Udi’s Gluten Free Eat, Drink, Be Merry!

Over the years, I have worked with Udi’s to promote many of their products and even though the sponsor many of the posts I do for them, I do truly buy their products! They offer such a wide range of products for families including bread items, oatmeal, cookies, tortillas, frozen entrees, and more. This year Udi’s wants to celebrate with not only myself and other bloggers but you as well! Their #EatDrinkBeMerry promotion is a HUGE giveaway with incredible prizes! Look at what I received for being part of this event and helping spread the word:


Our freezer is full of these awesome products! Bryan and I were torn on what to try first because many of these items were new to us. So We each heated up one of the non-breakfast burritos and then split them. Yummm. Such good flavor and spice in these. We were both impressed. Next up was the baguette – I brought these up to my dad’s house for an early Christmas celebration and made homemade meatballs subs on them (with some delicious Cabot Cheese) – just heat them up in the oven while still frozen and they held up great with the meatballs and sauce (not something you get very often with gluten-free products).


Don’t forget to enter HERE for your chance to win a #EatDrinkBeMerry prize pack from Udi’s!

Here are my favorite ways to EAT, DRINK, and BE MERRY:

EAT – Savory items over sweet! Cheese, olives, prosciutto, and warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

DRINK – A glass of really good Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, OR

BE MERRY – Taking time to relax and enjoy those around me

What are your favorite ways to EAT, DRINK, and BE MERRY?

Click HERE to enter for your chance to win some awesome prizes from Udi’s Gluten Free! You don’t want to miss out on this!



Peppermint “Hot Chocolate” Cookies {Good Cook Virtual Cookie Exchange}

The awesome bloggers and kitchen experts at Good Cook are hosting a Sweet Creations Virtual Cookie Exchange. Each of us that participated received a huge box filled with two cookie sheets, a cookie turner, sweet mixing bowls, cookie dropper/scoop, high temp rubber spatula, and a set of 12 cookie cutters pretty much everything you need to bake some delicious cookies. We were asked to use at least one of the items listed above in our recipe…I chose to use the cookie turner, cookie dropper, and cookie sheet…all of which were awesome! these sheet trays are some of my favorites and that cookie scoop is perfect – so easy to use, nothing got stuck to it, and the cookies came out pretty uniform.

964334_10151833454178848_1596390271_oI’m not going to lie…I am not the best baker due to the fact that measurements really do have to be precise, hence why I cook. I find that my creativity comes out more in cooking rather than baking and I utilize my other senses of smell, sight, and touch with cooking if I can’t taste something (basically in school if something isn’t gluten-free). When it comes to come up with an original recipe without looking at others for inspiration. I have to say thought I think I did rather well with this recipe. I just looked at some “regular” cookie recipes just to see what the ratios are and these came out pretty darn good.

As part of our virtual cookie exchange our readers are entitled to receive 5% off goodcook.com for any sweet creations products by entering the code: COOKIES during check out. Also be sure to check out the Good Cook to like these cookies (or any others) and be entered to be one of 10 lucky winners that will receive a great gift prize from Sweet Creations/Good Cook! Be sure to head to Good Cook on December 18th to vote for your favorite cookie(s) and be entered to win one of 25 Sweet Creations Cooking Making Kits! Contests ends on December 31, 2013!

Peppermint “Hot Chocolate” Cookies

(Think of all the delicious goodies you put into hot chocolate – chocolate, peppermint, marshmallows and wrap those up into one delicious cookie)


Yield: 24 cookies


  • 3/4 cup Sugar (granulated)
  • 3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup/stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 cup Blanched Almond Four
  • 1 cup Gluten-free All Purpose Flour (Cup4Cup) (if your mix does not have xanthan gum in it add 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Marshmallows (or mini ones, cut in half)
  • 1 cup Chopped Peppermint Chocolate (I used Chocolove, you can always add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract instead)
  • 2 Candy Canes – crushed

Method of Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add granulated sugar, brown, sugar, butter, and egg. Mix on low-medium until creamed together.
  3. While the sugar, butter, and eggs are creaming together, add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, and mix until there are no lumps (a fork works just fine for this).
  4. Turn mixer to low and gently add dry ingredients. The dough will be a bit stiff.
  5. Add chopped marshmallows and chocolate chunks, mix until incorporated.
  6. Place unwrapped candy canes into a zip lock back and using a rolling pin, crush the candy canes until they are in small bits.
  7. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Using the cookie dropper scoop 6 cookies on to each tray, gently press down each cookie.
  9. Top each cookie with a sprinkle of candy cane bits
  10. Bake for 12 minutes – turning half way through.
  11. Let cool on pan for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  12. Serve warm with a glass of soy milk (or which ever milk you prefer).

Chef’s Note: the addition of the almond flour and marshmallow gives these cookies a nice little chew to them…they are a great mixture of crunchy and chewy cookies with a delicate peppermint flavor.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review – I was provided products for review from Good Cook. Please note that the opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by outside sources of any kind.

#goodcookcom #goodcookkitchenexpert #goodcookblogger #sweetcreations

Garlicy Green Beans – Share Our Holiday Table

I am honored to be one of the many bloggers participating in a virtual dinner by Share Our Strength – Share Our Holiday Table to raise awareness about childhood hunger in the United States.  For a week bloggers around the country will be setting their virtual tables with holiday dish ideas starting with Appetizers (12/6), Drinks (12/7), Salads (12/8), Soups (12/9), Entrées (12/10), Sides (12/13) and finally Desserts (12/14).

This event really hit home for me.  Growing up we didn’t have much money and were brought up to be resourceful not just with money but also with food.  I grew up in a family of hunters (not for sport but for survival), so we grew up eating many different types of meat.  If it wasn’t for my dad hunting we would have gone with out a lot more often.  Our freezer would be stocked with meat from deer, bear, wild boar, turtle and moose amongst others. My mom would make some amazing tasting meals including soups/stews, roasts etc.

Even now we, like many other families struggle to put food on the table some days, but we are making the best of it.  Bryan is a huge support and encouragement when I have my mini breakdowns about being so financially strapped right now.  I made a meal one night that almost brought me to tears, it wasn’t a horrible meal but it reminded me so much of my childhood I could barely eat it.  Do you ever have moments like that? Where a smell or taste brings back such a strong memory?

I am very thankful for programs/organizations such as Food Stamps, The Knights of Columbus and The Elks because they provided many holiday meals and presents for our family. When the holidays came around, our meals were much more traditional with turkey and ham being served instead of the game meats.  We had all of the sides to top it off – mashed potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and my favorite; green bean casserole! I love green beans.  I will eat them pretty much anyway – fresh, with almonds, steamed, sautéed in a little sesame oil and chili oil and if you’ve been reading my blog you will have seen the following recipe pop up once or twice already.  My garlicy green beans recipe has replaced the green bean casserole on our family table.  It is beyond simple and extremely quick to make.  Bryan loves it just as much as I do and I even made it for Thanksgiving this year with his family – we received no complaints.

Before I get to the recipe I want to share a little about Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry Program (borrowed from their website):

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign is working to ensure that no child in the United States goes hungry again. One dollar can help connect a child with up to ten healthy meals.

No Kid Hungry™, an unprecedented, five-year effort designed to end childhood hunger in America. Our nation has the food and programs in place to end childhood hunger, but consider what we are up against: The stigmas and embarrassment that surround hunger, the challenges presented by access to healthy food, and the struggle to connect children with the resources they need to thrive. For 25 years, Share Our Strength has been confronting hunger head-on to break down these barriers. Together, with your support, we can put an end to childhood hunger. Will you join us in the No Kid Hungry campaign?

Please consider helping out by making a donation at No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength

Garlicy Green Beans

1-2 pounds of fresh green beans

3 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Lightly steam the green beans until bright green yet still crispy (if you get the steam in the bag fresh green beans – found in your produce section, it makes this recipe even easier!!).  Drain well.  In a medium-large pan melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir in the green beans.  Toss the green beans so they are all coated in the garlic butter sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

This side dish is easy, quick, tasty, cost efficient – I really think your family will enjoy it.  You can adjust the garlic to your preference and even add some slivered almonds (I would lightly toast them and then toss them in the pan).

Happy Holidays to you and your families. Below is a list of the other bloggers taking part in todays “sides” post – also if you are looking for posts from the previous categories, click HERE (you dont’ want to miss these – so many great recipes have been shared).


Family Friendly


Gluten Free