Category - Food & Beverage

Tweetsie Visit Spring #Giveaway

Happy amusement park season!! If you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter you know that my family just got back from an exciting trip to Disneyland with Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and had a blast.

The B family is no stranger to visiting theme parks and amusement parks, we’ve been all over the country between myself and the girls and of course DaddyB aka CoasterCritic and have our clear favorite and other parks that don’t necessarily live up to the hype.

All four of us were able to visit Tweetsie Railroad in North Carolina last year and really enjoyed our visit. I love how family-oriented and wholesome this park is and even that it’s nestled in the mountains. If you want to read about our previous visit head here: Family Getaway: Tweetsie Railroad Review.

Tweetsie Collage

We are excited about another visit this Spring/Summer and know the girls will enjoy it even more this year since Lil C is bigger. While we don’t live close enough to get our own Season Pass, I typically recommend if people think they’ll visit more than once that they consider getting one because of the perks and value.

A 2014 Golden Rail Season Pass to Tweetsie includes:

  • A full season of adventure from Wild West train rides, amusement rides, live entertainment and the Deer Park Habitat
  • Free admission to all special events including: Day Out With Thomas, the Ghost Train® Halloween Festival, SpongeBob Squarepants, Cool Summer Nights evenings (July 5, 12, 19 and 26), Railroad Heritage weekends and more!
  • Free parking for the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, the High Country¹s most popular Independence Day celebration

Season Pass holders also receive discounts at other North Carolina family attractions including:

  • Biltmore Estate
  • Chimney Rock Park
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Mast General Store
  • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
  • Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock

Tweetsie Railroad is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, including Memorial Day. Starting May 30th through August 17th the park will run seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., returning to the weekend schedule from August 18 through November 2, including Labor Day. *With the exception of a few holidays (see website for full schedule and details before visiting.)

Season passes are now available at a special rate of $80 for adults and $55 for children ages 3 through 12. After April 27, rates increase to $90 for adults and $65 for children. Children 2 and under are admitted free.

Daily admission to Tweetsie Railroad is $39 for adults and $26 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Tickets and Golden Rail Season Passes are available at Tweetsie.com.

For more information about the 2014 season at Tweetsie Railroad, visit Tweetsie.com or call 877.TWEETSIE (877.893.3874). Find Tweetsie on Facebook or follow Tweetsie on Twitter @TweetsieRR.

If you are closeby or planning a visit to North Carolina, I highly recommend that you and your family visit Tweetsie Railroad, there’s something for the whole family whether it’s rides, performances, seeing the steam engine, mining, or visiting the petting zoo. It’s easy to spend an entire fun-filled day here.

In honor of their season opening Tweetsie Railroad is giving one lucky MommyB Knows Best reader the chance to win a 4-pack of daily admission tickets. *Does not include special holiday/events

Enter here to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is not a compensated post, however we received complimentary visit tickets to allow to give our honest opinions on the park. All opinions expressed in this post are honest and my own words. Your opinion may vary.

Gluten Free – Cosmos Creations Snacks {Guest Review}

One of the things I’ve learned as a mom of a toddler is to always carry a snack with you wherever you go. I try to look for portable snacks for my daughter that are also healthy too, so I was excited to test out these “premium puffed corn” snacks made by Cosmo Creations. I tested out 3 flavors: Sea Salt & Butter, Aged Cheddar & Cracked Pepper, and Coconut Crunch

Cosmos Creation Snacks MommyB

The Good

[checklist]

  • Non-GMO Corn– Genetically modified foods has become a huge health peril in today’s society, so its refreshing to see a product with non-GMO ingredients
  • Gluten Free– I have several friends with gluten intolerance, so being madewithout gluten allows more people to consume the product.
  • Less than 100 calories– You’ve all seen those 100 calorie snack packs on the shelf. These even have less calories than that, ranging from 60-90 calories per package.
  • Flavor– The flavors of the Sea Salt & Butter, as well as the Coconut Crunch were very pleasant. The texture of the Butter flavor reminded me of a light rice cake, whereas the coconut crunch was like a hybrid between crunchy cereal and a macaroon. Both were quite addicting and my daughter enjoyed the snack as much as I did!
  • Availability– According to the company website (cosmoscreations.com),  they are currently sold in Sam’s Clubs around the US and other retailers and expanding. You can do a search on their website for the closest retailer to you.
  • Portability– The individual serving size bags are perfect to throw in a purse orlunch box!

[/checklist]

The Bad

[badlist]

  • Salt– The Aged Cheddar & Black Pepper flavor has 160mg of sodium, and honestly all I could taste was the salt. As a person who likes cheddar popcorn products, I was disappointed with how the salt overwhelmed the flavor.
  • No Artificial Ingredients?– The label promotes “no artificial ingredients”, but the Aged Cheddar flavor has over 20 ingredients and includes things like “cheese powders” and disodium phosphate. By definition, no artificial ingredients means nothing was synthetically processed, but I’ve learned that this doesn’t make it automatically healthy or natural.
  • Sugar– While the coconut crunch tasted great, it was very sweet. As a mom, I like to watch how much sugar I give my child, and 2 out of the first 4 ingredients in the coconut crunch flavor is sugary substances- cane sugar and corn syrup.

[/badlist]

Overall

Generally speaking, I liked this product. While it raises some red flags if we are nit-picking ingredients and nutrition labels, they are doing a lot of things right to make this a solid product. It is a really good option for kids as an alternative to chips or even beloved fish crackers. Its equally a good, low calorie snack option for adults, one that tastes good and is actually quite addicting.

What are your favorite gluten free snacks?

I received review samples in order to provide you with my honest opinion on the products and fully test them out. All opinions written in this post are my own, honest thoughts. Your opinions may vary. 

imageMelissa is a Communication Studies graduate of Clemson University. She recently traded in her human resources job for the best and most challenging career of all, being a stay-at-home mom. She loves coffee, cooking, crafting, and watching football. Melissa is also a former National Champion baton twirler and currently teaches baton lessons and judges baton twirling competitions across the nation. She recently launched the Honeybee Homemaker blog about her faith, family, and fun kitchen endeavors.

twitter.com/clemsonfeature

honeybeehomemaker.blogspot.com

A New Way to Get Your Kids to Drink their Milk

This is a sponsored post on behalf MilkSplash.

Ever feel like this???

 

Hilarious right? Unless it’s completely true. Miss A is an avid milk drinker, but Lil’ C on the other hand not so much, but regardless we like to make our meals fun and often eat purple pancakes, turn our veggies into landscapes, and add flavor and color to our milk with MilkSplash.

MilkSplash+Logo-02-medium

MilkSplash is an innovative new milk flavoring that is perfect for busy parents who want their kids to drink more milk. MilkSplash has zero calories and it allows kids to enjoy milk on their own terms. MilkSplash is also working on an all natural version!

MilkSplash comes in a variety of great-tasting flavors, colors and collectible characters such as Cocoa Loco, Sir Strawberry Swirl™, Orange Cream Dream, Cookies ‘N Cream and Jammin’ Banana – with many more to come.

MilkSplash_lineup_5

 We were able to sample Cocoa Loco and Sir Strawberry Swirl™. The products were easy to use {although being the Type-A mom that I am I’d recommend parents helping smaller kids squeeze MilkSplash into the milk for little ones}, and Miss A loved the taste of both flavors. I personally like that there are zero calories, and as with anything would love to try the all natural version once that comes out too.

MilkSplash New Product MommyB Review

As a mom, I would recommend MilkSplash whether you’re trying to get a non-milk drinking kiddo to finish up their cup or if you want to have a little food fun like us. Check out MilkSplash.com to see the flavors and where you can find them on shelves in a store near you.

MilkSplash is giving 2 lucky readers a chance to win MilkSplash samples and a $25 Target Gift Card.

Enter here to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received samples and a gift card to write this post, however any opinions expressed in this post are my own. Your opinions may vary.

La Tagliatella Restaurant – Charlotte Food Review {Giveaway}

It isn’t often that we visit the Epicenter in Charlotte, NC as a family even though we only live about 15 minutes away. I’ll admit sometimes I’m intimidated by parking or the thought of huge crowds, but as we ventured out on Sunday evening to visit La Tagliatella Charlotte, my fears were quickly whisked away. We found paid parking pretty quickly and realized there weren’t masses of people at the Epicenter. (We also chose a little earlier dinner in case it did get busier later.)

The last time I had been at the Epicenter was for the review screening of Oz, and it was neat to see so many new restaurants in the area including La Tagliatella.

La Tagliatella is a restaurant that specializes in….you guessed it, Italian cuisine. They have 6 locations in the US and over 100 restaurants globally. My family and I had the opportunity to visit their new Charlotte location for this review. Here are our thoughts:

The decor was outstanding. If you’re looking for an authentic-looking Italian restaurant La Tagliatella is that. Here are a few pictures I took of the map of Italy, the open kitchen, and restaurant:

La Tagliatella Charlotte Decor MommyB

We had the awesome opportunity to try a sampling of the menu which for us included:

La Tagliatella Review by MommyB

Appetizers

Focaccia bread This dish was layered to resemble the Italian flag, green olives, white onions, and red sun-dried tomatoes. This appetizer was crispy, but not dry. I don’t know if I’d normally order it off of the menu, but would love this included in the table service, maybe even one of each cut into smaller bites for guests to try out while they wait.

Carpaccio Pepe Nero – Beef tenderloin seasoned with black pepper, finished with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The carpaccio was fresh and nicely seasoned. DaddyB had another first since his sushi experience when he tried this dish and he enjoyed it. I loved the dish, it melted in my mouth, and I would totally order this with friends next time I visit.

Entrees

Napoletano Brochette – Skewered pork tenderloin, solé di Puglia tomatoes, balsamic onions layered with fresh whole leaf basil and served with a special Tagliatella sauce and fried gnocchi.

This dish is a favorite on the La Tagliatella menu and we completely agree.

I am not a huge fan of pork but DaddyB loves it and we both found this dish to be impressive the way it was displayed but more importantly the pork tenderloin was beyond flavorful and so tender. Well done and we both agreed we loved the pork. The pork is skewered with tomatoes, onions, and basil, I personally would have prefered mushrooms and smaller onions that were easier to eat, but again the pork was outstanding. Dining tip: We let this dish sit a little while we ate our other dishes and wished we would have eaten it as soon as it came out so it was a little warmer.

We had never tried gnocchi, but it reminded me of a mini breadstick. I don’t think any of us loved the gnocchi, but it wasn’t bad either.

Tagliatella Pizza – Tomato, mozzarella, fried eggplant, Parmigiano-Reggiano drizzled with honey and aceto balsamico.

I’m not going to lie, when this first came to our table I was a little nervous about trying it. I did notice and love how thin the crust was on this pizza and do enjoy balsamic, and much to my surprise, (really) this pizza was DELICIOUS. Even DaddyB tried and liked it. The flavors of the honey, Parmigiano-Reggiano, eggplant and balsamic really play off each other and combined taste amazing. I would definitely get this as my first choice for pizza when we go again. Definitely one to try on the menu if you visit.

Kids Food

The kids menu offers a good selection of kid-sized portions and child-friendly foods like pasta and pizza among other dishes.

Our girls are very different when it comes to food preferences, Miss A (6.5 years old) prefers plain foods (ie no sauce, mild flavor), and Lil’ C, (4 years old) couldn’t be more different, she prefers bold flavors and likes more vegetarian based foods.

We ordered the kids pasta and cheese pizza for our kiddos and both of them respectively loved their food. Even DaddyB enjoyed some of Lil’ C’s pasta and really enjoyed the pasta sauce. If your child does not like mild spice make sure you mention that to your server when they take your order.

Dessert

Of course every meal needs to end with dessert. Funny story – when we were done with our meal our server, Sergio {who was beyond friendly}, asked if we needed anything else, and our outgoing Lil’ C promptly, but with manners, said, “Yes please, can we have dessert.”

I know most parents of kids that aren’t shy have experienced this moment when all they can do is laugh nervously. Of course La Tagliatella was more than happy to accommodate her sweet tooth and of course I wouldn’t turn down a delicious dessert, especially seeing they had my favorite, Tiramisu on their menu.

The girls enjoyed Mascarpone Ice Cream with Cioccolato and DaddyB and I shared the Tiramisú Mousse. Dining Tip: If you order the Tiramisú Mousse, make sure you scoop to the bottom of your dish. The first 10 bites of my dish were “okay” because I didn’t realize I wasn’t experiencing the full dish with espresso and lady fingers, but once I realized that this dessert was right on par to enhance my love for this italian dessert favorite.

Favorite Dishes at La Tagliatella

Overall our visit was great and while we found some dishes we didn’t love, we liked everything we ate and did find some dishes that we absolutely loved. We noticed the restaurant seemed a little slow, but the entire area seemed a little quiet in general. My husband called it “sleepy Charlotte”. But next time you avoid the Epicenter because you think it will be masses of people and you’ll have to wait hours to get a table, think again, unless of course it’s Queen’s Feast or another big event.

I would recommend La Tagliatella for families wanting to dine out, sit down, enjoy a meal and an experience. Portions are large enough to share, and depending on what you order pricing can range but in my opinion well worth the price and similar to our typical dining out bill.

Check out La Tagliatella online: www.latagliatella.us and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LaTagliatellaEpicentre

La Tagliatella Charlotte wants you to try out their food and is offering 2 lucky MommyBKnowsBest.com readers a chance to win a free pizza from their restaurant (I suggest the Tagliatella pizza). Enter here to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We received a complimentary meal in order to review this restaurant. This is not a paid post and all thoughts expressed in this post are our honest opinions, yours may vary.

 

Tips for Trying Sushi for the First Time and Experiencing New Things at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte

DaddyB and I were invited to check out The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar in the SouthPark area of Charlotte, NC last weekend. Yes, you heard right, we had a date night. Though in the past there have been years between our dates out of the house now that we have an amazing babysitter and the girls are older we really enjoy a great night out.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Restaurant Review MommyB

This was a very interesting visit for us as DaddyB has never tried sushi, ever, and I am allergic to shellfish so have to be selective about what I can and cannot eat. We were excited for the challenge and fully embraced it and had confidence that a restaurant loved by so many in the area would not disappoint.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte Review MommyB

When we first walked into The Cowfish we noticed the fun atmosphere immediately as familiar music from our young adulthood played, and conversation filled the room. Once we were sat at our table we were able to soak in the eclectic hints of decor in the room. I personally loved the giant sized bento box:

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte MommyB

Be forewarned, the menu at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is HUGE, both literally and in content of menu items. If you’re someone who takes a long time to order you may want to check out their menu ahead of time online. Our waiter Brandon however, really knew the menu and was able to tell us quickly about items and was amazing at answering all of our many questions about ingredient dishes, and his recommendations.

We shared delicious truffle fries {a must order}, but when it came to our entrees we decided to try a little bit of both worlds that The Cowfish offers. As I mentioned DaddyB has never tried sushi at all so he got the famous Fusion Specialty Bento Box that includes sushi, a mini burger, and awesome sides including my favorite thai cucumbers. I decided to go with a diner favorite The Deliverance Roll – Southern Style Bar-B-Q-shi, which included delicious bbq pulled pork, a really cool potato wrap and was topped with bacon coleslaw.

The Cowfish Restaurant Charlotte MommyB

If you’ve never eaten sushi, here are a few tips for trying sushi for the first time:

1. Start with a “beginner roll”. Consider starting with a roll that doesn’t include raw fish like the California Roll {Daddy B started his meal with an intermediate roll and liked it, but wasn’t ready for the texture.}

2. Choose a roll that offers a tempura {light batter} or a flavorful drizzle to enhance the flavor of the roll.

3. Consider a fusion restaurant like The Cowfish, that offers familiar ingredients alongside new ingredients. This will give more confidence in experiencing new foods.

Speaking of experiencing new foods, this truly was our night for doing just that! Not only did DaddyB try sushi for the first time, but we were also able to sample some of the unique ingredients that The Cowfish has to offer. Check this out, we had flavor infused Masago {fish eggs}, with wasabi, citrus, soy, and sriracha. {My favorite was the citrus flavor.} We also got a “sneak peek” at the newest wasabi-infused micro greens. I must say this was one of the coolest things I’ve eaten in a while. They taste like micro greens at first but then as you chew a burst of the wasabi flavor comes out. I’d love to see this paired with a dish.

New Foods at The Cowfish Charlotte MommyB

Our experience at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar was filled with fun, new experiences, unique and tasty food. If I had to change anything about our night out I would have loved my food to be a little hotter {I like my food on the warmer side of the spectrum (ask DaddyB, he thinks I’m funny)}. Other than that, seriously the ambiance, outstanding service, and price of our date night were just as sweet as our yummy fortune cookie-crusted dessert.

Thanks The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar Charlotte MommyB

Have you ever had fusion sushi before??? What are your favorite sushi dishes?

This is not a compensated post, we received a complimentary meal in order to give our honest thoughts on the restaurant, services, and food offerings. These are our opinions based on the above experience, however your experiences may vary.

Green Mac & Cheese the Kids Will Love

Strolling through Costco the other day, my one-year-old daughter and I passed by the bulk pack of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Immediately, she shouts “noodles” at the top of her lungs and attempts to dive out of the shopping cart, lunging toward the macaroni.

I put her and the box of mac & cheese securely in our cart and chuckled a bit to myself as we continued down the aisle. I can definitely relate to her reaction- who doesn’t love some classic macaroni and cheese?

While we often buy the blue box stuff, sometimes it’s fun to mix up the standard mac & cheese and give it a healthy, homemade twist. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, I thought my daughter might enjoy a green mac & cheese.

Healthy Green Mac & Cheese the Kids Will Love MommyB

She was excited to devour these “green noodles” (as she calls them), made with quality ingredients like whole grain noodles and spinach, and full of color and flavor that surely appeals to the younger crowd.

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe Ingredients MommyB

Ingredients

  • 1 box (12oz,) whole grain noodles (I recommend a thicker-style noodle, such as spirals, elbows, shells, or ziti)
  • 1 package Mac and Cheese Blend shredded cheese (I have found this at both Target and Food Lion. If you can’t find it at your store, any cheddar blend will work. I have also made this with 6-Cheese Italian Blend for an Italian twist-delicious!)
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cook spinach according to package directions.

2. Cook pasta in boiling water, according to package directions.

3. In a blender or food processor, combine milk, ½ cup of the cooked spinach, garlic powder, nutmeg, and salt/pepper. Puree until completely blended and smooth.

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe Blend MommyB

4. In a sauté pan over medium/medium-low heat, melt butter, then whisk in flour.

5. Slowly pour in milk-spinach mixture, whisking constantly. Allow sauce to thicken slightly.

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe Prep MommyB

6. Add cheese, one small handful at a time, whisking in a figure-8 motion until the cheese has dissolved into the sauce.

7. Adjust seasoning as desired.

8. Combine sauce and noodles and serve. (Tip: I would add sauce one ladle-full at a time to the noodles so your noodles won’t drown in too much sauce)

Green Mac & Cheese Recipe MommyB

Bonus Tip

Extra sauce can be frozen for future use. I usually freeze it in ice cube trays, creating individual 1oz. servings of sauce. Then, I will simply microwave a few cubes to top a quick side serving of pasta or even vegetables!

 

imageMelissa is a Communication Studies graduate of Clemson University. She recently traded in her human resources job for the best and most challenging career of all, being a stay-at-home mom. She loves coffee, cooking, crafting, and watching football. Melissa is also a former National Champion baton twirler and currently teaches baton lessons and judges baton twirling competitions across the nation. She recently launched the Honeybee Homemaker blog about her faith, family, and fun kitchen endeavors.

twitter.com/clemsonfeature

honeybeehomemaker.blogspot.com

How to Show Your #disneyside Princess Style

It’s no secret that we love to have parties and playdates, but having two girls a princess party is a must! We’ve thrown a Sofia the First Princess party, and a Princess Birthday party for Lil’ C and of course many princess dress-up parties in our time.

Realizing that all of our #disneyside attendees were going to be girls, {we wish we could have invited millions of friends but with the party limits and space inside our house, only Disneyland could have held us all}, our obvious choice for party theme was a princess party. Don’t worry though, we had plenty of Mickey, Minnie, and the gang too.

How to Show your #disneyside Princess Style MommyB

Here’s our recipe for a great #disneyside party:

A Spoonful of Beautiful Princesses:

#disneyside princesses MommyB

and some Disney pals, including one of the new Disney Princess Palace Pets exclusively from Build-a-Bear Workshop. Pumpkin, who is Cinderella’s Palace Pet friend can now be made at Build-a-Bear Workshop and you can win a Build-A-Bear gift card at the end of this post to make your own!

Disney Princess Palace Pets and #disneyside friends MommyB

A Heaping Helping of delicious drinks and snacks:

Heaping Helping of Delicious #disneyside Drinks & Snacks MommyB

Our snacks included:

  • Disney Princess Fruit Snacks and “Snow White” bunny gummies
  • Pepperoni and Ritz cracker Mickey heads (with cheese because every mouse loves cheese)
  • Pink Princess Punch {aka strawberry lemonade} in our Mickey-fied Aladdin mason jar.
  • Mickey themed cupcake liners filled with Craisins
  • Hidden Mickey kid-friendly snacks and veggies in black round bowls
  • Hidden Mickey cupcakes*
  • Mini Mickey cupcakes*
  • #Disneyside Mickey cookies*
  • Mickey chocolate cake pops *

* Thanks to Cupcrazed Cakery for providing the delicious baked goods, the moms and princesses loved them and even got to take their cake pops home, some of them shared with siblings too! These treats were amazing!

A dash of decorations, crafts, games, and goodie bags:

#disneyside princess party mommyB

Our guests got their photos taken in front of the Mickey and Gang Step and Repeat, chose their favorite Disney Princess tattoo, made Disney inspired t-shirts from Hanes brand, {of course most of the shirts featured Mickey and favorite princesses}, listened to the Disney Frozen soundtrack, played Disney trivia and Disney Bingo, and of course left the party with some pretty cute purple and pink princess swag including headband crowns, star wand lollipops, and a variety of Disney goodies.

We had so much fun with our friends and had a blast showing our princess #disneyside. I can’t wait to take the girls to Disneyland as a part of the Disney Social Media Moms Conference in April. They will be beyond excited to visit and DaddyB and I can’t wait either.

We want to know, how do you show your #disneyside???

As promised, here’s your chance to show your #disneyside with Build-a-Bear Workshop, enter to win a $25 gift card and be sure to check out their new Disney Princess Palace Pets friends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks to BSM Media, Walt Disney World Resorts & Parks, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Cupcrazed Cakery, SmartFab, Aladdin for helping us with our #disneyside celebration and share it with friends.

New Coffee Brewing Technology – Remington iCoffee Review

I don’t know whether you’re a tea drinker or a coffee drinker, or neither, but I’m definitely a coffee drinker. It wasn’t until December of 2012 that I really would consider myself a full-fledged “coffee drinker”.

Typically I brew my cups of joe with a single-cup coffee maker and choose exotic flavors since I like my coffee sweet. I love both big name coffee retailers Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, but being from the North I miss Tim Horton’s and would die for the day that Tim Horton’s and Wegmans moved to North Carolina… {just in case anyone is listening}.

Recently, I had the opportunity to test out iCoffee, a coffee maker that uses “SteamBrew™ technology to create “impossibly smooth” tasting coffee”. Please keep in mind I am a “coffee drinker”, but not a, “coffee connoisseur”.

Remington iCoffee Review by MommyBKnowsBest

Things I like about iCoffee:

[crosslist]

  • Little to no assembly. I took the packaging off the product, added the filter to the coffee carafe, and plugged in. {After that you can set the clock, and brew or schedule a future pot of coffee.}
  • Technologically cool product. My girls loved the sounds of the brewing system and the fact that you could see the ground coffee brewing inside the machine.
  • Optional filter to remove any fine coffee grounds. You don’t have to buy filters for the iCoffee so that’s a little less waste than the single-cup coffee makers and traditional coffee makers as well.

[/crosslist]

Things I didn’t like about iCoffee:

[badlist]

  • Harder to brew a single cup of coffee. Just like a traditional coffee brewer, yes you can brew just one cup of coffee, but it’s not as convenient as making a whole pot, especially with the filter system.
  • Clean-up is a pain. I’m grateful for the reduced waste that iCoffee offers, but at the same time clean-up is definitely more work with the iCoffee filter system.

[/badlist]

Overall thoughts:

  • We try not to have too many large appliances on our countertops, but I must say that the iCoffee is about the same size as my single-cup coffee maker although it seems larger because of the shape of the brewer.
  • The iCoffee is said to brew the coffee in a unique way using SteamBrew™ technology to extract a smooth coffee taste and remove the bitter, acidic flavor, honestly I brewed a few cups, because I couldn’t figure out the water to coffee ratio (suggestions from the company would have come in handy), and didn’t notice a substantial difference in traditionally or single-cup machine brewed coffees. {Again with my single-cup I opt for flavored coffees and did not use a flavored coffee for this review.}
  • Price point for iCoffee is similar or a little less than some single-cup brewers on the market, and if you’re looking for something different iCoffee definitely is that.

 

I would say unless you are a coffee connoisseur or are gifting this to someone who is, it may not be worth the money to purchase the iCoffee since you may not notice the difference or taste the crema smoothness that iCoffee is said to deliver.

Have you ever tried a steam brew type coffee brewer? Do you think you would like the iCoffee?

I received an iCoffee to review for the purposes of this blog post. All opinions expressed in this review are my own, honest thoughts on the product. Your opinions may vary.

Sweeten Up Your Valentine’s Day with a Delicious Date-Night Strawberry Smoothie

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is about sweethearts and all things sweet. Whether your sweeties are your children, a spouse, or a significant other ’tis the season to treat them to some love-filled goodies.

I love SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener in one of the other loves of my life, coffee. Did you know though that although SPLENDA® is awesome as a beverage sweetener you can also use it for all sorts of things.

SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated can be used almost anywhere sugar is used, including cooking and baking. It measures cup-for-cup like sugar, but contains 678 calories less than sugar on a cup-for-cup basis. One teaspoon of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated contains the sweetness equivalency of one teaspoon of sugar with no calories or carbohydrates.

Here are a couple of sweet ideas for you to use this Valentine’s Day to treat your loved ones:

Replace another sweetener with SPLENDA®. While you’re making your heart-shaped cookies and rich chocolate fudge swap out your normal sweetener for SPLENDA®.

Create an awesome Date-Night Smoothie or daiquiri to share with your sweetie using this recipe:

Strawberry Splenda Smoothie

Adapted Image courtesy of WWWorks

INGREDIENTS

3 cups frozen strawberries
2/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1 1/4 cups your favorite orange juice
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt {I love greek yogurt if you want a thicker smoothie}
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until you reach desired consistency.

 

 

 

Or if you’re snowed in this winter. Check out my recipe for Snow Cream and as a healthier version consider using skim milk, almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk and SPLENDA® to sweeten up the taste. This is a great, sweet treat to enjoy and snuggle up with your Valentine.

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Chick-Fil-A Ice Dream Copycat – Snow Cream Recipe

Have you been seeing sightings of “Snow Cream” posts on social media? The last time it snowed this year in Charlotte, North Carolina, everyone and their mothers were talking about it, and making it.

Before this year I had NEVER heard a single thing about it, and until today, I had never tried it. If you have snow it’s really pretty easy and tastes almost exactly like Chick-Fil A’s Ice Dream, so thus the copycat recipe.

PicMonkey CollageHow to Make Chick-Fil-A Ice Dream Copycat Snow Cream Recipe MommyB

If you are expecting snow, place a large, clean pot {or several} out to collect enough for about 6-8 cups of snow. I used the biggest pot that I had in my kitchen and set it on one of our outdoor chairs {hoping that no animals bothered it.} Empty Pot for Snow Cream MommyB

Pot Full of Snow for Snow Cream Mommyb

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of fresh, clean snow
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (I like Eagle brand) If you don’t have condensed milk you can use heavy cream, coffee creamer, almond milk, coconut milk etc, you just may have to add more sweetener.
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • Toppings (think chocolate sauce, sprinkles, fruit, nuts)

How to make Ice Dream Copycat aka Snow Cream:

Once you have 6-8 cups or more of snow prepare to experience your first taste of Snow Cream. I measured mine {sort of}.

Measure Snow for Snow Cream MommyB

Add all of your ingredients in a mixing bowl or if you want to leave in the pot you collected the snow in that’s fine too. I started with the condensed milk, then added the vanilla extract.

Milk for Snow Cream Recipe MommyB

Mix all of the ingredients until combined. I would recommend not to mix until the Snow Cream is smooth though as it will become too “soupy” and more like a milkshake {which would be yummy too}.

After mixing, consider adding your favorite toppings or enjoying as is {both are delicious}.

Snow Cream Toppings MommyB

My girls decided they wanted to add their favorite ice cream sauce and rainbow sprinkles. The sprinkles definitely gave us some color on this cold wintery day. They loved eating them in their Disney cups too, which worked out perfectly when the last few scoops were liquid-y enough to sip.

Snow Cream Ice Dream MommyB

There you have it, simple, yummy, and tastes just like Chick-Fil-A Ice Dream {or maybe even a little yummier.}

Have you ever heard of Snow Cream?? Have you ever eaten or made it??

Like this recipe?? Be sure to share with your friends and follow MommyBKnowsBest.com for more great recipes, product reviews, and parenting tips and tricks.