Black Friday Product Reviews

So it's Black Friday and we're all shopping - right? Well it may be from our couch - but still shopping! Here are some new products I tried and what I thought of them. 

1. Progresso Chili Smokehouse Pork & Beef - this is new in the fact that it comes in these larger foil packs. It appears to be a more hearty portion size than the can. After actually opening it and putting it in a pan - it's probably about the same as a can - it's enough for two bowls. The meat is a unique texture - not like hamburger you would put in at home - sort of more pork. All in all though - the chili tasted good and had a thick rich flavor. It's a bit pricey - so not sure I would buy it again - but with a coupon - sure. 

2. Cereco Ceramic Coated Pots & Pans from Brylane Home - A while back, the folks at Brylane Home sent me this set of pots and pans (in purple!). I've been using them in all of my recipes since getting them. There are lots of glimpses of purple in my posts. I really love the ceramic coating - they're non-stick and super slick. The set is the perfect size with 2 skillets, 2 pans and 1 bigger pot. It's quite a deal too at under $60 for the entire set! 

3. Tandoor Chef - The folks at Tandoor Chef sent me some coupons for their frozen entrees. I tried a few different kinds (found them at Whole Foods) - Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Pad Thai and Paneer Tikka Masala. The Chicken & Paneer Tikka Masala were SHOCKINGLY good! It's not like I'm ready to give up on eating at Swad - but for a frozen entree - it was damn near delicious! The paneer also had a side of Rajma Dal (kidney beans & lentils). Both tasted and smelled great! I would definitely buy those again in a heartbeat! I can't say the same for the Vegetable Pad Thai - the noodles were very rubbery and it was barely edible. So stick with the rice dishes and you're good to go. It's also great if you just want a taste of Indian food every now and again. (They also have naan but I haven't had a chance to try it yet.)


Enjoy your shopping day! I bought a new purse for myself on BetseyJohnson.com. It's pretty awesome - right?! It was 33% off plus free shipping - not too bad! 



Restaurant Review: Rib City

A couple of weeks ago - Larry and I were headed to a movie and decided to get dinner first - mainly because we were an hour early (oops). So we decided to go to Rib City in Fairfield - it's right by the Springdale Cinema and we didn't figure they'd have the standard 45 minute wait that others would.

What a terrible picture - but it was an iphone in the rain in the dark. It's above the Hooters if that helps. They have a really big outdoor deck that would be nice in the summer for sure.

We started with breaded popcorn shrimp with a mild buffalo sauce. Thankfully for Larry & his allergy the sauce was on the side (we thought it would be tossed in the sauce) because the sauce had eggs in it (he could tell by taste) - but after a few shrimp - he realized that the shrimp did too (egg wash). He still ate a few - but his throat was getting itchy so he drank a couple glasses of pop to dilute it. I ate the rest (bonus for me) and it was really good. I don't know for sure - but it tasted like it was hand dipped in batter - rather than poured out of a frozen bag. The mild buffalo sauce is too mild - there's hardly any flavor - but the shrimp was great even on it's own. 

Larry got the pulled pork sandwich with baked beans and sweet potato fries. He liked all of it - the pork was fine - not the best we've had - but fine. The baked beans were REALLY good - very dark & rich. 

I went for a rib tips meal which came with garlic bread, the same delicious beans and corn. The corn was fine - overdone - like you get at Long John Silvers. The bread was dry. The rib tips were okay - but very hit or miss. Some pieces were juicy and delicious while others were dry as the desert. It was definitely inconsistent.   

They have 3 sauces on the table - sweet/tangy, mustard and a hot. I actually liked the mustard sauce the best and was adding it to the shrimp and rib tips pretty frequently. 

Why Should You Go? Well - it was fine - the Butt Shack isn't far away (Winton Rd) and it's much better - but if you're in the area  - it's not awful. The service was good and they were not busy at all - so if you don't want to wait for 45 minutes at a lot of the surrounding places - it's an option. 

Rib City on Urbanspoon

Recipe: No Peek Beef Tips

My grandmother could NEVER make a good beef roast - it was always dry dry DRY. It's been sort of a culinary goal of mine to figure out how to make a beef roast that didn't suck. I've tried the crock pot but don't like the texture of the beef. I finally came across a recipe for beef tips that brought me success! 

Looks good - right? It definitely was good! Now - for how I made it! 

The ingredients are few - which is great - cream of mushroom soup, can of mushrooms, packet of onion soup mix, a packet of brown gravy mix, water and...

...beef tips of course! I went to Meijer because they carry Certified Angus Beef and I wanted to make sure I got this right. I asked if they had a small chuck roast at the meat counter and it turns out they did - but it was prepackaged and called ChuckEye Steak. The lady came out from behind the counter to find it for me and said that it's the same as the roast just smaller and - in her opinion - better! Side note: I have really found that Meijer's meat counter folks are REALLY helpful (unsolicited opinion here) - so if you're ever unsure on a cut of meat - go there and ask - they have never steered me wrong. 

This recipe is SO simple - I chopped up the roast into bite size pieces and then put them in a sprayed 9x9 baking dish. Then mix all the gravy ingredients together and pour on top. That's it! Super easy right?????

Then in the oven for - three hours! Yes - it's one of those recipes you have to do on a weekend - but trust me - it's worth it. And as the name of the recipe says - NO PEEKING! It bakes at a low temperature - so just low and slow makes it go! 

These No Peek Beef Tips were delicious! The gravy was so delicious and full of mushroomy goodness. We ate ours over mashed potatoes and had plenty for leftovers during the week! Definitely one I'll make again.  


No Peek Beef Tips
As seen on TalesofKaty.com
Prep Time: 3 hrs 10 mins
Ingredients1 lb your choice beef: tenderloin tips, stew meat, chuck roast or chuck eye, cubed1 (10.5 oz) can cream of mushroom soup1 packet brown gravy mix1 packet dry onion soup mix1 (4 oz) can mushrooms, optional1 cup water 
Instructions
Preheat oven to 
300°.
Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients except the meat. Add the meat and stir to coat. Pour meat mixture into sprayed baking dish.
Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 3 hours. Do not remove foil until done.
Serve over mashed potatoes. 



Product Review: Dream Dinners Meal Preparation Services

The folks at Dream Dinners - Anderson invited a few bloggers over to try out some meals and take some home. I had heard of Dream Dinners but never been. 

If you're not familiar, Dream Dinners is a meal-preparation service. They have plans that you purchase and then you go in and prep the meals. Then you take home freezer bags and instructions with everything you need for each meal. 

The owners were really friendly and said that they had a passion for food and busy moms and that's why they joined Dream Dinners. It's time-saving yet still provides balanced meals. 

They have a menu each month that you can choose from. You pick which meals you want and if you want 3 or 6 portions. They also have two types Bag or Pan - the Bag contains multiple bags inside with all the ingredients you need for a dinner, the Pan is a ready-to-bake option thats very popular (but those are not as plentiful as an option).  

A few of my blogging friends were there - Ed Paff actually is a frequent Dream Dinner Maker - so he knew the routine. Andi and I were newbies but picked up pretty quick. 

It's nice - they have these stations all set up with all of the ingredients ready to go. Each ingredient has the correct measuring spoon in it - so you just walk down the line and boom-boom-boom - dinner is prepped! The proteins are all pre-packaged to pop in as well and the instructions are very simple.

Here was my bag of ingredients for Chateau Chicken with Almond Butter Sauce. You put everything together in these bags and then pop them in a large ziploc with the instructions. It's ready for the freezer!

They also have extra items and side dishes that are pre-packaged and available for purchase in the cooler. Each person in the prep session has a shelf - so you can just browse through that and pop that on your shelf. 

After all your dinners are prepped, the staff puts everything in your cooler for you and tallies up your total. There are meal minimums - just fyi. They have a special introductory offer where you can get 18 portions for $74.95 on your first try. For me that would be six meals of 3 portions each - which is nice - because then there's leftovers for one of us to take to work. 

They gave us three meals that night and I've made two of them so far. First up was the Chateau Chicken with Almond Butter Sauce. Their recipes are proprietary so I can't share - but I can share what I made. First I took the chicken out and shook it up in a light flour mixture - then into a saute pan. I browned almonds in a small pan. Once the chicken was done, I sprinkled almonds on top. Then I added cooking wine, butter and green onions into the pan with the chicken drippings. After that reduced a bit, poured it over the chicken & almonds. It was really simple and very quick. Not the most amazing meal ever but very quick and easy - and it was tasty.  

 The other recipe I tried was the Pacific Rim Glazed Steak with Wonton Crisps. This was even easier - we were provided wonton wraps and a sauce - you just brushed those and popped them in the oven. While that was cooking - I took the steaks out of their marinade and grilled them up. Then out come the crisps and steak - dinner is served! The marinade had pineapple juice and was really good.

All in all, Dream Dinners was a good experience. It's definitely cheaper than eating out (at approx $15/3 portions) but more expensive then the grocery store. I really did love having these meals in my freezer and ready to go. I just grabbed one out the night before and left it in the fridge - then when I got home - I was ready to go!

If you have any questions - I'm happy to answer them! Let me know!

Relax this holiday - Enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast at Buca di Beppo!

This post brought to you by Buca di Beppo®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Food Hussy.

What's your favorite way to spend Thanksgiving? My favorite is to hang out with family and watch football! When I was a kid we would go to my Grandmas and my Dad and Grandma would do all the cooking while I watched football with my Grandpa. Ah - the good old days! Now I'm grown up - I still want to lounge and watch football - how am I supposed to cook all the Thanksgiving food that I love food on my own?



I have no idea how to cook it all! So I've been trying to figure out what Thanksgiving dinner was going to hold for us this year. Our family is small and my husband has to work on Thanksgiving but I still want turkey, ham and stuffing!! I also hate spending hours in the kitchen when dinner is just a few of us (and a couple dogs).

I think this year - we're going OUT!



I just found out Buca di Beppo has a Thanksgiving Feast for as low as $16.50/person - so I'm in. We get to have all our favorites: Sliced White Meat Turkey or Hickory-Smoked Ham • Homestyle Gravy • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes • Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffing • Green Beans • Cranberry Sauce • Pumpkin Pie. All that Thanksgiving goodness - with NO DISHES!!! It's $53.99 for 3 servings or $98.99 for 6 servings. 

If you haven't been to Buca di Beppo - it's like you're going to an Italian grandmother's house - there are little trinkets everywhere, cozy booths and the warm smell of Italian food surrounding you! It's so cozy!



You can make Thanksgiving reservations at Buca di Beppo to eat in or you can get a Thanksgiving Party Pan Feast to go! There are plenty of reservations still available - so it's easy and hassle-free - you can just show up and be ready for dinner! 

Have someone in your family that's not a fan of turkey and ham? The regular Buca di Beppo menu is still available on Thanksgiving! So while I'm eating ham & turkey - my mother in law can have lasagna!

Also - Buca di Beppo opens at 11am on Thanksgiving - so that's plenty of time to sleep in, grab the family and have a great holiday dinner - without all the mess and hassle! And you can still be home in time to watch football!

  

Here's a quick video that shows all the goods you can enjoy in a Buca style Thanksgiving feast! And remember you can also order it to go and serve the family at home. (Hey just tell them you cooked it! They'll never know!)

If you get it to go - the Thanksgiving Pan Feast has Sliced White Meat Turkey or Hickory-Smoked Ham • Homestyle Gravy • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes • Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffing • Green Beans and Cranberry Sauce. They have two sizes - a half pan that serves 10 and a full pan that serves 20. 

So whether you eat in or you take out - Buca di Beppo is a great option for Thanksgiving this year! It gives you all the best Thanksgiving foods without any of the hassle or dishes! 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Puppy Love with Purina ONE's 28 Day Challenge

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. 
and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 

We have a small (human) family - really - holidays end up just being me and Larry. That said - with the holidays approaching - I think of the "rest" of my family - the four-legged wing of the family! I'm not sure I can even express the love I have for my dogs. I always had cats and I thought I was a cat person. I loved them - they slept with me - I doted on them - even bought this ginormous cat tree thing that was more a forest than a tree. But then - my now-husband - said, "Let's get a dog." And my world changed. Now - we have two dogs and we make sure that they are as happy and healthy as we are by feeding them quality dry dog food! #OneSmartDifference #CollectiveBias 


Now we have two dogs - this one is Wiener - my husband named him. It's really fun to go to the vet - when they announce: WIENER JOHNSON, WIENER - WIENER JOHNSON. He actually has many names: Wiener, Weenie, WeenieBoo, BooBear, Boozy, Bielzeboob, Booseefus - you get the picture. 


This is Mysty - her name was originally Mystery because nobody at the rescue knew where she came from.  But - Mystery didn't come out right - so I shortened it to Mysty. She's my big baby. Those videos of military personnel coming home and the dog flips out - yeah - my dog does that when I go to the bathroom.

I'm always on my laptop and apparently Wienie is now able to get on as well. :-) I've been so busy with work and my blog that finding time for shopping isn't always that easy. I decided to check out Amazon.com and their Amazon Prime (free shipping - woohoo) and order the dog's food online. Purina ONE has a 28-day challenge to try their Smartblend dry dog food and see if there are any changes in my pups.

I chose the Purina ONE Smartblend: Chicken and Rice Formula - because our dogs are 2 & 5. They also have a Smartblend: Vibrant Maturity for 7+ Senior dogs.


They love to run and play outside! We're lucky enough to have a nice fenced yard for them to romp around whenever they want to. What difference will we see with Purina ONE in their energy level?

The Purina ONE difference page gives you some ideas of what to look for in your pup's health:

  • Day 1+: Taste: When your dog loves the taste of his food, it can make all the difference
  • Day 7+: Energy: An optimal blend of ingredients provides the energy your dog needs
  • Day 14+: Digestibility: Highly digestible food helps more nutrients go to work inside your dog
  • Day 21+: Skin & Coat: Balanced nutrition supports a beautiful coat and healthy skin
  • Day 21+: Bright Eyes: Your dog’s eyes are a window to his health
  • Day 28+: Dental Healthy: Great nutrition and crunchy kibble support strong teeth and healthy gums


And look at those faces! Bright eyes mean a healthy dog - I know that I'm doing them good when they have bright happy eyes. I might have been holding a handful of Purina ONE at the time - it has these meaty chunks that the dogs love - a handful of that and I have their attention for days. 

I really like Purina ONE because the first ingredient is real chicken! I've been feeding it to my cats for years. 

Got the dogs some new food #purinaone and Daisy was sure it was for her! #onesmartdifference #shop

A video posted by Heather Johnson (@foodhussy) on

We love our dogs so much - they're part of our family - and that means we give them good food and keep them active and happy! Purina ONE can make #OneSmartDifference in your dogs health! #CollectiveBias What changes will you see with the 28-day challenge?

Recipe: Ham & Cheese Bowties

I absolutely love macaroni and cheese - it's my kryptonite. When I'm sick - I want mac & cheese, when I'm sad - I want mac & cheese, when I'm cranky - I want mac & cheese. So many times though - I choose the blue box - I know - I can't help it - it's so good! But I'm trying to cook more - so I found a recipe I had to try - for Ham & Cheese Bowties. 

 Looks good - right? And it was much simpler than I thought it would be! Not as easy as a tear open packet - but still simple and tasty!

The ingredients are pretty simple - pasta, butter, garlic, flour, milk, mustard, cheese and ham. Put it all together and cheesy goodness is sure to happen!

I cooked my noodles and tossed the ham in so that was all ready for the sauce. Then you saute the butter & garlic, add in the flour, then quickly (but slowly - if that makes sense) add in the milk. This part is key - you need to focus and you need a whisk. Taking photos is not suggested - I did it - but man it was sketchy! Once that is thick and saucy, then you whisk in the mustard & cheese - and you're ready to pour on your pasta & ham! That sauce is so creamy! Yum!

 Looks great doesn't it!?! Then you just grate a little Parmesan or Romano over the top and bake. It doesn't need to bake long - just enough to bring it all together.

I couldn't help but dig right in - the sauce was so creamy and cheesy - and the ham was a wonderful compliment! Plus I had leftovers for work all week! This was enough for an 8x8 baking dish.

Ham & Cheese Bowties

Ingredients
  • 8 oz farfalle pasta
  • 1/8 c. butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1.5 c. shredded Colby cheese
  • 1 c. cooked ham, cubed
  • 1/8 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta & cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente, drain.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Saute garlic for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour, salt & pepper. Cook & stir until smooth. Pour in milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Stir in mustard & Colby. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until cheese is melted. Remove from heat & stir in ham & pasta. Pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
  4. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly & golden.

Recipe adapted from JuliesEatsandTreats.com

Review & Giveaway: Neater Feeder

I have two dogs and they're so messy! It drives me nuts - food everywhere - water bowls stepped on - mess mess MESS!!! Then I found...

This thing is pretty nifty and since I've started using it - no more spills or messes! 

The tough part for me was picking out what size to get - they have cat, small, medium and large. I have one large and one small and too many cats. I decided to go for the small - that way Wiener and the cats could use it for water and Wiener could use it for food. 

So what's so special about this?

Here's how it works - the bowls sit on top of a reservoir and then water and crumbs drop down into that reservoir instead of on your floor! Plus - the feet are rubbery so it doesn't slip all over when the dogs run into it (because they always run into it). 

Now - it's your turn to win one of these - enter and win your choice of a neater feeder - you get to pick the size and color for your house! Enjoy!

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Restaurant Review: Another Broken Egg, Dayton OH

Anne, my Dayton correspondent, was invited to a grand opening of Another Broken Egg at Austin Landing and wrote up a guest post for me. 

The opening of a new restaurant is exciting but I get extra excited when the restaurant specializes in breakfast/brunch/lunch offerings! Oh, and I did I mention that it's also the first location in Ohio?


Prior to dining, I heard rave reviews about Another Broken Egg which was established in 1996 in Mandeville, Louisiana. Most of the locations are in the southern states so my friends had dined at locations in Destin, FL and Charlotte, NC. This made me slightly more eager to try it out!

I was impressed with the interior decor and felt immediately welcomed as soon as we stepped inside. The bright colored walls and exposed brick created a cozy dining environment. I was also shocked to see a full bar with big screen TVs broadcasting ESPN College GameDay. With this (minor) detail, you wouldn't need to come up with any excuses to get the guys to brunch/lunch during football season! 

Once sat, the server was cheery and immediately offer us a Bloody Mary, Mimosa or appetizer. Appetizer? I couldn't help but get excited about this section of the menu. I typically arrive to brunch STARVING so the fact that I could order a small appetizer to tidy me over was pleasing. We opted for mimosas and ordered the homemade Banana Nut Muffin. The mimosas were ordinary but the muffin was amazing. It was served HOT right out of the oven. 


As we reviewed the menu we decided that one of us would order breakfast and one of us would order lunch so that we covered more ground. 


Steve opted for Huevos Rancheros which is his "go-to" menu item (if offered). This arrived in a cast iron skillet filled with crispy flour tortillas, black beans, mild green chilies, onions & two over medium eggs, with Cheddar-Jack & cilantro, salsa & sour cream sides served with country potatoes. He thought that the country potatoes were better than most other places - they were seasoned to perfection and were just the right amount of crispy. No soggy ones. The huevos rancheros portion size was huge! He added chorizo which he thought was a MUST. I would say that this speciality brunch option could EASILY be split between two people. It's very filling and very good!


I didn't have to look at the lunch options long before I decided on the Veggie Burger with a side of grits. I'm not a vegetarian but when a homemade veggie patty is on a menu, I can't pass it up. I love the consistency and freshness, it's totally different than any in-store veggie burger. The veggie patty was topped with roasted onions, garlic cloves, avocado, tomato & chipotle ranch on a toasted ciabatta roll. I will say that I couldn't figure out why it was topped with whole garlic cloves? I quickly moved those to the side...garlic breathe, yikes! The patty was absolutely delicious and was made with mostly black beans, onion, and oats. The toppings complimented the patty extremely well. I might have liked some spinach or lettuce so that there was more a "crunch". All of the ingredients were soft so it was a pretty "mushy". The grits would have had potential except they were cold. So I didn't really get to enjoy them as much as I thought I would. If the place hadn't just opened, I would have complained but I was trying to cut them a break. 

Why Should You Go? All in all, Another Broken Egg will be revisited. There are definitely a points of differentiation that make it more desirable than First Watch or some of the other token breakfast joints in the area. The full bar is extremely unique as there are no restaurants in the Dayton/Springboro area that just serve breakfast/brunch/lunch and offer a full bar. The menu includes appetizers which is also a perk and the variety of offerings is impressive. 

Have you ever visited Another Broken Egg? If so, what'd you think?

Another Broken Egg on Urbanspoon

Review & Giveaway: HoneyBaked Ham for Thanksgiving #HoneyBakedHoliday

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by HoneyBaked Ham but all opinions are my own. 

We have a small family - so it's always odd trying to figure out what we're doing for Thanksgiving. While we like all the normal Thanksgiving dinner items - we don't much like cooking all of them for 2 people. That said - HoneyBaked Ham is a fantastic option for us! 


With HoneyBaked Ham - you can pick and choose what you like and not have to spend hours slaving in the kitchen. Plus - with Larry's egg allergy - it's great to pick what he likes and what I like without having to make a huge portion of something only one of us is going to be able to eat.
HoneyBaked Ham has everything you're looking for - sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, mac & cheese as well as pumpkin & pecan pies. Plus they have these great soup mixes that you can use the HoneyBaked Ham Bone as your starter.

I went to the Colerain store in Cincinnati (9570 Colerain Ave - 45251) and chose the Oven Roasted Sliced & Glazed Turkey Breast. This has that wonderful, crunchy signature HoneyBaked glaze surrounding this moist oven roasted turkey. I took a little taste of this and man - it was wonderful! The best part - it's fully cooked so you just need to heat it in the microwave or oven. 

Check out this limited time coupon for $7.00 off any Sliced and Glazed Whole Turkey and 4lb Quarter Ham (Or Larger) from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (Offer Valid at Participating Retail Locations: Forestville, Silver Spring, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fields Ertel, Beechmont, Kenwood, Colerain, Florence, Salem, Centerville, Sawmill Road, McNaughten, Louisville, Lexington, Fern Creek, Glendale, Paradise Valley, Superstition, Tucson East, Tucson North, Overland Park, Independence, Barry Road, Norristown, Parma, Willoughby, Rocky River, Strongsville, Maple Heights, Canton, Fairlawn and Chapel Hill.)

And if you buy a Turkey/Ham bundle from now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover.



HoneyBaked Ham is giving away a $500 Gift Card! You can enter below!

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