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!
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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!
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’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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
To round out this list, I have to include my new favorite Christmas cookies, Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are so quintessentially Christmas!
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!).
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!
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.
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!
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but the opinions expressed are my own.
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.
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 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.
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!
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:
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:
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.
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:
All Natural Boneless Duck Breasts, Fully Cooked Roast Half Ducks w/Orange Sauce, Duck Bacon, Duck Wing Drummettes from Maple Leaf Farms
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.
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: