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Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Chuao Chocolates

 

box

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind? Most people will think about cards, flowers and of course chocolates.

As cliche as it is, most people do enjoy receiving a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day (unless you are allergic to it).

I was recently in the drug store to pick up a few things and saw an entire aisle dedicated to nothing but chocolates in every shape and size. Those chocolates are fine, but I would rather have a selection of gourmet chocolates instead of a box of mass produced chocolate that tastes no different than other chocolates you find on the store shelves.

In the past I have written about the chocolatier Chuao. Chuao has several great selections that would be ideal for gifting to your sweetheart.

Hearts

Chuao’s Aphrodisiac Heart collection is a delicious choice.  This mouth watering assortment of caramels are infused with tempting treats engulfed in creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.

The Aphrodisiac Heart Collection includes the following flavors;

  • Salt Butter Caramel: Soft caramel with a bit of sea salt in dark chocolate*.
  • Sweet Passion: Exotic passion fruit* cooked into soft caramel in milk chocolate*.
  • Meyer Lemon Mojito: Meyer lemon caramel infused with fresh mint* cream in white chocolate.
  • Strawberry Seduction: Sweet strawberry* caramel with a touch of tangy balsamic in dark chocolate*.
  • Rosemary Salted Caramel: Salt butter caramel infused with fresh rosemary* in milk chocolate*.

*aphrodisiac ingredients

I’ve had the opportunity to try out these chocolates. Chuao was kind enough to send me a sampling to review. The Strawberry Seduction is SO GOOD! I would buy a box JUST of that flavor if I could. I love the sweet, tartness of the strawberry with the pop of flavor from the balsamic. I love balsamic vinegar on my strawberry, spinach and Feta cheese salads, which is probably why I love this flavor so much.

The Salt Butter Caramel was also delicious. I like the dash of sea salt to add  zing of flavor to the caramel and dark chocolate.

Chuao Bonbons

Another great gift option is the Love Child Bonbon Collection. This one is more so for adults because it contains a touch of alcohol.

The love child of wine and chocolate covered strawberries, this bonbon is one of our favorites to create… and eat! Dark and rich, sweet and tangy, it’s full of all natural aphrodisiacs and is ready to sweep you off your feet!

These bonbons have a very unique flavor to them. I was expecting a strawberry taste, but that was a secondary flavor. I think it’s the wine and chocolate that really stands out from these chocolates. They are also very rich and decadent. Just one is enough to satisfy your chocolate craving or your “sweet tooth.”

Both collections are available in different sizes – From 5-60 pieces for the Aphrodisiac Heart Collection and 6-12 pieces for the Love Child Bonbon Collection. Prices range from $12.95 – $94.95 so there is an option to fit all budgets.

These collections are only available for a limited time, while supplies last. If you happen to miss out on the opportunity to order these, don’t worry. Chuao has other great selections to choose from.

I love their chocolate bars. I have tried a few of their flavors. You can read one of my reviews here – Premium Chocolates from Chuao Chocolatier.  Even my dog got to try one of their yummy chocolate bars – much to our dismay. Chocolate is toxic for dogs. THANKFULLY he didn’t get sick from it. I guess he couldn’t resist the temptation of the chocolate bar that was on my desk.

Bars

Chuao has added two more flavors to their ever expanding line of unique flavor combinations – Cinnamon Cereal Smooth Bar and Strawberry Waffle Wild.

Cinnamon Cereal Smooch Bar

From Saturday morning cartoons to midnight snacks, we’ve always had a “thing” for cereal. And, since the only thing better than cereal is cereal and chocolate, we’ve kissed our decadent milk chocolate with sweet nibbles of crushed, all natural cinnamon toast cereal. So, don’t be shy; lean in for your Cinnamon Cereal Smooch.

Strawberry Waffle Wild Bar

We get weak in the knees just thinking of the stacks and stacks of crispy, buttery waffles massaged with a touch of juicy, tart strawberries and showered in creamy milk chocolate. If loving this is wrong, we don’t want to be right. Let’s go Strawberry Waffle Wild.

I have to agree with the description for the Strawberry Waffle Wild Bar. I think I went weak in my knees too! Mmmm!

It’s funny because you don’t really taste the strawberries right away. At first you taste the chocolate then with the aftertaste you taste the strawberries.

You can really taste the cinnamon in the Cinnamon Cereal Smooch Bar. It has a nice crunch to it too.

Chuao bars are pretty big and they are diviced up into bit size squares. You can enjoy a few squares at a time, or share with your special someone.

For more information about Chuao you can visit them online at ChuaoChocolatier.com. You can also find them on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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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Valentine’s Day has gone to the dogs…literally!

Espn 2

 

Are you a dog owner?

If you own a dog chances are your dog is very much a part of your family.

Our dog Espn (pronounced Es-pin) is very much a member of our family (as it our cats and fish). We even go so far as to give him Christmas presents during the holiday season and celebrate is birthday (well, what we assume is his birthday – he was adopted for the local animal shelter).

I know many dog owners who give their pets gifts throughout the year.

#ValentinesforDogs

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Have you ever given your dog a Valentine’s Day card or gift? After all, Valentine’s Day is for celebrating the ones you love – shouldn’t that include your dog too?

OK… so your dog can’t really read a Valentine’s Day card. That is fine. You can read it to him.

Check out this interesting infographic that touches upon just how love our furry friends are.

doggylove_infographic_15_national

Instead of celebrating your love for your four legged best friend on February 14th, why not make February 13th Valentine’s Day for Dogs?

To celebrate Valentine’s Day for Dog why not take your best friend on a special walk or to their favorite dog park? Or maybe you can buy them a new comfy bed, a fun new toy or even spend the day snuggling together.

Don’t forget the treats! Dogs love treats.

Valentines

The wonderful people at at Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Milo’s Kitchen, and Canine Carry Outs have made it easy for you to celebrate Valentine’s Day for dogs with adorable doggie Valentine’s Day cards that you can download, print out and share with your favorite pooch.

You can find the cute cards here – www.BigHeartPetValentines.com.

Simply print the cards, cut them out and insert your pup’s favorite treats like this…

Valentines for Dogs

How cute! I love this idea and our dog Espn is going to enjoy his special treats. Right now I am keeping them in a container so he doesn’t see them. I’ll give them to him on the 13th.

If you would like to see what others are saying about this special “I love you” day for dogs, check out the hashtag #ValentinesForDogs.

Do you celebrate the holidays with your dog? Have you ever celebrated Valentine’s Day with them? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Valentines-for-Dogs

Kimbely

*I received free product samples in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Three Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas Under $50.00

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is this coming weekend? It seems like only yesterday we were unwrapping gifts around the Christmas tree and planning for our New Year’s Eve festivities. Time certainly flies fast.

Do you have a special someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. For me it’s my husband. We’ve been together 19 years and we’ll be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary this fall.

You don’t have to be in a relationship to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For me, it’s a day of love. There are so many people in my life that I love – my husband, my kids, my family and my friends.

I find it amusing when I go to the grocery store on Valentine’s Day and see the hoards of men standing on line with bouquets in their hands. Nothing like waiting for the last minute.

I’m sure expensive flowers, gorgeous jewelry and gourmet chocolates make great Valentine’s Day gifts. Sadly, not everyone has the budget for those kinds of things.

You can gift your special someone something wonderful for Valentine’s Day for less than $50.00. Here are a few suggestions.

Coupon

Give the love of your life “Love Coupons.” I know this sounds corney, but trust me, it will be appreciated.

Make your special someone “coupons” that can be redeemed for things they will enjoy. For example, a back massage, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, a night out without the kids, a night in watching THEIR favorite movie (even if its something you would rather not watch) and letting the other person sleep in one morning while you attend to the kids.

You can make them by hand or get fancy and print them out on the computer and add graphics to them as well.

My husband and I have have made these “coupons” for each other on several occasions. They are budget friendly plus we really appreciate what we get from the coupons.

I used to make these for my kids and vice versa. I would make them “coupons” for a trip to the ice cream store, staying up past bedtime, a new book and so forth.

Gift Basket

Make a personalized gift “basket.” It doesn’t have to be an actual basket. It can be any kind of container you want. For women it can be a beautiful keepsake box that they can repurpose to hold photos or jewelry. For men it can be a tackle box (if they like to fish) or a tool box. Get creative and make the container something the giftee will enjoy. You can even use a giant popcorn bowl as the base of your gift basket and fill it with your sweetie’s favorite movies, popcorn and movie theater candy.

Some gift “basket” ideas include;

Spa Basket – An assortment of your love’s favorite bath and body products or products you think they will like.

Chef Basket – If the love of your life enjoys cooking give them a “basket” filled with either kitchen gadgets or the fixings for a gourmet meal.

Sweets for your Sweetheart – Fill a container with your sweeties favorite sweets and/or home made baked goods.

I can think of more ideas. Just put on your “thinking cap” and get creative. A lot of the “fillers” can be purchased inexpensively. It also shows that you put a lot of thought into the gift and didn’t just swing by the store and grab a premade one.

Speaking of gift baskets, if you are making one filled with beauty products, or even bath and body products, you should include a jar of Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips. You can find it at many retail locations nationwide for only $2.29.

Vaseline-Lip-Therapy-Rosy-Lips

Vaseline was founded in 1870. They have been safely helping skin heal for over 140 years. Throughout their history, Vaseline has been at the forefront of innovation in skincare.

This portable lip product deeply moisturizes you lips, leaving them kissable and soft. The lip product is also rose tinted which leaves a bit of color on your lips. It even have a pleasant rose/vanilla/red berry scent.

This is a cute little product that will make your lips oh-so-kissable.

For more information about this product visit the product page – Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy. You can also find out where to buy the product.

Another fun gift idea, also under $50, is the Bejeweled Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lip Jar. It’s the same fun Vaseline® Lip Therapy® Rosy Lips product but it comes in a jar that is adorned with fine European crystals. There is even a red crystal heart on the lid.

Bling

What I love about this product is it’s small size. It’s portable and can easily slip inside a purse, pocket or backpack. The crystals sparkle with gives the jar (BLING!) which really catches the eye. I’m sure a lot of people will take notice of it.

After the product has been used up (FYI… a little goes a long way) you can rinse it out and use the jar to hold small items like jewelry like earrings, a ring or a delicate necklace.

The Bejeweled Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lip Jar is available for a limited time only and can be found at Kitson stores and at ShopKitson.com for $45.

I received both products to review. I have used (and enjoyed) Rosy Lips in the past. My lips REALLY needed it too. They have been so dry lately due to the horrible winter weather we’ve been having.

Rosy Lips

I love that they were packaged with a box of Petite Fours from Valerie Confections. Mmm… they are yummy! They are topped with candied rose petals too. How fitting for the Rosy Lips Vaseline products.

I am also not big on wearing lipstick or glosses. I like that Rosy Lips leaves a subtle tint to my lips.

For me it’s two products in one – a lip moisturizer and a lip tint. It saves time when getting ready and it’s portable size means I can take it with me where ever I go.

Vaseline Rosy Lips

I LOVE the Bedazzled jar. It’s my favorite. I have a couple of other Bedazzled jars and I always get comments about them when people see me with them. They always ask where I got them from. They last for a long time too so it’s a product you can enjoy for many, many moths (depending on how often you apply it).

For more information about Vaseline products please visit Vaseline.US (notice its US and not .com). You can also check out the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you think about the Bejeweled Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lip Jar? Would you like to receive that as a Valentine’s Day gift?

Have you tried Vaseline® Lip Therapy® Rosy Lips? If so, what do think about it?

To see what others are saying about these products check out the hashtags #Vaseline and #RosyLips.

Vaseline

Kimberly

 

Vaseline sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.

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BUSH’S Valentine’s Day Recipes

 

Heart

Are you planning on preparing a romantic meal for your special someone for Valentine’s Day this year? If you are you’ll need to include a sweet treat for dessert. No gourmet meal is complete without dessert. Sometimes it’s the best part of the meal.

Would you ever consider using black beans in your dessert? It sounds like an odd ingredient choice but the truth is that black beans can be used in baked goods and other desserts. Not only do they add bulk to the recipe, black beans also have health benefits.

Black beans and chocolate might not sound like they would go well together but they do!

Check out these two delightful recipes that use BUSH’S® Black Beans as one of the main ingredients. Both recipes would be ideal to make and share on Valentine’s Day and any time of the year.

Brownie Truffel Bites 028

BUSH’S® Brownie Truffle Bites 

Servings: 3 dozen

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients:

Cooking spray

¼ cup water

1 can (15 ounces) BUSH’S® Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 box (15.25 ounces) brownie mix

2 large eggs

⅔ cup applesauce

½ can (8 ounces) dark chocolate frosting

1 package (12 ounces) dark or white chocolate candy making and dipping wafers

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 13”x 9” cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place water and beans in blender and puree.
  3. Mix brownie mix, eggs, applesauce and bean puree in large bowl at low speed using hand mixer until all ingredients are moistened. Put mixture in greased cake pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove with oven mitts.
  5. Cool brownies completely.
  6. Crumble prepared brownies into large bowl. Add ½ can of frosting and mix thoroughly with spatula.
  7. Hand roll mixture into 1 inch balls.  If too sticky, chill brownie mixture 30-45 minutes in refrigerator first. Place on wax paper lined baking sheet and set aside.
  8. Place chocolate wafers in microwave-safe container. Microwave at half power or defrost setting for 30 seconds. Carefully remove from microwave and stir thoroughly. If wafers are not completely melted, continue to microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring intermittently until chocolate is smooth. Be careful to not overheat wafers, as they will burn.
  9. Using small spoon, dip brownie balls into melted chocolate.  Spoon chocolate over brownie balls until fully coated.  Place brownie bites on wax paper to set. (Tip: If you wish to decorate your brownie bites, sprinkle with decorative sprinkles before coating sets.)

Chocolate Fudge Cookie 015 

BUSH’S® Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Servings: 4 dozen

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 minutes (8 minutes per batch of 12) 

Ingredients:

1 can (15 ounces) BUSH’S® Black Beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup water

⅓  cup oil

1 box (15.25 ounces) chocolate fudge cake mix

2 large eggs

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Puree beans, water and oil in blender.
  2. With spatula, mix cake mix in large bowl with eggs and pureed ingredients until smooth.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Using teaspoon or cookie scoop, portion batter on cookie sheet. Place cookies 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake 8 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove with oven mitts.
  6. Let cookies cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet.

I’m going to try both of these when I have the opportunity.

If you try either (or both) of these recipes I would love to hear about them. Feel free to share your experience and thoughts about these recipes.

If you have used black beans in other baked goods or treats I’d love to hear about them too.

BUSH’S® Black Beans

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted these recipes with permission for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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PEEPS – A “Sweet” Way to Say “I Love You”

 

covered heart

When I think about PEEPS® marshmallow candies I can’t help but think of the yellow chicks and bunnies that were always in my Easter basket when I was growing up. These days PEEPS® has expanded to cover most major holidays as well as PEEPS® that can be enjoyed year round.

I looked forward to the newest PEEPS® to join their ever growing collection.

Believe it or not PEEPS® has Valentine’s Day treats that you and your loved one can enjoy. They even have some new varieties you might want to check out.

This year PEEPS® is offering consumers the following products to share with your special someone on Valentine’s Day.

PEEPS® Valentine’s offerings include:

  • Pink Marshmallow Chicks (5 ct and 10 ct)
  • Pink Marshmallow Bunnies (4 ct and 12 ct)
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Crème Flavored Chicks (3 ct)
  • Marshmallow Hearts (3 ct or 6 ct)
  • Cherries Drizzled and Dipped in Chocolate (3 ct)
  • Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Hearts (individually wrapped)
  • Strawberry Crème Flavored Marshmallow Hearts (9 ct)
  • Vanilla Crème Flavored Marshmallow Hearts (9 ct)

I had the opportunity to try out some of the Valentine’s Day PEEPS® treats.

The Chocolate Covered Raspberry Flavored Hearts barely made it out of the box. I enjoyed it right away. I was surprised at just how fruity it tasted, especially because it’s a marshmallow. The chocolate coating only added to it’s deliciousness.

I LOVE the Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Crème Flavored Chicks PEEPS® too. They DO taste like chocolate covered strawberries! And much cheaper than the real ones too.

The Cherries Drizzled and Dipped in Chocolate are not bad either, but I prefer the Raspberry and Strawberry ones.

I wanted to do something creative with the heart shaped PEEPS®. When I think about hearts and Valentine’s Day I think about the iconic conversational hearts. That gave me an idea. Why note write messages on the PEEPS®? I took it one step further and stuck the marshmallow PEEPS® on lollipop sticks. I was hoping to make a centerpiece with them but due to the weather – and feeling under the weather – I was unable to visit the craft store for more supplies.

Here are a couple of “conversational PEEPS® hearts” that I made.

Peep

The icing started to melt. It’s supposed to read “Be Mine”

 

PEEPS

I was surprised at how easy the lollipop sticks slid into them. I was worried he marshmallows would loose their shape when I tried to insert the lollipop stick but that did not happen.

I tried to think of something fun to do with the other Valentine’s Day PEEPS® but being under the weather my tired brain wasn’t being very creative.

Peep Vanilla Creme

PEEPS Cherry

PEEPS Strawberry

These taste as good as real chocolate dipped strawberries!

 

I have to chuckle a bit because when I went to the PEEPS®website (www.MarshmallowPEEPS.com) I saw that they also wrote messages on the heart shaped PEEPS®. Silly me. I thought I came up with an unique idea. I guess the makers of PEEPS® beat me to it. Ha Ha.

Black Forest PEEP Dessert

They have recipe for a Black Forest dessert on the PEEPS® website that looks delish. To bad my kids (and I) gobbled up the PEEPS® Chocolate Dipped Cherries Drizzled in Chocolate. After the big winter storm we are having is long gone I’m going to see if I can still find these PEEPS® locally so I can try this yummy recipe out.

The PEEPS® crispy treats look easy to make too. You could even chat a bit a purchase pre-made treats and top them off with PEEPS® heart.

PEEP Crispy Treat

The PEEPS® website has A LOT of great recipe ideas that are worth checking out. They can be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day or any time of the year. You can even use them in baking.

They even have some Valentine’s Day craft ideas too.

Visit MarshmallowPEEPS.com to check out all the fun stuff.

These celebratory treats can be found nationwide at grocery and drug stores, PEEPS® & Company retail stores or at the Marshmallow PEEPS®website (linked above).

Be sure to check out PEEPS® on social media for more great ideas. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Check out what others are saying about PEEPS® and the fun things the doing with them using the hashtag #PEEPsonality.

How do YOU enjoy PEEPS®? Do you enjoy them straight out of the packaging or do you like to do fun and creative things with them? Feel free to tell me about it.

Peeps Logo

Kimberly

*I received free product sample 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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Delicious Valentine’s Day Treats from Lindt

 

candy

Valentine’s Day is not the same without mouth watering chocolates to enjoy.

Honestly I rather have chocolates than flowers. :-)

It’s easy enough to stop by the local grocery or drug store and pick up a box of heart shaped chocolates. But those chocolates are usually “blah” tasting and nothing special.

Instead of giving your beloved something ordinary give her something much sweeter (and creamier) – Lindt Lindor Truffles.

This year Lindt has new products, in varying sizes, as well as new packaging making them wonderful gifts for the one you love and those special people in your life.

Here are some excellent Valentine’s Day gift offerings.

6036TG_HelloTin_LIPS_7.1oz

NEW! HELLO Assorted Lips Tin  (7.1 oz.): These romantic lips are ready to gift! The lip-shaped tin contains HELLO Mini Sticks with an enticing selection of delicious Crunchy Nougat, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cookies & Cream and Caramel Brownie Mini Sticks. Available exclusively at Target locations. SRP: $12.99

V000483TG_VAL_StrawCream_5.3oz

NEW! LINDOR Truffles Strawberries & Cream Bag (5.3 oz.): A new twist to the classic LINDOR Truffles bag! A soft white chocolate shell infused with strawberry pieces encloses an irresistibly smooth white truffle filling – an indulgent treat for your special Valentine. Available exclusively at Target locations. SRP: $3.99

LUS LDr Vday Heart 06

LINDOR Truffles Milk Chocolate Gift Heart (8.5 oz.): Give a piece of your heart with the classic LINDOR Truffles Milk Chocolate Gift Heart.  Surprise your Valentine with this elegant and festive heart, filled with smooth Milk Chocolate LINDOR truffles. SRP: $9.99

4862_LindorMilk7.2oz_VAL

LINDOR Truffles Milk Chocolate Bag (7.2 oz.): This signature Lindt gift bag is filled with delicious LINDOR Milk Chocolate truffles sure to melt the heart of your Valentine. SRP: $4.99

Not only are Lindor Truffles from Lindt delicious gift ideas, they are also budget friendly. You don’t need to “break the bank” to give these as a gift.

You could easily give these sweet treats, especially the chocolate bag and/or strawberries & cream bag to someone special like your mom, grandmother or someone else you want to let know that you love them.

The milk chocolate truffles are a family favorite. Even my kids can’t resist these sweet, creamy truffles.

The heart shaped box is filled with a lot of truffles.

heart box

I like that they are individually wrapped so you can toss one (or more) in your purse or lunch box. Most other boxed chocolates are not individually wrapped.

What I love about Lindor Truffles is that one is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, or chocolate, craving. Each one is a wee bit more than a bite size.

The strawberries & cream truffles are decadent. Normally I’m not a fan of white chocolate but the chocolate works so well with the strawberry creme. The truffles even have little strawberry bits inside. Mmmm! So good!

Strawberry

These are available exclusively at Target.

You can purchase these products at Lindt stores, online (Lindt.com) and other retail locations.

For more information about these and other Lindt products, or to find a location near you, visit LindtUSA.com. You can also check out the brand on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

What do you think about the Valentine’s Day offerings from Lindt?

What is your favorite Lindt / Lindor product?

Lindt-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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