Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gevalia Kaffe Review and Giveaway

I'm a coffee lover, and I've passed that on to my kids already...they ask for "coffee milk" with breakfast! I was thrilled to get the chance to try new Gevalia Kaffe, thanks to Kraft and My Blog Spark. I was given two Gevalia products to try - the French Roast and the House Blend, along with this Gevalia mug.

I love robust and strong coffee, and I normally drink Bold or Extra Bold coffee from Starbucks. The Gavalia French Roast is their dark roast and the House Blend is a medium roast.

I started off trying the Gevalia French Roast, and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor. It was strong and robust, and while I made it a little stronger than I normally make my Starbucks coffee, it tasted excellent.

I tried the House Blend next, and this ended up being more like I expected. The flavor was mild (translation: a little weak), and I was mostly underwhelmed. 

The Verdict: The Gevalia Kaffe French Roast was a winner. I ask for bags of Starbucks for Christmas every year, so I don't buy a ton of coffee on my own. I would get this French Roast on my own; a much better grocery store option than some other coffees out there! I wouldn't buy the House Blend just because I like darker coffee, but I think it would be great for someone who prefers a more mild coffee. The bag of House Blend certainly won't go to waste in my house! I'll probably drink it when I want a cup of coffee before bed.

Win it!

My Blog Spark and Kraft Foods have provided me with a Gavalia Kaffe Prize Pack for one of you! To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is comment on this post telling me how you like your coffee. And if you aren't a coffee drinker but know someone who is, tell me who you would give this to. Please make sure your email address is enabled in your Blogger profile, or leave your email in your comment so I can be in touch if you win. The giveaway will end Sunday, March 4, 2012 at midnight, at which point the winner will be chosen at random. 

For more information about Gevalia Kaffe, but sure to visit their website or like Gevalia on Facebook. Also, Walmart has a free sample of Gevalia Kaffe available; sign up here.

Kraft Foods has provided sample product to me and is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me.  This program is not administered or sponsored by Kraft Foods or its affiliates, but solely by Thrifty Living.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fiesta Lime Rice

Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest? It's such a great way to find new recipes, and I knew as soon as I saw this one for Fiesta Lime Rice that I just had to try it. The original recipe comes from Skinny Taste, and this was a winner for our whole family!

We opted to serve the rice with chicken, avocado, and sour cream on top, instead of just as a side. We also enjoyed it in a tortilla wrap with chicken like a burrito. This rice is so great that there are tons of possibilities.

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (use leftovers or make it fresh! 2 cups of water and 1 cup rice)
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and heated (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed and heated
1 large tomato, diced
1 large scallion, diced
2-4 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
juice from 1/2 lime (about 1 Tablespoon)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice. Heat beans and corn. Combine rice, beans, corn, tomato, and scallion in a large bowl. Add cilantro and lime juice as desired, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a side dish, with tacos, or pile chicken, avocado, cheese, sour cream on top as preferred. A great way for each family member to add what they like to dinner!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Favorite Warmer weather recipes

This week is shaping up to be very mild, especially for February. The changes in the weather always make me think of certain foods and drinks that we usually have seasonally. Here are a few of my favorites.

Cherry Limeade - one of my favorites! I think my recipe takes just like Sonic!

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade - a refreshing mix of sweet and tangy.

Smoothies - all varieties. Recently we've been adding oatmeal to ours inspired by Full Measure of Happiness. I use 1 c. milk, 1/2 c. oatmeal, 5-6 whole strawberries, 4-5 cubes frozen pineapple juice.

I'm also looking forward to trying out a few new recipes. I just spied this one for homemade fruit roll ups from Joy of Jello. Don't they look fantastic?

Any recipes to share?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Broccoli Chicken Cheddar Braided Crescent Recipe

This is our new favorite meal!

This beautiful braided crescent is easy and quick - as in the whole thing is prepped while your oven preheats! That's my kind of dinner. I saw this recipe on Food Family Finds, and knew I had to try it.

Mix together chicken (I've used canned chicken as well as Cousin Darlene's chicken), broccoli, cheese, egg, and mayo together in a bowl. When I used leftover chicken I didn't add the mayo.

Spread your crescent rolls out to form a rectangle. You can use store-bought crescents, but I've been making my own and they are fantastic! I think I've actually cured myself of the urge to buy Pillsbury crescent rolls! (recipe below)

Add the chicken mixture to the middle of the crescent roll rectangle. Then use kitchen shears or a knife to make strips along each side. (this looks like the braided calzone, doesn't it?!?)

Beginning from one end, alternate sides, pulling the dough across at an angle. Each strip should be close to the one before it, but it certainly does not need to be perfect.

This part actually goes quickly...

and yet the final result is awesome!

Brush the braid with a wash of egg white mixed with a tablespoon of water. Top with more cheese if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven at 375 for 30 minutes...golden, cheesy, and delicious!

Homemade Crescent Roll Recipe (adapted from
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour

Beat eggs and sugar until well combined. Add sugar, Crisco, water, yeast, salt, and 2 cups flour. Gradually add remaining 2 cups of flour. Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead in enough additional flour so the dough is no longer sticky. I usually do not have to add much additional flour. 
Divide the dough in half - each half makes about 12 crescent rolls or one broccoli chicken braid.

  • To make immediately, let dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. Then shape dough into crescent rolls and bake or flatten on a cookie sheet for the braid.

  • To make later, store in the refrigerator without rising. As long as you let it sit for about 4 hours, that will be sufficient rise time in the fridge. Or store for up to 4 days and use as above. 

  • Broccoli Chicken Cheddar Braided Crescent Recipe (adapted from Food Family Finds)

  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and chunked - use canned or leftover chicken for minimal prep
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    2 cups chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
    1 egg yolk (reserve egg white for wash)
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    rosemary (or other preferred herb)
    crescent roll recipe (above) or 2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls

    Preheat oven to 375. Combine chopped chicken, cheese, broccoli, egg yolk, mayo, and rosemary in a bowl. Spread crescent roll dough onto a large cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Add the chicken mixture to the middle of the dough. Using kitchen shears or a knife, cut strips along each side of the chicken. Start from one end and alternate sides, pulling a strip of dough across to the opposite side. When the whole braid is finished, add about 1 Tablespoon of water to the reserved egg white and brush the top of the braid with the wash. Sprinkle additional cheese if desired. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Slice and enjoy!

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Homemade Valentines: Brown paper candy pouches

    I was trying to come up with a cute homemade valentine that wouldn't be too labor intensive, and I remembered how much fun I had with the sewn paper candy pouches for Christmas. So with just a few adjustments, I ended up with this:

    I used a cookie cutter to trace a heart shape on a Trader Joe's paper bag. After I cut out the hearts, we decorated them with stickers and stamps.

    I filled a few with little lollipops, which ended up working way better when I hand-stitched around the edges instead of using my sewing machine.

    I filled the rest with pink M&Ms.

    Super simple, and minimal time involved. You don't even need a sewing machine! (although I will add that my fingers were a bit sore after stitching a few of these by hand)

    Aren't they cute?

    Let me know if you make them!

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Quick dinner recipe: Cheesey baked chicken

    This has been a family favorite since I was in middle school. My family has always called it Cousin Darlene's Chicken, thanks to my dad's cousin who made it for us originally. Its super easy, and I even make it in the crockpot if I'm going to be out for a while that particular day.

    All you need is condensed cream of chicken soup (or mushroom works too), swiss cheese, and bread crumbs or Stove Top stuffing. And chicken!

    I spread a little of the soup in the bottom of my baking dish with a spatula. Place chicken in the baking dish and cover with remaining soup. You could also add a little water, depending on how much chicken you are making. Top with swiss cheese and sprinkle on stuffing. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, or until chicken is done.

    I probably shouldn't even include these "after" pictures. The lack of daylight when I finish dinner is really making it difficult to post recipes! Trust me, these look way better in person. (And yes, two large pieces of chicken are already missing)

    We usually serve this with rice and veggies. The soup makes a lovely sauce that is amazing poured over your rice. This is a great comfort food in the winter, and a winner for the whole family!

    Side note: I am planning to use these instructions from Mindfully Frugal Mom to make my own cream of chicken soup. Have you ever made yours from scratch? I'm looking forward to trying it!

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    January Goals Update

    We are just over a month into 2012 which is a great mile marker to evaluate how I'm doing on my year-long goals. Here is a look at how I am doing on my big goals:

    Read 48 books. I read 6 in January (that's 2 ahead of my pace for the year) - 4 were "normal" reads, one audio book, and one read aloud to my daughter. I use Goodreads to keep track of what I read.

    Memorize 52 Scripture verses. My husband and I are working the Fighter Verses together. We have 4 out of 5 weeks memorized right now, so that's a solid start! Also, we are working with our 3-year-old on memorizing the "Foundation verses" - these are shorter and have a visual aid to help them remember the passage. She has 3 of 5 memorized, and then yesterday came out with our whole week one verse, which is much longer!

    Work on our Adoption. We have made only a little progress here. We are looking at different agencies right now and talking with friends who have experience with foster care adoptions. Hoping for some real news to report at the end of February!

    Organize and Declutter. I'm loosely using Home Storage Solutions 52 weeks to a more organized home as a guide. I worked on the kitchen in weeks 1-3, thanks to my ongoing battle against food waste, I have very little to do in the fridge and freezer, and I'm hoping to get a shelf up in my kitchen this week to store my cookbooks in a location that makes more sense. I'm happy with this progress!

    I have new motivation for making our home more organized thanks to Organized Simplicity. As I'm going through old papers, trinkets, and a few boxes that have yet to be unpacked from our move (3 years ago!) I am asking "is it beautiful? is it useful?" If the answer is no, I'm getting rid of it! I highly recommend Organized Simplicity; its an easy read with tons of practical advice.

    Lastly, I have a fun ongoing project for this year. Every weekend I'm writing down one or two highlights from our week - favorite family activities, important things that happened, or special memories. Sometimes these are big, but sometimes just a little thing that I know would be forgotten even a few weeks from now. We're planning to read through them at the end of 2012. If you would like to join me, now is the time! You could probably come up with something from each week so far in the year by looking back at your calendar. But I know that if I don't write things down, they will be gone from my memory way too soon!

    Do you have long term goals set for the next several months? If not, I cannot recommend it enough. Making a goal and breaking it down into manageable smaller goals has been so helpful for our family. Its great to be able to look back and see that we are making progress, even if it is not always quite as much as I had hoped!

    Here is my original goals post.
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