Monday, August 31, 2015

August Round-Up - A Walk in the Woods ‪#‎thebookclubcookbookCC‬

I was provided with a copy of The Book Club Cook Book to use for this year-long endeavor of reading and food fun. All opinions and experiences and individual book purchases are my own.

August is almost over and I wanted to share all the great things people have been baking/making this month for our Book Club Cookbook Cooking Club. I loved the creativity! 

This month I selected to make the Lemon Meringue Pie recipe inspired by the "viscous, canary-yellow wedge of lemon pie. ...yellow enough to give you a headache, sweet enough to make your eyeballs roll up into your head - everything, in short, you could want in a pie so long as taste and quality didn't enter into your requirements." from the book. I can still remember a multi-day hiking trip that left me dreaming of cheeseburgers, so I completely understood the draw of the thick, sweet pie. In short, it is nothing like jerky and trail mix.

I mentioned before that I just adore lemon flavored anything... and I was so excited to bake my own lemon meringue pie inspired by the book. I have to laugh that I was more worried about something going wrong with the crust and meringue. In the end, I was preoccupied with first day of school prep for my kids and planning my daughter's 6th birthday...  

...and my filling didn't thicken as much as I would have liked. So with a lovely crust, beautiful meringue, my filling was runny!

Oh, the humanity!

This is the point when I should probably say something about life handing my lemons... but, well... you know.

Luckily, this was one delicious mistake that no one minded eating. Even if it did require a spoon! Yes, it was still delicious... VERY yellow.... and sweet. Just as described in the book.

As for the book? I really enjoyed A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. The book is Bryson's account of walking the Appalachian Trail. Along the way he has a lot of adventures, meets a lot of interesting people and shares his journey with his friend Katz. It was entertaining as well as laugh out loud funny. I can't wait to see it in the movie theater with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

Now remember, I invited everyone to come join me on this reading and baking adventure. There were some brave souls who decided to face the recipe or find other inspiration from the book. Well, I had plenty of folks step right up to the challenge! 

Here's what #thebookclubcookbookCC bloggers made with inspiration from The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Though from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.

Everyone did an amazing job pulling funny stories out of the book or coming up with their own take on "lemon meringue pie".  There were many mentions of food in the book, so plenty of chances to find something for everyone.

Camilla, from Culinary Adventures with Camilla, who also happened to have started this cooking crew, created a Perfect Peach Cobbler. It was inspired by MacKaye's vision for trail shelters having more of a proper hostel feel.

Last month Camilla went on her family's annual camping trip - 10 days, 2 states and 5 campgrounds. It sounded like the perfect way to enjoy this month's book selection. I envy her the chance to read this book outside.

Emily from Life on Food created Trail Granola Clusters for her recipe. She had  read other work by Bryson before, but not A Walk in the Woods. She remembers seeing this book on her Dad's bookshelf though.

While reading she noted all the junk food mentions and decided if she ever embarked on such a journey, she would plan better for food. She would instead pack a lot of granola.  I really enjoyed her nut choices of almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts. That sounds far better than Hostess cakes for a long journey.

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm created this delicious egg salad sandwich. You have to check out why she was drawn to share this recipe after reading about the fridge that was filled with only egg salad sandwiches...  I just loved her addition of artichoke/parmesan dip in the filling. Brilliant!  That is one version of the sandwich worth stocking an entire fridge with!

Wendy enjoyed the reading this month's selection so much, she had a little incident with her morning cereal getting sprayed across the table due to one particularly funny episode.

Sarah from The Pajama Chef shared a fun recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie Puppy Chow.  I have to agree with Sarah, who doesn't love puppy chow? This was her version of the lemon meringue pie that wasn't as complicated and also probably didn't require as many dishes to wash up afterward.

A great snack, this treat bring together the fun citrus in trail mix form. Wouldn't this be fun to take camping?

Sarah from Things I Make (For Dinner) found inspiration in a particularly troublesome personality (Mary Ellen) who both Bryson and Katz have a hard time with. They joked that if they couldn't ditch  her, they could, "Kill her and steal her Pop Tarts".  So, the homemade pop tarts were chosen for her share.  These Maple Brown Sugar Pop Tarts look amazing!

I also have to give Sarah kudos for enjoying the book with her husband. My husband, and his love of the outdoors inspired my selection and I love they were also able to enjoy it together.

Now Shannon cracked me up with her selection. She thought way outside the "lemon meringue" box to bring us Red Hot Dogs and Moxie Soda. Now, as they traveled along the trail they mentioned some of the local foods like Maine blueberries. Since Shannon has already shared her blueberry pie recipe, she took the chance to introduce the rest of us to some other famous Maine foods.

I have to say, I have never heard of either of these but after her description, I am dying to try Moxie soda. What a great flavor combo! Maybe this cooking crew also needs a little food exchange. Anyone know if I can get a can on the West Coast?

And then Renee from Tortillas and Honey was awesome enough to dive right into the land of Lemon Meringue Pie with me! I have to say that her slice turned out much better than my sad little slider. Isn't this gorgeous?

She shared this pie with her mom who is a lemon meringue pie fan. I know if must have tasted as good as it looked because her mom had 2 slices! 

Check out the full Cooking Crew below:

A Day in the Life on the Farm      
Adventures in All Things Food    
Cheese Curd In Paradise               
Culinary Adventures with Camilla             
Life on Food       
Mostly Food and Crafts 
The Pajama Chef              
The Spiffy Cookie             
Things I Make (for Dinner)           
Tortillas and Honey         


This month Andrea at Adventures in all Things Food, this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us for future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from August 1st till August 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Andrea received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Next Month

Renee of Tortillas and Honey will be the host next month (September). Keep an eye out for her invitation. I think I heard she will be pulling her recipe inspiration from A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines... but check out her invite to get all the details and join in on the fun.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sipping Happy with TAZO Tea Concentrates

received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and experiences are my own. You can join Smiley360 here #NewWayToTea

During the hot summer months, our drink of choice is definitely iced tea. Cold and refreshing, it is my favorite alternative to sweet drinks (we don't add sugar to our iced teas) and I am always looking for new flavors and drink combinations to enjoy.

TAZO just made it easier for me to have a large pitcher of gourmet blended iced tea ready to accompany dinner with their TAZO Iced Tea Concentrates line. Have you noticed these in your local grocery store?

I found my box of tea concentrate in the tea aisle. TAZO has 3 tea concentrates to choose from; Iced Passion, Iced Sangria Black, and Iced Peachy Green.

I decided to try the Iced Passion, a caffeine-free blend of hibiscus flowers, herbs and tropical fruit essences, first.

Instructions call for adding the concentrate, water and ice. Give the herbal tea a stir and it is ready to go. It doesn't get much easier than that.

The flavors took my husband back to his childhood exchange to Mexico. He remember how refreshing the  Hibiscus iced tea his host family served was.

I hadn't tried anything quite like it, but loved it! It was a great way to get away from plain old water for our last BBQ.

Of course, there are some easy ways to dress up the TAZO Iced Passion Tea Concentrate and play up the flavors already found in the tea. TAZO sent me a booklet containing a few fun recipes and I made the  Spiced Passion Tea Punch.

Spiced Passion Tea Punch

You will need:

  • 3 oz. TAZO Iced Passion Tea Concentrate
  • 3 oz. cold water
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange wedge
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 oz. ginger beer

The result was a lovely punch packed with the flavors of orange, hibiscus, cinnamon and ginger. Yum!  I couldn't find a proper ginger beer locally, so I subbed in ginger ale and it was still delicious.

Whether you decide to try this recipe, or just want to try out the TAZO Tea Concentrates on their own, be sure to snag TAZO's  $1 OFF Coupon, while supplies last. And check out more fun ways to enjoy TAZO on the TAZO Pinterest board.

Have you tried these new TAZO Tea Concentrates? How would you enjoy this #NewWayToTea?
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Up Close, and Personal, with the New Febreze ™Air Purifier #KeepItFresh

This post is sponsored by Febreze ™Air Purifiers and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping Febreze Air Purifiers but Adventures in All Things Food only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Febreze Air Purifiers is not responsible for the content of this article.

Life around the house just got a bit more real.

At the beginning of August, I mentioned that we had 4 new kittens in the house. I was nervous about cat odors and was glad to have found the Febreze™ Tabletop Air Purifier. I put it front and center in our living room because my family and our guests should be able to relax and not be preoccupied with the "cat" in the room.

Actually, with all the forest fires going on in the Pacific Northwest, it was perfect timing. The air quality outdoors has been so bad, we have spent most of our summer indoors. There is nothing I enjoy more than opening up the house to fresh air, but right now the Febreze™ Air Purifier we have is helping to keep the pet odor, dust and allergens down in our main living space since we can't air out the house.

And those cute little kittens? 3 weeks ago they were still a little shaky on their legs...

They went from nursing and sleeping, to exploring and litter box training in a distinctly cat fashion. Cats rarely make litter box mistakes, but at this age they can hardly be bothered to stop the play and trek across the house to their box. Their new favorite activity is climbing to the top of our cat tower.

Thank goodness it is only a phase.

After having tried out our Febreze™ Tabletop Air Purifier for past few weeks, I am happy to say that it is compact, convenient and has worked well for our family of 7 cats, 2 dogs and 3 small children

The first feature I wanted to mention is the Febreze scent pod that you can add to the purifier. You control how strong you want the scent to be, so when you need it more, you can dial it up. I love that it made my living room feel fresh. I should note that we do not enjoy a lot of artificial scents in our home, and often go fragrance-free, so I didn't dial it up more than 1/3 of the strength. The air purifier scent was light and not overwhelming at all.

I was also happy to see that it had a a HEPA-type filter and removes 99% of airborne pollutants such as dust, pet dander, and smoke. Yeah, we have a lot of smoke around right now, for sure! Our home is also older and dusty on its own, but with all the cats, this has helped to keep the house our home... not just theirs.

I think everyone can appreciate a household dust reducer, even if they are not a pet family.

With the Febreze tab, as well as the air filter, set-up was simple and fast. Overall this small tabletop appliance is very easy to use and my toddler reminds me to turn it on every morning.

It is also nice to have control over both the scent and power. I do enjoy options with any appliance. I am sure once the kittens have their new homes I can turn the power down a little on the machine. For now it has a lot to keep up with.

In the middle, you can see where there are automatic filter and scent replacement reminder lights. I haven't had the chance to see those work yet, I have had my machine for a little less than a month, but I appreciate the quick, built-in reminder.

Do you have a room that could benefit from the Febreze™ Tabletop Air Purifier? 

Be sure to check out the other great sizes and options to see which one would work best in your home.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bread & Butter Pickles - #SundaySupper

Sunday is here and it is time for another great recipe. This #SundaySupper event is all about Saving Summer Harvest and I was really excited to jump in. I love canning and especially love looking at all those neat rows of preserved food all Winter long. For us the big favorites are tomatoes, green beans, jams of varying varieties and peaches.

But over the past few years, due to babies, then toddlers, then another baby, I haven't had a chance to put much away before the summer harvest ends.


One of my all-time favorite things to put away are pickles. Truly, I could just snack on them alone, but I think they are perfect for sandwiches, egg salad, tuna salad, etc. Of course if the idea of steam bath canners, pressure canners and canning in general makes you nervous, you are in luck.  I chose my favorite delicious and easy refrigerator pickle. I only make these in small batches since they need to be refrigerated after making, but they are perfect if you don't have a lot of time.

A jar of fast pickled bread and butter pickles also make a great hostess gift and is easy enough to always have on hand this time of year.

The process is actually quite simple. First I wash and slice the cucumbers, and then I bring the pickling solution up to a boil.

This solution contains vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and even a bit of tumeric, for color.

The hot pickling liquied is poured over the prepared cucumbers and thin slices of yellow onion. I let it cool off and then fill my jars for the refrigerator.

Bread and Butter pickles taste the best after they have been able to sit in the fridge for a couple of days. It gives the cucumbers time to really soak up the flavor of the pickling liquid. Mmmm....

Ready to get pickling?

Fast Bread and Butter Pickles 

You Will Need:

  • 2 lbs. small pickling cucumbers
  • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric
Wash the cucumbers gently, cut off the ends and then, with a mandolin, slice the cucumber uniformly. Salt the sliced cucumbers for 1 hour to release excess water. At the end of the hour, rinse the cucumber slices well and let drain.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring up to a boil.

Place prepared cucumber in a shallow dish and spread evenly. Cover with the pickling liquid and allow to come to room temperature. Then fill jars with cucumbers and enough liquid to cover the top. Place the lids on and refrigerate. These pickles taste best after 24 hours. 

These pickles must be refrigerated and are not shelf stable. Refrigerated, they will last several weeks. Ours just never last that long! 

...and be sure to check out all the other Summer Saving Harvest recipes below:


Preserving in oil or butter
And for even more help and support

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Our Kitten Invasion and How I #KeepItFresh

This post is sponsored by Febreze ™Air Purifiers and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping Febreze Air Purifiers but Adventures in All Things Food only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Febreze Air Purifiers is not responsible for the content of this article.

We have been invaded by cuteness this summer.

Our family has swelled in number and until we find proper homes for our 4 new kittens the cat shenanigans are at an all time high. The four kittens are just starting to explore the house on their own and I never know when a little furry face will pop up.

It has gotten wild enough in the house that the older cats go outdoors to rest. Even Hook has been known to duck the little ones now and again for the safety of the hay barn.

So this brings our current (and temporary!) total to 7 cats and 3 kids. I promise it is a summer we won't soon forget. But, with our little bundles of fluff learning to use the litter box, our house has started to smell like we have 7 full-grown cats.


I love my cats, but I also want my house to smell fresh and clean. Let's not even think about the added dander and fur roaming loose in the house. And if my kids weren't messy (and occaisionally) smelly enough... now I have a bunch of little furry kids to contend with.

Yes, our growing feline family is not to blame for all the smells in the house. There would also be the toddler diapers, my love of seafood and two very busy and mess-seeking kids.  My family doesn't always smell like a rose, but I don't want friends or company to know that the minute they walk in the door.

I could open up the windows and air out our house... but this summer has been a scorcher and now with forest fires blazing through the state we have had all the windows closed up tight. Instead, I decided to get an Air Purifier - the Febreze™ Air Purifier which should help me clean the air, eliminate odors and refresh with a Febreeze scent. 

Yes, Febreeze has been a lifesaver on my upholstery and carpets, as I have posted before, but now it can help our full house with the air we breathe. 

This small device easily fits on my side table in the living room. It is amazing to think that such a small appliance can capture up to 99% of airborne pollutants such as dust, pet dander, pollen and smoke. I can't wait to try it out for a few weeks and then share my thoughts. I should also have some cute updates on our growing litter of kittens.

I love the cats and the kids, but I could really do without the lingering odors they create.  You can learn more about the Febreze™ Air Purifiers on the Febreeze™ website. Is there one that would fit your home and needs?

Would you have more pets if pet odor wasn't an issue?

Do you currently use an Air Purifier?

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Last Days of Summer with Flipz

received this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and experiences are my own. You can join Smiley360 here#RoadTripFLIPZ

Do we really have less than a month till school starts here? Wow! That went fast.

This summer we still haven't squeezed in our family trip. We may be leaving that till last minute to combine with school clothes shopping. But, I didn't want to miss out on reminding you to pack epic snacks for your last summer trips. Because sometimes we crave salty, sometimes sweet, and throwing in a crunch is always a good thing, don't forget to pack plenty of Flips for your next #RoadTripFLIPZ.

In our house, there is a battle brewing over the White Fudge and Milk Chocolate. My husband and I each have our own favorite, but my kids just love the crunchy pretzels and sweet covering, so either flavor is fine.

My advice? Pack plenty of FLIPZ for your next trip so no one has to argue over the last covered pretzel!  Be sure to grab a $1 FLIPZ coupon before your next grocery trip.

Having been on my own epic family road trips as a child (only child, mind you!) I remember how long those drives can seem. Here are 5 tips to make family road trips more enjoyable for everyone.

5 Road Trip Tips For Traveling with Kids

  1. Pre-plan out stops so everyone can stretch their legs and use the bathroom several times along the way. There is nothing worse than hearing a child scream, "I gotta go!" from the backseat. My kids are young enough they still need to be reminded to, "at least try" frequently. Planning out stops ahead of time will make sure everyone can walk around and use the bathroom when available.
  2. Use a Map. This is a great tip for getting kids involved with a traip ahead of time, too. Help them circle or mark the start of the trip, any important things to watch for along the way as well as the destination. It could be a photo copy or more elaborate, but it will give kids a chance to learn about the places you will pass and how long they have to go before the end of the trip.
  3. Pack plenty of snacks and beverages that can be enjoyed along the way. My Mom had a cooler we kept behind the seat that as a child I could use whenever I was hungry. She froze a large bunch of grapes to help keep things cool and I loves snacking on those pre-airconditioned car. Now I pack each of my kids a cup full of dried fruit, pretzels and even cereal that they can munch on when hungry. As a special treat, I keep a bag or two of FLIPZ on hand for us to enjoy. I always enjoy keeping at least one surprise like this up my sleeve to make our trips extra special.
  4. Bring a variety of entertainment everyone can enjoy. I cringe when I have to hear the same kids' video on a loop behind my seat. Instead of just playing movies I now pack travel games (travel bingo can be printed or created easily), trivia, music mixes we all enjoy and audio books to listen to. And of course there are always the travel classics like the alphabet or license plate game as you roll down the road.
  5. Remember it is the little things they will remember years from now. Stop and smell the roses along the way... or check out that giant ball of twine while you have the chance. Family roadtrips are not just about the destination, but the time you spend together along the way.

It is goofy moments like this with my kids that I love to capture on film. I am sure our end of summer trip will include many silly moments from my silly little crew. Life is definitely not boring when we have our sweet FLIPZ along for the ride!

Check out all the great flavors you can enjoy with FLIPZ and be sure to check them out on Facebook and all the #RoadTripFLIPZ fun on Instagram. 

What Road Trip Tips do you have?
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