.
 
• I enjoy couscous but my husband HATES it, and my kids don't like it either. I had some quinoa in the cupboard I've been avoiding because the one time I've had it it was horrid. Seriously... one of the most disgusting things I've ever tasted. But I want more variety in our diet so I thought the spiced flavors of this dish would hide the gross. I had bookmarked a post from the Kitchn to help me ages ago and it turned out to be genius. Well rinsed, toasted with garlic infused olive oil, and cooked with chicken stock the Quinoa turned out amazing! Fluffy, mild, and my daughter actually said 'yum' when I made her try it. I highly recommend giving this a try, it was the perfect swap for couscous.
 
Want to make this dish but with a kick of heat? Swap the Moroccan Seasoning for McCormick Gourmet Curry Powder (the yellow, not the red).



 

P.S. -- If you'd love to get a Cooking Light FAST MEALS Cravebox featuring this seasoning blend... there are instant boxes currently available for only $16 (& you get a 2 Cravebucks rebate for buying in the next 2 days!) right now. New to Cravebox? When you sign up tell them rhiviews referred you and I can earn Cravebucks too. :)
 

4.16.2013

Recipe: Pleasing Pesto Tilapia

 
I'm not a big fan of Tilapia. I find that it often tastes like dirt to me. It's one of those fish that I tend to mostly buy when I find a recipe that catches my eye but Walmart often has sales on frozen individually packaged Tilapia fillets. A great deal makes it one that's nice to buy when it's on sale to save for a night when you need a meat dish that you haven't made over and over for weeks.
 
I adapted this recipe just a bit from one I found on the Tastefully Simple website. It's a very simple dish that my husband and son actually ate, which was kind of surprising since they're both really annoyingly picky about a lot of foods.
 
 
This is all you need (aside from some side dish action) to make this delicious dish!

4.09.2013

Unboxing: Bikini Ready Cravebox

 
Bikini season is a long way away for we Montanans—it snowed several inches yesterday! A bikini is never happening for me anyway thanks to the unpleasant effects of pregnancy. My tummy looks more like a brain with a hole in the middle than a belly. I'm not okay with it and no matter what anyone says, I find it unsightly and if I don't like the way it looks why would I subject others to seeing it? lol
 
But I wanted to see what the BIKINI READY Cravebox had to offer since I hadn't had a box in a long while and just because I'll be in a one-piece doesn't mean I don't want to look nice in it. ;)

Cravebox sometimes has odd ideas on what fits a themed box but this one was decent. It focuses mostly on fitness, diet, and beauty. I had heard of most of the products before so this wasn't much product discovery for me this time. Ah well.

Pardon my daughter's reach... she loves when I get mail and had to help me with unboxing this one. lol

I'd heard of the Gympact app before but since working out is difficult for me to fit into my schedule regularly I will not be using this one. I think it is genius though! Who isn't motivated by earning a little cash? The box included a $5 promo code to get started so I might have to pass that along to a friend.

Another already familiar product are Zone Perfect nutrition bars. I haven't tried this one but the flavor sounds scrumptious! I tend to save these kind of things in my glove box, diaper bag, or purse for those times when I have errands to do and not enough time to stop and eat a proper meal. This one has 14g of protein too which makes it a nice post-workout snack option if you're focusing on muscle building strength training exercises.

One of the other products I'm intimately familiar with is Sally Hansen Nail Effects nail polish strips. I actually didn't care for the ones I had used previously but I snag these for under $3 on the Target clearance rack if I see a style I like. I've been stock-piling them for special occasions. What I do love about them is the great designs available. I'm not into geo-prints at all but this black and white design is very stylish so I will definitely wind up using it.
The other Sally Hansen product included is the Hair Remover Wax Strip Kit.
 
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