1/6/19

Cento Brand All Purpose Crushed Tomatoes

Favorite Features is where I share products that I love and make my life easier! Today I am sharing my love for Cento Brand All Purpose Crushed Tomatoes.



I am picking my old Friday's Features column and starting it again, and calling it Favorite Features.  I'll try and post regularly with new items.

I am not getting paid to tell you about Cento's products, I just happen to love them. Favorite Features, is where I share things that I use and love. I am not receiving any products or incentives. In fact they don't even know I'm writing this! But I sure love them, let me tell you why!

My husband is a Type 1 Diabetic, so finding tomatoes and  tomato sauces of any kind that do not have any added sugar in them. I try and grow my own tomatoes  and can them , so I can control the sugar content in my sauces, but this some years, like this past summer, my tomato garden was a total bust! We had such an incredibly rainy summer, that it was too much rain, if you can believe that, and the roma's were not happy plants. So I ran through all my canned sauces and canned tomatoes. It will be some time before I can make my own stash again. This led me back to an old favorite. Cento.


Cento all purpose crushed tomatoes. their ingredient list is a short one: Vine ripened crushed tomatoes.  That's it!  No sugar, no salt, no added preservatives.  I love this! Just fresh picked tomatoes, and I can season them myself!

Controling the SUGAR & SALT: I love that I get to control the salt too! no sugar for me is perfect as my husband doesn't need any, but if you want to add a teaspoon or two to cut acidity in your recipe guess what.. you get to do this yourself! Choose how much sugar goes in there! Same with sodium! Season this and control this yourself. 


Steam peeled, not chemically peeled: I love that Cento brand tomatoes are steam peeled and they don't use chemicals to do peel them. We are just exposed to way too many chemicals in our food production, and any time we can eliminate some, I am all for that!

Trace their products from Farm to Can: They can trace the tomatoes in my can of crushed tomatoes all the way to the exact farm that grew them. I love they have that kind of responsible farming and passion for what they do. It helps me feel trust in what I'm buying. You know all that issue with Romaine lettuce this past year? What if every package you bought they could trace back to the exact source? I love that Cento can do that!

Lot's of Recipes; Need inspiration? They have a fantastic recipe section! 



You can find their products in your local grocers, or shop online at cento.com

1/1/19

Top Googled Posts of 2018

the end of one year and the beginning of the next always brings with it a look back on the past year. For me and blogging, it gives me a chance to look back on the past years posts and see which posts were the ones most viewed, and most searched out.

Looking over this type of information is helpful to know which direction to go in the future. These things always brings on a surprise or two, but the one thing I can always count on, that at least one of my top posts will be answering a cooking question of some type.  It may not appear to be an exciting recipe, and at the time that I post it, it never brings on instant numbers or clicks, comments , or likes. but sure as the gramma loves her grandkids.. you can bet, they just become the tortoise in the race of the tortoise and the hare, slow but sure wins the race. My number one post from 2018 with the most views this year is just that!  here's my list with # 1 kicking it off!

#1:  Marinara Sauce Vs. Spaghetti Sauce






The last 3 posts are all themed similarly in that they are either a grouped link party with tons of wonderful recipes under a theme that I helped host and have had a lot of people search,  or in the case of #8, a new year, new goals... Suddenly meal planning was popular at the beginning of the year, before our organizational skills dropped off later on, lol!



and drum roll please. the 10th most google search/ clicked post from 2018:


12/26/18

Sweet Potato Rounds with Maple-Cinnamon Ricotta Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Pecans Appetizers #NewYearsAppetizers




Sweet potato  appetizer bites topped with a Maple-Cinnamon infused ricotta cheese, and sprinkled with sweet, dried cranberries and crunchy toasted pecans, are the perfect way to enjoy a party with great flavors, but skip all the junky fat and empty calories like other snack foods on the table.


The New Year is upon us and with that comes parties and appetizers. But it also gives us a chance to put out all sorts of goodies! With some of our guests ready to start the new year with healthier eating in mind, that "New Year, New You" mentality, it's nice to serve at least one thing that your guests can enjoy guilt free!

Make Ahead: This appetizer is also great because it can be prepped ahead of time and then just topped at the last minute just prior to the party! Cook up those sweet potatoes and store in the fridge. Then just reheat a moment to take the chill off of them, before topping with the Ricotta mixture that you can also pre-make ahead of time. Sprinkle with the cranberries and toasted pecans.. and this lovely appetizer is ready to go. It will look super fancy .. and healthy.. yet it really wasn't much work at all!

Get Playful:  I first saw this recipe in my local paper. I cut it out and shared it with a coworker, who was both losing weight and a vegetarian. She's also  learning to cook, and needing to bring something easy to make to our work party so  I knew she'd love it. I was right, and it was delish! So I thought I'd share it with you too! This recipe just fits the bill on all fronts!

Other Options: Some other fun options to top on your sweet potato round both from the recipe's author and myself:  

Recipe Tip: Don't overload the rounds, layer in small amounts rather than heaping them on in piles. 

  • Make a loaded sweet potato with light sour cream, shredded cheese, a sprinkle of taco seasoning to taste, then top with green onions.
  • Spread rounds with meat or vegetarian chili and top with light sour cream. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and chopped veggies.
  • Pull out some avocados and make guacamole, or select your favorite store brand. Top with diced tomatoes and chopped green onions to add flavor, and a little holiday color.
  • Put a smear of bbq sauce on your potato, then pulled pork or chicken bbq. (just a tablespoon or so) topped with shredded cheese, and crumbled bacon bits. (ok not as healthy on this one, but oh so fun!)


Yield: approx. 30 sweet potato rounds

Sweet Potato Rounds with Maple-Cinnamon Ricotta Cheese, Dried Cranberries and Pecans

prep time: 10 minscook time: 15 minstotal time: 25 mins
Sweet potato appetizer bites topped with a Maple-Cinnamon infused ricotta cheese, and sprinkled with sweet, dried cranberries and crunchy toasted pecans, are the perfect way to enjoy a party with great flavors, but skip all the junky fat and empty calories like other snack foods on the table.

ingredients:

2 large, slender sweet potatoes, about 7 by 2½ inches
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup part skim-milk ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon PLUS 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ to ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped pecans, roasted

instructions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil.
Scrub sweet potatoes, and pat dry with paper towels. Leave on the skin. With a sharp knife, or mandolin, cut into ¼-inch slices.
Place potato slices onto prepared pan, and brush with a little olive oil.
Place pan in the oven and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and test for doneness. If they’re still not tender, or if the slices are thicker than ¼ inch, turn them over, return to the oven and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes as needed.
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the ricotta cheese topping. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir well to combine.
When the potatoes have cooled, top each round with a small spoonful of the ricotta cheese mixture. Sprinkle each round evenly with the dried cranberries and roasted pecans.
calories
40
fat (grams)
2
carbs (grams)
6
protein (grams)
1
Fiber
1 gram
Sodium
18 milligrams
Calcium
28 milligrams
Created using The Recipes Generator



Here are some mosre Appetizer Ideas for you:

12/19/18

How to Make Old Fashioned Country Sausage Gravy for Biscuits

Sausage Gravy over Biscuits
Want to learn how to make from scratch old fashioned country style sausage gravy to serve over biscuits? Wish you had paid attention when your grandma was making it, or if you've never had a chance to watch someone's grandma make it.. Let me give you a quick lesson!  I taught my kids, and they can now make this classic comfort food on their own at college!


Sausage Gravy over Biscuits



























It starts with a few quality ingredients. I prefer to use real cream, but whole milk will work in a pinch. Good Sausage. Choose a good quality brand breakfast sausage. Usually they will have better flavor and less grease, made from better cuts of meat.
Sausage Gravy over Biscuits

Let's get cooking:

Ingredients:
1 lb. sausage
2 cups heavy creamy or whole milk + extra if needed to thin out the gravy
2=3 heaping Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pepper
Cooked Biscuits to serve with the gravy.

In heavy skillet (I prefer cast iron)  cook sausage over medium heat till cooked through and crumbled. do NOT drain the grease. We will use it in the next step to help make a "roux" to thicken the gravy.

Turn the heat  on the stove top down to medium low. Sprinkle 2-3 heaping teaspoons of flour over the cooked sausage in the skillet. Stir flour into skillet to mix well and coat the sausage and absorb the drippings. let cook for 1 minute.

Pour 2 cups cream or milk into skillet, and stir/ whisk to blend.
Add in pepper and season to taste. Stir/ whisk constantly over heat while it thickens.


Remove from heat. If gravy gets too thick, pour in extra cream or milk a tablespoon at a time till desired consistency. 




Serve warm over biscuits.. I love to serve fried apples on the side! 
(In individual mini skillets!). Is that country enough?

12/13/18

Hot Buttered Caramel Apple Cider Mix #ChristmasSweetsWeek


This post is sponsored in conjunction with ChristmasSweetsWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

This Master Mix is for a delicious cup of buttery, caramel, apple cider with just the right spices of the season. It makes for perfect gifts or to put out for a party as well. Keep a container of this mix on hand all season long for seasonal cups any time you like.

Apple Cider Mix

Secret Ingredients:
The key to pushing your Apple Cider over the top is today's recipe. It comes in 2 parts.
The first is the spiced honey, brown sugar butter mix.
The second is  Torani's Salted Caramel Syrup. They are a sponsor of #ChristmasSweetsWeek and provided products for recipe development as well as prizes for the giveaway. I felt the Salted Caramel flavor would be PERFECT for this wonderful beverage and I was right! Adding a splash to each serving pushed this drink over the top! (Now.. where do I hide this bottle from the rest of the family?)

Apple Cider Mix

Party Bar: This would be the perfect addition to a Hot Chocolate Bar at a party! If you want to make this in larger quantities for a party, increase the recipe from individual servings to the amount you need, and simmer the cider and salted caramel syrup on warm in a crock pot. Or heat before needing and put in a pump coffee dispenser. Then place the buttered mixture next to it with instructions next to the glassware to add a 1-2 teaspoons to glass before adding cider. Then use cinnamon stick to stir! Would be so fun for a party! (Also have bowls of add ins like cranberries, orange slices with a bit of peel, small apple slices , whip cream, and caramel drizzle.
Apple Cider Mix

Speaking of Glassware: Joy Jolt Provided us with BEAUTIFUL glassware for the development of beverages this week! There selection of glassware is delicious, and I had a hard time choosing from their amazing styles, but in the end, I chose these beautiful Irish Coffee Mugs, that I knew would be perfect for my Apple Cider Drinks!

Now... Let' get started making this great recipe!



Hot Buttered Caramel Apple Cider Mix

This Master Mix is for a delicious cup of buttery, caramel, apple cider with just the right spices of the season. It makes for perfect gifts or to put out for a party as well. Keep a container of this mix on hand all season long for seasonal cups any time you like.

ingredients:

1 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup apple cider
1 oz. Torani salted caramel syrup

In electric mixer beat butter and brown sugar until blended. Add in honey and spices mxing till combined. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

To prepare hot cider: Place 1-1/2 teaspoons buttered cider mix in a mug. Stir in hot cider and 1 oz. of Caramel syrup. 
Top with any optional toppings such as whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Apple Cider Mix

Here's the giveaway and the rest of today's recipes!
To see the list of prize packages and information see my: Welcome Post

#ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes:

Beverages:

Chocolate Eggnog Pudding Shots from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen

Frozen Salted Caramel White Russian from Blogghetti

Glogg from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

Hot Buttered Caramel Apple Cider Mix from Tip Garden

Salted Caramel Martini from April Golightly

Slow Cooker Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Cheese Curd in Paradise



Breakfast:

Chocolate Hazelnut Doughnuts from Kate's Recipe Box

Cranberry Orange Bread from Juggling Act Mama

Cranberry White Chocolate Coffee Cake from Who Needs A Cape?

Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls from Moore or Less Cooking

Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls from Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
Eggnog Cranberry Quickbread from Jonesin' For Taste

Candies:

Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt

Cranberry Eggnog Fudge from Sweet Beginnings

Snickerdoodle Fudge from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Desserts:

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies from Seduction In The Kitchen

Chocolate Espresso Mousse from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noël from Love and Confections

Cranberry Champagne Cupcakes from Our Good Life

Eggnog Gelato from The Redhead Baker

Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Butter Rum Glaze from Daily Dish Recipes

Peppermint Patty Stuffed Cookies from Platter Talk

Peppermint Red Velvet Macarons from The Crumby Kitchen

Rum Spiked Eggnog Cupcakes from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

Salted Caramel German Chocolate Dessert Shooter from Take Two Tapas

White Christmas Cupcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream from Family Around the Table






Thank you ChristmasSweetsWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Lorann Oils & Flavors, Torani, Joyjolt, and Sweets & Treats Boutique for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are my own. The ChristmasSweetsWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Six (6) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The ChristmasSweetsWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the ChristmasSweetsWeek posts or entry.
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