Yoplait Delights giveaway!

Posted on January 25, 2011. Filed under: Coupons, Freebies, Weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

We have another giveaway from Yoplait and MyBlogSpark!  This time Yoplait is promoting their new Delights yogurts – they are healthy snacks with all the benefits of yogurt, but they taste more like pudding.  Some of you may have seen these in your grocery already, but Yoplait has added two new flavors to the Delights line: chocolate eclair and cherry cheesecake.  I’m so excited, the new flavors are just in time to be used in the Two Week Tune Up challenge, also sponsored by Yoplait.  You can learn more about this health/weight loss challenge on Yoplait’s website.

Anyway, to celebrate the new flavors and the challenge, Yoplait in conjunction with MyBlogSpark is giving away prize packs with a coupon for a free pack of Delights yogurt, a scented candle (it smells like chocolate), and a lavender eye mask with satin on one side and a velvety material on the other.  I received mine last week and have been really enjoying it, especially the eye mask.  The velvety side is nice, but the satin side is a lifesaver when I have a headache – it is very cool and relaxing, and my doctor says lavender is the best aromatherapy choice for relieving headaches.  All I know is it works!

As for the yogurt, I have tried the creme caramel in the past and my son and I both love it.  It is very rich and creamy with a mild yogurt taste, but only 100 calories.   I used the coupon for a pack of the new chocolate eclair flavor, and it was just as good.  My son wants to try the cherry cheesecake as well.  He is a big cheesecake fan, but in deference to my diet we don’t keep cheesecake in the house.  Cheesecake yogurt sounds like a good compromise!

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark will donate a second prize pack for one lucky reader, so if you want to try Yoplait Delights too leave a comment about which flavor you would like to try!  I will select the winner next Monday, January 31st.

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A Giveaway for a Quick and Easy Dinner!

Posted on November 22, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Daily life, Freebies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Congrats to the winner of our last giveaway from MyBlogSpark and Wanchai Ferry!  And now it’s time for another one!  This time MyBlogSpark teamed up with Betty Crocker to provide Betty Crocker Instant Mashed Potatoes to us and one lucky winner.  The prize pack includes a box of Homestyle Creamy Butter flavor and a box of Roasted Garlic flavor, along with a lovely wooden serving bowl, trivet, and serving spoon.

Oddly enough, around the same time I received this pack to try, I also was given a few packs of Idahoan Buttery Instant Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Mashed Potatoes by a friend, and one pouch of Great Value (Walmart brand, I think) Instant Mashed Potatoes by a relative who used the other pouch (two come in each box) to make potato bread.  So naturally I decided to do a taste test!

I have made mashed potatoes five times in the last two weeks, and have noted the response from hubby and son each time.  First off, I have to say all three were vastly superior to the instant mashed potatoes I remember from when I was a kid.  You know, the ones that came in the giant cardboard box and tasted a lot like the box too.  I have never in my adult life bought instant mashed potatoes, because I remembered them as a last resort emergency food when you were snowed in and had absolutely nothing left to eat.  Lol!  But all three varieties we tried come in pouches that make 4 servings worth.  I think separating the potatoes from contact with the cardboard box is brilliant, and eliminates the cardboard flavor!  Also, all three were incredibly quick and easy to make – a major plus if you have a crazy schedule like I do.  And really, what mom doesn’t?  Anyway, on to the results.

I used three criteria for comparison in my totally non-scientific test:  texture, taste, and ingredients list.  In terms of texture, the BC flakes dissolved completely, leaving no graininess, only a smooth creamy texture.  The others did pretty well also, but required a lot more stirring to get all the lumps dissolved.  The taste of the BC was very potato-ey (I know, not a real word). Of the two BC flavors, we like the roasted garlic best, but the butter flavor was good too.  We’re just garlic people, I guess.  The other two tasted okay as well, but were just not as flavorful.  As for the ingredients list, they all started with potatoes as the main ingredient – thankfully – but BC appeared to have fewer additives.  (Personal opinion only, I did not compare actual formulas or anything.  I only looked at the ingredients list on the side of each box.  I did note that all three brands had MSG, so if you can’t have that please take care to check the ingredients list regardless of brand or flavor!)

In the final analysis, my family prefers the BC mashed potatoes.  I try to avoid a lot of processed foods, so they will still be used sparingly, but on a busy night when I am running crazy trying to get everyone where they need to be and still get a meal on the ,a side dish that literally takes only minutes from cabinet to table will be a blessing!

If you want to try them as well, leave a comment!  I will select a winner to receive the prize pack from Betty Crocker and MyBlogSpark on Friday.  And for those of you who don’t win, use this coupon to try them anyway!  (If you live in the Southeast, Publix has BC potatoes BOGO this week too.  😉 )

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Chex Mix Winner

Posted on September 20, 2010. Filed under: Freebies | Tags: , , , |

The winner of the Chex Mix prize pack from Chex and MyBlogSpark was Terri!  Congrats!  Your prize pack is on the way.

The winner of the Yoplait Splitz prize pack from Yoplait and MyBlogSpark has been selected and will be announced once I have confirmation that they want it. 🙂

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Yoplait Splitz Giveaway

Posted on September 14, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Daily life, Freebies, kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Yoplait?  I really do.  Several months ago they teamed up with MyBlogSpark and offered a chance to try Simply Gogurt (Gogurt with no artificial flavors, preservatives, dyes, etc) and it immediately became our first choice for yogurt.  My son and I both love the taste and convenience, and I love that it doesn’t have all the additives, especially aspartame (I’m really not a fan of aspartame).

Well, Yoplait has given me another reason to love them!  They teamed up with MyBlogSpark again, this time to introduce a new product called Yoplait Splitz.  Splitz come in 3 ice cream like flavors – Strawberry Sundae, Strawberry Banana Split, and Rainbow Sherbet.  Splitz, like Simply Gogurt, have no artificial sweeteners or flavors.  And you can freeze it for an even more ice creamy treat!  They are delicious, and make a much healthy dessert than ice cream, with calcium and Vitamin D, and since they come in yogurt cups they are already sized for perfect portions.

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark sent me a freebie pack with a coupon for a free pack of Splitz, a fleece roll up picnic blanket, and an insulated bag perfect for carrying on picnics!  Of course, I immediately planned a picnic – a foolish endeavor in Florida during the rainy season, lol.  After getting rained out several times, I finally managed an afternoon at the park.  I froze 2 of the Strawberry Sundae Splitz and 2 bottles of water the night before and packed them at the bottom of the insulated cooler bag.  I packed our other snacks and sandwiches on top of that and off I went to the park with my son in tow.  We spent a little over an hour at the park in 90 degree weather before stopping to eat, so the water and yogurt were mostly thawed, but they had kept the fruit and sandwiches nicely chilled.  Plus the cooler bag has so many pockets I was able to fit everything we needed for our picnic in it and still had room to stick my wallet and cell phone in an outside pocket.

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark have also generously offered the same prize pack to one lucky reader, so we’re having a giveaway!  Just leave a comment to enter, and I will choose a winner on Friday.  For everyone else Yoplait is offering a coupon here.

Simply Gogurt is still my favorite yogurt for everyday snacking, but Splitz will be a great option for satisfying the occasional sweet tooth!

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Labor Day, Chex Mix, and Camping, Oh MY!

Posted on September 7, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Freebies, kids, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Not long ago I got another freebie prize package to try through MyBlogSpark.  This one was Chex Gluten-Free cereal, and it came with a coupon for a free box of Chex cereal, a perfectly sized microwave safe plastic bowl with lid for making Chex mix, a plastic microwave safe measuring cup with lid for measuring and mixing wet ingredients (for the Chex mix, of course), and a handy little recipe book with several Chex Mix recipes.

I have had store bought Chex Mix before (you know, the kind that is premixed and seasoned – it usually has cheese crackers and pretzels and nuts mixed in) and was not too impressed.  It is tasty, but has too much sodium, and a lot of people can’t eat all the ingredients due to allergies or restricted diets.  The idea of homemade Chex Mix is much more appealing to me, because I can customize it to fit any group, or just to fit my family’s preferences.  And there are several varieties of gluten free Chex cereals, so it can work if you have to feed someone with a gluten allergy.

I had intended to make the Chex mix for a picnic, which unfortunately got rained out.  So when I was planning meals and snacks for my fall camping trip with my son I decided to include homemade Chex Mix!  I really liked the look of the apple cinnamon Chex mix recipe, but didn’t have exactly the right ingredients – no dried apples or chopped walnuts.  I did however have dried cranberries and pecans, so we had cranberry cinnamon Chex mix instead.  I packed the Chex mix in the plastic bowl that came in my package and put it in the car for the 3 1/2 hour drive to the campgrounds where we stayed.  There were four of us in the car – me, my son, a friend, and her daughter.  By the time we got to the campsite, the Chex mix was gone!  It must have been a hit!

When I got home from my camping trip I did a little research and found all kinds of recipes that use Chex cereal, especially the gluten free varieties.  You can even make gluten free bread crumbs with it.  (I don’t have to deal with a gluten free diet, thankfully.  I didn’t realize how many everyday food items are off limits to people with gluten allergies, even things like meatloaf because of the breadcrumbs!)

Chex and MyBlogSpark  have also generously offered a prize package to one of my readers!  So the first person to leave a comment (with a way for me to contact you – sorry, anonymous comments don’t count for this) will get the same freebie prize package I got.  I hope you will come back and tell us what kind of Chex mix you made!

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Pillsbury Chocolate Chunk Fudge Brownies

Posted on July 6, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Daily life, Freebies, kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

They sound crazy decadent, don’t they?  Well, they are!  These ready-to-eat brownies are part of another package from MyBlogSpark, this time teaming up with Pillsbury.  The package came with a cake/brownie storage container, a cake decorating kit, 2 types of frosting – chocolate and cream cheese.  There was also a $25 gift card for Sam’s Club, which is the only place to get the brownies!  I was all in a panic at first, because I’m not a Sam’s Club member, and I don’t live near a Sam’s Club.  But we went to visit my godmother for the 4th (BTW — Happy 4th of July!!!!), and lo and behold, she is a member!  So before we came home today I stopped by her local Sam’s Club and got the brownies.  Here’s a pic of the package:

The brownies are $7.98 and have 42 servings to the package, so they are a pretty good deal.  Especially when you consider that most brownie mixes cost around $3.00 and only make 12-18 brownies!

Once we got them home we all took turns trying out the cake decorating kit.  My hubby made the border, and I did the rest, while my son directed the proceedings and ate any excess frosting.  So it wouldn’t make a mess, of course.  😛  Here is a picture of the finished product:

My first attempt at decorating a cake. Ever.

I think my son summed it up best when he said “Mommy, you have to practice a lot before you can do a cake challenge!”  Did I mention he watches a lot of Food Network?

Despite my lack of cake decorating skills, the brownies tasted marvelous.  They were moist and fudgy and rich, and every bite had at least one chocolate chunk.  With make-at-home brownie mixes I always add extra chocolate chips or chunks to make them richer.  Store bought brownies are never chocolatey enough for me – but these were!  Thanks to Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark for giving me the chance to try these!

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Free GoGurt!

Posted on July 2, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Freebies, kids, Money | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Yup, another freebie from MyBlogSpark!  This time they teamed up with Yoplait to give offer a free trial of Simply…GoGurt.  They actually sent me the package some time ago, but y’all know I am super frugal so I waited until the GoGurt was buy one, get one free at Publix (my favorite grocery store).  That way I was able to get 2 free boxes with one free product coupon.

So my son tried the Simply…GoGurt yesterday.  He loves it!  I had to institute a rule that he can only have one a day, or he would have eaten them all.  It is quite convenient too – it comes in tubes, like the plastic tubes of icy pops, you know, the ones that are basically frozen juice mixed with sugar water a food coloring.  Simply…GoGurt is definitely healthier, and just as easy to transport.  It can be frozen too, to make your own frozen yogurt treats for a hot summer afternoon.

Remember, the Simply…GoGurt is a different product than the regular GoGurt.  It is made with milk from cows that have not been treated with rBST/rBGH (hormones), no aspartame or other artificial sweeteners, and no corn syrup, high fructose or otherwise.  It uses vegetable juice to add coloring instead of artificial dyes.

Yoplait is offering coupons for readers who want to try Simply…GoGurt.  Click through and get your coupons here.

We will be keeping this one in stock at our house.  😉

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Cascade Challenge Pt 2

Posted on July 1, 2010. Filed under: Daily life, Freebies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Well, a really long time ago I finished the Cascade Complete Challenge with the freebies sent to me by MyBlogSpark and P&G.  Real life, as usual, got in the way, so I am just now posting my results: Cascade Complete was successful!!

I put a nasty, dried, crusty pan with cheese sauce and dessicated bits of pasta stuck to the inside on my counter overnight and left it – no rinsing, no soaking, no scrubbing.  The next evening I put it in the dishwasher with my regular dishes and used one of the Cascade Complete pouches.  The pan came out with one tiny piece of dried pasta still stuck to it.  Everything else was gone!  I showed my hubby and he couldn’t believe it.

We have been using the rest of the bag of Cascade Complete and have found another minor miracle as well.  We use clear plastic Tervis Tumblers for our drinks at home, and we are HUGE tea/coffee drinkers.  Over the years our cups have gotten stained from the tea and coffee.  Well, after a few trips through the dishwasher with the Cascade Complete, they are clear again!  They look like new.  🙂  And we haven’t been using Jet-Dry with them, either.  Cascade Complete does cost a little more, but not having to buy Jet-Dry to go with it helps balance the cost.  Then you just have to decide whether the time and effort you save is enough to make up the difference!

If you don’t have time or energy to pre-rinse dishes before they go into the washer (or if you just don’t think you should have to wash the dishes before you wash the dishes), I highly recommend Cascade Complete.

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Cascade Challenge

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Coupons, Daily life, Freebies, kids, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I got another great freebie through MyBlogSpark!  This time MyBlogSpark has teamed up with P&G to send out a freebie pack as part of the new Cascade Complete challenge.  I got a big box from UPS, with some great goodies – it was like Christmas!  A new baking dish complete with lid for easy storage of leftovers, an information pack about the new product and the challenge, a couple of recipes to try, and of course some Cascade Complete samples and coupons.  The directions for the challenge are to bake something ooey and gooey in the baking dish, let it sit at least 24 hours, and put it in the dishwasher with no scrubbing.  The idea is to show that Cascade Complete can take out even the toughest baked on messes.

Last night I made my Mexican Pasta Bake – definitely an ooey and gooey treat – and currently the baking dish is in the fridge with the leftovers in it.  We plan to eat them for lunch today, and then I will let the baking dish sit on the counter (lid on of course – I don’t want to attract bugs) overnight.  I will wash it along with a regular load of dishes, pre-rinsed as usual.  Then I will post the results.  So stay tuned!

And for anyone who is interested, here is my recipe for the Mexican Pasta Bake:

Cook 1 whole package of whole wheat pasta according to package directions.  (You don’t have to use whole wheat, but it is better for you, more filing, and I like the taste.)

Brown 1lb ground beef (you can cook onions and garlic in with it if you choose).  Drain, then add in 1 can of Rotel with juices (any flavor is fine, I used mild last night for my little guy), 1 drained can of beans (again, your choice – I used red beans, but kidney or black beans would also be great), 1 small drained can sliced black olives, and 1 cup frozen corn.  Season with chili powder and adobo, to taste.  If you have any salsa in the fridge, add 1/2 cup of that also.  Mix and heat over medium-low heat until bubbly.  Add 8oz cubed Velveeta cheese, stirring until melted.  Mix in the drained pasta.  Chop a small sprig of fresh cilantro and stir into mixture.

Spoon mixture into baking dish and top with shredded cheese (again, anything goes – I like colby jack, but cheddar, monterey, pepper jack, or even one of those mexican blends would be great).  Set oven to broil and heat dish until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This dish tastes a lot like Hamburger Helper, but is WAY healthier with the added veggies.  Plus you get to control the sodium, and you don’t have to wonder just how long that box was sitting in some warehouse before it made it to the grocery and then to you.

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Another freebie through MyBlogSpark

Posted on January 27, 2010. Filed under: Freebies, kids | Tags: , , , |

This one is from MyBlogSpark and General Mills.  It seems General Mills is trying to cahgne their reputation when it comes to kid’s cereals.  To that end, they have reduced the sugar and upped the vitamins in their four main offerings:  Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Trix, and Lucky Charms.  And of course all Big G cereals have at least 8 grams of whole grain.  General Mills kindly sent me 4 free product coupons, of which I have so far only used one.  We usually don’t eat sugary cereals, but I decided to give these new, improved varieities a try.

My son was so excited to get to bring home one of the kid varieties he almost couldn’t choose, but he finally settled on Cocoa Puffs.  He ate less than one bowl.  Go figure, he doesn’t like them!  I guess the early training shows, and he is just not accustomed to eating cereal that tastes like candy.  I’m not complaining.  We did try Fruity Cheerios too, since I know he likes regular and Honey Nut Cheerios, but with the same result.  I think I am going to give it one more shot to use up my coupons with Cinnamon Toast Crunch (I have been told it is not as sweet), before I congratulate myself on having implanted at least one healthy eating habit into my 6 year old and move on.

For those of you who have normal children who want the sweet stuff, while I still wouldn’t recommend it as a daily thing, this new healthification effort from General Mills does make it ok to indulge them sometimes.

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