How often do you explore your local grocery stores? In an effort to stretch my comfort zone, I’m exploring all our local grocery options to compare. I hope you’ll enjoy this Grocery Tours series – today, let’s explore Aldi!
Aldi is a discount grocery chain. It’s smaller than most grocery stores, and pretty no frills – but in exchange you’ll find some awesome deals. Ready to explore? Let’s go shopping!
How often do you explore your local grocery stores? In an effort to stretch my comfort zone, I’m exploring all our local grocery options to compare. I hope you’ll enjoy this Grocery Tours series – first stop: Whole Foods!
Whole Foods is an upscale grocery chain that puts high value on quality. Their stores are full of items that are organic, locally produced, sustainable and humanly sourced. They also feature plenty of things tailored for special diets – packaging for vegan, gluten free, and even keto items are easily picked out.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through these links help support this blog’s content at no additional cost to you.
I recently held my 5th annual soup swap party! At this point, it’s my favorite part of January and so many of my friends look forward to it too. If you’re looking for a fun winter get together with friends, a soup swap is perfect!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a sucker for end-of-year recaps. I love the chance to look back and reflect on what the year has brought and plan for what’s to come.
Which means, of course, I love looking back on what’s been most popular on the blog this year. This year, everyone was all about the sweets – not a single savory recipe made this year’s top 10! That’s a first for me, but it’s also reflective of the year around here.
Yay for #Choctoberfest ! As a chocoholic, I look forward to this week all year and I’m so excited to be participating again this year!
From now until the end of the week, I am joining forces with over 100 other bloggers from around the world to post delicious chocolate recipes. Every day, #Choctoberfest bloggers will be celebrating all things chocolate – milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semi-sweet, and cocoa! I have some really fabulous things planned for this week, so stay tuned!
We are starting with a #Choctoberfest prize pack from our generous sponsors. Scroll down to learn how you can enter to win. One lucky winner will receive the following:
A 100-Piece Cake Decorating Kit from our blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen. This set includes a cake turntable, piping bags, piping tips, flower nozzles, scapers, and more.
An Instant Pot and a 40-Pound Case of Granulated Sugar from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar provides high-quality sugar and sweetener products and over 100 years of time-tested recipes. Sweet things happen when people come together in the kitchen, and that’s why Imperial Sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations for generations.
Coconut Oil and Chocolate Silk Greens from our silver sponsor Barlean’s, your trusted source for chocolatey goodness superfood nutrition. Barlean’s has a commitment to staying ahead of the innovation curve in providing the absolute highest quality product.
A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Forte Chocolates. You’ll receive 12 of their most popular chocolate bars. With Forte Chocolates, you can celebrate life through chocolate. They also have a line of chocolate developed specifically to use in savory recipes.
A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Divine Chocolate. You’ll receive one of each of their baking bars, a white chocolate bar, and their top 5 everyday bars. Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company in the world that is owned by cocoa farmers. Their baking bars are also a delicious vegan option.
A Selection of Sprinkles from our silver sponsor Sprinkle Pop. Sprinkle Pop’s bespoke sprinkle creations are one of a kind, just like you! At Sprinkle Pop, you can also order a custom sprinkle mix; there isn’t a sprinkle mix that you can dream up that they can’t create.
That’s a prize pack worth over $400! Open worldwide, except where prohibited. Must be 18+ to enter (21+ in some locations). See terms and conditions for more details.
To enter, simply follow our sponsors using the widget below. You can gain additional entries by following me and the other participating bloggers. A winner will be drawn on October 21, 2018 and contacted via email. Good luck!
This post is sponsored on behalf of #appleweek. Our generous sponsors, Swiss Diamond, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, Nordic Ware, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Nairn’s and The Spice House have provided us with products for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. As always, all opinions are my own.
Welcome to #appleweek! I hope you’re as excited for this week as I am!
Apple week is a celebration of all things apples. I’m linking up with other bloggers all week to bring you SO many mouth-watering recipes. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, you’ll find something to drool over this week.
Also drool worthy? The amazing prizes our sponsors are offering up to readers this week! Cookware and apples and sugar – oh my! Here’s a full run down of what you can win:
Available in select stores only, Swiss Diamond’s XD 10 piece set features Swiss Diamond’s newest, most advanced diamond-reinforced nonstick coating. The new coating formulation contains 20% more real diamond crystals than the HD coating and was developed in Switzerland. The result is a significantly tougher cooking surface, 40% more durable with 40% better food release properties as compared to the Classic HD nonstick cookware. The are ideal for healthy cooking without oil and feature quick, easy clean-up with hot soapy water. They are PFOA-free and produced in an eco-friendly manner. The tempered glass lids have adjustable steam vents and the ergonomic handles and knobs are oven safe up to 500 F.
Swiss Diamond is a high-end cookware and kitchenware brand established in 2001, with a manufacturing facility in Sierre, Switzerland. The brand name originates from the company’s Swiss origin and it’s classic cookware line which uses a revolutionary nonstick coating made with diamond crystals for durability, superior heat conduction, and a long-lasting nonstick surface. Swiss Diamond is committed to meeting consumer needs by using safe, high-quality materials, by emphasizing innovative design with traditional European craftsmanship and by adhering to an eco-friendly production process.
A $60 Pre-Paid Visa Gift Card and a shipment of Envy Apples!
When you’re this good they call you Envy™
It’s hard to put into words what makes Envy™ so remarkable. Each satisfyingly sweet crunch redefines what to expect from an apple. Since it was introduced, Envy™ has emerged as the apple with everything: beautiful skin, sweet flavor and a bright, tender flesh that remains white even after being cut. It’s a pure and pristine apple that’s a genuine work of orchard-growing genius.
Envy™ was born in New Zealand using natural plant-breeding methods, crossing a Braeburn with a Royal Gala apple. From there, a handpicked team of talented growers, planted trees in regions perfect for growing Envy, such as New Zealand, Washington state and Chile where they benefit from long,
sundrenched days and crisp, cool evenings. Enjoy Envy™ just about anywhere—it’s nature’s passport to a magical moment of indulgent time. For more information visit envyapples.com
The Spice House has been sourcing premium spices since 1957, bringing you the finest selections from all over the globe. They provide the freshest and most flavorful ingredients possible via small, weekly batch grinding and blending.
Package will include pure vanilla extract, gourmet dutch-processed baking cocoa, gourmet vanilla extract, gourmet vanilla beans, organic vanilla extract, organic chocolate extract, almond extract, vanilla paste, and some fun baking supplies to whip of your next batch of goodies with!
Rodelle believes ingredients makes all the difference, that’s why they are passionate about offering a complete line of superior baking ingredients, vanilla products and gourmet spice blends. Quality vanilla extract may cost a little bit more, but the flavors are worth it! Rodelle works with a farmer-owned co-op in Madagascar, Sahanala, to craft a farm-to-table vanilla that benefits the vanilla farmers and their families. Learn more about Rodelle’s vertical integration here. Or, Find out where to buy great Rodelle ingredients near you here.
The Winner will receive 1 case of 2-lb granulated sugar (20 bags) + 1 case of 2-lb light brown sugar (24 bags), 2 silicone baking mats and 1 custom apron.
For 175 years, Imperial Sugar has been a trusted name in family kitchens across the South. Sweet things happen when people come together in the kitchen, and that’s why Imperial sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations for generations. We’re the secret ingredient in family-favorite recipes handed down from one generation to the next. Home cooks know that when you bake with love and Imperial sugar, that’s when memories are made. Visit ImperialSugar.com for over 100 years of time-tested recipes, kid’s crafts, how-to videos, coupons, giveaways and more.
Flahavan’s and Nairn’s have teamed up to bring out an oatstanding prize pack filled with naturally cream, sustainable Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal and our go-to gluten free grahams by Nairn’s. We have a good gut feeling that you’re going to love it!
Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal is sustainably grown and milled in Co. Waterford, Ireland by the Flahavan’s family since 1785. They have sourced the finest oats from the same Irish farming families for generations. Flahavan’s oats are milled in small batches and minimally processed according to 230 year old milling tradition and double kilned. They are non-GMO and naturally gluten-free.
Nairn’s Gluten Free Grahams are rather good in more ways than one. For a start they’re made with only the finest wholegrain oats- naturally energizing and proven to reduce cholesterol. And at only 45 calories a piece, they’re a healthy alternative the the usual graham (also 40% less sugar!). But the real feel good factor comes from knowing every delicious gluten-fee bite is batch tested to Elisa standards so they’re truly safe to eat.
Nordic Ware is a family owned and operated kitchenware company since 1946 and has steadily built its reputation as an internationally distributed kitchenware brand. As a leading manufacturer and innovator, Nordic Ware produces the vast majority of its products in America, at its Minneapolis headquarters, including bakeware, cookware, grillware, microwave, and kitchen gadgets and accessories.
To enter to win all of these great prizes, click here:
Welcome to apple season! I know, some of the orchards have been picking for weeks already – but now that the kids are officially back in school, I’m ready to embrace the fall.
Apple picking is such an iconic fall activity but it can also be a bit of a zoo. The most popular farms seem to be trending more towards the tourism and less towards the apples. When I go apple picking, I want good trees and friendly faces – not bounce houses, train rides, and a million other things to shell out money for on top of the entrance fee.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list of apple orchards – there are so many, and I’m sure everyone has their own favorites. These are my personal favorites, and ones that I highly recommend if you’re looking for somewhere to pick in the area.
Terhune has two locations around the corner from each other. On fall weekends, the main farm hosts Apple Days and Fall Fun Weekends – there is live music and lots of activities – it gets busy and you can’t actually apple pick there. Instead, avoid all of that and head over to their orchard on Van Kirk Rd. where it’s much quieter. The trees are dwarves, so no ladders or pickers needed, and you’ll only need to pay for what you pick.
Bonacorsi is my current favorite pick-your-own spot. It’s a no-frills, working farm, so you won’t get any of the extras, but this is a place that will make you feel like family – the Bonacorsis are always around to offer tips, recipe suggestions, or just to chat. Again, they have dwarf trees so no ladders or pickers required and there is no fee to enter, just pay for what you pick.
Riamede is the perfect stop if you want to hit all the fall favorites with none of the fanfare. There is apple picking, pumpkin picking, a farm store that sells cider and doughnuts. On weekends, they also run a free hayride around the orchard. There is a modest per-person fee to get into the orchard, but it’s much less than surrounding farms.
Melick’s is definitely a bigger operation – they have more than 20,000 apple trees! – but it doesn’t feel that way. There are two locations to pick at, and they’re both great. Both have a plethora of apples for picking – no entry fee, just pay for what you pick – pumpkin picking, and hayrides on the weekends. The Oldwick location also features a working cider press.
I know, I know. The last update I gave was we lost a house in a bidding war, and then I proceeded to not mention it again. Shortly after that, another house fell into our laps. I was afraid to talk about it before it was happening – it seemed too good to be true! But, it did pan out.
About a month ago we sold our beautiful first home. I cried a lot as we left it – especially the kitchen that we’d so painstakingly redone.
We’ve spent the last month crashing on my mother-in-law’s couch – literately – while the sale of the new house went through and we had some flooring and painting done. We finally moved in about a week ago and I’ve been frantically unpacking and trying to get everyone adjusted to our new normal.
I had high hopes I’d blog through this, but to be total honest – the whole process overwhelmed me too much. I hated packing up the kitchen knowing it would be going to storage while we worked on everything. And without all of my kitchen toys at my disposal, I had a hard time getting motivated to cook. We did a lot of eating out and a lot of super simple meals. It’s life.
On the good news side, we moved in about a week ago and the kitchen is 95% unpacked and functional. And, oh, have I been cooking. Starting the night after we moved in, I’ve cooked dinner nearly every night. I’ve been baking. I have plans to do some canning soon. Things have been good!
I have a whole bunch of fun stuff coming up on the blog soon – a cookbook preview, lots of new recipes, and a few fun events hosted by other bloggers. I appreciate you all sticking around during this unplanned hiatus, and I’m excited to be back in the game!
Disclosure: I received these products complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Officially spring! But, we still have snow on the ground. Can we talk about how disappointing that is? I’ve been pinning grilling recipes like crazy – but, to be honest, I’ve been surprised how much the grill tools have gotten use inside this winter.
Cave Tools recently sent me this blade tenderizer to try out, and once again, I was super impressed – they really design these to be easy to use! First up – storage: it comes with a great lid/case, to store it in – so you can’t accidently bump it in the cabinet and end up poking yourself with the blades. The whole thing is also top-rack dishwasher safe, which is amazing – it makes clean up so, so easy!
We gave this a test run with the night’s chicken – the punctures let the marinade soak in so nicely. It was the juiciest chicken I’ve made in a long time! The extra step of tenderizing was worth the (minimal effort) – I can’t wait to try it on steaks!
The Blade Tenderizer can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code TENDER15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.
Lent starts today, which means my annual Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays series does too. You can check back here every Friday until Easter for a new, delicious meatless meal!
As I started working on this Ash Wednesday kick off post, I realized that I didn’t have many new meatless meals on the blog this year – and roughly half were pizza-related. In an effort to make things more well-rounded, I asked my blogger friends to share their favorite meatless meals, too. Below, you’ll find some from me and some from them – and plenty of variety to please everyone!