New Cooking Connections virtual cooking class

February 3rd, 2011 | 7 Comments »

One aspect of this big wide food-blogging world I find myself in is the ability to share all aspects of cooking with people all over the globe, whether it’s swapping recipes with my friends here in Minnesota, or sharing cooking tips with someone in another state, the ability to make our world smaller with just a click, to share the wealth of food knowledge and understanding with each other is a wonderful gift.

So when The Motherhood approached me about being a part of their new virtual cooking school, I was happy to accept.
I’m co-hosting an upcoming class in the Web’s first-ever virtual cooking school, Cooking Connections,
and I would love for all of you to join me!  Here’s what you need to know to participate:

When: Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m CST

Where: TheMotherhood – here is the link to the page where the class will be held: http://www.themotherhood.com/talk/show/id/62132

And here is the registration page for all seven Cooking Connections classes: http://www.themotherhood.com/cookingconnections

What:
The class I am co-hosting is called “Cooking with Loved Ones Across the Country,” and it is hosted by Vera Sweeney, who blogs at Lady and the Blog, http://www.ladyandtheblog.com/.  During the class, we all will talk about how technology has changed the way people can cook together, and how we can connect with loved ones near and far to continue that ritual of cooking together!

The class is sponsored by ConAgra and hosted by TheMotherhood.

Feel free to come and just follow along with the Chat, or you can participate by creating a free profile with The Motherhood.
I hope to see you there!

My other fabulous co-hosts are:

Audrey McClelland, Mom Generations, http://momgenerations.com
Whitney Wingerd, Mommies with Style, http://www.mommieswithstyle.com
Colleen Padilla, Classy Mommy, http://classymommy.com
Melissa Chapman, Married My Sugar Daddy, http://marriedmysugardaddy.com
Victoria Pericon, 24/7 Victoria, http://247victoria.com/
Nancy Horn, The Product Mama, http://theproductmama.tumblr.com
Jennifer Leal, Savoring the Thyme, http://www.savoringthethyme.com/
Zareen Fidlon, Cooking with Z, http://cookingwithz.com/
Sarah Caron, Sarah’s Cucina Bella, http://www.sarahscucinabella.com

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stepping back

December 13th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

It’s two weeks to Christmas and right on schedule, we got smacked with an epic Winter storm. Almost 14 inches of snow fell over the weekend, blanketing our state and instantly changing everything from dull December to dazzling white. The internal switch to Christmas mode snapped on with a definitive click, and now I’m really eager to pull out decorations and deck the halls. I’ve always waited until a few weeks prior to Christmas to really make the house festive, and having such a beautiful white landscape to look at makes it so much easier. Last year, Christmas came and went without snow.

It rained the week before, and temperatures were mild enough on Christmas to wear a light jacket. Growing up in Minnesota my entire life, I couldn’t recall when that had ever happened. The previous year, we had magical Christmas snow that fell in huge flakes on Christmas morning and lifted my heart. Christmas decorations buried under thick, fluffy snow is a sight that renders me still, my eyes shining and wide. I could never get enough of that. Seeing them drip with rain last year was painful.

But not this year.

But it’s TWO WEEKS to Christmas. And I think I should be in panic mode but quite frankly, I’m not. Long ago I decided not to give in to the frenzy that accompanies this most beautiful of holidays, choosing instead to focus on the reason for such a blessed day. I do some baking, but these days I’m giving away the goods more than keeping them; I do set up our decorations, I do send out cards and a few gifts, I do wish to find a perfect something for Mike and Griffin, but if I don’t I can’t sweat it. Life will go on, with or without these, and there will be rain when there should be snow and each 24 hours will pass whether I choose to cram them full of glad tidings, or sit quietly in front of the fire with a glass of wine. We had a very sad loss in our family last week and our plans for this past Sunday came screeching to a halt as we gathered to bid a final farewell, among the thickly falling snow. I can’t put all that much emphasis on festive decorations and holiday jubilee when I know someone’s heart is hurting. It just pulls so much into perspective.

But we still need to eat something. And after a day of struggling over icy, snow covered roads and feeling so much sorrow, having an option for a really quick meal was so nice to have. After clearing a foot of snow from our driveway, I quickly pulled together a flatbread pizza, using Flat-Out’s new line of Flatbread Pizza Crusts. In less than 10 minutes, I had a simple dinner that filled up the hollow space inside.

Flat Outs new line of ready to eat pizza crusts couldn’t be any easier for making a quick meal. From a frozen state, you can place them right in the oven (or use a handy toaster oven, too) and they thaw in minutes. Top them in whatever fashion you love and place them back in the oven to heat the toppings. That pizza above didn’t even take 10 minutes from start to finish.

Flat-Out pizza crusts are perfect for a casual gathering, or movie night with family. Put your favorite holiday classic on… mine is The Christmas Story, or A Charlie Brown Christmas; you need little else besides a variety of pizza toppings to suit everyone’s tastes. A hot oven, and Flat-Outs three crust options- Rustic White, Heritage Wheat or Spicy Italian- and you’ve got the potential for endless combinations. While my boy could live happily with a pizza loaded with meat, Mike and I prefer lighter, vegetarian pizza. I love how we can create our own with these simple crusts, and not be so stuffed afterwards due to how light they are.

My simple recipe for an exquisite pizza was olive tapenade on the bottom, fresh mushrooms and shredded mozzarella cheese. We also have used pickled banana peppers, roasted red peppers, and kalamata olives; my boy used italian sausage and sliced pepperoni on his pizzas.

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER:
I was provided a gift card and all the Flat-Out Artisan Pizza Crusts needed by The Motherhood, 
in exchange for this post. 
Flat-Out Artisan Pizza Crusts are introduced exclusively at WalMart

cheese cheese cheese!!!

August 14th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

One of the nice perks of working in an upscale grocery store is that there is a gourmet cheese case, chock full of amazing cheeses that tempt me each time I walk by. The giant wheels of cheese come in and are cut down to size, often leaving behind smaller pieces that are then wrapped and placed in the ‘Bargain Bin’ where lucky shoppers can grab as many artisan cheeses as they want, often for only a few dollars per piece. It’s nice way to try out a wide variety of good cheese, without committing to a large piece that you may not like.

Once in a while I like to purchase two or three of the small chunks and take them home to savor with a glass of wine and some good crackers. I do like cheese, despite having mild lactose intolerance. It seems that the artisan cheeses, made with higher quality milk don’t tend to disagree with my belly like more mass-produced cheeses can. Recently I was given an opportunity to compare Sargento Natural Cheese slices to that of processed cheese. Hah. No brainer there. Bring on the cheese!!!

{{ DISCLAIMER~~~ Through my relationship with The Motherhood, I was provided with cheese samples, and compensated financially for providing my feedback on the product. All opinions are mine, however. }}
 

The cheese arrived during a busy crush time in my schedule, and languished in the fridge for a few days before I pulled it out to taste the offerings. Griffin and I bent over the cheeses, examining them closely. There were plain plastic wrapped slices, likely Kraft singles, which we’ve never eaten and truthfully, we just tossed those out. We don’t need to eat plastic cheese to know that it’s disgusting. The package of Sargento cheese was neatly sliced in perfect squares and was real, honest to goodness cheese. It looked, smelled and felt like real cheese, all in perfect sandwich sized squares in a neatly wrapped package. There were about 12-14 slices in the package. I don’t know what the retail cost of the item would be.

We both detected a somewhat plastic taste to the cheese from the wrapper, no doubt, but beyond that, this was unmistakenly ‘cheese’. We broke up the slices and ate them with some crackers, enjoying the quick snack and chatting aimlessly. I don’t tend to buy cheese in this form, preferring to purchase bricks that I can either slice or shred to my needs. This cheese, however, was flavorful and easy to use, and much much better than the individually processed fake stuff. Although my preference for cheese goes to a bit higher level than this, I did enjoy those slices, especially lingering over them with my boy, sharing a quick conversation.

Are you a cheese lover? What’s your favorite type of cheese??

big important event announcements

April 18th, 2011 | Comments Off

Every once in a while, exciting new things sprout up around my kitchen; fun events that I’m participating in that I think you would find interesting. Most of these fun events have arrived via my relationship with The Motherhood, which began last November and has proven to be a win-win for both of us.

The first event happens this Wednesday. And it’s all about breakfast.

Once again, I’m co-hosting a virtual chat on The Motherhood, and we’re going to talk all things breakfast, most importantly- what’s the best meal options to start your day? Did you know that the USDA nutritional guidelines have changed once again? They have. There’ll be some talk about nutrition too.

Here’s the details:

What: You’re invited to a Kellogg virtual breakfast to discuss morning nutrition and the recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

When:
The virtual breakfast is happening on Wednesday, April 20, at 11 a.m. ET.

Where: In TheMotherhood – http://themotherhood.com/talk/show/id/62187

Who: Join Sarah Woodside, registered dietitian for Kellogg, and Liz Ward, registered dietitian, author and one of the Kellogg’s Breakfast Council members, to discuss the nutrients a good breakfast should provide, options for healthy breakfasts on the go, recent research findings on nutrition, and more.  Sarah and Liz will speak to us via live streaming video, while we chat and ask questions through a real-time, text-based conversation.

 

And if that isn’t enough……

Do you know this coming Friday, April 22nd is Earth Day? It is, once again. And through The Motherhood, I’ve agreed to be a state representative for Minnesota, taking my own measures to Be Kind to the Earth, on Friday, and every day.

I’m a huge advocate of reusable shopping bags, and carry a big stash in my car. During the growing season in Minnesota, I put all my compostable kitchen waste on our garden, digging it right into the soil and often getting lots of volunteer plants coming up from the seeds. Our garden and yard is all organic (much to our neighbors chagrin!) We recycle, of course, and we have a yard waste bin that our trash haulers collect each week from April to November. We just replaced our washer and dryer with more environmentally friendly options, including a water sensor on the washer that only fills it according to the amount of clothes you place in the tub. I’ve eliminated paper napkins in our house by using cotton washable napkins, and old worn out towels get re-purposed for garage and cleaning. Last year I swapped out all my personal care products for natural, eco-friendly options without sulfates, petrochemicals or pthalates. This year, the cleaning products are on my hit list.

What are your best eco-friendly habits? Will you join in and make your own pledge to care for the Earth?

 

DISCLAIMER:
I am being compensated for participating in the breakfast chat, but being the Earth Day representative is just a lot of good karma. And everybody needs good karma.

 

Make Earth Day count for you and your family this year!! In all fifty states on Earth Day, families will get outside, appreciate our planet and do good things for the Earth – and their collective actions are going to count, big time. B Kind 2 Earth Day is a project of Nickelodeon, the National Wildlife Federation, TheMotherhood.com and incredible bloggers across the country.
 

 

 

To encourage people to promise to do at least one earth-friendly action on April 22, 2011 — and beyond.