Monday, February 28, 2011

Tater Tot Casserole Recipe with Allens Veggies as I am a Proud Allens Ally

I decided to let everyone know this month that sometimes I love to eat things that taste awesome and may have a “few” extra calories in the ingredients. Hey I am a proud Allens Ally but, I am human too! I don’t always cook the healthiest meals, but that is okay. Especially if I chose wisely and don’t over indulge all the time. What can I say….I am a rebel…and bend the rules every now and then.




But even some of these indulgences contain healthy veggies thanks to Allens. By the way, how many of you knew that Allens also packages veggies under other labels? Have you ever seen these brands at your local grocery store?

Princella, Sugary Sam, Trappey’s, Veg.all, Wagon Master, Freshlike, Popeye, Alma, Royal Prince, East Texas Fair and Crest Top to name a few. Yes these ARE Allens products!

Okay one more fun and important fact about Allens. They are an American family-owned and operated company that has been making safe and quality vegetables since 1926. Wow! Thank you Allens for supporting LOCAL American farmers and helping our economy!

Back to me falling off the health wagon…One of my recipes that my family and I love to indulge in is my Tater Tot Casserole. But this is not your mother’s casserole. I need to WARN all the readers right now…..If you try this recipe you will never go back to boring old flavor less Tater Tot Casserole.



Well if you are still reading here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

Large bag of frozen tater tots

1 ½ pounds browned ground beef

1 can Allens green beans - drained

1 can Allens peas - drained

1 can Allens corn - drained

1 – can condensed cream of mushroom or celery soup

1 cup chopped onion

1 – 16oz container sour cream

12oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon season salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients except the frozen tater tots. Mix well.

Place mixture in the prepared pan. Line the frozen tater tots on top of the mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.



Now that I have shared my deep dark secret, I think it is time to work out (yes, my knee is still gaining strength and I have been able to slow start working out again!!).

Winners Announced for the Coffee-mate Giveaway

I am pleased to announce the two lucky winners of my Coffee-mate Giveaway.

Thanks to the help of Random.org -

Winner one is

Alicia Webster with her comment "I would love to try the Honey Vanilla Creme"

Winner two is

Naranja with the "Followed fishful thinking on twitter".

Thank you all for participating.  I loved reading every ones comments. 

Watch for more great Giveaways in the next few days!

***The images from Random.org are below - was having problems getting them to attach nicely.  Sorry everyone.***




Sunday, February 27, 2011

Frosted Banana Bar Recipe - Allrecipes.com

I don't know about all of you out there in cyber-land, but it seems like I always have a banana of two that does not get eaten during its life span.  So I am always placing these eye sores in a ziplock bag in the back of the fridge for the day I need something special to make with bananas. 

In the past I always made my mom's banana bread.  Thanks to my husband (once again) he kept asking for something else I could make with the leftover bananas.  So I went to my stand by recipe site for an inspiration - Allrecipes.com.  Not to my surprise I found a recipe I wanted to try for Frosted Banana Bars.  This recipe has become a family favorite and an excellent way to use up some of the ugly bananas hiding in the back of the fridge. 


My little helper is always ready to help make and bake any of my creations!
Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I love the banana flavor so I always add more bananas - around 2 cups)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan.

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.





Beat in the eggs, one at a time.



Stir in the sour cream and vanilla.







Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter.




Finally, mix in the mashed banana.

Sorry - I didn't photograph the "ugly" bananas before mixing them in.

Spread evenly into the prepared pan.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.



Cool the banana bars completely then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting (love to beat together 16oz of softened cream cheese and 1 cup of softened butter - until smooth - I then add enough powdered sugar until the frosting is sweetened to my liking)  and sprinkle with crushed walnuts.




Enjoy!

I forgot to photograph a cut bar - and by the time I realized that - less than 24 hours later - the entire pan was gone!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wanting to Update and Personalize My Blog with a New Design

After much prodding from my Loving husband (hopefully someday he will be okay with me posting a photo of him)...I think I am finally going to spend the money to have my blog professionally designed. 

I am enjoying blogging so much and the new people I am now having the chance to meet...it is time to put a little money into my new found past time. 

It is amazing what my Fishful Thinking Blog has allowed me to experience beyond my home....

I have met and made many new Bloggy Friends...Love you all!

I have been involved with two fun Swaps...and hope to get involved with more :)

I have be able to connect with others and share my family recipes and stories.

I have had the opportunity to review many great products and even complete some Great Giveaways...I hope that trend will continue.

So now I need some help and guidance from my fellow bloggers.  What do I do now?  Where do I go?  I really want my blog design to be about my love of cooking and my family.  I want to make it so me and easier to navigate.  I have been searching, but I want to make sure I find the right one to design my blog.

Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks everyone!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Coffee-mate Giveaway Creamer & Exclusive Coffee-mate Spoon by a Brew Crew Member


I LOVE COFFEE-MATE!  Keep reading and find out how you can be entered to win....

I am such a proud Coffee-mate Brew Crew Member!  You may wonder what the Brew Crew is?  The Brew Crew is an exclusive team of highly influential and active brand advocates that help generate buzz about COFFEE-MATE.

I have even been lucky enough to have one of my blog featured on the Coffee-mate.com website.  And who knows maybe some day one of my many recipes will find it's to the Coffee-mate website site.

Like my recipes for:

Very Vanilla Coffee-mate Rice Pudding



Chai Tea Mix



I love Coffee-mate and can't imagine my life with out it!  My current favorite over all is the Gingerbread Latte. 

My favorite flavor from the new Coffee-mate Cafe Collection is the Caramel Macchiato.  It is like having my own *Bucks in my kitchen every morning.

I was selected to host an Office Party on Free Flavor Friday which was an awesome activity sponsored by Coffee-mate to promote their new Cafe Collection.

I had extra coupons for 1 Free Nestle Coffee-mate liquid or powder creamer up to $3.99.

So I decided to use these left over coupons and exclusive Coffee-mate spoons to promote my love of Coffee-mate to others.

Two qualified people will win...1 - free coupon for Nestle Coffee-mate liquid or powder creamer up to $3.99 and 1 - Exclusive Coffee-mate spoon.  Estimated value $10.00.





Open to US residents only age 18 or over. You must complete the Mandatory Entry to be eligible. This giveaway Ends 02/27/11 at 11:59pm MST. Please leave a separate comment with your email address for each entry that you complete.

*** Mandatory Entry - You must follow this Blog -  Fishful Thinking on Google Friends Connect - on the right side of my blog ***


Bonus Entries:

Check out Coffee-mate's website. Come back here to Fishful Thinking and let me know what product you would love to try or have tried.

"Like" Coffee-mate on Facebook.

Follow Fishful Thinking on Twitter.

Follow Coffee-mate on Twitter.

Tweet about the Giveaway: You can copy and paste the following Tweet over on Twitter once per day. Remember to let me know you tweeted.


Copy and Paste Tweet:

U can #win @Coffee_mate Creamer & Coffee-mate spoon on @busch0218 blog! http://t.co/EClEW2M Ends 02/27 1159pm MST #giveaways

Good Luck Everyone!


Can't Get Enough Recipe for Low Fat Dog Treats in a Bread Machine - Gourmet Dog Biscuits From Your Bread Machine

As anyone knows by checking out my blog I am always busy cooking and baking for my family.  Well part of our family includes two rescue dogs - Lucky a yellow lab and Radar a Corgi.  Of course I don't like to leave them out of all my tasty treats.

I found a great cookbook called Gourmet Dog Biscuits From your Bread Machine by Sondra Macdonald - years ago. 

I love using this cookbook to make special treats for our two special dogs.  I especially like using these recipes...as the main part of the work to make the treats involves my bread machine.  So I am able to dump the ingredients in and walk away for 1 1/2 hours while the treats mix.

The cookbook has a great table on contents that helps break down which type of treat you are looking to make - like....

Since Lucky needs to lose a few pounds I tried a new recipe out of the cookbook yesterday that is a Low Fat treat. 

It is called Can't Get Enough. 

Ingredients for a Large Batch in a Regular sized Bread Machine:

3/4 cup luke warm water
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup ripe mashed banana
2 Tablespoons cup honey (I love to use Ambrosia Honey Co. which is Raw & Unfiltered
                                          from Colorado's Western Slope)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tablespoons dry milk powder
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 Tablespoons oats, uncooked
2 Tablespoons farina, uncooked
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 Tablespoons brewer's yeast
2 Tablespoons raisins
2 teaspoons rapid or instant yeast

Directions:

Place all ingredients in bread machine and set on dough cycle.




Check consistency in 5 to 15 minutes - Dough should be a firm, round ball.  Add flour or liquid if necessary.



When cycle is over, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface.




The dough is sticky coming out of the bread machine, but with a little flour it is very easy to work with.



Dough should be about 1/4 inch think.  Cut out treats with a cookie cutter.  Re-roll dough until all is used.



I thought it would be funny to make some shapes of "PIGS" since these are for my heavy dog.

Place treats on a nonstick cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool treats on a wire rack for 2 to 4 hours before storing in an airtight container.



***I placed the treats on the wire rack back in the oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours to finish making the treats extra crispy.***

As you can see by the photos below our dogs approved of this recipe.




I thought this photo was perfect - with Lucky's mouth bulging with the dog treat.
 Thrilling Thursday at Paisley Passions

Congrats to the Winner of the Huge Lindt Chocolate Giveaway



I am excited to announce the winner of the Huge Lindt Chocolate Giveaway.


But first of all I hope all of my followers have had the chance to check out the awesome Consultant program called Lindt Chocolate RSVP.
Now you can turn your passion for chocolate into a fun and rewarding business. The demand for premium chocolate continues to grow, which makes chocolate not only delicious, but also a great way for you to earn extra income. As an independent Lindt Chocolate R.S.V.P.Consultant you have the opportunity to benefit financially, make new friends, and enjoy a flexible schedule - all while you are working with the world leader in premium chocolate.


With the help of Random.org  - The number selected was......



108!!!

Congrats.....

lolamichele - "my favorite is the chilli bar"

Enjoy your excellent collection of Lindt chocolate bars (including your favorite chili bar) and the fantastic cookbook.

Keep an eye out on my blog to see the newest recipe I am going to be making with Lindt Chocolate.  It is called.... Triple Chocolate Cake "Intensely Chocolate".

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy List that is LONG and Covers the Last Few Weeks.

PhotobucketI wish everyone could see me right now.  I am doing the happy dance while easily typing this post on my.......

NEW COMPUTER!!!!!  Yes, HP finally did the right thing and replaced my 2/3 month old computer that never worked right and finally wouldn't work.  After a HUGE, long ordeal with the company, which is a story in and of its self, they finally took my old piece of s*** and give me sometime that will work for a long time (fingers crossed) hopefully.

So now I have a lot of work to do on my blog since I can get it done in a timely fashion with this new computer - compared to the tiny, sloooooow notebook computer I had been borrowing from a friend.

I can't wait to start sharing recipes that I have been making and documenting with photos with all my followers, while I have been having computer issues. 


My Mom's Meat Spaghetti Sauce
 
Homemade Nachos


Happy to say that my Lindt Chocolate Giveaway is going better than expected (which ends today 02-19-11 at 11:59pm MST).  I have had more entries than I ever have on a Giveaway!
 
I have found a new candy love.  I don't know if that is good or bad (good because it tastes awesome, but bad for the waist line).  It is from Blair Candy.  They are now carrying a new way to create a huge candy assortment for a great price.  It is called the Custom Candybar Box.  I think it should be called "A little piece of heaven".  I ordered one of course and I am not disappointed!
 
My son's 7th Birthday Party was a hit!  Thank God for Pizza Hut as everything was thawing outside and a HUGE mess - couldn't imagine the children in our small house.


It's makes me smile looking at how much fun they all had.  It was a Good Mom Day that day.
 
After a Facebook comment to Aunt Nellies - "My boys and I are so disappointed and going through withdrawals..we can no longer find the sweet and sour red cabbage. I think I feel a blog entry coming on...would love to do a giveaway and a review."
I am excited to say they contacted me and are sending us some Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage to review on my blog.  My boys are very excited and ask daily if it has arrived in the mail yet.
 
And Last but not Least...Rubbermaid has selected me to test out a new pantry item before it is being sold in the stores.  Very excited and can't wait for it to arrive.
 
Okay enough typing - I think my new computer is smoking.....
 
What is on your Happy List - Link up above and share with all.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blair Candy Company is after my sweet tooth with thier new Custom Candybar Box

I have been and continue to be a huge fan and frequent purchaser of tasty candy treats from Blair Candy.com.  I love to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Blair Candy
Recently I learned on Facebook that Blair Candy started carrying a new way to create a huge candy assortment for a great price.  It is called the Custom Candybar Box.  Being a candy addict I had to check out this new product and I am so glad I did (and so is my husband and boys).

Do I have you wanting to know more?....  The Blair Candy site makes this purchase for the Custom Candybar Box so easy to order and customize to your candy liking.  Believe it or not... There are OVER 130 choices you can add to your 24 piece Custom Candy Bar Box for only $21.95.  What an excellent price for such a personalized selection of candy.  The have news kinds of candy and old time, hard to find favorites as well.

I love the fact that I am easily able to please my entire family with a Custom Candybar Box. Oh have a mentioned what excellent customer service and fast professional shipping this company maintains.

Okay, Yes...I did give in and personally purchase my own Custom Candybar Box.  We have had the box for one week today and the candy continues to dwindle :( . I have just been leaving the Custom Candybar Box on the counter since it has such fun packaging.



Check out what I had Blair Candy add to my Custom Candybar Box.




What types of candy will you add to your Custom Box?

By the way if you follow Blair Candy on Facebook you can sign up for Great Giveaways and you can subscribe so you are notified of any sales - which seem to help frequently, so you can get your candy fix at better price.



Thank you Blair Candy for taking such great care of your customers and offering an ever expanding variety of candies and tasty treats!  Three Thumbs Up!!