Thank you to Yakult USA for sponsoring this article. Learn why Yakult’s exclusive L. casei Shiorta probiotic strain can make all the difference for digestive health.
Every year without fail, I can count on two things – one is getting super pumped and jazz-handsy about fall time and the other is getting sick. Fall is my favorite time of year, but the getting cold thing is obviously my least favorite. I eat (mostly) right, eating a good breakfast, having a yogurt for a snack, and an apple after work. I try to take my vitamins, usually having Ben remind me every night, and then eat my 17 servings of vegetables that Ben insists I have at dinnertime because three servings I already had plated was not enough. I married a farmer, so veggies are sacrosanct. Then lastly, I’m an avid lunchtime walker and after work runner, doing my best to stay active to keep my heart and the rest of me in shape. Well, a shape.
But for all of those things that I try to do right, I still get sick. Darn it. Recently I tried adding a probiotic to the mix to see if that would help my body fight the good fight and give my innards a little boost to keep my digestive system and hopefully my immune system in check. I’d like to think of those little bacteria as reinforcements to my intestines. I just never knew that all probiotics were not created the same.
Probiotics, like the one I recently tested – Yakult – can help with a myriad of health issues, helping bolster the system of those with possibly compromised immune systems or those who have recently been ill and may have just finished with a round of antibiotics to replenish the good bacteria the medications have destroyed. For those that are healthy, probiotics can reduce intestinal discomfort like bloating, abdominal pain, and other not so savory rear end issues. Have you ever experienced a UTI? A UTI is an overabundance of bad bacteria that has over taken the good in your urinary tract. Ouchie. Maintaining a healthy and active balance of bacteria can help reduce the number of uncomfortable and painful occurrences such as these.
Replenishing your body with the good bacteria before the bad bacteria set in can save you a lot of time, discomfort and pain in the long run and help keep your body and your intestines running at full speed, even allowing your body to take in more nutrients, like vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.
Probiotics can really pack a one-two punch. The Yakult brand includes one specific probiotic that sets it apart from the rest, the Shirota strain. We have to remember that not all probiotics are created equal and some, although well intentioned, don’t always survive the entire trip to your intestines. The specific Shirota strain found in Yakult is shown to survive the entire way through your digestive tract, meaning it’s working the entire journey. A probiotics entire journey should not be for nothing – so picking one that can get the job done is important. After a week of drinking my Yakult, twice a day, I noticed a considerable reduction in bloating – super sexy – but if they reduce just that one side effect – what else could they be helping me with?
With fall in full swing, I’m determined not to let one cold get me down and hopefully continuing to drink my daily Yakult will keep me, my intestines, and hopefully my immune system in check all season long. And beyond.
This is a paid post sponsored by Yakult USA and Technorati. I received a free 10-day supply of Yakult Probiotic Drinks to complete my review. Although I have been compensated to help spread the word about strain-based probiotics, all opinions expressed here are genuine and my own.
Try these Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Almond Bars with Whole Foods 365 Organic Cranberry Sauce for your next holiday shindig! Easy to make and packed with flavor, they will be a hit at your holiday party!
I don’t know what it is about being kid at Thanksgiving, but you can’t go through the holiday without the infamous jellied cranberry sauce. It was, and still is, my favorite part of the holiday Thanksgiving spread. Even as a small child my mom would let me help open the can, slice it, and serve it to the whole family. I think it was me who ended up eating the majority of it every year, but it was mine and I ate it ravenously.
Even though this comical canned creation graces our tables only once or twice a year – it’s amazingly versatile and this year I will be including it into a new classic Thanksgiving Day treat, gluten free cranberry orange almond bars featuring Whole Foods 365 Organic Cranberry Sauce.
This semi-homemade treat is a cinch to put together, makes you feel like a kid when you get to crack a can and see it slide out of the can in one piece, and doctor it up with seasonal citrus and warm and cozy almond flavors. These bars will be hard to keep on the table until dessert time!
These can be made gluten free or with standard flour to suit your needs. They are delicious either way.
A fall twist on neo-classic monkey bread! Get stuffed with Apple Pie Stuffed Monkey Bread rolled in cinnamon, sugar and homemade Apple Pie Spice.Yesterday marked the start of my 28th year and I think it’s off to a pretty good start. Dinner with friends, carbs covered in marinara and wine is always a good way to do it. And I’m partial to sweet carbs covered in apple-y goo, too. Ben and I don’t make big hay over birthdays and that’s kind of the way I prefer it. In the way of keeping it low key we didn’t really plan gifts and really I didn’t have my eye on much of anything at all. So after last week’s dinner party with friends he spent the evening scoping out and man-drooling over the host’s entertainment set up and honed in on the Apple TV. As a self proclaimed Hulu addict, it was getting a bit tiring of watching my cell phone streaming Hulu while I was cooking all weekend and catching up on the shows I don’t get to watch since I am part of the pre-mature early bird special club. Being in bed as soon as primetime TV starts is really putting a burr under the saddle of my TV time.
And as it turns out Ben was just excited about getting the new Apple TV as I was and texted me as soon as it arrived to see if I wanted to open it myself or if he would like me to set it up and have it ready for my viewing pleasure. I can see right through that thinly veiled attempt at cloy… he’s really really bad at it. He was way to excited for his own good. So my birthday gift became a gift for me for him for me and us. Which is more than fine. And as soon as I woke up this morning what did I put on – nope, not my normal morning TV with the lame traffic an the traffic girl who we are convinced is wearing the same dress every. single. day. but Nashville.
Let me tell you it’s hard to pull yourslef away from the Scarlett-Gunnar-Avery triangle!! And don’t eveennn get me started on Juliette and Richie Rich!! What is THAT!?!
Even harder to pull yourself away from – is this Apple Pie Stuffed Monkey Bread. Just don’t be a hero – dive in an enjoy. It’s the holidays and I for one am firmly committed to working on the sweater body of mine.
Apple Pie Monkey Bread:
½ cup Milk, heated to 104 degrees
1 package Quick Rise Yeast
¼ cup Sugar
½ tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 tsp Apple Pie Spice
1 can Apple Pie Filling, roughly dice apple chunks
3 cups Bread Flour
Monkey Bread Coating:
½ cup Sugar
1 tsp Apple Pie Spice
Caramel for Drizzle
For Monkey Bread Dough:
Set up stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
In cup with heated milk, stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top of the warm milk and sugar - gently stir to moisten yeast. Set aside for about five minutes to activate yeast.
Pour warm milk/yeast mixture into stand mixer with dough attachment. Stir in salt, melted butter, apple pie spice together and start to mixer to incorporate together. Begin to incorporate the flour slowly until it has been fully added and just incorporated together. Turn mixer to medium-low speed and allow to knead for about 4 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Spray a ceramic bowl with non-stick spray and pour dough into the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a dark, and warm place. Place a towel over the bowl to make sure light does not get in as well. Let rise for about an hour. The dough should about double in size.
After dough has risen, spray a non-stick bundt pan with cooking spray.
In small bowl, mix together Monkey Bread Coating, 1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice and Sugar. Set aside momentarily.
Take about egg-size sections of dough out of the bowl, and spread out into a small disk with your fingers. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of apple pie filling and then pinch together the edges of the dough. Roll each ball into the monkey bread coating and place into bundt pan. Repeat with remaining dough. When all dough has been rolled in coating and put into bundt pan, place plastic wrap over the bundt pan and set back into warm, dark place. Allow to rise another hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place bundt pan on a baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the dough on the top of the bundt pan just becomes brown on top. Remove from oven and cool in pan for about 30 minutes.
To remove from pan, invert a large serving plate over the bundt pan. Grasping both the plate and the pan, invert the two and allow the monkey bread to fall onto the serving plate. Serve while warm.
Take a bite of this cripsy and totally cheesy roast turkey and veggie panini for those chilly fall nights. Its even better with a side of completely creamy creamless tomato soup!
I’m a hormonal, nesty mess. Every few months I go through this phase where I start house hunting, turn into this faux-mommy bird where I have to nest and have a house. It’s not in the cards right now and I try to remember that we have 11 months, 12 days and 18 hours left in the one bedroom apartment I’ve had for over four years.
It’s time for an upgrade. And NONE of this is helped by the fact that I downloaded the worst app for a person with this Nesting Condition known to man – the Zillow App. What have I done to myself? It’s pure torture. Really, getting my right big toe removed would be less torturous than this. And this is voluntary!! Clearly, I’m a hormonal nesting sadist – because I can’t stop finding the next perfect starter house for Ben and I. Of course it has to have a big yard – for Ben’s imaginary 1.143 acre sized garden that he says he’ll take care of…*cough* yeah right *cough* The kitchen for me, obviously, and an open layout, with enough updated appliances, fixtures and good construction so that I’m not going to be replacing a water heater within the first six months after I move in. Thankfully I have two wonderful sounding boards in this process that attempt to keep me grounded. Ben. And my mother.
Between those two- who are neck and neck for the title of cheapest persons on the planet – my mom always acknowledges my fevered desired for a new little abode to call our own with a little “yes, dear” and a pat on my pointy head, but (rightfully) discourages us on buying anything on the west side of Washington state because, truthfully we know it’s not where we want to be. And if her rationale doesn’t work she employs the next card up her sleeve – telling me that Walter White will be my new next door neighbor – so I better get used to seeing ATF jackets floating around, or that there is a slaughter yard back behind the house, to which the urge to go rescue all the cows with rough tongues and big doe eyes would over ride my all consuming love that is a hamburger. Buzz Killington.
She knows how to kill my imaginary puppies doesn’t she? But it only comes from a good place. She realizes that Ben’s and my goal is to end up back in the wheat fields of the Palouse in the next couple of years, after establishing his new career and I can blow this popsicle stand of a job. But it’s hard to be patient when you know your dreams are just a couple of years out of reach. At least my mom keeps me grounded out of the goodness of her heart, even if she has to resort to calling my imaginary neighbors Walter White.
And yes – while she is telling me all about the horrors of my imaginary house and trying to halt my self inflicted house hunting blues she always knows how to make me feel better – with carbs. We have that in common. This sandwich is one of my favorites – and it comes straight from the Mama. It’s a staple in our house using our Calphalon 5-in-1 Panini Press and Griddle. I love that thing to pieces. And I freakin’ adore this sammich. Yeah, yeah – and my mother, too.
Does anyone else remember much of first grade beyond recess and calling their teacher “mommy” that one time on accident and then getting made fun of relentlessly for it? Oh no? Just me? Well the other thing that I remmeber from first grade was my teacher Mrs. Patterson doing a weekly compilation of a little flip book in each of kids’ favorite color – where each student would write down one nice thing about that student of the week. Each person got to decorate their card with something nice to say, glitter the living daylights out of it and then she’d tie them all together and each student would read their Nice Thing out loud to the week’s recipient. Naturally mine was Hot Cool Pink. And I think I kept that thing up until lik the 7th grade when being a 1st grader was like, so behind me.
Anyway – what does this have to do with OKMH? Well – I feel like every other month when these packages come I get to talk about my friends and say my one nice thing about them. Except I have way more than one nice thing to say about each of them. Like this month – is Mads from Petite Pancake.
I adore Mads for many reasons – because she’s hilarious, we could commiserate over our beater old cars that were one step out of the glue factory, she is my hippy living SoCal friend that makes fun of the SoCal hippies and she dispenses incredible life advice and has a heart of gold.
Oh and she has a Pug shaped like a potato that I want to snoodle and never put down.
And the girl loves some random stuff. I love her to pieces. For thos months’ OKMH box she outfitted me with all things random – including a lot of Halloween loot! Truth Time – Halloween – and my birthday – are tomorrow and I have yet to decorate at all. I mean, zilch!! Who am I? But no fear, Mads has me covered.
There are definitely birthday cupcakes in my future with those cupcake liners. And that pumpkin napkin holder is going to be a perfect votive candle holder casting spooky shadows all over the dang place!
As a person who cooks a lot – my mitts are in aconstant state of disrepair and cracking. It’s like she knows this or something and bestowed upon me her choice hand cream. No lie – it’s amazing.
Lastly she rounded off the box by telling me that my chesticals are clearly NOT large Enough and thinks I should pad them some more with a blow up version. I really wish that three years of Japanese from high school hadn’t escaped me because I’m dying to know what this package says. Are these even for girls?!?! It looks like a 14 year old boy on the package! I’m so confused, frightened and yet still laughing through the awkward.
This is totally why we’re friends.
Also – not pictured – the empty, crumpled and torn bag of the Peanut M&M’s that were opened and devoured within two days. No excuses, eat M&M’s like a champion!!
Thank you Mads so much – I love it all to pieces. If this faux-boob pressons makes it into someone’s white elephant gift this year it will be because of you. Spreading the love. And cleavage.
Do you remember 90′s television programming? Ya know, when family’s actually sat down to watch TV together, the acting was really bad, the story lines were uber cheesy and we drank it all in as we lounged in our over sized sweatshirts, leggins and big neon night socks that had the non-stick patterns on the bottom? Oh, that was just me then? It’s cool, I’ll just sit here alone like the weirdo I am… Anyway – I TGIF’d. I fawned over Cory and Topanga (Sidebar – OMG Topanga got married!), and I swooned over surfer, van living life reject Cody from Step by Step – before I knew it was really creepy to live in a van and have a rat tail…
But what I really lived for was Saturday night TV and Dr. Quinn. So bust out your antenna TV’s friends – cause Ben and I are watching it from the beginning and I’m feeling like a kid again. I don’t even care that I could totally ride a horse better than Dr. Mike, or that I still have an old-man crush on Sully – I mean that hair, hubba! (Don’t get me started that I can throw an axe as well as him…True Story), and that really I still find Colleen to be as obnoxious now as I did then. Dang, them teenage girl hormones are biotchhh!! But what I’ve also realized – is that Ben is the reincarnate of Mr. Bray, the crotchety old store keeper. Yeah, I said it – my husband is an old man, Old Man Keno.
We just watched and episode where Brian and Mr. Bray each run away from home for totally different reason – Brian is afraid of girls and puberty, and Loren Bray is afraid of getting old and keeling over. Well they end up in the same old tree, running away from the same old bear, and Brian starts acting like Brian and asking question – about girls. Ewww, girls. Am I right? What makes us happy? What are we thinking? Blah Blah Blah… Poor men.
Loren tells Brian that you gotta do nice things for your woman every once in a while. Get her a small gift, something practical to show her you appreciate her. … like a broom. *Pause* A what???
And as soon as those words were spoken Ben LIT UP!! He looked at me, like a he just won his fantasy football league, “See, I can get you a new broom! You’d like that!”
At that moment my body couldn’t decide whether it wanted to roll it’s eyes into the back of it’s skull or punch him in the jugular simultaneously… A Broom? LOL. Nope.
Would SULLY ever give Dr. Mike a BROOM? No! (Bold, underlined and Italicized means this is serious, people.) He’d whisk her into his arms, take her to some distant ridge top to watch the hawks and pick her wild flowers for her hair and fashion her some new saddle bag with his own two hands from a deer he killed himself. Now THAT’s a token of appreciation. So, nice try hunny – but a broom just isn’t gonna cut it!
Moral of the story men – Be more Sully than Mr. Bray. And if fashioning your woman her own dead dear bag isn’t in the cards – make her some Nutella Magic Shell. I mean, seriously you can never go wrong with chocolate. And even you dear men, can’t screw this one up.
Need more Nutella Treats? Try these other favorites!
You want to know how excited I got over getting my latest StitchFix box? I had just got back to the gym and had to try it on immedialtely so lucky you, you get to see me with Post-gym hair. Sorry. I am, but I wasn’t going to put it all on twice and closet safari this beast twice just to wash my hair. I love ya and all, but StitchFix won over a shower and photos.
But do you want to see what I got anyway? I promise the hair won’t deter you from the nifty stuff I got in my StitchFix box!
Yup – I’m kicking myself for not keeping this one. This is why Ben isn’t the one to go shopping with me, I keep Beka, the bestie, around for these kinds of things. Ben said “No”, and Beka would have said “Yes”. I should have listened, but apparently my telepathy wasn’t working that day…Dang it, dang it!
Spun Scarves by Subtle Luxury – Batik Dot Scarf – $48 – Kick It
Simply, I have enough scarves. It’s totally my signature color (name that movie!), and plain adorable, but I just don’t need another.
Angie – Xavier Geo Print Dress – $38 – Kick It
I couldn’t get past the bright pinks being “summer only” colors. But with brown tall boots and my puce green cardigan I could have made it work. It was a bit tight in the chestical region. TMI, but well, it happens. So back it went. Bummed out, but it was for the best.
So there we have it – StitchFix Numero tres. It wasn’t a total loss, and I loved some of the stuff. With a quick change of my Style Profile, I made the adjustments, so I am betting my next fix will be a total win.
What do you think? Should I have kicked or kept anything else?
If you’re thinking about check out Stitch Fix, do it! It’s so much fun, plus – No Malls!! I see that as a win all around!
Make your own custom blend of DIY Apple Pie Spice to make plenty of pies all season long!
I used to make a Christmas WISH list every year growing up. I’m pretty certain that I made one almost all the way through high school as a last ditch effort to get that pony I so longed for, and something to this day I’m only slightly bitter about…MOM. I was pretty well one track minded on the horse stuff – and I emphasized the WISH part every year. I know usually looked something like this…
1) A horse
2) Horse stuff
3) Subscription to Horse Illustrated
4) Horseback riding lessons
5) Horse Vet book
6) The new 98 Degrees CD
I had such varied tastes, can ya tell? With an adolescence brimming with the love of all things pony and Nick Lachey, I really should have expanded my horizons… And I think it’s time to get the Christmas WISH list back out again. Even if a pony is still going to be at the top of the list.
After last weekend though – I found out what else needs to be added to the list… a Safety Can Opener.
I used to swing axes at my feet, run with chainsaws up logs and I got taken out at the hand by the lid of a cranberry sauce can. Really, universe? As I was attempting to throw the dang thing away I ended up ramming it, edge first, into the bow of my hand between my thumb and first finger. Ben immediately jumped into nurse mode and patched me up pretty nicely. And thank goodness it happened AFTER I was done fixing lunch with the besties that had come by. Oh what’s that red on your sandwich, just tomato. I promise.
As a notorious picker, he’s making sure I don’t mess around with it too much and open it up again and get blood in the salsa or something stupid. He takes all the fun out of it. Geez. So, safety can opener it is. How lame. And they’re useless at draining tuna from the can. Next thing I know he’ll be putting bumpers on the coffee table to make sure I don’t kick it with my shins. No need for baby proofing, I just need to Megan proof it.
If you love your fall pies – make sure to get your mitts on this DIY Pumpkin Spice Blend, too! There is no such thing as too much pie. Truth.
PS – The gash is healing nicely. No stitches required.
12 bloggers, one state, 2 chefs, lots of cameras and one famous tuber – This is our story, The Real World :: Bloggers do Idaho. Wait. Well, you get the point. It’s been a couple of weeks of me really trying to formulate what I could tell you about my trip to Idaho, besides ALL. Of. It. Because there is so much for me to say that I could write a saga that would rival the Illiad on the subject. Do you want to talk Idaho itself, and how I am absolutely enamored with how stunning the state is? Or do you want to chat taters, and how versatile they are, and the people that grow them spend their whole lives devoted to their land and how their commitment to growing the tuber that we take for granted is their life’s mission? I’ll try and find a happy medium, because I have to tell it all to you!
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but this was something that I knew you had to hear when it meant that I could accurately and effectively communicate what this trip meant to me. I feel very fortunate to be married to a man that was raised on the land his family tilled, toiled, sweated and worried over. I consider myself also very fortunate to see the hard work and the lifelong connection that one person can have to a plot of land, that isn’t just dirt, but a way of life and a calling in his family. And so when I traveled to Idaho to learn about the famous Idaho Potato, I got to see that same enigma happen again, albeit in a different part of the country and with a different crop. That one connection to the land remains the same no matter where you are.
The first night of our adventure took us to the Hoff family farm outside of Idaho Falls where we got to learn firsthand about this fourth generation potato farmer who’s family started out with a plot of land in the Idaho Falls area in the late 1800’s. Four generations later the Hoff family is still working the same pieces of land, expanding and relishing the experience year in and year out. Over dinner we got to chat with the family and learn about their history, how they began and that the last three generations of the family all fly their own planes!! Even James’ 16 year old daughter is learning to fly from the same instructor that taught him and his mom! Now that’s a family tradition. Ben would have been jealous of all of those vintage planes in the hanger. I sent him photos, just to be nice…
Something that I think gets lost in translation, and with our growing disconnection from the land, is that there are real people and real families working to provide food for all of our tables. Every morning and into the late nights these men, women and children are out there diligently watching over their land, to grow and produce safe, sustainable and delicious food for all of us to eat. They use the best science and technology has to offer to make sure they are keeping the land viable, so that it will keep producing healthy crops for years to come. I mean, does your car have a GPS system in it? Their combines do! Measuring to within an inch all based on GPS, a farmer can find out exactly where he has put down his last row of seed or where to place his fertilizer. Fertilizers, made of basic elements like nitrogen – that is what plants need to survive – are astronomically expensive, so farmers don’t want to use any more than is absolutely necessary. It’s such an exact science that these men and women go to college to make sure they can come home with a knowledge and skill set that will help them through their lifetime. They’re leaders in their field! Get it, field?
And in the winter time, it’s no time to rest – they’re busy fixing equipment, learning new computer systems and advancing their knowledge so they can be ready to make the next growing season better than the one before. It’s something to be truly admired.
The next morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed we got to go dig our own potatoes and see harvest in full swing. During potato harvest the schools shut down and the kids are let out to go help their families in the fields, driving truck, sorting, and storing. The poor girl heading up sorting was monumentally confused as to why 12 bloggers were taking seemingly random photos of potatoes on a conveyor belt going into the storage sheds for the winter. Even after explaining who we were and why we were there, I think she still thought we were totally weird, but she was happy to keep working as I snapped a few photos of her picking roots out of the sorter. She was such a champ.
That afternoon we got to visit processors, and even have a meal prepared by the chefs of Charlie Baggs Institute from Chicago! I’m still trying to decide which of their creations was my favorite. The woodsman hash was right on up there!
Our last night we adventured to Driggs, Idaho in the foot of the Grand Tetons for a little relaxation and well, more food. And you know how much I adore the Grand Tetons. We’re really good at this food eating thing… It was well earned after a little horse ride into the hills that over looked the entire valley. With aspens full of changing leaves, a crisp bite to the air and really good furry four legged company it was a great way to spend out last day in Idaho. Unlike my last trail ride in Idaho, I came back unscathed… In the morning we woke up to a dusting of snow that was pure, frosty heaven! I just wanted to sit in the cabin next to the fire all snoodled up and cozy. But it was time to go home.
I learned so much about farming, Idaho, the producers and the land – I am so thankful that I got to experience it all again. I’m so lucky to have Ben who has been willing to teach me just a little of what he knows about farming, but seeing it all put to use all over Idaho and the depths of the love and passion these growers have in their land and in their harvest makes me so thankful.
And do you want to know what else I learned when I was in Idaho? How to make the PERFECT Potato blossom!! You know what one I’m talking about – the perfectly fluffy, just-how-they-make-it-on-commercial fluffy baked potato! Well, here it is! I had a forehead slap “No, Doiii!” moment here. James Hoff – the potato farmer I mentioned earlier wowed us all with his food styling skills – so now you get to learn the secret, too! Try it at home tonight, because a baked potato is good well, all the time.
Russet Burbank potatoes are perfect for this because of their thick skin, so pick up a couple tonight. Bake your potato – don’t wrap in foil, that will steam it – until it is fork tender in a 400 degree oven. Once it cools to a point you won’t fry your hands, hold it between our fingers and gently massage your potato trying not to break the skin of the potato.
Next, use a fork to poke a line of zig-zag across the top of the entire potato.
Then squeezing gently from the bottom, the potato will burst out of the seams at the top.
Plate and then top to high heaven with your favorite fixins!! How did we all survive this long without this knowledge? I know!
So go pick up a couple of potatoes tonight, try this out and thank your potato farmer with hearty Mmmm’s all around.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly spray potatoes with vegetable oil spray. Use a fork a puncture the top of the potato once or twice so steam will be able to escape while baking. Place onto oven rack and bake until fork tender in the middle - 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the potato. Remove gently from oven and allow to cool slightly.
To Fluff Potatoes:
Use a fork and make zig-zagged punctures into the top of the potato across the top. Using a towel and both hands, gently "massage" the potato to loosen the insides of the potato - without breaking the skin. Then from the bottom up, squeeze the potato so the insides come out of the punctured seams. Top with favorite fixins and serve immediately.
*Fine Print* The Idaho Potato Commission sponsored my trip to Idaho Falls. All opinions are my own.
It wasn’t until I became an adult that football became a staple in my life. It wasn’t necessarily by choice – I married a die-hard football fan. Throughout the rest of the year, Ben is willing to relinquish control of the remote to me and let me flip to my favorite show. He’s so patient, and I’m pretty sure I’ve even managed to get him hooked on “New Girl.” But as soon as fall hits and football begins? All bets are off and it’s a fight for the remote, one that inevitably results in our TV being locked onto every football game on…all weekend long.When Ben is busy studying for school, I get the reprieve and throw a disc of Downton Abbey or Harry Potter into the Blu-ray understanding that as soon as he needs a “study break” – i.e. checking the scores and freaking out over his fantasy football picks – football will be back on. But this shouldn’t surprise me – I’ve grown up football. Even though I’ve never really understood the game, I understood that football meant food and friends.Growing up in a large football-loving family there was always a houseful of teenagers, relatives, uncles, brothers dipping their chips and popping the tops of their soda cans, and the sisters and moms and grandmothers laughing in the kitchen and fixing up the game day treats. Game day always meant a great spread – from the bacon wrapped jalapenos, to the bread pudding, the roast beef sandwiches with drippings and, of course, the staple of every game – chips and dip to tie it together. Sometimes you just count on those classics, like that favorite spot on the couch – you just can’t watch the game from anywhere else, the same goes for the chips and the dip.
But not just any dip, VELVEETA and RO*TEL to be precise. Two ingredients synonymous with game day, you just can’t imagine game day without them. Spicy, creamy and convenient, you can be fist-pumping for your favorite team with one first and dipping your chips with the other. Football might not make a whole lot of sense to me, but I know that game day is always a good time, with good friends, family and as always – amazing food. This is how we celebrate our game day, with traditional VELVEETA and RO*TEL, otherwise known as Queso. Cook it up for a crowd and jazz it up (add in margarita-marinated shrimp like I did) and have a game day fiesta! No matter how to slice it, VELVEETA and RO*TEL make game day festive.
What makes Queso the perfect party dip? Leave your comment below for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. If you crave more Queso, check out www.quesoforall.com for the Quesobago tour schedule, Famous Queso Dip Recipe, and a chance to enter the sweepstakes for the ultimate football party!
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
Welcome to Country Cleaver, where country comfort and convenient cooking come together. Follow my adventures of self-reliant country cooking and baking from scratch with a little life mixed in for kicks! ...more