Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Old El Paso Frozen Entrees for Two

My family has long enjoyed the taste and variety found in Old El Paso products and I was excited to see them offer the convenience of frozen entrees for two rather than the higher number of portions found in family sizes.  
I had the opportunity to try one of the new frozen entrees. I love that these are handcrafted and come in such a fun variety of choices. My favorite is the Chicken Quesadillas. To me, a good quesadilla has a soft, chewy quality in the tortilla on the outside and a tasty and juicy filling on the inside. That's exactly what I found when I tried the Old El Paso Chicken Quesadillas. I found it so convenient that they are portions for two people, perfect for sharing with a friend I invited over for lunch. It was ready in minutes and a big hit with my friend as well as myself.

You can find more information about the frozen entrees on the Old El Paso website here and on their Facebook page here

One of you will receive an Old El Paso prize pack! The winner will receive a coupon for one Old El Paso Frozen EntrĂ©e of your choice (value up to $7.99), a Mexican Tile Chip & Dip Bowl and Serving Platter set and a $10 Visa Gift Card. To enter, leave a comment below and let me know which one of the frozen entrees you would be interested in trying. Giveaway closes Wednesday, November 27 at 8:00 pm EST. 

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. All opinions in this blog post are my own. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Recipe Corner: 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 me 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!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: "The Sparkle Box"

I was blessed to be sent a copy of "The Sparkle Box" to review for you, but I truly had no idea how this children's book would impact me as an adult with the timeless spirit of the true meaning of Christmas. I found that at the heart of this story is the message that my family strives for, found in Matthew 25:35. 

The author Jill Hardie has woven a heartfelt story about the season of giving against the backdrop of the commercialism the world tries to bring to this blessed time of year. She was inspired after she and her family chose to place a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday and instead of the world's holiday commercialism, there was joy and peace in their hearts. 

In Jill's story, a little boy named Sam is drawn to a sparkly box his family has placed on their mantel for the Christmas season. Sam learns an important lesson when he opens "The Sparkle Box" and his mother explains to him that the acts of kindness their family does for other people are, in fact, a gift for Jesus because Jesus said in His Word that whatever we do for people in need, we do for Him.  Their acts of kindness are written down and placed in "The Sparkle Box" as each one represents a gift for Jesus. I love that each book comes with its own fold-out "Sparkle Box" included so children and families can put the message of this story into action in their own homes during the Christmas season. 

This video preview of the book gives you a glimpse into the heart of the story, so wonderfully told through the words and pictures.

I was immediately taken with the beautiful cover of the hardcover book, geared for ages 4 to 8, and the gorgeous illustrations throughout the book by illustrator Christine Kornacki that bring to life Jill's story. 
The book can be purchased for $19.99 through the Ideals Books website here.

It is the author's hope that this story will spark a new Christmas tradition in your family this year. One of you will win a hardcover copy of this book to share with a special young person in your life! To enter, leave a comment below with an act of kindness you have either received or given and let me know who you would like to share this book with, if you are the winner. Winner must reside in the US or Canada. Entries close on Tuesday, November 26 at 6:00 pm EST.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

DVD Review and Giveaway: "Dear Mom, Love Cher"

Her identity in the entertainment industry is among the rare acts so widely-known that their first name stands on its own. Cher's documentary "Dear Mom, Love Cher" was featured as a Mother's Day special on the Lifetime TV Network and is now available on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment for the suggested retail price of $14.98.  I've long been a fan of Cher since I was a little girl first introduced to the music of Sonny and Cher. I was honored to receive the DVD  with an opportunity to review this documentary. 

In this DVD, Cher presents a beautiful tribute to the love between a mother and daughter. I loved getting a glimpse into the life of the superstar Cher through looking at the life of her mother Georgia. I believe it is in looking at a person's life that you always learn life lessons. 

Georgia Holt shares an incredible closeness with her two daughters, Cher and Georganne and her grandchildren. You see through the course of this documentary that it is Georgia, who was born Jackie Jean in Arkansas, who has a story all her own. I saw glimpses of the same kind of drive to succeed that her daughter Cher has exemplified throughout her career in entertainment. I saw a mother's love of music, acting and singing that was passed on to the next generation with her daughter Cher's love of music, acting and performing. 
You see life's ups and downs through stories of marriage and divorce, resulting in six failed marriages and Georgia's decision that after 6 tries, being single is just fine with her. 
It is through the parent's life that you begin to see glimpses into the life of their child, and I enjoyed getting to see parts of Cher's childhood reflected in the story. 
The mother's career in acting and music  had their own ups and downs through the years and it was at age 50 that she had the opportunity to record her own album.
At age 86, she shows she still can sing so beautifully as a DVD special feature includes a duet with her daughter, Cher and their harmonies show a heartwarming testament to the music of mother and daughter. 
I enjoyed seeing so many pictures of the family throughout the documentary, rare TV footage of Georgia's early performing career along with so many personal family stories told by members of the family. I found this to be a heartwarming tribute from a daughter to her mother and an enjoyable viewing experience.  
One of you will win your own copy of "Dear Mom, Love Cher" on DVD, valued at $14.98. To enter, leave me a comment below and tell me if you have a favorite memory of a loved one in your life, living or passed. Entries close Wednesday, November 20 at 6:00 pm EST. Winner will be announced immediately.  

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Entertainment New Media Network and we help promote, sometimes for a professional fee, entertainment industry projects we find meaningful. All opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I was not financially compensated for writing this blog post. I received this DVD to review and a DVD to give away to one of my readers.    

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Recipe Corner: Good Morning Quiche

The upcoming holiday gatherings are sure to bring leftovers for the refrigerator. Wondering how you can turn some of that next-day turkey and other holiday leftovers into another tasty meal? I make an easy quiche recipe that makes use of several traditional holiday leftovers such as turkey, scalloped potatoes and an extra pie crust left behind after all that holiday baking. Any kind of leftover potatoes will do good for this recipe when they are chopped. This recipe can be eaten immediately and does not have to be refrigerated overnight. It is great for breakfast and also for a different spin on lunch or dinner. It tastes great straight from the oven to the dinner table.

"Good Morning Quiche"
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
3 egg whites
2 eggs
1 cup turkey, chopped
1/2 cup potatoes, chopped
1/4 cup 2% shredded cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
Bake pie crust according to package directions. Line rim of crust with aluminum foil to avoid burnt crust. Remove baked pie crust from oven and place on cooling rack. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  
In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until well beaten. Stir in turkey, potatoes and cheese. Add garlic salt and paprika. Mix well. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake 40-45 minutes or until quiche turns golden brown. Serves 6-8. Enjoy!  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recipe Corner: Pumpkin Paradise Layered Dessert

This is my favorite time of year for making pumpkin treats for family and friends. I created this recipe for a fun alternative to traditional pumpkin pie on the holiday dinner table. This time of year, Jell-O comes out with a seasonal pumpkin spice pudding flavor and I have found it delightful to use in dessert recipes. If you cannot find it at the grocery store, you can use instant vanilla pudding and add 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for each 4-serving package. I love the texture the gingersnap crust creates and Promise butter spread is a great healthy alternative to the standard stick butter used so often in baking. The regular versions of the ingredients will work well, but I used the lighter choice ingredients in the recipe below for a light and fluffy pumpkin treat. 

   "Pumpkin Paradise Layered Dessert" 

1 (14 oz.) package gingersnap cookies

1 stick butter, softened

1 (8 oz.) package light cream cheese, softened

1 8 oz. container Cool-Whip whipped topping, thawed

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

3 cups milk

2 ( 4 -serving size) packages Jello-O instant pumpkin pudding 
* If you cannot find the pumpkin flavor, use vanilla instant pudding and add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Spray 13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray. Place cookies in sandwich bag and use rolling pin to crush the cookies Combine together until moistened and press into bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Allow crust to cool. In large bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioner's sugar with mixer for one minute. Fold in 1 cup of Cool-Whip and mix until well-blended. Reserve remaining Cool-Whip for top layer. Pour cream cheese mixture over cooled crust until mixture covers crust entirely. In separate mixing bowl, add pudding mix and milk. Stir or mix with hand mixer until thickened. Pour over cream cheese layer, covering cream cheese layer completely. Top with remaining Cool Whip in container. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Cut into squares to serve. Enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Shutterfly 2013 Holiday Card Collection Review and Giveaway

Shutterfly has become one of my go-to companies for creating unique greeting card creations and photo gifts. The Shutterfly 2013 holiday card collection includes so many one-of-a-kind designs as well as truly unique photo gifts

I love that each year, they offer a selection of new and innovative card design styles. For 2013, those styles are 5 x 7 folded, tri fold & back of card designs.  

Here are some of my favorites from the 2013 Collection: 

The beautiful rainbow colors in the Merriest of Colors design so perfectly match the uplifting sentiment and I instantly smiled when I saw it. 

 I love the timeless sentiments in the Brushed Snowflakes design presented in such a unique tri fold design.

I think the sentiment of the Wonderful Life Flurries design exemplifies the spirit of the beloved holiday movies of the same name.

I was taken with the Love Snow design as a fun way to showcase a fun and snowy sentiment.

 I love the bright and fun photo collage layout of the Spreading Cheer design.

Here are the design style categories that each have countless designs to choose from:

  • Classic: traditional colors, iconic illustrations, inspirational sentiments, snowflakes, monogram
  • Contemporary: this style is perfect for using Instagram pictures, trend forward colors, texture and layering, water color techniques, shine, glitter 
  • Whimsy: humor and nostalgia meet, fun sentiments
  • Merry and Brightall about color and having fun
  • Religious: metallic type treatments, incorporated story ideas
  • Photo Basicsmultiple colors, vertical type, family name highlights
Thanks to the wonderful people at Shutterfly, one of YOU will win a Shutterfly $50 Gift Code along with free shipping, perfect for holiday cards or photo gifts!  To enter,  visit  Shutterfly's 2013 Holiday Card Collection  here and then leave a comment below telling me which one is your favorite. Entries close on Friday, November 15 at 9:00 pm EST. Winner will be announced immediately. 

FTC Disclaimer: I will receive a gift code from Shutterfly in exchange for writing this blog post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recipe Corner: Breezy Berry Party Punch

I was recently asked by a reader for a "blue" shower recipe for a friend's shower to welcome her new baby boy. With the holiday season coming along with  family and friend gatherings to celebrate special life milestones, this makes a tasty and special punch to serve.

 “Southern Fried Bride’s Breezy Berry Party Punch” 

*fills standard-size punch bowl

½ of 1 64-ounce bottle Ocean Spray Light White Cranberry Juice 

½ of 2-liter (or 1-liter bottle) diet lemon lime soda 

1 envelope (8-serving size) unsweetened Berry Blue-flavored Kool-Aid mix 

1 pint Blue Bell No Sugar Added vanilla ice cream

2 cups crushed ice

Thaw pint of ice cream 10 minutes before making punch mixture. Fill empty punch bowl with ½ of 64-ounce bottle of white cranberry juice. Add ½ of 2 liter bottle of lemon lime soda. Add envelope of Kool-Aid and stir well. Add 2 cups crushed ice. Add thawed pint of ice cream to top of punch, do not stir. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It's Fall Y'all Party- Final Roundup

This is the final week for the It's Fall Y'all Party 2013 and I've had such a fun time being a hostess. Thank you so much to my fabulous foodie friend Jamie at Love Bakes Good Cakes for steering this fun project and to the fabulous ladies listed below who co-hosted with me. Hope you find inspiration in this autumn treasury of recipes, DIY projects and kids craft ideas. Happy Fall Y'all!
Welcome to It's Fall Y'all - the BIGGEST & BEST Fall party! This year, we have 10 fun hosts - meaning your link-ups will show up on 10 different blogs!

It's Fall Y'all 2013 4

Let's meet the hosts, shall we?

This party is for all of your Fall related projects, recipes, crafts, decorating tips, tablescapes, DIY, printables, costumes, Halloween stuff, Thanksgiving stuff, etc .... By the way, they don't even have to be new posts - share your stuff from previous years as well and let's get them recirculated in bloggyland!

Everything and anything Fall is welcome!

Did you know, you can help spread the word and make this an even bigger party by placing this button on your post or blog .... or even by sharing a link back to the party. It's not mandatory, but we appreciate the bloggy love! :)

It's Fall Y'all 2013

We also have a Pinterest board for this party - Everything that gets linked up will get pinned for even more exposure! 

You can follow our board here:

Let's get this party started ... we're excited to see all of the great stuff you have! Just a quick note - by linking up, you are giving us permission to promote your links on social media - If we use your picture, it will either link directly back to your site or to your corresponding number in the party which links directly back to you. Let's have fun! :)

Don't forget to share and comment ♥