February 28, 2011

CSN Stores - George Foreman Contemporary Grill {REVIEW}

I continue to drool with longing when looking through all of the products that are offered on the 200+ stores featured at CSNStores.com!  I don't even know how many reviews I've done for CSNStores.com but every time I go on there to choose a product to review at home, I find and fall in love with new things!  They literally offer products for all aspects of life including (but not limited to) your kitchen, your bathroom, your closet, your kid's rooms, your living room, your back yard and so much more.  It's also so easy to shop at CSNStores.com.  You can set up your account so that it only takes 2-3 clicks and your product is ordered and paid for using a specified payment method.  Once it's ordered, the people at CSNStores.com work hard to get it to you fast and intact (a very important feature)!  If you know me at all, you know that I love kitchen gadgets and appliances because cooking is one of my favorite ways to relax and recharge.  This time around, I agonized over what to get.  Making a choice that would be practical while still allowing me to feel like I was receiving a product that would be fun to use was tough.

After receiving a letter from the manager of our apartment complex stating that the insurance company wouldn't allow the tenants to keep gas barbecues on our back decks, I decided to choose the George Foreman Contemporary Grill so that we could still enjoy grilled meats and vegetables.  My husband and I have owned a George Foreman grill before back when they were first introduced to the world and we loved being able to make dinner so quickly and still retain that grilled flavor.  The major difference between the Foreman Grill we had years ago and this one is that there is a special hinge on this grill that allows you to cook meats and vegetables with different thicknesses.  It pops up for thicker meats like chicken breasts and steak and still allows the meat to maintain contact with both heated grill plates.  Since this is the idea behind the grill (to maintain contact with both plates) it was definitely a nice change from the old one.  Not only can you cook meat and vegetables on this grill but you can do paninis and grilled sandwiches as well.  I haven't done one, yet, but I'm thinking that might be a great rainy day lunch for this weekend!  One of my favorite things about this grill is that foods cook so much faster because of the heated plates sandwiching the food.

I've really only got two complaints about the George Foreman Contemporary Grill.  One of those complaints is that the plates are not removable and it can be difficult to clean the machine.  However, my husband did make a good point and said that maybe if we use a wet paper towel while it's still hot, the steam will help get all the bits off and he was right!  The other complaint I have is that the temperature is not variable.  The machine is either on or off so you really have to watch the food as you're cooking it to make sure it doesn't get overcooked.  In the grand scheme of things, these are not all that big of a deal but still things that I noticed that would make the product that much better.

I you are in the market for a product that helps you cook healthy meals faster, check out the George Foreman line of grills at CSNStores.com because they are a very nice addition to a kitchen for any cook!

Disclosure:  I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion about both the product and the website.  All opinions are my own, honest views of the product.
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February 24, 2011

Aloha Friday!

I'm so happy to see Friday this week!  Sit back and relax as we celebrate Hawaii and the tradition of taking it easy on Fridays.  I'm going to ask a simple question and all you have to do is answer it!  See, easy!  Head over to An Island Life to celebrate with the rest of the crew, too.

What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

I love Samoas (unfortunately, so does my husband who is right now chomping on some frozen ones) and always have!  Luckily we didn't talk about it and both bought boxes so maybe they'll last through the weekend.

Have a wonderful Friday!
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February 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Cupcakes

I'm not sure if you noticed, but I love cupcakes!  I spent the long weekend in my hometown of Seattle and took the opportunity to try out some of the local cupcake shops.  They are so yummy and cute!  The one on the left is the Salted Caramel cupcake while the one on the right is Red Velvet.  These are from Cupcake Royale on Capitol Hill in Seattle.  If you are in the area, try them out!

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Finally...a Progresso winner!

I apologize for taking so long to choose a winner but I was having fun in my hometown with family and friends and didn't have internet access.  Hope you had as fun a weekend as I did!

Congratulations to 
#74 - Fawn

The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email or I will have to choose another lucky reader.

Look for some more fun giveaways and reviews coming up!
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February 18, 2011

Aloha Friday - 3 day weekend!

Welcome to Aloha Friday where we enjoy taking it easy just like they do in Hawaii.  
All you have to do is answer one simple question:

In honor of President's Day, what is your favorite activity on a long weekend?

I'm so excited because my husband and I are heading up to the big city for the weekend!  Food, fun, shopping and hanging out with my little sister!  I love President's day!

Have a great weekend everyone!
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February 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Dessert Swan

This is what we had for dessert last night at our Valentine's Day dinner.  It was yummy!
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February 14, 2011

Authentic red velvet cupcakes?

One of my husband's favorite flavor of cakes is red velvet so I've been trying to find a good recipe that is easy as well as delicious because, well, I love him!  I really haven't tried too hard to find a recipe being that we are making a concerted effort to eat healthier so making cakes and cupcakes are not first priority in my home.  In fact, birthdays and other family celebrations are really the only reason to make sweet treats (mostly because we can share them with others and not gorge ourselves on eating all 24 cupcakes).  Luckily my husband's aunt has a birthday in February so this weekend we celebrated her birthday with red velvet cupcakes courtesy of Paula Deen and foodnetwork.com!

These cupcakes were pretty good and very easy to make.  Personally, I thought they were a little bit dry but everyone else said they were moist and very tasty.  I would really like to try a few more recipes to see if I can perfect this delicacy but my husband tells me we need to abstain from cupcakes for a little while. If you try to make these, please let me know what you think of them!

by Paula Deen

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

Cook's Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

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February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope that love is blooming in your home and you are having a very Happy Valentine's Day!  We are celebrating by going to dinner with two other couples at a local restaurant and I'm looking forward to the delicious food and the relaxing atmosphere.  However you plan to celebrate, I hope you get everything you desire for Valentine's Day.
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February 12, 2011

365Hangers.com Winner!

Congratulations to the winner of the $25 gift code at 365Hangers.com:

#22 - Meredith

I've sent an email to the winner and she has 48 hours to respond or I will have to choose another winner.

Thanks to all for entering!
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February 11, 2011

Aloha Friday!


Here we are at another Friday...yay!  Head over to An Island Life and take it easy just like they do in Hawaii on Fridays.  All you have to do is answer one simple question.

Today, I want to know (in honor of my dad's birthday):

What is your favorite flavor of birthday cake?

I would have to say that my favorite flavor of birthday cake is chocolate, specifically my mom's famous chocolate cake.  She makes it every year for my birthday and it gets better each time I eat it!

Happy Friday!
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February 8, 2011

A Better World {REVIEW}

It's getting more and more difficult for me to play those games on Facebook as they just seem to be time wasters and don't amount to anything.  Oh sure, the graphics have become much better over the years and the concepts are getting to be more interesting that the first games.  Take, for instance, a new game called A Better World.  This game is not about fighting people or trying to steal from others but it is all about making your world a better one through gratitude and thanks.  You can even get your friends involved and post uplifting messages on their boards for them to see.  How great is that?

Also, just in time for Valentine's Day, A Better World has just released the Heart Cart feature!  This is such a cute part of the game where you can give out different types of hearts to your friends on Facebook.  Maybe you want to show your sweetie how much he means to you or if one of your friends is struggling with motherhood right now.  There are hearts for both of these occasions!  You can even send and Earth heart or a Peaceful heart.  It's a nice way of telling someone how much they mean to you with a beautiful graphic.  Isn't this sweet?
A Better World really is a nice change of pace and a fun way to show your gratitude to your loved ones while still having fun playing an online game.  Maybe you could challenge your friends to send out at least one heart per day!

Start playing A Better World on Facebook today by clicking here!

Disclosure:  I wrote this post in exchange for a gift card from ToonUps at Amazon.com.  All opinions are my own and the compensation did not influence the content of this blog post.
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Wordless Wednesday - Limoncello

Trying my hand at making my own Limoncello (a lemon liqueur from Italy). I'll let you know how it turns out and what I'm making with it!


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Pear Tree Winner!

We've got a winner for the Kid's Valentine's cards!  You should still be able to get them by Valentine's Day if you order them right away!

Congratulations to 
#49 - M's giveaway blog

The winner has been notified by email.  Thanks to all for entering!

Happy Valentine's Day!
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February 5, 2011

Chevy Super Bowl Commercials!

Here's a preview of some of the Chevy Super Bowl commercials.  I don't know about you, but the commercials are one of my favorite things about the Super Bowl.  Check them out!

If you like the Transformers movies, this one is for you!


Can't stand being away from Facebook?


These two were my favorites of the bunch.  Hope you all have a great Super Bowl Sunday!

Disclosure:  I am a BzzAgent and received access to these commercials on BzzAgent.com.
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February 3, 2011

Aloha Friday - Gameday!

I'm feeling in need of a quick getaway to Hawaii but I can't afford a trip right now so I'm going to pretend that I'm in Hawaii on a beautiful beach saying "Aloha" to all the passersby!  Want to join my fantasy?  Head over to An Island Life and participate in Aloha Friday where we relax a little and ask one simple question of our readers.  This week, since it's Super Bowl Sunday, mine is a questions related to special game days.

What are your favorite foods to eat during a big game?

Some of my favorite foods to eat during a large sporting event are fun appetizers like my mother's famous appetizer meatballs and my mother-in-law's delicious lil' smokies.  I also love warm dips like spinach artichoke dip and chili dip with cream cheese!  I'm hungry just thinking about these foods!

So, let me know what you like to eat and be aware that I may be contacting you for recipes!
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