Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Love Affair with Greek Yogurt and Granola

I have been using Greek Yogurt in place of regular yogurt in my household for about the last 6 months.  I love the creamy texture, the rich taste, and the health benefits.  Greek Yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt and is fat-free which is hard to believe with its creamy consistency.  This variety of yogurt is more expensive than its plain yogurt counterpart, but it is well worth it!  I have started buying it in bulk at Costco with their Kirkland Signature brand which reduces the cost quite a bit.

I have used Greek Yogurt in place of sour cream in many recipes.  I love to serve it to my toddler mixed with some honey.  It is one of her favorite treats.  I enjoy it for breakfast with granola mixed in.  I was recently sent several sample bags of granola from Love Grown Foods.  You can tell from my picture that I have already been snacking on this wonderful granola.  It is disappearing quickly, so you are lucky that I snapped a picture of what I have left before it is gone altogether!  As an add-in for my Greek Yogurt, I enjoy the Simply Oats variety which is flavored with honey and agave.  The cinnamon and crunch make my morning yogurt sublime!

When I am craving an afternoon sweet snack, I grab the Cocoa Goodness from Love Grown Foods.  This variety is also sweetened with honey and agave, but there is also cocoa powder and dark chocolate mixed in.  It is super good and when I mix it with Greek Yogurt, I am able to indulge my sweet craving and get some protein mixed in.  I think it is better than ice cream!

I haven't tried the Sweet Cranberry Pecan variety yet, but I look forward to the dried cranberries, coconut, and pecans that are in this bag.  I appreciate what is not in these bags of granola from Love Grown Foods - No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No Hydrogenated Oils, Free of Preservatives, and Free of GMO Ingredients.  For those that are on a gluten-free diet, these are a great choice too.

You can learn more about the Love Grown Foods and see the other flavors they offer by visiting their website: Love Grown Foods

As a note of disclaimer - I received the Love Grown Foods granola as a prize from a Twitter Party.  I was not asked to post a review, but I have chosen to share the love of Love Grown Foods with my blog readers.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dr. Scholl's for Her

OK, a little about me.  I am 5'9 inches and I have never wanted to make myself look taller.  High heels are not something I have ever worn.  Some day though, I hope to slip on a pair to see what the hype is about.  I just have to work on getting my calf muscles a little more toned first!

Oddly, Bzz Agent thought I would be a good fit for their newest campaign - Dr. Scholl's for Her.

Ultra-soft FabuSTEP® Gel Arch shifts pressure off ball of foot 
Immediate and long lasting comfort guaranteed, or your money back
Practically invisible, even in strappy heels 2" and up
Slim design won’t make shoes feel tight

I received my BzzKit the other day, and discovered what these insoles are all about.  They are designed to be worn inside of high heels, offering extra support and cushioning to these notoriously painful types of footwear.  The insoles themselves feel really neat.  They are a gel-like material - not something that would flatten with use. They have an adhesive on the back so that they will stay in place with wear.  With heels, this can be very important, otherwise you will be messing with your insoles constantly.  Plus, those little insoles could peek out of your shoes giving away your need for help.

You may ask, what do I plan to do with them since I do not own any shoes with any sense of a heel?  My oldest daughter has been having heel pain when she runs.  For a while now, I have been wanting to buy her insoles to see if they may help.  With it being summertime, she will be wearing her Keen shoes on a daily basis. I have put these insoles in her Keens and I am excited to see if they resolve her problems.  I think the arch support from these insoles will be helpful.  I have several $4.00 off coupons for these insoles so let me know if you want me to mail you one!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homemade Play-Dough

The BEST Play-Dough Recipe

Here is my recipe for really good homemade play-dough.  It is super fun to make with your kids 
and I like it better than the stuff you can get at the store.  If you have never used Cream of Tarter before,
you can buy it with the seasonings at most grocery stores.  I use it to make Snickerdoodles, and it is also
necessary for this play-dough recipe.

Ingredients: 1 C Flour
1 C Water - warmed on the cooktop or micorwave
1/4 C Salt
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Cream of Tarter
Food Coloring - there are other alternatives such as kool-aid too
Sparkles - if you want to add a little fun
Sauce Pan and Wooden Spoon 

Put all of your ingredients (except coloring) into a big sauce pan 
and put the heat on low.

You don't want clumps, so keep it going

Once it forms a nice clump, remove it from the pan and separate it
so that you can add a little color. 

Choose a few colors for your dough and knead the color into each 
section until the color is distributed.  Your dough just needs some
time to cool and then it is ready for fun!  Make sure you store your
dough in a sealed container.  I have also used double ziploc bags to 
keep it moist.  The dough will be good for multiple play times for
up to 6 months.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Style United

As a member of SheSpeaks, I was asked to evaluate a new website designed my Proctor and Gamble called Style United.  I have been playing around on this site for a couple of days now, and thought that I would share my take on the site with you.

StyleUnited is brought to you by brands including Olay, Frederic Fekkai, DDF Skincare and Cover Girl. Providing access to exclusive editorial content and personalized recommendations, StyleUnited connects women to their full style potential using these unique tools:

  • Style 360 - a fully personalized diagnostic quiz that has been designed to understand your individual needs in skin care, hair care, cosmetics and fashion.
  • Customized Beauty and Fashion Content - hundreds of curated articles, blogs and how-to videos from industry experts created to answer your every question while keeping you up on the latest trend news.

While I found the site a bit slow to use, I did enjoy the tips and information that came with the quizzes that were offered in the various areas.  I also found the recommended products to be nice complete with links of where to purchase the products online.  There are videos for those that learn by watching, and lots of advice in the form of articles and pictures on how to achieve today's looks.  You have to create a profile in order to use the site, but this also allows you to save information and come back at a later time to continue where you left off.

Overall, I think this site could be helpful for those that are looking for a change.  It is good to have a resource that can offer help in several different areas of fashion and personal care.  As a member of Style United, you get a subscription to the magazine "Rouge."  The magazine provides the latest product news, coupons, plus beauty and fashion trends.  I think this could be a useful tool for some and since it is free to join, it is worth checking out!  You can link to the site by clicking on the picture below.


For a short time, as a member of StyleUnited, you're eligible to win one of two $500 shopping sprees at Macy's or Nordstrom!  As a member of SheSpeaks, I am eligible to receive either $15 of  products or a free product from Proctor and Gamble for giving them my opinion of Style United.  A review of the site was not required for this promotion, but I thought this site deserved a shout-out for women that could benefit.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Neutrogena Cosmetics

First off, I would like to thank Bzz Agent for sending me this awesome group of products from Neutrogena to test out.  When I signed up for this campaign, I didn't realize the wonderful selection of products that would be sent to me to try.  I have a picture of what was sent to me below.

For the last week, I have been trying the different Neutrogena lip balms that were in my kit.  These lip balms are tinted and best of all, they have SPF of 20, so they are an all-in-one product for me.  I was surprised when I opened them at the amount of color they have.  From the looks of the lip balms, I expected them to feel like lipstick when I put them on.  I was pleasantly surprised at how nourishing the balms were, and the color was not as intense as my lipsticks.  They are great for everyday wear and a fresh natural look as well.

The first lip balm color is called Sunny Berry.  This balm is a little darker than my picture shows.  It gives the lips noticeable color without being overdone.  The middle balm is called Petal Glow and is my favorite for everyday wear.  There is a hint of color, just enough to make your lips stand out.  The color on the right is Healthy Blush.  It is the brightest of the three.   It is not my favorite color, but for those that like light pink on their lips, it is a good choice.
I was blessed with full lips, and wearing Neutrogena Nourishing Lip Balms is an easy and fun way to provide sun protection and nourishment to my lips.  I will be using them throughout the summer.  I still have two more products to cover for this campaign, and will be doing that soon through my blog.

As a note of disclaimer, I received these products as a member of Bzz Agent.  I did not pay for these products, nor will my review earn me compensation.  I was asked to give my honest opinion of the products, good or bad.  The products were received without cost from Bzz Agent, but the review is all my own.

Thanks for reading!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cravebox Lottery - Are you in???

Cravebox is holding a drawing on Wednesday for those who wish to get in on their monthly subscriptions.  I wrote about my first Cravebox that I received in February, and I received a second box in March.  I pay $10 a month for the service, but the products are worth so much more!  I have decided to do $10 worth of surveys through Opinion Outpost every month to pay for my goodie box.  Opinion Outpost puts the $10 in my PayPal account, and Cravebox will take that $10 every month.  It is a little gift I give myself!

Cravebox was in Beta for several months and the subscriptions were so popular that they sold out quickly.  I was able to beg and plead my way to get a subscription.  They are opening up 500 more slots for the May Cravebox, and the slots will be filled by lottery.  Each entry has an equal opportunity to win a subscription.  I am including a picture of the March Cravebox below that I copied off of the Cravebox Facebook page.  There is a picture of my own Cravebox from February in a previous post.

Click on the link below to go to the Cravebox blog.  You have to sign up for an account first, and then put your name in for the lottery draw.  If your name is drawn, you will be on the Cravebox mailing list until you decide to cancel.  I recommend it if you like little gifts arriving in your mailbox for a small amount of fun money!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Knorr Homestyle Stock Review

I got my first item from Smiley360.  Inside was the new Knorr Homestyle stock along with recipes, coupons to share, and a fun ladle.

I have tested the stock out in a couple of recipes and have enjoyed it!  I think the flavor boost from one of the containers is noticeable.  The package came with 4 individual containers filled with concentrated stock.  I simply added the container to a creation, and enjoyed the yummy benefit.  The stock is thick and comes out of its container in a gel-like form.  It dissolves easily, and can be used like chicken stock if you add water.  This option is a lot easier to store than the cans of chicken broth, and it is just as easy to use!

I used the broth in homemade Red Beans and Rice.  This is a simple recipe I make for my family when we want something hardy.

1/2 package of dried red beans, soaked overnight
1 cup dried wild rice 
1 16 oz package of Jimmy Dean Natural Sausage
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbl dried italian seasonings
1 container of Knorr Homestyle Stock

Drain soaked red beans, add 4 cups water and simmer beans until soft (about 2 hours).  Add rice to beans along with an additional 1 cup water and simmer 45 minutes.  In a separate pan, saute the sausage with the peppers, onion and italian seasonings.  Add the concentrated stock packet to the beans and stir until dissolved.  Add the cooked sausage mixture to the bean and rice mixture.  Serve in bowls with hot sauce.  

I received the Knorr Homestyle Stock as a member of Smiley360.  I did not pay for the product, but was given it to test and give my opinion on.  The opinions of this product are my own, and I will not receive additional benefit for my review.