The last remnants of snow have dripped from the gutters and there is only a woolen scarf and hat resting on the ground, where a little over a week ago, a robust snowman stood guard over our front yard. While temperatures are certainly warming, it really is still winter here in southeast Nebraska, and it [...]
The last remnants of snow have dripped from the gutters and there is only a woolen scarf and hat resting on the ground, where a little over a week ago, a robust snowman stood guard over our front yard. While temperatures are certainly warming, it really is still winter here in southeast Nebraska, and it will be for some time, still. It will be weeks past Easter, before we can confidently shrug off the dangers of snow and frost and proclaim the official return of spring to our gardens. Accepting that reality does not ward off the daydreams of what’s to come, however. After all, the seed catalogs have arrived, and it’s time to line the windowsills with tender seedlings in anticipation of spring planting. We always seem to have one week in January or February where the weather mocks us with gorgeous sunny days and seventy degree temperatures, inspiring an intense desire to turn the soil and plant vegetables and flowers, even though it will be weeks before it it’s safe to do so. This year is no different and I fight the same inclinations as in other years.
I’m excited to be making preparations and plans, though, and look forward with great anticipation to seeing the plans become reality as we redesign, repurpose and continue to turn our backyard into a place where we can enjoy beauty and bounty. In addition to the mountain of seed catalogs, I have pinned so many great gardening plans, tips and information on Pinterest, this year. My goal is to incorporate many of them into our outdoor living space, as time and finances permit. I will be working with several of my favorite companies to help make my garden and outdoor spaces as successful and beautiful as they can be and I’ll be sharing my favorite products with you, as I work to achieve it. There will be reviews, tutorials, ideas and instructions, along with some extraordinary giveaways to help you make the most of your gardens and outdoor living spaces!
It’s even more important, these days, to do all we can to stretch the grocery budget and get the greatest nutrition and quality for the dollars we do spend. A vegetable garden is the best way I know to do that and be assured of exactly where your food has come from. Initially, you will have to spend some money to get started gardening, but averaged over the years of healthy delicious produce you will gain, your annual costs will become slight and out of pocket expenses will be less each year. You can start simple or elaborate, as your budget allows, and each year simply add and expand your knowledgebase, as well as your garden and grocery savings. There is something so satisfying about starting with a seed in the dirt and watching the plant grow, flourish and then produce an abundance of veggies for your family. I’m anxious to get started and I hope you’ll join me, whether you have a small patio or balcony garden, or a large backyard space. There will be something for everyone and I can’t wait to see all that you grow!
Here’s a sneak peek at one of the newest additions to our gardening tools–a Mantis ComposT-Twin dual chamber composter!
Spending money for rich garden soil and fertilizers adds up over time and if you invest the same money in an excellent composting system, garden waste, kitchen waste, fireplace ashes, newspaper and more household items than you may realize, that normally end up in your garbage, can be recycled to create your own nutrient-dense soil for vegetable and flower gardens. It’s better for the environment, cuts down on your waste, eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers and saves money when you don’t have to purchase soil or soil enhancers to keep your plants strong and healthy. There are so many fantastic and unique features about this compost tumbler. I’m anxious to share all of them with you, show you how easy it was for us to assemble and how we started our first batch of compost. Plus, I have an exciting secret! Mantis is sponsoring a giveaway, in which one lucky Busy-at-Home gardening reader will win a ComposT-Twin Dual Chamber Composter of their own. Keep checking back, next week, so you can enter this fabulous giveaway, that will kick off our gardening series for 2012!
Do you compost, now? Do you want to learn more about it? What are your plans for a garden, this summer? Do you have a big space or will you garden in a few pots on the deck? What are your favorite things to grow? What do you want to learn more about growing? I can’t wait to hear all your plans and kick off our new series with this exciting review and giveaway!
For color, nutrition and flavor veggies are at their best if they haven’t been cooked to mush before serving them. This recipe is one of those mix it up and use what you have on hand at the moment ones, but the cooking principle would be the same, regardless of what veggies you choose. Normally, [...]
For color, nutrition and flavor veggies are at their best if they haven’t been cooked to mush before serving them. This recipe is one of those mix it up and use what you have on hand at the moment ones, but the cooking principle would be the same, regardless of what veggies you choose. Normally, green onions and garlic would be the first things I pulled out for this dish; and I almost always have both on hand. For this night, though, I had neither. While they would have packed a great flavor punch, the mix of veggies I chose were delicious on their own. Get creative and inventive. Use seasonal vegetables that are at the peak of their nutritional value and least expensive. Use veggies your family loves and then toss in something new, to get them to try it. Not only do vegetables cooked in this quick, high-heat method taste fantastic, they make the plate and everything else on it look beautiful!
Select the vegetables you want to stir fry. I had kale, red cabbage, zucchini, carrots, yellow squash and bell peppers, on hand. The colors were absolutely gorgeous!
Wash and slice your veggies into bite-sized pieces. (If you are using kale, be sure to remove the leaves from the thick center stems, discard the stems and slice or tear the leaves into bite-size pieces.) When all the vegetables are chopped, toss them with a little olive oil (maybe 1 or 2 Tablespoons depending on how many vegetables you are using. As you can see I filled my huge 12″ cast iron skillet to overflowing.). Be sure to add some salt and pepper, to taste.
Cook over high heat, stirring to prevent scorching and to allow the vegetables to quickly heat through. The veggies should intensify in color as they heat and be hot through, but tender crisp when they are done. It will only take 3 or 4 minutes, at most. Serve them alongside any main dish to create a beautiful and inviting plate!
Last week we talked about child safety and the February Champions for Kids: Energizer Simple Service Project that I’m working on. I love Champions for Kids and the motivation to get out in the community and make a difference in the lives of children. Champions for Kids is not just for bloggers. Their goal is [...]
Last week we talked about child safety and the February Champions for Kids: Energizer Simple Service Project that I’m working on. I love Champions for Kids and the motivation to get out in the community and make a difference in the lives of children. Champions for Kids is not just for bloggers. Their goal is to mobilize millions of people, in their own communities, to do something simple that has a positive impact on the lives of children, right where they live. It’s easy and you can take part by visiting the Champions for Kids website and signing up for their current monthly simple service project.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to do something to help provide for the safety needs of children in our church nursery and youth programs. Our new church building, built from a recycled Walmart, has been occupied for two weeks, now, and it’s absolutely phenomenal! Serving hundreds of kids each week, through various youth, Sunday School and AWANA programs, it is the perfect choice in our community for me to work into the Energizer Simple Service Project.
When it comes to kids, there are always general needs to be met, which help with safety and health. Plus our church also houses a huge gymnasium, now, where the kids can be active and play, meaning there will be the occasional bump or scrape, that will need attention. Items to meet those everyday needs were simple to find at my local Walmart and I had a good time picking out things I knew the kids would like. Things like antibiotic ointment and Band-Aids with fun Disney characters made it into my “preparedness” kit.
With so many children playing and learning together, it’s easy for germs and the latest “bug” to move through a building quickly, too. That’s why I was so excited to learn that Energizer isn’t just responsible for the Energizer Bunny, flashlights and batteries. Did you know they are the company behind many of the brands you use every day, like: Banana Boat, Schick, Skintimate, Playtex Infant Care products, Wet Ones, and Playtex Feminine Care products. I found two big canisters of Wet Ones Antibacterial Face and Hand Wipes in two different scents to add to the kit, plus a three-pack of Kleenex.
The biggest part of what I wanted to provide for our church was a Weather Radio. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was present as an AWANA leader on a Wednesday night, several years ago, when the tornado sirens went off and outlying farms and homes in our community sustained a lot of damage. Emergency procedures were already in place and we knew what to do to keep the kids as safe as possible in those circumstances, but there are two things I remember wishing could have been different.
- I wished we had had more advance warning. By the time the sirens are blowing, that means a tornado has already been spotted on the ground.
- I wanted to provide something simple that would be a good distraction from being scared for the wide variety of ages involved and wouldn’t require a lot of organization or distribution of products.
My solutions were an awesome portable weather radio that can let us know well ahead of time if dangerous weather is approaching and some cool Energizer flashlights with lots of batteries. For the older kids, most have lived in the area long enough to have experienced tornado watches and warnings before, but for the littler ones, it’s a confusing and sometimes scary thing to suddenly be outside the normal routine and NOT at home. And even if you’re older, it’s a little unsettling not to be at home, when an emergency situation occurs. With a couple hundred kids sitting along the walls of the inner halls of our old building, heads tucked and covered, and loud sirens blaring; it only took a few minutes for the fear to set in.
One quick-thinking leader started a sing-a-long that provided the needed distraction; and what a glorious sound it must have been in heaven to hear all those little voices raised in praise and worship. Singing is a great way to keep a child’s mind off their worries, but in our new building, we serve so many more children and they’ll be spread over a much larger area. I wanted to add one more “something simple” that would hold their attention and keep them thinking creatively, instead of about the storm – shadow puppets. On the large walls of the gymnasium in our new church, protected from the storm on all sides by the outer rooms and walls encircling the gym, every kid in that expansive room will be able to see and create fun shadow puppets, guessing at the creations of their friends and coming up with some of their own. I loved that Energizer designed the flashlights to feature familiar Disney characters like Cars and Princesses.
To check out my complete Walmart shop for this fun service project, you can view my Google + album.
I delivered my “care package” to our nursery director at church, on Sunday and it was as exciting for me to give it as it was for her to receive it! I love doing these projects and being involved with Champions for Kids!
How could you help an organization in your community be better prepared to serve children in an emergency? Head on over to the Champions for Kids Simple Service Projects page and learn how you can get involved.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #EnergizerCFK #CBias As with all Busy-at-Home posts, views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
I was contacted recently to do a test drive on Meaningful Beauty’s new Advanced Anti-Aging Skincare System. After celebrating my 50th birthday with you, last summer, it’s probably time for me to face a couple of the tiny lines asserting themselves around my eyes. Holy cow! Were those there before? I have that “after 40″ [...]
I was contacted recently to do a test drive on Meaningful Beauty’s new Advanced Anti-Aging Skincare System. After celebrating my 50th birthday with you, last summer, it’s probably time for me to face a couple of the tiny lines asserting themselves around my eyes. Holy cow! Were those there before?
I have that “after 40″ eye problem that makes me hold newspapers at arms-length or wear reading glasses if I really want to see tiny details clearly. It’s created a slight difficulty in applying makeup, since to see up close, I need reading glasses; but to apply makeup, I can’t wear glasses. Still, this has worked out fairly well for me, since not being able to see them, those tiny lines around my eyes were easy to ignore. Taking that closeup picture and seeing it full-screen was a real wake-up call! And having had a new picture done, recently, I can see, even with makeup and from a distance, there is a definite change in the skin around my eyes.
I’ve been a basic soap and water girl for years, and if my skin felt dry, I’d use a little moisturizer. I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t even been particularly brand-loyal. Since it’s definitely time to get a little more deliberate about my skin care, it was a pretty exciting day when I received my Meaningful Beauty Test Drive Kit.
Meaningful Beauty just launched a next generation advanced skincare system which features the new Crème de Serum—a triple potency product that combines the power of a serum with the rich moisturizing effects of a cream, and is the new secret weapon in the Meaningful Beauty program. This new anti-aging treatment combines three powerful ingredients: super-antioxidant melon complex, special peptides and hyaluronic acid in one unique delivery system. (It’s the one that looks all stripy and swirly and gorgeous in the kit above.) Designed to help protect skin, increase hydration and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, the Crème de Serum provides the fresh, dewy look desired by women of all ages.
The active ingredients found in the Crème de Serum are suspended separately in a clear gel until the moment they are released. Then, with one pump, they instantly blend together and activate to provide the benefit of all three products in one:
- Orange Swirl – formulated to help provide protection with a super-antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD) from a rare French melon (a hero ingredient seen throughout the brand’s most effective products)
- White Swirl – contains anti-aging peptides designed to help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and deeper wrinkles
- Clear Gel – includes hyaluronic acid which helps hold in moisture for a fresh, dewy look
The Crème de Serum is designed to be used in conjunction with the four other products in the new Meaningful Beauty skin care system to nourish skin and help protect against the visible signs of premature aging.
The NEW Meaningful Beauty® system is composed of 5 simple steps plus 2 bonus products:
1.) Skin Softening Cleanser
2.) Antioxidant Day Crème SPF 20 UVA/UVB
3.) Crème de Serum (New)
4.) Lifting Eye Crème – Advanced Formula (New)
5.) Skin Brightening Décolleté and Neck Treatment SPF 15 (New)
6.) Glycolic Treatment Pads (New – Bonus)
7.) Glowing Serum (Bonus)
You can get the perfect Meaningful Beauty kit for your own skin by visiting them online at MeaningfulBeauty.com or by calling 1-877-383-1212.
Meaningful Beauty also provided a second kit for me to share with someone “meaningful in my life”. What great fun it was to surprise my 27-year-old daughter with it! She told me that as she approaches 30, she has noticed changes in her skin and lines around her eyes, so she is excited to test the program with me!
I wrote this review, and will be posting a second with my updates and results, while participating in a test drive campaign by Mom Central Consulting, on behalf of Meaningful Beauty, and received a 5-step treatment kit to facilitate my review, a second 5-step treatment kit to give away to someone else, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Our family loves Neosporin for healing cuts and scrapes. You would be hard-pressed to ever find our medicine cabinet without a tube. That’s why I was particularly excited to have a chance to review the new Neosporin Essentials kit for treating eczema. As you may remember, from previous posts, my husband battles severe eczema on [...]
Our family loves Neosporin for healing cuts and scrapes. You would be hard-pressed to ever find our medicine cabinet without a tube. That’s why I was particularly excited to have a chance to review the new Neosporin Essentials kit for treating eczema. As you may remember, from previous posts, my husband battles severe eczema on the knuckles of his right hand. In his work, his hands are exposed to lots of grease, oil and grime and he washes them often, so the dryness that goes along with frequent handwashing only serves to irritate and inflame his diagnosed condition, even more. Over the last several years, we have tried several different products and supplements, without much long-term change.
Neosporin Essentials products are formulated with ingredients that help attract, retain and lock in moisture to help skin to look healthy. They also make use of botanicals that can help to soothe dry irritated skin. Essentials is comprised of three products: Daily Body Wash, Daily Moisturizing Cream and an Anti-Itch Cream. David actually used the products twice a day, morning and evening, with additional applications of the lotion throughout the day. He loved the way his skin looked and felt immediately after using them. He felt like the body wash actually helped to lift away the dry layers of skin that normally build up over the affected area on his hand. After a day at work, his sore hand was ready for another treatment. Since we were aware that there is nothing that can cure eczema, we were simply hoping for an improvement in appearance and comfort in the long-term. Unfortunately, after a little over three weeks using the product every day, there really hasn’t been a significant change in appearance or comfort, other than within the first hour or so after use. The major benefit for David, was that there is less of a “build-up” of the dry flaky skin because it is easier to remove and wash away with the use of these products. While his eczema still flares every day and the redness hasn’t really subsided, he doesn’t experience the cracking and bleeding that the dry “build-up” caused, previously.
So, I guess you could say ours is a mixed review. While Neosporin Essentials didn’t provide long-term relief and change, it made some slight improvements in a severe eczema condition, immediately after use. The lotion absorbed quickly and did not leave David’s skin feeling greasy. The smoother, softer skin it produced lasted only a short while, however, before a new application was necessary. Cracking was reduced, but redness and itching remained essentially the same. In milder cases, with work conditions more conducive to healthy skin, it may well be enough to effect a dramatic difference. It just didn’t work that way for us.
Neosporin supplied a trial pack of Neosporin Essentials, through Mom Central, in order for me to test the products and conduct this review. I was provided a gift card to conduct the tests and write about my findings. A positive review was not required and as with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Imagine being a thirteen year-old-girl, and in a span of literally only a few months, you gain more than sixty pounds, even though your eating habits and activity level have had no changes. You develop severe and uncontrollable acne over your entire body and wide, purple stretch marks across all your skin. Your body perspires [...]
Imagine being a thirteen year-old-girl, and in a span of literally only a few months, you gain more than sixty pounds, even though your eating habits and activity level have had no changes. You develop severe and uncontrollable acne over your entire body and wide, purple stretch marks across all your skin. Your body perspires in a way and an amount you have never experienced, ever, and no antiperspirant on the market can be applied often enough to make a difference. You have horrible digestive problems and your hair is falling out. On top of that you feel inexplicably angry, depressed and have wild mood swings. You’re exhausted all the time, needing to sleep 12-16 hours a day. People around you look at you and what’s happening to you and shake their heads. She’s lazy, she overeats, she’s rebellious, she should exercise more, she should eat less, she doesn’t care about her own appearance or hygiene, she should…, she should…, she should… Judgement, judgement, judgement – without the facts or knowledge to base that judgement on. We all do it; look at someone’s physical appearance and assume we know what they’re all about.
Our 19-year-old daughter has been battling PCOS and insulin resistance for almost six years, now. Not only is it extremely rare for someone as young as she was to be diagnosed (We diagnosed it ourselves and after two years of cancer scares, CAT scans, ultrasounds and what seemed like gallons of blood work, the doctors finally came to the same conclusion.), but her symptoms would be severe and frustrating for anyone, much less for a child. We all know the old adages about not judging a book by its cover and beauty coming from within; and I agree with all of them, to an extent. I am also realistic enough to know that all of us develop some sense of worth and confidence from the way we feel about the way we look and from the way we feel OTHERS think we look. For a teen, this is an even bigger struggle. For right or wrong, good or bad, we all view ourselves, to some degree, by who we see looking back at us in the mirror. Over time, maturity, wisdom and life experience temper the way we feel about ourselves and the rude comments of others. We understand more fully the worth and value imbued in us by a loving and merciful God. I’m so excited that our daughter has grown into a woman who sees her purpose and value through the eyes of her Creator. She understands His will and purpose for her are so much more than appearance; and her devotion to bringing Him glory by the way she lives, serves and shares with others has developed her into someone truly beautiful, inside and out. But, as a mom, when I’m given a chance to do something that may lessen or remove one of the symptoms of her condition, I’m anxious to try and do that. Anytime she or I discover, through our research, something that may help, even in a small way, she makes that lifestyle change.
X Out is an acne treatment, developed by the makers of Proactiv, to fit the active, busy lifestyles of teens. It’s one, simple, two-minute step to complete, PLUS it can be used not just as a facial wash, but as a mask or a spot treatment, when you need it. Teens simply wash their face with X Out, in the morning and at night. It contains prescription-grade acne medication, which is pulled into the skin as they wash their face. That medicine goes deep into the pores and stays behind, even after rinsing, to fight acne bacteria all day long. X Out contains a cleanser made from coconut derivatives, an exfoliant, ingredients to moisturize and smooth and that refreshing, invigorating feel, it is known for, comes from menthol.
At this point of just beginning our testing, the one feature of X Out that seems a little silly and unnecessary, to both my daughter and myself, is the purple square found on the package. It’s a QR code. Teens download the QR app onto their smartphones and then by scanning the code on their product, they have access to a daily video, exactly two-minutes long, that they can watch while they spend two minutes massaging the cleanser into their skin and washing. So, far the videos have been perfectly harmless, and occasionally funny. It’s not likely to be something our daughter will continue with, since she is perfectly capable of focusing on a task for two minutes, but I can see how younger teens might find it a fun distraction.
The testimonials and success stories for X Out are extremely positive and I’m excited to be given the opportunity for our daughter to test it for the next four weeks. It was a nice surprise to open the package and find a body bar included as an extra gift, too. Because the acne that is part of living with PCOS is so severe, painful and widespread, there aren’t any over-the-counter treatments we’ve found that come close to being effective. Doctors have prescribed a variety of chemical medications and topical treatments that were also ineffective and created even more symptoms, besides having dangerous side effects. Basically left to find solutions on our own, we’ve tried just about everything. It’s why we have great hope for the prescription-quality medication in X Out and are looking forward to some positive changes in at least one of the difficult symptoms of living with PCOS. So, just like with people, we’re not going to judge X Out by “its cover”, its simple one-step process, plain packaging and what may seem like a sort of silly marketing tool (the videos). We’re going to take four weeks to get to know it and really get to see what it’s like on the inside. I’ll keep you posted and let you know about the results at the end of our four-week trial.
I wrote this review while participating in a test drive campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of X Out and received an X Out product sample to facilitate my review, one to giveaway, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Last month, I got to share my first Champions for Kids simple service project with you. I’m so pleased to have an opportunity to complete a second project in our community and share how you can get involved, right where you live. This month, Champions for Kids is partnered with Energizer to prepare kits to [...]
Last month, I got to share my first Champions for Kids simple service project with you. I’m so pleased to have an opportunity to complete a second project in our community and share how you can get involved, right where you live. This month, Champions for Kids is partnered with Energizer to prepare kits to help children stay safe and be prepared.
Over 9 million children suffer from non-fatal injuries each year, and accidents are the leading cause of death for children. Additionally, dangerous weather events cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year. 70% of power outages in the U.S. are weather related. Numerous power failures are caused by natural weather phenomena such as lightening, rain, snow, ice, wind, and even dust. The Center of Disease Control recommends having a kit ready in preparation for any emergency that may arise. They recommend the kit include food, water, flash light, extra batteries, medications, first aid kit, sanitation and personal hygiene items, copies of personal documents, and other necessities. It’s a good idea for all of us to prepare ourselves and our children for emergency situations that may occur. But we can do even more, by helping agencies and organizations in our communities that serve children, to also be prepared in emergency events.
This past weekend was especially poignant for me and for many others in our community, members of my local church, specifically. We held our first service in our “new to us” church building, Sunday morning. I say new to us, because rather than starting from scratch when we began building to accommodate our growing congregation, our church purchased an old WalMart building in town and recycled it into the most wonderful house of worship. I think you will agree with me that nothing about it resembles its former purpose.
As I decided what I wanted to do to help with child safety in our community, my mind was continually drawn back to this church and the hundreds of children it serves each week. Cold weather and it’s dangers are very real in frigid Nebraska winters, but they are also something that all of us are so accustomed to, that preparation and safety are almost second nature here. Our new building even has a back-up generator built-in, should we find ourselves without power for a time. However, there IS one weather-related danger that even though we always expect it, when it will appear, and the speed with which it happens, requires quick thinking and preparedness to provide adequate shelter and safety. It’s a summer-time weather hazard that Nebraskans know all to well – TORNADOES!
While you could doubtlessly find children being served on any day of the week, at Hillcrest Evangelical Free Church, Wednesday nights there are hundreds of kids, from infants to 8th graders, involved in nursery, AWANA and youth group activities. I was present on one of those evenings when a tornado warning was issued and all the children need to be moved to safety. I decided that I wanted to design my Energizer Simple Service Project with Champions for Kids to help the church be well prepared to keep children in their care, happy and safe, and to know well in advance if tornado weather was threatening. I will be preparing a “Light Up a Life Care Kit” for the children in our church. Energizer has some great products that will be essential elements in creating it.
You can be one of the millions who help your community be a prepared and safe haven for children. Getting involved with Champions for Kids Simple Service Projects is incredibly easy and so rewarding. How will you engage your co-workers, community leaders or church members to provide safety kits for kids in your town? Visit the Champions for Kids website to get fantastic ideas and support, to report on your project and to find out more about how important and needed your help is. I can’t wait to hear how you bless the kids in your own town!
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #EnergizerCFK #CBias As with all Busy-at-Home posts, views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
UPDATE: It is with great sadness that I can no longer endorse the company producing and marketing the NuWave PIC. I LOVE, seriously LOVE the product, but the manner in which they charge for shipping is, in my opinion, not ethical. The product is worth far more than the $99 being charged for it; and [...]
UPDATE: It is with great sadness that I can no longer endorse the company producing and marketing the NuWave PIC. I LOVE, seriously LOVE the product, but the manner in which they charge for shipping is, in my opinion, not ethical. The product is worth far more than the $99 being charged for it; and it would seem more honest to me to simply charge what the product is actually worth, rather than saying it is only $99 and then charging inflated prices for the shipping and handling. Should those practices ever change, Busy-at-Home would be glad, once again, to endorse not only a great product, but the company who produces it. Thank you for understanding.
Okay, tell the truth. You thought I was NEVER posting another recipe, again. Right? Me, TOO! No, actually, believe it or not I have still been cooking up a storm, all this time. (My people like to eat.) There have just been so many amazing projects and giveaways to share with you lately, that between completing them and writing about them, and once in awhile homeschooling and doing a load of laundry or going way out on a limb and getting in 2 or 3 hours of sleep, the recipes just haven’t been getting posted. So, get ready. There will probably be a whole slew of them coming at once! -lol- It’s feast or famine around here, Baby. Tonight though, we’re going to feast. And this dish will be a keeper. You may actually want to pull it together for your family dinner on Sunday. They’ll love it!
I was wandering through the boards on Pinterest, last week, and I found a pin that looked wonderful and it led me to Let’s Dish and the recipe for Cheesy Enchilada Casserole. Danelle’s site is gorgeous. Her food photography skills are over the top. I could have spent hours just looking at all her pictures, except for the fact that I was now determined to make that recipe — sort of. You already know this story. Some of the ingredients, I didn’t have. Some of them, my family didn’t care for. And I had an idea or two to make this gorgeous dish with our own family flair. So, here is our interpretation with many thanks to Danelle, for inspiring us to add what is a new family favorite to our meal rotation. (On a side note, I think this dish would freeze amazingly well, too.)
As it turns out, the timing to give this a shot was perfect! I had just received a NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop, from Hearthware, to review; and so I was able to prepare the filling for this yummy dish, right in the middle of my kitchen counter! (You’ll see why that’s a big deal, in just a minute.) Those of you who’ve been around Busy-at-Home for awhile, no that I cook on a Samsung Induction Range. I absolutely adore induction cooking and would be hard-pressed to ever go back.
To pare things down to the bare facts for you, induction cooking uses an electromagnet to generate heat in the cooking vessel, not in the cooktop, itself. Under the glass of the cooktop there is a copper coil, that produces a gentle electromagnetic field when electricity passes through it. This starts the molecules of your pan vibrating, which creates heat. The pan is heating up, not the cooktop. Totally cool, right? Your cookware needs to be stainless steel or cast iron (magnetic) in order for the range to work. I can boil a saucepot of water in about 90 seconds on my stovetop. The glass top doesn’t heat up (though it DOES get warm under the pot, where heat from the pot is transferred to the cook top), because all the energy goes directly into the cookware. It’s a much more even and consistent way of cooking and I don’t have any of the issues that come with typical glass top stoves. For instance, spills don’t bake on. Sprinkling sugar onto most hot glass-tops, results in a lifelong, baked on crunch or even small pits burned in. Induction cooktops don’t have enough heat to melt the sugar, mush less burn it on. Love, love, love that! My grandbabies have stood on their tippy-toes and reached over the top edge of the stove and unless they directly touched the pot, I didn’t have to worry about a burn. The moment that truly sold me was a demonstration where a skillet had been cut in half and then placed on the range. The rep cracked an egg, half onto the skillet, and half onto the “burner” of the cooktop. In a mere moment, the side of the egg sitting in the skillet was cooked through, while the half sitting on the burner was as raw as the moment he had placed it there. Amazing! Okay, so enough with my love fest for my induction range. Now that you get how amazing it is and how it works, I want to tell you that there is one thing about it that annoys me profusely. It only has one large burner. The other three are terribly small. In this family, that’s a problem. We don’t cook small. Hmmph! A bothersome raincloud on my kitchen parade.
I’ve also told you, many times, that I am amazed at the way that God provides; and how I never cease to be delighted at the way He takes interest in and cares about even the small, everyday things in our lives. In a strange twist of events, He provided me with a “big burner” through my association with Hearthware, the company that brought us that fabulous NuWave oven! The NuWave PIC (Precision Induction Cooktop) is one of their new products and what a blessing! I was fortunate enough to be asked to test it out and share my thoughts with you. A girl never gets tired of “having her dreams come true”. This was over-the-top perfect! I am officially in “big burner” heaven! – lol
So, here’s how my first cooking session with this excellent
Needless to say, I’m as thrilled with the NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop as I was with the NuWave Oven. You can bank on the fact that I am officially a hardcore Hearthware products fan and baby this is a TWO big-burner kitchen, now!
What’s your family’s favorite winter-time comfort food — the one that’s so delish and they get excited about when they hear that’s what’s for dinner? Did you change up a tried and true recipe and make it all your own? I hope you’ll share it in a comment, below!
I received a NuWave PIC in order to test it in my own kitchen and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my own personal experience with the product.