Duff Tie Dye Cake Mix

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Disclosure

This past weekend I held a Disney princess party for my daughter. It was super small and we just invited a few neighbors. One of the things we made was a mickey mouse cake using the Tie Dye cake mix from the Duff product line. This cake was fun to make although a bit challenging. However, the end result is beyond amazing. The marketing on the box is brilliant box and pretty much sells itself. My kids couldn’t wait to see all the cool colors.

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First you make the batter according to the instructions on the box. Then you separate the batter into six different bowls.  Usings the color packets that come with it you drop the correct number of food coloring into each bowl to get 6 different colors.

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Once you have all of your colors you start the layering process. Pour 1/4 red in the pan first, then orange, then yellow, then blue, then green and finally purple. Repeat until you run out of batter. The batter will naturally spread out from the other colors on top and in the end you will have a really cool looking tie dye pattern. I was so proud of myself when I was done.

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Bake in in the ovenfrom 12-15 minutes and it will look exactly how it did going in! I was super impressed and I can’t wait to try out more of his cool baking products.

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For more information visit Duff’s Stuff on Facebook and Twitter.

reCAP Mason Jars lets you shake, pour and store!

Recap Mason Jars

Several months ago I decided that I wanted to make my own jam. I bought about a dozen small mason jars and all the stuff to make jam. Well……let’s just say I really shouldn’t quit my day job. My jam was horrible and even after trying it like 3 times I still couldn’t get it right. So I had all these mason jars and no jam to put in them. So I started to put other stuff in them….like salad dressing (I am good at making that), nuts and drinks that I make up and store for later. That’s when these little beauties came along and changed my mason jar life! These are called Recaps and they are genious!

RECAP BIG OR SMALL!

Recap the original

They fit large or small mason jars and have a spout so you can pour stuff out! They do not leak and have a tight seal. I am able to pour my ingrediants for my salad dressing right into the jar, put a Recap on, shake it and voila! Dressing that I can then pour out of the spout. And because they have 2 different sizes I can use it on my small mason jars or my large ones. I bought large ones for my hubby to take his shakes with him to work in the morning and now they are so much more convenient he can just drink right out of the spout. No mess!

Recap dry goods

I also use them for dry ingrediants like my roasted pepitas for my salads. Its super easy to flip the cap off the spout, pour and close the cap. The food stays nice and fresh inside and it looks super cool when we have friends over. No more Ziplock baggies for us!

Recap accessories

I also love the fact that on their website (which is here www.masonjars.com) you can find different colors of lids, adapta caps (pump caps or sprayer caps), mason jars, and these cute little cards you can attach to the Mason Jars if you want to give it as a gift. Christmas shopping for 2015 done! I know what I am giving as gifts! And it’s only January!!

Pocket Makers are perfect for picky eaters!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Pocket Maker to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pocket Maker Set

The other day I happened upon this adorable little pocket maker set by Kuhn Rikon. I have always wanted to try my hand at making these delicious delectable’s but had no idea how to do it. I of course have always gotten those frozen PB&J sandwiches which my kiddos love but they cost twice as much as if I make them at home. So I picked up this set and decided to try it myself. What I didn’t realize is that not only can they make PB&J sandwiches but they can make TONS of other things. The set comes with 3 different shaped pocket makers (Circle, Heart and Flower) and a recipe book. They are also dishwasher safe which is a plus in my book! So instead of making the normal pocket sandwich I decided to try a few other items listed in the recipe book…..and see if my kids would go for it.

 

POCKET MAKER MASTERPIECES

 

Pocket Maker Apple Pie collage

I decided to do dessert first….because dessert should always come first :). I chose the heart pocket and the Apple Pie recipe. Now I have made regular apple pie before and it is very time-consuming. This recipe was extremely easy and only used 1 apple! I cut up the apple and sautéed it like the recipe said. Made my shapes out of Pre-made pie crust, filled them and voila! Mini apple pies! One thing about this though is that the instructions say to put flour on the pocket maker after every pocket is made. I of course am not a good listener and did not do that so the only one that turned out super cute was my first one. So heed this warning: ALWAYS FLOUR YOUR POCKET MAKER AFTER EACH POCKET. It came out perfect (well….the first one did) and they all turned out yummy! My house smelled amazing and my kids were excited to try them.

Pocket Maker Buffalo chicken collage

Next came the main course – Buffalo Chicken Pockets. My son asked for the round pocket maker for this one because he didn’t want to just eat flowers and hearts. So I chose the circle,  followed the recipe and whipped up the filling. Again it was super easy and already I knew this was going to be scrumptious! This recipe called for canned biscuit dough with each one cut in half, floured and rolled out. I put the filling in, floured my Pocket Maker (I did it every time this time!) and out came perfect pockets!! I baked them and served them with a side of veggies. My kids and my husband devoured the pockets and of course my kids ate very little of the veggies! They loved everything about the pockets and they loved the Apple Pie ones too. Next time though I am hiding the veggies inside!

For more information visit Kuhn Rikon on Facebook and on Twitter.

Review: Wild Cheff Spices

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Recently our family of 5 has done what I call the unthinkable. We have gone gluten-free – At least temporarily. My son has terrible sinus infections and after having his adenoids out and not noticing much of a change we decided to change our diet to see if it would make a difference. We eat a large amount of meat to keep us full during the day and I have been looking for new ways to flavor our chicken since that is what we eat the most of.

Last week I had the opportunity to try out some new spices from a company called Wild Cheff. They make all natural, preservative free seasoning products that will not only enable but inspire any individual (from inexperienced to professional chefs) to prepare wild game, free-range and organic ingredients more deliciously and more often. The concept behind Wild Cheff stems from the game itself. As all fish and game has a unique texture and flavor, so do the ingredients used in their preparation. Some spices enhance a particular flavor while others disguise some of them. And as chicken should taste differently from pheasant so should a steak taste differently from venison.

A top-quality spice mix should achieve the goal of complementing the food’s flavors, but should not hide them or overpower the original natural aroma.  I try to remember when cooking that each raw dish under preparation has a complementary seasoning, similar to pairing wine with a meal.

My husband and I have grilled a variety of meats, poultry, and fish on the barbecue lately, and often find ourselves reaching for the same spices.  Having the opportunity to experiment with 4 new spice blends from Wild Cheff gave us a chance to test our cooking skills and imagination… and indulge.

My first meal was a combination of grilled chicken thighs and pork cutlets, with a side dish of steamed sugar snap peas with grape tomatoes.  For the pork, I tried the Tuscan and Cinnamon Chile (separately, of course).   I used the Tuscan and Tex/Mex for the chicken, and tried the Sesame Ginger for the vegetables.

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The first quality I noticed was that the spices smell appealing and strong.  The ingredients stand out independently, and blend together for a single aroma seamlessly.  Pinching a bit at a time and sprinkling with my fingers, I used the Tuscan for the chicken, and Sesame Ginger for the vegetables.  The scent of each was exactly as you might expect, and I observed from the texture, color, and moisture that these spices are very high quality.  There’s no doubt of which one you have used, once you pinch a small amount onto the food and can still observe the pleasant scent on your fingers.

All of the meats were cooked at a medium to high flame on the grill, and the cooking time was mostly as expected.  For the pork, my cutlets were thinner than usual, and I think the spice helped them cook somewhat faster – so the result was the pork became a bit drier than I prefer.  The chicken was very tender.  The vegetables gave a clear aroma of an Asian kitchen, and I can imagine using the Sesame Ginger as a complement for almost any side dish with an Asian flair.

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When the time came for my family to enjoy all the cooking experiments, our favorite was the chicken with the Tuscan spice.  It had all the anticipated flavors of a balanced poultry seasoning.  The pork with Cinnamon Chile was a bit spicy for the kids’ tastes, and the Asian vegetables were very flavorful and offered nice variety to the meats.  The Tex/Mex chicken was also a strong and tasty flavor.

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As with most new products, I would normally recommend to try a little at first and check the results.  Perhaps my eagerness missed my advice, because some of the flavors were somewhat too strong for my kids (age 7 and 11), but were ok for me.  I believe I just used more than was necessary, and it shows that I should reconsider my dated spice rack and toss anything that has lingered for too long.  I really enjoyed the Tex/Mex, and decided to try it mixed into a big burger.  It was fantastic (topped with Havarti cheese).  Each time I grill now, I start thinking of the spice while I select the main course.  I will often saute chicken, pork, or vegetables on the stove as well, and have some ideas on which seasoning to try.

Reading the bottles, I see they have suggested uses which are quite diverse.  I’m really pleased with this selection and feel I’m stepping into a new breed of spices for which I’m not worthy… but I’m enjoying the ride and will be back for more!

For More Information visit www.wildcheff.com or find them on Facebook .

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