Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sipping Happy with TAZO Tea Concentrates

received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and experiences are my own. You can join Smiley360 here #NewWayToTea



During the hot summer months, our drink of choice is definitely iced tea. Cold and refreshing, it is my favorite alternative to sweet drinks (we don't add sugar to our iced teas) and I am always looking for new flavors and drink combinations to enjoy.

TAZO just made it easier for me to have a large pitcher of gourmet blended iced tea ready to accompany dinner with their TAZO Iced Tea Concentrates line. Have you noticed these in your local grocery store?


I found my box of tea concentrate in the tea aisle. TAZO has 3 tea concentrates to choose from; Iced Passion, Iced Sangria Black, and Iced Peachy Green.

I decided to try the Iced Passion, a caffeine-free blend of hibiscus flowers, herbs and tropical fruit essences, first.


Instructions call for adding the concentrate, water and ice. Give the herbal tea a stir and it is ready to go. It doesn't get much easier than that.


The flavors took my husband back to his childhood exchange to Mexico. He remember how refreshing the  Hibiscus iced tea his host family served was.

I hadn't tried anything quite like it, but loved it! It was a great way to get away from plain old water for our last BBQ.



Of course, there are some easy ways to dress up the TAZO Iced Passion Tea Concentrate and play up the flavors already found in the tea. TAZO sent me a booklet containing a few fun recipes and I made the  Spiced Passion Tea Punch.

Spiced Passion Tea Punch

You will need:

  • 3 oz. TAZO Iced Passion Tea Concentrate
  • 3 oz. cold water
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange wedge
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 oz. ginger beer



The result was a lovely punch packed with the flavors of orange, hibiscus, cinnamon and ginger. Yum!  I couldn't find a proper ginger beer locally, so I subbed in ginger ale and it was still delicious.

Whether you decide to try this recipe, or just want to try out the TAZO Tea Concentrates on their own, be sure to snag TAZO's  $1 OFF Coupon, while supplies last. And check out more fun ways to enjoy TAZO on the TAZO Pinterest board.

Have you tried these new TAZO Tea Concentrates? How would you enjoy this #NewWayToTea?
Andrea
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Up Close, and Personal, with the New Febreze ™Air Purifier #KeepItFresh

This post is sponsored by Febreze ™Air Purifiers and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping Febreze Air Purifiers but Adventures in All Things Food only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Febreze Air Purifiers is not responsible for the content of this article.


Life around the house just got a bit more real.

At the beginning of August, I mentioned that we had 4 new kittens in the house. I was nervous about cat odors and was glad to have found the Febreze™ Tabletop Air Purifier. I put it front and center in our living room because my family and our guests should be able to relax and not be preoccupied with the "cat" in the room.



Actually, with all the forest fires going on in the Pacific Northwest, it was perfect timing. The air quality outdoors has been so bad, we have spent most of our summer indoors. There is nothing I enjoy more than opening up the house to fresh air, but right now the Febreze™ Air Purifier we have is helping to keep the pet odor, dust and allergens down in our main living space since we can't air out the house.

And those cute little kittens? 3 weeks ago they were still a little shaky on their legs...



They went from nursing and sleeping, to exploring and litter box training in a distinctly cat fashion. Cats rarely make litter box mistakes, but at this age they can hardly be bothered to stop the play and trek across the house to their box. Their new favorite activity is climbing to the top of our cat tower.


Thank goodness it is only a phase.

After having tried out our Febreze™ Tabletop Air Purifier for past few weeks, I am happy to say that it is compact, convenient and has worked well for our family of 7 cats, 2 dogs and 3 small children

The first feature I wanted to mention is the Febreze scent pod that you can add to the purifier. You control how strong you want the scent to be, so when you need it more, you can dial it up. I love that it made my living room feel fresh. I should note that we do not enjoy a lot of artificial scents in our home, and often go fragrance-free, so I didn't dial it up more than 1/3 of the strength. The air purifier scent was light and not overwhelming at all.



I was also happy to see that it had a a HEPA-type filter and removes 99% of airborne pollutants such as dust, pet dander, and smoke. Yeah, we have a lot of smoke around right now, for sure! Our home is also older and dusty on its own, but with all the cats, this has helped to keep the house our home... not just theirs.

I think everyone can appreciate a household dust reducer, even if they are not a pet family.



With the Febreze tab, as well as the air filter, set-up was simple and fast. Overall this small tabletop appliance is very easy to use and my toddler reminds me to turn it on every morning.


It is also nice to have control over both the scent and power. I do enjoy options with any appliance. I am sure once the kittens have their new homes I can turn the power down a little on the machine. For now it has a lot to keep up with.

In the middle, you can see where there are automatic filter and scent replacement reminder lights. I haven't had the chance to see those work yet, I have had my machine for a little less than a month, but I appreciate the quick, built-in reminder.


Do you have a room that could benefit from the Febreze™ Tabletop Air Purifier? 

Be sure to check out the other great sizes and options to see which one would work best in your home.




Andrea
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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bread & Butter Pickles - #SundaySupper


Sunday is here and it is time for another great recipe. This #SundaySupper event is all about Saving Summer Harvest and I was really excited to jump in. I love canning and especially love looking at all those neat rows of preserved food all Winter long. For us the big favorites are tomatoes, green beans, jams of varying varieties and peaches.

But over the past few years, due to babies, then toddlers, then another baby, I haven't had a chance to put much away before the summer harvest ends.

*sigh*

One of my all-time favorite things to put away are pickles. Truly, I could just snack on them alone, but I think they are perfect for sandwiches, egg salad, tuna salad, etc. Of course if the idea of steam bath canners, pressure canners and canning in general makes you nervous, you are in luck.  I chose my favorite delicious and easy refrigerator pickle. I only make these in small batches since they need to be refrigerated after making, but they are perfect if you don't have a lot of time.

A jar of fast pickled bread and butter pickles also make a great hostess gift and is easy enough to always have on hand this time of year.


The process is actually quite simple. First I wash and slice the cucumbers, and then I bring the pickling solution up to a boil.


This solution contains vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and even a bit of tumeric, for color.


The hot pickling liquied is poured over the prepared cucumbers and thin slices of yellow onion. I let it cool off and then fill my jars for the refrigerator.


Bread and Butter pickles taste the best after they have been able to sit in the fridge for a couple of days. It gives the cucumbers time to really soak up the flavor of the pickling liquid. Mmmm....

Ready to get pickling?

Fast Bread and Butter Pickles 

You Will Need:

  • 2 lbs. small pickling cucumbers
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric
Wash the cucumbers gently, cut off the ends and then, with a mandolin, slice the cucumber uniformly. Salt the sliced cucumbers for 1 hour to release excess water. At the end of the hour, rinse the cucumber slices well and let drain.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring up to a boil.

Place prepared cucumber in a shallow dish and spread evenly. Cover with the pickling liquid and allow to come to room temperature. Then fill jars with cucumbers and enough liquid to cover the top. Place the lids on and refrigerate. These pickles taste best after 24 hours. 

These pickles must be refrigerated and are not shelf stable. Refrigerated, they will last several weeks. Ours just never last that long! 




...and be sure to check out all the other Summer Saving Harvest recipes below:

Canning
Dehydrating
Fermentation
Freezing
Infusing

Pickling
Preserving in oil or butter
And for even more help and support

Andrea
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Kitten Invasion and How I #KeepItFresh

This post is sponsored by Febreze ™Air Purifiers and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping Febreze Air Purifiers but Adventures in All Things Food only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Febreze Air Purifiers is not responsible for the content of this article.


We have been invaded by cuteness this summer.

Our family has swelled in number and until we find proper homes for our 4 new kittens the cat shenanigans are at an all time high. The four kittens are just starting to explore the house on their own and I never know when a little furry face will pop up.

It has gotten wild enough in the house that the older cats go outdoors to rest. Even Hook has been known to duck the little ones now and again for the safety of the hay barn.


So this brings our current (and temporary!) total to 7 cats and 3 kids. I promise it is a summer we won't soon forget. But, with our little bundles of fluff learning to use the litter box, our house has started to smell like we have 7 full-grown cats.

Ugh.

I love my cats, but I also want my house to smell fresh and clean. Let's not even think about the added dander and fur roaming loose in the house. And if my kids weren't messy (and occaisionally) smelly enough... now I have a bunch of little furry kids to contend with.


Yes, our growing feline family is not to blame for all the smells in the house. There would also be the toddler diapers, my love of seafood and two very busy and mess-seeking kids.  My family doesn't always smell like a rose, but I don't want friends or company to know that the minute they walk in the door.

I could open up the windows and air out our house... but this summer has been a scorcher and now with forest fires blazing through the state we have had all the windows closed up tight. Instead, I decided to get an Air Purifier - the Febreze™ Air Purifier which should help me clean the air, eliminate odors and refresh with a Febreeze scent. 



Yes, Febreeze has been a lifesaver on my upholstery and carpets, as I have posted before, but now it can help our full house with the air we breathe. 


This small device easily fits on my side table in the living room. It is amazing to think that such a small appliance can capture up to 99% of airborne pollutants such as dust, pet dander, pollen and smoke. I can't wait to try it out for a few weeks and then share my thoughts. I should also have some cute updates on our growing litter of kittens.


I love the cats and the kids, but I could really do without the lingering odors they create.  You can learn more about the Febreze™ Air Purifiers on the Febreeze™ website. Is there one that would fit your home and needs?


Would you have more pets if pet odor wasn't an issue?

Do you currently use an Air Purifier?


Andrea
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Last Days of Summer with Flipz

received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and experiences are my own. You can join Smiley360 here#RoadTripFLIPZ


Do we really have less than a month till school starts here? Wow! That went fast.

This summer we still haven't squeezed in our family trip. We may be leaving that till last minute to combine with school clothes shopping. But, I didn't want to miss out on reminding you to pack epic snacks for your last summer trips. Because sometimes we crave salty, sometimes sweet, and throwing in a crunch is always a good thing, don't forget to pack plenty of Flips for your next #RoadTripFLIPZ.


In our house, there is a battle brewing over the White Fudge and Milk Chocolate. My husband and I each have our own favorite, but my kids just love the crunchy pretzels and sweet covering, so either flavor is fine.

My advice? Pack plenty of FLIPZ for your next trip so no one has to argue over the last covered pretzel!  Be sure to grab a $1 FLIPZ coupon before your next grocery trip.


Having been on my own epic family road trips as a child (only child, mind you!) I remember how long those drives can seem. Here are 5 tips to make family road trips more enjoyable for everyone.

5 Road Trip Tips For Traveling with Kids

  1. Pre-plan out stops so everyone can stretch their legs and use the bathroom several times along the way. There is nothing worse than hearing a child scream, "I gotta go!" from the backseat. My kids are young enough they still need to be reminded to, "at least try" frequently. Planning out stops ahead of time will make sure everyone can walk around and use the bathroom when available.
  2. Use a Map. This is a great tip for getting kids involved with a traip ahead of time, too. Help them circle or mark the start of the trip, any important things to watch for along the way as well as the destination. It could be a photo copy or more elaborate, but it will give kids a chance to learn about the places you will pass and how long they have to go before the end of the trip.
  3. Pack plenty of snacks and beverages that can be enjoyed along the way. My Mom had a cooler we kept behind the seat that as a child I could use whenever I was hungry. She froze a large bunch of grapes to help keep things cool and I loves snacking on those pre-airconditioned car. Now I pack each of my kids a cup full of dried fruit, pretzels and even cereal that they can munch on when hungry. As a special treat, I keep a bag or two of FLIPZ on hand for us to enjoy. I always enjoy keeping at least one surprise like this up my sleeve to make our trips extra special.
  4. Bring a variety of entertainment everyone can enjoy. I cringe when I have to hear the same kids' video on a loop behind my seat. Instead of just playing movies I now pack travel games (travel bingo can be printed or created easily), trivia, music mixes we all enjoy and audio books to listen to. And of course there are always the travel classics like the alphabet or license plate game as you roll down the road.
  5. Remember it is the little things they will remember years from now. Stop and smell the roses along the way... or check out that giant ball of twine while you have the chance. Family roadtrips are not just about the destination, but the time you spend together along the way.





It is goofy moments like this with my kids that I love to capture on film. I am sure our end of summer trip will include many silly moments from my silly little crew. Life is definitely not boring when we have our sweet FLIPZ along for the ride!

Check out all the great flavors you can enjoy with FLIPZ and be sure to check them out on Facebook and all the #RoadTripFLIPZ fun on Instagram. 

What Road Trip Tips do you have?
Andrea
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Monday, August 3, 2015

Fire Season: My Journey From Ruin to Redemption by Hollye Dexter

I received a complimentary book to help me write an honest review. I am participating in this  BookSparks' TRUTH OR DARE Blog Tour, reviews contain my own affiliate links for the books being read and discussed. #BookSparks

And finishing up the BookSparks TRUTH or DARE book tour is Hollye Dexter's Fire Season.




Awakened by her husband’s yells of panic, Hollye Dexter woke to her family’s home set ablaze and her toddler son asleep next to her. With little time to act, Hollye had no choice but to drop her son out of the second story window in order to save his life. Over the course of the next few years, Hollye spiraled into depression, unable to let go of the horrific fire that destroyed everything including all five of her family’s pets. This book tells the true story of a mother who must take back her own sanity and defeat her anxiety to keep her family in tact.

“Hollye Dexter’s book made me cry and laugh—sometimes all within one paragraph. She tells her story with power and punch, and a truth that is unsettling and astonishing and ultimately uplifting. There isn't a soul who can't relate to her memoir. It is filled with revelations, humanity, poignancy, balls-out courage, and humor. She is a role model extraordinaire.” —Amy Ferris author of Marrying George Clooney

My Review

Wow! Such a story to tell. During the first part of the book I remember having to remind myself to breathe. The fire was just such a horrifying experience to read about and the author painted such a vivid picture of that night. As a mother of young children, it was all too real for me and was like reading my own worst nightmare. But the fire was not the only obstacle Hollye and her family had to endure. Throughout the book I felt very thankful for events in my own life.

I am impressed with the courage it takes to write a memoir that is so brutally honest. It would be much easier to try to forget about the struggles and hard times, but Hollye Dexter laid it all out there and showed us the strength of the human spirit.

This is a great way to finish out summer reading because everyone loves a book where the family succeeds despite the odds being stacked against them.


Andrea
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Easy Pesto & Fettuccini - August Secret Recipe Club


Welcome to August... I could do without the recent 109 degree day, it almost made me forget I am currently living in OR and no longer in Asia. But, August does bring some of my favorite flavors, vine ripened tomatoes, ripe watermelon and lush and fragrant basil.

In fact, I am excited to share that my garden is finally complete and everything is taking off nicely. Yes, even my basil has finally started to fill out. I like to plant it between my tomato cages. There is nothing better than the smell of hot basil and tomatoes in the afternoon.


The biggest chore with fresh basil is to keep using it! See the tops below? My plants were trying to flower. That was the signal that I needed to give them all a good trim... and I had to come up with a good recipe to use all that amazing basil.


Today, not only am I finally getting to harvest the basil from my garden, but I am sliding in under the wire to share my August Secret Recipe Club recipe. This month I was given bcmom's kitchen.


Anna confesses that her blog is a way to keep track of all the recipes she really enjoys. I am sure she is never at a loss on what to make for dinner, her blog is full of great recipes. I have to admit that I wish I had been assigned Anna's blog in the Winter. I have bookmarked several of her soups to make later this year. Her Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup is calling to me! But, days hitting over 100 degrees, soup is just not going to be on this week's menu!  She really enjoys cooking and modifying recipes, which is evident in her posts.

I finally decided on making her Easy Pesto & Fettuccini recipe because it was so fitting for my current predicament.

And it turned out perfectly! Almonds are one of my favorite pesto choices because they are much less expensive than pine nuts. I keep my pesto green with a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation. But, I will be making this stuff by the truckload next weekend to stock the freezer for winter. At that time I will fill ice cube containers and top with olive oil. So worth the extra effort!


Easy Pesto
from bcmom's kitchen

You Will Need:

  • 1/4 c. almonds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan (or more to taste)
  • 1 pinch ground nutmg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c, olive oil, or more to achieve desired consistency and cover for storage
Toast the almonds on a baking sheet at 450 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Turn half-way through and remove when they are fragrant and lightly toasted.

In a food processor or blender, combine the almonds, garlic, basil, cheese, nutmeg and 1/2 c. olive oil. Pulse till smooth. I usually leave small chunks in mine, Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately by tossing with fresh cooked pasta and adding reserved pasta water till the pesto coats all the pasta. 

To store the pesto, place in an airtight container. Smooth the top and pour a small amount of oil on tip to cover. If freezing, place prepared pesto in an ice cube tray and cover each well with a little oil. Cover with wrap and freeze. Once frozen, the pesto cubes can be popped out and stored in a zip topped container. 



Now, the original recipe was for pre-made fettuccini but, since it was Sunday, I broke out the food processor and my new Kitchen-Aid pasta rollers for good old fashioned homemade fettuccini. Don't worry, I don't always have time to make fresh pasta... but, it is always a treat. If you haven't tried your hand at it, I urge you to try it. Check out my Shrimp Scampi post for info on making your own pasta noodles.


There is something just so satisfying about seeing all that beautiful pasta out to dry. Well, maybe not as satisfying as that first bite of homemade fettuccini noodles with fresh pesto.

Yum!


Of course, Anna's pesto recipe could be used in so many other great ways... I also love pesto with tortellini, on chicken and even with tomatoes. To me, pesto is such a great and fresh gift from summer on the farm.

Enjoy...



Andrea
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