Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer + FLASH Giveaway


* Disclaimer:  I received a free sample of the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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I love, love, love pasta.  However, pasta does not love me and definitely does not fit into my diet!  It can be hard to substitute healthy things when you aren’t used to it, but the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer makes it super easy to substitute pasta with healthy spiral veggies.  This helps you meet those daily requirements of veggies while keeping out carbs.

There are lots of spiralizers on the market – many of them are super clunky and big, and I don’t know about you, but my counter space is precious!  There are also lots of smaller spiralizers that are like pencil sharpeners, but these don’t have a lot of cutting options and they waste a lot of your vegetables or won’t even work at all for large vegetables.  They can also be brutal to clean!

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The Brieftons NextGen sprializer solves these problems – the innovative cap design allows for a deeper reach and firmer grab on veggies with 50% less wastage. It also accommodates vegs up to 6.5 CM in diameter, compared to 4 – 4.5 CM in competing products. It also features a longer blade (7 CM). This results in a longer cutting surface & shorter time to spiralize vegs.

The other great thing is that it is easy to store and comes with removable blades so it is easy to clean.  If you are looking to add a spiralizer to your kitchen, I highly recommend the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer!

And, one lucky Mama Games reader has a chance to win a Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer in this FLASH GIVEAWAY!

You must enter before 2 pm on 3/5/15, and you MUST respond within 1 hour of notification or a new winner will be chosen!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Instant Read Thermometer Makes Meat Safer


* Disclaimer:  I received a sample product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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Do you use instant read thermometers when you cook? If you are like many cooks,  you probably don’t.  One study showed that only 46% of people who responded to a survey said that they never use a thermometer for chicken, and 66% never use one when cooking hamburgers.  Using a digital thermometer when cooking is super important.  Food can come to you contaminated with all sorts of icky organisms like salmondella, E. coli, or listeria. And if you don’t properly cook your food to the right temperature, these pathogens can make you and your family sick.

You may wonder what temperature is safe to cook your food – the instant read digital thermometer that I had a chance to try came with a handy chart for reference for all types of meat, which was one of my favorite features.

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Safe temperatures vary by what meat you are eating – for example, chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees, and hamburgers should be cooked until at least 160 degrees.  The instant digital thermometer that I tried out was super easy to use – it goes into the thickest cuts of meats and provides an extremely quick read.  I used it to test some chicken sausages that I was cooking for my girls’ lunch.

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As you can see, the numbers are really easy to read.  One thing I really love about this instant read thermometer is that the buttons don’t have cracks around them – so food can’t creep into the crevices.  It is so hard to clean when this happens.  Speaking of cleaning, this thermometer is super easy to wipe down and sanitize, which is a huge plus.

So if you’re looking to add an instant read food thermometer to your kitchen supplies, I highly recommend the one that I tried out!

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer on Amazon for only $19.99

Fried & True Takes Fried Chicken to a Whole New Level!

*Disclaimer:  I received Fried & True from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Fried & True

Whether you prefer it cold out of the fridge or hot and crispy on a buttery biscuit, you will find your new favorite fried chicken recipe in Fried & True, serving up more than 50 recipes for America’s most decadently delicious food.

Lee Schrager has left no stone unturned in his quest to find America’s best fried chicken. From four-star restaurants to roadside fry shacks, you’ll learn how to brine your bird, give it a buttermilk bath, batter or even double batter it, season with loads of spices, and fry it up to golden perfection. Recipes to savor include:

–Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
–Yotam Ottolenghi’s Seeded Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley-Caper Mayonnaise
–Marcus Samuelsson’s Coconut Fried Chicken with Collards and Gravy
–Jacques-Imo’s Fried Chicken and Smothered Cabbage
–The Loveless Café’s Fried Chicken and Hash Brown Casserole
–Blackberry Farm’s Sweet Tea–Brined Fried Chicken
–Charles Phan’s Hard Water Fried Chicken
–Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken
–Wylie Dufresne’s Popeyes-Style Chicken Tenders and Biscuits

Sink your teeth into Fried & True, the source of your next great fried chicken masterpiece and a tribute to America’s most beloved culinary treasure.

My Review

If you LOVE fried chicken, Fried & True is the cookbook for you!  This is a HUGE compilation of not only awesome fried chicken recipes, but also amazing side dishes that you will find accompanying fried chicken, like buttermilk biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and dirty rice.  You will also find recipes that have an ethic flair, such as Keralan Fried Chicken with Cardamom Waffles and Spicy Maple Syrup.

The book is arranged geographically, with sections on Southern Inspiration (featuring heavy hitters such as Paula Deen), American Originals, and Pacific Rim Flavors.  There are separate sections on Fried Chicken 101 (great for those of you who are frying newbies), as well as a separate sections on “Sandwiches, Wings, Li’l Bits, and Special Diets”. Special diets includes things like “vegetarian” chicken, gluten free, and baked chicken.

I really like this book – because I loved fried chicken.  If fried chicken isn’t your thing, steer clear.  But if you’re looking for a great way to learn and experiment with all the different ways that you can enjoy the yumminess that is fried chicken!

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

 

Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan {Product Review}


*Disclaimer:  I received a free Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

While I love to cook, I’m not the greatest baker, but I’m learning!  So I was super excited to try out the Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan!   I have never baked with silicone before, so I was surprised to find that the entire muffin pan was sort of floppy!  Grazia Silicone 24 Cup MINI Muffin Pan is a non-stick food grade silicone muffin cupcake baking pan that is extremely easy to clean, safe to use in the oven, microwave, dishwasher, or freezer. It is heat resistant for up to 450°F.

I was being super lazy the day I reviewed the Mini Muffin Pan, so I just whipped up a quick boxed cupcake mix to make little mini cupcakes. Per the instructions, I put the Mini Muffin Pan inside a harder baking tray to give it some stability.  It would have been too hard to get in the oven otherwise, but there was no problem picking it up gingerly and setting it into the tray.

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I popped the cupcakes into the oven and baked for the recommended time on the box.  So far, the experience had been pretty much like using a regular muffin tin.  But once the cupcakes baked, the difference really sunk in!  The cupcakes cooled SUPER fast.  They were out of the oven maybe 5 minutes and I was able to remove them from the muffin tin and put them on a cooling rack.  This allowed the cupcakes to cool within minutes, so I was able to frost them quickly!  Clean up was also a breeze – I just rinsed it off and threw it in the top rack of the dishwasher and it came out crystal clean!

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I’m a huge fan of the Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan!  You can pick it up on Amazon for only $13.89!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
 

 

 

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe from The Hundred-Foot Journey #FoodieFriday

 

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Do you love to cook??  I do, and I can’t WAIT until Disney’s latest film comes out, because it definitely caters to foodies!  In DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” the opening of a new Indian restaurant in the south of France, next to a famous Michelin starred eatery, is nearly cause for an all-out war between the two establishments until Le Saule Pleureur’s icy proprietress Madame Mallory recognizes her rival’s undeniable brilliance for preparing masterful meals.

 I can’t wait to see Helen Mirren bring on the sass and ice!  And not to mention the amazing fusion food ideas we’re going to get!  Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite!

 

And for those of you who love to cook, check out this awesome recipe for Scalloped Potatoes from The Hundred-Foot Journey & Le Cordon Bleu!  YUMMMM!

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Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan {Product Review}

Disclosure: I got the Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan as part of an advertorial.

 

If you follow my blog at all, you know that I LOVE to cook.  You will also know that I love to use organic, healthy products for my family that use natural ingredients and limit the amount of chemicals that we use.  So I was super excited to try out Ozeri’s Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan.

The issue with many nonstick pans is that it contains a yucky chemical called PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene.  This is a synthetic substance that releases toxic fumes when used at high temperatures.  It’s so toxic that it can even kill small pets – and I don’t know about you, but I usually cook at high temperatures!  Many also use another chemical called PFOA, which is classified as a pollutant by the EPA.  For this reason, I actually never owned a nonstick cooking pan before now – I use stainless.

What makes the Ozeri Green Earth Pan so special is that it doesn’t have ANY of those icky chemicals.  It is one of the world’s first frying pans to be free of PTFE, PFOA, and other harmful chemicals.  It utilizes GREBLON ceramic from Germany, that even under high temperatures, releases no harmful toxic fumes into the environment.

 

I can say without a doubt that I LOVE THIS PAN!  It has quickly become our family’s favorite pan.  First of all, you can use less oil because of its excellent non-stick surface, you can use less oil.  Second of all, it is SO easy to clean, and it cleans up SO easily.

My daughter used it to cook pancakes, and they were super easy to flip!

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This pan is amazing!  Pancakes and omelets just slide right over, and I cooked burgers in the pan as well and they seared beautifully and cooked evenly.  Check out my daughter’s beautiful pancakes!

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You can buy the Ozeri Green Earth pan on Amazon!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The Homesick Texan’s Family Table {Book Review}

* “I received The Homesick Texan’s Family Table for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Book

From beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, aka the Homesick Texan, comes this follow-up to her wildly popular debut cookbook, featuring more than 125 recipes for wonderfully comforting, ingredient-driven Lone Star classics that the whole family will love.

There are few things finer than a delicious, homemade meal shared with family and friends. Take it from Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan who loves to cook and serve up the best dishes her home state has to offer—even though she now lives half a country away.

     The Homesick Texan’s Family Table showcases more than 100 of Lisa’s best and most-loved recipes, ranging from down-home standards (think cheesy nachos, comforting chicken and dumplings, and fiery wings) to contemporary riffs on the classics (who knew adding Mexican spices to a German chocolate cake would taste so good?).

All of Lisa’s recipes are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, yet still packed with real Texas flavor that will make your grandmother smile. Whether you’re looking for a party-friendly snack like Pigs in Jalapeño Blankets, a Mustard Coleslaw to bring as a side to your next potluck, a weeknight- and family-friendly meal like Steak Fingers with Cream Gravy, or a mouthwatering dessert like Ruby Red Grapefruit and Pecan Sheet Cake, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table has you covered. After all, with some mighty fine food and mighty fine people to enjoy it, any meal can be cause for celebration.

Review

I have lived in New York for close to a decade now, but I grew up in Oklahoma and lived in Texas for the last three years before I moved to New York.  I can tell you unequivocally that New York Mexican or Tex-Mex food comes far from hitting the mark.  I often times find myself hankering for some gorgeous green salsa, queso fundido, or an awesome chile relleno.

The Homesick Texan’s Family Table is 100% amazing.  A quick thumb through the book had me absolutely drooling.  The Creamy Green Salsa is definitely on my to-make list, and the Peach Ice cream recipe brought back amazing memories of my grandad making peach ice cream in the summer with a hand-cranked ice cream maker.  I love when food is connected with memories, and in this respect, The Homesick Texan’s Table is an absolutely amazing cookbook.

There are also tons of innovative recipes that have a unique take on classic southern foods – for example – Banana Pudding with Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies, layered and served in Mason jars – a brilliant take on Banana Pudding with Nilla Wafers – a staple at any southern picnic.

I highly recommend this book for any displaced Southerners, or any home chef who loves Southern food!

About the Author

LISA FAIN is a seventh-generation Texan. When she’s not on the hunt for chile peppers, she writes and photographs the popular food blog Homesick Texan. Lisa’s writing has appeared in Saveur and Edible Austin and on the blog Serious Eats, and her photographs have been exhibited worldwide, with two in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. An active member of Foodways Texas and the Southern Foodways Alliance, Lisa is also a certified barbecue judge. Visit www.homesicktexan.com

 

 

Win a 26 week Meal Planning Subscription from Meals by the Week! {Review & Giveaway}

As my regular readers will know, I’ve been attempting to make healthier choices regarding my diet and my lifestyle – i.e more exercise, less channel surfing.  Never fear – a new update is coming soon!  One of the huge difficulties with making this change is MEAL PLANNING.  Now, not only do I have to worry about planning a meal that my entire family will like, but also a meal that accommodates my daughter’s dairy allergy, AND is low-calorie for me.  I’ve been working hard come up with dinner menus that are between 400-700 calories – and let me tell you – it’s isn’t easy.  Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to get to try out an AWESOME new meal planning tool called Meals by the Week!

Meals by the Week is a menu planning service that has completely knocked it out of the park!  It is so easy to sign up and get started – and there are a TON of options.  You can sign up for a 13-week or 26-week subscription, and you “choose” a menu.  For couponers, it will design a menu that is based on the sales ad of your grocery store – HOW COOL IS THAT!!  The only grocery store that was available for my area was Super Walmart, and I don’t shop there, so I was a little bummed – UNTIL I found that they have a 400 calorie weekly menu plan!  Yup, that’s right – I can get a whole week’s worth of menus planned out and all of them (including side dishes) are under 400 calories.  SCORE!  And the recipes sound so yummy – like Thai Basil Chicken and Rosemary-Mustard Pork with Peaches!  They look amazing too!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial; Meals by the Week provided me with a 13-week subscription in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The best part about Meals by the Week is that they are flexible.  You can “Keep It”, “Skip It”, or “Double It” with the click of a button, so I can easily ditch dairy recipes or ones that I know my girls wouldn’t like.  I can also adjust it whether I am feeding the four of us, or just me and my fiance when the girls are with their dad!  Then, with the click of a button, you can print an organized shopping list.  How awesome is that?

And here’s the best part!  Meals by the Week is giving one lucky Mama Games reader the chance to win a 26 week subscription!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below, and don’t forget to come back daily to enter!

Enter to Win a 26 Week Subscription to Meals by the Week!

US Only. 18+.  The Mama Games is not responsible for prize fullfillment.

Contest runs 5/13/14-06/02-2014

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken and Peppers {Recipe Rehab}

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I love P.F. Chang’s…I sometimes dream of their lettuce wraps.  Yum!  As tasty as P.F. Chang’s is, their menu isn’t always waistline friendly.  For example, their chicken lo mein clocks in at over 700 calories!  This edition of Recipe Rehab is meant to duplicate the yummy, spicy, and salty flavors of your favorite Chinese foods while being a little more waistline friendly!  This Spicy Asian Noodles recipe features chicken and fresh red peppers with as much or as little zing to it as you want!  Caveat:  This recipe is not low sodium, so if that is a dietary concern for you you may want to avoid.  It also isn’t the prettiest dish ever, but it packs a flavor punch and is super easy, so it’s great for weekday meals!

 

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The secret to this recipe is two fold – it uses a combination of flavorful sesame oil as well as olive oil – both of which are good for you!  Sesame oil is slightly higher in fat and calories than olive oil, but both are pretty good for you.  The dual use in this recipe is because I find cooking entirely in sesame oil can be overwhelming in flavor, but if you’re a huge fan, go ahead and sub the olive oil for extra peanut oil in your Spicy Asian Noodles.  The other secret gives this recipe some serious kick – hot chili sesame oil.  Feel free to adjust the amount of this you use to spice it up, or tone it down for the kids!

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If you haven’t worked with cellophane noodles before, they are pretty fun!  A few caveats – they cook quickly!  Don’t overdo it or your Spicy Asian Noodles will resemble oatmeal…The other trick is to really season your water.  I don’t measure soy sauce into the water – I basically add it until it turns a yummy golden brown.  Also, don’t salt your water on top of the soy sauce – you will end up with SUPER salty noodles.  Here is a glimpse of what they look like during cooking and after:

 

So there you have it!  I almost forgot the best part – My Fitness Pal calculates this recipe as having approximately 420 calories per serving, making Spicy Asian Noodles a serious recipe rehab over lots of take out Chinese food!  Enjoy!

 

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 8 oz Cellophane Noodles
  • Sesame Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Ginger, minced
  • 2 Onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers, seeds and veins removed, sliced thinly
  • Hot Chili Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. 1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. 2. Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Once hot, cook the chicken 5-6 minutes, or until brown and cooked through. Don't overcook, or it will get dry.
  3. 3. When the water is boiling, add enough soy sauce so that the water is a golden brown. Add a drop or two of hot sesame chili oil. Turn the heat off, and add the cellophane noodles. Let them soak between 4-7 minutes or until they are soft. Don't oversoak them them or they will be mushy! Drain them and toss them with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and another drop of hot chili sesame oil.
  4. 4. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan you used to cook the chicken. Stir fry the red peppers and onions until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add the ginger, a drop or two of hot chili sesame oil if you like it spicy, the cumin, and the turmeric, and 1/4 cup water.
  5. 5. Toss the noodles into the pan and taste. Season with extra soy sauce or hot chili sesame oil as you desire. Add the chicken back in and keep cooking the noodles until they get somewhat dry and brown.
http://www.themamagames.com/2014/04/09/spicyasiannoodles/

Dairy Free Cookies for Valentine’s Day {Recipe}

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If you have a family member with a dairy allergy, you know how difficult baking can be.  Dairy free cookies, muffins, pies, and bread are absolutely staples at our home, because my youngest daughter is very, very allergic to any kind of dairy product.  Dairy free baking can be challenging because it is often butter that holds together many recipes.  In this recipe, we use Crisco, but there are also some times of margarine that can be substiuted, and in a pinch, vegetable oil can work with some recipes.  We substitute almond milk for regular milk, as we find that it does not affect the taste of baked goods as much as soy milk does.  Here is a quick, easy recipe for dairy-free roll-out sugar cookies.  These are super easy and totally dairy free!

My girls are able to make AWESOME roll out cookies, as we use The Cookie Thing to make all of our cookies even sized!  This is extra helpful because we don’t have to add extra flour to roll these cookies – we simply put the dough between two pieces of waxed paper and roll away.  As you can see, my six year old is awesome at it!  She is using The Little Cookie Thing, which is made specifically for little hands!  This is extra helpful when baking dairy free cookies, because again, we don’t have butter to help hold the dough together.  The Cookie Thing makes it a snap to roll them out!

 

If you would like to learn more about The Cookie Thing, or even have a change to WIN The Cookie Thing AND The Little Cookie Thing, head over to my full review on Kate N’ Kaboodle!  This is an awesome, awesome kitchen tool, and is one that is going to be a part of our baking from now on!  Enjoy your dairy free cookies this Valentine’s Day!

 

Dairy-Free Valentine’s Day Cookies {Recipe}

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Pink food coloring
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Mix Crisco and sugar in a bowl on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Add egg, almond milk, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  2. Combine baking powder, salt, and flour in a bowl. Gradually add into wet mixture until well blended. Add food coloring as desired. Do not overmix.
  3. Refrigerate dough about an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you have a Cookie Thing, you should be able to roll cookies out in between two pieces of wax paper using the 1/4 inch measuring boards. If you are using a regular rolling pin, lightly flour your surface and roll out dough.
  5. Cut out cookies. Before placing on cutting board, coat the cookies with sugar by pressing lightly on both sides into a bowl of sugar. For different looks, roll in red sugar crystals, or a combination of red and white sugar.
  6. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake 7-9 minutes until edges begin to brown. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
http://www.themamagames.com/2013/01/26/dairy-free-valentines-day-cookies-recipe/