Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Recipe Corner: Easy Party Cheese Ball

2012 is coming to a close and time for New Year's Eve parties to begin! I am serving up my recipe for my favorite crowd pleasing appetizer. I serve this easy party cheese ball with Ritz snowflake-shaped crackers for a fun touch.
"Southern Fried Bride's Easy Party Cheese Ball"

2 pounds 2% light shredded cheese

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup light sour cream

1 package light cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon paprika

Coating mixture:

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
In large mixing bowl, combine cheese, onion powder, sour cream, cream cheese and paprika. Mix until well blended. Form mixture into ball shape. Set aside. On wax paper or standard size plate, combine coating mixture of parsley and chopped nuts. Roll cheese ball over coating mixture until well coated. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Remove wrap before serving. Serve with crackers. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Review and a New Year, New You Giveaway: Rodan & Fields skin care

The importance of skin care was taught to me by my mother and my maternal grandmother when I was a pre-teen. I have remembered that through the years and as a fair-skinned redhead, it has been even moreso important for me to guard my skin against products that can have a harsh effect on my sensitive skin. It is important to remember that using certain products which taut very good skin care benefits but are not suited to your skin type can have adverse effects on your skin.

There are so many products on the market in this day and age, which can sometimes make finding a right product or products for yourself overwhelming an process. Knowing your skin type is important knowledge to have. Recently my friend Amy Wilson-Culbertson introduced me to the Rodan & Fields line of skin care products.
Here's Amy, a Bama girl through and through. This picture was taken after she started using the R&F skin care products. She had me first fill out an online solution tool on her website so she would know just the right type of products to let me try. Based on my answers to the solution tool, she provided me with products from the SOOTHE line and explained to me about the benefits of using the products in this regiman. According to the R&F website, the SOOTHE products are clinically proven to reduce redness and irritation in as little as 5 minutes, with benefits that include shielding against the biological and environmental aggressors that can trigger inflammation and helping fortify skin’s natural moisture barrier, calms visible redness, and reduces irritation.

She had me first do patch tests with the products before I began using them on my face, trying each product on a small patch of my arm for 24 hours before beginning use of the products to ensure they would not be irritating my skin. I have now been using the products for several months.

I tried the Gentle Cream Wash, the first step in the SOOTHE regiman. I love the easy, non-harsh feel of this cleanser.

Along with this product, I tried the SOOTHE Sensitive Skin Treatment.

 The R&F website lists an attribute of this product as helping to neutralize the look of redness on the face. With my fair skin, redness is a skin trait that often comes to my cheek areas when I start my day in the mornings due to my sensitive skin type. I had seen other products that listed an attribute of helping to neutralize redness, and that always gets my attention. I have tried some, and due to the fact the product was not suited to my skin, the outcome often brought me disappointment. When I tried the SOOTHE Sensitive Skin Treatment, I immediately noticed the redness in my cheeks being neutralized without a harsh after-effect of drying my skin.

Amy also sent me with a sample pack of the ANTI-AGE Night Renewing Serum. 
What I view as one of the trickiest characteristics of having sensitive skin is trying to find a balance of using an anti-age product that will not irritate your skin. I have run into this problem for as long as I have been looking for anti-age skin care products. The harshness, the redness after-effect, itching and dryness are all characteristics that have happened to my skin when trying to find an anti-age product for my skin. I tried the Night Renewing Serum samples and contacted Amy to let her know I was going to purchase this product. I can't say enough about how I feel that this product has done for my skin. During the nighttime, I can feel a softness in my skin after using this product. When I wake up in the morning, I feel that same softness in my skin and see a healthy glow effect. I love that the serum is packaged in mono-dose capsules that have a single use of the serum measured out for you in each capsule.

A true test for me is not only the "no-makeup coverage" picture but the stage performance "wearing lots of makeup and removing it" test. Recently, I returned to performing in community theatre productions, which I enjoyed doing in Oklahoma for 18 years. I was elated to play a lead role in the local community theatre's production of the Southern comedy, "The Dixie Swim Club". Night after night of dress rehearsal full stage makeup, then performances in full makeup. Cleansing with the Gentle Cleanse Wash removed every bit of my heavy stage makeup and night after night, did not leave me with the redness after-effect.

Here I am backstage ready to have my stage makeup applied. I had been using the R&F products for 2 months and am shown with my skin cleansed with Gentle Cleanse Wash and the Sensitive Skin Treatment applied, no makeup coverage. I love the glow of my skin in this picture with no makeup and so happy for no cheek redness, only a healthy glow.

I am very happy to have been introduced to Rodan & Fields skin care products and have them as a part of my skin care regiman. If you would like to know more about their products, you can visit Amy's R&F consultant page here. Right now, all orders of $185 or more placed by December 31 will receive a free 30 day supply of ANTI-AGE Night Renewing Serum, valued at $44. Amy also has a special right now if someone signs up as a new R&F preferred customer with her, she will offer to refund the enrollment fee.

Thanks to the amazing Amy, one of you will chime in the new year by winning a jar of Rodan & Fields "ANTI-AGE" Multi-Function Eye Cream valued at $59!
According to the R&F website, this product combines powerful peptides to minimize the appearance of crow’s feet, help reduce the appearance of both puffiness and dark under eye circles while special optical diffusers instantly brighten the eye area.

Mandatory Entry:
"Like" Amy's Rodan & Fields consultant page on Facebook here and leave me a comment letting me know that you did. She has some great skin care tips on her page, shares R&F specials and has fun R&F product giveaways.
Extra Entry: Complete the following for 5 extra entries and leave me a separate comment letting me know that you did. 

Find out the Rodan & Fields regiman best-suited to your skin type by filling out the R&F solution tool on Amy's website here.

Entries for this giveaway close on Sunday, December 30 at noon EST. Good luck! 

Disclaimer: I received a Rodan & Fields "SOOTHE" Gentle Cream Wash and Sensitive Skin Treatment and an ANTI-AGE Night Renewing Serum sample pack for a review giving my honest feedback about the products. I also received an eye cream giveaway prize. I was not financially compensated for this blog post. All opinions stated in this blog post are my own.

Post-Holiday Recipe Change-Up: Tasty Tex Mex Lasagna

This Christmas, a loved one gifted me with a jar of Uncle Gary's Gourmet Pepper Jelly. I couldn't wait to venture in the kitchen and create a dish using this tasty ingredient. My "Tasty Tex Mex Lasagna" is a fun spin on traditional lasagna and the pepper jelly gives it the perfect amount of heat. This is a nice way to change up the post-holiday dinner time.  
"Southern Fried Bride's Tasty Tex Mex Lasagna”

8 ounces lasagna noodles

1 pound lean ground beef

1 cup Uncle Gary's Pepper Jelly
2 cups tomato sauce

1 (8 oz.) container light sour cream 

1 package (8 ounce) shredded Mozzarella cheese (reduced fat Mozzarella works great)

1/2 cup shredded American cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside. In a large skillet, brown ground beef and onion. Drain well. Return beef mixture to skillet. Stir in pepper jelly and tomato sauce. In baking pan, layer 1/3 of lasagna noodles, then 1/3 of meat sauce, 1/3 of sour cream and 1/3 package of monterey jack cheese. Repeat layers twice. Bake lasagna for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with ½ cup American cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 8-10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Birthday Celebration Toast: Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch

I hope this finds all of you having a wonderful holiday season! I'm among those who have a Christmastime birthday. I often get asked the question, "Does your birthday often get thrown in with Christmas?" and I give the answer that when I was growing up and into adulthood, my family did a great job of separating the two celebrations and during the holiday season, took the time to make me feel like my birthday was a special day, as well.

Here I am at almost-age 4 in my Grandma Cleva's kitchen "helping" her bake my birthday cake in 1978. Even as a young child, I was in my element in the kitchen.

This year I decided it was the year for me to check something off my bucket list and visit New Orleans during Christmastime to see my Delta Zeta Little Sister Susan so we could celebrate our December birthdays together. I made the trip earlier this month and truly had an experience of a lifetime. As 2012 comes to a close, I will be sharing several posts with you about my time in beloved NOLA and reviewing some special books about this great city.

Susan and I designated the final night of my visit as the night for our official birthday celebrations. We had our special dinner at my choice for one of Bourbon Street's best restaurants: Brennan's Bourbon House. My husband and Craig had eaten there on our honeymoon and I fell in love with this gem of a restaurant with its divine menu offerings, second-to-none service and graceful dining atmosphere. This visit was just as amazing as our honeymoon celebration dinner. We sat next to the Brennan Family and I had the honor of being introduced to Dickie Brennan, proprietor of Bourbon House, who hails from a long line of New Orleans restaurant visionaries. Meeting him was a true celebrity experience for me. My dinner of paneed veal and crab was divine. After dinner, we were each served an elegant dessert complete with a glowing birthday candle. It was during this dinner that I was introduced to something so spectacular that it instantly became one of my favorite things: bourbon milk punch. I chose this on the menu for my birthday celebration drink. Their version of this Southern classic blew me away.

Here's a little bit about the history of this divine drink. It is traced back to colonial times. It became a very popular drink across the South. During WWII, the drink seemed to be seen less and less everywhere except New Orleans. It has long thrived in NOLA and I am so happy to have been introduced to it at Bourbon House, which is renowned to have one of the best recipes in the entire city and I believe it!

This year's birthday, although not an official milestone birthday, has been an especially reflective one for me. The arrival of my 38th year has made me especially mindful to savor the gift found in each day of living. Now that the stroke of midnight has arrived to welcome my birthday, I offer up a birthday toast. For my drink of choice, I was extremely excited to find out that Dickie Brennan graciously makes the recipe available for  Bourbon House's legendary and award-winning Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch. I happily concocted this delight in my home tonight and am proud to share their recipe as my pick for THE best frozen bourbon milk punch.

"Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch"
from Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House, New Orleans

4 cups milk
1 cup bourbon
1/4 cup vanilla extract
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Garnish: dash of nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and blend for 8 seconds. Garnish with a dash of nutmeg.

 Now for a birthday toast. To my readers, to my family and friends, to my Heavenly Father: I offer up the words of one of my  favorite quotes. This is by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.” 

- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Holiday Giveaway with Happy Clam Monogram

I am crazy about monograms and I am very happy to introduce to you a company that has captured my heart with their truly unique style and Southern coastal charm reflected in their amazing creations: Happy Clam Monogram. The owner Jenny has truly made her artistic dreams a reality with the launch of this company and along with a team of the equally-fabulous Tiffany, Katy, Lauren, Alex, Lorel and Tyler, the crew of Happy Clammers is complete.

Here are some of my favorites from among their creations.
This is their Acrylic Monogram Necklace:

 I love the craftsmanship displayed in their acrylic necklaces. According to the company, each piece is custom designed for each order, which makes it truly a one of a kind piece just for you and the necklaces are made from 1/8" thick acrylic making them delicate but designed to withstand normal everyday wear. The result is an eye-catching and graceful creation.

This is their Acrylic Monogram Keychain:

I love the beautiful customized design in a keychain that is delicate yet sturdy, and with so many colors to choose from.

Wooden Monograms:

They do amazing work on their wooden monograms, both finished in a variety of colors and unfinished, and look at how you can incorporate one of their 18" wooden monograms into a wreath project and it's even a pink and green wreath!

 Take a look at one of their newest creations: etched monogram earrings, priced at $40 and available in 32 colors. I love the elegant detail in this monogram design.

This holiday season, the fabulous staff at Happy Clam Monograms are generously giving a pair of their new etched monogram earrings, valued at $40, to one of you!

The winner will have over 32 colors of acrylic to pick from for this special pair of earrings for you or someone you love.

To enter, take a look at their amazing creations on their website here and leave a comment below letting me know your favorite item.

Extra Entries: Doing the following optional entries will get you 5 extra entries for each one you do! Leave me a separate comment for each one you complete.

1. Like Happy Clam Monogram on Facebook and leave a message on their Wall letting them know The Southern Fried Bride sent you, then leave me a separate comment below letting me know you did. They have fun giveaways you won't want to miss!

2. Share this giveaway on Facebook by sharing the giveaway link on my Facebook page here OR by posting the following link to this giveaway:
then leave me a separate comment below telling me that you did.

Entries close on Monday, December 24 at 11:00 am EST and winner will be announced on the blog and my Facebook page on Monday afternoon, Christmas Eve! Good luck.

Disclaimer: Happy Clam Monograms is providing a pair of etched monogram earrings as a giveaway prize. I was not financially compensated by Happy Clam Monograms for writing this blog post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Holiday Recipe Corner: "Southern Fried Bride's Peppermint Wonderland Bars"

Peppermint has been my favorite Christmas flavor since I was a little girl. I look forward all year long to the variety of peppermint treats this season brings. I created this recipe for a unique cookie to serve during the holidays or for a fun addition to a gathering or holiday cookie exchange.

Budget-Friendly Holiday Tip: For recipes using crushed peppermint, I save peppermint candies throughout the year. At Christmastime, I place the pieces of candy in a plastic sandwich bag and using a rolling pin, I gently crush the peppermints.

                       "Southern Fried Bride's Peppermint Wonderland Bars" 

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow crème

6 cups toasted rice cereal

1 1/3 cups Andes peppermint baking chips

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

10 peppermint candies, crushed

Line 13 x 9 baking dish with wax paper. In large saucepan, combine corn syrup and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Add marshmallow creme and stir well until mixture is well blended. Remove from heat. Add cereal to mixture, stirring until well coated. Press into bottom of baking pan. Refrigerate 15-20 minutes, then remove from refrigerator to add topping.

Microwave white chocolate morsels in large, microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave at additional 10-to 20-second intervals,stirring between intervals until smooth. Stir in crushed peppermints and peppermint extract until well blended. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until topping is firm. Grasp both ends of wax paper and remove cookie mixture with wax paper from baking dish. Place mixture and wax paper with mixture face down onto cutting board. Remove wax paper. Cut into bite-size bars to serve. Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Review and E-book Giveaway: "The Black Shard" by Victoria Simcox

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to review the book "The Magic Warble" by Victoria Simcox. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was honored when the author contacted me to ask if I would like to review her sequel to the book, "The Black Shard". Endeared to my heart is the reason Victoria began writing in the first place. As the mother of a young daughter, she noticed a lack of stories for young readers with wholesome, empowering storylines and set out to write a book that portrayed a young girl as a heroine through battling and overcoming real-life emotions such as fear to see your inner strength.

In this well-crafted sequel, young heroine Kristina Kingsly is back, this time as a teenager. She deals with the same foes as in the first book, and it is because of the prank-gone-wrong played on her by one of the foes that transports once again to the magical land of Bernovem. The author weaves an enchanting fairy kingdom for the reader.

The first book in the series sees Kristina as a preteen heroine and I love how she transitions Kristina into a teenage heroine in this book through harnessing common teen themes, both in the real world setting of the book and in the magical world setting. Prince Werrien is back, this time in a sweet storyline with Kristina. "The Black Shard" itself proves to be a force Kristina must reckon with. The storyline involving The Black Shard I found to be a wonderful adventure in fantasy reading.

I recommend this book for ages 10 and up.One of my favorite themes is emphasizing believing in yourself and using your strengths to overcome difficulties. I view that as a very important message for people of all ages. You can purchase this book or e-book through Victoria's website or on Amazon.

Thanks to the author, not one, but three of you will win the e-book of "The Black Shard", just in time for winter reading! To enter, leave a comment below. Entries close Friday, December 7 at 10:00 pm EST.  Good luck!

Holiday Flash Giveaway: $75 MOO Inc. Promo Code

I was recently introduced to a wonderful online printing company, MOO Inc. through a local photographer. I love that they not only offer custom design for such a wide assortment of products including business cards, stickers, greetings cards and postcards, but they also share wonderful ideas for using each product and a blog full of ideas in their Inspiration Gallery.
You can view their Holiday Cards collection here and their Business Cards products here.

One of my favorites from their product line is the round labels. They can be designed with your logo in a wide assortment of fun colors.

Engaged couples: would these full color, glossy postcards not be perfect for fun wedding save the dates?
Their Greeting Cards and Holiday Cards allow you to upload your photos to design your own unique  greeting cards or holiday cards. 
They also have a huge selection of "Ready Made" designs for holiday cards that you can choose and then customize your greeting inside.
I love the throwback holiday design in this "Ready Made" design series.
This sparkle-loving girl was immediately drawn to the elegant glimmer and shimmer of this card design, featuring macro shots of shiny baubles by Rob Wilson.
Thanks to the fabulous MOO Inc. one of you will win a $75 promo code to pick out your favorite product to custom design! To enter, leave a comment below and let me know your favorite product or design in their collection. Entries close tonight at 10:00 pm EST. Winner will be announced immediately. Good luck!
Disclaimer: MOO Inc. provided me with a giveaway prize of a $75 promo code for one winner. I was not financially compensated by MOO Inc. for this blog post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Giveaway: Invitations by Dawn holiday photo cards $100 gift code!

Last year as my husband and I celebrated our First Christmas as Mr. and Mrs., we entrusted our holiday cards to Invitations by Dawn with a design from their holiday collection I was able to personalize on their website to perfectly reflect our personalities. We couldn't have been more happier with our cards and we received countless compliments from family and friends on our unique and attention-getting holiday card design.
Here is a look at "Our First Christmas" card from last year. We loved the statement-making quality of their "Bright Joy" design's front cover, which showcased our official wedding portrait.

The card opened to reveal another layer of the card and more favorite wedding pictures.

The inside of the card was the unique design we wished for, with our custom holiday message to loved ones surrounded by favorite wedding pictures.

When it came time to plan this year's holiday card for our Second Christmas as husband and wife, Invitations by Dawn's outstanding job with last year's card made them our choice.

This year’s collection is full of exclusive designs just for engaged and newlywed couples, but they also have great designs for families and single adults, as well.

The collection includes unique cards – folded, die-cut, petite, storylines and more. There is a price point for everyone's budget. They are having a fantastic Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale on their website from now until Monday with 40% off their holiday cards and free shipping.

Our cards that I custom designed with their easy and fun design tools on their website for our 2012 holiday cards are now on their way to our house to be lovingly hand-addressed to each recipient by me. I will not disclose the design I chose this year *yet* but I will share with you some of my favorites from the Invitations by Dawn - 2012 Holiday Collection.

I am a huge fan of The Beatles' music and even incorporated a Beatles love song into our wedding ceremony music, so I'm crazy about the eye-catching "All You Need Is Love" card design

What a fun and romantic design this is for an engaged couple or newlyweds to sport some bling on their cards!

I love that they offer designs to fit so many different personalities. This beautiful design is a more traditional choice for a couple to convey the romance of their First Christmas

What a fun statement card this design makes that can easily be made into a memorable ornament for your family and friends!

Here is what their designers have to say about their inspirations creating this year's line: “When planning this year’s holiday collection we wanted to do something different to stand out from the crowded photo card market. We took a look at our customer and knew what to do - create a fresh collection of photo cards that let her show off her engagement or wedding. The team couldn’t have done a better job creating this collection. From sweet and sentimental to witty and modern, you’ll find a holiday card that will let your love shine!”

Thanks to the amazing Invitations By Dawn, one of YOU will win a $100 gift code to be used toward your own custom holiday photo cards!

To enter, take a look at their 2012 holiday cards collection here and then leave me a comment below letting me know one of your favorite designs or even more than one favorite, if you care to share. Entries will close Sunday night, November 25 at 10:00 pm EST. Winner will be announced on the blog immediately. Good luck!

FTC Disclaimer: I received 2012 holiday cards from Invitations By Dawn and a $100 gift code giveaway prize for one of my readers in exchange for this blog post. I was not financially compensated by Invitations By Dawn for writing this post. All opinions stated in this blog post are my own.

Change Up Your Leftover Holiday Turkey! "Southern Fried Bride’s Ranchero Wagonwheel Turkey Salad"

Looking for a new way to change up leftover Thanksgiving turkey for dinner time? Try my southwest-inspired take on leftover turkey and see if this dish adds some variety to your dinner table. In the pasta aisle, look past the usual macaroni and try changing up your meal with a different kind of pasta. I love the texture of pinwheel pasta and it is in a comparable price range. Get ready to go on a south of the border flavor journey.

"Southern Fried Bride’s Ranchero Wagonwheel Turkey Salad"
2 cups chopped, cooked turkey

1 (16 ouz.) package pinwheel pasta

1/2 cup light sour cream

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1/2 cup light ranch dressing

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons parsley

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

In large saucepan, prepare pinwheel pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and rinse. Drain and place pasta back into pot. In separate mixing bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, chili powder and parsley until well blended. Pour mixture over pasta and stir well. Mix in turkey, tomatoes, black beans and onions. Transfer into serving bowl. Garnish, if desired, with sprinkle of parsley. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! My Mother's Thanksgiving Prayer

Of my many blessings to be thankful for on this day set aside in the United States to reflect on thankfulness, one of my foremost is the gift of being MY mother's daughter. I don't choose to think of it as I was a young woman who at age 26, had to lose my soulmate mother. I choose to think of it as I was appointed by the Heavenly Father to be given 26 cherished years with an amazing mother I wouldn't trade for 100 years with any other mother.
My mother was a gifted writer and she wrote this prayer nearly a decade and a half ago to say as the prayer at her work's Thanksgiving dinner. After her death in the summer of 2001, I found a typewritten copy of this prayer with her original signature and it is a treasure of mine. That year an area newsaper published her prayer in their Thanksgiving edition. A friend of ours was so touched by the poem that she created me a special colored print with the prayer and I display it in my dining room every autumn. That friend passed away earlier this year, making the message in this prayer even more meaningful to me. My mother's sentiments in this prayer are still so appropriate for the times we are living in and I want to share this with each and every one of you with my wishes for you and your families to have a Happy Thanksgiving!

                                     A Thanksgiving Prayer For You...From Me

 by Jan Woodard-Morgan
Kind Heavenly Father I humbly thank God for my life, it is such a precious gift-for His mercy and loving kindness, for the ability to help others-hopefully with a Smile, for the knowledge that illness gives-every morning when we wake to see another day-we should give thanks to God immediately, and learning how to make the best of a situation, if God be for us, who can be against us, for the power of speech in these great United States, for any blessing that may have slipped my memory. May the spirit of Thanksgiving be catching to those around me. May we give abundant thanks for the things we do have and certainly for some of the things we DO NOT have...and most of all- for my co-workers who have become my family...I thank God for each and every one. HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!    
What are some of the things YOU are thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recipe Corner: "Southern Fried Bride's Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting"

"Southern Fried Bride's Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting"
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup sweet potatoes, mashed
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or coat with cooking spray. In large bowl, add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until well combined. Set aside. In separate bowl, add butter and sugar. Cream together 2 minutes. Add egg, sweet potatoes, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add dry flour mixture in thirds until all of dry mixture has been added.  Divide batter evenly between the baking cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until  golden brown in color and spring back when lightly pressed in the enter. Cool for three minutes in  pan, then place cupcakes on wire rack to cool completely. Frost with "Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting" or enjoy without frosting.
"Southern Fried Bride's Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting"
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
In large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix on medium speed for 5-6 minutes, until frosting has a light and fluffy consistency. If mixture becomes stiff, add additional 1 tablespoon of milk.

"Sweet Potato Bread with Marshmallow Glaze"

This recipe is one of the fun ways I have changed up traditional sweet potatoes and marshmallows on our holiday dinner table this year. This dish was a staple in our home when I was growing up and we always had marshmallows and pecans on our sweet potatoes, a tradition which I carry on as an adult in my home. I made a sweet potato bread with a marshmallow glaze. One of my Grandma Cleva's dear friends recently gifted with a bottle of Rodelle pure vanilla extract and I absolutely loved the quality and taste of this extract in my marshmallow frosting recipe. This makes a wonderful dessert and is perfect for a breakfast bread or fun holiday snack.

"Southern Fried Bride's Sweet Potato Bread with Marshmallow Glaze"

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce
1/4 cup nonfat or 2% milk
1 cup sweet potatoes, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine  egg, milk and applesauce. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture in thirds until all of dry mix has been added. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes. Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Glaze, if desired, with marshmallow glaze. Enjoy!
"Southern Fried Bride's Marshmallow Glaze"

4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1/2 tsp. Rodelle pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In mixing bowl, add cream cheese, marshmallow creme, vanilla and powdered sugar and mix on medium speed until mixture has a glaze consistency. Add powdered sugar and mix until well-combined. Pour glaze over sweet potato bread and garnish, if desired with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons chopped pecans. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe Corner: "Bountiful Zucchini Squash Quiche"

Are you making squash for Thanksgiving? This is a fun way to change up traditional squash on the holiday dinner table. I made an easy zucchini squash quiche that also is a perfect way to make use of leftover squash after holiday feasting. This recipe can be eaten immediately and does not have to be refrigerated overnight. It is great for breakfast, brunch, side dish and also for a fun meatless spin on lunch or dinner. It tastes great straight from the oven to the dinner table.

"Southern Fried Bride's Bountiful Zucchini Squash Quiche"

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust (I used a whole wheat crust) 

5 egg whites

1/2 cup yellow squash, cooked and chopped

1/2 cup zucchini squash, cooked and chopped

1/2 cup shredded 2% cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1/4 cup chopped onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pie crust according to package directions. Line rim of crust with aluminum foil to avoid burnt crust edges. Remove baked pie crust from oven and place on cooling rack. In large bowl, whisk egg whites until well beaten. Stir in squash and cheese. Mix well. Add parsley and paprika. Stir until well-combined. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake 40-45 minutes or until quiche is golden brown in color. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Treat Two Day Free Card Campaign 2012

Treat is Shutterfly’s exciting new greeting card brand and according to the company, they are an easy way for people to create and send one-of-a-kind greeting cards. Treat cards are perfect for all kinds of occasions, including holidays, birthdays, weddings, thank yous and every occasion in between, including just because. It’s a fun and easy way to brighten the day of someone special in your life.
With the holiday season upon us, Treat is spreading cheer and spirit by giving people the chance to create a FREE personalized greeting card for someone special on their website today and tomorrow! You can let someone know you're thinking of them in a unique way with a custom card from Treat and you can even add a picture or pictures.
Whether it's saying thanks, wishing a friend or family member a happy birthday, or simply sharing the holiday cheer with a just because card, Treat lets you create a one-of-a-kind card that is sure to impress the recipient.

My husband and I chose to create an extra-special Christmas card for our Grandma Ruth, my husband's paternal grandmother who lives in New Jersey. She is 94 and such a blessing in our lives.

If you would like to create a free card during this two day event on Monday 11/19 and Tuesday 11/20, visit their website here and enter code TREATBLOGR at checkout for your free card. The card will then be sent to you to give or mail to the recipient. If you would like for them to mail it directly to the recipient, you will have to pay a postage fee at checkout. Because it is an ecommerce website, you will need to enter your credit/debit card number at checkout, but you will not be charged for the free card.

Did you personalize a card? I'd love to know which card you chose!

Disclaimer: I received a 20 Treat cards credit in exchange for this blog post. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day and Shutterfly's "Thank The Troops" Mission

As we observe another Veterans Day here in this great nation, I honor the memory of my beloved late maternal grandfather A.D. Woodard, Army veteran, WWII. As a young child, I was fascinated with his stories of being a WWII soldier far away from home. In the days before he met the love of his life, my Grandma Cleva, he was a young bachelor soldier serving in Europe and his loving sisters at home, Christine, Irene and Ledean, determined to send him some homemade treats in the mail across those many, many miles. I will always remember he told me that by the time the package made it to him, the treats were often in a pile of crumbs from the wear and tear of being mailed so many miles, but he said those crumbs tasted so good because they were sent with love from home. I was reminded of this story when Shutterfly contacted me to share about their American soldiers project. 

Today, there are over 1.5 million American troops serving all around the world. This holiday season, many of them will be overseas and away from their families. In a day and age where technology has made sending notes and packages to our heroes serving our nation so much easier, the Shutterfly company has an amazing mission: they would like to send a thank you card to every American hero and they would love your help and support in this great cause. By going to the "Thank the Troops" tab on their Facebook page, you can select a card from their 4 designs:

You can add your personal message or photo, and Shutterfly will print it and send your card at no cost to you! You can go directly to their "Thank The Troops" Facebook app here.

Disclaimer: Shutterfly provided me with a $50 discount code in exchange for sharing this program with my readers. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Food Bloggers For Sandy: Light n' Lively Chicken Pot Pie #FBS4Sandy

I joined the many who have been sending thoughts and prayers to those affected by Hurricane Sandy's wrath, but it has also been especially heartbreaking for me as an Oklahoma girl turned New Yorker with relatives in New Jersey and loved ones all along the East Coast. Here in northern NY, we received Sandy fallout weather of incredibly strong winds. Growing up in Oklahoma, I was all to familiar with strong winds that often came with storm and tornado warning weather. I truly had never been through anything like what my husband and I went through the night Sandy struck here on the East Coast. I am thankful to report that my husband and I are safe with no damage to our home and my in-laws in NY and NJ are all safe. So many here in this state and along the coast cannot report this same news to their friends and loved ones because their lives, homes, cars and belongings have been ravaged by Sandy's aftermath. I prayed non-stop for my loved ones in the path of this storm until they were all accounted for.
When fellow food bloggers Barb at Creative Culinary and Jenn at Jenn Cuisine  organized "Food Bloggers for Sandy", I was proud to join in this effort. Today each of us involved in this project are sharing a favorite comfort food recipe on our blog in support of those in the Northeast impacted by Hurricane Sandy, as well as sharing a direct link to the American Red Cross "Hurricane Sandy" donation website for those who would like to make a financial donation. I hope this effort manages, in some small way, to wrap the arms of the food blogging community around those who are in such need. 

For my comfort food recipe, I am sharing a favorite in my household that is a speedy and lightened-up version of a classic Southern favorite: chicken pot pie. A great way to make use of leftover chicken.

"Southern Fried Bride's Light n' Lively Chicken Pot Pie"

 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or leftover boneless, skinless chicken), cooked and chopped

1 (10.5 oz.) can reduced sodium cream of chicken soup

1 cup skim milk

1 (15 oz.) can "no salt added" mixed vegetables, drained

1 can "no salt added" sliced mushrooms, drained

1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust
Thaw frozen pie crust or place thawed crust at room temperature according to package directions in advance of preparing dish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, add soup and milk. Stir until well-combined. Add chicken, mixed vegetables and mushrooms. Stir mixture well. Pour mixture into pan. Place unbaked pie crust on safe cutting surface and using a knife, pizza cutter or scallop-edged pastry wheel, cut crust dough into approximately 3/4 inch-wide strips from top to bottom. Place strips evenly apart from top to bottom. Seal edges of pie crust into pan. Place remaining strips evenly across the width of the pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown in color. Remove from oven and allow to cool on heat-safe surface before serving. Enjoy!
The American Red Cross is near and dear to both mine and my husband's hearts. My husband was a Red Cross volunteer in New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Since the beginning of the Sandy relief effort:
  • More than 5,900 Red Cross workers have been assigned to operations from Virginia to Rhode Island, with the majority in Greater New York and throughout New Jersey.
  • The Red Cross has provided more than 61,000 overnight shelter stays in more than 250 Red Cross shelters.
  • More than 3.2 million meals and snacks have been served.
  • The Red Cross has distributed more than 121,000 relief items such as clean-up kits and hygiene kits.
If you would like to make a financial donation, clicking on the link below will take you directly to the American Red Cross "Hurricane Sandy" donation website. You can also text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats: "Pleasing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies"

I am happy to be participating in Meal Planning Magic's "12 Weeks of Christmas Treats" blog hop. This week, I am sharing my recipe for a fun fall pumpkin cookie that has The Southern Fried Husband's official seal of approval.

"Pleasing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies"
1/2 stick butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. In large bowl, add butter and brown sugar. Beat together until creamy. Mix in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until well blended. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and cloves. Mix well. Slowly add the dry mixture into the batter in three parts until all of dry mixture has been added. Gently stir in chocolate chips only long enough to blend in mixture. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before removing with a spatula onto cooling surface. Enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Shutterfly Holiday Cards 2012 Collection and a Giveaway!

The holidays are upon us, and I'm very happy to announce that I'm working with Shutterfly this year for their holiday campaign. My husband and I celebrate Christmas, and it's almost hard to believe we will be celebrating our second Christmas as husband and wife. It is a favorite tradition of mine to pick out just the right card design that represents us as a couple as we send our wishes to friends and loved ones. Shutterfly offers an amazing selection of Holiday Cards.
I also love seeing friends and loved ones who celebrate some of the other holidays of the season sharing their traditions and greetings. They have you covered for all the winter holidays to be celebrated in 2012 with an astounding 610 design possibilities!

Here are some of my favorites in this year's collection:

This card echoes the sentiment of one of my favorite songs of the season. I love the fonts and color combination of this design, "Wonderful Time Script".

This design reflects our Christian faith and a beloved Christmas carol I have loved since my childhood.
I am crazy about monograms. You will find them throughout our home. I was immediately drawn to this card design, "Classic Wreathed Monogram".

They have the cutest designs perfect for showcasing your treasured pets, such as "Peppermint Countdown".

They literally have every winter holiday covered with this cheery card, "Merry Everything".

They also have a wonderful selection of gift tags, address labels and other accessories.

I love the gingerbread cutie on this gift tag, "Ginger Kids Red".

This "Jolly Ribbons" address label has my favorite color combinations in a delightful design.
You can view their current special offers here and find them on a number of social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

My friends at Shutterfly are sponsoring a fun holiday giveaway for one of you! One of you will win a promo code for $50 off of your total order (does not include shipping and cannot be combined with any other promos). To enter, leave a comment below telling me if you have a favorite Christmas or other winter holiday tradition. Entries close tonight at 10:00 pm EST. Good luck!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Shutterfly. I received a promo code for the purpose of my honest feedback about their 2012 holiday card collection and a promo code giveaway prize for one of my readers. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.