Amazon GC Giveaway WINNER & Current Giveaways

Random draw (entry #79)
Danielle said 
"I learned that scientists estimate that as many as 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies! I didnt realize that there were so many people suffering from that!" 

I thank everyone that entered and took time to learn something new about food allergies.  This was not a sponsored giveaway, it was simply to spread food allergy awareness.  It was great to read everyones entries, means allot as a mom to a boy with multiple food allergies.  Thank you!

Check out current live giveaways:

Popcorn Balls & Ice Cream Topper with Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn #Cbias #PepsiVsCoke

For me personally, the Superbowl is an excuse to get together with friends and family have fun and eat our favorite foods.  This year, my husband went to hang out with the guys at a friends house, and my girlfriends came over with their kids.  When I think Superbowl, I think the game(duh!), friends, fun and FOOD! :)  This year is extra special because well.. GO GIANTS, so excited they won, I secretly would have been happy with any team winning, they are all incredibly talented and passionate.  But because of NY..well.. YAY GIANTS!  

Since it was just us ladies, and little ones we kept it simple.  Initially wanting to order pizza, we ended up eating homemade delicious vegetable filled dinner, and had some fun snacks.  As for drinks, Pepsi is our voted favorite among friends when it comes to #PepsiVsCoke, yay #TeamPepsi!  Water for the kids :)  Chips, dip, pretzels sticks, ice cream..and POPcorn is a must!  We have two favorite brands of popcorn, one is ConAgra Foods Orville Redenbacher's microwavable popcorn, I feel it has less kernels left after popping than other brands, and great flavor.

We all chipped in drinks and food for our little get together, but it wasn't many of us.  I wanted to make something different this year, so my son and I went on a little shopping trip to Duane Reade few days before the Superbowl to buy a few things we needed, you can see our photo story HERE on google +.  I made sweet popcorn balls, and an ice cream topper using Orville Redenbacher's popcorn, everyone loved it.

To make them yourself, you will need:

  • 2 of Orville Redenbacher's Microwavable Popcorn (flavor I chose Movie Theater Butter)
  • 1 1/4 cup of Water
  • 1 1/2 cups of Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of Brown Rice Syrup OR Corn Syrup (I used brown rice syrup)
  • 1tsp of White Vinegar
  • 1/2tsp of Salt
  • 1tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 little 1oz Boxes of Raisins (or any other additives; seeds, nuts, dried fruits..etc)
Follow easy directions.

Once both bags are popped like this, set aside 1bowl each,
mix in raisins, nuts, seeds, whatever you want. :) 

Mix in water, sugar, syrups, vinegar, & salt

Boil medium to high heat, add Vanilla Extract.

Once boiled for about 15min (until thickened) scoop half of liquid pour over one bowl of popcorn & mix.
Wrap tight in plastic wrap and freeze (Use later as an ice cream topper)

Let the other half of liquid come back to boil, add 1/2 cup of sugar. Boil
medium to high heat until really thick (another~10min).  Mix with other
bowl of popcorn, grease hands lightly; make balls.
Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve. 
These came out really sweet, if you add nuts or seeds it can be crunchy, add extra salty ingredients to make a sweet & salty popcorn balls.  Play around with it however you please, but I think it's a guaranteed hit!  I made 8 balls with one bag of popcorn.  I served the other bag of popcorn that came with our box of Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn, to pop up fresh when everyone was here.

Use the ice cream topper with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream.  The balls can be served as is, or with ice cream too!  :)  It ends up being a really sweet treat, so have one ball at a time, and you can always tweak the recipe a bit to your liking. 
My new favorite way to enjoy ice cream! SO good!! :)

*This post has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are mine :D #CBias

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY - Chobani Champions New Flavors: Two Winners

Giveaway will include 3 packs of each of the two flavors-24 yogurt cups!

I am so excited to bring you guys this review AND giveaway!  Like everyone I grew up eating yogurt and it is still very much part of my diet today.  It is mostly considered a treat lately, because of my sons allergy to dairy and many other foods, I don't have it piled in my fridge as I wish I could.  My little boy can't enjoy Chobani Greek yogurts but he also loves yogurt that he can have. :)  When we have family come over, I like to have yogurt snacks for the little ones that are so dependent on them.  I usually sit everyone down and feed them myself to make sure my son stays safe and clear of a reaction.  I think I will have to have Champions yogurts, something both parents and kids will approve.    

Chobani has a wide line of Greek yogurts; Non-fat YogurtMultiserveLow-fat Yogurt, and then the Chobani Champions line of greek yogurts for kids.  All known for great taste and quality.  The Chobani Champions Greek yogurts are packed in with protein, calcium and vitamin D.

I'm excited to share with you all, their two brand new Chobani Champions flavors, the Vanilla Chocolate Chunk and the Orange Vanilla!  I'm sure you must be salivating already with names like that, well keep on!  Because they are that great!  The Vanilla Chocolate Chunk is a delicious creamy vanilla with little thin pieces of chocolate, perfect for little kids.  The Orange Vanilla is as great as the Vanilla Chocolate Chunk, minus the chocolate, replaced with a subtle orange flavor.   My husband already tried both and loved them both, and as I type I am sampling both just for you all! ;) 
More than just tasting great, what makes me stand by a Chobani Champions yogurt for kids, is its ingredients and quality!
Usually safe to base your opinion about a product if you can read and understand all the items on the ingredients list, that's what I do.  There's a great satisfaction with every bite in knowing exactly what you are eating and having every bite be as pleasant as the last.  

So, can you feel the excitement yet? If you have read any of my reviews, and posts concerning food, we are passionate here when it comes to what we eat, as I have discovered, so if you feel like I'm jumping out of the screen in excitement, I probably am ;)! 

Become a fan of Chobani Champions on facebook for more information and for more chances to win the new flavors there as well.

Now that I have you all interested, TWO of my wonderful readers get to try the Chobani Champions new flavors for themselves. There are two cases of the new flavors (3 packs Orange Vanilla/ 3 packs Vanilla Chocolate Chunk) to give away, so that is one case of each!!! :)

That's double the chance to win this GREAT prize, so go ahead and share with you friends and family to enter too, so they aren't left out! ;) Just follow the easy step by step Rafflecopter to enter!!

*I received the products to review, but all opinions are a 100% my own.  The sponsor will be responsible of delivery of prizes.  Last day for entries will be 2/17.  Winner will be notified via twitter or e-mail, and will have 48hrs to respond.

Tips - Get Kids Involved in the Kitchen with Greater Appetite

I hear often that children are picky eaters and their lack of interest in the kitchen.  My advice is get them involved young.  If you find your child has no interest in certain foods, and in the kitchen all together, I say get them involved more!  I know it sounds repetitive but that's exactly what I meant to do, because my point is try and try again.  My son is three and he loves to be in the kitchen fully involved in all that I will allow.  I have a little niece that is seven and enjoys being involved in the kitchen and is pretty good at helping out as well.  They weren't always this way, we provided the road for them to walk into the kitchen and be interested.

As many of you may already know, my son has food allergies, and that has somehow created an extra interest in food and what ingredients we are using to make certain dishes.  A three year old that asks "did you make the shopping list of the ingredients?" impressive, no?  I may by biased as his mother, but I'm impressed. :)  Earlier this week we went shopping and walked into the fresh produce aisle only to buy some avocados.  But my son surprised me and started asking questions and pointing at everything.  Naming all that he saw, saying "I want to buy cilantro, oh and celery" many of which I have never made for him before.  He told me he learned from the "cooking shows" we watched together, I thought for sure he was playing with his toys when I was watching.  I was pleasantly surprised, of course motivated and started pointing out more that he didn't already know, and taking the opportunity to tell him what he which foods he was allergic to as well.

We pointed at almost every fruit and vegetable, did some math and color fun while at it.  In the end he suggested that he wanted salad picked out mixed greens, corn, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, and tossed them all into the cart.  I just let him, as I stood there thinking "this, this little boy is why I'm so happy all the time" with the biggest smile on my face.  We came home he helped me cut the mushrooms with a little plastic knife, peel the carrots, and he got to pick out more that was going into the salad.  He was so glad to have had full part in the making of the salad he ate so much of it, we sat facing each other as we ate a whole bowl of salad dressed with olive oil, vinegar and a sprinkle of salt.  
So what's my point in sharing this story with you?  Because this is a way to get kids involved in the kitchen and have a greater appetite for food.  It's not always this easy of course, because we all have our days when we aren't "in the mood" for certain foods, so yes my son has his picky difficult days as well. :) 
  • Always let them know what they are eating, naming ingredients and even how you made it.
  • Take them grocery shopping with you, let them have a part in choosing what to buy and even what to make.
  • Always introduce new foods, new colors onto your family plate.
  • Make helping in the kitchen fun, talk about the food, get in character put on aprons (adds fun for any age).
  • Let them help you in the kitchen.  Let them explore their interests in making dishes their own way, don't be strict when they are helping out.  Make it fun!
If my son didn't have food allergies and I had gotten him used to ready made food, and other "regular" quick fixes, he wouldn't be the way he is.  Knowledge is power and that applies to everything in the kitchen as well.  Kids of all ages, and adults are more likely to have a greater interest in what they eat if they know what they are eating as well as had a part in making it.  We need food to survive, so be passionate about what you eat, and in the end about life.  

I'd also like to take this opportunity to let you all know about a fun contest Uncle Ben's has launched to "empower and encourage parents to connect with their kids, one meal at a time," a national contest called Ben's Beginners!  They are calling for parents with children ages 5-12 to submit a short 2-3 minute video of you cooking a rice-based dish with your children.  If you enter, you could win $20,000, along with a $50,000 grant towards a cafeteria makeover for your child's school.  You also will get a chance to appear on The Rachel Ray show!  For more information about the contest, check out Ben’s Beginners on Facebook.

If you enter tell me all about it, I'll wait and hope to get a similar opportunity with my little guy when he is older since we don't quite meet age requirements yet. :) 

*I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Uncle Ben’s blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Wordless Wednesday - The Best Playground Slide Ever!

One of the things my son enjoys doing is drawing. 

He drew this up and brought it to me, made my day! :)  I'm so proud of my three year old boy.