October 27, 2009

Pampered Chef's New Cookie Press

The attendees at last week's Pampered Chef event were given a cookie press to take home and try out. Always up for an excuse to bake cookies, I put it to the test the day after I received it. Watch as my son demonstrates the press.

I followed the Pampered Chef's spritz cookie recipe, but I think my butter was not softened enough and as a result I mixed the batter more than I should have. This resulted in a dough that was a bit stickier than we used at the Pampered Chef demo, and as you can see, there is a bit of a learning curve.

Everyone who ate one of the cookies raved about the taste. They were delicious.  https://youtu.be/QvVGvlVoPP0

October 23, 2009

My Afternoon at Pampered Chef

I spent yesterday afternoon with a wonderful group of bloggers at The Pampered Chef's headquarters in Addison, Illinois. It was like going to a Pampered Chef party, or cooking show as they call them, only I didn't need to open my wallet. This was not a recruitment event; they focused on the products, the company, and the food and it was all very interesting.

We met with various representatives of the company and learned about the recipe development process, all while sipping a delicious cranberry fizz and nibbling delectable butter cookies.

Pampered Chef's recipe developers love their jobs. Truly, they get to follow their passions and foodie dreams with the added bonus of keeping typical office hours, something that's nearly impossible to do in many restaurant and hospitality jobs.

Office hours aside, even the developers are PC consultants and are required to host cooking shows a few times a year. This keeps them in touch with their network of consultants and makes them more aware of what they are asking those consultants to do when they host shows.

The Pampered Chef folks are especially proud of their redesigned cookie press, which (and this jazzes me perhaps more than it should) is also a potato ricer. It can also be used make crackers, too, which is something I'm excited to try. (Sounds very gourmet, no?)

In addition to the aforementioned cookies, as you will see in the photos below, we made and devoured honey-apple brie bites (yum!) and turkey tetrazzini (not quite my thing).

Our gracious hosts allowed us to create a wish list of Pampered Chef products we'd like to try. Though, indeed, I can look longingly through the PC catalog, we're in such a state of paring down that I only requested a few simple ones that I know will I will use like bamboo salad tongs and as cheese grater that I think the boys will like to use.

They gave us a few goodies for the road, as well--including said cookie press. I already have a cookie date night set with my boys.
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October 03, 2009

Ninja Master Blender and Starbucks VIA: A Video Review and Giveaway

When I received samples of Starbucks VIA and my Ninja Master Blender (turn down your sound before click) for review in the same week, I was inspired to try them out together in one tasty review.

Watch as I mix up a fancypants homemade coffee drink in my Ninja.  https://youtu.be/NZljZZFlKJk (

I enjoyed my iced mocha-like drink and the Ninja cleanup was simple.

I'm not one for drinking coffee straight, that is without a bit of mocha and topped with whipped cream, but I brought a few samples of VIA home from BlogHer09 courtesy of SoCal Vacation Gal Jennifer Miner, anyway. I gave them to my mom and she's now a huge fan of it. Gosh, I feel kind of like a drug dealer. The woman is now hooked.

Don't tell mom, but now I've got a few extra VIA samples to share with you along with a coupon for a can of Reddi-Wip whipped cream, so you can make your own fru-fru coffee drink.

US residents only, leave a comment by Sunday, October 12 at 1:00 PM CST . For extra entries, tweet or blog about the contest and come back to let me know in a new comment. Winner will be chosen at random.

Edited to add: After making the coffee drinks, my crew couldn't wait to try making other items with the Ninja Blender, so we followed up with guacamole and deliciously smooth mashed potatoes. The blender is a hit and I can tell we're going to be putting it to the test over the coming weeks.

September 09, 2009

Pirate Booty: My Boys are Hooked

I planned to share a treasure chest full of Pirate Booty products that the company sent me with a group of tween boys. As I imagined it, we'd do a an organized, if not sophisticated, tasting, working our way through the product line.

What was I thinking? They snarfed up the snacks right away; they practically inhaled one bag as I turned my back to open the next. I was tempted to serve up a bowl of packing peanuts topped with garlic salt just to make sure they were paying attention.

I managed to take a few quick notes during this process, though.

Veggie Booty was an old hit in our house. It was a favorite snack when my boys were toddlers during the early days of this millennium. It turns out the product isn't quite as healthy as it claimed to be back in the day, but labeling adjustments have been made. Because I had a bit of proverbial egg on my face for having been a vocal word-of-mouth promoter of the unbelievably healthy snack I wasn't a paid advocate-after all this was in the days before momblogs- but all my friends served Booty to their kids; I had talked it up as an amazing way to get some veggies and fiber into their little bodies.

Sooo, I guess I'm more unresolved about that then I realized.

Anyway, after the salmonella scare had cleared (in early 2007) we returned to the brand because damn it, my kids love the stuff.

I thought we'd sampled all of their product line- puffy rice snacks and crunchy corn creations- until I received the pack.

Sea salt and vinegar? (
"Delicious, but a bit sour, but not as strong as most chips. Goes well with the puffiness," according to my boys.)

Barbeque? ("So good! Yum!")

Onion? ("So good! Tastes like onion rings, but smells like blah.")

Who knew about all these newfangled flavors?

The Tings are crispy, like a certain "rhymes with feetos" snack, but come without the seemingly toxic bright orange gunk. In fact they are just naked, crispy goodness. Tings are way better than "feetos" to serve to a basement full of videogaming boys. And by better, I mean
less damaging to the house and Wii remotes.

That said, I take issue with the "nutritious" on the front of the bag. To me nutritious suggests a food loaded with vitamins and fiber (think, a tangerine). I mean, you could do worse than Tings or Booty puffs for a snack and I like my boys to enjoy a "chippy" starch in their lunches or as part of an after school snack, so I do buy these for my family, but let's not pretend they're nutritious.

Overall, the new flavors were a hit with the kids. With a little more truth in labelling (especially considering their--our-- history), they'll be a hit with mom, too.

Oh, and based on experience, the Booty products go stale quickly; you'll want to finish the bag within a day or two---fortunately this is rarely a problem in our house. If you're serving them at a party it's best to wait until the last minute to empty them into a serving bowl.

Photo: the Pirate Booty folks send me samples in an adorable treasure chest. Pressed for a last-minute birthday gift for a boy, I hacked the chest into a birthday present by tossing in a bunch of coins and bandanna. Argh, matey; it was a hit.

Kim Moldofsky who muses on parenting gifted children and life at Hormone-colored Days and writes about marketing to mom bloggers at Positive Impact, Inc.

May 19, 2009

Candy Expo Round-up: Nonchocolate sweets

Candy without chocolate? What's the point? I can easily pass up confections that are made without chocolate, so I had my boys, Smartypants age 11 and Pikachu age 9, share their feedback on a few sweet treats.

GUD FUD Gud Fud is the name of a tiny marshmallow with filling in it. The flavors of the fillings are grape, strawberry, orange, or chocolate.
Smartypants: I think they are good but very sweet. They mush in your mouth. Pikachu said he hated them before he tried it, but he put it in his mouth and spit it out anyway.
Pikachu: Yuck.I spit it out.

Toxic Waste hard candies:
SP: Too sour to describe. Probably as sour as Warheads.
P: Awesome!!!!!Even though they are VERY sour. I had to drink water. I finished it. My brother spit his out even though he had my favorite flavor.

Tung Toos
Tattoos that get put on your tongue.
SP: It does not taste good when you put it in your mouth. It also makes you gag because your mouth stays open with something big on your tongue for a long time.
P: They're sour. (And, full of food dyes, mom adds). But fun!

Chewy Lemonhead and Friends Like regular Lemonheads, but chewy. The"friends" are the other flavors: apple, cherry, grape, and orange.
P: They are good. I think that they are better than the original Lemonheads. (My brother can't eat them because he has braces.)

C. Howard's Fine Mints and Gum
P: The flavors are: spearmint (really good), peppermint (I didn't get to try it), lemon (even better than spearmint,and it tastes like lemonheads), and violet (violet tastes bad!)

Mom: We'll be back with more reviews of sweets and treats in the coming week. Unfortunately, we had a problem with one of the above reviewers sneaking a bit of candy and then lying to me about it. I can forgive the sneaking- heck, I've been known to sneak a bit of chocolate now and again, but the lying is unacceptable, so we're down a taste-tester.

I know; such a sad ending to such a sweet post.

April 05, 2009

Yes I can...make horseradish

Amy over at MomAdvice writes up what she calls a weekly notebook experiment where she often tries making this or that new food. I channeled her as I decided to whip up a batch of horseradish for this week's Passover seders. Horseradish is the condiment of choice for gefilte fish, which itself is the traditional Passover appetizer. If you click on this link, you will understand why I chose to try the condiment, rather than the fish.

When I Googled for a recipe, I found one from my blog sister Andrea from Andrea's Recipes. I know she knows food, so I gave her recipe a try. I noticed that she made hers outside, but from what I learned on Google, sensed I could try it indoors without overwhelming my senses.

Unlike what you see on her blog. I began with one long, firm horseradish root. It was so huge, it resembled a femur (but feel free to insert a phallic or dildo joke in the comments if you're up for it).

In my kitchen, I chopped it by hand into 2 inch bits and tossed it into a blender with water and cider vinegar, per the recipe. I'd also roasted a few pieces of beet and added a handful of those to the blender. It gives the prepared horseradish a nice pink color and adds a hint of sweetness.

I decided to run the blender on our porch because I'd read that this is where the smell can start getting unbearable. A few minutes later, my pink condiment was almost ready. I lined a colander with paper towels and drained my mixture.

After draining it for a minute or two, I spooned the mixture into storage containers. That's when the fumes became intense. My eyes stung and began to water as I scooped up the prepared horseradish.

I called DH in for a taste test (I'll wait to eat it at seder). It didn't make him cry, but I don't know if that's good or bad. He likes intensely spicy foods that give him a near-death experience. Me? Not so much.

On a related note, do you include a Miriam's Cup as part of your seder? Click through for ideas on how to incorporate this. After all, a little Girl Power is a good thing. Unless you ask my niece (just click).

Also, you don't have to be Jewish to love this amazing Passover dessert that's good all year long.

Cross-posted to Hormone-colored Days.

February 25, 2009

Spatulatta Filming: April Fools!

Earlier this month, my boys filmed a webcast for Spatulatta.com, the award-winning by kids/for kids cooking show. They were filming for the April Fool's Day show and made faux gross, that is, foods that look disgusting, but are quite tasty. April Fools!

Here a few a few photos from the shoot to tide you over until the webisode goes live.

Photos include making a "moldy" sandwich, doggy-doo fudge, and kitty litter cake (yum!).


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