Welcome to #appleweek – here’s what you can win!

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:

AppleWeek Prize Pack #1 from Swiss Diamond 

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.

AppleWeek Prize Pack #2 from Envy Apples

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 

AppleWeek Prize Pack #3 from The Spice House

The Baker’s Gift Box

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.

Prize Pack #4 from Rodelle Vanilla

A Baker’s Dream Come True!

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.

Prize Pack #5 from Imperial Sugar

A Sweet Tooth’s Dream Come True!

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.

Prize Pack # 6 from Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal and Nairn’s Oatcakes

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.

Prize Pack #7 from Nordic Ware

Perfect for baking all of these AppleWeek treats, Nordic Ware will give one lucky winner an apple cakelet pan and prism baker’s bundle with a quarter and half sheet pan!

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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I hope you’ll be stopping by all these week to see all the delicious things that we’re all cooking up for you!

 

 

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Best Spots to Apple Pick In Central New Jersey

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.

Stay Strong and Free

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

Terhune Orchards, Princeton

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

Bonacorsi Family Farm, Flemington

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.

Raimede

Riamede Farms, Chester

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.

melicks

Melick’s Town Farm, Califon & Oldwick

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.

Where is your favorite place to apple pick?

Best of 2017

I’m such a sucker for New Year’s – looking back, looking ahead.. it’s my favorite. I’m all about the resolutions and the recaps so you’re getting a blog recap of the year. This was, admittedly, not my most prolific blogging year. I’m still learning how to juggle having kids and having hobbies, but I love what went on here this year!

Best of the Blog

Starting off with the top five favorite reader posts of the year, judged by number of views. Some of these were my favorites of the year, too!

WhiteChocolateDippedGingerCookies

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies were blogged this month, but they’re already a big blog favorite. It’s easy to see why – they’re gorgeous and easy!

IPPicadillio

This was the year everyone went Instant Pot crazy so it’s not surprising Instant Pot Picadillo made the list of most popular dishes for the year. This is one of my personal favorites, so if you’re looking for a recipe to break in that Instant Pot you got for Christmas, I’d recommend it!

TexasChili

Comfort food always gets a lot of hits around here, and Texas Style Chili was no exception. This quick and homey dish is perfect for winter weeknights!

RoastedSugarChocolateCake2

I’m thrilled to see Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake make the list, because this was, hands down, my favorite dessert of the year. This cake is to die for!

moosemuffin2

I made these Blueberry Muffins as part of #FoodBloggerLove, which introduced me to Chef Sarah Elizabeth and the Family Dinner Book Club – one of my favorite finds of the year. We’ll be doing the Family Dinner Book Club as a family starting in January, so I expect you’ll hear more of it from me!

Now, on to five favorite from me, in no particular order!

TripleChocolateCheesecake

This Triple Chocolate Cheesecake was what dreams are made of. If you’re a chocolate cheesecake fan, you need this in your life.

GreekPizzaDone

Greek Pizza is a quick, kid-friendly dinner that I just love. It’s super easy, easily customizable and vegetarian!

EverythingBagelCasserole

This Everything Bagel Casserole is probably the single best dish I blogged all year. It’s got #brunchgoals written all over it.

ChocolateMarshmallow2

My favorite list reflects what a chocoholic I am, but I had to include these Chocolate Marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are good, but these are even better. They’ll take your hot cocoa to a whole other level!

GingerChocolateChipCookies

To round out this list, I have to include my new favorite Christmas cookies, Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are so quintessentially Christmas!

What was the best thing you made this year?

Review: Cave Tools Jalapeno Grill Rack & Pepper Corer

Disclosure: I received these products free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

We’re just getting into grilling season here, so when Cave Tools asked if I wanted to review their Jalapeno Grill Rack & Pepper Corer I jumped at the chance. We love making dinner on the grill now that the evenings are warmer (and it’s light out!) and I love products that make grilled dishes easy – this is one of them.

Because we have a toddler who insists on trying everything we’re eating, I decided to try the rack out by making stuffed mini peppers (check back for the recipe tomorrow!).

CaveTools1

The set comes with a corer tool to make prep easy. I sliced off the top of the peppers and then used the tool to clean them out and was impressed with how quickly and effectively it worked. My husband even commented on how fast it was!

CaveTools2

I stuck the peppers in the rack as I filled them. The one thing you do have to be mindful of is that you pick peppers that won’t fall through the holes – or tweak as you go. I added two smaller peppers together in some spots. A little foil would have worked, too.

The rack itself is super sturdy – the legs snap into place so it won’t collapse unless you want it to. This made it easy to transport the rack from the kitchen to the grill.

CaveTools3

I loved that the rack kept the peppers away from heat enough that they could cook without burning (brown spots = poison to a toddler) and we didn’t have to deal with any cheese spillage as the mixture got melty. Cleanup was also a breeze – the rack goes right in the dish washer.

I really loved this rack and can’t wait to try out some of the other things they suggest (like chicken legs!) this summer.

If you want your own jalapeno grill rack, they can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code ROASTPEPPER15 to take 15% off. They can also be purchased via Amazon. Cave Tools also has a lot of other fun grilling accessories, I recommend checking them out while you’re browsing!

UncommonGoods – Holiday Shopping For Good

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but the opinions expressed are my own.

BeTheGood

This sign hangs in our house always. It’s a constant reminder of our family values and what we’re striving to be. We’ve always held this in our words and actions, but lately we’ve been working harder at doing this with our money, too, and trying to shop with companies that honor the same values. UncommonGoods is one of these companies.

I’ve been a fan of UncommonGoods for years – they’re stocked with quirky gifts for all kinds of people. Browsing their site is seriously like a rabbit hole for me – one I get started time just slips away. But, they’re so much more than off-beat gifts. They are a company that does good. Their lowest-paid workers start at 50% above the minimum wage. About a third of their products include recycled elements. With every purchase, they will donate $1 to the charity partner of your choice. On every front, they’re doing good. So good, in fact, that they are a certified B Corporation – meaning they’re using the power of their business to solve social and environmental problems. I’ll definitely be shopping with them this year, so I wanted to share a few gift ideas for the holidays.

To Stuff Your Stocking

FoodieDice

I feel like I’m always scrambling to find stocking stuffers at the last minute but UncommonGoods has so many fun ideas for things to stuff your stocking with. Trying to promote kindness in your home? They have an adorable, interactive kit for that. Want to get people to put down their phones and talk at the dinner table? They’ve got plenty of conversation starters to choose from. Constantly undecided about what to make for dinner? Toss the dice and get creative!

For the Hard-to-Buy-For Guy

TravelDiary

If you have a husband who has everything and wants nothing (like mine!) UncommonGoods will surely have something he didn’t realize he needed in his life. For the musically inclined, I’m obsessed with this punch that makes your own guitar picks. Travelers would love this organizer for trip mementos. Baseball fans would flip for cuff links made from their favorite stadium’s seats. They even have display boards that turn your beer bottle caps into art!

For the Foodie (aka, my wishlist!)

HerbKeeper

Of course, I’m always drawn to the kitchen items. The sentimental fool in my loves their take on the family cookbook. They also have the cutest measuring spoons I’ve ever seen. This table runner would be so much fun for dinner parties with kids. This produce keeper is beautiful and super functional. And I can’t help but covet the amazing wine glasses they have, especially the ones designed to play a musical scale.

See? Super fun stuff. I’m betting if you clicked on any of those links, you’ve found something you loved. And while there are so, so many things I love, what I love most is that when I buy them, I’m supporting a good company.

Lunch for Busy Days #MealPrepMadness

Lunch has become the most difficult meal of the day for me. Jake needs to eat at 11:30 or we start running into hangry, I-need-a-nap territory. And if we have anything going on in the morning, it’s hard to be home and get it on the table before the meltdowns start. Add in a newborn who wants to be fed/changed/cuddled and I was ready to rip my hair out – not to mention the fact that I’d end up just eating whatever I could shove in my face fastest. So not ideal.

I ended up buying these containers on Amazon and they’ve become our “lunch boxes”. They don’t snap tight, but since we’re usually eating lunch at home and  don’t transport them, that’s fine for us.

LunchPrep

I fill them up with whatever leftovers we need to use up first. This week it was some broccoli salad, chopped salad and breadsticks. Then, I fill in with other stuff. Jake’s lunches (bottom row) are often deconstructed – bread with rolled-up cold cuts is a favorite. I’ve been sticking with sandwiches or salads.

It’s working out well. When they’re pre-made, it’s easy to pop one out of the refrigerator for Jake as soon as we walk in the door and it’s been keeping me from grabbing junk food to fill me up instead of making myself a meal. A win all around!

Our Toddler Snack Bin #MealPrepMadness

One of the things I struggled with right after Julie was born was snack time for Jake. It seemed like every time I sat down to nurse her, he’d start begging for a snack. And, oh, the meltdown if I grabbed the wrong snack!

My solution was to make him his own snack bin. I filled it with pre-portioned snacks I was okay with him helping himself to.

Here’s what’s in the snack basket this week:

TodderSnacks1

The snacks in plastic bags are ones we buy in bulk. It takes me just a few minutes to grab a handful and add them to the bags – and is way easier than trying to get Jake not to eat an entire 1 lb. bag of yogurt raisins.

Here’s what everything looks like in the basket:

ToddlerSnacks2

The basket lives on the lowest shelf in our pantry. Jake can open the pantry to get to the snacks on his own, but 90% of the time he still needs help opening the packaging. This is proving to be the best of both worlds – he feels like he’s in control, but he still brings it to be before eating so I can monitor.

How do you handle kid snacks at your house?

Welcome to #CookoutWeek + the chance to win an awesome prize pack!

_CookoutWeek_Logo2

Guys, this is going to be such a fun week around here! I’ve joined forces with around 50 of our blogging friends for #CookoutWeek – an entire week filled with yummy summer recipes perfect for your next cookout, along with a fun giveaway, courtesy of some awesome sponsors.

If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know I love a summer cookout. Grilling weather is my favorite and I’m happy to get outside for a meal – whether it’s just the three of us or we’re hanging out with family and friends. Summer was just made for cooking and dining al fresco!

So, let’s talk about that prize – because you know you want it. It’s super easy to enter and one lucky winner will get:

It’s pretty much everything you need to host an awesome cookout this summer. It’s a prize pack worth over $300! Thank you so much to all of the wonderful sponsors listed above, who have made #CookoutWeek possible.

Enter now:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As #CookoutWeek rolls on, I won’t be the only one posting #CookoutWeek recipes – there are nearly 50 bloggers signed on to make this week a real party! Make sure you check in with them to see what they’re dishing up. Here’s the full list of participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin’ MamasA Day in the Life on the Farmaddicted 2 recipesAimee Broussard & Co.Amy’s Cooking AdventuresAngels Home Sweet HomesteadBakin’ and EggcerptsBalancing MotherhoodBody RebootedCheese Curd In ParadiseCindy’s Recipes and WritingsCook With 5 KidsCook. Craft. Love.Cookaholic WifeCricket’s ConfectionsCrumb: A Food BlogEat, Drink, Be Healthy!Everyday EileenFairyburgerFood ParsedGet the Good Stuff!Goodie GodmotherHezzi-D’s Books and CooksHome in the Finger LakesJennifer CooksJessie WeaverKate’s Recipe BoxLife on FoodLittle House Big AlaskaLittle Scratch KitchenMaking MiraclesMoore or Less CookingRhubarb and HoneySavvy In The KitchenSeduction in the KitchenSimple Food 365Style IslandThanks for Cookin’!The Food Hunter’s Guide To CuisineThe Hungary Buddha Eats the WorldThe Spiffy CookieThe Weekday GourmetThis is How I CookTramplingroseVintage KittyWest Via Midwest

Check back every day this week for some awesome cookout recipes – I’m really excited about what I’ll be sharing! And happy summer!

What’s Baking Roundup: Doughnuts

whatsbaking

I mentioned on Friday that I was the host of the latest round of What’s Baking. The theme was baked doughnuts and I was drooling as everyone emailed me their submissions. A new, delicious doughnut in your inbox every day can be a dangerous thing.

I love the What’s Baking rounds because I love seeing what everyone did with the theme – there’s always so much variation. This round brought together any kind of doughnut you could want. Something perfect for Spring? Try Lemon Blueberry Dounuts. Want something indulgent? Double Chocolate is the way to go. You can check out everyone’s creations below!

evabakes

Baked Double Chocolate Donuts from Eva at Eva Bakes

Baked Sour Cream Donuts from Jaida at Sweet Beginnings

Brownie Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze from Nicole at Cookies on Friday

S’mores Donuts from Coleen at The Redhead Baker

Brown Butter and Bourbon Maple Glazed Doughnuts from Nicole at Cookaholic Wife

Baked Lemon Blueberry Donuts from Heather at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks

kyleecooks

Mini Baked Donuts with Raspberry Glaze from Kylee

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts from Me

Thank you, everyone, for baking up some doughnuts with me this round!

Gifts for Foodies that Do Good

Today is Giving Tuesday – a day for giving back and donating after the crazy consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, instead of highlighting cool kitchen gifts, I wanted to showcase some gifts that will make a difference in someone’s life. These are all reputable groups that help a variety of causes – perfect for the foodies on your list.

Virtual Gifts

IRC

International Rescue Committee is on the ground across the world helping in a variety of humanitarian crises, including the current Syrian refugee crisis. You can support their efforts by buying a symbolic Rescue Gift this holiday season. For $53, you can provide emergency cook stoves to eight uprooted families. $68 will provide a month of emergency food packets for 50 children. $135 will provide a refugee farmer with the tools needed to start a farmers’ market stand. IRC will send a card announcing the gift to the recipient.

mercycorps

Mercy Corps works throughout the world helping those suffering poverty and rebuilding communities. They’re also assisting with the Syria refugee crisis both in and outside of Syria, in addition to helping provide food security in Mali and Niger, giving mobile technology to farmers in Indonesia and Uganda and other efforts.  Their symbolic gifs – called Mercy Corps Gifts – also send a card to the recipient.  A donation of $25 supplies an entrepreneur with the equipment needed to run a Tea Booth. $30 helps grow an acre of rice in a community. Or, you can equip a bakery for just $65.

oxfam

Oxfam is working toward a world without poverty in more than 90 countries. In the US, works to expose the injustice of poverty and offer solutions. Their symbolic gifts include a pair of chickens to help feed a family for $18 and, for $30, the resources to plant a vegetable garden.  All gifts are acknowledged with a card.

feedingamerica

Feeding America does exactly what their name suggests. They run a variety of programs to combat hunger in the US. A donation through their gift catalogue goes to providing nutritious food through their food bank network.

Gifts that Give Back

unicef

Unicef strives to give all children a fair chance at life through programs that combat hunger, provide immunizations and support education. Gifts purchased through the Unicef Market benefits children in need around their world and they have a variety of great options to dress up your table. The purchase of this pitcher, for example, can provide 141 sachets of oral rehydration salts, which can help children combat dehydration and diarrhea.

fmsc

Feed My Starving Children helps feed malnourished children and has worked in nearly 70 countries. 92% of their donations go directly into the food program. Their marketplace has a variety of gifts that support their programs. These spoons, handmade by artisans in Swaziland, provides 62 meals to children in need.

feed

FEED raises money through their product lines to provide meals. They help fund school meals, emergency relief, mother-child nutrition and man more projects. Their signature bags make great shopping totes but they also have wine totes, which would be great for holiday gifting, and beautiful kitchen gifts including this cutting board.

aaa

All Across Africa is a benefit corporation that creates market-driven employment opportunities to improve and empower the lives of rural and poor people across Africa. They have a whole shop of beautiful, fair-trade kitchen items, including these gorgeous baskets made in Rwanda.

Food for a Cause

onehope

OneHope Wine gives a portion of their sales to charitable causes – each bottle helps something different. Their California White Blend helps fight cancer while their Pinot Noir helps get clean water to people who need it. Or, this gorgeous, glittery bottle of sparkling wine provides 15 meals to a child in need.

thatscaring

That’s Caring donates one weekend’s worth of meals to a food insecure child in the US for every gift basket purchased. Why weekend bags? Students that rely on school lunches don’t have access to those resources during the weekends – and these help fill the gaps. Their wine and cheese baskets are a great option to send to far-flung foodie friends.

lambs

Lambs Farm creates a safe working and living environment for people with developmental disabilities. All of their products are made by the people of Lambs Farm and support their programs. They have fudge, preserves and even treats for the foodie fido!

cookies

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer helps fund research on pediatric cancers. Cookies ship the same day they’re baked – a great holiday treat. Order a package of your favorite flavor or join the cookie of the month club.

bean

Women’s Bean Project employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women through transitional employment. Their products include soup mixes, baking mixes and fun gift bundles. They are made by women in the program and help support the program’s future.