Winter Sports: Scenes from Aspen

My sister and her new husband have been on their honeymoon in Aspen, so I thought I would share some of their fabulous photos.
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They love skiing, snowboarding, taking photos of the gorgeous scenery, and visiting all the great restaurants in town!
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I hope winter is treating YOU well!
Have you been to Aspen? Do you have a favorite place to go skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, or snowshoeing?

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Tex-Mex Pumpkins

October is generally regarded as pumpkin month, because this fruit (yes, it’s officially a fruit–a member of the gourd family) is usually harvested in October.
In 1584, French explorer Jacques Cartier reported his “discovery” of pumpkins in North America (though pumpkins are native to Central America and Mexico).

These days, limited-time offerings in coffee shops and restaurants include pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin sorbet, and more…

If you’re looking for a unique, spicy pumpkin appetizer, try the Tex-Mex idea below!
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Pumpkin Tacos

SLAW AND CHILES:
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
PUMPKIN SPREAD:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon ground ancho chiles
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin purée
3 ounces cream cheese, cut in chunks
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup orange juice
TORTILLAS AND ASSEMBLY:
36 small (4 in.) corn tortillas*
1/2 cup salted toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 orange, cut into small wedges
Kosher salt

Preparation

1. Make slaw: Mix cabbage, cilantro, and onions in a bowl.
2. Toast chiles: In a small frying pan over medium heat, cook sliced chiles in oil, stirring often, until some turn reddish brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer chiles to paper towels, using a slotted spoon; reserve oil.
3. Make spread: In a medium saucepan, cook butter over medium heat, swirling often, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ground chiles and allspice all at once and stir until foamy, about 10 seconds. Reduce heat to low and stir in pumpkin, cream cheese, and salt; cook, stirring, until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in juice; scrape into a bowl. Just before serving, drizzle with reserved chile oil.
4. Warm tortillas: Divide into 2 stacks, wrap in a cloth napkin, and microwave until hot, turning over once, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Set tortillas, spread, slaw, pumpkin seeds, toasted chiles, and orange wedges on a tray and let diners make their own tacos, adding a squeeze of orange and more salt to taste.

Recipe from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-tacos-50400000107261/
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Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe?
Feel free to share a Pinterest or Instagram link!

Healthy Snacks: Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins

Disclaimer: I received samples from the Naturally Savvy blogger program. Learn more at: Naturally Savvy http://naturallysavvy.com/

Time for a healthy snack. Hmmm…nuts or crackers?
How about both!
I just tried Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins.
These just might be THE crunchiest crackers I have ever eaten. They would be great with soft spreads or creamy dips and would DEFINITELY not get soggy!
The Nut Thins do NOT melt in your mouth like buttery crackers.
If you want something super-crunchy they will satisfy your cravings.
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There are three options:
1. Sesame Seeds are paired with brown rice and almonds in this baked cracker. The gluten-free Sesame Seed Artisan Nut Thins provide three grams of fiber with every serving.

2. Multi-Seed Artisan Nut Thins are made from brown rice, almonds, and six kinds of seeds (quinoa, flax, millet, amaranth, sesame, and black sesame). They have 21 grams of whole-grains per serving.

3. Flax Seed Artisan Nut Thins combine brown rice and almonds baked into a cracker. You get 400 mg of ALA omega-3 per serving.
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Learn more on on the Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins page: http://www.bluediamond.com/index.cfm?navid=677

Each box has 4 servings (at 130 calories per serving), so you don’t have to worry about portion distortion (as in a huge bag of chips).
What is YOUR favorite topping for crackers?

Tastykake® Kandy Bar Kakes

Making “S’mores” is a quintessential summer activity. We always bring graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars when we go camping so we can melt up some gooey treats around the campfire. The S’mores experience is hard to replicate, but the flavors can be captured in other goodies. I just tried S’mores Kandy Bar Kakes from the Tastykake® company.
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There is a graham-flavored cake and a marshmallow-flavored layer of frosting that is enrobed in a chocolate coating. It’s like S’mores-on-the go (no campsite required)!
This is what the inside looks like:
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The chocolate coating is super. I would have preferred a thicker marshmallow layer (frosting, after all, is my favorite food); however, overall, it was a delicious dessert.
I would recommend cutting the bar into 2 or 3 pieces to serve kids. I would also suggest freezing it and eating it right out of the freezer (sort of like an ice cream bar).
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Kandy Bar Kakes are available in S’mores, Peppermint, and Peanut Butter flavors.
Learn more at the Tastykake® website:
http://www.tastykake.com/
The Tastykake® Kandy Bar Kakes are sold at grocery and convenience stores across America, in boxes or individually.

Which flavor would you like to try?
What’s YOUR favorite summer treat?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary sample for testing and review purposes.
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Coincidentally (while on the subject of S’mores), Dairy Queen just announced that S’mores Blizzard® Treat is its Blizzard® of the Month and will be available all summer long at DQ®!

Playing Games for a Good Cause

There is a fun new site–GoodGames.org–that lets users earn donations for worthwhile causes simply by playing online games.
Users simply go to www.goodgames.org and choose from a list of 109,000 nonprofits and schools (or add their own); then earn donations for their favorite cause when they play top quality online games.
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Goodgames features a range of great online games, including Mahjongg Dimensions, Klondike Solitaire, Trizzle and more. Playing any of them will help earn donations.
With over 113 million Americans playing 50 million hours of casual online games a DAY, Goodgames could raise over $ 1 billion a year for charitable causes!
Goodsearch, the parent company of Goodgames, has already donated nearly $10 million to causes nationwide through their supporters’ simple daily actions–such as web searching, shopping online, dining out, and taking surveys.

So, let’s all play some games!!
Which causes will YOU choose?

Melissa & Doug Easter Shop and Giveaway

Melissa & Doug’s Easter Shop is Open!
You know all kids would love an Easter basket filled with bunny rabbits, lambs, classic toys, and other sweet surprises!
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Pick out your favorite Easter toys here:
http://www.melissaanddoug.com/top-easter-toys-for-kids?utm_source=Shopatron+Email+Marketing&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Top+Easter+Toys+-+Easter+Shop&utm_content=osullivanrobin22%40gmail.com&utm_campaign=030613+Blogger+Email+-+Easter+Shop+is+Open

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Even better?
Melissa & Doug is providing a lucky winner from their community with $200 to spend toward toys in the Easter Shop!
It’s easy to enter at this link:
http://ymlp.com/xgmmwqyqgmgqh

What’s YOUR favorite Easter basket surprise??

Treat Two Day Free Card Campaign 2012

Treat is Shutterfly’s exciting new greeting card brand that makes it easy for people to create and send one-of-a-kind greeting cards. Treat cards are perfect for holidays, birthdays, celebrations, thank-yous and every other occasion. It’s fun, easy, and totally personal.

Your holiday checklist just got shorter! Create and send a totally personalized greeting card from Treat for FREE. Whether saying thanks for Thanksgiving, wishing a best friend a holiday birthday, or simply sharing the holiday cheer with a just because card, Treat lets you create a one-of-a-kind card that is sure to impress.

SPECIAL OFFER for my readers!
One free Treat card, good only on Monday 11/19 & Tuesday 11/20.
Visit http://www.treat.com/ and choose your card
Enter code TREATBLOGR at checkout.

Enjoy!
Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post.

Tiny Prints Holiday Card Collection

You may be focused on Halloween, but it’s not too early to start planning and ordering your holiday cards.

The Tiny Prints 2012 Holiday Collection is a wonderful assortment featuring everything from traditional colors and embellishments to merry and bright colors with a modern feel. They have religious cards (including Hanukkah) and cards that you can showcase your family and pets on.

The new Premium DoubleThick™ Matte Paper is their most luxurious cardstock yet.
Check out the Holiday Cards at: Holiday Cards

And take advantage of Tiny Prints Special Offers: http://www.tinyprints.com/promo/tiny-prints-coupon-codes-promotions.htm


Tiny Prints Social Channels:
• Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tinyprints
• Twitter: http://twitter.com/tinyprints
• Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tiny_prints/
• Instagram: Tiny Prints
• Google +: https://plus.google.com/+tinyprints/
• Blog: http://blog.tinyprints.com/
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post.
Happy almost-holidays!

Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

My grandma always made oatmeal cookies when we went to visit her in Connecticut.
The kitchen would smell heavenly when we stormed in to give her big hugs.
I’ve never been able to replicate the deliciousness of her warm cookies—and now, as a mom but not yet a grandmom, I don’t seem to have time to bake my own cookies as often as I would like.
I was excited to try Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies!


I won’t try to convince you that they are as fantastic as my grandma’s cookies.
You can tell they are store-bought, not homemade…but that’s like comparing apples and oranges. As far as packaged cookies go, they passed my tests.
I loved the texture; the kids loved the taste.
I appreciated fact that they are made with Whole Grain Quaker Oats; they are low in fat (6 g per serving); and they are a good source of fiber.
The kids liked the “plumpy” raisins.

I had no trouble devouring an entire cookie, but a single package is actually rather large for a child.
So, you might want to split one between two children.
Aside from that, I was pleased with the product and look forward to trying the other flavors—Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Almond, Cranberry & Yogurt, and Banana Nut.

You can find Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies at most major retailers. Suggested retail price: $2.69 for a box of 6 cookies.

When I’m a grandma myself maybe I’ll have more time to bake big soft cookies, but for now I’ll lean on Quaker for a bit of assistance!

(disclosure: a complimentary Quaker cookie sample was provided to me by Influenster for testing and review purposes for the Mom VoxBox).

Go Green, Get Clean (clothes)!

Ecover Zero Natural Laundry Powder Review

I have been looking for a laundry powder without fragrances or phosphates, so I was pleased to receive a complimentary box of Ecover Zero natural laundry powder from Naturally Savvy
http://www.naturallysavvy.com/


Ecover Laundry Powder ZERO has plant-based and mineral ingredients so it’s safe for my family but strong enough to clean our piles of laundry—and we do have big piles! The powder is biodegradable and not tested on animals. Sounds good to me!
I have tried it on two loads of clothing so far—one white, one colored—and everything came out sparkling clean.
Best of all, I don’t have to fret about harming our health or the environment!
My only warning is that it’s * Not suitable for wool and silk. *
The 48 oz box I have right now should be good for 20 loads on a top-load machine (or 26 on a HE machine).

Ecover gives some eco-washing tips on their site: “Choose the lowest possible washing temperature to reduce your CO2 footprint. Correct dosing reduces the impact of washing on the environment.”

To learn more about the company and what they do, and to see the complete ingredient list of products, you can visit Ecover’s site:
http://www.ecover.com/us/en/

Go Green, Get Clean (clothes)!