The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: December 2011
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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 10 favorite products I reviewed in 2011

I decided to highlight my favorite reviews of 2011. In no particular order here they are.

Symptom Pak - I was a little reluctant to review medicine but this was generic enough so I did. I love this little pack of meds. It has generic medicine for various illnesses like colds, flu, etc. It has saved me a few times this year. I would definitely buy this. It is so handy to have in the medicine cabinet.

Turbie Twist - Okay this is a product I cannot live without anymore. This is the best thing if you have long hair. I no longer get neck aches when trying to balance a towel on my head. This little hair towel is the perfect product. I now own at least 4 of them and will continue using them!

T-fal Ingrid Hoffman Paella Pan -I love this pan. It is non-stick and perfect for paella but I have found that it is also great to cook hash browns, pancakes and just about anything else I can stuff into it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I loved this pan so much that I went out and bought a T-fal frying pan and and eyeing the other T-fal pans. It is the perfect pan for anyone who cooks.

Change the Tone Crocs - I did a giveaway and did not receive my Crocs until it was published but I wore my Crocs all summer long. They are so cute and comfortable. I have no idea if they tone but I loved them so much, I went out and bought two more pair of Crocs!

George Foreman Grill - Need I say more? If you have ever used a George Foreman Grill then you know how wonderful they are. Easy to use, easy to clean and the best thing next to a real outdoor grill. I can now have steak and burgers in the middle of winter. I LOVE this grill.

Breyers Ice Cream - Hello, ice cream! I got tons of it and it was good. My thighs hate me but it was so delish!!

Flip Flop Moscato Wine - I admit I am not a wine drinker. I use it more for cooking but when Flip Flop wine sent me some Moscato wine, I was hooked. So much so that I drank a whole bottle by myself in a day. No I am not a lush, just in love with this wine!!

Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops - Never heard of these but now I can't live without them. They were great when I got a sore throat and great just to suck on during the day. I love the honey flavor. I will continue buying these.

P.F. Changs Home Menu Noodle entrees - I am hooked. I love noodles and these are the best frozen noodles I have had. They are wicked tasty and easy to make. I always pick up a bag when I am at the grocery store. I love having these for a quick lunch or dinner. YUMMO!

Post It Notes - I have this weird obsession with Post-It Notes. I love them. I buy them all the times. My office is filled with them and I use them everyday. So when I got a box of products, I went nuts!

Those are my favorite 2011 products. I am hoping 2012 brings more great opportunities because if I get a product review then you my loyal readers usually get a giveaway and I know you all love the giveaways.

I want to thank everyone who enters my giveaways and supports my blog! Have a wonderful 2012!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

And I want to wish my lovely sister a very Happy Birthday! xoxo Love you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sister Schubert's Rolls Review and Giveaway! 2 winners!!

This Thanksgiving I was looking for dinner rolls for our feast. I usually buy the ones in the bakery section in a box that you heat and eat. This year, I wanted something different and found Sister Schubert’s® Parker House Style Rolls in our grocery store's freezer.

They were delicious. I had never tried them before but they were fresh and soft and a perfect addition to our holiday meal. When I received the opportunity to review 2 new flavors of Sister Schubert rolls, I jumped at the chance.

The two new flavors are: Soft Pretzel Rolls and Mini Baguettes. Ready in a little as 7 minutes, these rolls are a convenient addition to any meal. Plus they contain only the finest ingredients with no preservatives, artificial flavors and 0 grams trans fat.

Soft Pretzel Rolls

Sister Schubert’s NEW Soft Pretzel Rolls have a thin, slightly crisp outside and a soft, warm center. Whether it’s a delicious snack, a soft roll for your favorite slider or a complement to dinner, Sister Schubert’s Soft Pretzel Rolls are a versatile way to enjoy restaurant-quality taste at home.

Mini Baguettes

Sister Schubert’s NEW Mini Baguettes bring the bakery-fresh taste of artisan bread straight to your kitchen with a golden, crispy crust and a soft, airy center. Ready in as little as seven minutes, simply slice Sister Schubert’s Mini Baguettes and fill with your favorite sandwich ingredients to create a delicious meal, or enjoy a tasty appetizer by dipping the warm artisan baguette in olive oil.

Unfortunately, because I live in the boonies, my store didn't have the new rolls available but had all sorts of other Sister Schubert rolls for my enjoyment. I picked up a bag of the Dinner Yeast Rolls instead and they were delicious.

What I love about these rolls, besides the taste, is that they are convenient. Because they come in a resealable bag, I can take one out and pop it into the toaster over and have a fresh roll. If I am having a dinner party, I can make up the whole bag.

I also loved the size. They are small enough to have at dinner but big enough for mini sandwiches or a quick snack. I have always been looking for rolls to use for my sliders and these are perfect. I cannot wait until my store has the pretzel rolls because those would be fabulous for mini Reuben or pastrami sandwiches. Yum! The Mini Baguettes would be perfect for making sandwiches or serving at a dinner party.

Sister Schubert’s Soft Pretzel Rolls and Mini Baguettes are available for a suggested retail price of $3.79 for a six-count bag (prices may vary by store). Check out all their varieties because there are so many tasty choices.

I have a treat for two of my readers as well. Two readers will win one coupon each to try these delicious treats! Just enter on the rafflecopter widget!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winners and other info

It has been a while since I posted winners only because Rafflecopter announces winners for me. Love that. But sometimes there is a glitch and I push the button to announce the winner and it doesn't. I decided to still post them to the blog so people can see who won when Rafflecopter doesn't post them.

So the winner of the La Lechera giveaway is: Ashley Hatten! YAY HER!

I will have one more giveaway going up this month then I am taking a break. We will be heading to Jamaica for Christmas. My cat is not happy that she is being left with the house/cat sitter again. But oh well, kitty doesn't have a passport so she stays here.

In the meantime, check back for a quickie giveaway this week. I will also have 2 New Year's giveaways to make up for the time I am taking off and ignoring the blog.

In the meantime, you can visit Carolyn in Carolina and keep tabs on me. I will post some vlogs and pictures when I am on vacation. YAY!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It was time for a facelift!

I got a little crazy and decided that The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness needed a facelift!

So I set off and hired a blog designer to help me get a cleaner less cutesy look although it is still plenty cute because that is how I roll!

I love it!! I had no idea what I wanted but my blog designer, Sheila, was ever so patient and helped me every step of the way. I tell you that I can be a PITA and she finally got the look I wanted!

She still has a few tweaks here and there and I have to add pages but it will soon be completed! I hope you all like the new look! I know I love it and I still have my screamy girl!! WOO!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Gift Idea! World Vision Catalog + Fair Trade Coffee Giveaway

Every year for Christmas people have long lists of what they want. This year I am sure people want iPads, iPhones, an X-Box, big screen TV etc. Sure those are all good gifts but this year why not give a gift that will actually make a difference in the lives of many.

World Vision’s Gift Catalog offers such gifts. The items World Vision offers in the World Vision catalog range from $16 to $39,000. Every gift you purchase will help a family in need. A few examples of the gifts you can purchase are as follows:

•Two chickens that provide a daily supply of eggs (with plenty of protein and 13 essential vitamins and minerals) – $25

•Feed a family in the US for a day with a Family Food Kit which includes nutritious meals like oatmeal, lentil soup or pasta, and a bean and rice casserole – $16

•Ten fruit trees such as apple trees, orange trees, and mango trees provide the vitamins and nutrients growing kids need – $60

•A dairy cow that can give as much as 5,000 gallons of milk in its lifetime – $500

In addition to the items above, World Vision offers several Maximum Impact Fund gifts that help answer specific, urgent needs of children and families that might otherwise go unmet. One such gift is the Fair-Trade Coffee Set which includes coffee from Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Costa Rica blended by delivered in a bag of African fabric hand-sewn by local women. It is accompanied by a hand-carved olivewood scoop made to benefit over 200 orphans of the Kamba tribe.

These are great gifts for someone who has everything and needs nothing. Giving someone a gift in their name is special and unique and you are actually making the world a better place. I believe these gifts really capture what I believe is the true meaning of the holidays. When you order a gift the person you designate will receive a beautiful card letting them know that you bought them a gift in his/her name.

Make sure to check out The True Spirit of Christmas Tour Facebook. For the third consecutive year, World Vision staff will be traveling across the world this December to see the impact that goats, sheep and other gifts have on families and children.

I also have a gift for one of my readers. I have a bag of the Fair-Trade Coffee Set which includes coffee from Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Costa Rica delivered in a bag of African fabric hand-sewn and accompanied by a hand-carved olivewood scoop to giveaway courtesy of World Vision.

Enter below on the Rafflecopter widget!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wish Bone Entertainment Kit Review and Giveaway!

I love the holidays. I love them because I get to make huge meals to share with family and friends. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, I make quite a few meals that require all day to create. Turkey, Ham, and Prime Rib Roast are favorites at my house and I also have to make all the delicious side dishes as well.

My only problem is that while cooking is that I still have to feed hubby but I am too busy for that. Plus, there is never enough room in my kitchen to make more food than I am making.

I resort to snacks to keep him and any other of my guests out of my hair. I love making cheese plates, dips and chips and other easy and fast snacks.

This is where Wish-Bone comes in. I recently had the opportunity to try a few new Wish-Bone products and they are the perfect additions to holiday snacks. The products I was able to try were the Light Buffalo Ranch dressing, Buffalo Ranch Dressing and Guacamole Ranch Dressing.

These are great for salads, of course, but I used them as a dip instead. The Light Buffalo Ranch Dressing was perfect with veggies. I loved the regular Buffalo Ranch dressing for chicken wings. Hubby likes his wings mild but I like mine spicy. I always have to go with mild and add hot sauce. With the Buffalo Ranch dressing, I get spicy wings now! The Buffalo Ranch dressings are made with Frank's Red Hot Sauce and they are delish.

My favorite though was the Guacamole Ranch dip. It has a hint of avocado and that with the Ranch flavor is delicious. I ate almost a whole bag of Frito's with the dip because that's how I roll. I am also going to use this dressing as a dip for my famous taquitos that I make sometimes as a party snack.
I love these new flavors. I have always used Wish-Bone ranch dressing as a dip but these new flavors offer a unique choice for dips now. Visit the Wish-Bone site for some great recipes as well. I was amazed at how much you can do with salad dressing!!

And guess what? Yes, I have a similar prize pack to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Let me tell you that you will love the chip & dip set! You will also like the new Wish-Bone flavors.

The prize includes:
Two-piece Chip and Dip set
1 bottle Wish-Bone Buffalo Ranch Dressing
1 bottle Wish-Bone Buffalo Ranch Light Dressing
1 bottle of Wish-Bone Guacamole Ranch Dressing

All you need to do is enter on the Rafflecopter widget below! Good Luck!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hershey's Horneando Juntas (Cookie Exchange) and Giveaway!

The holidays are the best time especially for making sweets! Every year about this time we have a cookie exchange at work. I also make cookies for my husband's work as well. It is one of my favorite things!

I love baking but I am not that great at it because I cannot follow a recipe to save my life. Baking requires precise measurements and cooking times etc. So I always need easy recipes.

But every year, I get my mixing bowls out, buy supplies and get baking. One of my favorite cookie exchange recipes is Chocolate Chip cookies because who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies, right? I also love making Mexican Wedding Cookies because they are easy and delicious. And sugar cookies with a Hershey Kiss on top always go over great.

This year, I am making all my favorites and maybe trying some new recipes from the Cocina de Hershey's (Hershey's Kitchen). The Polvorones de limon y coco (lemon and coconut cookies covered in powdered sugar) look so good they might be added to my recipe box. There are so many great recipes, I cannot wait to try them.

It is so much fun trading cookies and recipes with friends and family. One of my co-workers always brings in her mother's secret recipe cookies but will not share the recipe and I don't blame her!

I don't know if you all participate in cookie exchanges but you should start because it is a simple and inexpensive ways to give gifts to loved ones. I know I always pack my cookies up in little Chinese take out boxes with holiday tissue paper. I have also found some beautiful holiday tins as well.

Thanks to Hershey's I received a great gift pack filled with lots of goodies to help me this year with my cookie exchange. You can also win a wonderful prize pack like mine. The prize pack includes:
(1) bag of HERSHEY’S® KISSES® Chocolates
(1) can of HERSHEY’S® Cocoa
(1) $10 Visa Gift Card for the purchase of additional recipe ingredients
Apron and Mixing Bowl

YAY! All you need to do is fill out the info on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Big Holiday ReVeal Giveaway and Asian Meatball Recipe!

I love the holidays because it is the one time that I can go all out and cook some wonderfully inspired food.

Thanksgiving is easy because I go traditional but Christmas and New Year's is when I can get a little crazy and try new recipes. I especially love making appetizers for my parties.

This year thanks to the Mountain States Rosen, a cooperation of lamb and veal producers and processors, I have found some really great recipes I can try. Mountain States Rosen has been producing high quality veal and lamb for over 45 years. Mountain States Rosen sets the standard in quality and fully integrated food safety systems with its all American Milk Fed Cedar Springs Nature veal brand. Mountain States Rosen veal is hormone free and free from artificial tenderizers.

I love veal. But it is one of those meats that I don't often purchase at the store. It is hard to find veal where I live. When I do find it, I always tend to go to my favorite recipes: Veal Marsala and Veal Scallopini.

I checked out some recipes and found that I could it use for almost anything including veal burgers, meatloaf, or even a pot roast. Veal is the perfect meat for the holidays. It is tasty and can be used in a variety of ways.

I received a recipe from Mountain States Rosen that I know I will be trying for the holidays. I never would have thought of making Asian Meatballs but these look yummy.

Asian-Inspired Cocktail Meatballs

1 lb. Mountain States Rosen veal
¼ cup panko crumbs
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons lite soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry Sherry wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon chile sauce (such as Sambal)
3 scallions (white part only) sliced thin
1/3 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients together except ground veal and Panko crumbs. Add veal to egg mixture and blend well. Add Panko crumbs and fold into meat mixture. Form about 16 one-ounce meatballs. Place on baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven 20-25 minutes.

For an easy dipping sauce, combine ½ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons green scallions (sliced), ½ teaspoon chile sauce (such as Sambal) and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Serve room temperature. Garnish with fresh cilantro or thinly sliced scallions.

I cannot wait to try this recipe. I love anything Asian inspired. Plus, this recipe is easy to make. I think this would also work for making Veal Potstickers as well. This holiday might be a great time to consider veal as a new tradition in your household!

And thanks to Mountain States Rosen, I have a really cool kitchen gadget to giveaway: a Meatball Baller. How fun is that? No more getting your hands full of raw meat because the meatball baller will do all the work for you. What are you waiting for? Enter to win on the Rafflecopter widget.