Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Grillin' Fun! Ziploc Review & #Giveaway


You know what time it is? SUMMER TIME! This Memorial Day Weekend is always the big kick off to a round of summer fun, grilling, BBQs, picnics, beach lunches! 

But my husband and I don't limit our grilling and outdoor eating to the summer - we pretty much grill up foods whenever it's decent enough to get outside to the grill! Our favorites are grilled chicken, burgers, and ribs! Yum!

I admit I'm a frequent Ziploc user! I LOVE the sturdy storage options. Because Ziploc is so sturdy, you don't HAVE to throw it out after just one use... I reuse my Ziploc containers until they are on their last legs! I also will rinse out a Ziploc baggie if possible - like if it only had dry ingredients, or maybe some fruit and veggies inside. So, there are ways to be resourceful about using Ziploc products.

My favorite is their new Big Bag products - I use these to store camping clothing and towels so they don't get that damp/camp feeling or smell!

Ziploc Brand along with Robin Miller from the Food Network is working to help families have fun cookouts and use their resources wisely! Here's some tips from Robin Miller to help you with your next cookout!
  1. Marinate - Make your dishes flavorful by marinating meats (chicken, pork, beef, fish) in easy to use Ziploc® Brand Freezer Bags! You can marinate overnight, or just for a few hours. You can even marinate those veggies for grilling or kebab-ing! Clean-up will be easy! You could rinse the bag out (but I personally don't recommend re-using a bag that has had raw meat in it), or just toss it!
  2. Dip - Dipping stations let guests add their own flavor to your grilled foods! (check out Miller's Beef Kebab with Three Dips recipe!). Don't limit yourself to meats - try dipping fish, veggies, or even grilled fruits!
  3. Prep, Store, or Take - Save time by sealing in freshness - with Ziploc Brand Containers with the Smart SnapSeal. Your foods go from fridge to coller easily! Check out Miller's Spiral PastaW/ Pesto, Sundried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts or other favorites like homemade dips served with chips and pita wedges. These are great options to Prep, Store, and Take to your next BBQ!
  4. Pack - Save money on your travels, pack a picnic instead of buying expensive meals.  (Like crazy-expensive museum and theme-park eateries!?). Use Ziploc® Brand Slider Storage and Freezer Bags with the Smart Zip™ Seal to store utensils and keep napkins dry. Or, pack some pre-moistened paper towels in the Ziploc® Brand Freezer Bags for spills and clean-up.
Of course you'll find TONS of great recipes and tips at the Ziploc website!

Wanna win some great Ziploc products to get your summer going!? This is the FIRST ever giveaway here at In Mom's Humble Opinion (IMHO). I'm excited! 
Win It - One reader will win a Ziploc Prize Pack, which includes an array of Ziploc Freezer and Storage Bags and Slider Bags as well as Ziploc Containers.

Include your email address if it is NOT visible in your profile so I can contact you!

HOW TO ENTER: No mandatories. 1 comment per entry. 1 entry per task.
  • Like Ziploc on Facebook
  • Follow this blog (IMHO) with GFC (OR, with Networked Blogs if GFC is giving you troubles!)
  • Follow this blog on Twitter @MomHumblOpinion - leave your username in comment
  • Share this giveaway via Twitter or Facebook - leave direct link in comment.
GIVEAWAY RULES: This giveaway ends at 11:59, EST, Tuesday, June 7, 2011. A winner will be chosen via Random.org. Winner will be emailed directly, and have 48 hours to respond. Open US. Must be 18+ to enter/win. Fulfillment handled by Ziploc.

Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & Ziploc who provided the complimentary product for review (and giveaway) in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not compensated in any other way, and all opinions are 100% my own.
Did you know I also write a family life and parenting blog? Check out A Year With Mom and Dad - I'd love to have you as a new reader!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Looking for More from Techy-Providers?

We are NOT huge TV / Cable watchers. However, when we DO watch TV, we want it to be quality programming at a great price. I must call my Internet / Cable company every few months asking if they have a different package they can offer me. Why? Because I have never truly been satisfied with my service. Either I can order a la carte and get what I want, but pay a fortune. Or, I can save a TEENY bit of money and get SOME of what I want, but then have tons of features I never use or I don't want in my home (like certain TV channels).

And, part of the problem is that I "need" fast-fast-fast Internet service. But in my plan that ONLY comes bundled with a huge Cable package. Otherwise, I have to get the slow service a la cart. It doesn't seem right!

So I would LOVE to have Verizon's fiber optic technology (FiOS) in our home. Although, apparently they don't service my area (again, because we have a cable provider who runs a mini monopoly in our area!).

Why would I love Verizon FiOS? Well, because for one, I have been a Verizon cell phone customer for over 7 years, and I know they have great service and great prices! So I'd be happy to have their cable/Internet service as well. Also, think about how every month, it seems, a hot new Internet product comes along that needs more and more speed from your connection. With FiOS, you're supposed to be guaranteed to keep up with these changes. Verizon calls this "future-proofing!" I like the idea that I would get a product that would keep up with the times.

Plus, we're about to order a new HDTV, and I want my first experience with HDTV to be good - not all pixelated or interrupted like some of my friends tell me happens with their TVs. And I like that Verizon FiOS has Flex View that would let you watch videos on your computer or mobile phone. So to me, this is kind of like my Netflix, where I can watch the movies I want where ever I am! How great right?

One feature I think might be fun is the ability to tweet or facebook status right from my TV - I mean, don't you all want to know what I'm watching, right away!? Okay, maybe not, but it could make watching a bit more fun and interactive! Like how my friend and I have been watching the same TV series on DVD roughly at the same time - if we had FiOS, we could share our thoughts about the show while we're watching it, instead of leaving each other tons of voice mails with our thoughts on the show, like we do now!

Well...it all sounds very appealing to me - the quality of connection, the range of services, and the interactive features! Verizon, please come to our area soon, because I really would love to take advantage of all that Verizon FiOS has to offer! I hope to see you soon!!

Do you FiOS?  How do you like it?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Verizon FiOS blogging program for a gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dare to D'Noir with Sunsweet!

Mmmm... Know what I'm eating right now?

Prunes.

Yep. Shocking right? You'd think I was eating a Snickers bar or something... but then, clearly you'd be totally ignoring the blatant picture to my left!). No, I am eating Sunsweet's new D'Noir Prunes... and they ARE as sweet as candy!

I always thought prunes were for old people. Or something your mother made you eat when you were constipated. Or something you turn into when you sit in the hot tub for too long! They have such a bad image! But really, prunes are actually VERY tasty! It should be no surprise, since they are really just dried plums. And plums, in their prime, are divinely sweet and delicious!

Sunsweet Growers has been making prunes for nearly 100 years. And they've just come out with what they dub the "prune masterpiece": "D'Lightful, D'Licious, D'Noir Prunes.

D'Noir Prunes are preservative free, so they don't have that weird aftertaste that a lot of dried fruit can have.

And, prunes happen to be a Super Fruit - full of antioxidants, fiber, and potassium! I am just now enjoying my first bag of D'Noir prunes, and I must say they are super-plump and moist.

I am amazed that they can offer such great flavor and quality dried fruit without some kind of preservative! But they do! They are a deep black-purple, and literally bursting with sweetness, and the texture is tender and just delightful!

Are you skeptical? I dare you to D'Noir! And so does Sunsweet!

In celebration of D’Noir, Sunsweet recently launched the “Dare to D’Noir Challenge,” a Facebook-based video contest challenging prune lovers and prune skeptics alike to Dare to D’Noir and upload videos sharing what they think about the new product from now through June 17. Five finalists will be selected and put to a public vote for a chance to win the grand prize of $5,000.

For more information about the Dare to D’Noir Challenge, visit http://www.SunsweetDnoir.com or http://www.facebook.com/SunsweetGrowers.

How about it? Are you a prune lover, or a prune skeptic?

DISCLOSURE: I was sent a product sample for review to assist in the writing of this post. I was not compensated in any way. Thanks to the sponsor and Family Review Network for this review opportunity! All opinions are 100% my own!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's My Pasta Personality? #Carrabbas

Have you ever taken a personality quiz? Sometimes they were given out at my teaching job so we could understand ourselves, and our students. Other times, my managers would give them so they could see how our staff worked together and why. I always loved seeing what personality range I fell into. And usually the personality tests were right on for me!
But here's an intersting one... personality by pasta! I really didn't know pasta could determine your personality. But apparently... it can! I took the Carrabba's Personality Quiz on Facebook and my results are...
I AM SPAGHETTI.
I knew it: You’re genuine and well loved, like Carrabba’s Spaghetti and Meatballs. Your warm and comforting personality makes you everybody’s best friend.
Sounds just like me!! After all, I'm an Italian by birth, and grew up eating pasta at just about every meal - including major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. So pasta runs deep in my personality, you could say! Spaghetti does seem like a "hometown favorite" dish, which makes sense why I fall into this category, because I tend to be friendly and liked among a variety of "clique" groups. And people tell me all the time that I am always good to be a listening ear and have a very open and comforting personality! Yep, just like spaghetti!

According to my pasta personality test, Carrabba recommends I try out their hand-prepared meatballs over perfectly cooked imported spaghetti. Sounds yummy. And sounds like JUST what I might order!
But... if I were going to create a "signature dish" of my own at Carrabba's, here's my favorite pasta dish I make all the time at home (thanks to my sister-in-law!):

Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta with Peas!
  • Boil 1 box pasta of choice according to package (I like penne or bow tie). Drain and hold for creamy sauce to be ready!
  •  In saute pan, melt 2 T butter.
  • Lightly saute 1 T minced garlic.
  • Then make a roue by adding 2 T flour, stir until moist.
  • Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup milk.
  • When mixture is smooth, add 3/4 cup chicken broth.
  • Simmer until slightly thickened. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add 1/8 cup dried parsley, and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Stir until mixture is smooth.
  • Add 1 cup frozen peas and simmer until heated through.
Add cooked pasta and toss. Serve hot! Should make about 4-5 servings!

This recipe is SO delicious, let me tell you. And because it uses milk, not cream, I THINK it might be healthier than Alfredo. Maybe.

***
You should check out your Pasta Personality at Carrabba's Facebook Quiz!! I'd be curious to know what your "pasta-personality" is like!

Also - special offer for all Carrabba fans (and those who want to try them out):

CARRABBA’S PASTA: Carrabba’s makes every pasta dish by hand with the freshest ingredients. Pasta is cooked perfectly every time and signature sauces are made from scratch daily.
LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Now through July 2011.
Featured Signature Pasta Meal:
  • Pasto Rambo – Named for the chef who created it, it’s made with shrimp tossed with imported Italian linguine, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes sautéed in our basil lemon butter sauce. Lobster is available instead of shrimp for an additional cost.
Other Limited Time Offers:
  • Parmesan-crusted Chicken – Topped with fresh arugula and grape tomatoes tossed in a hand-prepared lemon vinaigrette, served with choice of side. Substitution of wood-grilled chicken also available. Pairs well with Estancia Pinot Grigio.
  • Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin – Three pork tenderloin medallions wrapped with prosciutto, wood-grilled and topped with an apple and fig infused port wine sauce, served with the vegetable of the day. Pairs well with Coppola Pinot Noir.
  • Limoncello Bread Pudding – Back by popular demand! Brioche bread pudding made with fresh Madagascar vanilla beans and a rich custard, served hot out of the oven. Topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and drizzled with Carrabba’s homemade Caravella Limoncello liqueur sauce.

Now don't those sound yummy, no matter WHAT your personality is?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Carrabba’s blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Where I Love To Go (with Twizzlers in tow!)

Our family loves to travel. Mostly we stay close to home. A trip to the in-law's beach house. A drive up to a campsite in New Hampshire or Vermont.

But my most favorite road trips ever are the times we're able to take a week and head down to Chincoteague, Virginia. It takes over 8 hours, but is totally worth it.

When you hit the marshy shores of the Chesapeake Bay and smell that salty air... I just have to roll all the windows down and drink it in! Mile after mile of marsh grasses whizz by as you cross over to the little island of Chincoteague, VA.

It's like a dream destination for us - the beach, small town, wild ponies, a light house. Bike trails, marsh hikes. Crabbing, fishing, and of course, just lounging around. We've visited Chincoteague many times over the years but my favorite trip was when my husband and I first camped out for two nights on our own. Then we met up with my entire family and rented a beach house for a week. We had so much fun with outdoor picnics, exploring the island, pretending to shop for real estate!

We got to see the wild ponies herded up and swum across the channel and attended the annual Pony Penning Carnival that night and the pony auction the next day. The horses are just beautiful and I wish I could buy one for myself! Chincoteague is definitely a place we return to time and again.

Of course, when you go on a road trip, you need the perfect snack. And guess what we take? Twizzlers Candies of course, because they (make mouths happy) don't melt, have a delicious strawberry flavor, and are so fun to eat (and maybe throw at someone in the back seat!).

Twizzlers® Candy, the perfect on-the-go treat, is helping to sweeten family travel this summer with the Twizzlers Landmark Summer™ promotion. The promotion gives consumers the chance to win a trip to a well-known United States destination plus daily, road trip-themed prizes throughout the summer.  Daily entry runs from 5/15/11 - 9/4/11!










DISCLOSURE: I am writing this post as an entry into the Twizzlers Landmark Summer promotion prize pack as a member of the Mom Bloggers Club.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ready, Set, Eat Organic! Stonyfield Contests

Stonyfield brand – one I happen to love – is working hard to educate the public about organic foods. And they’re having some FUN at the same time. They are running THREE contests right now. You can enter 1 or all three!

Each contest has the chance for some GREAT prizes, including a YEAR of free organic groceries, a MONTH of free Stonyfield, or a $200 gift card! WOW!!!
Here’s the details:

Whatever your reason for choosing organic, we want to hear it.

You may have a single organic moment — a love at first sight story — when organic mattered to you. Or maybe you’ve had a lot of little organic moments that add up to why you eat organic today. Maybe you’re still waiting on your moment.
  • You could win a year of free organic groceries or a month of organic Stonyfield!
Organic Family of the Year Contest

How is organic a part of your family? Tell us about it!
  • You could become the Stonyfield Organic Family of the Year (and win prizes too)!
Act Bolder's Just Eat Organic for a day challenge
Just eat organic for a day!
  1. Watch the Just Eat Organic video
  2. Be inspired to Just Eat Organic for one day and post your experience
  3. Share the video with a friend and encourage them to Just Eat Organic too!
  • Reward: $1 off 32oz Yogurt; Top Action wins $200 gift card

What are you waiting for!? Who’s entering these fabulous contests!? I am!!! Let me know if you enter – I’d love to read your stories!

DISCLOSURE: I am writing this post as an entry into Stonyfield's Organic Moment Blogger Contest.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Clean" up your cleaning with EcoStoreUSA

It's been a long road trying to switch our family over to the organic, all-natural, non-toxic house. We're not there yet, but step by step we get closer.

For household cleaning, I have relied on vinegar/water solutions and baking powder for scouring. Generally speaking, this works. However, sometimes I want a little something more - a little more power so I can use less elbow grease!

EcoStoreUSA two of their newest products to test out in my home. I received the plant based Glass Cleaner, which is basically a vinegar/water solution like I use, but also contains a simple glucose. Definitely worked on my mirrors and glass shower door, as I knew it would, since I've been using vinegar for some time. The spray bottle gives the solution a powerful kick, and the glucose must add a little something to the mix, because I do prefer the EcoStore version over my own solution.

I also tried the Toilet Cleaner which has a light tangy scent of pine because it includes pine oil; it reminded me of my parent's house because they used pine cleaner all the time. I like the smell, and I like that it doesn't linger very long after you clean; that is one mark of a "clean" cleaner to me, if the air does not smell chemically after you're done cleaning! The toilet cleaner worked great, although I still needed a scouring powder to remove the ring the water line leaves (we have some kind of water buildup problem!). EcoStore does carry a cream cleanser I bet would work well on this spot!

I feel confident using EcoStore's plant based products, and if you're wondering what this company is all about - here's more info:

About the Company:
EcoStoreUSA specializes in home, body, baby and pet care products with “No Nasty Chemicals” – that is, chemicals that don’t biodegrade, have been linked to skin irritations, allergic reactions, or hormone disruptions (among other side effects). Here’s what you WON’T find in their products (read why not!)
  • NO toxic petrochemicals
  • NO Enzymes
  • NO Optical Whiteners
  • NO synthetic perfumes or dyes
  • NO Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
  • NO Phosphates*
  • NO Chlorine
  • NO Ammonia
  • NO TEA, DEA or MEA
  • NO parabens
  • NO propylene glycol
EcoStoreUSA uses plant-based ingredients, eliminating the need for toxic chemicals as cleaning agents. EcoStore customer testimonials include parents noting their children’s allergies, eczemas, and chronic conditions were clearing up! EcoStore aims to keep products affordable; their products are concentrated so “a little goes a long way.”

Check out EcoStoreUSA online at their store, Facebook page, or Twitter.

DISCLOSURE: Many thanks to EcoStoreUSA for sending products free of charge to facilitate this review. I was under no obligation and this post contains my honest opinions.