Thursday, August 21, 2014

Delicious Marinating and Grilling with Holland House Cooking Wine {Summer Grilling Kit Giveaway!}

Holland House logo
While summer is surely a great time of year in terms of playing outdoors, swimming, barbeques and more, it somehow seems to be more hectic when it comes to meal planning. Considering the number of hours that we spend on-the-go, it is no wonder that there aren't many left to browse recipes or devote to cooking... resulting in dishes that may end up more bland or boring than usual.

However, at the height of the summer grilling season, a cook's best strategy is to seek out the freshest ingredients and infuse them with delicious flavor. One way to do just that in a quick, easy and delectable way is to reach for a product that is known for transforming any dish from ordinary to extraordinary: Holland House Cooking Wine.


Since 1887, Holland House has been making wines specially formulated for cooking. By using premium quality wine stock to create a perfectly balanced taste and aroma, each of their cooking wines has its own rich, robust flavor that lasts.

From Red to White, Marsala to Sherry and several in between, there's a bottle of Holland House Cooking Wine to pair perfectly with every menu. It is no wonder that chefs of all skill levels choose Holland House to add a refined depth to their sauces, marinades, glazes, and saut├ęs!


Reading to fire up the grill and try one of Holland House's delicious recipes? Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine adds a subtle, sweet background flavor to this spicy, Mexican seasoned marinade that your family and/or guests are sure to love!

Grilled Chipotle Skirt Steak

Marinade time: 8-24 hours
Cook time: 8-15 hours
Servings: 6


1 cup Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine
1 cup unseasoned tomato puree or crushed tomatoes (not tomato sauce)
3-4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (canned)
4 large cloves of garlic
½ small yellow onion
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable or olive oil
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
1 lb skirt or flank steak (lean, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are delicious as well)


In a blender container, combine sherry cooking wine and remaining ingredients except meat. Cover and run on high until smooth.

Trim steak of any visible fat. Place steak in a non-metallic baking dish or sealable plastic bag. Add marinade; turn meat to coat (as flank steak is thicker than skirt steak, score flank steak with a sharp knife so the meat absorbs more marinade). Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight, turning meat one or more times while marinating.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Drain meat and discard marinade. Grill skirt steak about 6 minutes over direct heat with cover closed. Turn meat; grill with cover closed 2 minutes more or until cooked as desired. Flank steak will take longer to cook.

Slice steak into thin strips across the grain. Serve with warm corn tortillas, if desired.

Grilled Chipotle Skirt Steak

Here are even more great marinade and grilling tips from Holland House!

Marinate your meat. Marinating is a great way to add flavor and save money by tenderizing tougher, cheaper cuts of meat. A well-prepared marinade can help an amateur on the grill prepare food that tastes like it was prepared by an experienced grill master!

Select your marinade elements. Marinades vary from recipe to recipe, but they all generally contain three basic components – oils, acids and seasonings. Oils lock in the natural flavor and prevent vegetables from drying out, while acids allow flavors to be absorbed. Seasonings provide the unique flavor. Garlic, ginger and herbs are the most common marinade seasonings.

grilled rosemary chickenKeep an eye on the time. As a general rule, the longer food is left to marinate, the more flavorsome it will become. Small or tender cuts, such as lamb and beef fillets, chicken breasts and seafood, require shorter marinating times (usually two to four hours).

Larger or tougher cuts such as leg, rump or shoulder will need longer (usually four to six hours). Never marinate in aluminum, cast iron or copper, as these metals will react with the acids and salts, resulting in off flavor.

Use the right tools. When grilling, always use tongs to turn the meat. A fork should never be used as it will punch holes in the meat and allow the natural juices to escape, causing the meat to lose flavor and become chewy.

Don’t rush it. Meat will tell you when it’s ready to flip. If the meat is still hanging onto the grill, it’s not ready to flip. Once a good sear is established, it will release on its own.

grilling tips

Want even more tips? Check out Holland House’s marinade and grilling cooking video!

For more information, tips, recipes and to see their full collection of delicious products, be sure to visit You can also check out Holland House on Facebook and Pinterest for even more great ideas and mouthwatering meals!

Plus, thanks to their generosity, one person will be even more prepared to celebrate grilling season as well, because...

One lucky person will win a Holland House Summer Grilling Kit*!

grilling giveaway
*Kit contains a portable cooler filled with grilling tools and Holland House Cooking Wine products - total ARV $100!

A big thank you to Holland House for providing a Summer Grilling Kit for me as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thank Goodness It’s Back To School with Fruit of the Loom Bonus Packs! {$75 Walmart Gift Card Giveaway}

I received a gift card from Fruit of the Loom in exchange for writing this blog post. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

When it comes to Back to School shopping, my mental list tends to always include most of the same standards that have been on there for parents for decades: backpack, folders, markers, shoes, lunchbox, etc.

But in the rush of getting kids prepared and ready for a new school year to start, why does it seem like the basic necessities are the ones that are typically forgotten? Sure, you know all about the cool new jeans that your daughter has been asking for, but do you have any idea if she has enough t-shirts, underwear or socks?

This Back to School season, don't forget to stock up on the school supplies that kids really need while also saving some cash at the same time... it's time to say Thank Goodness It's Back to School (#TGIBTS) with Fruit of the Loom!


For some, the Back to School season is stressful and filled with the fear of the unknown. For others, it is exciting, a return to a beloved routine full of friends and learning. Around here, we're in the latter category, with the entire family counting down the days until the new school year begins.

Both of my kids adore their school, can't wait to meet their teachers, are yearning to get to see their friends every day and are, in general, filled with happy emotions about getting to go back to what they love. Most definitely #TGIBTS!

As for me, even if I may shed a tear or two as I watch them walk into school with barely a wave, I can't help but be excited for everything that awaits them inside those doors. I couldn't be more proud each time I hear about how hard they work, how well they are doing, how much they care about their peers, and more.

At the same time, yes, #TGIBTS so that there might actually be a second of two of peace and quiet around here! Even though I know that my days are going to fly by in a blur of volunteering, field trips, PTO meetings, cooking, cleaning, laundry and more, I can still dream that they're going to look like this, right?

relaxing in bathtub

Regardless of what Back to School looks like at your house (or in your dreams), everyone wants to put their best foot forward during the new school year... which is now easier and more affordable than ever!

Looking to set your entire family up for success from the moment that they get dressed in the morning? Just check out the diverse selection of colors, patterns, and style options that Fruit of the Loom offers with their seasonal bonus packs!

Fruit of the Loom bonus packs

With one, two or even three extra items free per pack, Fruit of the Loom kids' and teens' bonus packs (there are also men's and women's bonus packs available for those teens who have outgrown the children sizes) have a chance to express their true colors with the first thing they put on in the morning in even greater numbers.

Admit it, your unmentionables play a major part in your confidence and how you feel about your complete outfit (and therefore your mood) for the day, right? Kids are no different! That's why it is time to head to Walmart to give kids a fresh start this school year and kick off 2014-2015 the right way!


My girls were more than excited to head to Walmart to pick up some Fruit of the Loom bonus packs and it didn't take long before we were browsing through the variety available.

It seemed as though everywhere we looked there was free, free, FREE Fruit of the Loom waiting for us!

fruit of the loom products

The colors! The patterns! The different options in style and cut and "heights" of socks... my girls just might have spent all day debating the merits of each fashionable option.

When I finally steered their focus to the underwear, I found that I had a captive and curious audience as we talked about the four different styles available as well as the convenient size chart to use to figure out which would fit each of them best.

girls underwear

Once the final decisions had been made, we headed home to wash our new purchases and get started tossing out anything too small, worn or just falling plain falling apart.

I love being able to take a deep breath of satisfaction knowing that my kids will be reaching for the comfort and quality of their new Fruit of the Loom pieces as they start each and every school day!

TGIBTS Fruit of the Loom

This year, let Fruit of the Loom and their bonus packs get your children and teens ready to head off to school with confidence, comfort and style. I couldn't be happier that we were able to pick up these necessities at such a great price — and with the three free pairs of underwear in each pack, we stocked up for even less!

boys t-shirtsBe sure to visit Fruit of the Loom to find out more about their full collection of products for men, women and children (socks, underwear, t-shirts, camis, tank tops and more!) and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well.

Then, head to your nearest Walmart to take advantage of this value — bonus packages are also available online if you prefer to shop from the comfort of your own home instead.

Plus, in the spirit of #TGIBTS, one person will be even more prepared to stock up on all of the basics and essentials that their kids need to start off the school year on the right foot as well, because...

One lucky person will win a $75 Walmart gift card
from Fruit of the Loom!

Walmart gift card

The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Nature Valley Bistro Cups Provide Oatmeal Made in Your Keurig! {Review}

Nature Valley logo
Although we've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that doesn't seem to make it any easier for non-morning people like me to be excited about it. Even if my stomach would prefer a healthy plate of fruit, eggs and toast, my brain's desire to dwell over my cup of coffee and not move from my chair seems to win out instead.

So, although preparing anything more than a bowl of cereal seems like too much work, I've now found a way to have a delicious, filling breakfast with nearly zero work at all. In fact, in less than a minute (and with my eyes only halfway open), I'm able to enjoy premium, restaurant-quality oatmeal thanks to the new Nature Valley Bistro Cups.

bistro cup oatmeals

Available in two delicious flavors – Apple Cinnamon Almond and Brown Sugar Pecan – Nature Valley Bistro Cups are just about the easiest way to prepare and enjoy oatmeal that I've ever seen. This innovative breakfast option is prepared in a Keurig brewer in only three easy steps... and results in a fresh, hearty option that is tasty down to the last bite!

Nature Valley oatmeal

Considering that I love my Keurig, I love oatmeal and I love any meal option that is extremely easy to prepare and has nearly no cleanup, I was ready to put these Bistro Cups to the test!

Nature Valley Bistro Cups

There wasn't much less that Nature Valley could have required me to do!

I simply popped the Bistro Cup into my Keurig, poured the 100% Natural Whole Grain Oats and Fruit & Nuts pouches into a mug, brewed, stirred, and enjoyed!

Nature Valley Bistro Cup oatmeal

Any hesitation that I had on the taste of these Bistro Cups was immediately dispelled, as they really taste as thick and flavorful as homemade oatmeal. I especially love the way that each bite is filled with the oats, fruits and nuts — mmmm!

Nature Valley Bistro Cup review

As well as providing a full, filling meal, Nature Valley made their Bistro Cups even better by having an extremely easy cleanup process as well. Just toss out the empty packaging and K-cup, place the mug in the dishwasher and I'm ready to move on with my day!

Nature Valley Bistro Cups are available now in the hot cereal aisle at Target, Sam's, Walmart and on Amazon, where a box of three servings retails for around $5.99 and a box of eight retails for around $14.98. While the nearly-$2 per serving initially struck me as a little high, I do think that these Bistro Cups would be especially great and convenient for travel, as there is a Keurig just about everywhere these days!

Find out more about the new Nature Valley Bistro Cups Oatmeal by visiting and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Test Your Disney Knowledge with Pictopia: Disney Edition App {$25 iTunes Gift Card Giveaway!}

Disney app
No matter if you are a big or small fan of Disney, there is no denying that it has played a magical role in our society and lives for generations. From the animated classics and blockbuster movies to television hits and dazzling theme park destinations, Disney has created so many beloved memories that it is difficult to imagine what things would be like without them.

But for those that truly immerse themselves in Disney, how much do you really know? Are you willing to put your knowledge about Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Jack Sparrow, Buzz Lightyear, Elsa and many more to the test?

Well, now you can in an entertaining and FREE way thanks to the release of the new Pictopia: Disney Edition App from Wonder Forge.

Pictopia app

Ready to challenge your Disney knowledge? This is the app to do so, whether alone through solo play or while having a trivia party with your friends!

Disney trivia app

Features of this innovative app include:

MATCH THE FANS — Test your wits with bonus trivia where you try and guess the most popular answer according to the fans.

BUILD YOUR PROFILE — Choose your very own avatar with a catalog of Disney characters. Play as Belle or even Kermit the Frog.

PLAY WITH THE BOARD GAME — Add even more questions to your Pictopia board game with a "Play with the Board Game" mode. Also includes a nail-biting Final Challenge round to take board game play to the next level!

Plus, as an affordable option, users of Pictopia: Disney Edition can also purchase an additional Disneyland Theme Park Trivia Pack for only 99¢ to take the fun to an entirely new level!

Disney theme park

When it comes to a clever, challenging and engaging way to celebrate your family's love of Disney, you'll want to try out Pictopia: Disney Edition. Pull out your phone and play for a few minutes while waiting for an appointment or set up the iPad and gather the whole gang around for a unique twist on game night — this is one app that will test your knowledge while providing a whole lot of magical fun!

Ready for your first Disney question? Try this one out...

Disney trivia
(Remember your answer, as it will get you an extra entry into the giveaway below!)

Head over to iTunes to find out more and download Pictopia: Disney Edition today!

Then, thanks to the generosity of Wonder Forge, one person will be even more prepared to browse iTunes to build up their library as well, because...

One lucky person will win a $25 iTunes gift card!

itunes gift card

A big thank you to Wonder Forge for providing an iTunes gift card for me as well as for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.