Glenda, Glenda…something, something…How Does Your Garden Grow? @greenldgardener

On July 22, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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It’s time for a garden update. Our back yard makeover is in a stall, right now, with the relentless summer heat, but I’m tickled that the garden continues to grow and thrive. I absolutely love our Greenland Gardener Double Bed Raised Garden Bed. I have a second one sitting in the box, ready to assemble […]

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It’s time for a garden update. Our back yard makeover is in a stall, right now, with the relentless summer heat, but I’m tickled that the garden continues to grow and thrive. I absolutely love our Greenland Gardener Double Bed Raised Garden Bed. I have a second one sitting in the box, ready to assemble and expand my garden space. Right now, the veggies I planted on the deck are beginning to produce a harvest.

sausage tomato

This one is called a sausage tomato. It's doing well in a pot on the deck.

 

cucumber plant

I'm amazed at how well this potted cucumber is doing up on the deck. We've harvested several cucumbers from it, now.

 

cucumber vines

A cucumber growing on the deck.

 

The garden bed is doing well, too, though it is a couple weeks behind the plants on the deck.  With this crazy heat, I have been watering every other day or so.

raised bed garden

Our growing garden. Three volunteer tomatoes, three heirloom tomatoes, two more cucumber plants, four jalapeno peppers and a watermelon vine that I intended to put in the second box, which is still unassembled. It's thriving and doing well, and so far, hasn't choked out any other plants. I think I will be able to guide it over the edge of the box and out to the south. The rhubarb is still going strong back behind.

 

tomato plant

The volunteer tomatoes from the previous owner's leftover bed. they are setting on tomatoes and it will be fun to see what variety they are. the heirlooms are not blooming, yet.

 

cucumbers

The cucumbers in the garden bed are not quite as big as the plant on the deck, but they are setting on blossoms, so we'll be setting on cucumbers soon.

watermelon plant

The watermelon is doing great and has a couple blossoms. You can sort of see the jalapeno's directly behind it.

 

So how is your garden doing?  Are you getting lots of fresh produce for your dinner table?

 

 

Seneca Farms Oatmeal & Fruit Review and Giveaway

On July 22, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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In April, Seneca Farms, released a new product to help encourage kids and their parents to eat a healthy breakfast.  Understanding the crazy, hectic schedules most families battle in the morning, Seneca Farms set out to provide a product that let people have a quick, easy option for a warm, healthy breakfast.  Their solution was […]

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oatmeal

We reviewed two 2-packs of the new Seneca Farms Oatmeal & Fruit.

In April, Seneca Farms, released a new product to help encourage kids and their parents to eat a healthy breakfast.  Understanding the crazy, hectic schedules most families battle in the morning, Seneca Farms set out to provide a product that let people have a quick, easy option for a warm, healthy breakfast.  Their solution was Seneca Farms Oatmeal & Fruit, a pre-made hot cereal with fruit included.  No water or milk is necessary and it only takes 45 seconds to heat in the microwave.  I can definitely see how this would be a huge convenience in small families, where breakfast is usually skipped.  Getting something in a student’s stomach, in the morning, helps to ensure they are ready to start their day, thinking clearly and working at their healthy best on their schoolwork.

oatmeal2

Simply vent the package cover, slightly and microwave for 45 seconds. It doesn't get simpler than that.

Our family tried two flavors of the Oatmeal & Fruit — Vanilla Peach and Apple Cinnamon.  We liked both of them okay, though none of us felt they were “really, really good”.  The texture was not as pleasing as homemade.  It was cooked through, but certainly not creamy.  Being a large family who can make an entire pot of creamy, delicious oatmeal in about 15 minutes, each morning, our view of this product is somewhat mixed.  First of all, everyone felt the portions were too small.  I’m sure even my pre-school grandchildren would need two individual cups to fill them up.  Also, each cup needs to be microwaved for 45 seconds, which is no big deal if you are fixing one cup each for only one or two people.  However, if your family members will need two cups to be full, and like us, you have quite a few mouths to feed, the time required  to heat each cup means you could really have just made a quick pot of oatmeal in about the same amount of time and saved a substantial amount of money, not to mention unnecessary packaging in the landfill.  The oatmeal cups come in two-packs, which means for a large family, you will need to buy quite a few.

serving oatmeal

Vanilla Peach Oatmeal & Fruit, heated and ready to serve.

My final opinion on the product is that for families who aren’t eating breakfast because they think they don’t have time and have only a couple people to feed, Seneca Farms Oatmeal & Fruit may be a very convenient option, that gets them into the healthy habit of eating something in the mornings.  For a family our size, however, that weighs every convenience against the available budget, this would not be a product we normally purchase.

What about your family — do you eat breakfast in the mornings?  What are your favorite morning meals?  How do you stretch your budget to include healthy options that can be prepared and eaten in a hurry?

oatmealbreakfast

One Busy-at-Home reader will win a 2-pack of each flavor (Vanilla Peach and Apple Cinnamon) of Seneca Farms Oatmeal & Fruit.

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.  Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, July 31, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

In a comment below, answer any two of these questions:

  1. What about your family — do you eat breakfast in the mornings?
  2. What are your favorite morning meals?
  3. How do you stretch your budget to include healthy options that can be prepared and eaten in a hurry?

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Seneca Farms on Facebook.   Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  2. Follow Seneca Farms on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect by clicking  the Join Button in the right-hand side bar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link or in the right-hand sidebar.  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please).  Win two 2-packs of Seneca Farms Fruit and Oatmeal (VanillaPeach & AppleCinnamon) @busyathome @SenecaFarms #momsparkmedia http://ow.ly/5Ljww  Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.

I was provided the opportunity to review and test two 2-packs of Seneca Farms Fruit and Oatmeal through Mom Spark Media.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As always at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Recipe Challenge!! : Summer Drinks & Treats with #ClearAmerican Water #ad

On July 21, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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You know me.  I love a challenge and I REALLY love recipes.  This week, I had the chance to create a few of my own.  Well, actually the challenge was to create one, but as a chronic overachiever and indecisive recipe selector, I made all three.  You’re going to be so happy that I did! […]

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You know me.  I love a challenge and I REALLY love recipes.  This week, I had the chance to create a few of my own.  Well, actually the challenge was to create one, but as a chronic overachiever and indecisive recipe selector, I made all three.  You’re going to be so happy that I did!

Clear American Water was something new for our family.  You’ll find it in the bottled water section of your local Wal-Mart.  I was truly shocked at the vast variety of flavors that were available.  You can buy individual-sized bottles, in 4-packs or the larger 33.8 oz bottles.  Since my challenge was to create a recipe using Clear American Water, we opted for the larger bottles and selected every flavor available on our local Wal-Mart shelves.  Even more amazing?  Those large bottles were only 64¢ each.  Compare that to a 20 oz soda at the check out stand.  Clear American Water is a great bargain!

These yummy flavored waters packed a few more surprises for our family.   They’re carbonated.   We seriously loved them, just straight from the bottle.  The flavors were delicious and served ice cold, they were incredibly refreshing.  Plus, Clear American Waters have 0 sugar, 0 sodium, 0 caffeine and 0 calories.  Surprises are good!

So, what are we making?  Strawberry Slushies, Mandarin Orange Popsicles and Fruit and Cream Parfait Sodas!  Are you hungry, yet?  :)

Clear American Water

Strawberry Slushies

 

mandarin orange posicle

Mandarin Orange Popsicle

I’ve made it super simple for you to go through my shopping experience and see the step-by-step photos of the creation of my three summertime treats.  You’re going to love how quick and simple they are, which is critical in the midst of summer heat waves.  When your family wants something cool and refreshing, now you’ll be able to offer them something fun, affordable and delicious.  Watch my ThisMoment slideshow below, to learn how.  (P.S.  If you’d like to watch it full-screen with large print captions, feel free to view it on my ThisMoment page.  It will open in a new window for you.)  And there is a printable version of the Fruit and Cream Parfait Sodas recipe,  at the bottom of this post.  Enjoy!!!

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Fruit and Cream Parfait Sodas

Fruit and Cream Parfait Sodas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups various fresh fruits, sliced and chopped for parfaits
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
  • Clear American Flavored Waters in varieties to complement your chosen fruit
  • whipped cream (spray can works best)

Instructions

  1. Put a layer of ice cream in the bottom of a pretty glass.
  2. Add a layer of fresh fruits, continuing to alternate ice cream and fruit layers until you are within 2 inches of the top of your glass.
  3. Pour your chosen flavor of Clear American Water over the parfait and fill until the foam reaches the top of your glass.
  4. Spray with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit.
  5. Add long spoons and a straw and collect tons of smiles as you pass out these yummy Parfait Sodas.
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This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, which is a vendor for Cott Beverages Inc., the manufacturer of Clear American ® brand beverages.  The recipes are original and as always, at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

 

Win a Full-Year Subscription to Discovery Girls Magazine! : Review and Giveaway #momsparkmedia

On July 20, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Discovery Girls Magazine is written to encourage and inspire tween girls (those between 8 and 13).  They share ideas and information on everything from friendship to future careers and all that is in between.  I was delighted to find the advice offered to be wholesome and common sense — in line with what we would […]

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discovery girls logoDiscovery Girls Magazine is written to encourage and inspire tween girls (those between 8 and 13).  They share ideas and information on everything from friendship to future careers and all that is in between.  I was delighted to find the advice offered to be wholesome and common sense — in line with what we would teach our daughter.  I’m a firm believer in teaching our children how to live in the world, while still living out their own Christian worldview.  While I don’t support hiding them from the world, I do believe age appropriateness is important in discussing and learning about any issue.   I was glad to see that Discovery Girls Magazine writes within a similar framework.  The magazine opened the door for several great conversations with my nine-year-old, being able to discuss the views expressed in the magazine compared to our own views.  These discussion starting articles are actually important relationship builders, because these issues about friendship, “crushes”, and growing up are more and more important to our daughter.  Reading these articles with her made her feel more confident to talk and to ask questions she may have been wondering about for awhile.

discovery girls magazineI also reviewed one book of the Discovery Girls four-book series, called Fab Girls Guides.  The title we read is “Friendship Hardship”.  I would not be 100% honest if I didn’t tell you that I chuckled A LOT through this text.  Not because it wasn’t accurate or gave poor advice, but because it was “spot-on” with the issues and drama I watch in the middle school girls I work with.  These issues are acutely important to them, even if they may seem silly to those of us who have lived through them and lived to tell about it.  Be honest, weren’t these the driving forces in your life at this age?  — lol –  The book offers good counsel on issues that range from gossip or bullying to cliques, popularity and distinguishing between true friends and “fair weather” friends.

I think that both the magazine and the book series have value for your tween and for you.  They are great tools to use together, discussing what your family believes about a topic and why.  They could be the beginning of opening discussions that will deepen your relationship with your daughter and pave the way for even more talks and trust as she becomes a teen.

Discovery Girls is providing a very generous giveaway prize for one Busy-at-Home reader:

  • a one-year subscription to Discovery Girls Magazine ($20 value)
  • a four-book set of Fab Girls Guides ($40 value)
  • Special Collector’s Edition with 10 years of Discovery Magazines best features

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.  Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, July 31, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit the Discovery Girls website and in a comment below share one thing that your tween would enjoy about it.

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  2. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect by clicking  the Join Button in the right-hand side bar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link or in the right-hand sidebar.  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  5. Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please).  Win a YEAR of Discovery Girls mag + a 4-book set for your favorite tween ($60 value) @busyathome @DGmagazine #momsparkmedia http://ow.ly/5Jm1M    Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
  6. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page.  Win a FULL YEAR of Discovery Girls magazine +  a 4-book, Fab Girl Guides set for your favorite tween ($60 value) @busyathome #momsparkmedia http://ow.ly/5Jm1M   Leave a comment below with a link to your post.

I was provided the opportunity to review a copy of Discovery Girls magazine, a Collector’s Edition and one title from the four-book set through Mom Spark Media.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As always at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

Sweet Potato Fries and Two Delicious Dipping Sauce Recipes #OreIdaFries

On July 19, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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I think it’s time to end the abuse of sweet potatoes. No more turned up noses or scrunchy faces, no tongues sticking out to mock and reject them. The sweet potato is an oft underused and maligned vegetable, relegated to side dishes at holiday meals and camouflaged with gooey, browned marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are healthy, […]

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I think it’s time to end the abuse of sweet potatoes. No more turned up noses or scrunchy faces, no tongues sticking out to mock and reject them. The sweet potato is an oft underused and maligned vegetable, relegated to side dishes at holiday meals and camouflaged with gooey, browned marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are healthy, high in both Vitamins A & C and loaded with dietary fiber. They’re a natural source of beta carotene and antioxidants. Plus, they’re just plain delicious! I love them baked, topped with lots of butter. It is only in recent years that the unexplored potential of this yummy veggie has inspired the masses to give it a second look. You can certainly purchase them canned or frozen, and fresh sweet potatoes are common fare in most produce departments, now. The new form that is inspiring former naysayers to take a fresh look at the fleshy orange tubers, however, is the ingenious sweet potato fry. As you know, fry it in America, and they will come. If you haven’t tried sweet potato fries, you should. They combine all the health benefits with a pleasing and familiar form kids and adults, alike, will love. Finally, sweet potatoes will get the respect they deserve and you’re going to get a brand new, tasty treat — plus recipes for two fabulous dipping sauces I created this week. :)

smoky cheese and bacon dip
Creamy Cinnamon Dip and Smoky Cheese and Bacon Dip with Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries.

Ore-Ida makes having sweet potato fries at home super simple. You can buy them frozen in your grocer’s freezer case, which is exactly what I did this week, when I received the opportunity to try them out AND create a couple dipping sauce recipes. Sam’s Club is the perfect spot for me to stock up on Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries. They’re available there in a whopping 4 lb bag, so I can always keep some on hand for a quick snack or to round out a quick pick-up meal.

Ore Ida Sweet Potato Fries

I made a run to Lincoln, on Sunday with my list in hand. I was going to Sam’s to get Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries, but I needed a few other items, too — cream cheese (for the dipping sauces), smoked gouda (It’s the only place I can find my favorite cheese, at an affordable price, so I always treat myself when I stop by Sam’s Club) hmmm… I wonder if I can dip sweet potato fries in smoked gouda? lol – oh! and I need hamburger to make homemade jerky. I can always find great deals on meat at Sam’s Club.

As I entered the parking lot, I realized I was definitely going to need to fill up my gas tank, before leaving. The Sam’s Club Member Price for gasoline was 30¢/ gallon less than I had paid at home the week before. Woohoo! I love saving money!

Sam's gas prices

I noted, once again, as I pulled my Sam’s Club Card from my purse, that it is definitely time to get the picture changed on my card. (You’ll see what I mean if you visit my Sweet Potato Fries ThisMoment video/slideshow, where I am able to have many more pictures of this shopping and recipe creating experience.) It’s only been about a bazillion years, since that original picture was taken and I have changed slightly, since then. Actually, it’s a little unsettling that I looked like that AND no one even questions me when I flash the “badge” at the door, but today, I’m in a hurry. There are sauces to make and fries to eat. No time for pictures. (That’s what I always say.)

I grabbed a cart and hustled straight back to the freezers, walked directly to everything Ore-Ida and scanned the shelves for…seriously? No sweet potato fries? But, I called ahead! Don’t tell me the news leaked out and there was a mad dash to scoop up all the sweet potato fries for some previously unknown sweet potato festival or something! Hhhhmmmppphhhhhh! Ok! Just calm down. Look again — Tater-Tots, Crinkle Cut Fries, Restaurant Style Fries, Hash Brown Potatoes, aaaaaaagggggghhhh! No sweet potato fries! Seriously, calm down. Walk around the freezer case to the other side, make the loop and come back to check one more time or… “Excuse me, kind stocker person. Where would I find Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries?” “They’re a special feature in the end cap on this row.” (I’ve always found Sam’s Club employees to be helpful and courteous.) The storm clouds lift and all is right with the world. I wheel around to the end cap where specially featured items are displayed. Of course they would be specially featured. It makes perfect sense. Enter music from heaven and spotlight from above. There they are — Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries. I lifted a bag into my cart and headed off to complete my Sam’s Club shopping list.

sweet potato fries in shopping cart

That’s everything. I make it through the checkout (No one even questions the picture of the stranger on my club card) and wheel my groceries to the van. A quick fill of the gas tank and I’m back on I-80, headed home and dreaming up dipping sauce for sweet potato fries. I know I want two — one savory and one sweet, but I still haven’t hammered out all the details, yet. Sometimes, the best parts of a recipe develop while your hands are “in the mix”, so to speak. That’s exactly what happened with these two yummy sauces. We absolutely loved them and will make them both, again. I’m going to share both recipes below, but to keep this post from being forty-two thousand, six hundred and thirty two feet long, I will only post a few pictures. Please, please visit my Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries ThisMoment Video/Slideshow and view the step-by-step pictures to walk you through the recipes.,,,

 

Creamy Cinnamon Dip

Rating: 51

5 minutes

8-10 servings

Creamy Cinnamon Dip

Super, simple! Creamy, cinnamony deliciousness! It was fantastic with sweet potato fries and as a fresh fruit dip. I think it would be amazing on waffles or toasted English muffins, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon King Arthur Flour Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • chopped pecans for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except pecans, in the bowl of your mixer and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with chopped pecans, if desired, and enjoy!
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My recipe software is incredibly picky about having two recipes on the same page, so CLICK HERE to get the recipe for Smoked Cheese and Bacon Dip.

I hope you’re convinced to give sweet potato fries a chance. If your family is like mine, they’ll be a hit and you can add one more simple, tasty dish to your menu plan. Be sure to like #OraIdaFries on Facebook, so you won’t miss any news or deals as they come up and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recipes and/or ThisMoment slideshow. What do you dip your sweet potato fries in?

This project has been compensated as part of an #OreIdaFries shopping mission for Heinz with #CollectiveBias. As always, at Busy-at-Home, views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

July Secret Recipe Club Entries

On July 19, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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A Promise Kept: Arm and Hammer Advanced White Brilliant Sparkle Toothpaste @bhg

On July 19, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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In a society that constantly bombards us with the idea that “truth is relative”, (I disagree, by the way), it’s a refreshing thing to find a company that delivers what it promises.  That’s how I’m feeling about Arm and Hammer after four weeks of using their Advanced White Brilliant Sparkle Toothpaste.  They didn’t promise that […]

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In a society that constantly bombards us with the idea that “truth is relative”, (I disagree, by the way), it’s a refreshing thing to find a company that delivers what it promises.  That’s how I’m feeling about Arm and Hammer after four weeks of using their Advanced White Brilliant Sparkle Toothpaste.  They didn’t promise that my teeth would be white in 2 hours or even in 14 days.  They didn’t require me to wear uncomfortable inserts or products for long periods in an attempt to bleach my teeth.  They simply stated that, “It safely polishes with micro-polishers for whiter and brighter teeth, and gently cleans away surface stains and penetrates tiny crevices to clean deep stains.”  So, what I expected was that over a period of time, with regular use, I could expect my teeth to be whiter than when I started using Arm and Hammer Advanced White Brilliant Sparkle Toothpaste.  That’s exactly what I got.  I couldn’t be more pleased!

Arm and Hammer Advanced White Brilliant Sparkle Toothpaste

My teeth aren’t PhotoShop white.  They never have been.  I was born with somewhat “off-white” teeth.  :)  They’re whiter than when I started and I have no reason to believe that won’t continue, as I move forward using the Arm and Hammer toothpaste.  I drink cola and iced tea on a daily basis.  Neither are best friends to dental health, but the stains are easily polished away with Advanced White Brilliant Sparkle.  I can still enjoy the drinks I like and have healthy, clean and whiter teeth.  Love it!  :)

My mouth is healthy and clean, using a product that delivers on its claims and leaves my teeth feeling dentist-office smooth.  It’s hard to beat that, but even better, my two younger kids are converts.  No one was more surprised than me, because they haven’t always been the most faithful with their oral hygiene, but they love Arm and Hammer toothpaste, meaning they are more consistent with their brushing.  For my youngest, especially, that’s HUGE!  The clean, smooth feel of her teeth and knowing they will get whiter and whiter as she continues to use it are inspiring great new habits in her.  I don’t know if it’s vanity or common sense, but the truth is, I don’t care.  She’s on a healthier path and that’s all good to me.

DIY is a fabulous way to save money, whether you are doing projects around the house or whitening your teeth.  Professional bleaching or whitening at the dentist office is incredibly expensive.  Do it yourself at home and put the dollars saved toward something fun for your family.  Also, from my previous two posts, you know there is more to toothpaste than meets the “tooth”, so to speak.  I used it to polish jewelry and to hang a shelf with impressive speed and accuracy, if I do say so myself.  Many of you shared other great tips and uses for toothpaste, on those posts, as well.  One product that does many jobs is always a good idea and a definite budget stretcher.

I was thrilled to find a $1 coupon attached to boxes of Arm and Hammer Advanced White Brilliant Sparkle when I ran to pick up another tube, today at my local Wal-Mart.  I did a little comparison shopping with the other major brand whitening toothpastes, while I was there, and found that not only was Arm and Hammer the same or less in price, but the tube contained 7.2 oz of toothpaste.  Other brands were 6 oz or less for the same or higher prices.  Brilliant!  It does what it says at the same or better price and gives me more in the package.  Seems like a bargain to me.  Hustle out to your local pharmacy or store and see if you can find the tubes with the Switch and Save $1 coupon, too.  You can do something great for your family’s dental health and save money in the process.  That makes you frugal AND smart!  :)  (I already knew that about you.)

Arm and Hammer is not only a trusted household name, but they are also incredibly generous.  They are once again sponsoring a $25 VISA Gift Card giveaway, here at Busy-at-Home.  Entry couldn’t be easier!

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or over and a US resident to enter.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline to enter is midnight (CST), Sunday, July 31, 2011.

 

Mandatory Entry:

What’s your best tip for encouraging great dental health in kids OR your best household tip for toothpaste?  Leave your answer in a comment below.

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Arm and Hammer on Facebook and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  2. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect by clicking  the Join Button in the right-hand side bar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link or in the right-hand sidebar.  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  6. Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please).  Learn the frugal way to a whiter smile AND win a $25 VISA Gift Card from Arm and Hammer and @busyathome @bhg http://ow.ly/5D3O4   Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
  7. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page.  Learn the frugal way to a whiter smile AND win a $25 VISA Gift Card from Arm and Hammer and @busyathome @bhg http://ow.ly/5D3O4 Leave a comment below with a link to your post.

This is a sponsored post for Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the maker of ARM & HAMMER branded products, who is compensating me to try different products. Sign up for a free sample of Advance White Brilliant Sparkle Toothpaste. And then head over to The Switch & Save Challenge to keep up with all of the bloggers and enter to win $25,000.

Zucchini Fritters: My July Secret Recipe Club Entry

On July 18, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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  I love checking out new foodie blogs and finding recipes that put some variety and creativity into our family’s menu plans.  That’s why Secret Recipe Club is such a blast for me.  I get the challenge of cooking or baking something completely new and my family thinks I’m an amazing genius in the kitchen!  […]

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I love checking out new foodie blogs and finding recipes that put some variety and creativity into our family’s menu plans.  That’s why Secret Recipe Club is such a blast for me.  I get the challenge of cooking or baking something completely new and my family thinks I’m an amazing genius in the kitchen!  Right, guys?  I’m an amazing genius in the kitchen?  :)

zucchini fritters

Zucchini Fritters served with sour cream and diced tomatoes.

I was lucky enough to be assigned Cook Lisa Cook for the July edition of Secret Recipe Club.  I’ll be making many trips back to Lisa’s blog, before I’ve exhausted the list of all the recipes I want to try, from her collection.  For this particular assignment, I selected Zucchini Fritters, 1) because I have never eaten or made them and 2) because I love new ideas to use fresh garden produce.  I didn’t change up very much with this recipe.  It’s scrumptious, as is.  I used a little less onion and a little more nutmeg.  I know you’re going to love these as much as our family!

Zucchini Fritters

Rating: 51

10 minutes

15 minutes

25 minutes

15 fritters

Zucchini Fritters

Super simple, fabulously frugal and absolutely delicious! Wonderful way to eat fresh produce from your garden.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia onion, minced
  • 3/4 cup King Arthur All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper to taste
  • peanut oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the zucchini, onions and egg.
  2. Add flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a very thin coating of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup about half full to dip batter into my skillet, flattening them as I poured them out.
  5. I fried the fritters 1-2 minutes per side until lightly browned.
  6. Drain on paper towels and while still hot, sprinkle with some additional salt & pepper to taste.
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Here’s how I put them together:

fritteringredients

Shredded zucchini, diced onion and other fritter ingredients.

 

  1. I mixed the zucchini, onions and eggs, then added the flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

    flour and nutmeg

    Nutmeg, flour and other dry ingredients added to batter.

  2. Heat enough peanut oil to cover the bottom of your skillet, on medium-high heat.
  3. I used my 1/3 cup measuring cup, filled about half full, to spread the batter into the bottom of my skillet.  I spread them out fairly thin, probably about 1/4 inch thick.

    cooking fritters

    Three zucchini fritters beginning to fry in my skillet.

  4. After 1-2 minutes, turn the fritters to cook the other side.  The color will be golden brown when they are ready to turn.

    turn the fritters

    When the bottoms are golden brown, flip the fritters to fry the other side.

  5. Drain the fritters on paper towels and then transfer to a plate.  I got 15 fritters from this batch, counting the ones that were eaten before they could make it to the plate.  :)

 

Our fifteen-year-old son, flipped for these and wanted to know if there was a way to take them in his lunch, when he’s detasseling in the fields, next week.  Then my son-in-law stopped by and saw what I was making.  He was super excited to try them, as he said his mom used to make zucchini fritters when he was a kid.  These definitely passed muster and he asked that I get the recipe to my daughter, right away.

zucchini fritters

Yum! My plate of zucchini fritters with sour cream and diced, fresh tomato.

I ate my fritters with sour cream and diced tomatoes.  I required myself to eat only two, but I’m not kidding when I tell you, it would have been nothing for me to polish off half a dozen!  Nothing beats the freshness of summer produce for flavor and texture.  I could eat these with fresh sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, and some sweet corn,…oh and some watermelon.  lol  Mmmm….The fresh tastes of summer make a hearty delicious meal, any way you serve them up!  How’s your garden coming?

Well, there’s no question this recipe is a keeper and that our family will be serving zucchini fritters, again.  Thanks so much to Cook Lisa Cook and to Secret Recipe Club for helping us discover them!

Check out all the other fabulous Secret Recipe Club entries for July!

 

(This recipe is linked to Grocery Cart Challenge.)

Chicken Chili Casserole – Easy Comfort Food Supper!!!!

On July 13, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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My recent post about Texas on Tour and the fun Chili Gift Set giveaway, set off my taste-bud alarm for a dish I haven’t prepared in awhile — Chicken Chili Casserole.  It was originally inspired by a recipe, called Sonora Chicken, from an old church cookbook.  My friend Carrie submitted a recipe that sounded so […]

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My recent post about Texas on Tour and the fun Chili Gift Set giveaway, set off my taste-bud alarm for a dish I haven’t prepared in awhile — Chicken Chili Casserole.  It was originally inspired by a recipe, called Sonora Chicken, from an old church cookbook.  My friend Carrie submitted a recipe that sounded so delicious and we HAD to try it, or at least our version of it.  As usual, I put our own family spin on it and it became Chicken Chili Casserole.  It’s warm, rich and comforting and it can be as spicy or mild as you choose to make it, depending on how spicy you make (or buy) your salsa.  Potluck simple and fairly inexpensive to make if you stockpile chicken when it’s on sale and make your own salsa.  (By the way, if you don’t make your own salsa, you will change your mind when I post the recipe in the next few days.)

asparagus

Yum! We served it with broiled asparagus and it was DELISH!Google Recipe View Microformatting by Easy Recipe1.2.4

 

Chicken Chili Casserole

Rating: 51

10-12 servings

Chicken Chili Casserole

Simple, frugal and delicious. Stockpile chicken when it’s on sale and make your own salsa and this delicious comfort food casserole will be a regular go-to meal on your menu-plan.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 2 (14.5 oz cans) your favorite chili beans
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 1/2 cups of sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 jalapeno, finely minced (optional)
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook and dice chicken, then set aside.
  2. Mix beans, soup, sour cream and salsa in a medium-sized mixing bowl. If you opt to add a little extra heat, add the minced jalapeno to this sauce mixture.
  3. Layer 1/2 of the diced chicken in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
  4. Tear 5 of the tortillas into small bite-sized pieces and layer over the chicken.
  5. For the third layer, spread 1/2 of the bean/soup/sour cream/salsa mixture over the tortillas pieces.
  6. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheddar cheese over the sauce layer.
  7. Repeat all four layers, using the last 2 cups of cheddar cheese on the very top.
  8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
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Here’s how to put it together:

  1. If you don’t have diced chicken in the freezer, cook and dice your chicken.

    diced chicken

    Dice chicken into bite-sized pieces.

  2. Mix beans, cream of chicken soup, salsa and sour cream in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

    sauce ingredients

    Mix the sauce ingredients (beans, salsa, sour cream, & cream of chicken).

  3. Layer 1/2 of the diced chicken into a 9×13 pan.

    chicken in baking dish

    Diced chicken in the first layer.

  4. Tear 5 tortillas into bite-sized pieces and layer over the chicken.tortilla layer
  5. Spread 1/2 of sauce/bean mixture over the tortilla layer.

    sauce layer

    Third layer is 1/2 of the sauce/bean mixture.

  6. Use 1 cup of the shredded cheddar to form the fourth layer (over the sauce).

    cheese layer

    Shredded cheese is the fourth layer.

  7. Repeat all four layers, ending with the final 2 cups of shredded cheddar in the very top layer.  Your pan will be VERY full.ready to bake
  8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  9. Enjoy!!!

    asparagus

    This was SO delicious. We served it up with broiled asparagus.

Texas on Tour and a Southwest-Style Giveaway!

On July 13, 2011, by Glenda Embree- BusyAtHome
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Texas on Tour is a fun and unique virtual tour of our biggest state, and there is still time to share it with your own family, since they have stops in four more states, this summer: Bite of Seattle……………….Seattle, WA…………………July 15-17 Ohio State Fair……………..Columbus, OH……………..July 27-31 Iowa State Fair……………..Des Moines, IA…………….August 11-21 Minnesota State Fair……..Minneapolis, […]

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Texas logo

Texas on Tour is a fun and unique virtual tour of our biggest state, and there is still time to share it with your own family, since they have stops in four more states, this summer:

  1. Bite of Seattle……………….Seattle, WA…………………July 15-17
  2. Ohio State Fair……………..Columbus, OH……………..July 27-31
  3. Iowa State Fair……………..Des Moines, IA…………….August 11-21
  4. Minnesota State Fair……..Minneapolis, MN…………August 25-28

Thanks to some fantastic virtual technology, at a Texas on Tour event, you can explore four Texas waterways on a wild kayaking adventure, or have your picture taken at the Alamo, the beach, or in Palo Duro Canyon!  You’ll be able to attend some fabulous music shows and enjoy the talents of great artists like, BettySoo, Warren Hood and Ryan Harkrider.  Visit the Discover Texas theater and learn some surprising things about Texas, then go head to head in a Texas Trivia Challenge for a great prize!  Not only will the Texas on Tour event be a great vacation for you and the people you love, it’s going to inspire you to take a real vacation to Texas and experience these phenomenal places and activities, in person!

texas sweepstakes

Enter the Texas on Tour Sweepstakes to win a trip for two to Texas!

Even better?  Yes, there’s more!  You can enter the Texas on Tour Sweepstakes to win a trip for two, to one of four destinations in Texas.  You get to choose the one that would be perfect for you and a companion.  What’s better than a free vacation?  Be sure to stop by and enter.

I visited family in Texas, twice, as a kid and got to swim in the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy the beaches.  My favorite trip to Texas, though, was right after college, when I was fortunate enough to fly to San Antonio to visit a friend.  It is one of my best “in my twenties” memories.  San Antonio is gorgeous and loaded with history and culture.  A gondola ride along the River Walk was one of my favorite evenings of the trip and I wish I had had an extra day to visit the Alamo.  If you have the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of San Antonio, I can highly recommend it!

It’s been so fun to reminisce about my trips to Texas as I wrote about the Texas on Tour events.  I’m also excited to be able to host a spicy, Texas giveaway as a part of this promotion, too.  One of our Busy-at-Home readers is going to win this Chili Bowl Gift Set.

chili bowl set

Win this Chili Bowl Gift Set in our Texas on Tour giveaway. It's chili seasonings, cornbread mix and a BEAUTIFUL chili bowl.

 

texas bowl

I absolutely love this unique and pretty bowl!

Giveaway Rules:

You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.  Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted.  Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org.  Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Wednesday, July 20, 2011.

Mandatory Entry:

Visit the Texas on Tour website and in a comment below, tell what activity or place your family would most enjoy visiting.

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Like Texas Tourism on Facebook and leave a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  2. Follow Texas Tourism on Twitter and leave a comment with your Twitter handle to let me know you did.
  3. Follow Busy-at-Home on Twitter.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  4. Like Busy-at-Home on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  5. Follow Busy-at-Home on Google Friends Connect by clicking  the Join Button in the right-hand side bar.  Leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  6. Subscribe to the Busy-at-Home Newsletter with this link or in the right-hand sidebar.  You will receive an email confirmation with a link that must be clicked to confirm your subscription.  Once you click the email link to confirm your subscription, leave me a comment to let me know you’ve done it.
  7. Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please).  Win a BEAUTIFUL chili bowl set with cornbread mix and chili seasonings from @texastourism  and @busyathome  #txontour  http://ow.ly/5CXq0  Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
  8. Post this giveaway on your Facebook page.  Win a BEAUTIFUL chili bowl set with cornbread mix and chili seasonings from @texastourism  and @busyathome PLUS plan a fabulous virtual vacation for your family with Texas on Tour!  #txontour  http://ow.ly/5CXq0 Leave a comment below with a link to your post.

I was provided the opportunity to review Texas on Tour, plus try out, and host a giveaway for the Chili Bowl Gift set, through Mom Spark Media.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As always at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.

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