Sunday, December 22, 2013

Crowdtap - Hidden Valley® Ranch Fest

Blogger is giving me errors, so this will be quick. Why does this happen when I am on a deadline?


  Many weeks ago I received my Hidden Valley® Ranch Fest party pack through Crowdtap. My original party was scheduled for mid-November, but it had to be changed because the package had been delayed. It included a Hidden Valley Team Ranch T-shirt, that I thought was way too small for any of my guests. It was quite a surprise when I realized that it fit me. I'll even share a photo later to prove it. Me, a small? I'll take it !

The party pack was full of goodness. A bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch Original Dressing, which arrived just as we were running out in the house. SCORE !

 As Crowdtap would say, "It's time to tap that."

Look at all that yumminess.

There was a packet of Hidden Valley Original Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix, a packet of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix, packets of Hidden Valley Farmhouse Originals Italian with Herbs Dressing, and a party insert with activities, recipes, and a coupon. It also came with samples for my guests, inserts with coupons, and a surprise gift. The surprise gift were two very handy chip clips. The luckiest man in the world even commented on how sturdy they were, and he knows his chip clips.

 (shown here with my carrots)

As I already said, my first scheduled party was canceled and I was a little bummed about that. We were having a luncheon at work and the boss was letting me bring my ranch party there.

It was getting closer to the deadline for this gathering and I just couldn't get anybody to commit to coming. People sure are busy during Christmas time, and it made it a bit hard to get them together. There was food to be made and fun to be had, so I whipped up some snack ideas and invited my peeps to stop by for a taste.

First we had the traditional carrots and dip and chips and dip.


I didn't have a lot to offer for salads, so I displayed the items in a fun way. Yes, I play with my food. Three of my guests ate the "faces" and left the salad plain. I tossed mine all in the bowl and smothered it with added ranch dressing.


I tried two different ideas with potatoes. I sliced a few, coated with oil, and baked in the oven. They were topped with salsa, sour cream, and cheese, and of course dipped in ranch dip.

These were a big hit.

The guest inserts included some great recipes, so I gave those a try as well.

Original Ranch Roasted Potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 package Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
     2 pounds small red potatoes quartered

Place the potatoes and oil in a ziploc bag. Shake. Add the salad dressing mix and shake again. Bake at 450 for 30-35 minutes.

I used russet potatoes and they came out delicious !


Here is the other recipe that looked too tempting to pass up.

Seasoned Popcorn
Sprinkle buttered popcorn with  Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

Super easy and I can't believe that I have never tried it before. It is a new favorite of mine.

Everyone seemed to like the popcorn. I came back to take a photo and this is what I found.

You can find more recipes on their site.


Dear Crowdtap, The next time I have a party I promise to invite people who love the camera as much as I do. Spoil sports !!

I received my Hidden Valley® Ranch Fest party pack through Crowdtap. This review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's my first time - Ketchup With Us

 Ketchup With Us
I am joining in this week  with Michele and Mel, who do a great job keeping me entertained. You should really check them out.
'KETCHUP WITH US' - Prompt 32 
 Please link up a holiday post, old or new. 
Piece of cake. But not fruitcake. 
Here is my flashback from around 1996. This is my youngest daughter. You have to excuse my singing, but her expressions make it worth it in my opinion.

I had no idea what she was doing.
 To understand a little more what "ketchup with us" is about you can go here.
Come 'Ketchup With Us' on the 1st and 15th of every month in 57 words or less. We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I took it to the beach


I am in the middle of a new Mamavation two week challenge. You may remember me talking about mamavation in the past. I can't remember how many of these challenges I have done, but they have always given me a great boost. Click the link if you are interested. There is so much information about food, health, and fitness.

Tuesday is my day off from work and it was day two of the challenge. I watched the clock move through the day and yet I didn't move off of the couch. Morning came and went. The afternoon came and was going fast. It was very easy for me to think of reasons why I could not workout.

Finally, around 3pm, I dug in and decided that I was going to do it. Not only was I going to get this workout done, but I had a brainstorm to do it on the beach. It had been days since I had been out there.

 The luckiest man in the world was home sick with a cold, so I kissed his cheek and prepared to head out. My head was spinning as I tried to think of what I needed and the best way to take it with me. Perhaps I was procrastinating a little.

With my backpack filled, I was ready to go.

 As soon as I started the 1.5 mile walk to my favorite place, I was regretting my decision to do this. The backpack felt like it weighed 15 pounds, although I knew it could only be half of that. Each step brought me closer to my destination and just a little more excited to do this.

 Here is the view that I had when I arrived.

 I emptied my backpack on the wall and stalled  took inventory.
Immediately I realized that I had left the cheat sheet at home that I had so carefully prepared to take with me. How would I know what my workout was without it? A part of me was excited that I wouldn't be able to do my workout. Can't possibly do it if I don't know the moves right?
There it was, still at home, waiting to be picked up. 
 My phone does not work very well when I am out on the beach, especially when I am trespassing on Air Force land. (fist pump and much love to the Air Force and all military) I figured it couldn't hurt to try, so I crossed my fingers and tried to log into the mamavation site. 

 What a bummer nice suprise to see that it worked and I was able to download the workout. Now I was truly excited and rather proud of myself for getting it. I even took a screenshot of the page, in case I lost Internet.
The workout started with foot fires for 90 seconds.
My naked toes love the sand.
There is a wall that stands about 3.5 foot tall, and that is what I used for the pushups and triceps pushups.
I only brought my 3 pound weights with me (I'm not crazy). Because of this I actually did 2 variations of the shoulder presses and dumbell curls.


 By the end of the three sets I was feeling GREAT !! I took a few more pictures and then I took a little run. (and by little, I mean I set up the camera and ran a big circle)

The sun was setting fast, and I knew it would get colder and dark soon, so I gathered up my things and headed back. Instead of putting the weights in the backpack I carried them in my hands and it made for a very nice extra boost for the 1.5 mile walk back home.
 I am so glad that I did this workout on the beach, and proud of myself for not getting distracted by the scenery.
Farewell sun; see you next time.
* today I did the same workout at home, using my 6 pound weights, and it felt pretty darn good.


Monday, November 25, 2013

They sure look alike

I think that Karl Urban from Almost Human is
 David Hasselhoff's illegitimate child. 
Just saying.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Her words took me there in an instant

I was reading a blog today and the woman had mentioned memories of when she was abused as a child.
She talks about "folding into a shell" and instantly I am there again, down on the shower floor, curled into a ball, screaming for the pain in my heart to be healed.

Many times I would use the shower to drown out my screams.
I would cry long after the water ran cold and my fingers ached from staying clenched with a mixture of anger and sadness combined.

I was not abused in the way that this woman was; but abused I was.

Emotionally - mentally - physically abused by a WEAK man.

He wounded my soul, but he didn't destroy it.

I carry maroon scars, deep inside.

Her words took me there in an instant and now I blink back tears of the memories.

It was a lifetime ago and still so real in my
mind when I let it return.

We never forget the pain.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


There is a bench near my home that I visit and think about a man that I have never met.

 I do not know for sure why I am drawn to that place, or why I want to stay there when I arrive.

 It is a place that should be filled with sadness, but it brings me peace that I can't explain.

 I think he sits with me when I am there, but I cannot see him.

 Perhaps he is happy that I have come to the place that he last visited.

 Maybe he likes the joy that I carry to this space.


 This bench.

This bench where he sat.

This bench where he sat, and pulled out a gun.

This bench where he sat, pulled out a gun, and ended his own life.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Six Word Saturday 9/28

click on the button to join us
This morning I wanted nothing more than to snuggle back into our bed, but instead I put on my shoes and went out to watch the sun rise.
(so did these people)

A few hours later I took another walk down the street and over the bridge.
It took me 40 minutes to get here.
I was a bit exhausted when I returned home. I still need another 800 steps to hit 20,000, which will give me 10 miles for the day.
I didn't make a goal this year, but I am excited to say that I have already logged 1983 miles for the year.
You may wonder where is my journey to?
Don't forget to click the button and join in.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas and Spanish Rice

 I was so excited about dinner tonight. I tried a new recipe and I want to write it out here before I forget.

 Months ago I receive a free can of Progresso Recipe Starter creamy roasted garlic with chicken stock cooking sauce. I was determined to use it this week in a recipe and I found a recipe on the Progresso site. Mine is altered a little, so I am going to share that with you here. I also created my own spanish rice recipe, from scratch ! I get so excited when I have a new recipe.

Here are the ingredients I used :
 1 can of Progresso Recipe Starter creamy roasted garlic with chicken stock cooking sauce
 1 tsp of tabasco sauce (because that's all I had)
 1 tsp ground cumin

 2 cups of diced cooked chicken
 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
 5 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
 1/2 cup of sour cream

 8 flour tortilla (today I used 3 large and 5 small because that is what I had on hand)


Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a small bowl.

Spray your baking dish with spray and spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in bottom of baking dish.

Mix the next 4 items together in a different bowl, using only half of the shredded cheese. Add 1/2 cups of the sauce mixture to this.

Now you are going to spoon about 1/2 cups of this chicken mixture onto a large tortilla (1/4 cup if using taco size). Roll up tortilla, and lay in the baking dish seam side down.
Top enchiladas with remaining sauce mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. 

 I decided that I wanted spanish rice, but I didn't have any. I did find a couple of recipes online, so I took a few hints from them and made my own.
 This is only for 2-3 servings
 1 Tbsp olive oil
 1 cup Minute rice
  1/2 cup diced onion
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  2 Tbsp tomato paste
 pinch of Oregano
 Brown the rice in the olive oil
Add the onion and garlic powder and continue to brown about 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
I would have used minced garlic clove, but I was in a hurry.
At the same time you want to get your chicken broth ready. I boiled water and added a boullion cube to make mine.
Add your tomato paste to the broth and the oregano.
Combine the broth and your rice, cover and cook until rice is tender. This only took about 10 minutes for mine. I had some diced tomatoes in the refrigerator, so I added about 1/4 cup. Add more water if needed.

Everything turned out so good !