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Hello? Is there anybody out there?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

*cough* *cough*  Waves hands through cobwebs and clears dust....

Testing 1, 2, thing on?  Can you hear me?  Don't adjust your volumes or get scared, it's just me....dusting off this blog!  *uproarious applause ensue*

Look, I know that I left you folks high and dry.  I apologize.  Sometimes life gets in the way of...well, the important stuff blogging.  I kid.  Sort of.  I miss my blogging buddies.  I miss my creativity running away with my mind most days.

So, I got a job.  A real job.  It's welcomed news at Casa di Romano, let me tell you.  Two plus years with no J-O-B was rough.  The damn money tree I planted out back isn't bearing fruit yet.

Lots of things happened while I was on hiatus, and I'll get to that at some point.  Highlights....let's see....holidays, job, eldest daughter got engaged, Belly turned terrible 2 and two of the boys are now TEENagers *gasp*.

Well, I am ready to get back to posting, including recipes!  

Phix Energy Review and #Giveaway

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I have to admit, when I received the Phix product to review I was skeptical.  I have tried lots of energy drinks.  I am not a big fan.  They all have a weird after taste and they all leave me wishing I had just opted for a Cup of Joe or a Diet Coke.  Most energy drinks have the crash and burn after the jittery high and they taste bad to boot. I said I was skeptical.

In addition to being an energy drink, Phix had the promise of all natural.  Oh great, an energy drink and all natural.  It had the makings of disaster written all over it.  Am I right?  As a foodie I know that all natural is code for BLECH!

I usually have a crash and burn moment every afternoon at work.  Staring at contracts all day on a computer screen makes my eyes cross and it's almost like hypnotism.  I can almost hear "You are getting very very sleepy."  So I figured that would be the best time to try out this all natural energy drink.  It promised to give me an immediate boost and without the jitters or crashes.

Guess what?  It delivered.  No crash.  No burn.  I didn't feel jittery.  I mixed it in a bottle of water from the vending machine at work.  Shook myself up some liquid energy and down the hatch.  The flavor was mild, and it didn't taste like those awful carbonated ones.  Miracle of all miracles!  I don't have to worry about someone finding me face down in a puddle of drool on my desk anymore.

You can try Phix too!  One of you Smackers (US residents only) can receive a one months subscription (three boxes of the flavor of your choice) and a coupon for 25% off a future purchase.

Here's what you have to do to win:

  • Visit the Phix website and come back and tell me what flavor you would like to try.  This is mandatory additional entries won't be counted if you don't do this first.
  • For two additional entries "Like" the Phix Facebook page
  • For two more entries follow Phix on Twitter!
  • For three additional entries "Like" Think Tank Momma on Facebook

You have until Monday, December 12th at midnight.  I will notify the winner via email, and you will have 48 hours to respond or I will choose another winner via

*All opinions about the product are my own.  I was not compensated for my opinion.  I did receive free product from Phix and MomSelect as part of this product promotional.

Share a Spoon - Thanksgiving Turkey and Dressing and GRAVY BABY!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I know I have been MIA, I've had way too much going on outside the URL world.  I am however, getting things manageable so I will be back shortly.  I didn't want to leave you hanging on Thursday though so I thought I would re-post this TURKEY TUTORIAL so you don't have to go hunting for it in the archives!  See you soon Smackers!  Have a HAPPY TURKEY DAY!

Think Tank Momma

Happy Thursday Smackers!

Share a Spoon


Let's be honest.  Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without the BIRD.  I love the turkey.  The turkey and the dressing are my favorite parts.  Oh...and the gravy.  Turkey gravy is to. die. for.

I thought this week I would share my secrets for making the perfect bird.  I've made turkey every which way.  I've brined them.  I've cooked them covered.  I've cooked them uncovered.  Fried.  Baked.  I've had them stuffed.  Definitely not my favorite, but feel free to stuff the bird if you like.  My favorite is roasted.

Trust me no brine needed.  No injected spices concoction needed.  Just the bird, some butter, salt and pepper.  That's essentially it.

Here's what you do.  I even did a picture tutorial for you this weekend.  Yep!  We had turkey this weekend so that I could take pictures for you and everything.

So...turkey takes roughly 20 minutes per pound to cook at 325-350 degrees, depending on your oven.

In a large roasting pan lay down some carrots and celery.  You don't need to peel them or anything.  We are just making a bed for the bird.

Clean out all the packaged innards of the turkey.  There are usually two packages and a neck bone stuffed into either side of the bird.  Make sure you get them all out.  Wash the bird thoroughly and make sure to remove any left over feather debris or whatever else.

Take some paper towels and pat the skin dry.  Make sure the turkey is very dry.

Set the bird breast side up on top of the vegetable bed you made and tuck the wings under the turkey.

Now you will need to gently lift the skin under the breast and move the skin away from the flesh of the turkey.  We are going to massage some butter into the breasts to keep them moist and flavorful.

Next you need two sticks of softened butter.  Make sure it's really soft.  We are going to put one stick under the skin and one stick all over the outside of the bird.

Now for the salt.  KOSHER salt.  Lots of it.

It'll look like a lot of salt.  But we're making a crust, and's a lot of bird!  We need to season the turkey.  Depending on the size of your turkey it'll be one to two handfuls of kosher salt.

Now for the pepper.

Into the oven it goes.  Just like this.  Do not cover it.  Roast the bird for 20 minutes per pound as instructed on the turkey packaging.

Cook's Note:  I usually have 30-40+ people for Thanksgiving.  In order to have enough gravy, I buy a couple of turkey wings when I buy the turkey.  Boil the neck bone we removed from the bird, the wings, a couple carrots, celery stalks, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and a bunch of flat leaf parsley on the stove while the bird is cooking.  We're essentially making turkey stock.  I had this to the drippings from the bird, which are usually quite a bit, and I always have enough gravy and au jus this way.

Here is your bird all done.

Ain't it purty?
You gotta admit, that's a good lookin' bird!
Cover the bird with aluminum foil now to keep it warm while you finish the sides.

Now, onto the stuffing.  Well, actually in this case it's dressing, cause I don't actually "stuff" the bird.  I don't like the texture of the gooey stuffing inside the bird, so....we cook it on the side.

It will have all the flavor of the "stuffed" kind though because we are going to moisten all those bread crumbs with drippings from the turkey!  Oh. yes. we. are!

I use equal parts herb bread and cornbread stuffing mixes.  If want to do it from scratch and make your cornbread and toast your herbed bread, more power to you.  

In a large saute pan melt one stick of butter over low heat.  Chop two large onions and a whole head of celery stalks.  Add to melted butter and salt and pepper.  Cook over low heat until for tender.  Add a cup of milk and a cup of heavy cream.

Pour mixture over the stuffing mixtures in a large bowl and mix really well.  Using a ladle add several scoops of turkey drippings to the stuffing until it is moistened completely through.  Let cool for a bit and add two eggs.

Press into a large casserole dish.  Cook for about 45 minutes once your turkey is out of the oven and resting.

So for the gravy.....the best. part. of. the. whole. meal!

In a large sauce pan, melt a stick of butter.  Add a 1/2 cup of flour.  Cook until well combined.  Drain out all the veggies we put in the bottom of the turkey roaster.  Whisk until the gravy thickens.  Perfect gravy every single time.

So...if you have questions, please email me.  I will definitely try to help you make the best turkey ever for your Thanksgiving feast.

Godiva Coffee Review

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just the name Godiva makes most of us girls swoon!  You see that Gold box when you open a package and your heart just skips a beat and your mouth starts to water with anticipation and then you start the task of trying to choose.  All the choices....which one to pick.....then you make a choice and sweet sweet oblivion takes over!

Well, imagine my anticipation when I saw my favorite chocolates made coffee too!  Then I received not one, but two bags, both different flavors!

Again, I was stuck with the choice, which one to choose....then once I made the choice....sweet sweet oblivion!  These coffees are such a lovely surprise.  They are well balanced, with notes of pumpkin and spice, and sweet caramel and pecan.  There is no bitter after taste like you find in many of those *ahem* coffee house brands.  This is the coffee you would expect from that gold box of chocolates!

This isn't your average morning cup of coffee, this is the coffee you want to make any afternoon special.  This is the coffee you choose to make special occasions more memorable and the every day special!

You can make your everyday special too!  Just leave me a comment telling me which flavor you would like to try.

Giveaway is open to US residents only.  A winner will be chosen 11/10/2011 at 12:00am (midnight).  Winner chosen at random via

*I received both of the coffees for purposes of this review.  I was not compensated for my opinions and all opinions are my own*

#FYL Blog Hop Pumpkin Mushroom Soup and a Side of Friendship

Monday, October 10, 2011

Friends You Love

Welcome to the second week of Friends You Love Monday Blog Hop!

This week's friend is Kim from Foodies Unite.  Just by the title of her blog you can tell why I love her right?  She's a fellow FOODIE!  My favorite kind of people!  Kim shares some of the most lovely pictures of some really TASTY recipes!  Also, she loves wine, and martinis and fine dining experiences.  If she lived closer, we would certainly kick it at the most trendy food spots!  Uh-huh! Kindred spirit she is for certain!  Without further adieu....

I am so tickled to be posting here with Think Tank Momma!  She is a blogger that knows about community and setting up great friendships here in the blogosphere.  When she asked me to guest post, I wasn’t sure what to write about but since we are in the harvest season, I wanted to share a special recipe with everyone - Pumpkin Mushroom Soup.

I grew up in a Foodie household.  My parents were either out to dinner or entertaining and the house was always a bevy of activity that centered around the kitchen and what was cooking.  We lived out of the city in northern Delaware with one stoplight, but we had a restaurant and shop that made up for being completely off the beaten path - The Back Burner.

Our family were regulars at the Back Burner and their signature soup was Pumpkin Mushroom Soup and it was divine.  My Mom used all of her skills to reproduce it but it was always just short of all of the ingredients.  After much wheedling, the chef shared and this soup became a tradition that is almost 30 years old now in my family.

Pumpkin Mushroom Soup says harvest and autumn but it is also one of those soups that travels well to take to a friend’s house for dinner or to invite everyone over for a cozy evening by the fire.  Although I have lived in some very warm places (like South Florida and Arizona), I still make this every year in October and November and I have passed the recipe on to countless friends.

So here is the recipe and I hope it is one of those that makes great memories and friendships for you - Thanks again to Think Tank Momma - she rocks the universe and always makes me laugh out loud...really!

Throw some butter and garlic in a pan with some day old bread cut into crouton size and make your own yummy croutons to top off the soup!

        2 TB butter
        1/2 lb sliced mushrooms (or more if you would like - I do up to 1lb)
        1/2 cup chopped onion
        2 TB flour
        3 cup chicken stock (or vegetable)
        2 cup pumpkin (canned pumpkin is best)
        1 cup cream (half and half works well too!)
        1 TB honey
        1 TB curry (or more to taste)
        Sour Cream
        Croutons (NOT package – make your own!!)

In soup pot, saute mushrooms in butter and then remove - reserving liquid as well..
In same soup pot, saute onions and then stir in broth, flour and pumpkin and bring to a boil.
Add honey, curry, S&P.
Return mushrooms AND liquid from mushrooms.
Add cream and then heat on low to medium heat.
Serve with spoonful of sour cream in center and croutons.

Thanks for being here today Kim!  Thanks for Sharing and your friendship!  

Lovable Labels Back to School Review & Giveaway

Monday, October 3, 2011

I am not exactly the most organized person on the planet.  I mean let's face it, ADHD and organization are not exactly two things one might consider synonymous.  Getting back to school and keeping up with the kids and their stuff is tough for me, and for them.  Three ADHD people trying to get ready for school and out the door is laughable at best most days.

My boys get it honest at least.  I can't very well expect them to be any better about keeping up with their belongings when most days I have misplaced my keys, my glasses, my purse, my mind, etc..  One of my boys is notoriously bad about leaving his jackets, shoes, shirts, anything not physically non-removable.  Thank goodness he can't take his brain out and play with it.  Sheesh!

I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to review Lovable Labels and the Back to School pack.  I quickly labeled everything that belongs to one Kamden Romano!  His back pack, his lunch box, his shoes (which are always missing at some neighbors home), his jacket, his shirts.  Everything has a label now!  It's come in handy too, I have be able to retrieve, not one, not two, but three articles of clothing from the Lost & Found at school.  Not. Even. Kidding!  Yep, in the five weeks the kids have been back to school, I have visited three times to retrieve items that have been "lost".  Thanks to Lovable Labels they were "found"!

You can get your very own Back to School Pack too!  They are awesome.  I have washed items several times and been pleased to find labels still attached!  They have stayed in the shoes my child seems to leave everywhere except his feet or closet.  And?  There is no more arguing in his class about who owns his lunchbox since several children have the same lunch box.  Kamden's now sports a nice shiny tag with his name on it!

Here's what The Back To School Pack includes:

  • 15 Regular sticker labels
  • 80 Slimline sticker labels
  • 48 Press n' Stick Clothing Dots
  • 12 Shoe labels
  • 2 Mini-Metal Tags
  • 12 Square labels
All of this with the name YOU choose!  SCORE!

Lovable Labels has generously supplied us with a "Back To School Pack" for one lucky winner!!  Thanks Lovable Labels!!!!

Mandatory Entry:

Visit Lovable Labels and tell me which of their amazing products is your favorite!  (I'm drooling over the spice labels!)

Additional Entries:

+1 Follow @mylovablelabels on Twitter.
+2 "Like" Lovable Labels on Facebook (leave your FB name below)
+3 "Like" Think Tank Momma on Facebook

HURRY!  Contest ends Friday 10/07/11 at midnight EST.

Contest open to US and Canadian residents only.

*I received no monetary compensation for this review.  All opinions are mine.  To facilitate review, Lovable Labels provided me with a personalized Back To School Label Pack.

Friends You Love - Monday Blog Hop - Mo' Betta

Friends You Love

Guess who's back?  Back again?  Shady's back...tell a FRIEND! maybe it isn't least not the real Slim Shady....BUT, it's Friends You Love!

Last year Friends You Love was such an amazing event we brought it back. The friendships forged between women deserve to be celebrated.  In fact, it takes a whole month to celebrate just how special those bonds are!  We have all sorts of amazing things lined up for you all this month so stay tuned!

The rules of the blog hop are simple...I deviate from them of course...rebel that I am.  You are supposed to reach into your followers/subscribers ask someone you don't know that well to guest post to make new friends.  I on the other hand like to highlight people I have come to know and love, hoping that you will love what I do!

I thought I would share with you my most faithful Share a Spoon contributors!  Kicking that off...I give you Kim from Mo' Betta!  

I was so excited when Think Tank Momma asked me to guest post for Friends You Love!  I never expected that I would develop friendships with people I've never met when I started my blogging adventure, a little over a year ago.  It's definitely a great perk, and motivating reason to keep at it!  My name is Kim, and I blog over at Mo'Betta.  My blog centers around mommyhood x 3, and all the drama that entails!

I try to prepare healthier meals for the fam, while dealing with my 3 y/o's food allergies (eggs, peanuts, tree nuts) and my husband's diabetes.  Not to mention my kids are notoriously picky!  That being said, today's recipe has nothing to do with any of that :)  This is a cake I made for my Grandmother's birthday this weekend, and I fully believe that calories do not count when eaten on a special occasion.  (This explains why my jeans are too tight.)

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake with Creamy Pumpkin Glaze adapted from Dine & Dish
*my changes are in italics

2 cups granulated sugar  *1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened *1/2 cup Smart Balance butter, 1/2 cup olive oil
4 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sour cream *1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour *2 cups AP flour, 1 cup white whole wheat
1 tablespoon cinnamon *1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.  *I used Pam Spray, flour, then sprinkled some cinnamon sugar in the pan.  Add sugar, oil, and butter to a large mixing bowl.  Beat on low until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing until well incorporated.  Add the pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla, mixing on low speed until well blended.  While mixer is still going on low, add the flour, one cup at a time.  Then add spice, baking soda, and salt.  Blend until well incorporated.  Pour cake batter into prepared Bundt pan.  Bake for 60 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clear.  Mine took about 50 minutes.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk *I used fat free half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon *I added an additional 1/8 tsp. 
dash of nutmeg and ground cloves
2 tablespoons butter - melted and cooled *omitted

Whisk all the ingredients together and spoon over cooled cake.
I almost omitted the pumpkin glaze altogether, because I found a Cinnamon flavored Cool Whip (one of their seasonal flavors) and I was just going to use that.  However, the cake looked a little plain, so I added the glaze, and I'm so glad I did!  I think it adds a lot, and the cinnamon Cool Whip complimented it nicely.  And as a side note, I added this Cool Whip to my 'cafe mocha' (which my quick and easy version is brewed coffee mixed with a half packet - or more - of reduced sugar hot chocolate.  Can't afford have Starbucks all the time!) and it was the BOMB.  It rivaled anything I've had at a coffee house.  So, I'm really hoping the Wal-Mart doesn't run out of this cool whip anytime soon.  (I'd bet money they will be out when I go back and it will not get stocked again.  But that's a whole different rant post.)

So, anyways, the verdict?  Pumpkin awesomeness.  Fall on a fork. (hmmm, that sounds weird.  Fall as in Autumn, not fall as in crazy women with raging PMS wishing you bodily harm. That's later in the month.)  Sorry, TMI.  Anyway, Granny said it was the  Okay, she didn't really say that, but isn't that a pretty funny mental picture?  She did like it however, as did everyone else who tried it.  Unless they were just being nice, but in my family, we're known for being pretty brutally honest.  Gotta have a thick skin to hang with us.  My poor little I'm-allergic-to-everything-boy couldn't have any b/c of the eggs, so I brought him some egg free cupcakes that I keep in the freezer, just for situations like this.  I recommend you go make this, and then sit back with a cafe mocha, a nice thick slab of cake, and a best bud, and talk about how hard y'all just worked out and how much you don't need to eat this cake ;)  (Is it just me that eats cake after a workout? I need to refuel ya know!)  Of course, I eat cake when I don't work out too.  To help ease the guilt.  It's a vicious cycle.

Thanks to the Momma for allowing me to high-jack her post today, and y'all feel free to stop by!  Who are the Friends You Love?  Give them a shout out!