Monthly Archives: February 2011

Cherry Chip Gooey Butter Cookies & The Oscars!!!

As the time for the Oscars to begin approached, it seemed we needed a sweet treat to munch while we watched.  With not much time to spare, I thought about gooey butter cookies that I usually make with a chocolate cake mix.  However, this time I decided to try cherry chip cake mix.  Cherry chip cake mix is hard to find and not available in stores by us anymore so I buy it by the case online.  I have never used it to bake these cookies but since it says you can use any cake mix, how could I go wrong?  So I grabbed my few ingredients and got to work.

The ingredients are very simple: 1 80z pack of cream cheese (softened), 1 stick of butter (softened), 1/4 tsp of vanilla though I use far more, 1 egg, the cake mix and confectioners, sugar (1/4 cup).

When you have everything except the confectioners’ sugar mixed together, you then roll the dough into balls and roll the balls in the sugar and place on a cookie sheet.  Then bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Cookies will be soft so let them cool on the tray before moving them to cooling racks.

The aroma before baking which was heightened when adding the vanilla, was phenomenal, but cherry-vanilla has always been a good combination.  After baking the flavorful soft and gooey cookies were irresistible.  Hope you give them a try.  Please do not forget the give-away for the cutting board and bar boards ends tomorrow night.  We will hopefully have three winners but we need to get people to enter.

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Sage Smart Culinary Surfaces Review & Give-Away!!!

Sage Smart Culinary Surfaces sent me a nice assortment of products for me to review and some for me to give-away to a few lucky blog readers.  The products I am reviewing are, the 12″ by 18″ Non-Skid Chop Board, and the 6″ by 10.5″ Bar Board.  Sage is the professional choice in durable food prep surfaces.  Sage culinary surfaces are the essential work platform of professional kitchens.  Extremely durable & dishwasher safe, Sage surfaces offer the character and performance of wood.  They come with a lifetime guarantee so you know you can count on the quality.   Sage Woodfiber Laminate is enviornmentally friendly, made from FSC Certified wood pulp.

These boards are American made, knife friendly, dishwasher safe and heat resistant.   The Chop Board is a great size for so many prep tasks.  I love the four non-skid feet on the bottom which keeps the board very secure.  The fact that I can just pop them in the dishwasher and sanitize them really appeals to the germophobe in me, especially after using it for poultry.  The bar boards are so convienant to grab for small tasks.  The little leaf cut out handles are handy for holding or hanging.

I really like that the surface will not dull my knives and yet is dense enough to not allow deep slice marks that can harbor bacteria.  I am very impressed that Sage Culinary Surfaces will last at least twice as long as wood, bamboo, cork, or plastic boards.  Please take a look at their website to read more about this great company and all their products at

Now for the giveaway, we are going to give away 1 Non-Skid 12″ by 18″ Chop Board and 2 of the 6″ by 10.5″ Bar Boards.  So we will have three winners.  Same rules apply as our other give-aways, you must subscribe to the blog at, and like the Facebook Fan Page at  Then get your friends to go on the Facebook Fan Page and say you sent them.  The person with the most referrals will win the Chop Board, the second in referrals will win a Bar Board as well as the third.  Good luck everyone, you will love these boards.  I do!!!  I will end the contest on Monday at 12am EST.


The clear rubber feet on the bottom of the chop board keep the board from slipping.


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All Things Cupcake!!!

We all know the cupcake is hotter than it ever was.  With bakeries specializing in gourmet cupcakes, to gizmos and gadgets created to make these small cakes something much bigger than the kid’s class party staple.  We even have reality shows that showcase cupcake baking.   It seems like everyone is looking to reinvent the cupcake.  I have so many great cupcake tools and bling to showcase in the next few weeks.   These companies have also been so gracious as to sponsor give-aways so that my blog readers can have a chance to use these nifty gadgets.  Let’s just say, I will be doing a lot of cupcake baking in the next few weeks.   I am excited to show you some of the newest products to make your cupcakes stand out.   So what is your favorite thing in a cupcake?  Do you like to have pretty liners, tasty fillings, different flavors of cake, decadent frostings, or are you all about the decorating and presentation?  Whatever you fancy, I am sure I have a product that will interest you.   So keep this blog handy because we are going to have some fun with cupcakes!!!


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The Unexpected Green Pan Review!!!

When I came down this morning, my wonderful husband had already cooked the little ones their favorite breakfast of cheese eggs, buttered toast and bacon.  While I was getting my coffee, he told me he used the new Green Pan to cook the eggs.  He said this looking for my approval, wondering if it was okay he cooked in it.  When I told him I had only done the pre-review, he told me he did take pictures of the process.  I asked him for his impressions of the pan and he raved about how well made the pan is and it is very easy to see and feel it is a commercial grade fry pan.  He said it heated very evenly and the eggs cooked so fast.   When he added the cheddar cheese it melted fast and was not sticking to the pan.

The greatest testimonial on the non-stick surface of this pan, is that as I sat down to post this review, I asked my husband if he had cleaned the pan yet.  When he told me he had not, I ran into the kitchen to look at the pan.  There was next to nothing in it and a quick wipe of a towel had it looking brand new.

We are very impressed with these pans and highly recommend them if you are looking for a safe non-stick pan.  Please check their website as they have a wide range of products.  Thank you again Green Pan for making a product I feel confident using around  my family and pets.

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Friday Fragments of My Mind!!!

I finally had a few minutes the other day to quickly go through my new issue of Martha Stewart Living.  It had so many good articles and features, and I loved that she said it was time to start planting.  It also happened to be a very nice sunny day here, albeit with snow still on the ground.  I finally told my husband that I am thinking I would like him to build me another raised bed this season.  He took it pretty well.  Since we both VitaMix so much I want to add a lot more greens like Kale and Swiss Chard so I need more space.  I figure if I brought it up now, he would have a lot of time to get used to it.  In fact it took him no time at all to build me the two large raised beds last year and another one will be a cinch. : )

She had a lot of great recipes I want to try in the issue as well.  She had quite a few pages dedicated to coffee cake and so many decadent varities that I just have to chose one and make it this weekend.  The trouble is choosing because they all look so good.  Maybe I will bake one every weekend until I have tried them all.  We are going to be having some very rainy weather the next few days so baking fits in well.


I am antsy to try some kind of craft project too this weekend, but I cannot decide.   I have so many ideas running through my head.  I really want to make some kind of great family message and scheduling center.  I cannot find anything like what I want so I know I will have to make it.  With my big family and all of our crazy schedules it is hard to make something ready made fit.  I have been doing a lot of brainstorming on this and have a lot of ideas.  We will see how quickly I can get it onto paper so I can create this control center that I dream about.

Then I also have to decide what review and give-away I want to do next.   Hmmm, should it be a cleaning product, super fun toy, great cutting and prep boards, closet organizers, the list just goes on.  What would you like to see next?

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The Winner of the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract Is…

Debbie DeLancette.  Congratulations Debbie!!!  I know you will love this vanilla in all of your favorite recipes and new ones too.  Remember we have many great give-aways coming up so keep reading the blog for more chances to win great products.

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Making Snowballs and Memories!!!

Today was a glorious and sunny day.  We were out on the porch in our shirt sleeves.  Even though there is still snow on the ground, it was so warm and sunny.  It felt fabulous to be out in the bright sunshine.  After a bit, Jimi decided to teach the boys the art of making snowballs before our snow is gone.   They had a great time and it was very difficult to get them to come in for naptime.  What did you do today?  What was the weather like by you?



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Great Bay Pottery Review!!!

Great Bay Pottery sent me two beautiful pieces of their hand-made pottery to review yesterday.  They sent me a batter bowl and a pitcher.  These pieces are  hand-made and individually glazed before the final kiln firing.  The best thing is this pottery is lead-free and made in the USA!  The pieces are dishwasher, oven and microwave safe.

These are the beautifully crafted pieces they sent me.

You can see they are proudly made in the USA.

The batter bowl is a medium size that I think will be great for when I am melting chocolate in the microwave.  It is also a great choice for sauces and small batches of pancakes or waffles.

The nicely crafted handle makes picking the bowl up very easy and feels secure.

The spout makes pouring an easy and tidy task.  The colors are very county, and the heart leaf pattern is simple and beautiful.

The inside of the bowl has gentle circular ridges.

My overall impression of this batter bowl, is that it will be a piece I reach for often in my kitchen.  From scrambling up a few eggs, to making a chocolate sauce it is very handy, not to mention beautiful.  I am sure you will be seeing this piece in many of my baking and cooking posts in the future.

The second piece is a nicely sized pitcher, just right to hold fresh squeezed orange juice at breakfast or milk for a late night snack with the family of milk and cookies.  It feels very nice in your hands and is a nice weight.

The handle is very comfortable for pouring and gives you a nice secure grip.

The inside of the pitcher is a nice hunter green like the batter bowl with the same soft circular ridges down to the bottom.  This is a piece I will reach for a lot in my kitchen.  I love the colors and design of the tall grass with a dragon fly soaring over the tall blades.  The nice blue, green and grayish speckled colors are very cozy in a country kitchen.

I am very impressed with the pieces I was sent and I will be looking to add some  of this finely crafted and functional pottery to my kitchen.  They have other colors and patterns like Amber Celedon, shown below.  Check out their website to see the wide variety of pottery they carry at


Great Bay Pottery History:

Since 1992, the dynamic group of talented clay pottery artists that have given Great Bay Pottery its name and continued success; have been creating beautiful, functional handmade pottery; unparalleled in its quality, design, and reputation.

Located in scenic North Hampton, N.H.; Great Bay Pottery boasts a fully-stocked retail showroom full of traditional pottery art. Just steps away in our fully-operational studio, you are invited to watch as our talented artisans hand throw, decorate, glaze and fire the very pottery pieces you seek to buy.

With tradition, creativity, and skill as our guides; we are confident that you’ll find that perfect one-of-a-kind custom corporate or personalized occasion gift (wedding, anniversary, birthday, christening, graduation, etc), timeless collectible, or art display piece of top performance functional pottery stoneware.

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Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract Review & Give-away!!!

I was so excited when asked to review this Nielsen-Massey Vanilla.  Excited, because this is a product I use and love.  I remember our first bottle had to be purchased through Chefs Catalog but now it is available at Wegmans.  We use this in so many of our recipes and love the flavor.  We use it in our ice cream that we make, all of our baking and we especially love the flavor it adds to our belgian waffles.  If you have never tried it, then you are in for a treat.  Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Inc. has an exclusive cold process method that extracts the essence from selected vanilla pods, the finest available, producing rich and delicious flavor that is unsurpassed.  Nielsen-Massey Vanillas is proud to announce that its Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste was a 2010 Silver finalist for the NASFT Sofi Awards in the “Baked goods, baking ingredient or cereal” category.  Take a look at their website for more information at

Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla

The world’s finest and most consistent vanilla comes from Madagascar. Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla from Nielsen-Massey has a creamy, sweet, velvety flavor that is perfectly suited for a range of products from baked goods to ice creams, salad dressings to barbeque sauces. Madagascar Bourbon vanilla does not have anything to do with the American whiskey of the same name, but is rather named for the Bourbon Islands off the coast of Africa. Madagascar supplies more than 60% of the world’s vanilla.

Give-away rules:

The Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Inc.  is being gracious enough to let one of my readers try this vanilla by sending out a  2 ounce bottle of this great vanilla to the winner.  To be eligible for the give-away you MUST subscribe to my blog, LIKE my blog Facebook Fan Page, and send as many friends over to my Facebook Fan Page to post a comment that “you” sent them.  The person with the most referrals by this Thursday night 12am will be the lucky winner.  Good luck everyone and thank you Nielsen-Massey!!!

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This Mom is Going to Snap!!!

The button on my camera, that is.  What did you think this was going to be about?  Me losing my mind?  Not yet, thankfully.  I think most of you know I have a passion for photography.  I am rarely seen without my camera around my neck, even when out fitness walking long distance.  I get very upset if I see a great shot and do not have my camera, so I tend to keep it in arms reach.  As most photographers will tell you, we have a good deal of money invested in our cameras, lenses and gear, so we need a good bag for travel that will keep everything safe.  Can we dare to be stylish as well?  Why, yes we can!  I am excited to say that I have a special offer for my blog readers. and I have teamed up to bring you all a special discount code for 10% off their collection of camera bags.  Visit the site and take a look at all the great products and take advantage of the additional savings if you find something great with the code CARLY10.  Happy shopping and of course happy snapping.


the GLEE bag | Fuschia Infusion - Click Image to Close

IT bag, patent pending

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