Banana Nut Cheerios Bars & Book Giveaway

Most of you have tried the basic peanut butter cheerios bars--wait until you try these! Oh my, are they good! I love drizzling a few melted peanut butter chips on top so you have a fabulous banana/chocolate/peanut butter combination. YUMMY!

As if I didn't already love Cheerios (they saved me many, many Sundays at church when I had fussy babies/toddlers), they have an amazing program called Spoonful of Stories which focuses on the importance of children reading and the value of having parents and children read together. There is also a contest to find the next great children's book author!
Over the past seven years, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories has given away more than 35 million children's books by distributing them free inside cereal boxes and has donated nearly $3 million to First Book, their non-profit partner, which provides books to children from low-income families. In addition to encouraging children to read, Cheerios is looking for anyone interested in writing children's books! Deadline is July 15, 2009, details are here.

Shellie Braeuner, the first year's winner, won for her book "The Great Dog Wash". This nanny from Nashville won a $5,000 cash prize and the opportunity to have her book reviewed by Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing!

Cheerios, sponsored by MyBlogSpark, is giving a Gourmet-Mom-on-the-Go reader a copy of The Great Dog Wash along with three other books from the Spoonful of Stories library! Hooray! I love new books!

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for all the GREAT book ideas!
We have a winner!
Marne who said...
"Some of my favorites are by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Her kids books are amazing!"
Banana Nut Cheerio Bars (from Cheerios)
3 tablespoons margarine or butter (do not use spread or tub products)
1 bag (10.5 oz) miniature marshmallows (5 1/2 cups)
6 cups Banana Nut Cheerios cereal
1/3 cup roasted sunflower nuts
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon canola oil

1. Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large microwavable bowl, microwave margarine uncovered on High 30 to 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss until coated. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute 15 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture can be stirred smooth.
2. Stir in cereal and sunflower nuts until well blended. Press evenly in pan.
3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and oil uncovered on High 45 to 60 seconds, stirring very 15 seconds, until melted and smooth. Drizzle over bars.
4. Cool 1 hour or until glaze is set. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store loosely covered.

optional: Melt a few peanut butter chips and drizzle those on as well. Yum!

Special thanks to MyBlogSpark for sponsoring this giveaway.


Sundae, Bunny Sundae

Sundae, Bunny Sundaeeeeeeee.....any other U2 fans out there? This was running through my head all afternoon to the tune of "Sunday, Bloody Sunday". So, now it can be stuck in your head, too. You're welcome.
I originally planned these to be bunny cupcakes, but Bunny Ice Cream Sundaes are so much cooler, don't you think? (no pun intended:)) You can obviously make cupcakes w/ the same technique. However, the combination of Ice Cream and the Marshmallow Meringue is just plain fabulous. Enjoy!

Sundae, Bunny Sundaes
Ice Cream
Large Marshmallows
Pink Sugar
Icing Eyes (make your own or just use vanilla/chocolate icing)
Pink Mints or M & M's (for a nose)
Chocolate icing (for the mouth)
Licorice strings (for whiskers)
Cooked Meringue (recipe below)

Scoop ice cream into balls and place on wax paper in the freezer.

Make Meringue and frost over ice cream balls, return to freezer while you gather your "bunny ingredients".

Raid the pantry for candies, marshmallows, etc--whatever you need to make a bunny face! Cut large marshmallows in half and dip the sticky part in pink sugar to make ears. Put a small amount of chocolate icing in a ziploc bag and snip the end so you are ready to pipe out mouths.

Take frosted ice cream out of freezer, add ears, eyes, noses, whiskers, and a mouth. Return to freezer until ready to serve.

Cooked Meringue
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. Karo
3 egg whites
1 t. vanilla

Over medium heat, dissolve sugar in karo. No need to boil, just make sure sugar is dissolved. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy. Add syrup slowly to egg whites, beating continuously. Whip till light, fluffy & glossy. Add vanilla.

While you're making dessert, how about a little something healthy and delicious? I recently discovered Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt and YUM! I've always loved Greek Yogurt but this one is especially good! Seriously! Organic Greek yogurt which can be used in a variety of ways while cooking – in baking, as a substitute for sour cream, and mayonnaise, and to create tasty low-fat dishes. Greek yogurt is strained, making it thicker and more versatile in recipes than regular yogurt.
I mixed in a little ranch dressing mix to make a great carrot dip for the kids. It was a hit!

I happen to have 5 coupons for a free container of Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt, so leave a comment here and on 4/29 I'll pick five random people to mail them to! Fun! I love good mail!


Cheap and Fabulous Freezer Dinners

Is anyone else feeling the pinch of the economy these days? Well, I've teamed up with Sams Club to bring you some ideas for inexpensive and yummy family cooking! Sams Club is my #1 favorite place to shop, especially for meats and cheeses. Buying in bulk can cut your grocery bill by almost half--so, here are some tips for cooking with those bulk items. Also, Sams Club is giving one Gourmet-Mom-on-the-Go reader a new Samsung SC-DX103 Digital DVD Camera for sharing your favorite freezer meal recipe!

Below are three of our family's favorite recipes. Do you have 5 minutes to make dinner? You can prepare the Cranberry Chicken in under 5 minutes! The Kalua Pork also preps in under 5 minutes and bakes overnight. I buy the Pork Loin (around 8 lbs.) at Sams Club all the time and the Crab-Stuffed Pork Loin is a huge hit at our house. The best part? All of these recipes are under $1 per serving! I either freeze them for later use or else swap with friends so we have different meals to try.

Now, here's the fun part: I want to hear your favorite Freezer Meal Recipe (anything that can be prepared and frozen for later use). It doesn't have to be your original recipe, just something that is sure to please the family!

What's in it for you? We're sending the winner a brand new Samsung SC-DX103 Digital DVD Camera so you can record all your culinary adventures! :)
I'm sure all your recipes are great (hey, we don't judge grandma's casserole recipe), so we'll pick one winner randomly on April 24th.

This giveaway is now closed. We have a winner!
JohnsonFamily who said...
"This isn't really recipe, but whenever I got to Sam's I buy their rotisserie chicken. Usually I will pick up a few. I will debone them and then freeze it for a quick grab to toss in salads soups, enchildas...etc."
Good tip, we'll take it! Send me an email within 2 days with your mailing address to get your prize. If there's no response, we'll pick another winner.

Cranberry Apricot Chicken
(great dish for guests!)
1 lb. chicken (raw, any kind)
1 can whole cranberry sauce (not just for Thanksgiving!:))
1/2 apricot preserves
1 C. french or catalina dressing
1 pkg. onion soup mix
Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bag

Put all ingredients except chicken in ziploc freezer bag and squash and mash to mix (this the the kids' favorite part!). Add chicken and mix well. Pour into 9 x 13 greased pan at 350 for 35-40 minutes and serve over rice. If are preparing this for later use, simply put ziploc bag with the sauce and chicken directly in the freezer, defrost when ready to use and bake as directed above.

Video Tutorial and tips:

Kalua Pork
(yes, I know it's traditionally made w/ a pork shoulder, but we really like it this way:))
Large Pork Loin (around 8 lbs., about $1.58 per lb. at Sams)
coarse Kosher Salt
liquid smoke (in the spice aisle)
Sandwich rolls, any kind
Plastic Wrap
Aluminum Foil

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Cut pork loin in half. Lay out two large sheets of aluminum foil. Lay two large sheets of plastic wrap on top of foil. Place half of pork loin on the plastic wrap (this keeps the moisture in! It's an amazing slow-roasting secret!:)). Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and liquid smoke, rub all over pork loin. Wrap up plastic wrap tightly around pork loin and then wrap with aluminum foil. Place in large roasting pan. Repeat with other loin half. Bake at 225 degrees 7-10 hrs. until done. Serve with soft rolls, cheese, bbq sauce, whatever your family likes. YUM!

Video Tutorial and tips:

Crab-Stuffed Pork Loin

Large Pork Loin (around 8 lbs., about $1.58 per lb. at Sams), cut into just under 1" slices--the butcher at Sams Club can do this for you. You'll get about 18 slices.
1 lb. lump imitation crab meat
1 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup french dressing

Marinade Ingredients:
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. garlic
dash red pepper flakes
dash black pepper
3 Tbsp. tomato sauce (or ketchup if you're in a pinch)

Place all marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziploc Freezer bag and mix well. Slide through side of pork loin to make a pocket (see video tutorial). Mix crab meat, bread crumbs, crushed pineapple, and french dressing in a medium bowl. Stuff about 2-3 heaping tablespoons crab mixture into pork loin pocket and place in marinade bag. Repeat with all pork loin pieces (you can fit about 6 in a bag). Place directly in freezer. When ready to cook, defrost and grill 7-10 minutes on each side.

Video Tutorial and tips:

Can't wait to hear your favorite freezer recipes! Good luck and happy cooking!


The Mixer Giveaway Fun

This giveaway is now closed.
We have a winner!
sphinx63 who said...
"How about a show called "How to Eat on $5 a day"?"
Drop me an email with your mailing address within 48 hrs and we'll get your prize out!

Great news! A really fun new online cooking club (free live cooking classes, anyone?) and great giveaway from Betty Crocker.

Are you ready to get inspired in the Kitchen? Looking for something new to spice up that same old meal? Well look no further than The Mixer, a new online cooking club from Betty Crocker.

When you join The Mixer online (IT'S FREE!) you will be learning the ins and outs of cooking and baking, while interacting with Betty Crocker Kitchens experts LIVE during a class and connecting with an entire community of people just like you. What's great is that you can do it in the comfort of your own kitchen whenever it best fits your schedule.

Each week for six weeks, The Mixer will feature a new class line up complete with recipe demos, tips & techniques, flavor secrets and much more.

Week #1 - Kickin Chicken Recipes and tips for making juicy, mouthwatering chicken
Week #2 - Pastabilities Secrets of building flavor that will allow you to create your own signature sauces
Week #3 - Greens with Envy Recipes for go-to salads
Week #4 - Viva Tortilla Taking taco night to a whole new level
Week #5 - Wok it Out Stir-fry techniques and recipes for easy
flavorful sauces
Week #6 - Small Bites-Big Flavors Dips and appetizers that are easy and flavorful and guiltless desserts

Classes are held three times a week. Chat live with the Betty Crocker Kitchens Experts:
Tuesdays 7 p.m. ET
Wednesdays 9 p.m. ET
Saturdays 4 p.m. ET

But don't worry if you miss it, you can always go back to watch the class on demand and get in on the conversation. For complete details on each of the classes simply go to www.bettycrocker.com/themixer and register to become a member. You can also see a fun video about The Mixer here.

To celebrate this great new site, Betty Crocker is going to give one Gourmet-Mom-on-the-Go reader The Mixer gift basket filled with a Betty Crocker mixing spoon, spatula, measuring spoons and cups, whisk, liquid measuring cup and a Betty Crocker Magazine - just the right items to help you prepare spectacular meals and desserts.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Special thanks to MyBlogSpark for sponsoring this giveaway.


Blueberry Bread Pudding w/ Golden Almond Syrup

As I was making this, Gourmet Dad said with disgust, "you're making bread pudding??!" (he's never liked it) but he went back for seconds and thirds, so...success!
Blueberry Bread Pudding with Golden Almond Syrup
Bread Pudding Ingredients:
2 cans Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crusty French Loaf
1/4 cup(s) LAND O LAKES® Salted Butter, melted
1 1/2 cup(s) Milk
2 Eggs
2/3 cup(s) Granulated Sugar
1/4 teaspoon(s) Salt
1 teaspoon(s) Vanilla Extract
1 Zest from one Lemon
2 tablespoon(s) Fresh Lemon Juice
2 cup(s) Fresh Blueberries, rinsed and drained

Golden Almond Syrup Ingredients:
1/2 cup(s) LAND O LAKES® Salted Butter
1 cup(s) Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup(s) Buttermilk
1 tablespoon(s) Light Corn Syrup
1/2 teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
1 teaspoon(s) Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon(s) Almond Extract
1/2 cup(s) Sliced Almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crusty French Loaves as directed on package. Let cool completely, overnight is best.
Cut cooled bread loaves into 1" cubes. Spray a 2-Quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place half of the bread cubes in casserole dish and sprinkle one cup blueberries on top. Add the remaining bread cubes and cover with another cup of blueberries.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 c. melted butter, 1 1/2 c. milk, 2 eggs, 2/3 c. granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, zest from one lemon, and 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Pour mixture on top of the bread/blueberry mixture. Press bread down gently to make sure it is well coated.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven.

While bread pudding is baking, melt 1/2 c. LAND O LAKES® Salted Butter in a medium saucepan. Add 1 c. granulated sugar, 1/2 c. buttermilk, and 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. almond extract, and 1/4 c. sliced almonds.
Scoop baked pudding into bowls and drizzle with almond syrup. Garnish with remaining 1/4 c. sliced almonds and serve. Enjoy!

Holiday Playlist

My grandmother hasn't been doing well...to cheer her up, I rounded up a few of my musical friends and made an album of Holiday songs fo...