Friday, May 31, 2013

Cooking Ideas with Squash

We really love fall and winter squash in the US! They are crammed with antioxidants, fiber, carotenes and Vitamin A. They are very filling with very few calories and can be prepared in countless ways. Plus, in fall, they are in season and are very inexpensive. But what are the best ways to buy, prepare and cook various types of squash? Butternut squash is tasty but can be hard to chop up, and some of the other types look rather gnarly and scary, so what to do?

Purchase and Storage
The best squash is going to feel rather firm and heavy and not have any soft spots. A squash that is fully grown has a rather dull skin and is not glossy. The flesh tends to be rather sweet. Look for a rich, deep color on the outside and a dry stem that is attached if you can. We find that a good fall or winter squash can be kept up to three months if it is kept in a dark place.

A butternut squash can be a bit of a challenge because it has an oblong shape. To cut it in half, cut off the top and the bottom so that is will sit flat on your cutting board. Put it on the wide end and slice it vertically. If you have any resistance, you can try a mallet and tap it on both sides of the knife. If you have a spherical squash, you can cut in a circle round the stem and angle at an inward angle then then scoop out the seeds. We find that many winter squash have thick skin and so you are going to need to use a big knife. No matter what kind of squash you have, you will need to scoop out the guts of the squash with your spoon. If you want to have a really nice treat, rinse off your seeds in the colander and shake them dry. Spread the seeds on your cookie sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast them at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until they are brown.

Should You Peel?
Peeling squash can be a pain but for many recipes, it is important. If you want to roast squash cubes, there is nothing better than that caramelized flavor of the browned, irregularly shaped pieces. So you will want to take a few minutes to smooth the knobs and to get into the divots with your peeler or slicer when the squash is still in one whole piece. If you are cooking the squash in a way that is not as dependent upon texture, you should leave on the skin and bake it. Cut it in half and bake it at 300 degrees, cut side down until it is so soft it can be peeled off. You also can pour boiling water over the squash in a dish to help get that skin off.

There are few bad ways to cook a squash! They are really good steamed, pureed, broiled, boiled and baked, also fried and mashed. One of our favorite things to do with a squash is to cut it in half and roast it like this:
1. Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut your squash in half, make sure that you cut off the stem and cut out the innards.
3. Score the flesh of the squash with a fork, and then brush and spray until all of the surfaces are coated with oil. Sprinkle the cut sides with salt and put it face down on your cookie sheet.
4. Roast it for 45 minutes.
5. After it is cooked, peel off the skin then cut it up and serve!

Lauren Hill is a contributing author for Hamilton Beach, a kitchen appliance company offering a wide selection of slow cookers and food processors as well as recipes. 

Bet On Your Baby Blog App *Giveaway*

Bet on Your Baby, Saturdays 8/7c on ABC is in partnership with Luvs! Every parent thinks they know their baby well, but are they willing to bet on it? Bet on Your Baby is a new show where parents play fun games with their toddlers, and try to “bet” on what their baby will do next! If they guess correctly, the family wins $5,000 in college tuition money, and the chance to play for $50,000! All of these heartwarming and hilarious games are played in a toy-filled room called the Baby Dome. Do you think that you could predict what the baby will do next?

Why you will love the Bet on Your Baby Blog App:
•Would You Survive The Baby Dome? Quiz – How well do you know the behavior of babies? How do you think these toddlers will fare playing these games in the Baby Dome? Take the quiz to find out!
•Bet On Your Baby Game Gallery – View the cutest clips of the stars of the show! Visit the Game Gallery to watch the babies and parents in action, playing awesome games together such as Toy Time, Stack 'Em, and The Sound of Moo-sic.
•Get Social With It! Tweet with the #BetOnYourBaby hashtag to get excited about tuning in on Saturdays at 8/7c on ABC!

The Prize Candle

The Prize Candle story began with the collaboration of a team that shared a passion to create an eco-conscious candle line that is sophisticated and refined, yet, affordable & festive. Pulling their talents from the fashion, design and tech industry to develop Prize Candle, the result is a beautifully packaged, all natural soy wax candle in fragrances that will enhance your environment with the added bonus of a prize in every candle!
I got a Spring Blossom candle! And oh my goodness, it smells so good. I light it in the kitchen and it fragrances the entire house! Even after you blow it out, the scent lingers. It is lovely. I recieved a ruby ring in my candle, and it is so pretty. I am very pleased with my candle!
Check it all out at Prize Candle on Facebook, as well as Prize Candle on Twitter.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Snugg - iPad Case Cover

The Snugg brand was born early in 2010 with the very first iPad case, one of the directors got an iPad and just couldn’t find a case that he was really happy with and they all knew people who were saying the same thing. After a discussion (and a few drinks) they decided they should produce a quality iPad case that people would love and that’s exactly what they did. They initially started selling on Amazon once they had the cases made and they were a hit straight away and the company saw rapid initial growth because of this and that’s how Snugg was born. They set up in early 2011 and now they now stock a wide range of all kinds of different Snugg products and are expanding all the time.

I got a new case for my iPad 3. Give your iPad 3 a stylish splash of color with the orange PU leather case. Made from premium PU leather and lined with velvety nubuck, this iPad 3 case will keep your iPad 3 snug and secure. It has cut-out areas for your iPad 3’s cameras and connectors, and the Snugg case holds your iPad firmly in place thanks to a tough Velcro fastener. The iPad 3 cases have a folding cover which doubles up as a clever iPad 3 stand. Choose from two stand positions simply by flipping over your iPad 3. On the top of the case, they've added a stylus pen loop, so you’ll never have to go hunting for your smart pen again. The cover on the orange PU leather case is specially designed to activate the iPad 3’s automatic Sleep and Wake functionality, ensuring your battery lasts as long as possible. Inside the cover, you’ll also find an elasticated hand grip, designed to keep your iPad 3 safe as you carry it with you. Use your iPad 3 on a treadmill, while relaxing on the beach or in the office, safe in the knowledge that it won’t slip from your hands: just slip your fingers through the strap to hold it steady. I love the bold color, and it works great for all my needs! Love it!

Check it all out at Snugg on Facebook, as well as Snugg on Twitter.


Do you want to learn more about a simple, 100% safe, DEET-free and all-natural way to keep the bugs away this summer without the messy toxic bug sprays? Introducing MOSQUITNO -  all-natural bug repellent bracelets and stickers. With the MOSQUITNO wristband bracelets and MOSQUITNO SpotZzz Stickers, you can have two great options for adults and kids to enjoy outside living from casual backyard play to outdoor sporting.
Whether you are gardening, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, BBQing, playing in the park or taking walks or even sitting still in nature, nothing should stop you for enjoying what you love to do. The all-natural, non-toxic MOSQUITNO wristbands and SpotZzz stickers are infused with 100% citronella oil, with a pleasant citrus aroma to repel mosquitoes, gnats, flies and no-see-ums. As long as you can smell the citrus aroma the products are working. The stronger the smell, the more effective protection it will provide. One wristband should be enough to provide adequate protection on an average day, however depending on the density of mosquitoes and the time of day an additional MOSQUITNO wristband or Spotz sitcker may be required. The wristbands are effective for 150 hours (6 days) and come in a resealable package to preserve effectiveness when not in use. The stickers are effective for 72 hours.
The wristbands and stickers can be the latest fashion accessory for everyone this summer. The sporty and comfortable silicone rubber wristband comes in a variety of colors including camouflage and tie-dye and the company has recently added a brand new addition to their line - a new glow-in-the dark color in their wristbands for kids and adults. Also new for MOSQUITNO is their Spotz sticker product that you can put directly on your clothes, shoes, hats and backpacks. These are especially good for protecting the ankles and neckline when placed on socks, shoes and hats. Spotz is available in themes including earth tones, primary colors, kids, sports and specialty. When the weather is nice, you want to spend it outdoors. Nothing is worse than being chased away by the annoying biting bugs and nasty mosquitoes. Wearing the MOSQUITNO products will help you to enjoy your time outdoors. An added bonus is that with MOSQUITNO, you won’t even know you are wearing bug repellent. You won’t have to spray yourself, head to toe, with the messy and often toxic bug sprays. This is a worry-free and safe way to be bug-free. Both product lines are all-natural, and non-toxic to humans and animals, including insects. Citronella comes from oils of grasses.

MOSQUITNO will collect used bands and send them to a silicone recycler to be made into something new. For every 10 bands you return, they will send you 2 new bands for free – one to say thank you and one to cover your shipping! Visit their website for more information on their product line and recycling program!

Check it all out at Mosquitno on Facebook!

BabyGanics Sunscreen

BabyGanics products are designed for babies but, honestly, they're just as much for parents; whether they protect, moisturize, nourish or clean, their most important ingredient is always peace of mind.
We got to check out their sunscreen! Cover-Up Baby Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion 50+SPF -  BabyGanics mineral based 50+SPF lotion provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and even moisturizes as it protects. So go ahead and use it everywhere….face and body – BabyGanics has your little one covered! Water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Hypoallergenic, tear free formula is perfect for full body coverage. I love this for Callan, because not only does he have fair skin like me and tends to burn easily, he also is sensitive to a lot of lotions and creams. And this works great for him!

Check it all out at BabyGanics on Facebook, as well as BabyGanics on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crest & Oral-B *Giveaway*

Crest and Oral B Pro-Health Stages are working together with America's ToothFairy (the National Children's Oral Health Foundation) to promote healthy teeth and lessen the fear of the dentist. With a brand new design featuring Mike and Sulley from the upcoming prequel Monsters University, children don't need to fear monsters under the bed or the dentist!

Here are some tips to help keep your kid's teeth sparkly white with Crest Pro-Health Stages Monsters, Inc Toothpaste and Oral-B Stages Toothbrush:
Make sure that children under 6 use only a pea size amount and instruct them in good brushing and rinsing habits to minimize swallowing.
The toothbrush helps to protect tender gums, surrounds and cleans teeth, helps kids to reach their back teeth, fits little hands, and makes brushing fun with their favorite characters.

To minimize fear of the dentist you can try these tips:
Visit the dentist with your child before their first appointment. Ask the dental assistant for a tour and to give your child a quick preview of what to expect. This can minimize fear and anxiety and prove to be a great learning opportunity.
For older children you can bring them with you to the dentist to give them an opportunity to ask questions and see how the instruments will be used. This gives them a chance to witness good oral health behaviors and it gives you a chance to get your teeth cleaned and maybe overcome your own fears.
Keep regular dentist visits to keep a sense of familiarity and comfort with the dental team and provide preventive care necessary for a healthy smile.
Reinforce concepts such as daily brushing and flossing by posting a calendar and rewarding your child a gold star or sticker for every day of excellent oral care.
Help get your child excited about their next dental visit by bringing the calendar with you to show the dentist.
Let them bring a favorite toy or blanket to give them security and comfort

Father's Day Promotion 20% off Men's Slippers

What is more comfortable - a tie or Dearfoams slippers? Ask Dad and he'll say the slippers for sure! Dad's deserve the comfort and style of Dearfoams slippers and with 20% off all men's slippers between now and June 6th, 2013, they make the perfect Father's Day Gift.

OFFER: 20% off all Men's Slippers at with code AFDAD2013

Monster Univeristy Clip

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Donate To A Great Cause

We need 15 more sales on these shirts for the Mason's Missions charity! Help spread the word please! And thank you!

Oxi-Clean 2 in 1

The latest from the trusted line of OxiClean stain removers is new 2in1 Stain Fighter plus Color Safe Brightener. The active oxygen power reaches deep into fabric fibers to quickly and safely break up and remove stains. And the built-in optical brightener helps to make whites and colors look their best! OxiClean 2in1 has 40 percent more brightening power than detergent alone to help prolong the life of your wardrobe and keep colorful clothes vibrant and looking their very best. It also provides the stain fighting power that you can expect from OxiClean to help remove all of life’s messy stains from dirt to perspiration, grease and more. Give your wash a boost by adding OxiClean 2in1 Stain Fighter plus Color Safe Brightener to every load.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Deodorize Garbage Cans - A couple of shakes is all it takes! Keep unpleasant smells to a minimum by sprinkling ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda in the garbage between layers as they accumulate. Periodically wash out and deodorize garbage cans with a solution of 1 cup of ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda per 1 gallon of water.

Greasy Dishes - Greasy dishes overwhelm even the most effective detergents. To cut through the toughest grease, add 2 heaping tablespoons of ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda to detergent and dishwasher. Let pans soak for 15 minutes, then clean.

Musty Towels - Fun in the sun can make towels smell musty. Get pool towels clothesline fresh - right from the wash! Add 1/2 cup ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda to the rinse cycle.

The Soothing Company Bonsai Tree

The Soothing Company offers thousands of soothing products for your home and garden. Everything from indoor water fountains for the home to bonsai trees to even wall art for the outdoors.
I got a Small Gardenia Bonsai Tree. Features: Blooms March through June, Full and Fragrant White Flowers, Smaller in Size - Ideal for Indoors. This fragrant indoor Bonsai features a soft scent that has been popular for centuries. Gardenias are full, white flowers that bloom March through June. This Indoor Bonsai Tree is not only beautiful to look at, it will add a beautiful scent to your home! It is gorgeous! Adds a little elegance to our home!

Check it all out at The Soothing Company on Facebook, as well as The Soothing Company on Twitter.


Papersalt Books

Papersalt makes books and activities to help parents teach life lessons and simple things all kids should know. We recieved a few of their books, and love them!

The Stuff Journal - 100 page journal for boys with inspiring topics and quotes. This is great, because even boys like to journal and write.

My USA - This educational book highlights each state including: population, largest city, when it became a state, state bird/tree/plant, and random facts. Kids can mark states visited, write in dates and activities, tag where family and friends live. This is a great book for travel memories and to learn about the USA.

Check it all out at Papersalt on Facebook, as well as Papersalt on Twitter.


The Offering Blog Tour

The Offering by Angela Hunt

About The Book:
After growing up as an only child, Amanda Lisandra wants a big family. But since she and her soldier husband can't afford to have more children right away, Mandy decides to earn money as a gestational carrier for a childless couple. She loves being pregnant, and while carrying the child she dreams of having her own son and maybe another daughter....Just when the nearly perfect pregnancy is about to conclude, unexpected tragedy enters Mandy's world and leaves her reeling. Devastated by grief, she surrenders the child she was carrying and struggles to regain her emotional equilibrium. Two years later she studies a photograph of the baby she bore and wonders if the unthinkable has happened - could she have inadvertently given away her own biological child? Over the next few months Mandy struggles to decide between the desires of her grief-stricken heart and what's best for the little boy she has never known.

My Thoughts:
Oh. My God. That's all I can say. This is a phenomenal book! I read it in 2 days, I was so into it! The emotion this book brings is insane. But it is so good!

About The Author:
With over four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including "The Nativity Story". Hunt is one of the most sought-after collaborators in the publishing industry. Her nonfiction book "Don't Bet Against Me", written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Angela's novel "The Note" (with sales of over 141,000) was filmed as the Hallmark Channel's Christmas movie for 2007 and proved to be the highest rated television movie in the channel's history. Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RITA, the Christy Award, the ECPA Christian Book Award, and the Holt Medallion. She often travels to teach writing workshops at schools and writers' conferences, and she served as the keynote speaker at the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers' national conference. She and her husband make their home in Florida with mastiffs. In 2001, one of her dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest dog in America.

Buy the book at The Offering on Amazon, and follow the rest of the blog tour HERE.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Getting Cool In The Pool

Summer is coming! For some, it is already here. I always complain about the weather, no matter if it is hot out or cold out. But when it is hot out, you can get some relief by going for a dip in your swimming pool! And I recently saw some really cool pool supplies! LED colored pool lights are one thing! How cool is that? Instead of just the regular white lights, get colored ones. Fun for parties! It is something different, and it is one small touch that can make swimming more fun!

I love pool sconces as well. It is a simple decorative feature that adds class and fun to your pool area. I have seen lots of lion heads that spit out the water. I always think that is so cool. As the global leader in swimming pool, spa and aquatic equipment, Pentair has built a reputation as the innovation leader, providing high performance, reliable and energy-efficient products that pool owners and operators can depend on to make their pools more inviting, easier to maintain, and extraordinary, from the smallest backyard pool to the largest water environments. And woot woot, I gotta give it up because the headquarters are here in Minnesota.

I think they are a great company, and with them working alongside Westside Wholesale, Inc., you will get the best pool area around. Neighbors would be jealous! Westside Wholesale Inc. is a wholesale distributor for the electrical, lighting, heating and cooling, air quality, plumbing, security, pool supply, and other related industries. They have multiple warehouses and offices nationwide servicing the United States and Canada, stocking the majority of products in their catalog. Check out more about all that! So this summer, get your pool on, and enjoy the outdoors!

Omega Infusion Water

Omega Infusion is revolutionary, omega3 infused, enhanced water. Great tasting, zero calories. Omega3 enhanced. We were able to try all the flavors, as well as some shots! The water is great tasting, and refreshing, and Jason loves the shots!

  Check it all out at Omega Infusion on Facebook, as well as Omega Infusion on Twitter.

Home Chef Must-Haves

  Disclaimer: 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. R...