Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I made tamales this week with my friend Norma and they are amazing! The backstory on my search for the perfect tamale started with some fresh tamales I had a few years ago in California from a Farmer's Market. Since then, I've visited other markets and ordered them online...good enough, but just not what I've been craving.

Until now.

And making tamales is a lot easier than I ever thought it would be. It's definately time consuming, which is why I was so glad to have Norma around. In fact, it was her idea to make tamales, so hats off to Norma!

I'll link the recipe I used from a website that has really specific directions AND photographs. The cool thing is that you can totally deviate from the ingredient list (for the most part) and customize your tamales. We made chicken/pork like the website suggests, AND we made black bean & cheese and beef tamales. YUM!

The cool thing about this website is that they break it down for you to the ingredients you need, how to cook the meat, how to prepare the masa, how to assemble the tamales and how to cook them. After cooking, you can freeze these babies and re-steam them for dinners or lunches later. AWESOME!

Check out the link above and please let me know if you make tamales....I can't wait for Tamale Making Day to come again this winter. :)

Next up, my soon-to-be-famous GUMBO recipe! (and I'll add tamale pics soon)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Giveaway Time!

Update: the WINNER is #8 picked post #8 as the winner. Congratulations!! (I have no idea how to do a screen shot of the actual draw, so you'll have to trust me on this one.) Thanks to everyone who entered....check back often for more contests and giveaways. I'll do the 2nd Ron & Franks giveaway in November.

With the weather turning cooler, my thoughts turn to warm drinks. I love a hot drink on a cool morning, or before bed, or in the afternoon...well, any time really! And last year I discovered a super-delicious brand of drink mix that is not only affordable, but also low calorie. Ron & Franks Skinny Gourmet! They sell a variety of drink and baking mixes with or without Splenda in flavors like cappuccino, spiced apple cider, peanut butter hot chocolate, and so many more.

Ron & Franks ( Skinny Gourmet drink mixes are THE BEST. The company is pretty darn awesome too, because when I sent them an email requesting a sample for my blog giveaway, they sent me FOUR packages of their creamy hot chocolate mixes. So exciting - you are going to love this stuff!! I'm tempted to keep them for myself...but that wouldn't be right. ;)

Here are the rules for this giveaway contest. If you want to win, you must visit the Ron & Franks website here and poke around, then come back here and tell me (in a comment) what flavor drink mix sounds the best to you. Or any product really. Check them out, and if you can't wait for the results, place an order for will *not* regret it!

This contest will have one winner, selected by, from comments left on my blog. I'll keep the contest open until noon EST on Sunday, September 27th. You're going to have to check back on Sunday evening to see who the winner is and then email me if it's you so I know where to send your goodies.

Oh, you probably want to know what the prize

The winner will receive two packages of drink mix:
  • Ron & Franks Skinny Gourmet Diet Hot Chocolate in White Chocolate Raspberry flavor
  • Ron & Franks Skinny Gourmet Diet Chai Tea

Each package makes 24 servings and each serving has only 20 calories!! For those Weight Watchers followers like myself, that's ZERO points. Don't let the word "diet" in the title of these scare you off. Seriously, these are so good, I am stocking up for the fall & winter. But you can also make iced versions if you prefer your beverages cold.

Now those of you who have been paying attention might be thinking to yourself, "hey, she got 4 packages and is only giving away 2...what's up with that?!?". Well, good question. I'm saving the other two bags until closer to holiday time because those are both the famous Egg Nog mix. If you like Egg Nog, but can't stand all the calories, you're going to want to try this! I love egg nog flavor, but the actual drink is a generally little too....thick...for me. Ron & Frank's version is PERFECTION. And like the other mixes here, these too are made with Splenda for a low calorie treat.

Good luck with the contest!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Swag Bucks

While I'm waiting for the giveaway item to arrive (yippee!), I thought I'd let you know about a new freebie/earning website I just joined. I'm going to pimp it here with my referral code, so if you join too then I can earn more stuff. Then get your friends to join and you can earn even more free stuff too!

It's called Swag Bucks.

That is my referral link. So far, I have 8 swag bucks.

What is it? It's an online portal dedicated to helping you earn digital dollars called "Swag Bucks", which can be redeemed for exclusive merchandise. You SEARCH the web (like you already do now) using their website, EARN swag bucks periodically during these searches, and then REDEEM the bucks for prizes like gift cards.

So lend me a hand and join, mkay?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stay Tuned...

I'm going to give something away soon.
I just have to figure out what it's going to be...but when I do, it's gonna be good!

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chill Time

I love relaxing. I mean, it's probably obvious...most people do, right? But it's that especially important, ever-so-rare occasion that I get to really, really RELAX that I enjoy most of all. This weekend, I got to do just that.

I spent a day and a half in Michigan with my family and friends, just having a good time and being together. Such a wonderful way to spend a weekend....a birthday weekend, none-the-less. And even with the chaos of making dinner and entertaining 15 people, including two 5-year olds, in someone else's house - we still managed to feel relaxed. THAT is the sign of a great weekend.

So I'm sending a big shout out of thanks to my husband, daughter, sister, Aunt and the 'significant others' who helped make this weekend one to remember.

Ahhh, I needed that!