Category Archives: Food & Drinks

Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta Makes Eating Healthy Easy!

Ronzoni Smart Taste

It is very difficult to get kids to eat most healthy food. Sure, you can make it and place it in front of them, but there is definitely a universal kid’s yum factor chart to take into consideration and more often than not, your healthy and balanced meal you’ve just prepared isn’t even going to rank. Most kids are insanely picky eaters; my stepdaughters live in the land of McDonald’s and whenever they are with us, we hear about how awesome McDonald’s is. I have the very strong belief that McDonald’s was created by a group of people who stayed up at night thinking about how to make the lives of parents of young children as hard as possible. Sure, it’s convenient and also unhealthy and they not only made incredibly unhealthy foods fun, but some of their establishments exude fun and excitement because they had to go and put an entire playground in the place.

So when you get your family together at the table for dinner, it has become a feat unto itself to prepare something that everyone will eat, or at least take a few bites of before they tell you there’s no way they’re eating it.

Ronzoni Smart Taste line Pasta a big dinner staple in my house. Firstly, it’s cheap, which is a must when you live in the economic climate that so many of us do. Secondly, it’s delicious–pair it with some of your family’s favorite sauces and you’ve got a meal that will start to be requested. But pasta isn’t always healthy; a great deal of traditional white pastas are not packed with nutritional value. Ronzoni Smart Taste, however, is the smart and healthy way to eat pasta with an entire line of different pastas that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters in your family.

Check out this insanely cute video Ronzoni Smart Taste put together to show just how far some moms will go to get their kids to eat healthy:

I had the opportunity to try Ronzoni Smart Taste spaghetti, thanks to Mom Central and as far as I could tell, I couldn’t taste a difference between their pasta and other traditional white pastas, which was actually a good thing because it went over very well! Plus, it’s the same taste your children are used to but Ronzoni Smart Taste pastas are packed with more fiber and calcium and they’re cholesterol-free, making it a great and healthy dinner choice!

If you’re sick of boring pastas and don’t know what to do with it to make it an exciting meal, check out the Ronzoni Smart Taste Meal Center, full of great recipes to try next time you’re having a pasta night!

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Ronzoni Pasta and received a sample of Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta to facilitate my review and a $20 thank-you gift certificate.

Waking Up with San Marco Coffee

San Marco Coffee For the past week or so, every day, I have woken up and have immediately made my way from my bedroom, downstairs to my kitchen to make coffee. Now, this is not very much unlike every other day of my adult (as well as my teenage) life, but the one big difference is that for the past week, as soon as I opened my eyes, instead of thinking “Oh my goodness, need coffee right now!” I have thought “Oh my goodness, need banana nut cream coffee right now!” I have tried a lot of coffee from a myriad of different brands and companies; I have tried medium and dark roasted coffee, the cheap stuff on sale as well as the premium coffees you spend an arm and a leg on, but this coffee is different. It is incredible quality with a taste that will blow your taste buds away; even better, it is inexpensive, especially considering the quality and the taste of the coffee you’re getting.

San Marco Coffee From the first moment I opened up the 1lb bag of banana nut cream coffee from San Marco Coffee, I was pretty amazed at the quality of their product. Even before I opened the bag, I could smell the sweet scent of bananas and the coffee grounds felt a lot softer than the grounds of coffee I usually drink. As soon as the coffee begins brewing, I immediately smelled bananas and through its process, the scent got stronger and I could smell it in my living room. It is a scent I look forward to every morning when I wake up–as well as in the afternoon; what can I say, I drink a lot of coffee. In fact, if there was a way to make a scratch-and-sniff embeddable sticker or something for this article, the scent of San Marco Coffee’s banana nut cream coffee would be the first scent I would share with you all.

The taste of this banana nut cream coffee, however, is even better than the smell; if you can believe it. My partner, who usually cannot stand to drink more than a very small cup of coffee because he hates the taste of coffee and would very much prefer it to taste like donuts instead, loved San Marco’s Coffee and even asked me when we were going to order more; especially when I mentioned that they have Snicker flavored coffee.

San Marco Coffee also has decaffeinated coffee for those of you who can’t handle caffeine and they also have international coffees, espresso, as well as international teas! I cannot recommend San Marco Coffee enough; I will definitely be getting my flavored coffees through them because they have the most extensive supply I have ever come across! And if you’re interested in coffee or tea, also be sure to follow San Marco Coffee on Twitter and hear about new additions to their stock and new flavored coffees to try out!

Free Betty Crocker Cookies, Bars & Cakes Magazine!

Betty Crocker Cookies Bars and Cakes So within the past few months, I have become a complete and utter Betty Crocker fanatic. You may have noticed this if you’ve been checking out our Recipes section, as I have shared the Betty Crocker email newsletter love with all of you a few times! Betty Crocker has some of the most innovative, out of the box, and just plain fun (not to mention easy!) recipes ever! Which is why I was so ecstatic when I received an email a few days ago with a link to the new Betty Crocker Cookies, Bars and Cakes Nxtbook!

What’s a Nxtbook? Super awesome technological magic that allows magazines to be seen as they were intended to be seen in print, just on your computer screen! Cool, right?

Betty Crocker’s entire Cookies, Bars and Cakes issue is out in Nxtbook. It is full of the most requested recipes (over 70 in all,) and within just a few minutes of browsing this issue of Betty Crocker, your mouth will be watering for these desserts! I already have over 10 picked out that I need to pick up the ingredients for so I can (attempt to) bake.

Check out Betty Crocker’s Cookies, Bars and Cakes issue!

Sweeten Up Your Valentine’s Day with Chocolate Body Paint

chocolate body paint No matter what your plans are for this upcoming Valentine’s Day you can always make it a little sweeter and your sweetheart will be glad you did. This delicious chocolate body paint will have your honey clawing the bedsheets as you lick it off.

You will need:

  • 17.05oz high quality dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet) chopped
  • 13.5oz cream
  • 1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
  • double shot espresso

1. Divide cream into 3 indivdual pans.

2. Add mint into 1 pan, chili into the second pan and espresso into the third pan.

3. Slowly warm each pan to a near simmer and remove from heat allowing flavor to infuse for 15 minutes.

4. Place dark chocolate in a small bowl and set over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir this constantly until chocolate melts.

5. Remove pan from heat.

6. Divide chocolate into 3 small pots.

7. Return pans of cream to heat and once hot, strain each pan of cream into 1 chocolate pot, creating 3 separate flavored chocolate body paints.

Get a soft paintbrush and let your imagination take over!

Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks? The Truth is Out!

Dunkin Donuts Starbucks Which do you prefer, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks coffee? Well, if you’re like 54.2% of frequent (or obsessive) coffee drinkers, you would be shouting from the rooftops about just how much you love Dunkin’ Donuts. I mean, come on, there is absolutely nothing bad to say about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (their flat bread sandwiches, however, well yes, there are a lot of negative things you can say about those) it’s insanely affordable and downright delicious and according to that 54.2% of frequent coffee drinkers, it’s better than Starbucks, not to mention more than half the price of what a Starbucks coffee costs.

An independent taste test was conducted by A&G Research Inc., under the counsel of claims test advisor Al Ossip, of coffee drinkers across ten major US markets last May and June. The US markets included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Starbucks’ own home of Seattle. The taste test included 476 adults, all of which had consumed regular, brewed coffee within the past week.

A&G Research served each of the participants fresh packaged coffee in the most popular flavor purchased in each brand’s stores, Dunkin Donuts Original Blend and Starbucks House Blend. The coffee was brewed using the exact equipment recommended by each brand and was served black.

The independent taste test results clearly showed where each coffee brand stood when it came to consumers because among all participants, 54.2% preferred Dunkin’ Donuts coffee compared to just 39.3% who said they preferred Starbucks and 6.3% expressed no preference.

Dunkin Donuts was founded in 1950 and with a little under 60 years in the coffee-making business, this taste test has proven that no other coffee chain, sofas, music and ambiance included, can be matched by Dunkin’ Donuts, which is proven with the fact that nearly 1.5 billion cups of coffee are sold each and every single year by Dunkin Donuts.

Above all, this taste test has proven that America really does run on Dunkin.

Dunkin Beat Starbucks

Visit Dunkin’ Beat Starbucks to see how Dunkin’ Donuts unmistakably delicious coffee is made and also for hot deals going on at Dunkin’ stores near you!

Top 10 Produce You Should Buy Organic

USDA organic Ideally, everyone would be eating the freshest and safest foods possible–Everyone would be eating 100% organically, however, budgets are tight and a great deal of people simply cannot afford to purchase a great deal of organic foods. That’s completely understandable, I can’t afford to eat all organically, but it is important to make sure you’re purchasing some organic foods, mainly produce.

Produce, as many may know, contains a great deal of pesticides if not grown organically and more than 80% of the most common pesticides are potentially carcinogenic, meaning that they contain an agent directly involved in the promotion of cancer or in the increase of its propagation. Scary, right? I know! Luckily, the Environmental Working Group has put together a downloadable wallet guide containing the worst and best produce, in terms of pesticide levels.

For your immediate attention, here is a list of the top 10 produce you should most definitely be buying organic, every time.

1. Peaches – pesticide load: 100
2. Apples – pesticide load: 96
3. Bell Peppers – pesticide load: 86
4. Celery – pesticide load: 85
5. Nectarines – pesticide load: 84
6. Strawberries – pesticide load: 83
7. Cherries – pesticide load: 75
8. Lettuce – pesticide load: 69
9. Grapes (imported) – pesticide load: 68
10. Pears – pesticide load: 65

But can’t you just wash or peel your produce to get rid of pesticides?

While you may think that washing or peeling your produce can effectively remove pesticides from your food, the truth is that while these tactics may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Get in the Mood for Fall with Pumpkin Butter

pumpkin butter The chilly nights and mornings are here and with that, we’re noticing the climate change as it becomes Fall here. Fall is my favorite season; the leaves change and everything is just beautiful and I tend to get in the mood for fall a lot sooner than I should. I’m already thinking of pumpkins, pumpkin patches, and children trick or treating. It’s just a beautiful time and the weather is perfect. So while I’ve been ready for fall since August, it is finally time to really get in that spirit and it’s time to mix things up a little bit and get your taste buds in the mood too!

Here is a fabulous recipe for pumpkin butter; perhaps a recipe to save for after Halloween and you have all of those extra pumpkins laying around. Don’t throw them away, use them in your cooking!

You will need:

  • 2 pounds peeled, seeded, and diced sugar pie pumpkin (substitute canned if needed)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

1. In a stainless steel pot, combine pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and salt; bring to a simmer. (If using fresh pumpkin, stir until it’s tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.)

2. Continue simmering until the mixture starts to thicken, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender; blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot and heat for 10 minutes on low until it reaches desired thickness. Remove, cool, and serve.

And that’s it! You can do a few things with this butter and probably a lot more if you start to think out of the box a little. Of course it can be used on top of breads and toast and also on top of bagels, muffins or even in muffins or in between layers of a vanilla cake; just cut the pastry in half, layer pumpkin butter on the bottom and put the top back on! Have fun!

The Holy Grail of Coffee Machines: Senseo Single-Cup Coffee Maker Review

Senseo If there is one thing that I am absolutely crazy about, it’s coffee. This love of mine started at a very young age and has fueled two prior full-time jobs of mine in cafes as a barista and the greatest caffeine tolerance I’ve come to know. I love coffee in all of it’s precious forms, flavors, consistencies and blends and am always interested in new flavors and concoctions that can be made from the comfort of my own kitchen. When a friend of mine hooked me up with Senseo, I was ecstatic, to say the very least.

Senseo is a sub-company of Sara Lee and makes an excellent coffee pod system that literally transformed the way I have my coffee every day.

The Senseo system makes absolutely delicious (and delightfully strong) single serving amounts of coffee with their innovative system that is so easy to use that once I took it out of its box, I was using it within minutes. While brewing my first cup of coffee, I realized that the Senseo actually made foam each and every single time automatically, which makes the coffee that you are brewing at home stand out even more so than a regular cup of coffee you would purchase at any coffee shop.

The coffee that the Senseo produces is also quite different than your average cup of regular coffee. The Senseo cup seemed to go down a lot of smoother than normal coffee does, even my boyfriend, who usually can’t stand coffee and its gritty behavior going down, will drink it if it is made with this machine!

One of the best things about the Senseo that I was also surprised to find is that the entire thing is set up so that it is an absolute dream to clean. There are no small crevices that you simply can’t get your hands into to clean, the back of the system comes right off so you can fill it up with water and sits right back onto the machine with ease. Best of all, the system uses individual coffee pods that the water goes through so they have completely eliminated the horror of coffee grounds winding up in your mug and also the grounds that tend to go everywhere during the cleaning process. Within just a short amount of time using the Senseo, I gave my fully-functional, almost brand new typical coffee pot to a friend of mine because I hadn’t used it once since using this this machine.

There are a variety of different coffees and even teas that are made specifically for the Senseo coffee pod system, so each and every coffee and/or tea drinker out there will benefit from this machine. You can order the Senseo coffee pod system as well as coffee and tea pods at their official online store, Target, Walmart, or even Amazon.

Special Promotional Offer

There is a special promotional offer going on with the Senseo machine right now. At Share Senseo, they are giving people the chance to receive a free Senseo single serve coffee pod system just by filling out a questionnaire; the only sum of money you will be responsible for, for this machine that is regularly over $70, is the shipping and handling of just $15.

What are you waiting for? Share a Senseo today.

*This is a limited time offer and is open to US residents only. Promotion ends June 30, 2008 or while supplies last.