Showing posts with label product review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label product review. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


We spent some time in northern Arizona in a cabin this past week, and I wanted to make a dish that was delicious and warming.  When I ran across this Goulash recipe from Smitten Kitchen I knew I wanted to try it.

I loved this recipe, and the chunks of meat got all tender from the long simmer time.  If I had been at home with all my spices and seasonings, I probably would have added a dash of hot sauce of some sort.  Otherwise it was perfect just the way it was.

Make and enjoy!

Makes about 16 cups, serving 12
5 slices bacon, chopped
3 pounds boneless chuck, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons paprika (preferably Hungarian sweet)
1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup tomato paste
5 cups beef broth1 to 5 cups water or beer (use the former to make a stew, the latter to make a soup)
1 teaspoon salt 
2 red bell peppers, chopped fine

In an 8-quart heavy kettle cook bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. In fat remaining in kettle brown chuck in small batches over high heat, transferring it as browned with slotted spoon to bowl.
Reduce heat to moderate and add oil. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in paprika, caraway seeds, and flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Whisk in vinegar and tomato paste and cook, whisking, 1 minute. (Mixture will be very thick.) Stir in broth, water, salt, bell peppers, bacon, and chuck and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer soup, covered, stirring occasionally, 60 to 75 minutes.
Season soup with salt and pepper. Soup may be made 3 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, before chilling, covered. Reheat soup, thinning with water if desired.

*this is a giant recipe...I halved it and it fed 6 just fine
*I used half beer and half water, so it turned out a little more "soupy"

Before we took off for the mountains I was looking for a quick and easy dinner to make and decided on this CPK copycat for Thai Chicken Pizza.

Honestly I can't find the exact recipe I used (helpful, I know), but there are dozens out there.  I bought a premade whole wheat crust from Trader Joe's to save time.  It was good at first, but I'm not 100% sure I like Thai food, and the peanut butter flavor got a bit overwhelming. 

Also before we left, I had the opportunity to try these wonderful little sandwich croissants made by Thomas.  

I'd like to say I did something clever with them like made a breakfast sandwich or fill them with a beautiful chicken salad, but no.  They were tasty and we just shoved them in our mouths.  Maybe next time I'll be more patient and do something fun with them. I would definitely buy them if I saw them at the store. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cube Steak Sandwich and Flip Flop Wines

Of course this is really "Marlboro Man's favorite sandwich" from The Pioneer Woman.  But I just felt too silly to call it that.

It really is a butter-laden monstrosity wonderful sandwich that the whole family enjoyed.  I love the "au jus" that goes along with it...sorta like a kicked up french dip.  

Here's PW's recipe.  I'll admit that I didn't use quite as much butter as she did, I just toasted the buns instead of grilling them, and I added a little red wine to the final product and simmered it just a bit.  (If you feel the need for the 15 step tutorial on how to slice an onion you can click here for the recipe on PW's site)

  • 1 whole Large (or 2 Small) Onions
  • 2 sticks Butter (lots And Lots Of Butter)
  • 2 pounds (to 3 Pounds) Cube Steak (tenderized Round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
  • Lawry's Seasoned Salt (or Similar Seasoned Salt)
  • ½ cups (approximately) Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco Sauce, To Taste
  • 4 whole French/deli Rolls 

Preparation Instructions

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.
Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides.
Add 1/2 cup (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 tablespoons butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.
Butter halved French rolls and brown in skillet.
To assemble, lay bottom half of French roll on plate. Place meat mixture, followed by a 
spoonful of juice from the pan. Top with other half of roll.

So, speaking of wine, I was recently given the opportunity to try a variety of wines made by flipflop. 

 You know, I'm not much of a wine expert, but I have to say I really enjoyed the chardonnay....really light and refreshing.  I haven't had a chance to try the other two but am looking forward to it.  Not only are these wines tasty, and quite reasonably priced, they also take part in helping others through an organization called Soles4Souls. Since 2005,  Soles4Souls has distributed over 14 million pairs of new and gently used shoes to people in need.  And for each bottle of flipflop wines sold, Soles4Souls distributes a pair of shoes.  Sounds like a win-win to me! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reading Recipients and Noteworthy News

I'll be announcing the winners of the book giveaway in a bit, but first I'm very excited that I've been given the opportunity to review another product from CSN Stores, the purveyors of such fine things as sling backpacks to pet beds.  I'm pretty sure my review will be involving something toasty!

So on with the winners!
There was some conjecture, suspicion even, by a certain (probably former) reader after my last giveaway that I was less than virtuous in the choosing of people who win anything from me here at The Sporadic Cook.  There was talk of elitism, and favoritism toward food bloggers.  I was aghast.  Taken aback.  I'll even go so far as to say I was dumb-founded!  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  If it seems as if only food bloggers win anything from me, MAYBE IT COULD BE BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WHO VISIT MY SITE ARE FOOD BLOGGERS.  Just a thought.

So how, just how do I prove my innocence?  What's a girl to do?  All you have is my word.  All I have is your blind belief...or do I?  
So recorded here in a sequential image, uni-media event, the winner picking events exactly as they happened...

First I recorded the names of everyone who used the super secret codeword (or some form of it) on a piece of paper in my somewhat arthritic scrawl and cut each name into it's own strip.

 Nextly*, I folded each strip into exact thirds, placed them into a fine handcrafted porcelain (or clay) container, shook the snot out of them with my chubby little hand, then stirred them up with a blue Bic 'round stic' pen in medium point.

Lastly, I randomly chose two slips from said container and placed them on my scratched up side table, unfolded them to reveal the winners are:


Congratulations to both of you and thanks to everybody for playing! 

I'll be contacting you by email to get your addresses for your book to be sent to you, but first I have to rest.  All the big words and indignation have me completely exhausted!

*I do realize nextly is not a word


Friday, September 24, 2010

Buitoni Pasta Review

Hey folks, what's up? What a busy week!  Just a quickie tonight to share with you the pasta I got to try through Foodbuzz's Tastemaker Program. 
But before I do that I wanted to mention a worthwhile cause I was told about today by a nice family I met at work. 

  Their little girl has battled leukemia and is now working to raise money for an organization called Hope Kids that supports kids with cancer.  

Here is the link for you.

If it's something you have personal experience with our somehow feel led to donate, they would greatly appreciate it.  The fundraising ends tomorrow night (saturday) I believe.

 On with the pasta.  I'm way behind on this, I believe I ate this several months ago.  but the memory remains. 

This is the Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti from Buitoni's Riserva line.  It was really so delicious it didn't need much done to it at all.   After I prepared it I just sauteed it in a little butter and topped it off with pepper.  What could be easier?  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Upcoming CSN Fun

I'm very pleased to once again have the opportunity to work with CSN Stores and will soon be reviewing a product from one of their many marvelous online stores.  They have an awesome selection of dutch ovens, and if I didn't already own one that would be a very likely choice.  But I have no doubts I'll be able to find a great product to share with all of you.

And on a personal note, I have killed yet another digital camera.  Seriously, how can one person be so clumsy!!  And why can't they make some sort of padded or rubber case to put cameras in like they do for cell phones?  (those were both rhetorical questions, unless you really do know of such a case)

Anyway my non-suckish husband...

 only briefly snarled at me then sent me forth to Sam's to purchase a new camera to keep taking pictures of food, and maybe sometimes the kids.   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Char Crust Dry-Rub Seasoning Review & CSN winner

A couple of weeks ago I received a box full of awesome Char Crust Dry-Rub Seasoning products.  We do a lot of grilling so I was quite eager to try these.

 The only one I've tried so far is the Roasted Garlic Peppercorn.  We had it on steaks....

And I also covered the chicken I made in the crock pot with it...

The flavor is amazing, and I imagine it would be good on just about any kind of meat from chicken to fish.  I can't wait to try the other flavors too.  Go check them out...their website has a store finder to see if it's sold near you.  And of course you can order direct online.

Now onto the winner of my 2 year blogaversary CSN winner.  I know y'all won't believe this, but when I put the number of entries into the Random Number Generator, the number that popped up was number ONE!  Isn't that funny?  
And I have no proof because I accidentally clicked out of the site before I copied anything but you'll just have to believe me :) 

So number ONE is...

Congratulations Ally, I'll contact you soon to get the gift code to you, and thanks for visiting with me, all of you.  I truly enjoy the interaction here in the land of blogs :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eggo Real Fruit Pizza Review

Going to be taking a bit of a break, but I wanted to leave you with my review of Eggo's Real Fruit Pizza, which I received as a part of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program. 

I'm always tickled to receive a new product to try and thought these sounded like something we would like. 

 I like that they only take a minute in the microwave to prepare.  The crust was a little softer than I expected but it was still tasty.   I only had a little bite from each kind, and the kids finished them off.  In fact my son had berries smeared all over his face. It was pretty cute! He's already asked me if we can have some more.
  I'm not sure what exactly the frosting is made of but it's very good, and I really like the granola sprinkled over it.

 And just to let you know, the winner of my cookbook giveaway was Amanda.  Thanks to everybody for playing.!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pillow Talk

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was given the opportunity to review a product from CSN stores.  The product arrived this past week, and I have reviewed.  
The product in question...

The Foreverloft Memory Foam 3 in 1 Pillow

  Oh yeah.

I've had a hard time finding a pillow I liked over the past few months.  
But I think this one is gonna be "the one".  
It's all soft and squishy on the outside, then has two foam inserts that can be removed, depending on the amount of support you like.  

I personally like it without the inserts at all, since I'm a tummy sleeper.  My husband says he likes it better with them in there.  (as if he's ever gonna get to use it!)   If everything in my life could be as comforting and accommodating as this pillow, I'd have it made!

And just for fun, here's a little snippet of another dish I made from Tyler Florence's "Dinner At My Place".  To be posted in a few days. 



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting Out of Bed Is About to Get More Difficult

I know you all are aware that I like to eat, and I like to cook.  I like to eat what other people cook too.  But also high on the list of activities I enjoy is sleeping. 
In fact getting out of bed early on mornings that I have to work generally causes me a great deal of displeasure.  

Thanks to CSN Stores my sleeping experience is about to be kicked up a notch.  
If you haven't heard of CSN  they are an awesome company that has over 200 online stores.  Perfect for the person who prefers shopping from the comfort of their own couch!  CSN contacted me with the opportunity to review a product from one of their stores, and boy was it hard to pick.  But I finally decided on this Foreverloft 3 in 1 Memory Foam pillow.  

It's got two removable memory foam inserts so you can adjust it to your liking.  I can't wait to get this pillow so I can review the heck out of it.  Possibly even drool a little on it too.  So check back in and I'll be sure to let you know about my slumbering experience with my new pillow.  We'll skip any video footage of the drooling though. 

Next recipe up: Pink Lemonade Pie

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mini Lime Cheesecakes

I'm late to the party as usual, but this was our Cinco de Mayo treat.  This recipe comes from Kim at The Ungourmet.  They looked so scrumptious and cute, I just had to try them.

I cheated a bit when it came to the lime juice and used mostly bottled, and just squeezed the juice out of two fresh limes into it.  I took these to work, and they got wonderful reviews. (forget for a moment that we work in a hospital and think jello and saltines is a treat)

2 cups gingersnap cookies (I used graham crackers with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar)
10 tbsp melted butter
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups softened cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp lime zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 24 paper baking cups into muffin pans.

Put the cookies into a food processor and pulse until you end up with course crumbs. Stir in the butter. Place a tbsp of this mixture into each paper cup and press firmly into the bottom. Chill until set.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta until smooth. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and confectioner's sugar, blending until smooth. Slowly add the eggs, blending well.  Add the lime juice and zest and mix well.  Spoon mixture evenly over crust.

Bake for 30-35  minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool 5 minutes. Then, remove the cheesecakes and cool on a wire rack. Chill until ready to serve. 

I received this awesome sample package of a product I'd never heard of before.  It's a grain called salba.  What is salba, you may ask?
Salba is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Richer in protein and Omega-3s than Chia, and higher in fiber than flaxseed, Salba is a functional food that can be enjoyed daily to help manage blood sugar levels, to help reduce the risks of diseases such as heart disease, and to help reduce appetite and increase satiety.  Gram for gram, a 12g serving of Salba provides:
  • 8x more Omega-3's than salmon
  • 25% more dietary fiber than flax
  • 30% more antioxidants than blueberries
  • 15x more magnesium than broccoli
  • 7x more antioxidants than oranges
  • 6x more calcium than milk
  • 3x more iron than spinach
  • 3x more fiber than oats
You can read more here.

I really liked the chips, thought they had a nice corn flavor.  And those little bags will be perfect for my daughter's lunch.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Food Round Up

Hello out there kiddies, hope you all had a fabulous Christmas. I'm still sitting here digesting so I thought I'd post up a few of the yummies we had today.
First up is this Winter Apple Salad based on the one I found at Under the High Chair.
I gave this about a 7 out of 10 for yumminess. It may have been an 8 or 9 if I hadn't burned the pomegranate reduction beyond any point of recognition and had to just skip it.
I used 3 apples in mine instead of just one. I really loved the mixture of tangy with sweet along with the crunch of the pecans. It was a hit with me.
I also had the opportunity to try this lovely cheese from the folks at Beemster.
I'm no cheese expert at all, but I enjoyed the X-O (which stands for extra old) quite a bit. It had a nice mellow flavor.
We also had an Eggnog Custard Pie from Jamie Deen. This concoction has 1/4 cup of rum in it, and for a girl who only occasionally enjoys a watered-down margarita, that packs quite a punch!
I think if the rum were decreased, and maybe prebake the pie crust a bit so it's not quite as soggy, it would be pretty good. I gave this one a 4, mostly based on the looks of finished product.
I saved this one for last because the picture is so crappy, but it was so delicious!
It's a cranberry roasted garlic risotto, and I found this one at recipezaar.
I replaced a little of the chicken broth with white wine, otherwise followed their directions to the letter.
It's so easy, no fussing, just put it together and throw it in the oven. This is one I'll be wanting to make throughout the year. I give it a 9.5, only subtracting 0.5 because I want to eat more of it but can't!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

PW Ribs and Fun Stuff in the Mail

I saw these ribs on PW's site a while back and wanted to give them a try. It was a bit sacrilegious as hubby does a wonderful marinade for ribs which I've chronicled here, that pretty much needs no improvement.
But I'm all about variety, people.
These ribs were tasty, make no mistake. I really liked the rub, it was sweet and a little spicy at the same time. But over all, I'd say I like hubby's ribs better. They have a deeper, tangy flavor. And they're easier...since he makes them :)
A nice surprise arrived in my mailbox from the folks at Country Bob's. It's a beautiful cookbook, chock full o' recipes mostly employing the different sauces and seasonings made by Country Bob's (except for a dessert section that thankfully leaves those out..hehe)
There are a few nice, full color pictures of the yumminess in store, and scattered throughout are some encouraging scriptures .
I'm especially looking forward to trying the 30 minute chili mac! I don't think they sell Country Bob's out here in my vicinity, but hopefully someday.
And last week as part of Foodbuzz's tastemaker program I received two varieties of Nature's Pride whole wheat bread to sample.
I really enjoyed this bread, it's full of little nooks and crannies for your jam to nestle itself into, and it's got a nice rustic feel with little bits of whole wheat throughout it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

Oh my, oh goodness. Words just fail me. Especially with my mouth stuffed full of these brownies.
I found these over at Real Mom Kitchen (click there for recipe) and I thought they looked super. And, sure enough, they are! I love that they actually start with a box of brownie mix...what could be easier?
In other news, I recently received a sample of Arnold’s Dutch Country 100% Whole Wheat Bread. I love getting that free bread on my doorstep. (I received 2 varieties, but this is the only one I've tried yet)
I was immediately drawn to that little horse and buggy on the package.
I thought it toasted up nicely for my morning toast & jam, and each slice has 3 grams of fiber.
If you're somebody who doesn't like your wheat bread with little bits of stuff in it, this one has a nice smooth texture you might like.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quorn Chik'n Cutlets

A few days ago I got a nice surprise on my doorstep....a free sample of Quorn's chik'n cutlets mailed to me in this way cool little cooler with a radio stuck right on the front of it!
I had seen Quorn products in the frozen section with the other meatless products but never really thought much about trying any of it. In fact, from it's name I would have assumed it was made out of corn. But no, it's made out of something called mycoprotein which is fungi-related. So maybe in a way it's mushroomy? I'm not sure.
I've had a veggie burger or two (but not much more) in my time, and I don't hate them. So I was interested to try this.
According to the box, they can be prepared right from their frozen state, so that's what I did. I just pan seared them in a little oil for about 10 minutes, flipping them over a couple of times. I had a little grill seasoning I sprinkled on them as well. They are "naked" so you can dress them up anyway you want.
I then sliced them into strips to eat with my salad.
So my review? They've got a nice texture, definitely easy to prepare. The flavor is not chicken-ish, but not bad. It kept reminding me of something but I'm not sure what. Maybe some sort of roasted veggie...just a hint of sweet.
So if you're looking to cut down on meat intake and want to try a meatless product, I'd say give this one a try.
Next up: root beer float cake. P.S.  If you'd like to see something that is NOT a quorn burger, go here.  Even though she snickered at me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Buitoni Wild Mushroon Agnolotti

I know, I've seen this already. I'm a little slow on the draw so just bear with me.
Being a part of the Foodbuzz community offers some perks here and there, aside from ogling over other people's delicious food. This is my first opportunity to sample a new product and give my opinion of said product. This time around I was offered the Buitoni Wild Mushroom Agnolotti. (yeah, I had to google that last word)
The pasta is a part of their new Reserva line, and contains a mushroom mixture along with fresh-roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, and imported grana padano. (uh huh, googled that one's cheese in case you wondered)
I served it with a sauce made of chicken broth, butter, white wine, garlic, and green onions, along with some italian sausage.
I really enjoyed the flavors going on inside the little agnolottis, agnolottii, or whatever; and would be tickled pink to serve them again someday.
P.S. Oh check it out, I got interviewed along with 4 other bloggers by Tiffany at Eat at Home. I'm truly fascinating, if not succinct.