Today is National Cherry Pie Day! (And President's Day!)



I am deliciously delighted to announce that today, Monday Feb. 20, 2012 is National Cherry Pie Day! And if you have children, you are of course well aware that today is also President's Day.

My kids' school was closed on Friday and Monday. Hmm.  Didn't we use to have just one day off from school to celebrate both George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays? Maybe I am just getting old{er.} and am having memory issues.


But I digress.

In honor of both holidays, I suggest we all celebrate with a cherry pie and candles! And to get the party started, I found this sweet cherry pie recipe and decided I really should share!

Presidential Cherry Pie (recipe comes from KingArthurFlour.com):


Ingredients:

One prepared double pie crust or your own favorite recipe ( my hint: Pillsbury makes great & easy to use  refrigerated pie crusts!)
5 to 6 cups sour cherries, packed in water or individually quick frozen
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca or 1/2 cup Pie Filling Enhancer
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, optional

Directions:

Drain the cans of cherries, reserving 2/3 cup of water from one of them. Place the cherries and reserved liquid in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and tapioca or Pie Filling Enhancer. Stir this into the cherries until everything is evenly combined.

Stir in the almond extract and salt. If you're using tapioca, let the filling sit for 20 minutes before using it to fill the pie shell.

Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pan, and dot with butter, if desired.

Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. (my hint:  Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut slits in several places on top crust, or go all out and create that fancy lattice look!)

Place the pie on a parchment-lined (to catch any spills) baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Remove the pie from the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing, so the filling can set.

Serve warm, and please....Do Not Forget The Vanilla Ice ream!!

{Review} Kraft MilkBite Milk & Granola Bars: Got Milk? Now You Do!


I was recently asked to review Kraft MilkBite Milk & Granola Bars. I figured these would be just another granola bar, but became very intrigued when I read that each bar provides the same calcium as an 8oz. glass of milk.

Milk. 

That ingredient alone made me super happy to give these new granola bars a try. You see, in our house I have a 5 year old, seven year old and a 14 year old. And all three of my kids steadfastly refuse to drink milk without first battling me about it. Or unless it comes with a bowl of sugary cereal. And I have to admit as well, I do not drink enough milk either. So yes, I was eager to try these new granola bars out!



When they arrived, they were packed in a cold container with instructions to keep refrigerated. Granola bars that need refrigeration. Interesting. We received a package of the chocolate and a package of the strawberry flavors. Before they had made it into the refrigerator my two youngest started sampling them. Let me just say that the package of the Chocolate MilkBite Granola Bars would have never made it to our refrigerator at all if I had not stepped in and removed them from my sons' hands. I did manage a couple of bites myself, and they are good. Very good!

When my daughter arrived home I had her try out the Strawberry flavored MilkBite Bars, and again, they were given two thumbs up. She also tried some of the chocolate, but hands down she preferred the Strawberry. I was especially delighted to see her enjoy these as she is actually a far pickier eater than my two little boys.

As far as nutrition,  Kraft MilkBite Milk & Granola Bars are made with real milk and calcium, making them an excellent source of calcium with 30% of the daily recommended value. Each  bar provides 5g of protein, 7g of whole grains, and is a good source of Vitamin D and fiber. More good news-  there is no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives in these bars!  I have to say I feel really good about giving these to my kids for snacks. They love the taste and they are getting the calcium they need without any fighting! It's a win-win.

You can find the new Kraft MilkBite Milk & Granola Bars in the refrigerated dairy aisle. They are available in Chocolate, Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin and Mixed Berry.

Suggested retail price for a box of (5) Bars is $3.49.

Visit MilkBite.com for more information about Kraft MilkBite Milk & Granola Bars!

  Kraft provided free samples to facilitate this review. All opinions stated here are based on my family's experience with this product, and are 100% mine.

Hearts, Valentine's Day & Sharing the Love



Need a last minute Valentine's Day gift idea? We love this adorable hearts t-shirt from OffOurChests.com - a perfect Valentine's Day gift for any little cherub in your life! Not only does this convey a great reminder to kids to love themselves -  for every tee sold, the designer will donate a storybook to an underprivileged child!

Definitely one sweet way to celebrate Valentine's Day!


The Camry 'Effect a Friend' Giveaway



Toyota is giving away a brand new 2012 Toyota Camry on Superbowl Sunday! And the winner will have the opportunity to 'gift' a friend with their own new 2012 Camry as well! A prize that’s valued at about $53,000. Sweet, right?

Through their new social media initiative, The Camry Effect, Toyota hopes to give the nearly seven million Camry owners in this country a platform to share their stories, moments and memories from over the past 30 years, since the vehicle was first introduced in America. And as a kick-off to the promotion, Toyota will air the first commercial of "The Camry Effect" campaign, called "Connections," Sunday Feb.5.

During the commercial, viewers can enter the Toyota Camry Giveaway by using their smart phone with the free Shazam app, or after the commercial by entering online at the Toyota website.  

But guess what? Toyota has let me know that my readers can start entering the contest right away. You do not have to wait until Sunday when the official commercial airs - you can go right now and view the 'connections' commercial online at  Toyota.com/camryeffect and enter the giveaway once each day between now and Sunday (2/01-2/05.) You can also watch the ad online on YouTube and use Shazam to enter.

The sweepstakes will end with a winner being notified on Sunday night (Feb.5) and a public announcement soon following. 

For more information and official rules, go here.

Good Luck to everyone who enters!