Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: "Persecuted"

I was given the opportunity to review the book "Persecuted" by Robin Parrish as the movie based on the book is about to be released in theaters. I was immediately drawn to the timeliness of the subject matter in today's world. I was enthralled with this book and now I am looking forward to seeing the movie being released in theater's this month. 
I think of this book genre as a faith-based political thriller. The author has woven together a story full of suspense and twists from beginning to end with a fiction storyline that you can perfectly picture as ripped from today's headlines. The story grips you. It makes you think about the big picture meaning. Countless themes all coming together for one powerful message. I love it that it is a family-friendly literature that I see as a powerful standout in the world of fiction. I highly recommend this book as a gripping, thought-provoking read.
GIVEAWAY: I love getting to share my book joy with you by not only reading it myself, but giving one of you a copy. One of you will win your own copy of "Persecuted". To enter, leave me a comment below and let me know you would like to read this book. Entries close Monday, July 21 at noon EST. 


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July! "Easy No-Bake Apple Pie"

The 4th of July is here! One of my favorite traditions on the 4th is making an all-American dessert: apple pie. This apple pie is a no-heating-up-the-oven required recipe perfect for this hot summer weather. It is a lightened up treat that can be enjoyed by diabetics as well as those who strive for healthier eating. You can substitute any of the lightened up ingredients in this recipe for the regular version, but I love the flavor created with the sugar free versions. I'm getting ready to come home to Oklahoma for a visit and I'm sure excited. 

Happy 238th Birthday America and I hope y'all have a "blast" on the 4th! 


“Southern Fried Bride's Easy No Bake Apple Pie”


 5 medium apples, peeled and sliced
 2 cups water
 1 package (4-serving size) sugar-free JELL-O lemon gelatin
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon brown sugar
 1 package (4-serving size) sugar-free JELL-O cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
 1 (8 inch) Keebler reduced-fat graham cracker pie crust
 Optional: 1 cup Cool-Whip Sugar Free whipped topping

In large saucepan, combine sliced apples, 1 1/2 cups water, gelatin, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until apples are tender. Combine dry pudding mix and remaining ¼ cup water. Stir into apple mixture. Cook for 2 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Pour into crust. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish, if desired, with a dollop of whipped topping before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, June 30, 2014

""Be Yourself, Together" with #TargetWedding and a Giveaway- Sponsored Post

#Sponsored: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Target. This could include Target providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Wedding season is in full swing! Have you already been to a wedding this summer, or looking forward to going to one? 

I am a Target fan. It is my go-to website for gifting across the miles and I can be found perusing my local store on any given day. One of my common gifting pursuits at Target is shopping for an ideal wedding gift for a special couple in my life. 

This year's theme at Target Weddings is "Be Yourself, Together". I love that this theme celebrates the distinct personalities of each person in the relationship and combines to make something truly unique for the couple.  Target Wedding Registry has so many possibilities to find unique and memorable gifts for special couples in your life.  

I know just the gifts I would pair to make a memorable summer wedding gift for a special couple. 

1. I'm crazy about this Menu Chalkboard, one of June's featured registry items. The 14x30" black wooden board is available at Target for $34.99. features unique hand-lettering by graphic designer Dana Tanamachi plus plenty of space to write the day's menu, party drink selections or a cute message for your spouse to find when they come in the kitchen.  


2. I swear by cast iron for my cooking. I'm loving seeing it once again rising in popularity. The Lodge Logic Cast Iron Set is available through Target's website for $64.99 and I think the 5 pieces in this set make it a great cooking resource for a couple's kitchen. It comes with a Dutch oven and several different skillets. I love it that they come pre-seasoned and are oven-safe.    



3. The Pyrex Smart Essentials Mixing Bowl Set has my go-to bowls for so many different uses in my kitchen. They are available in stores and online for $13.19. They are odor and stain resistant, come in a variety of sizes, each with a BPA-free plastic lid. I love the color coding of the lids and the fact they are dishwasher and microwave safe. 


4. The finishing touch to this pairing of swaggin' summer gifts is one of my most-used kitchen utencils. I'm topping things off with their own lovin' spoonful served up with love with the  Wood Spoon and Turner Set by Calphalon. Made of sturdy bamboo and dishwasher safe. Available in stores and online for $9.99.   

How about a giveaway? Leave a comment below and let me know your favorite item on the Target and one of you will win a $25 Target gift card! Giveaway closes Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at noon EST.



Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Recipe Corner: Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Muffins

Rhubarb is in full season here and I pair it with strawberries plus add a new favorite ingredient, chia seeds, to make a tasty muffin with healthier ingredients. These are perfect for a Mother's Day treat. potlucks and church socials, as well as a great snack at home.   
                                         
       "Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Muffins"


2 cups whole wheat flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup 2% milk 
3/4 cup diced strawberries
3/4 cup diced rhubarb

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with liners or grease generously with butter or coconut oil. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, chia seeds and salt. Set aside. In separate large bowl, mix together egg, vanilla and sugar until well-blended. Stir in coconut oil. Add yogurt and mix well. Add dry flour mix to egg mix in thirds, stirring between additions. Add milk and stir until just combined. If batter is too thick, add additional tablespoon of milk. Add strawberries and rhubarb. Stir only enough to  combine. Pour batter into muffin cups. Bake 20- 25 minutes or until golden brown in color. Allow muffins to cool in pan for a few minutes, then invert muffins onto cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy! 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

#RaiseYourVox with Sean Astin

I am honored to partner with Sean Astin to promote his radio show. I received a gift from Sean in appreciation of my support for his show. All thoughts and opinions in this blog post are my own.

My aim as a blogger is always to show you slices of my life. Oftentimes in doing so, you see people and things I love, causes I believe in. In preparation for celebrating my milestone 40th birthday at the end of this year, I have been looking back on a number of these people and things through the years that have shaped me into the person that I am today.


Among my foremost reflections from my "tween" years is the movie, "The Goonies". As a small town Oklahoma girl, when my mother took me to see this movie it had a profound effect on my life. It was a stepping stone that truly encouraged me to step out and show the independent side of my creative self and my artistic and creative mother who had long since her childhood had this same kind of spirit within herself, knew this. This movie was one of our most memorable mother-daughter bonding activities that would invoke sweet and special memories right up until the day she passed.

Recently I was excited to find news surfacing in social media that there may very well be a "Goonies 2" sequel with much of the original cast returning. I am beyond words excited at this possibility. One of the joys that came from what has become a beloved 80s classic has been watching cast member Sean Astin not only continuing his acting career into adulthood including such memorable roles in "Lord of the Rings" and "Rudy" but along with that, he is proactive in sharing causes he believes in to make a difference in our world.

Sean is beginning Season 2 of his political radio show for "the occasionally interested people" on May 1st. This season, he will be on a new network, TradioV

His interest in politics and representing the people's voice is infectious, and he genuinely wants people to understand what is happening with the government, even when it seems too complicated. An aim of the show is, "Whether you are or aren't interested in politics, he offers an intellectual discussion and doesn't just want to be heard, he wants to hear the people and their concerns, all while keeping it civil." 

I believe that a political voice is an important part of our world today. I truly believe in America that we have the power to impact laws and legislation through exercising our rights to vote and to petition our legislative leaders to voice our opinions on current and proposed laws. There is power in numbers and each voice is important, which is one of the reasons why I am so happy to see Sean offering this radio show format for a place for people to discuss politics, whatever your political opinion. I really enjoyed tuning in to Season 1 and I hope you will join me in tuning in for Season 2.
   

His broadcast airs live on Thursdays from Noon-2:00 pm Pacific/3-5 pm Eastern time on TradioV.comYou can follow Sean on Twitter on Facebook and on his YouTube Channel here.

You can visit Sean's website for Vox Populi Radio here and the hashtag is #RaiseYourVox.

If his radio show has caught your interest, you should join us tonight for a #RaiseYourVox Twitter party at 5:30 pm Pacific/8:30 pm Eastern time. 

You can RSVP for the Twitter party here.
Hosts will be @HostVoxPopuli @crazyadventures and co-hosts: @seanastin @LindaofNote @ENMNetwork and @Leah_Cevoli.
Panelists will be @MamaDweeb @StacieinAtlanta and @1momof5.
Prize Patrol is @SincerelyG with some fun prizes to be given away of two personalized autographed pictures, one autographed poster, and a grand prize "prize pack" with an autographed picture and Vox-branded items, including a Vox t-shirt!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Recipe Corner: "Easy Hot Cross Buns"

A beloved Easter treat, hot cross buns are a popular during Lenten season and a Good Friday tradition to many, including in our household, where I baked them today for our Good Friday breakfast tradition.  

The preparation process with the rising of the yeast, mixing and all-around hoop jumping to get the dough just right can leave some frazzled and tired. I use an easy and time-saving shortcut method by using Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls and make use of  candied fruit leftover from making fruitcakes during the Christmas season. My family and I were happy with the results. 

For the history of hot cross buns, marking crosses on baked goods such as breads and buns dates back to pre-Medieval times and was meant to be a visible sign that the bread was “blessed” and had the power to ward off evil spirits and help the longevity of the bread by stopping it from molding or becoming stale too quickly. One story says hot cross buns origins date to the 12th century when an Anglican monk placed the sign of the cross on the buns to honor Good Friday. I came across a fun old rhyme about hot cross buns that says, "Half for you and half for me, between us two good luck shall be".  


"Easy Hot Cross Buns" 

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

1/2 cup candied fruit 

Egg Wash Glaze: 

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare egg wash glaze by whisking together one egg and one tablespoon of milk. Set aside. Remove each roll from can and place each on wax paper. Take each roll and gently knead dough together to form a ball of dough. Place each back on wax paper. Make a well in the middle of each ball of dough. Place 1 tablespoon of candied fruit in the middle of each ball of dough. Gently knead candied fruit into each ball of dough just enough to combine candied fruit into dough. Place back on wax paper. Place each one on baking sheet. Coat each with glaze. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown in color. Remove from oven and cool. When cooled, drizzle icing in cross shape on top of each. Enjoy!   


Disclaimer: This post is not a sponsored post by the Pillsbury company. I was not financially compensated by the Pillsbury company for this blog post. All opinions stated in this blog post are my own.    

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sponsored: “Sing Into Spring” with Disney Music Review and Giveaway

I am excited for the opportunity to review a set of Disney's preschool-age music CDs as part of "Sing Into Spring".  I was delighted by each of the four selections. 
I love the "Frozen" movie soundtrack. It includes the 2014 Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, "Let It Go", which I found inspiring as a grown up. The fun songs so perfectly match the wonder-filled movie.  I experienced such heartwarming emotions throughout the sweet song, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"


I found the treasure with the spirited and energetic songs in Jake and the Never Land Pirates "Yo Ho, Matey!". 

I think Doc McStuffins "The Doc Is In" is a prescription for a joy-filled journey of the imagination.



DJ Shuffle has a variety of cheerful songs that make for a spirited playlist.


Thanks to the generosity of Walt Disney Records, I will be giving away a set of Disney CDs to not one, but TWO winners. One winner will receive the Preschool set of CD’s and the other will receive the Tween set. 
The Disney 4-CD Preschool CD set includes:
  • Disney Junior® DJ Shuffle
  • Jake & the Never Land Pirates: Yo Ho Matey®
  • Doc McStuffins; The Doc Is In®
  • FROZEN® Soundtrack
The Disney 4-CD Tween set includes:
  • Disney Channels® Play it Loud
  • Austin&Ally: Turn it Up® 
  • Doc McStuffins; The Doc Is In®
  • Teen Beach Movie® Soundtrack

To enter, leave a comment below and let me know which set you would like to win.   

Giveaway closes Wednesday, April 9 at Noon EST. Winner will be announced immediately. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary collection of Disney Music CDs to review as part of Entertainment New Media Network.  Giveaway is sponsored through the network by The Southern Fried Bride with prizes provided by Walt Disney Records. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.