Thursday, August 19, 2010

And the Winner Is...

Valerie, commenter number three! (The winner was picked by the Random Number Generator at Congratulations, Valerie! Contact me at erinssweetlife{at}hotmail{dot}com with your mailing address and we'll have your Macaroni Grill prize pack on its way to you! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy your frozen entree, serving bowl, and expandable tongs!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Giveaway of a Different Kind, Courtesy of Kroger

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by the good folks at about Kroger's Add Up the Savings Event. Of course, I was on board to join in the fun. The Kroger family of stores, General Mills, and Kimberly Clark (through provided me with a $25 gift card to use on items featured in their Add Up the Savings Event, which started on August 8th and runs through August 21st. If you're not familiar with the Add Up the Savings Event, it's a promotion during which time you can purchase participating items and recieve $4 off of your purchase. There were tons of items included (think Yoplait yogurt, a variety of cereals, Pillsbury cookies, etc.). But honestly, when I saw the Kroger ad, I thought, "But we don't buy that much of that stuff..." So I wasn't sure how to approach this opportunity. I knew that I could purchase any of the participating items with the gift card, but I kind of felt bad, knowing that it was stuff that we didn't really need.
Then, today, on my way home from work, I heard Mark Hall (lead singer for Casting Crowns) on the radio, and he said something that really hit home. He has recently decided to sell off his entire collection of Star Wars memorabilia for a charity event, and he said, "God doesn't bless us so we can have more. He blesses us so that we can give to others." His words hit me like a ton of bricks. I know that I am blessed beyond measure. My life has been pretty darn close to perfect. I've never wanted for anything. In fact, right now, David and I have almost everything we want in life. So I decided to find a way to start blessing others out of the abundance I have. Earlier this year, one of my cousins mentioned that our church women's group should consider making a mid-year donation to a food bank. Everyone wants to give to a food bank around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but people are hungry all year round. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to stock up on items that my county's Family Resource Center might need.
So...I went to Kroger this afternoon after work and picked up a few things:
Look at that! I got 4 boxes of Hamburger Helper, 4 boxes of instant mashed potatoes, 8 cans of peaches, 8 cans of soup, and 8 tuna salad/chicken salad kits...for $24.32! It might sound crazy, but I had a great time going through Kroger trying to get as close to $25 as I could. I was pretty impressed with myself, and I'm hoping that these items will help out Henry County's Family Resource Center.
The Kroger Add Up the Savings Event is going on through August 21st, so if you want to help out your local food bank, now would be a great time to get an extra bang for your buck!
Thanks to Kroger, General Mills, and Kimberly Clark (through for the $25 gift card. And thanks to Mark Hall for reminding me that what I have isn't mine at all...and that I need to share everything I have!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TWD: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

I usually bake my TWD "assignments" over the weekend, but it completely slipped my mind this weekend. In fact, I didn't fully realize that today was Tuesday until about 2pm...and of course remembered that I hadn't made my Oatmeal Breakfast Bread! Luckily, Baking: From My Home to Yours is on Google Books, so I was able to review the recipe to see if I needed to stop by Kroger on the way home for any additional ingredients. Luckily, I was in good shape. And even better, after reading the recipe, I found that I would probably even have time to get the bread baked and photograph it in natural light!
Sadly, this was the only picture I got before it got dark. And oh, is it tasty! Sarah mentioned in her post that it reminds her of fall...and I have to say that it does the same for me! Applesauce, raisins, and spices all combine in this bread to make a perfect fall quickbread. (And as a side note, I am totally ready for it to be fall. I am done with heat and humidity.)
This week's pick was chosen by Natalie, of Oven Love. Thanks, Natalie! You picked a good one!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Macaroni Grill Frozen Entree Review and a Giveaway!

It's been ages since I last ate at a Romano's Macaroni Grill restaurant, but I always enjoyed meals there. David and I both love Italian food, so when I was invited to try one of the new Romano's Macaroni Grill frozen entrees, I jumped at the chance.

This afternoon, this sample of the Basil Parmesan Chicken arrived on our doorstep, packed in dry ice. As I unpacked the box, I was amazed that the meal was still frozen. It's been incredibly hot and humid here over the last few days, but the dry ice did the trick!
I also received this very nice serving bowl and tong set as part of the sample package. The serving bowl is heavy ceramic, and it's something I'm sure that we'll use often around The Sweet Life. The tongs are coated in silicone and they extend from 10" to 14". Pretty handy!
The meal is simple and super-quick to prepare. The package suggests using a nonstick skillet, but I used my trusty electric skillet instead...I tend to slop less of my food out of it than when I use a regular stovetop skillet! The only additional ingredient needed to prepare the entree was 1/4 of milk. Then, in about 13-18 minutes, we had a delicious meal! Again, I haven't been to Romano's Macaroni Grill in ages, but I have to assume that this recipe (Basil Parmesan Chicken) is based on one of their restaurant entrees. There was quite a bit of tender chicken, loads of broccoli florets, and a nice smattering of sun-dried tomatoes. But of course, the sauce was the best part! It seemed to me like a cross between a pesto sauce and a light alfredo sauce...a pesto cream sauce, if you will. The frozen entree is intended to serve two. Honestly, David and I could have both eaten more, but we were satisfied with the portions.
We added a side salad and enjoyed a nice Italian meal at home! These frozen meals are great to keep on hand for those nights when you don't want to spend lots of time preparing a meal, but you don't want to go out, either. There are several varieties of the Romano's Macaroni Grill frozen entrees: Basil Parmesan Chicken, Grilled Chicken Florentine, Roasted Garlic Shrimp Scampi, and Spicy Italian Sausage Pomodoro. This Romano's Macaroni Grill prize pack was provided to me by Romano's Macaroni Grill through
And guess what? They want you to have one, too! Macaroni Grill has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway here on The Sweet Life where you can win a prize pack of your own! To enter, please leave me a comment letting me know which variety you'd most like to try. (If you're the winner, I can't promise that you'll get the flavor you'd prefer, but we can try!) You have to be at least 18 to win. The winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, August 19th. If you win, the frozen meal will be shipped directly to you, packed in dry ice.
***This giveaway is now closed.***

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TWD: Gingered Carrot Cookies

My copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours has a flaw in it. I guess it was a's missing about 50 pages from the cookie chapter, but I have a repeat of 50 pages of the brownie chapter. It's been a bit of a pain, but at the same time, kind of exciting because when TWD members choose a recipe from the 50 pages I'm missing, it's a surprise because I've never seen it. When I saw that this week's pick was Gingered Carrot Cookies, I thought it must have been a recipe I was missing. But when I checked, I had this page...somehow, in the 5,000 times I've flipped through this book, I've never noticed these!
When Dorie was developing this recipe, she was trying to make carrot cake in cookie form. She mentions that the carrot flavor doesn't really come through, and I would agree. These cookies are much like a much in fact that I've thought about trying to make them as scones...maybe this fall. With a cream cheese glaze! Yum. Butanyway, the only downside to these cookies is the fact that they look like the Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster, no?
These delightful little cookies were chosen by Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina, and she'll have the recipe on her blog. Happy Baking!
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