Sunday, March 31, 2013

Recipe For Homemade Peanut Butter Doggie Treats

We have the sweetest little dog in our family, his name is Chewie and he is part French Bulldog and Boston Terrier.
I was never really a dog person but Chewie has won my heart. I love him enough to make him homemade dog treats, which says a lot about me and him. Of course there are tons of delicious dog treats out there for dogs, and lots of them are really great,  But it's fun to make your own and this is a very simple recipe to make. It comes from one of my favorite blogs, Room 52.

Recipe for Peanut Butter Dog Treats:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon baking powder

Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir into a dough. You can also use your hands to really mix it well.
Roll out dough on floured surface, and use a cookie cutter to make shapes. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Makes about 32 dog treats.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Simple Suppers - Chicken Spinach Pizza With White Sauce

I think that making pizza is one of the very best ways to get creative in the kitchen. There are so many toppings, sauces, and kinds of pizza dough to make, that you could literally make a different pizza every night of the year.
This recipe for a chicken pizza with spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers is one of my favorites. The white sauce is a snap to make, and you can certainly add more of your favorite toppings. One thing I have started doing is buying pizza toppings from my favorite little grocery store's salad bar. For this pizza I bought the all the toppings there, including the already cooked chicken. So easy, and a real money saver, too.
I have made my own pizza dough in the past, and I definitely want to start experimenting with making it again. I used an already made crust for this pizza, and it still very good, but nothing beats homemade.
I actually made two of these yummy pizzas, but the following recipe is for one pizza.

Ingredients to make one large pizza:

1 4oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup chicken, cut up
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers
1 large pizza crust, homemade or store bought


To make the sauce, stir together cream cheese, ranch dressing, onion and garlic. Spread evenly over pizza crust. Top with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, and cheese.
Cook in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Red Envelope Personalized Cutting Board Review

personalized cutting boards
I'm spending a lot more time in the kitchen these days, trying to get creative and cooking some new dishes that I haven't tried before.
One of the true pleasures in cooking for me is when I am able to use beautiful, high quality kitchen equipment. I love products that were made to enhance our time in the kitchen, and bring more enjoyment to our time spent in preparing meals for ourselves and our families.
I recently received this beautiful, solid maple wood cutting board that was made in Vermont. It came from one of my very favorite companies, Red Envelope.
It is high quality, durable, and a true pleasure to use in the kitchen. I love that it is attractive enough to leave out on the counter even when it's not in use. A very special feature about this cutting board is that it comes in a choice of four designs, your choice of word personalization, and the personalized design is cleanly lasered into the center of the board. This makes it a perfect gift not only for yourself, but as a house warming or Christmas gift as well.

Made of sustainable solid maple, this board is wonderful for cutting up fruit and vegetables. With a juice moat to prevent spilling, it is perfect for carving meat on, whether in the kitchen, or outside at the barbeque.

Each board is made from solid maple, which means each will have a unique look, and no two boards are the same. The large cutting surface and it's 20" x 14" give ample room to work on.

I can see already that this is a wonderful addition to my kitchen, and it's beauty and durability will be something I will be enjoying for years to come.

I love ordering from Red Envelope, and have always been delighted with everything I have ever received from them. Two of my daughters have wedding anniversaries coming up, and I think this personalized cutting board would be the perfect gift for each of them. I love giving personalized gifts, and this cutting board is a wonderful gift for yourself, or those you care about.

I was not paid for this review, but did receive the above product.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Simple Suppers - Pasta With Turkey and Broccoli

In the past few months I have been cooking dishes that include ground turkey in the recipe. The fact that it tastes great and is so much healthier for you than ground beef, is what motivates me to keep plenty in the freezer for easy and delicious meals.
This quick Pasta With Turkey and Broccoli is healthy and really tastes great. You can change the pasta to a different shape if you prefer, and make it even healthier if you use wheat pasta.


3/4 pound penne pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
1 pound ground turkey
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the broccoli during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and return the pasta and broccoli to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, onions, garlic, crushed red pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the turkey mixture with the pasta and broccoli, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and stir.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Celebrating National Nutrition Month With The Mushroom Council

March is National Nutrition Month and it is a great time to recognize and appreciate all the ways we can bring an awareness of how important a role food plays in our health.
The Mushroom Council is a group of people that are fresh-market mushroom producers and importers, and bring the public an awareness of how eating and cooking with mushrooms can be a healthy and delicious addition to your meals.
The theme for March is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day", and whether you eat mushrooms cooked or raw, they are a natural source of vitamins D and B, and a rich source of antioxidants to help boost your immune system.

I have been eating and loving mushrooms for as long as I can remember. I love adding them to soups, stews, pasta dishes, and omelets. I often add diced mushrooms to many dishes that don't even call for mushrooms because they add flavor and a healthy dose of veggies.
I am a big fan of healthy snacking. I often put out trays of raw vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, and celery for my family to enjoy. I pair this with a healthy dip or humus, and it is a great way to enjoy a healthy snack. Sautéing mushrooms is also a great way to enjoy them, and my family loves them on burgers and other dishes.
Mushrooms come in many different varieties, are available year-round, and can help stretch your food budget.

Mushrooms are also one of my very favorite pizza toppings, too. When I make homemade pizza for my grandchildren, I dice up the mushrooms very small and add them this way. For myself and other family members, I love heaping on lots of sliced mushrooms. It's a great way to add healthy veggies to your pizza.
Mushrooms are so versatile and inexpensive that they can be incorporated into your day's meal plan, all the way from breakfast to dinner.

The Mushroom Channel is comprised of the Mushroom Council's website and social channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Their website at has wonderful recipes, nutritional information, and current happenings.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, and to help spread the word about how healthy mushrooms are for our diet, come join a Twitter Party!!
The Twitter Party will be Wednesday, March 20th, at 8-9 PM EST, #MushroomDish. Come and join the discussion about everything having to do with mushrooms. You are sure to have fun and learn a lot about amazing mushrooms.

Eating mushrooms is a very simple, inexpensive, and delicious way to add a healthy element to your diet. I love eating mushrooms, and learning even more ways to use them from the Mushroom Channel.

Happy National Nutrition Month!!!

This is a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Robby Wash Ball Review and Giveaway

When you have been doing laundry as long as I have, you want it to be as easy and hassle-free as possible. But of course, I still want my clothes to be clean and soft.

I recently had the chance to review the Robby Wash Ball. I am always on the lookout to make household tasks easier, and I do like to use green and environmentally friendly products whenever possible.
The Robby Wash Ball is so easy to use, you simply toss it in your washing machine and leave it there. With the unique ball and pellets system, there is no more buying and lugging home those big, heavy bottles or boxes of laundry detergent. With the price of some name brand detergents today, you can spend up to a dollar a load. But with this product, it costs less than a quarter a load.

Each load of laundry gets washed with tough cleaning agents, but are hypoallergenic and formulated to be gentle on clothes. This is also a great choice of detergent to wash babies clothes in, too.

The Robby Wash Ball also does not pollute the environment like standard laundry detergents, nor does it cause waste, as the ball can last 2-3 years.

I loved how easy it was to use this product and how clean and fresh it got my laundry.

Popcorn and Pearls is happy to be giving away a Robby Wash Ball to one of our readers.


Win a Robby Wash Ball for your laundry

Enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts March 17 2013 and ends on March 31 2013 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. No P.O. Box Address will be accepted for prize address. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize. I was sent products to review for my post.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Making Smart Choices With Healthy Choice #HealthyChoices #cbias

Since the first of the year, I have been trying hard to pay attention to what I am doing right and doing wrong in my life regarding my health. The years really do seem to be going faster and faster, and I do know that the choices that I make for myself now will play a large part in how long I will live and how healthy and active I will be.

I have come to understand what a huge role food plays in determining not just our weight, but our health as well. I am a busy person, just like everyone else, and I would love to be able to cook from scratch everyday, but that just isn't realistic.

I was very happy to learn that Healthy Choice has just introduced Top Chef, a new line of delicious and easy to prepare meals. There are so many delicious varieties to choose from, and when I was shopping for them at Walmart, I really had a tough time deciding on which kinds to buy. For me, food has to taste great  and fit into my budget, which these new Top Chef meals certainly do.

The variety I was most excited about trying was the Crustless Chicken Pot Pie which was the Season 10 Top Chef Winner!! It lived up to it's reputation, and really was super delicious.

It's so easy to fix Healthy Choice Top Chef meals, and this is one thing that I really appreciate, great tasting food that is quick to make. They pop right into the microwave, and when they are done in about four minutes, you pour the food from the steamer into the bottom bowl, and stir. So easy and convenient. The portions are generous, and are just the right size for me for dinner.

Frozen yogurt has almost replaced ice cream for me. I still love the occasional treat of a cone or a bowl, but ice cream has way too many calories for me to be a part of my healthy lifestyle plan.
I love this new Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt. I also adore chocolate, so the Dark Fudge Swirl is my favor flavor, and the chocolate swirl really does taste yummy.

The Dark Fudge Swirl really is my favorite, but I also enjoyed the Strawberry flavor too. There are also other flavors to choose from, and at only 100 calories a serving, this is perfect for dessert or an afternoon snack. I prefer eating Greek yogurt because it is healthier than regular yogurt.

 I stocked my freezer with this new Healthy Choice treat and saved money too, by using the $1 off coupons that are available for use. They are also available for the Healthy Choice Top Chef meals too, and that is a great savings.

Of course a healthy lifestyle isn't just about the food you eat. I think it's an attitude you can learn to adopt, and let simple pleasures play a part of your everyday life. I try to buy myself a bouquet of flowers every week, whether it is from the grocery store or the farmers market. It gives me a little boost of happiness whenever I see my flowers, all week long.

Physical activity is a very important part of staying healthy through every decade of my life. I love practicing yoga almost everyday at home, and taking an occasional yoga class.

I can't do anything near what is on the cover of these books, but the books provide inspiration for me.
I also enjoy walking with my daughters, and love the fact that you can take up walking at any age and really benefit from it.

Top Chef meals come in so many different varieties, you are sure to find a few favorites. There are lots of chicken, steak, turkey, Asian flavors and more to choose from. They really do taste great, and are playing an important part of my choice to live the healthiest life that I can.

Greek yogurt is also a daily part of my diet, and I'm very happy I have discovered the new Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt and all it's great flavors.

Our food choices are such an important part of our lives, and I know I'm making a smart choice when I choose Healthy Choice.

If you would like to see my complete shopping trip at Walmart for Healthy Choice products, here is my Google + photo album.

You can also find Healthy Choice on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like to use the $1 off coupons for Healthy Choice Top Chef, or Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt, be sure to print them from my sidebar.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and ConAgra Foods #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day Brownies and Recipe

Saint Patrick's Day is on Sunday but I just couldn't wait to make something green. I love brownies, and so do my grandchildren, so I made these this morning to share with them.

Here is one of my favorite brownie recipes, and it is super easy to make. The recipe makes a big pan, enough for a potluck, or hungry grandchildren :)

Recipe for Quick and Easy Brownies


2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnut halves (optional)


Melt the butter or margarine and mix all ingredients in the order given.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in a greased 9x13 pan.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Shopping For New Easter Clothes With Cookie's Kids

One of the joys of having five children is that you know sooner or later one of them is going to make you a grandmother. It took quite awhile, but now I am the proud grandmother of three grandsons and one granddaughter. My granddaughter, Ashley, is now one year old and the youngest.

Of course I love them all equally, but I can't deny it is a lot more fun to buy little girl's clothes than little boys clothes.

This Easter I wanted to buy Ashley a new Easter dress. There is nothing cuter than seeing kids all dressed in new Easter Outfits for the season. I had heard so many great things about shopping at Cookie's Kids, an online department store for kids that offers adorable kids clothes and accessories at very reasonable prices. #CookiesKids

I went to and was a little overwhelmed at first by what a large selection they offered. But all the clothes are grouped by gender, size, and category, so once I got the hang of the site, it was very easy to use. I did spend quite awhile just browsing before I picked out this very sweet Florasplash Easter Dress for Ashley. It does come with a cute little sweater shrug, but she didn't want to wear it, and who can argue with a one year old?

I'm always a little nervous when ordering clothes on line, either for myself or my grandchildren because I worry about if they will fit or not. I like a great feature that Cookie's Kids offers called Alva, which is where you put in your child's weight and height, and measurements, and it will tell you what size to buy.
I did this with Ashley's dress, and it fit her perfectly. I was so glad.

Cookie's Kids offers just about everything you need for your children clothing wise, including Boys Suits, School Uniforms, and of course, so many adorable Girls Dresses.

Cookie's Kid's history is actually quite interesting, and this year they are celebrating 40 years in business. In 1972, a young man named Cookie and his bother went into business together in Jamaica, Queens, New York. They opened a store with a full stock of holiday toys, and successfully sold them all. They decided to expand into children's clothing and became very successful.

There are now six superstores in the NYC area. In 2007, came into being, and turned into the successful online store that it is today.

After I had picked out an Easter dress, I was browsing other sections of clothing for little girls. I had remembered my daughter mentioning that Ashley's swimsuit didn't fit her very well anymore. She was growing out of it, so I decided to buy her a new one.

My daughter takes the kids swimming all the time at a wonderful neighborhood aquatics center, and Ashley just loves the water. There were so many cute suits to pick from, including lots of character suits like Dora the Explorer. But my grandsons just love Angry Birds, so I thought it would be cute if Ashley had something of her own that was Angry Birds.

She absolutely loves her Angry Bird Swimsuit, and didn't want to take it off!! Who can blame her? She looks adorable.

I thoroughly enjoyed shopping for an Easter dress and swimsuit for my granddaughter at, and you can see my complete shopping experience by going to my Google+ photo album.

You can also keep up with Cookie's Kids on their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Easy and Delicious Apple Bread Pudding

One of my very favorite desserts is bread budding. I've recently made chocolate, blueberry and peach flavors.
Yesterday I made apple bread pudding for the first time, and it was so delicious. I find that people either love bread pudding like I do, or they don't like it at all, no matter what flavor it is.
It's also a treat warmed up for breakfast. Some apple recipes call for adding raisins but I don't really like raisins, so I make mine without.
If you or your family do like bread pudding, apple flavor is delicious any time of the year.

Recipe for Apple Bread Pudding:


4 eggs
21/2 cups whole milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
5 cups of torn bread pieces, crusts on
1 large apple, cored and diced
3 tsp. butter (for preparing dish)


Whisk together eggs and milk in a medium bowl. Add brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until mixture is well blended.
Place bread and apples in a large buttered casserole dish and pour mixture over top. Let stand for 10 minutes so that the bread can absorb egg and milk mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Eat warm or cold, and top with whipped cream if desired.
Makes approximately 6 servings, depending on serving sizes.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Morning Etsy Love

Elephant Bean Bag

I think I have mentioned before how much I love shopping on Etsy. There are just so many creative and beautiful things that are offered for sale on Etsy. I could easily spend an hour or two just looking at everything and reading about the many interesting and talented craftspeople who sell what they make here.

Eco friendly ORGANIC LINEN Large  French  RED tote bag  with Brown Leather strap / Market tote Bag
French Linen Market Tote

Birthstone Necklaces
Birthstone Necklaces

Crushed Candy Patchwork Quilt Pink Amy Butler fabric
Crushed Candy Patchwork Quilt

Pink Tutu Dress, Baby Tutu Dress, Flower Girl Dress, Newborn Tutu Up to 12 Months
Fancy Pink Girls Dress

Bloom Where You're Planted Art Print
Bloom Where You're Planted Poster

Floral red utility vendor market craft apron makeup artist, hairdresser, teacher READY TO SHIP
Floral Red Utility Apron

These are just a few of the wonderful items available on Etsy. I'm heading over there right now to look and see what's new.

Have a great Monday everyone :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring Veggies and The Farmers' Market

I am so excited that daylight savings is about to arrive. That means Spring, that means flowers and light, and visiting the farmers' market on a regular basis.
I have mentioned before that I love to go to the Pike Place Market in Seattle, but I am beginning to seek out other smaller neighborhood markets too. I love buying produce directly from the farmers and their families, and it is easy to strike up a conversation about the veggies you are buying and how to cook them.

There are also a great many books out now that are all about cooking foods that are from the farmers' markets. One of my favorites is Fresh From The Farmers' Market by Janet Fletcher, with an introduction from Alice Waters.

The book is filled with so many amazing recipes all grouped by seasons. For spring, there are recipes for roasted asparagus, warm apricot tart, cauliflower and potato soup with cilantro, and more.
I am truly inspired to cook more with the fruits and veggies I buy from the market. As part of trying to eat better this year, I will definitely be spending more Saturday mornings at my local farmers' market.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Real Snacks Book Review and Recipe

Real Snacks by Lara Ferroni is a book filled with all the yummy and delicious snacks we all love.
There are wonderful recipes for sweet favorites like chocolate moon pies, brownie bites, and caramel corn.
If you prefer more savory snacks, there are lots of recipes to choose from here as well. Homemade potato chips, cheesy popcorn, onion dip made with caramelized onions and more, are just some of the tasty recipes that Real Snacks has to offer.
All recipes also include vegan and gluten-free options. This book will take you back to some of your favorite childhood treats, and show you how to make new ones for yourself, and the treat lovers you know.

One of my all-time favorite snacks is potato chips and onion dip. But the old recipe for making a dip with sour cream and packaged onion soup mix just doesn't compare to the one in this book.
Deliciously caramelized onions, spices, and sour cream make a dip that is just heavenly. The recipe does take a little while to make, but is well worth your time to have such a great tasting dip to go along with your favorite chips.

Here is the recipe for making Onion Dip with Caramelized Onions:


1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Splash of seasoning salt
Pinch of smoked paprika (optional)
Splash of buttermilk (optional)


Place butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and, stirring occasionally, let the onions sweat and caramelize, 20 to 30 minutes.
Once the onions are an even, golden color, remove from the heat and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Once the onions are cool, stir them and any collected juices into the sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper, add a pinch of smoked paprika if using. If the consistency is too thick, add a splash of buttermilk to thin it out.
The dip can be eaten right away, or put in the refrigerator for an hour or two to let the flavors meld.

I actually doubled the recipe here because I wanted more than the amount given in the book, and it was easy to do.

A copy of Real Snacks was sent to me for my review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Saving On Breakfast With Safeway Breakfast Foods #BreakfastSavings #cbias

It really is true what they say about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. For me, eating breakfast everyday gives me the energy and stamina I need to tackle whatever it is that is on my schedule. And I just like eating breakfast, especially when my favorite breakfast items are in my cupboard or refrigerator.

One of my favorite grocery stores, Safeway, is having a Buy 4, Save $4 promotion on many of it's breakfast items. I went shopping there to buy some breakfast foods, and was pleasantly surprised at how much money I saved. The list of items on sale is long, and it includes hot and cold cereals, different brands of coffee, juices, cereal bars, and much more.

 National Breakfast Week is March 4-8, and it's a great time to talk about how important a good breakfast is for ourselves and our families.

Stocking up with Safeway's Buy 4, Save $4 promotion is a smart way to buy your favorite breakfast foods at fabulous prices. The Safeway weekly lists all it's sale products, and promotions. I love shopping at Safeway and was happy to be able to buy some of my favorite brands of breakfast items.

An everyday breakfast for me usually includes cereal, coffee, and juice. I usually drink orange juice, but Safeway had the Ocean Spray Blueberry and Pomegranate juice on sale so I tried it, and loved it. I try to add healthy items to my breakfast menu like soymilk (I really love the Silk brand) on my cereal, a good for you juice, and some kind of fruit.

Since I live in the Seattle area, I always pick up a bag of Seattle's Best Coffee when it's on sale. I really do like their coffee, and it was part of the Buy 4, Save $4 promotion. There was also a stack of $1.50 off coupons that someone had put in front of the display, so it really was a bargain.

As much as I love breakfast, I have to have one cup of coffee before I can think about eating or doing much else!!

One of my favorite cereals is Honey Nut Cheerios. I am so amazed at how many different kinds of Cheerios that are available now, including chocolate flavored. I prefer English muffins over toast, and love them with my favorite brand of preserves, Smuckers.

Smuckers is another sale item on the Buy 4, Save $4 promotion. There has always been a jar of Smuckers in my fridge since I can remember, and it tastes so good on French toast, waffles and pancakes.

As much as I enjoy sitting down to breakfast almost everyday, when I am on the run, I love taking some fruit and cereal bars. I also include cereal bars in my breakfast when I am at home, too. I don't actually like many cereal bars for some reason, but I really like the Kellogg's  Nutri Grain ones. They are made with real fruit and whole grains.

Breakfast really is very important to me, and it makes a huge difference in my day if I skip it, which I try not to do. I also try to make it as healthy and delicious as possible.

You can find all the breakfast products I purchased, along with many other delicious breakfast items at Safeway, and save money by shopping their Buy 4, Save $4 breakfast sale.

If you would like to see my complete shopping trip at Safeway, you can go to my Google+ photo album.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Safeway #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.