Delicious, No-Fuss Poolside Treat Recipes

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Here in Texas mid-April means the flowers are everywhere and it’s high time to tuck away long sleeves and bring out the shorts! Perhaps because of this all of our family has been having the summertime itch lately, for Amber and Bob I know a lot of it has to do with wanting to be out of school, but for the entire family I’m pretty sure it’s more that just that… fact, I’m almost positive that THIS has a whole lot to do with it…….

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Happy National Licorice Day!

Today is  National Licorice Day! I bet you didn’t know that! Unless you’re a really hard core Red Vine fan, that is! Licorice always makes me think back to childhood road trips. My mom would always bring along a package and we’d snack on it on the way to where ever we were off to-usually camping, fishing, or a wrestling tournament!

Now I love passing on the joy to my own kiddos–and the red vines have been a big hit with them. Even “Princess Belle” really enjoyed the new Natural Vines® I have to admit that I snuck a few and I like them even better than the original! They’re very soft and sweetly chewy–yum!!

Here are some fun Licorice Day facts for you!

1)      More than 30,000 tons of Red Vines® are made each year—or more than 400,000 miles of licoriceenough to wrap around the Earth more than 16 times!
2)      In 2011, U.S. licorice sales topped $359 million, a 6.56 percent increase from the year before. It is part of the non-chocolate candy market, which had total sales of $6.87 billion.

3)      Black licorice is 50 times sweeter than sugar, and derives its botanical name from the Greek words meaning “sweet root.”

4)      Celebrities love Red Vines! Ryan Gosling, Snoop Dogg, Joshua Jackson, Jennette McCurdy and Magic Johnson are all fans of the classic licorice brand. Betty White even credits them with keeping her 91 years young.

5)      American Licorice Company has been producing in the San Francisco Bay Area for 33 years, and its Union City, Calif., factory values process before automation: The old press that delivers the dough to the first floor is still there, the second floor cook room has large kettles that fill the dough into the old large spiral ovens before being checked for quality and packaged. It also has production facilities in La Porte, Ind.

Happy Munching!! Remember you can pick up a package of Red Vines®, Snaps®, Sour Punch®, Super Ropes® and Natural Vines® candy pretty much anywhere candy is sold!!

Do You Love Licorice? Tell me your favorite Licorice memory! 

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: I was sent the packages pictured so I could celebrate National Licorice Day to it’s full potential–yes, lucky me–I get candy in the mail, it always makes me happy!! But all sweet princesses, candy induced memories and close up tasty shots are my own!

Nicole Elliott

Friday Food ~ Chocolate!!!

So this has become my *favorite* saying lately–True Story!!! Because, honestly, although we all know I’m on my quest to get *(even more) Slim & Trim there’s no way I’m ever going to get the point I give up chocolate! So when any company or any person or any *anything* for that matter asks me the question, “Would you like us to send you some chocolate?” The answer is a resounding Y E S !!!!

Recently I got the chance to try out two unique and exquisite looking chocolate bars from Chuao Chocolatier. When I posted an Instagram pic to Facebook it ensued a whole lot of “likes” and discussions of working for chocolate–haha! Also one of my friends mentioned that she’d tried their spicy maya and her hubby liked it but she had to get used to it first since it was such a different concept.

I’m not a spicy person–I’ve never understood the appeal of spicy food, to me it’s just hot and makes my mouth feel like it’s on fire–not tasty!! However I’m willing to try *just* about anything once (as my gagging down escargot…once…proved) so I decided to give the spicy maya bar a try!

I was pleased that it wasn’t nearly as hot as I thought it might be. The dark chocolate hits your taste buds first..yummmmm….then you get a nice little kick in the mouth in the form of a spicy aftertaste. The best thing I can liken it too is eating a gourmet dark chocolate covered hot tamale candy! What surprised me the most was that the kiddos–especially Tyler–*loved* it and they quickly polished off the rest of the bar when I offered them “a taste”. Haha!

I was *most* excited about trying out the Rocky Road bar! Whenever I see Rocky Road I instantly equate it with ice cream and it makes me super nostalgic to when my mom and I used to order it in Farson, Wyoming (if you’re ever driving up to Yellowstone National Park be *sure* to stop in Farson and get a cone/cup of ice cream!!!)

So anyways I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into my oh-so-sweet bar of memories! When I opened it up the first thing I noticed was the back of the bar–check it out! It was so funny to me to see all the goodies just “hanging out” Haha! The bar was absolutely delicious but I have to say that I think I would have liked it better if the marshmallows and almonds would have been chopped up and spread throughout the bar so that it wasn’t like I was just getting a bit of only marshmallow or only almond ever now and then. Since the ice cream has the “chunks” in it I can see how it feels more “legit” that way, but for some reason it just didn’t click with me as well!

Both bars were definitely a lot of fun and much more grown up and exciting than your checkout line variety! If you haven’t tried Chuao Chocolatier you will definitely have to!

Leave me a comment letting me know your thoughts on Spicy Chocolate and what the weirdest food you’ve ever tried is!!

Nicole Elliott

Friday Food ~ Campbell’s Go Soup

Campbell's Go Soup
I love the Go Soup hilarious packaging and all the different flavors they offer!

If you’ve been around these parts for long at all you’ll know that while I love providing my family home cooked meals  I also love me some “cheat night” dinners! Monday’s are usually leftover night here because Bob has school on Monday evenings and it’s so nice to have one night to not worry about cooking something! However since me and the kiddos also eat leftovers for lunch pretty much every day they have a tendency to feel a little “blah” after a bit!

Coconut Curry with Chicken

So when I was offered the chance to “give my taste buds a kick with bold flavors” I decided it would be a fun break from leftover night!! Happily Campbell’s Go Soup was just as easy to prepare as leftovers would have been–maybe a little easier! Just tear, heat up, and pour! (my kind of meal prep!!!)

Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms
Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms

There are six of different flavors to choose from:  Golden Lentil with Madras Curry,
Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas, Creamy Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda,
Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms,  Chicken & Quinoa with Poblano Chilies, & Spicy Chorizo & Pulled Chicken with Black Beans

 Golden Lentil with Madras Curry
Golden Lentil with Madras Curry

 So what did we think of the soup? This past Monday I tried out the Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms while the kids split the Golden Lentil with Madras Curry. The soup packs are the perfect size as they just fill a nice portioned bowl–perfect for one adult or two hungry kiddos! It makes a great “cheat night” meal or would be perfect for lunch on the go!

I enjoyed the Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms! It had a fun, flavorful, and “not boring” taste for soup out of a pouch! I especially loved the mushrooms-yum!! The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the chicken in the soup–for some reason chicken in canned or pouched soup just never tastes quite “right” to me-and this soup was no different. On the menu for next Monday night is the Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda which I have a feeling I’ll love even more! How did the soup go over with the kiddos? Well, let’s just say that the soup is advertised and targeted to those with bold and adventurous taste buds–all of which a picky toddler and two year old do not have–haha! I still enjoy having them try out new and different tastes though-in the hopes that exposure will lead to liking someday! 😉

Don’t forget to try out the “Random Text From Last Night” Mad Libs: Complete it to receive a $1 coupon for the product (try it out, it’s pretty funny!)

Have you tried the new Campbell’s Go Soup yet, if so let me know what your thoughts were in a comment! If not then tell me what your favorite “cheat night” meal is!

Nicole Elliott

Friday Food ~ Family Favorite Pork Chops

Family Favorite Pork Chops

In our family of four {picky} eaters it is a rare meal that we ALL love! In fact one of the only meals that fits this bill is this recipe–our Family Favorite Pork Chops! It’s one of my favorites because it’s super tasty AND super easy!

Boneless Pork Chops (I like to buy the thinner ones because they seem to cook faster and more evenly without the outside getting burnt before the inside is cooked)
Salt & Pepper
Lawry’s Season Salt
1 Egg
Bread or Cracker Crumbs
Onion Flakes
Oil (Olive or Canola)

Get 3 flat plates. Season flour (about 1/2 a cup–you can add more if needed) with salt and pepper and Lawry’s Season Salt. Place the flour on one plate. On another plate scramble one egg and add 2 TBSP Water. Crush bread or cracker crumbs and place on 3rd plate along with onion flakes (if you want a little more flavor). Dip pork chops in first the flour mixture, then the egg, then in crumbs.

In a medium skillet heat up 2-3 TBSP oil. Cook until outside is brown and inside is cooked through.

Serve with applesauce to dip the pork chop in (even if that sounds gross you really do have to try it, delicious!!)

 Do you have a favorite family recipe that’s easy? Let me know in the links or tell me what you think of this recipe!

Nicole Elliott