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Friday, January 31, 2014

Restaurant & Giveaway: Frisch's ComfortaBowls

The folks at Frisch's are at it again and have created something new - ComfortaBowls! 

These ComfortaBowls are just that - comfort in a bowl! Frisch's came out with 3 varieties to warm your soul:

  • Grilled Hamburger Bowl ($6.25 - mashed potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, onions, hamburger and brown gravy)
  • Southwest Chicken Bowl ($5.95 - mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, tortilla strips & salsa ranch dressing) 
  • Country Chicken Bowls ($5.85 - mashed potatoes, grilled or fried chicken, corn & turkey gravy). 

While they all sounded comforting - I chose the Grilled Hamburger Bowl. This doesn't happen much - but it looks just like the picture! This was just a warm cozy bowl of love. The mushrooms were a little scarce and the beans a little stringy - but I did really enjoy it. I'm not usually a gravy person but this was good gravy! I was definitely full after this bowl as well - which I wasn't sure if I would be!

And now - it's all about you! I'm giving away a $50 gift card to Frisch's!!! (that's a lotta Bowls & Big Boys!). Tell me which ComfortaBowl you want to try and get entered to win!

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Frisch's Big Boy on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: Frisch's provided me a gift card in exchange for this post but all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Recipe: Crock Pot Ham & Beans 2.0

I had previously made Crock Pot Ham & Beans and while good - they were awfully salty. I was looking for another recipe that might be simpler and less salty. 

 I came across a recipe with four ingredients - I'M DOWN! Beans, ham hocks, water and onion powder - that's it. The beans just needed to be rinsed and in they went.

I had previously looked for ham hocks and hadn't found them - but this time - there were a ton of them at Kroger and they were SO CHEAP. It was less than $2 for these 3 large ham hocks (vs. a small country butt ham that costs $10).

After a day of cooking - it was ready to go. I fished out the ham hock bones and then broke up the chunks of ham and dinner was done!

This was definitely less salty - I think using water took care of that. The flavor was still good because of the ham hocks. I did add a little salt when I ate mine - but on it's own - this recipe was easier and better!

Crock Pot Ham & Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb dry northern beans
1 lb ham hocks
2 tsp onion powder
6 cups water

Instructions:

  • Rinse beans in water and remove any pebbles 
  • Into your crock pot, add beans, ham hocks, onion powder and water 
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours
  • Remove ham bones and break apart meat and add back to crock pot




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Product Review: SodaStream

Am I the only one that gets sucked in by infomercials and cool whizbangy products? I doubt it! Recently I was able to try one of the coolest whizbangy things out there - SodaStream!


SodaStream provided me their SodaStream Source unit to try out. These are the machines that allow you to make your own soda instead of spending $4 a 12-pack every week at Kroger like I've been doing for the past 20 years!

There are over 60 flavors offered by SodaStream. My favorite so far is definitely the Country Time Lemonade! The cola is surprisingly good as well. They are frequently adding new flavors as well - for example - there's a new set of Cooking Light flavors. There are even cocktail mixes where you add your own alcohol for things like Margaritas or Daquiris.

SodaStream provided me all these flavors to try so I really got a good idea of what they have to offer. They also have some fruit flavorings that aren't really full on sodas - but more just light flavors to add to carbonated water.

For the SodaStream - I couldn't believe how easy the setup was! It was really - pop out of the box and it was ready to go. All I had to do was put the carbonator cartridge in the back. No cords, no batteries - nothing. It's all in the machine!

The process of making soda is really simple - you start with cold water filled up to the line of the bottle (only use bottles they provide). Then you pop it into the machine and carbonate to the desired level. I LOVE fizz!

Next - you add the flavoring. I do this in the sink because sometimes if you go to fast - it overflows. This makes cleanup much easier when I do spill over. The fizzier your water, the more prone to overflows. (i.e. I overflow a lot)

Lastly you put the top on and gently roll the flavoring in the bottle - don't shake! The bottles they provide hold a lot of fizz - which is great! 

SodaStream also just came out with a dishwasher safe bottle which makes re-use and clean up a lot easier. The carbonating canisters are also exchangeable at retail outlets such as Bed, Bath & Beyond. 

After having the SodaStream Source for a couple of weeks - we absolutely love it! The syrup flavors are in the $5-10 range and they make quite a bit - definitely more than a 12-pack! I don't know that we'll stop buying soda alltogether - but we haven't bought any in 2 weeks except for a bottle here and there when we weren't home. Now for me to figure out how to perfect Vanilla Coke! 

Disclosure: I was provided these products by SodaStream but all opinions are my own. 






Monday, January 27, 2014

Restaurant: 50 West Brewing Company

We have so many local craft breweries that have popped up in Cincinnati - it's just nuts! Mt Carmel has been around a while, but we also have Rivertown, Rhinegeist, Listermann, MadTree, Blank Slate, Christian Moerlein and Triple Digit. Whew - that's a lotta beer! But wait - there's one more - 50 West

50 West is on Wooster Pike in Cincinnati - very close to Hahana Beach and Pizelli. It's sort of Mariemont-adjacent. It's in a big, beautiful old house that sat empty for a while before the Slattery empire decided to jump on the beer bandwagon and convert it to a brewery. (They also own Hahana Beach, Wags Park, Reach Magazine, Slatts Pub and a few other things...)

 Inside they have a lot of merchandise for sale - growlers, glasses, hats, t-shirts and more...

I was surprised when we walked in - I thought it was just a tap room. It's a tap room and more! They actually serve food now (tapas style). If I'd known that - I wouldn't have noshed on my Firehouse Subs right before going! :-)

We saddled up to the bar - which is really sparkly. The bar itself is covered in copper and then there is a really pretty tile backsplash behind the taps.

Not surprising - there's a great beer selection. They have very clever names and a wide variety - everything from light and fruity to dark and chunky. Larry and I both have pretty specific tastes - so it didn't take long to make our choices. 

Larry was about to go with the Slave to the Traffic Light Amber Ale - when I remembered they had some bourbon barrel thing a couple weeks ago. Luckily they had some left! This was a Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine.

I can't really find any info on their page about it - but Larry liked it. Not as much as his Bourbon Barrel beer. I didn't like it at all (shocker) - but Larry could definitely taste the wine aspect of it. But then after holding it in your mouth - you definitely got the bourbon flavor.

I went much lighter and got the Speedbump Kolsch Ale. It was very light and carbonated. There wasn't much bitterness to it. I did add a little lemon to it and it was even better.

Why Should You Go? It's very nice and a little "older" crowd than some places we've been. We're 40 (yikes) and were probably about the average age. The area for diners is tucked down and very cozy - we definitely want to go back. The menu is tapas - so it's small plates. After reviewing the menu - I'd love to try the Shrimp & Crab Dip - and definitely will next time we go!

Fifty West Brewing Company on Urbanspoon




Saturday, January 25, 2014

$25 Giveaway to HoneyBaked Ham - just in time for Super Bowl Sunday!

Disclosure: I was provided a gift certificate for these products from Business 2 Blogger but the opinions are all my own. 

The Super Bowl is just around the corner and my beloved Peyton Manning will be leading his Denver Broncos to victory! (hopefully!!) That said - my butt will be FIRMLY planted on the couch and I don't want to worry about anything other than the game - and that includes dinner! So what's a Broncos fan to do? 
Call up HoneyBaked Ham - that's what! They have party trays, ultimate sandwiches, side dishes, desserts and everything else you can think of! It's awesome - I can make one call and then just relax and watch my Peyton!!!! 

We did a dry run to see how good the food was and got their Ultimate Super Sandwich with HoneyBaked Ham, Glazed Roast Turkey Breast, Honey Spice Bacon, Baby Swiss Cheese & Cheddar Cheese all on Fresh Baked Rustic Pan Bread. It came with a tray of lettuce and tomato and a bottle of their Honey Mustard Mayo. The medium sandwich feeds 6-10 and costs $32.99.

I liked that this sandwich is full of quality ingredients - there's no filler junk here. Just thick slices of ham, turkey and bacon. Good stuff! 

HBH also has spiral-cut hams, roasted turkey, pulled chicken and pork, bbq ribs and a lot more. I was really surprised at how many offerings they have. 

I also picked up a couple of their side dishes - baked beans (soooo good - hot or cold) and macaroni salad - which I have to say - was probably the best mac salad I've had in years!!! Larry can't eat it (allergic to mayo) but that's fine by me! I'm going to enjoy every bite myself!

HoneyBaked Ham has some great coupons as well that you can print and use in-store. I also have a $25 gift card to give away to one of you! And you'll get it in time for the game next weekend!


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Recipe: Cheeseburger Macaroni Soup

I've been dying to try this one out for quite a while - I was always missing one ingredient. But finally the stars aligned (and I remembered everything at Kroger) so the Cheeseburger Macaroni Soup would be mine! 

I had a Kroger coupon for their Simple Truth Organic grass fed ground beef so I decided to try it. My husband used to work at a place that packaged Kroger meat and didn't have great things to say. (Ugh) That said - this isn't packaged there - so I feel a little better about it. It's 85/25 but it was really lean when I cooked it up - I had to add a little oil to prevent sticking in my stock pot.

To the ground beef, I added an orange pepper, 1/2 onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and thyme. It was definitely smelling good in my kitchen!

You simmer it with chicken broth for twenty minutes - then add spinach and shredded cheese. While all that is going - cook 1/2 box of macaroni. Once it's all done - add the macaroni and you've got a pot full of yum.

This soup was DELICIOUS! Larry thought there was a little too much spinach for his liking but I loved it. The cheese does sort of stick to the ground beef and pasta - so it's definitely still a brothy soup rather than creamy.

I also took some extra to work the next day for a coworker and he loved it as well! He's always asking people to bring lunch in for him - so I obliged. Once the macaroni is in the soup overnight - it becomes less of a soup as the macaroni absorbs a lot of the liquid. Still delicious though - maybe even better than the first night. So good!


Cheeseburger Macaroni Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 orange pepper (any color really), diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms (8 oz), chopped
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni (1/2 box)
  • 6-10 oz baby spinach, chopped
  • 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed
  • crumbled cooked bacon for garnish


Instructions

1. In a dutch oven, brown ground beef over medium heat. Season with salt & pepper. If beef is lean, add a little olive oil.
2. Add pepper, onion, mushrooms, garlic, oregano and thyme. Stir often until beef is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
3. Add chicken broth and simmer 20 minutes.
4. While broth is simmering, cook macaroni according to directions.
5. Stir spinach into the pot along with cheese. Stir frequently as the spinach becomes wilted and the cheese is melting completely.
6. Once macaroni is done, drain and rinse quickly. Then add to the soup.
7. Garnish with shredded cheese and bacon if desired.

Recipe inspiration from Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice. 



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Product Review & Recipe: Manwich - for burgers and for parties!

This post brought to you by Manwich. All opinions are 100% mine.
There are so many nights when I'm just exhausted after a long day at work. The last thing I want to do is figure out a recipe to make and stop at the store to inevitably get the ONE thing I don't have! That's why I always have one friend in the cupboard for a quick meal fix!

My husband LOVES Manwich! I think it's one of those things that's really reminds him of growing up. His mom didn't have a lot of money and she had four mouths to feed - Manwich is an affordable dinner solution! All you need is a can opener and a pound of ground beef! (Their Manwich TV Ads even say so!)

Our niece was in town and wanted to get in the mix and help out (I never turn down help in the kitchen!). She made dinner all on her own. It's super simple - brown the ground beef, add Manwich - DONE!

There you have it - quick and simple dinner that my husband won't complain about. He likes simple - throw some fries in the oven, add a quick salad and you've got a healthy meal in no time that won't hurt the wallet!

Besides making Manwich the standard way - they have a ton of Manwich Recipes on their site - so you can get a little creative!

We used the Bold Manwich in a dip recipe. It started like regular Manwich...

But then I added cream cheese and it became a great dip!

They have the recipe for the Party Sausage Dip on their site - but I'll share my version below.

There are also multiple varieties - Larry likes the Original while I like the Thick & Chunky! Yum!

So next time you're struggling to find a quick, inexpensive dinner - think about Manwich!

Food Hussy's Manwich Party Dip
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 can Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce
6 oz cream cheese
Tortilla Chips

Instructions:
1. Cook hamburger & onion in a skillet until hamburger is done (no pink).
2. Add Sloppy Joe Sauce and cream cheese. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes until cheese melts, stirring occasionally.
3. Serve with Tortilla Chips

The original recipe calls for sausage but Larry isn't a fan. This was a great zingy dip and was a great alternative to the normal heavy cheese dip. I hear there is some sort of big game coming up - and the dip is a nice orange color - like a certain Mile High Team!! #GoBroncos
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Restaurant: First Watch & Giveaway!

First Watch is back at it again - new menu items and a great giveaway for the Food Hussy fans! 


They have three new menu items - first up - I'll share the one we didn't try. The Superfood Kale Salad - wow - that just sounds REALLY healthy! The Superfood Kale Salad has baby kale and mixed greens topped with housemade maple-roasted carrots, warm grilled chicken breast, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and shredded Parmesan cheese tossed in their refreshing maple-lemon vinaigrette. ($8.99) Sounds good and oh so healthy. 

My friend Lauren and I flipped a coin for the other two new dishes - she won and picked first - she chose the Resolution Hash. This was two eggs (any style - she chose over-easy) on a hash of freshly seasoned potatoes, turkey sausage, house-roasted crimini mushrooms, onions and tomatoes topped with hollandaise sauce and herbed goat cheese. It's served with fresh greens in a lemon vinaigrette for $9.29.

Lauren is becoming quite the critic since she accompanies me quite often - she said that she really enjoyed this. She said there's a lot going on but it all goes together nicely.

If you'd like to make some hash of your own - check out my friend Clark's Hashcapades cookbook!

By default I had the Frittata Rustica which is a classic Italian-style omelet with kale, house-roasted crimini mushrooms, onions and tomatoes topped with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Served with fresh greens in a lemon vinaigrette and a ciabatta crisp for $8.99. 

I really liked this one - the omelet had a lot going on. I definitely got my roughage for the day! That said - I actually liked the kale. The tomatoes were full of flavor and added a welcome juiciness to the omelet that would have been highly lacking without them. I'm a sucker for toast with my eggs so the ciabatta was great. I am not a big fan of their lemon vinaigrette and wish they had other options - but it was fine. 

Why Should You Go? Well our service was better this time - which isn't surprising since they knew I was a blogger. That said - the food was all great and we both really enjoyed their new dishes. They're unique and full of superfoods - wooohoo for superfoods!  

Now you can enter to win breakfast/brunch/lunch for 2 at First Watch! I have TWO gift cards to giveaway. Thanks to First Watch for the gift cards!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: First Watch provided my meal and the gift cards for the giveaway but the opinions are my own. 

First Watch on Urbanspoon




Monday, January 20, 2014

DIY: No-Bake Coconut Dog Treats

I'm all about making dog treats for the fur-kids - they're so much healthier and pretty easy to make. They haven't completely replaced processed, packaged treats - but I'm trying to use them a lot more. That said - I love when I can find easy, no-bake recipes and here's a great one! 

These dog treats were super simple - a little messy - but the dogs loved them! I came across this recipe from PrettyFluffy.com.

Oats, peanut butter, coconut and coconut oil - which I had to purchase. It's a pretty big container but I figure I'll make these again. 

You mix the coconut oil, oats and peanut butter together and then roll into balls. I had to heat the oil & peanut butter a bit to make it easier to mix it. Once it's mixed together - I'd recommend chilling for 20-30 minutes. It was fairly difficult to make into balls.

Poor Mysty - she always looks like the saddest, most-abused dog on the planet. And by abused - I mean overfed.

Once they set up - I rolled them in coconut. I don't own a food processor so my coconut wasn't "finely shredded" - it also didn't stick incredibly well. So if you have a little food processor - chop it a little.

I keep these treats refrigerated after making. They just get too mushy when left out. These are also people friendly and they tasted pretty good! haha

My dogs definitely have different strategies when it comes to treats. Mysty goes for the gusto every time. 

No Bake Coconut Dog Treats

Ingredients

1/3 cup Coconut Oil
2-3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup finely shredded coconut

Instructions

1. Add coconut oil, peanut butter and oats to food processor and blend well. (I mixed with a hand mixer - it sprayed and was messy - if you have an FP - definitely use it.)
2. Scoop out bite size spoonfuls and roll into little balls. (If mixture falls apart too easily - refrigerate for 20 minutes.)
3. Toss each ball in shredded coconut. 
4. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper, refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
5. Store in refrigerator. 





Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hey Blogging Friends - Check out the #Markerly Blogger Network & Join!

So this post is for my blogging friends - I want to tell you about Markerly, a Blogger Network that links you up with brands and pays bloggers to post about the great things brands have to offer.

It's super simple to join Markerly - it took me about five minutes if that! Influencer marketing is huge right now - and Bloggers have a lot of influence - our opinions are being heard - and brands want to work with us.

For my regular readers - just because I work with a brand to write a post - doesn't mean I'm not giving my true opinion in a post either. If I don't like something - I'm honest about it. And Markerly wants me to work with them because of you! They want quality blog posts from bloggers that have engaged audiences. They make sure that I don't fluff around in my post and that I have readers that participate right along with me. If you've tried a product - let them know!

The great thing about Markerly is that it gives me the opportunity to try new products from brands like eMeals (you know I love them), Super Bowl, Levis and more! It's fun finding out about products you never knew existed - like wine from companies like Last Bottle Wines and Invino or cool earbuds from Jaybird.

They're also a full-service managed network with 24/7 support for bloggers - so if you have questions on your post as you're writing it or want to know when you're getting paid - there are actual people there to help you!



They also pay you within 48 hours of the post going live. Most blogger networks have a longer waiting period - which is fine - but it's nice to have others that pay more quickly. Markerly is one of the best blogging networks out there! So if you have over 10,000 page views a month or an average of 3 comments per post - Markerly wants to talk to you!

When you write sponsored content through Markerly - it's pretty cool because they give you a heat map  (see below) of your post so you can see what people were clicking on. This helps for your regular posts too so you know what people like and don't like.



I hope you'll think about joining Markerly - if you want to know more - here's a little more info about them as well. And you can win a $250 American Express Gift Card for filling out this quick survey! They're choosing a winner on February 27!



Disclosure: I was provided compensation by #Markerly for this blog post but the opinions are my own. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Restaurant: Red Robin

Every once in a while I realize that there's a restaurant I've been to a million times but never blogged about. Such is the case with Red Robin:

I typically go to the West Chester location - usually before or after a movie or Ikea trip. 

They used to have a Cherry Limeade that I loved...but recently they changed it to a raspberry limeade. I used to go through 2-3 of these in one sitting - but now - just one. Meh :-(

Luckily that was the only thing that changed. I have a pretty standard order: Guacamole Bacon Burger - but on a turkey burger (theirs are the best I've ever had) with steak fries and then add Parmesan Garlic to the fries. They're decadent and delicious. It's my favorite burger.

Red Robin also has a Royalty Club if you're a frequent visitor - free birthday burger + more!

Why Should You Go? I love Red Robin - it's consistently a good burger. The only downside is that it's LOUD. Like - REALLY REALLY LOUD. So if you have obnoxious friends - go there - nobody will notice. That said - the turkey burger is my favorite and those fries! Yum!

Red Robin on Urbanspoon