Friday, May 27, 2016

How I Created a Little Spot for Conversation in My Home #Folgers #ad

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Folgers for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
I've always functioned on the mentality that a comfortable home can be made with a little organization and a whole lot of pretty. Recently I made over a corner of our home to give my husband and I a place to sit and visit away from the TV and video games. It's a great place to chat and have tea or a cup of Folgers Instant Coffee.

Jamie is a coffee aficionado and loves to try new roasts and flavors. Still, there are times when he craves a good cup of black. Folgers is a great alternative that can be made in an instant.

I've always wanted my home to be a great place to offer hospitality to guests. However, a few years ago, I started really thinking about making my home a peaceful place for offering hospitality to my family---the ones who actually live here!

It's neat the way this little corner came to be. I told a friend I was looking to replace my couch and a week or so later, she messaged me to let me know her neighbor was upgrading her living room furniture and had a couch for me. She offered to deliver it, since she has a truck, and when she went to pick it up, the friend offered this recliner and rocker, as well! With just a little rearranging, I was able to make a spot in our school room that's just perfect for reading, writing, or having a quiet talk.

Oftentimes, Jamie and I have just a few minutes to sit and chat before it's time to serve dinner or take the kids to an activity, so I like to keep our corner of the house free from the kids' toys and books. That way, we can spend our short time in conversation and catch up on one another's days. Before he gets home from work, I have the kids clean up any messes Daddy might encounter on his path from the front door.

With a comfortable place to relax, Jamie can enjoy his instant coffee---and his family---before we all jump back into the busyness of big family life!

Do you have a comfortable spot in your home for a quiet chat? I encourage you to get creative and see if you can carve out your own peaceful corner. Also, check out these Folgers recipes for some inspiring ways to dress up your coffee.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Southwestern Hummus Tortilla Wraps and Saying Goodbye to a Dear Friend #HummusMadeEasy #ad

This post was sponsored by The Women Bloggers. All opinions are honest and are my own.
Earlier this month, my friend Letitia and I hosted a going away party for our dear friend Connie. Her family is settling down about three hours away and we are all really going to miss her! We said goodbye with a Mexican fiesta---Connie's favorite kind of food. I made some yummy wraps with Bush's Southwestern flavored Hummus Made Easy and they were a hit!

It was such a blast to get some of my favorite foodie friends together and sample everyone's potluck dishes. I love trying new things at moms' get-togethers because I can try a little bit of something without spending extra money on ingredients I'm not sure my whole family will eat. It's a get way to get new recipe ideas.

Letitia and I had been planning this party for a couple weeks, but when the week finally arrived, I found myself swamped with lots of end-of-the-school-year obligations. I wanted to bring something delicious and a little out of the ordinary to the potluck, but I was worried I wouldn't have a lot of time to prepare it.  

These Hummus Made Easy packets really are a life saver! Just blend the contents of the packet with one can of Bush's beans for a super fast and simply-made bowl of hummus. All the seasonings, oils, and other ingredients that you love in hummus are already combined in the pouch.

After I prepared the hummus, it was just a matter of spreading it round these flour tortillas and rolling them up to cut into pinwheels. It took all of 10 minutes to make a whole plate of hummus wraps.

This simple recipe is great for last minute guests---or last minute parties. With no preservatives, I feel I'm giving my guests a good quality snack that I can make fancy by adding extra mix-ins, or leave simple as I've done here.

Along with our Mexican flavored meal, we had a little gift-giving time for Connie and everyone signed a page in this journal, telling her how much we love her and her family.

Our party was a success and we sent our friend off with a happy goodbye. Best wishes to you, dear Connie! You are loved in Northwest Arkansas!

Look for Hummus Made Easy at Walmart near the canned beans. Let me know what you make with it. I'd love to hear your great recipe ideas!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

5 Things to Do With Leftover Baby Cereal & A Giveaway! #CookingWithGerber #ad

This post was sponsored by The Women Bloggers. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In the earlier days of parenting, our family utilized the county WIC program, receiving milk, eggs, formula, and more to help offset grocery costs. The program was very generous to young families and we always received a lot more baby cereal than our babies would eat. In my limited young adult knowledge, it didn't occur to me that the cereal could be used in other ways. If you're looking for ideas to use up leftover baby cereal, try some of these:

Before I tell you about these easy-to-make wraps, let me just say how much I love the plastic resealable containers from Gerber. They're way less messy than the former cardboard containers and they help keep the food safer and fresher, as well.

This wrap recipe is such a great idea, if I do say so myself. You can make one in less than two minutes, they cost pennies to make, and they're so great if you're focusing on a high protein, low carb way of eating. Just whisk one egg white, then add 2 tsp. Gerber baby cereal, and a pinch of salt, garlic or onion powder, rosemary, basil--whatever seasonings you'd like to add. Let it sit for about a minute, then pour the mixture onto a hot and greased griddle or frying pan. Spread the mixture out as thin as possible, and flip when the first side is cooked. These don't take long at all so don't leave them! Then flip it out onto a plate and fill it with whatever sounds good. You can do quesadillas for the kids, salad wraps for you---they're a savory and less expensive alternative to store bought wraps.

Tip: use Gerber Rice Cereal for a gluten-free option.

In the same style, why not try a breakfast crepe? This one features Gerber Lil' Bits Banana Strawberry flavored oatmeal, filled with Gerber Strawberry Banana Yogurt Blends and some fresh strawberries. Since Gerber is focused on healthy, high-quality ingredients, it makes me feel good to use these as creative breakfast starters. For the crepe, whisk two egg whites, then add one heaping tablespoon of cereal and your preferred sweetener, if desired. I just added a little white sugar, but you could put in honey, stevia, or nothing. Whatever makes you happy. Again, grease your pan or griddle and spread the mixture out as thin as you can. Flip it when the first side is done, then cool a few minutes on a plate before filling with yogurt, jam, and/or fruit.

Tip: Gerber cereals are iron-fortified so they're a good choice for healthy growth and development for all members of the family.

You've probably used oats as a binder or thickener for your meatloaf, meatballs, and stews---but have you considered using oatmeal baby cereal? Give it a try in my easy meatloaf recipe and let me know what you think.

So we've established that baby cereal is a great substitute in all kinds of recipes. But it goes further than that. How about using Gerber Oatmeal Cereal as an exfoliating face scrub? Just mix it with a nourishing oil like coconut or almond oil and add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil like lavender, citrus, or even peppermint for a refreshing scrub. {Note: it only looks like I'm sticking this in my eye...}

Another use for the oatmeal cereal that never occurred to me until this past week is its effectiveness as a compress or in a bath to treat skin problems. Our Kynthia broke out in a horrible rash earlier this week. I was thinking everything from allergies to measles and she was clawing at her skin so bad that I finally took her in to the clinic to see what was up. Turns out, it was just a bad case of hives at the onset of a cold, and some allergy medicine cleared it right up. Still, an oatmeal compress or warm oatmeal bath would have helped soothe the irritation.

To make an oatmeal compress, mix one cup cereal and one tablespoon cornstarch. Mix in water, a little at a time, until it makes a paste. Apply to irritated skin and leave on for about half and hour before rinsing it off.

Well, there you have it. Five things to do with that extra baby cereal in your cupboard. Don't have any extra baby cereal? Well, head to Walmart and grab some! Gerber offers single-grain and multigrain varieties, along with Lil Bits and Hearty Bits containing fruit. Walmart also offers a good selection of Gerber baby fruits, vegetables, blends, and yogurt. You can also check out the website for some great #CookingwithGerber recipes and more ideas for using baby cereal in creative ways.

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