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Last minute gift ideas and stocking stuffers

 

Stocking

We’re coming down to the wire. Christmas is NEXT WEEK! Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday the kids were going back to school.

Are you done with your holiday shopping yet? Thankfully we finally are. Normally I’m done by November but this year we cut it pretty close. I’m just glad we’re done shopping. Now we just have to wrap.

I do have to pick up some stocking stuffers for my kids. They are older now so I usually get them an orange, some candy and a few small items for their stockings (earphones, lip gloss, gift card…).

This year my kids are going to find some holiday PEEPS® in their stockings.

PEEPS

There are so many holiday themed PEEPS® to choose from.

  • PEEPS® Milk Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookie Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Gingerbread-Flavored Marshmallow Gingerbread Men (6 ct and 3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
  • PEEPS® Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Mint Flavored Trees (individually wrapped)
  • PEEPS® Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Reindeer (6 ct)
  • PEEPS® Marshmallow Trees (3 and 9 ct)
  • PEEPS® Marshmallow Snowmen (3 and 9 ct)
  • PEEPS® Holiday Rainbow POP (4 ct)

This year PEEPS has a few new marshmallow treats to choose from.

  • NEW PEEPS® Marshmallow Minions (6ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Hot Cocoa & Cream Flavored Marshmallow Dipped Chicks in White Fudge (3 ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Candy Cane Flavored Marshmallow Chicks (10 ct)
  • NEW PEEPS® Large Marshmallow Snowmen (1 ct and 3 ct)

I LOVE the PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Flavored Chicks! They are like potato chips – it’s hard to stop at just one. They are the perfect combination of marshmallow, peppermint and chocolate. Mmm… I wish I had more. Now I’m craving them.

PEEPS® was kind enough to send me some holiday PEEPS® to try out.

The PEEPS® Large Marshmallow Snowmen are HUGE. I love marshmallows in my hot chocolate so I put one in a mug of hot chocolate. It was way too big. :-) It was like drinking a mug of marshmallow topped with hot chocolate. That’s OK. It was still good.

The large PEEP was a bit too big for my mug of hot chocolate - but it was still yummy!

The large PEEP was a bit too big for my mug of hot chocolate – but it was still yummy!

Recently my kids and I made “cookies” out of graham crackers. We dipped/smeared melted chocolate on graham crackers and topped them with nuts, sprinkles, candy canes and PEEPS®. In a way it was like eating a S’more because it had a graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow.

PEEPS® make great stocking stuffers AND additions to you holiday baking and treat making.

Cookies-2

My son even put one of the treats we made into the microwave for 15 seconds to malt the PEEP so that it was mroe like a S’more.

Smore

I wanted to do something “crafty” with the PEEPS® too. Since it’s the holiday season my first thought was an ornament. PEEPS® get hard (stale) when left out in the air. I thought I could put an ornament “hanger” into a PEEP, let it go stale and hang it from the tree.

The idea was interesting… but not such a good idea when you have a dog and cats. It’s just one more temptation for them to want to get into the tree. So I nixed that idea. Maybe some day I’ll try it.

My next thought was a bouquet/centerpiece made out PEEPS®, but I wanted to keep them in the packages so they wouldn’t go stale.

It took me a bit to get it to work but I finally did it. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the photo already.

Peeps Basket

I thought something like this would be fun to set out at a holiday party (for adults or children) so that people can “pick” one of the packages of PEEPS® out of the bouquet and enjoy (either at the party or when they go home). It also makes a cute centerpiece.

Even our cat Bella liked the PEEPS® bouquet/centerpiece I made. So much so she was chewing on the packages trying to get them to open.

PEEP BELLA

This year PEEPS® has Minion shaped PEEPS®. I love the Minions! I had heard of the Minion PEEPS® but couldn’t find them in the store. I am thrilled that PEEPS® sent me some. They are so cute! These would make a cute gift addition for the Minion fan in your life.

Minion PEEPS

Too cute! The Minion PEEPS® are big too.

As you can see, PEEPS® can make a fun addition to your holiday, whether it’s for stocking stuffers, hot cocoa or even thinking outside of the box and creating something fun with them.

For more creative ideas using these fun and flavorful marshmallow treats visit www.MarshmallowPeeps.com. You can also check out the brand’s site, www.PeepsandCompany.com. You can also find them on social media.

Do you enjoy PEEPS®? What is your favorite flavor/shape? Have you ever used PEEPS® in a recipe or craft?

Peeps logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Snack Smart with barkTHINS!

 

New Years 2015

The new year is fast approaching. I have no doubt that many people are already thinking of their New Year’s resolutions.

Personally I don’t make resolutions. I find that I always fail if I set myself up with such a list. Instead I vow to make small, positive changes – whatever they might be. Instead of saying I’m going to lose “X” number of pounds this year, I’ll just make an effort to park further away from the entrance to my job, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and snack consciously instead of mindlessly.

Losing weight and getting in shape is always on my mind at the start of a new year, as I’m sure it is with many people.

Snacking is a big issue with me. I love snacks. I need snacks to get me through to the next meal. I always find that I need something in between breakfast and lunch, as well as between lunch and dinner. It doesn’t have to be big. Just a handful of nuts, an apple or some peanut butter spread on some crackers are fine.

I’m human too. I like snacks that are not necessarily good for you like chips and candy – especially chocolate.

Did you know that dark chocolate has health benefits? It’s true! Look it up. Of course it’s dark chocolate in MODERATION.

Dark chocolate could be considered a “superfood” due to it’s health benefits.

Just to be clear I’m talking about real dark cocoa – not the kind of chocolate you find at the grocery store check out.

A new product called barkTHINS has taken the industry by storm by blending indulgent slivers of irresistible dark chocolate with America’s favorite snacking ingredients and hints of sea salt. Delicious barkTHINS allows snackers the permission to indulge guilt-free snacking.

barkTHINS

barkTHINS are Non-GMO Project Verified, Fair Trade Ingredient™ Certified and contain no artificial colors or flavors.

Below are some key health benefits to eating dark chocolate to keep on top of mind during your next snack break:

  • Studies have shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure and improves the blood flow.
  • Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and can help protect you from different types of cancer and slow the signs of aging.
  • Improves cognitive function and has a positive effect on your mood.
  • High in vitamins and minerals that can support your health such as potassium, copper, magnesium and iron.

I was sent some barkTHINS to try out for myself.

The snacks come in broken up pieces – aka “bark”. They are in various, random sizes and shapes. You can snap up the larger pieces to make smaller ones, or just pop the smaller pieces in your mouth. How you enjoy them is up to you.

They are good – REALLY good. Too good. I had to hide them from my kids. I don’t mind them enjoying the barkTHINS but I do mind if they gobble up the entire package. It’s hard to stop at just a piece or two. Trust me, I tried. :-)

Be careful of the pieces. Some have sharp edges to them. I cut the inside of my mouth on one. Its not bad, but I thought I’d make people aware of that.

Snacking Chocolate

BarkTHIN snacks are available in several different flavors made with natural ingredients.

  • Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt
  • Dark Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt
  • Dark Chocolate Mint
  • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt (seasonal – only available at Costco)
  • Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut with Almonds (seasonal – only available at Costco)
  • Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel with Sea Salt (limited edition 2014 only)
  • Blueberry Quinoa with Agave (seasonal – only available at Costco)

I tried the Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel with Sea Salt and the Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt.

I love chocolate so anything with chocolate – especially dark chocolate – it automatically something I’ll love.

I really like that each piece of the bark offers you a bit of “crunch” so with each bit you get the crunch from the ingredients and the smooth, creamy flavor of the dark chocolate. It’s like two snacks in one.

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Because these are “bark” snacks it means you can break off as little or as much as you want. That means if you want just a small, snack size piece of bark you just snap off the size you want. Or if you want more you can reach for a larger piece.

You can clearly taste the ingredients in the barkTHINS. You really taste the almonds, peppermint, pumpkin seeds and sea salt.

Of the three I have tried so far, Almond is my favorite. The Peppermint Pretzel with Sea Salt flavor is perfect for the holiday season. I enjoyed that too. I would purchase that year round.

Did I mention that barkTHINS are made with fair trade chocolate.

BarkTHINS are available at many retail locations including Wegmans, Shop & Shop, Costco, Amazon, Target, HEB and many other retailers. There is a “Where to Buy” section on the barkTHINS website.

For more information visit barkTHINS.com. You can also find them on social media (links are found on the top of their home page).

Have you tried barkTHINS before? What do you think about the yummy flavors?

barkthins-logo-registered

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.  

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Traditions matter because…

 

Family Tradition

… they help to strengthen the bond between family members. Traditions are also important because they help connect generations within a family. Sharing traditions with your family also helps to create lasting memories.

My family has several traditions. Some are traditions passed down from our families. Other traditions are ones we developed as our own family.

One tradition my family has is going out to eat at a fancy restaurant on Christmas Eve (the kind where you have to get dressed up). Then afterwards we drive around town checking out the holiday decorations. We act as “judges” and “award” the displays we see with virtual awards such as “Most Beautiful”, “Funniest”, “Tackiest” and “Most Creative”.

This wasn’t always a tradition. It came out of necessity. We used to spend Christmas Eve with my husband’s family. He’s from an Italian family and Christmas Eve was a big event. My mother in law would cook ever seafood imaginable and there was always a lot of food, fun and laughter. Sadly, after my mother in law passed away things changed. My husband was deeply affected. He was very close to his mom (the last one to leave the next). The first Christmas Eve after she passed he didn’t want to be around family. It only reminded him of his mom and that she was no longer with us. Instead of being with family we went to dinner with friends of ours to a fancy Italian restaurant. It was nice and we have a wonderful time.

We ate early and  it was still early in the evening. Instead of going right home we opted to drive around town and look at decorations. It was the first time we pretended to be judges (our kids were young). Our kids had so much fun they requested to do it again the following year. Our friends had other plans so we decided to go out to dinner ourselves and then drive around town afterwards. And so a tradition began.

This year we plan on doing the same thing (eat at a fancy Italian restaurant and drive around town looking at the holiday decorations). Even though our kids are teenagers now they still look forward to our family time together on Christmas Eve. It’s also nice because they can recall past Christmas Eves and the fun (and not so fun) things that happened.

Hickory-Farms-Melt-a-Way-Mints-HickoryTradition

Most families have traditions. I still have the urge to purchase Melt Away Mints from Hickory Farms. It’s a long story but my whole family used to buy our great-grandfather Melt Away Mints for Christmas. It was his favorite and he looked forward to them every year. It seemed like we could only get them around the holidays (this was long before the internet). It wasn’t Christmas without seeing my great-grandfather enjoying his Melt Away Mints. :-)

Hickory Farms has been a part of many family traditions over 60 years, providing consumers with gift options that are not budget friendly and delicious. Hickory Farms takes great pride in providing quality and fresh holiday gifts and treats.

Did you know that Hickory Farms Signature Summer Sausage was rated the #1 Summer Sausage in America, winning the Masters of Taste Gold Medal for Superior Taste, in 2011. I’ve tried it before and it is very flavorful. I can see why it won.

Hickory Farms is known for their sausages and cheeses. This year Hickory Farms is proud to introduce its first ever Signature Chocolate Collection. The new one pound chocolate assortment offers the true taste of American confectionery craftsmanship. The chocolate is made in small batches using the finest ingredients and paired with premium milk or dark chocolate.

Chocolates

You can find the new Hickory Farms Signature Chocolate Collection in select stores, from the catalog and online at HickoryFarms.com.

Hickory Farms also has five products that have FREE shipping to military APO and FPO addresses, including the “Festive Cheese Sampler” gift basket and “Beef Hearty Hickory” basket.

Did you know that Hickory Farm is also a charitable brand? Hickory Farms is proud to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. If you are unfamiliar with the charity, Share Our Strength, it’s a non-profit organization working to end childhood hunger in America.

Hickory Farms and their valued customers have help to raise $3.3 million for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. These contributions help to provide funding for summer meal programs, emergency food assistance, nutrition education, holiday charitable giving and long-term solutions for families in need.

You can help, and pick up a great gift for someone special on your holiday shopping list.

No Kid Hungry

For every Party Planner gift box sold this holiday season, Hickory Farms will donate $5 to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

The gift box includes;

  • 7 oz. Our Signature Beef Summer Sausage
  • 5 oz. Spicy & Savory Summer Sausage
  • 5 oz. Brown Sugar & Honey Turkey Summer Sausage
  • 6 oz. Smoked Gouda Blend
  • 4 oz. Farmhouse Cheddar
  • 4 oz. Smoked Cheddar Blend
  • 4 oz. Creamy Swiss Blend
  • 4 oz. Cranberry & Sesame Nut Mix
  • 3.5 oz. Classic Mixed Nuts
  • 2.5 oz. Cranberry Mustard
  • 2.25 oz Sweet Hot Mustard

You could give the entire gift box as a gift or purchase one for yourself to serve to holiday guests (or enjoy it all for yourself). Remember, $5 for every Party Planner gift box sold goes towards Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign. That means if you buy three sets, $15 dollars will be donated, and five sets will total a $25 donation.

If you’d like to check out the Party Planner gift box or other Hickory Farms products (Melt Away Mints!) visit HickoryFarms.com. You can also check them out on social media. The links are found on the bottom right of their home page.

Do you have any wonderful holiday traditions? Is Hickory Farms a part of your holidays? Feel free to share your thoughts. I love to hear from readers.

Hickory-Farms-Logo

Kimberly

*Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms. 

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Make cookie decorating easier with Walkers Festive Shapes cookies

 

Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes

I have mentioned it in the past how I am not that talented when it comes to baking. I wish I was. I would love to be a baker. I love sweet treats. Sadly my skills fall short when it comes to baking, but I do give it a try as often as I can.

When I think about the holiday season I always think about cookies. I’ve always wanted to participate in a cookie exchange. That is on my “Bucket List”. There is nothing I love more than freshly made cookies decorated in festive ways.

I do love to decorate cookies. I think that is fun. It’s great to be able to put a little bit of your personality into your designs.

Walkers Shortbread has holiday shaped cookies that can give you the cookie decorating experience without having to make and bake cookies.

I grew up on Walkers Shortbread cookies. They’ve been around since 1898. My great-grandparents bought their cookies all the time. My family comes from Wales (UK). Walkers Shortbread hails from the Scottish Highlands. In fact their original family store is still in operation. They export their yummy treats to over 80 countries around the world, including the U.S.

Walkers Shortbreads contain no artificial flavorings, colorings or additives. All of their shortbread, oatcakes and biscuits are certified Kosher OUD.

Festive Shapes

Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes, which are available in fun holiday shapes like Christmas Bells, trees and Santa, are a great option that can make cookie-decorating with the family delicious and stress-free!

Decorating Walkers Shortbread is a great option for the kids (or anyone) when you may not have enough time to bake cookies, but still want to engage in a fun and festive activity. It’s as easy as paint by numbers: the festive shapes’ imprints will guide your decorating, allowing you and your children/grandchild to easily create an edible masterpiece.

Walkers sent me a package of their Festive Shapes cookies and some decorating “essentials” to decorate some cookies. I let my kids enjoy decorating the cookies (I was too tempted to eat them instead of decorate them – I love Walkers Shortbread cookies).

Decorated Cookies

I don’t know why my daughter used the big, red “sprinkles” for eyes. It makes Santa look like something from a horror movie. LOL!

Walkers Shortbread cookies are available in other fun shapes that families can decorate year round including animals, sheep and Scottie dogs.

Now even non-cookie bakers like me can give my family the cookie decorating experience without offering them burnt and misshapen cookies.

For more information about Walkers Shortbread cookies and other Walkers products visit www.WalkersShortbread.com. At the top of the screen where you see the U.K. flag, click on the drop down arrow to select the U.S. flag so that you shop from the U.S. site.

You can also find the brand on Facebook and Pinterest.

Have you ever tried any of the Walkers products before? If so, what did you think about them?

What do you think about using pre-shaped cookies to decorate instead of homemade ones?

Walkers Shortbread Logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Unilever is transforming its current buttery spreads with real, simple ingredients (giveaway ends 12/27/14)

 

I can't believe it's not butter

When I am cooking and baking for my family I try and use products that are made fresh and are not filled with artificial colors, flavors, additives or preservatives. I know that is not always possible, but I do the best I can.

I am a label reader. If I pick up a product that is filled with ingredients I cannot pronounce I don’t want to feed it to my family.

I tend to steer towards products with real, simple and more natural ingredients.

Take butter for example. Back in the old days butter was made with cream and sometimes a pinch of salt. These days butter is made with ingredients I have no clue what they are. Why? Why not stick with simple ingredients?

Unilever U.S., makers of products such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, Country Crock®, Brummel & Brown® and Imperial® are transforming their buttery spreads into new recipes that are made with real, simple and delicious ingredients such as plant based oils, purified water and a pinch of salt. There will be no artificial preservatives. This is being done as part of Unilever’s commitment to making delicious, balanced foods from real and simple ingredients for consumers.

“This is a groundbreaking innovation for Unilever’s U.S. Foods division, driven by our mission to deliver great-tasting and sustainable food to America,” said Mike Faherty, Vice President, Unilever Foods, North America. “The new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® is the start of a complete category transformation that will help us grow the buttery spreads business. It is also consistent with the types of innovation you can continue to expect from our Unilever foods brands.”

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® redesigned products have already launched. The transformation will continue across other Unilever buttery spreads brands, including Country Crock®, Brummel & Brown® and Imperial® in 2015.

Unilever I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Logo

The new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® products offer a delicious fresh butter taste with no artificial preservatives. It’s currently available in Original, Light and Olive Oil varieties, and is the first spread from Unilever in the U.S. to be made with non-GMO sourced ingredients.

The new simple recipes contains 0g trans fats per serving, no cholesterol and no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. This applies to spreads, sprays and sticks.

“The new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® products provide a source of good fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – similar to those found in avocados, walnuts and almonds, and can be part of an overall healthy, balanced diet,” said television personality Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, who is partnering with Unilever buttery spreads as part of a multi-channel program to communicate the nutritional benefits of good fats.

“They’re also great in the kitchen. Whether spreading on whole-grain toast, topping corn on the cob, sauteing vegetables or baking fruity muffins, the new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® is extremely versatile,” Bauer continued.

I’ve had the opportunity to try the new recipe of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® with my family. Unilever was kind enough to send me a sample and some yummy goodies to enjoy it with – some yummy blueberry muffins and a huge loaf of whole wheat bread from Balthazar Bakery in NYC.

ICBINB 1

We could not wait to slice into that massive loaf of bread. We had it for dinner that night (and dinner the following night too).

My whole family enjoyed the  I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® spread. We’ve used the product in the past and I must say I did notice a difference in the taste of the product – in a good way. It had more of a real butter taste to it – but in a spreadable form.

I like using real butter but it’s impossible to spread it on breads without tearing it apart. That is why I prefer spreads.

My family not only enjoyed the new  I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® spread on the bread (my husband and I took the muffins to work with us the next day) but we also enjoyed it on bagels, baked potatoes, pancakes, toast and we melted some to drizzle on top of popcorn.

The spread is very tasty and best of all it’s only 60 calories per tablespoon. That is more than enough to use on breads and other foods.

The new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® is available in major retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.09.

For more information about the transformation, including recipes, cooking tips and nutrition, visit www.icantbelieveitsnotbutter.com. You can also find the brand on social media (the links are found on the home page).

ICBINB 2

How would you like to try the new and improved  I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® spread? Two (2) lucky readers will each win five (5) free product coupons to enjoy themselves or to share with others. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 27, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winners will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winners will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to try the new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample and other goodies in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes – Great side dishes and main meals (giveaway ends 12/22/14)

 

Potatoes 2

I grew up in a home where my mom made every meal from scratch. She would never even entertain the thought of anything “instant” or something you need to toss in a microwave to warm up. Of course, we’re going back a million years ago – back in the Stone Age (ha ha). I’m sure if my mom was still alive she would take advantage of the many wonderful convenience foods available to us to help make meal planning quicker and easier.

One thing my mom would do that I couldn’t imagine doing is making mashed potatoes from scratch. She would painstakingly peel the potatoes, boil them, and then mash them with a potato masher with bit of milk and butter. I LOVED my moms mashed potatoes. She would mash them so much there wouldn’t be any lumps in them. When she’d make them for my brother in law she’d make a lumpy batch for him. He loved the lumpy kind.

I miss my mom’s mashed potatoes. I’m sure I could re-create my beloved mashed potatoes, but I honestly don’t have the time (or the patience). There are days I’m on the go-go-go that I don’t even know what I am making for dinner, let alone make something from scratch.

My family and I have been enjoying Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes for years. They are so easy to make (just boil water, add the potatoes, mix and enjoy!) and come in flavors my family loves. Best of all, they taste like real mashed potatoes.

Some instant mashed potatoes taste watery and very “light.” They don’t give you the thick and creamy mashed potatoes our moms and grandmas used to make. That is why we love Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes. They are close to the home made taste I grew up with.

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Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes are available in several different flavor varieties.

  • Idahoan Buttery Homestyle
  • Idahoan Four Cheese
  • Idahoan Loaded Baked
  • Idahoan Baby Reds
  • Idahoan Roasted Garlic

We had the Roasted Garlic this evening with dinner.

I love that Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes are now available in larger, family sized pouches. My husband and son have huge appetites and LOVE mashed potatoes so I usually have to make two packages. I don’t mind. Sometimes I even mix/match the flavors.

Here is a little more information about the Idahoan brand.

Idahoan is a grower-owned company in Eastern Idaho which began over 50 years ago. Idahoan uses 100% Idaho potatoes in all of its products. The rich, volcanic soil, warm days, cool nights and mountain water from the area offer the perfect conditions for growing high-quality potatoes.  Idahoan uses a proprietary one-pass process in dehydrating these potatoes which allows them to retain the authentic, homemade taste and texture without the hassle of washing, peeling, boiling and mashing. In fact, families can enjoy our mashed potatoes in as little as 4 minutes. Simply put, Idahoan is in the business of making lives easier.

Today, Idahoan offers a full range of products including flavored mashed, original mashed and casserole style dishes such as Scalloped and Au Gratin.  Flavored mashed options range from traditional tastes such as Buttery Homestyle and Loaded Baked to more adventuresome varieties such as Bacon Cheddar Chipotle and White Cheese.  Idahoan also offers its top varieties in convenient microwaveable cups which are ready in 90 seconds and perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle.

It’s nice to learn a little background for the brands that you use often. I think it makes you appreciate them even more.

I mostly use Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes as side dishes to my main meals (mashed potatoes are a MUST with meatloaf). Did you know that Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes also make great main meals too?

There are a lot of mouth-watering recipes found on the Idahoan website. You can find the Idahoan-inspired recipes on their website.

Here are just a few of the recipes you’ll find in the Idahoan recipe section.

Mashed Potato Topped Green Bean Casserole

Chevre Mashed Potatoes with Peas and Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Garlic Horseradish Mashed

Loaded Baked Bean Soup

Buffalo Chicken Layered Mashed

Idahoan Potato Crusted Rib Roast

I wanted to try one of the recipes. I had a few favorites but my teenage daughter asked if she could make something. I do love that she is learning to cook, which is a skill she’ll need when she’s on her own (she graduates in June!). However she tends NOT to follow directions. She likes to “wing it” and do things her own way – which is fine, and I admire that – but sometimes it’s important to follow the directions in order to ensure that you do things properly.

My daughter chose Idahoan Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes.

Ingredients

Recipe Card

The recipe called for Panko breadcrumbs, which I didn’t have. My daughter felt that regular breadcrumbs would work OK (they didn’t).

No one like Colby cheese but me, so my daughter wanted to use either cheddar, smoked cheddar or American cheese. My husband and son won out (they only like American cheese).

My family doesn’t like chives (except me) or sour cream.

It makes you wonder WHY she chose this recipe? I guess it’s because it looked easy enough to do for a novice cook like my daughter.

The recipe calls for you to mix just the mashed potatoes and chives in a bowl. Actually you need to mix ALL the ingredients in a bowl, except the sour cream and bacon. Those go on last after it’s cooked.

I had her add a little water because they seemed a bit dry and wouldn’t form into patties (they were crumbly).

Patties

The patties looked pretty good, although she made them look more like meatballs. Half way through I told her to flatted them a bit so they would cook better.

They cooked for a bit (and she even set off the smoke alarm – Ha Ha). Soon we had Idahoan Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes.

patties 2

We also topped them with some bacon pieces (although I would have loved to use sour cream – I think it would have been an amazing combination).

Bacon

They were good. Maybe a wee bit dry, but I think with practice (and perhaps following the recipe exactly) they would turn out a lot better.

I plan on trying one of the potato soup recipes I found (and bookmarked) from the Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potato website. I love potato soup. I’ve only made it from a can. I never gave instant mashed potatoes a thought. Know that I know you can use them for soup I plan on making it – a lot.

If you would like to learn more about Idahoan potatoes visit Idahoan.com. You can also check them out on Facebook.

For information about their flavored mashed potato products you can click here.

For more Idahoan inspired recipe visit the Idahoan recipe section.

Idahoan

Idahoan would love to give a lucky reader a fabulous prize package which consists of the following; 

  • 4 pouches Idahoan Buttery Homestyle
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Four Cheese
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Loaded Baked
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Baby Reds
  • 4 pouches Idahoan Roasted Garlic
  • 1 deck custom Idahoan playing cards
  • 1 Idahoan branded premium soup bowl/cup

 The total retail value is $50.00.  Awesome!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place. One winner per household, email address, or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what your favorite flavor of mashed potatoes – OR – your favorite way to enjoy mashed potatoes (as a side? as part of a main meal?).

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I participated in this event on behalf of Wendy’s Bloggers for Idahoan Foods. I received Idahoan products to facilitate my review

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