Saturday, November 30, 2013

Love With Food - 2 exciting offers! #BlackFriday

No compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary Love with Food box and information about the offer from Love with Food. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.
A while back, I shared with you about a company called Love with Food - "the easiest way to discover and sample the best gourmet food delivered to your door for only $10/month". As an added benefit, for every box ordered, a meal is donated to feed hungry children in America. To date, they have donated over 100,000 meals. You can read more about this program on their website.

I really like this idea - what a great way to be introduced to new foods. I like to try new things and I like to encourage my family to try new things. Whether it is a new food product or a new recipe, you don't know if you will like it until you try it.

We recently received one of their boxes and it was filled with some items that we have not tried. When we opened the box, everyone quickly called dibs on the items that they most wanted to try. I was excited to try the Chocolate Pizzelle Crisps from Silk City Snacks. I am a fan of pizzelles and love that this pack of crisps only has 100 calories and there are 20 pieces! My husband was ready to try the Kind Bars in Almond & Coconut. My son was excited to try the Toasted Coconut Chips from Dang. My daughter wanted to try the Happy Squeeze Fruit and Veggie Twist - she is a big fan of squeezable fruit and the blueberry, apple and purple carrot sure sounds like a unique variety. Some of the other things we are looking forward to trying are New World Caveman Cookies - made with pumpkin seeds and maple syrup, amongst other ingredients - sounds interesting. There is a product called Pixo Pearls - apple cider vinegar pearls (only I think that my pearls have all broken based on how it looks and the picture on their website). We also received some Organic Hard Candies and some Glee Gum in a Triple Berry.

The boxes from Love with Food change each month and are based around a seasonal or other theme. The boxes feature 8+ gourmet food samples based on the theme. Once you've sampled the product, you can go back to their website and purchase the items from the box at a discount on their shop tab.

You can learn more about Love with Food by visiting their website, Like Love with Food on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest.

You will need to act fast to take advantage of these two special offers.

First, for every 6- and 12- month subscription purchased (including both personal and gift subscriptions), Love with Food will be adding on a bonus 2-year subscription to the Rachel Ray magazines. I have always enjoyed her magazine...I just wish I had more time to read it and make all the yummy recipes.

Right now, as part of their Black Friday deal, you can get 20% OFF all Subscription Plans + all 6, 12 month plans purchase will include the bonus I mentioned above - 2 Year subscription to Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine!

Sale ends 12/1/13 at midnight!

To get the discount, you MUST sign up at this specific link: Black Friday 20% discount

No compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary Love with Food box and information about the offer from Love with Food. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.

Hormel Foods Hunger Initiatives

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. As a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger, I received information from Hormel for this post, as well as product samples.
Over the past couple of days, as we have been out doing shopping, we have noticed many opportunities to give back to the community through adopt a child, angel trees, share a meal and other giving programs that encourage those that can, to help those that are in need. I am always willing to help out where I can, but what worries me is that whereas there is a lot of attention given to helping this time of year, the reality is that those that are in need can use help year round. Fortunately, there are programs that help to provide food to families year round and companies, like Hormel that have a commitment to helping to fight hunger.

Hormel Foods is a company with expertise in food manufacturing, distribution and protein, which are all important components in helping to feed the hungry around the world! Hormel Foods’ ‘On Our Way to Ending Hunger’ program includes hunger relief efforts in the United States and abroad and comprises three pillars:

1. Collaborate: Collaborate with retailers, nonprofits and government agencies on hunger relief efforts.

- Hormel Foods partners with Hunger-Free Minnesota, a statewide coalition of community and corporate organizations aimed at closing the “missing meals” gap in Minnesota. Its goal is to provide 100 million additional meals, annually and sustainably, by 2014 for Minnesotans in need. Jeffrey M. Ettinger, Hormel Foods chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, serves on the steering committee of Hunger-Free Minnesota.
- Hormel Foods has supported Feeding America (formerly called America’s Second Harvest), the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the nation, through cash and donations of millions of pounds of product since the organization was founded in the 1970s.

2. Nourish: Nourish the hungry domestically and internationally.

- Hormel Foods has donated millions of individual meals throughout the years through our On Our Way to Ending Hunger program.
- As part of the On Our Way to Ending Hunger program at Hormel Foods, the company has developed Spammy™ shelf-stable poultry product fortified with vitamins and minerals to help prevent malnutrition in children in Guatemala through a partnership with Food for the Poor and Caritas Arquidiocesana.

3. Motivate: Motivate individuals and corporate partners to take action to fight hunger.

- In 2012, more than 20 Hormel Foods plant locations donated to local non-profits committed to ending hunger in their communities.

How do you help support those in need?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. As a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger, I received information from Hormel for this post, as well as product samples.

Giant Eagle Market District - Now Open in Green

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. I was invited to this special event.
Last week, I was invited to participate in the grand opening festivities for the new Market District Store in Green. What an amazing store. (I should insert that I am a bit of a foodie). According to the Market District Chef Ben D'Amico, that provided us with the tour of the store, the goal is for the Market District store to be a destination, not just a grocery store.
They have several restaurant stations available within their fresh produce and deli department. They offer a full salad bar with 70 items that are hand cut/prepared daily. The options on the salad bar change seasonally. In addition to their salad bar, they have a hot bar with several chef prepared options, including many seasonal favorites. In addition to the salad bar and hot bar, which you might be accustomed to seeing in other Giant Eagle stores (perhaps on a smaller scale), they also offer a Wok Station, Sushi, Made to Order Subs and Pizza. They have several vegetarian options available within their dining area. They also offer two types of Rotisserie chicken, the traditional ones that you find at the other stores, but also a free range option. They will even let you try any of the food before you buy. I know that I enjoy having the chance to try new things and it is good to know that I can find out if I like it before I make the investment.

And, they have a really nice dining area, including a loft. The setting is so nice, I could see a group of friends heading there to relax and enjoy a nice breakfast or lunch. I might even take my team from work there for a team lunch.

As with many Giant Eagle stores, they also offer an Eagle's Nest - a great way to let the kids have fun and make time for your own shopping or lunch with friends. Eagle's Nest is a FREE service available for Giant Eagle customers' children, of ages three through nine. You have to show your license to check them in and out of the area and they give you a walkie-talkie, so they can reach you if your child needs you or needs to use the bathroom. They have games, coloring, movies and more - to keep the kids entertained while you shop with less distraction (or enjoy lunch!).

On Friday evenings, they feature a 6/$6 event - you can enjoy 6 appetizers and 6 wine samples for just $6. That really could be a lot of fun...starts at 6 of course!
I was really excited to see the variety of items on their salad bar, but was also excited about their olive and antipasti bar and generally the variety in their produce section.
One thing that I really liked was that they offered a variety of unique items and provided cut-open views of them as well as information about the produce and it's uses.  For the grand opening event, they had talented artists on site that were carving the fruit and produce to make beautiful displays.

Their bakery offers a wide variety of products. They have these really cute birthday cupcakes that look like little tiered cakes. They have several options when it comes to pastries, cakes and cookies. (we tried some of their Chocolate Chip Biscotti and my family has been asking me to buy more). They have seasonal flavors (and regular) of candy corn and have a full candy bar with fresh fudge and more. They offer bagels sourced from New York, Da Bronx, as the sign notes - talk about authentic.
Their bulk food section has so many varieties of candy, grain and more. They even have an olive oil and vinegar bar where you can choose your variety and they aren't just offering run of the mill vinegar - did you see the Blueberry Infused Balsamic that I took a picture of. I can just imagine using that to make a salad dressing.
This is one of my favorite features - a Grab 'n Go section that features the staples that you often will stop in for mid-week. I love that even though they want to be a destination, not just a grocery store, they are still catering to those that need to stop in for a few items and get back home. That is the type of courtesy that makes me feel valued at the store, whether there to explore their vast offerings and enjoy their specialty features, but also when I need just a few items.

While we were at the grand opening, we got the chance to meet Tyler Florence, who was part of the grand opening ceremonies. It was great and I will share more in a future post, but for now, here are a couple of pictures.

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. As an invitee to the blogger event at the grand opening, I was able to meet Tyler Florence, get a copy of his cookbook and was provided with a store tour to learn more about the features. I also received a gift basket to thank me.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


It is the end of November, it is snowing and our one tree still has most of its leaves. At least it's not a heavy snow that I have to worry about losing branches.

This post shared at Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

Happy Veterans Day!!! Thank you to all that have served, are serving, and will serve!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

CVS Deals 11/5 & 11/9

I wound up making two trips to CVS this week to pick up the one deal that I was after. I had gone to one on Tuesday evening, only to find that they were out of the items that I needed. I bought one after confirming that if they didn't get them back in stock before the end of the week, I could get a rain check to complete the deal.

Transaction #1
1 - Alive Vitamins
1 - Just the Basics Paper towels

- $2 Alive mfg coupon
- $.79 JTB paper towels CRT

Total $10.29 plus tax, paid with $3 ECB and $8.09 OOP.

Transaction #2
2 - Alive Vitamins

- $2 Alive mfg coupon
- $2 Alive mfg coupon
- $4.92 CVS 20% e-mail offer (was surprised this worked since they were part of a deal)

Total $15.66 plus tax, paid $16.99 OOP. Earned $12 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - Listerine 1L
1 - Listerine Pocket Pack
10 - Cereal Cups

- $2 Listerine 1L IP
- $2 Listerine Pocket Pack IP

Total $15.98 plus tax, paid with $12 ECB from last transaction and $4.66 OOP. Earned $5 ECBs.

I essentially got each pack of vitamins for $5.36 (57% savings) and the Listerine items for $.50 each (88% and 91% savings).

How did you do this week? Get any great deals?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Home to Heather Creek by Kathleen Bauer

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

I recently finished reading the first two books of a series from Guideposts, that became available in stores September 1st. The series is Home to Heather Creek and the first two books are Before the Dawn and Sweet September. Unlike (at least as far as I know) most series that I have read, this one is actually written by multiple authors under the common pseudonym of Kathleen Bauer. There are a total of 24 books in the series. (When I learned that there were 24 books, I became a little bit curious as to how they released 24 books in a series in such short order. As I looked around, it appears that they have been out for a while, so I am assuming that they were recently re-released.)

The Home to Heather Creek series follows Charlotte and Bob Stevenson as they come to grip, not only with the death of their daughter, but the sudden growth in their household when Denise's three children - Sam, Emily and Christopher - come to live with them. The children are faced with a lot of change, losing their mother unexpectedly, moving in with grandparents that they barely know and leaving the suburbs of San Diego to live on Heather Creek Farm in Nebraska. As you can imagine, it is an adjustment on both sides of the equation. The full series covers the first two years following their move.

As the children discover life on the farm, the relationship with their grandparents and their Uncle Pete start to develop. Pete helps to provide a young perspective and helps Sam learn to drive, buys games for the kids and introduces them to several of his favorite movies. They also start to meet people in town and more of their family. Through these relationships, they start to find ways to cope and adapt to the many changes that they are faced with.

The story is very touching and the emotions are real. Charlotte relies on her faith and her good friends to help her through the adjustments that come to raising children again. She is afraid to make the same mistakes that she did with Denise, that caused her to run off at a young age. She tries to learn from what did and didn't work with her own kids, as she raises her grandchildren.

Initially, as I transitioned from the first book to the second book, it was a noticeable different tempo and voice. I think this is a true concern and could make reading the full 24 book series a little awkward. Normally, when you read through a series, hopping into the second or later book is easy, the author provides a little background for the benefit of the reader that hasn't read the other books and to help refresh the reader that has, but from there, it falls right back into the rhythm of the previous books. At first, I was worried about this change in tempo and voice, but as I continued to read, I became accustomed to the new storyteller and it felt right again. That being said, I am not sure how it will flow. The one thing that I think will help is that many of the authors wrote more than one book in the series.

I found these first two books in the series to be enjoyable. I want to continue reading, so that I can continue to watch Sam, Emily and Christopher grow and adapt (or not) to life on the farm. I want to see how Charlotte and Bob address the challenges that they face as they raise their grandchildren. I want to see if and how having the kids on the farm changes Pete. If you enjoy a good story, these might be books that you would enjoy checking out.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Friday, November 1, 2013

America's Got Talent Live! Ticket Winner

The winner of the 4-pk of tickets to America's Got Talent Live! is:


Congratulations to Laura.

Thanks everyone for entering. An e-mail has been sent to the winner.