My first Influenster review: Sargento Cheese

My review!!

I was picked to review the Sargento Cheese VoxBox. I received this cute little box in mail.

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This is what it looked like when I opened it:
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There was a voucher for a free Sargento Cheese product, a coupon and a little gift… an insulated cheese stick holder!!

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It’s so cute! I think it’s a good idea too. Nothing sucks more than a warm, mushy, string cheese!

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With my voucher I got a free package of Sargento String Cheese. Yum! I was already a fan of string cheese so this was nice to receive!

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Opinion: We already enjoy Saregento string cheese. It’s our favorite brand! My husband and I take them with our lunches and my 2 year old daughter loves them at snack time. I would recommend them and they taste delicious!

So now that you read my review let me tell you a little bit about how this came about.

I recently signed up for a program called Influenster. I was invited by a fellow blogger. Influenster is a product testing site where you fill out short surveys to earn badges and depending on your interests (based on your badges) and level of activity you can qualify to receive and review a VoxBox.  A VoxBox is a box that has at least one kind of product and possibly several different items from different brands. When you qualify to receive a VoxBox you are informed via email. You are encouraged to share your thoughts and experiences on any social media sites that you are active on. I’ve seen some amazing boxes… with makeup and other fun products. I hope to get one soon 🙂

Here is a brief description of Influenster from their website:

What Is Influenster?

Influenster is a free -to-join community of invited trendsetters who live to give opinions of products and experiences. Influenster creates links between brands and members to reward participation and influence future products.

I do have 5 invites available for anyone waiting to join. I just ask that you are ready and willing to participate and review products! Just let me know in the comments section or send me a message!

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Pizza Pasta

Pizza pasta is my super easy go-to meal

 

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1  12 oz box of penne pasta (I use Ronzoni garden pasta*)
1  jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I’m super picky and the Aldi brand doesn’t have onions… they use onion powder)
1  3.5 oz package of pepperoni
2  cups of Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350º

Cook pasta and drain water

9×13 casserole dish or pan of your choosing

Spread a little bit of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer in order half the pasta, pepperoni, spaghetti sauce and cheese. Layer the remaining half of all the ingredients.

Place in oven and cook until golden brown about 15 to 20 minutes.

*The Ronzoni pasta has a half of serving of vegetables per 2oz. My toddler doesn’t always like eating her veggies but loves pasta. I feel better about her eating it since they are made with carrots, spinach and tomatoes.
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You’re the only ten I see…

Are you from Tennessee? ‘Cause you’re the only TEN I SEE!

I thought I say 10 quick things about my trip to Tennessee last week.

1. I was sent to Tennessee last week to do some training for my new job. BTW I am super excited to get back into the workforce part-time!

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2. Since the company I am now working for wanted me to fly out of state for training… I did. I hadn’t been on a plane in a while and I was nervous. Luckily, the flight was good and I made it safe.

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3. It was hard to leave my babies for 2 days but I did it, and they were just fine. I gave them lots of kisses and my hubby too!

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4. The company I work for is very accommodating to breastfeeding mothers. They had a mother’s room for me to be able to pump while I was there and they let me break as much as I needed.
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5. I have family in Tennessee and was able to meet up with some of them. So nice to meet up with family that you don’t get to see that often.
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6. Nashville is a beautiful place and had lots of fun things to look at. My Great Uncle took me around the city and showed me some cool places.
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6. My cousin Joe is a barber. He owns his own shop and is pretty awesome! I was able to visit it… pretty cool. I would of course recommend any guy looking to for that old school barber shop experience to stop by. Not many places do it like he does anymore.
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7. Monell’s. Family style southern cooking. AMAZING! If you are in Nashville you need to go there! The restaurant is in an old house. So good.

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8. The Cupcake Collection. We heard so many wonderful things about this cupcake shop so we had to go check it out. We got there close to the end of the day so they didn’t have as big of a selection as I would have liked. That being said… what I did have was awesome! It was a nice treat to bring home to the family. My husband liked the sweet potato one the best and I liked the strawberry. I got a red velvet and triple chocolate as well. They were all yummy.
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9. I totally got an alcoholic drink while out of town. I’m a Mom and I’m nursing so this was a treat! Blueberry margarita… one drink and I didn’t even have to skip a pump!
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10. Overall, my trip was pretty great. I’m excited about my new career and I was happy to get out of town for a couple of days. I truly missed my girls though. Nothing tops…
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Pickle Time

I made my first batch of pickles this weekend! I planted 3 cucumber plants this year and I am going to be busy the next few weeks. Needless to say I will only plant 2 next year…. they are totally out of control!  In the past I’ve tried my own recipe for dill pickles and it wasn’t so great. I love to experiment with food… it’s totally my thing but, not with pickles. I’ll add hot peppers to make them spicy but besides that I use Mrs. Wages kosher dill mix. The flavor is good and everyone seems to enjoy them. They have other kinds of pickle mix as well. I totally want to try the zesty bread and butter mix and I think I will this summer.

I just follow the directions on the back of the package (see below). It is kind of hit and miss with the amount of cucumbers I may have. If I don’t have enough for all the pickle mix that it makes I either discard it or refrigerate it (if I’m going to use it in the next few days).

Packing the cucumbers in the jars. Three big jars and three little ones.

Packing the cucumbers in the jars. Three big jars and three little ones.

Getting the pickle mix and  the canning pot ready

Getting the pickle mix and the canning pot ready

Cucumbers and pickle juice in jars. Lids put on and in the boiling water.

Cucumbers and pickle juice in jars. Lids put on and in the boiling water.

Waiting for the lids to pop!

Waiting for the lids to pop!

Just a side note: technically you aren’t suppose to put that canning pot on a glass stove top. I haven’t had any problems but, just a disclaimer I wanted to put that out there.

Also, I added serrano peppers to 4 out of the 6 jars to make spicy pickles.

Here is the actual directions on the back of the package:

My favorite pickle mix

My favorite pickle mix

Directions from the package
9-11 lbs pickling cucumbers (about 50 – 3 to 4 inches)
3 1/3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
7 1/3 cups water
1 pouch Mrs. Wages Kosher Dill Pickles Mix
Yield: 7 quarts

PREPARE and PROCESS home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions for sterilized jars.

WASH cucumbers and remove blossoms; drain. Leave whole, cut into spears or slice.

COMBINE Kosher Dill Mix, vinegar and water into a large non-reactive pot. Do not use aluminum. Bring mixture just to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture dissolves.

PACK cucumbers into sterilized jars, leaving ½-inch of headspace. Evenly divide hot pickling liquid among the packed jars, leaving ½-inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and cap each jar as it is filled. If more liquid is needed for proper headspace, add a mix of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water.

PROCESS pints 5* minutes, quarts 10*minutes, in a boiling water bath canner. Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer’s directions. If jars do not completely seal, refrigerate and consume within two weeks.

Product is ready to eat after 24 hours. Before serving, chill to enhance flavor and crispness.

*Process time listed is for altitudes less than 1000 feet. At altitudes of 1000 feet or more increase processing time 1 minute for each 1000 feet of altitude.

I ordered my canning pot from Amazon. It’s not the best and most expensive but, it works just fine! You can find it here if you are looking for a pretty inexpensive one to get started.

Dump Cake

Dump cake is one of those easy recipes that always goes over well at functions. It’s cheap to make and tastes awesome.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 Box of yellow cake mix

1 can of crushed pineapple

1 can of cherry pie filling

1 stick of butter

3/4c Pecans (optional)

Mix Cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple undrained together in the bottom of the pan

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Sprinkle pecans on top

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Spread unmade cake mix on top of cherry/pineapple/pecan

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Slice butter and try to distribute evenly…

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Put it in the oven until golden brown. About 30 minutes

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Adapted from my bestie Margaret!

Brinner

This week we’ve had breakfast for dinner twice and it’s only Wednesday! It’s a nice change because sometimes I feel like I cook the same thing over and over again.

Monday night we had a breakfast casserole. It was the bomb!

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Frozen biscuit breakfast casserole

1 lb breakfast sausage cooked and drained
7 eggs
2  cups milk
8 frozen biscuits, slightly thawed and split
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray your pan with cooking spray

Whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Cut each biscuit in half .  Place one half of each biscuit in baking dish.

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Top with half of the cooked sausage and half of the cheese.

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Place the remaining biscuit halves on top of cheese and cover with remaining sausage and cheese.  Pour egg mixture over biscuits.

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Bake 30-40 minutes.

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Note: I have made this at night because I had all the ingredients and I didn’t let it refrigerate. It was one of those nights were I forgot to take anything out so I threw this together… It was still awesome!! I do recommend for it be in the fridge for at least an hour and preferably overnight for best results.

Tonight we had Blueberry Bacon pancakes!

 Yes, that is correct. Fresh blueberries and bacon cooked into the pancakes… I made my husband a smiley face pancake with hair!

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They were awesome as usual. Sweet and salty and DELICIOUS!

Breakfast casserole adapted from Plain Chicken