A Brunch Soyree with Egg and Toast Muffins! {Giveaway}

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Too bad I didn't add "Practice being a Good Hostess" to my New Year resolutions because I would be wracking up some serious goal points this year.   I recently had the pleasure of hosting a " Brunch Soyree" with some goodies provided by Solae.  I thoroughly enjoyed my Chocolate Tasting sans children, but the kids were invited to this brunch gathering and they had so much fun!

{Make sure you scroll to the bottom to enter the fun giveaway from Solae!}


Because kids need a lot of protein to start their day, and soy protein can keep kids feeling fuller longer, I put 8th Continent Soymilk ( made from U.S. grown non-GMO soy beans) at the top of the menu!  We also had a couple of guests with milk allergies, so the soy milk was the perfect addition.  All of the kids enjoyed the milk to drink and with their cereal - so did the adults!



Also on the  brunch menu were Jamie's Blueberry Doughnut Muffins (which really do taste as good as they sound!), my Breakfast Egg Muffins (recipe below), some cereal to enjoy with the soy milk, and a lot of fresh fruit - strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, and red grapes.


Everyone, kids and adults, had a great time working their way through the menu options.  I think Brunch, is officially my favorite meal of the day!





Because I was trying to utilize all the health benefits of soy protein during our brunch meal, I made these Breakfast Egg Muffins with MorningStar Farms Veggie Sausage Patties.  These muffins are super quick and easy!  Best of all, they feel like a complete breakfast (just add fruit!).


Egg and Toast Muffins

Ingredients

1 package stuffing mix (6 oz)
1/2 cup butter
12 eggs
5 tablespoons sausage, or veggie sausage, crumbled
1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

Prepare stuffing, with butter, according to package instructions, skipping stand time and cooking instructions.  Press approximately 1/4 cup stuffing into the bottom and sides of muffin cups.   Sprinkle sausage into each cup.  Crack an egg into each cup, then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until yolks are set.  Let stand 5 to 7 minutes before removing from tin and serving.  Serve as is, or with a drizzle of real maple syrup.  Makes 12 muffins.
 
{GIVEAWAY}

One reader will receive a Brunch Soyree Prize Pack:
  • 2 Free 8th Continent Soy milk vouchers
  • On-the-go cereal bowl with freezer gel milk holder
  • Children's Apron
  • Tumbler
To Enter: Leave a comment on this post and tell me,

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Extra Entries - leave a separate comment for each entry:
  • Follow Some the Wiser on Twitter and ReTweet the following: I just entered to win a #soyprotein prize pack from @somethewiser #giveaway http://tinyurl.com/7gz6bqa 
  • Like 8th Continent Soymilk and Some the Wiser on Facebook (it counts if you already do this too!) 
Deadline + Rules:  U.S. entries only.  Winner will be chosen at random. Contest ends Wednesday, July 11th at 5 pm MST.

I received a prize pack and supplies to host the Brunch Soyree.  All opinions are my own.   

Letting Great Taste Shine {$150 Value GIVEAWAY}

Friday, June 22, 2012

Recently I caught myself complaining about the financial situation I find myself in as a single parent: if only I had more money, then I would be able to decorate my home, fix up my wardrobe, visit more local restaurants and shops, host better parties, etc.  As soon as the complaints were voiced, however, I realized how wrong I am.  It's easy to live the good life when you have great taste, which is independent of the bank statements.

"Great taste means starting with something authentic and letting its true expression come through."

In order for me to be authentic and to really be in integrity with myself, I have to take responsibility for my situation and do my very best to live within my means.  But sticking to a strict budget doesn't mean I have to sacrifice good taste.  In fact, I am finding that I feel most authentic when I get creative, which my financial situation often forces me to do.

I feel more authentic when I'm not wracking up credit card debt, ignoring bills, or spending frivolously. When I committed myself to tightening the budget and cutting out unnecessary spending, one of the first things to go was eating out.  I love to cook so eating out has never been a big part of our lives, but we do have some favorite local haunts that we visited with some frequency.

This commitment feels difficult sometimes, especially when I'm craving a favorite dish or drink.  I know, however, that I will ultimately feel better about myself when I stay true to my goals.  And when I know that I am living with integrity, I am better able to let my great taste shine.  

This delicious cranberry drink recipe is the product of some great taste mixed with authenticity!  One of my favorite local restaurants, Flying Star Cafe, makes a great drink they call "The Red Stuff."  It's my favorite!  A hint of mint and fruit, tart and tangy, totally refreshing and absolutely delicious.   Right now, my commitments keep me from purchasing the drink.  But when I put my great taste to work, I was able to create my own version of the drink using wholesome, affordable ingredients that I can feel really good about.

Yes, it is possible to live the good life when you focus on being authentic and let your great taste shine! 


Simply Orange Juice Company has launched a new product - Simply Cranberry Cocktail.  Like all Simply products, Simply Cranberry Cocktail was built on the foundation that the first step to anything being wonderful is a great foundation.  This truly delicious and healthy juice is the foundation for this recipe, and it's great taste really does shine!

Cranberry Zinger


Ingredients

3 cups Simply Cranberry Cocktail
2 cups water
7 bags of Celestial Seasonings "Red Zinger" herbal tea
1 bag of Celestial Seasonings "Peppermint" herbal tea
Ice

Directions

In a glass jar or pitcher, heat 2 cups of water in microwave.  Add tea bags, cover, and let sit at room temperature over night.  Add 2 cups of cranberry juice and stir.  Taste and adjust flavor/sweetness by adding more juice until it is your desired sweetness. Refrigerate until chilled.  Serve over ice.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 
{GIVEAWAY}


Prize Pack for One lucky winner (valued at $150):
To Enter: Leave a comment on this post and tell me,

"How do you let your great taste shine?"


Extra Entries - Leave a separate comment for each of your entries:
Deadline and Rules:  Entrants must be 18 or older and located in the US only.  Winner to be chosen at random.  Giveaway will close Friday, July 6, 2012 at 9pm MST.

The prize was provided by Simply Orange Juice Company, but Simply Orange Juice Company is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway.  All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Simply Orange Juice Company.

Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream Pie

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I love summer desserts!  Unfortunately, so many of my favorite summer desserts involve such unhealthy ingredients like jello, cool whip, etc.  This summer, I want to create delicious summer desserts made from real and wholesome ingredients. 


First up, I've been working on this Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream Pie.  I'm not proud of it, but my girls and I actually ate a whole pie in a day.  What can I say? It was really good and it was a really hot day.  I am proud, however, that I made an ice cream pie with whole food ingredients! 


The key to this pie's success is to make sure you freeze it for at least six hours.  It also really helps to have a great batch of strawberries to work with - I am loving all the sweet, fresh strawberries that have made their way into my kitchen this season!  The strawberry and lemon flavor combination is the perfect summer time treat, not unlike a cool refreshing glass of strawberry lemonade on a hot day.

This recipe is simple, though it does take some planning ahead because there is a lot of wait time in the prep stages.  It's worth it though, really and truly!  Though it would take a few more steps, you could use homemade cookies and ice cream too.  This is a cold and delicious summer dessert, made from scratch.

Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream Pie


Ingredients

6 oz. lemon cookies
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced in half (for the top of the pie)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 pint (or 2 cups) vanilla ice cream, softened in refrigerator for 20 minutes
2 cups whipped cream (made from 1 cup heavy cream) *see note

Directions

In a food processor, grind cookies into fine crumbs.  In a small bowl, mix cookie crumbs with melted butter and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream until well coated.  Press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie plate.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Combine 2 cups diced strawberries with sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl.  Let mixture sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Transfer strawberry-lemon juice mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until berries are softened and juices are released, about 15 minutes.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid and refrigerate separately.  Pour remaining strawberry-lemon mixture into a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Mix softened ice cream with chilled strawberry-lemon mixture.  Scrape ice cream mixture into crust and smooth the top until even in pie plate.  Freeze firm for at least 6 hours.  (You can make the pie ahead up to this point and cover and keep frozen for up to 2 days).

Soften pie in refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving.  Top with whipped cream and sliced strawberries (see note).  Drizzle each slice with reserved strawberry-lemon juice.

*Note: Though it is not necessary, it improves the pie's appearance to use stabilized whipped cream. There is an excellent tutorial here for how to stabilize whipped cream.

Have you ever eaten way too much of something just because it tasted so darn good?  Tell me I'm not the only one!



Lindt R.S.V.P. Chocolate Party!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The best thing ever recently happened to me!  In an effort to spread the word about their new Lindt R.S.V.P. program, Lindt sent me a package for a Chocolate Preview Party.  In other words, Lindt sent me A LOT of Chocolate!  I am pretty well convinced that a Chocolate Tasting Party is as good as it gets. 

 
A Lindt R.S.V.P. Chocolate Tasting is about so much more than just eating chocolate! Although I am not an official Lindt Representative, I had so much fun previewing what a Chocolate Tasting is all about.  It was an educational experience for both me and my guests.  Fine chocolate is a true delicacy and it really does involve all five senses. 


To fully appreciate the chocolate, we tasted three different types of chocolate (Lindt 70% Cocoa, Lindt White Coconut, and Lindt Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate) using all five senses. 
  • Sight: Premium chocolate should have a silky sheen and a smooth, even texture.
  • Touch: Lightly feel how smooth the surface is.
  • Hearing: Hold it up to your ear and break a piece of chocolate. It should have a crisp snap.
  • Smell: Try to pick out different notes - currant, spice, even earth.
  • Taste: Let the chocolate dissolve slowly and coat each part of your tongue. Notice all the flavors. 

Lindt uses the world's finest ingredients, artisan-like craftsmanship and innovation to create the ultimate chocolate tasting experience.   To make sure that my guests were able to fully appreciate Lindt's gourmet chocolate I followed tasting guidelines like never storing chocolate in the freezer, drinking room temperature water during a tasting, and cleansing the palate between chocolate samples with unsalted crackers.  The whole experience was pure pleasure and enjoyment!

Some of the guests favorite chocolates were the Lindt White Coconut Bar and the Swiss Orange Milk Chocolate; we also really enjoyed tasting all the different flavors of truffles! 


As part of the preview party, I also received a copy of Lindt's recipe book, Lindt Chocolate Passion, which is full of delicious ways to use Lindt chocolate.  I made the classic chocolate brownies, which we served with vanilla ice cream and Lindt's Chocolate Fudge Sauce.  They were AMAZING!  Making brownies with real, high quality chocolate (Lindt Swiss Bittersweet) is so much better, more rich and flavorful, than just using cocoa powder. 


Hosting a Lindt R.S.V.P. Chocolate Tasting was so much fun.  We learned a lot and we ate a lot!  I am glad I had the opportunity to experience Lindt's gourmet chocolate in such a unique way!   I even felt very official in my Lindt Apron as I walked my guests through the fine art of chocolate tasting. 



I can't think of very many things more fun, or more delicious, than hosting a Lindt Chocolate Tasting! You can learn more about the Lindt R.S.V.P. Program here.  My guests and I had a wonderful experience with Lindt and Lindt's chocolate is beyond comparison!

P.S. I found directions for making the paper flowers and the diy candy boxes here.  

Spork - Fed: Vegan Cookbook Review, Recipe, {Giveaway}

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I am not a vegetarian, but I don't eat a lot of meat.  We often go weeks without any meat at our house and we don't miss it at all.  Vegan meals are harder to come by at my house though.  I really like butter, and cream, and cheese - oh, yes, the cheese!    Hardly a meal goes by at our house that doesn't involve butter, or cheese, or cream, or all three together.

I am, however, willing to try anything.  When I received a review copy of Spork-Fed: Super Fun and Flavorful Vegan Recipes from the Sisters of Spork Foods by Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg, I was excited to try recipes that would definitely be new to my kitchen!


I was pleasantly surprised by the recipes in Spork-Fed.  Apparently it is possible to create really flavorful dishes without any dairy products!  The recipes are well written, peppered by interesting facts (The Sporkie Scoop), and manage to be both healthy and delicious.   With 75 vegan recipes (many of them are gluten-free too!) and 4 pages of suggested menu combinations, this book is a healthful and helpful addition to the vegan, vegetarian, and even omnivore kitchen.

Strawberry Shortcakes | Cashew Cream Fettucine Alfredo

Amazing Caesar Salad | Crispy Brown Rice Cakes

I've been using Spork-Fed in my kitchen for a few weeks, and I have enjoyed every recipe I've tried.  I took the Spanakopita with Homemade Tofu Feta to a picnic party where it was enjoyed by all.  I tried the Quinoa Salad with Fennel and White Beans and my girls and I loved it.  And, of course, I've tried several of the desserts.

My favorite dessert in the book is the Creme Fraiche and Berry Parfait.  I admit, I was skeptical.  How do you make a delicious berry parfait without cream?  But these girls (Jenny + Heather really are vegan geniuses) banished my doubt - these gluten free, vegan parfaits are excellent and so simple!

The coconut cream, combined with orange and lemon juice, is so flavorful and pairs well with the berries.  It is also red, white, and blue, which means I am adding this quick dessert to my Fourth of July menu! 


Creme Fraiche and Berry Parfait


(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

2 (14 ounce) cans regular coconut milk, pre-chilled (see directions)
1 tablespoon non-dairy butter
3 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 - 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
dash vanilla extract
dash sea salt
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 pint fresh blueberries

Directions

Refrigerate 2 cans of coconut milk for 24 hours before using.

In a small pot, melt butter and sugar over low heat.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to caramelize sugar, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth and uniform.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Carefully open pre-chilled cans of coconut milk and remove firm, white coconut cream layer from top, avoiding coconut water. Only the cream will be used.  In a mixer, whisk coconut cream on high for 30 seconds or until well blended.  Add caramelized sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla, and sea salt. Blend for an additional 30-60 seconds.

To serve, layer berries and creme fraiche in individual glasses or a large clear bowl.  Serves 4-6

{GIVEAWAY}

Prize: A copy of Spork-Fed, Nasoya "Tofu U" Gym Shorts, and coupons for FIVE free Nasoya products!

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post and tell me if you eat Tofu.

Extra Entries: Leave an additional comment for each of the following, for a total of 4 entries:
  • Like Some the Wiser on Facebook (it counts if you already do this!)
  • Like Nasoya on Facebook
  • Follow Some the Wiser and Spork Foods on twitter and Re-tweet the following:  I entered to win a @sporkfoods and @nasoya cookbook and free product #giveaway from @somethewiser http://tinyurl.com/79dbz7d
Deadline:  Friday June 22, 2012 at 5PM Mountain Standard Time.  Giveaway open to all US mailing addresses.

#71 - Climb a Tree

Monday, June 11, 2012

We crossed #71 off from our Summer List!  We gathered some friends, found some trees, and spent a few hours climbing and exploring.  Esme and Eila climbed to heights never before attempted and did some tree branch swinging.  Ada, however, preferred a simple view of the trees from the ground.  I tried to keep up with them all. 

Our summer is coming along nicely.   How is your summer shaping up?


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