More Time To Make Memories

more-memories

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.)

Food is a big part of the holidays and usually what I’m still needing to shop for the couple days before Christmas. Creating delicious meals and party favorites brings joy to many but unfortunately, shopping and preparing foods during the holidays can get hectic and add more stress to an already busy season. I love grocery shopping and sometimes lose myself while walking down the aisles looking for ideas and foods to inspire me but sometimes that leads to me spending too much time in stores which is not something I have an abundance of this time of year.

For over a decade I have enjoyed shopping at Sam’s Club to save time and money around the holidays. I can find a great variety of quality foods and save even more time this year with their new Club Pickup. Their Club Pickup is a free, “personal shopper” service that is focused on making shopping more convenient for members. Club Pickup provides an easy and quick pickup option through seamless ordering online at SamsClub.com from any computer or mobile device. The service is available at all 653 Sam’s Club locations. I love how this is done. In this tech-savvy world we all use apps and online shopping so Club Pickup is something that is very simple to do. I can place the order on my phone while waiting for the kids in the car pick up lane at school. During very hectic times (like this week!) there is also an easy reorder feature as well which is a great tool that lets me order go-to items quickly by creating a list of my past purchases.

One thing about Christmas that rings true is the plentiful parties and meals. Fantastic desserts and treats and great recipes that bring smiles to all.  That is one of the biggest reasons I shop at Sam’s Club around the holidays. I can stock up on all kinds of party favorites and new side dishes that also guarantee I will have leftovers (which is one of my favorite things about hosting).

This year we tried some new side dishes like sweet potatoes with pecan butter and marshmallows. We also bought the staples like scalloped potatoes. Sam’s Club has something for everyone.

The 200% satisfaction guarantee on high-quality produce, meat and baked goods is the number one reason I keep going back and why I am always eager to try new offerings at Sams club.

We also purchased Holiday decor from Sam’s Club including Christmas plates and a festive, fresh wreath for the front door. Being able to check one thing off the to-do list without leaving the couch gives me more time to make memories with my kids.

Pasta Carbonara and Tuna Cake Recipes

pasta carbonara and tuna cakes

This post was sponsored by KRAFT and I was compensated to write it. Regardless, what I have written is my own opinion and experience, and I hope you find it of use.

Dining out at a nice restaurant can be one of the best experiences a family has together but, during the school year and sports season, it can be hard to find the time to dine out with everyone’s hectic schedules. I myself find my own family pressed for time but wish to have a great dinnertime bonding experience over a delicious dinner that was made quickly. I discovered that KRAFT had recipes online that could help me  ‘Twist That Dish’ while saving time and money.

With KRAFT products, many ordinary items that are already in the pantry or the refrigerator can be turned into amazing restaurant quality dinners in just 10 to 15 minutes. When the kids ask for seconds you will know you have won big time. The biggest time saver for me is shopping at Sam’s Club and getting KRAFT products in bulk so at any time I can make many different recipes with a new twist on favorites.

I fell in love with two recipes on the Samsclub.com/kraftrecipes website that when put together create a gourmet dinner worthy of sit down restaurants. I chose PHILADELPHIA Quick Pasta Carbonara and Tuna Cakes.

As with all great dinners a good deal of multitasking is involved but, with recipes provided by KRAFT, everything was simple and easy. I started by mixing the tuna cakes mix. I gathered all the ingredients and mixed them. I did this first because the mix needs to rest in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

While the mix was resting I got started on the Pasta recipe. I cooked the pasta according to the instructions on the box of fettuccine noodles I had in my pantry.

Just before the pasta was completely done I got to working on the sauce. The first step was to fry up the bacon. I used Oscar Mayer Bacon with Maple which made the pasta a bit sweeter (which is my trick for the picky kids).

Once the bacon was done, I stirred the rest of the ingredients in the grease as per the recipe provided by KRAFT. The key to this sauce recipe is to make sure the sauce is creamy and consistent and the cheese does not burn.

Once the sauce was ready I added the cooked noodles and the bacon and stirred well.

Once the pasta and the sauce were combined it was time to fry up the tuna cakes. To do this, use a non-stick skillet and an ice cream scoop to make portions. Cook them on both sides until golden brown.

The hardest thing about creating these KRAFT recipes was trying not to eat anything before plating the food.

 Everything turned out amazing and even the kids loved it. I am glad all KRAFT food products needed for these recipes can be purchased in bulk  online and in-club at my local Sam’s Club. I hope you enjoyed these recipes and will check out samsclub.com/kraftrecipes. Which recipe will you try tonight?

Delicious Holiday Appetizers From Sam’s Club {Giveaway}

sam's club appetizers

(Disclosure: I was provided a gift card from Sam’s Club but all thoughts are my own.)

On Thanksgiving we were going to my mom’s for a big turkey dinner in the evening so we decided to stick with snacks for the rest of the day. We did this because who wants to fill up on a meal when you know you are going to get one of the best meals of the year later in the day? Sinisa, the boys and I headed to Sam’s Club to get everything we needed to make a delicious spread of appetizers to bring to his sister’s house for our pre-Thanksgiving dinner visit.

Sam’s Club is a one-stop destination for all my holiday needs because it has a large variety of items and I can save money by buying them all in bulk. They also offer a 200% guarantee on fresh foods so if members aren’t satisfied with the items they’ve purchased Sam’s club will refund double the member’s purchase price or refund the purchase price and replace the product. That is a pretty awesome guarantee!

The first place we went was to the bakery. Sam’s Club has over 60 new bakery items just for the holidays including several bite-sized delights like cake balls. We picked up a loaf of freshly baked zucchini bread which reminded me of the bread my mom used to make. We also grabbed a couple packages of Hawaiian bread as well.

I normally pair Hawaiian bread with homemade spinach dip but while shopping I came across Artisan Fresh Spinach Artichoke dip. I am so glad I got this because this dip is the best dip I’ve ever had. There was Parmesan cheese mixed in with the spinach and artichoke and the flavors went so well together.

A cheese plate is a must at any party. We kept our’s simple with Ritz crackers, colby cheese, and salami. The cheese was already cubed which was a great time saver. Sam’s Club has over 50 international cheeses so if you like to make gourmet cheese platters they have lots to choose from.

Along with the cubed cheese we decided to get some fresh mozzarella. It was in a marinade already so we stuck the cheese on a toothpick along with a cherry tomato and had a quick snack that tasted so fresh.

We also chose to get shrimp cocktail which is something we don’t have very often. Yum!

I’m looking forward to Christmas day because we are doing the same things we did on Thanksgiving! We will have a special breakfast in the morning but other than that we are snacking on finger foods from Sam’s Club all day. If you aren’t a member of Sam’s Club yet I invite you to check out all they have to offer! 

GIVEAWAY:

4 Tier Accordion Server

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me what appetizers you love to have during the holiday season

FOR A BONUS ENTRY:

Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends December 31, 2013 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Quick & Delicious Meals With Lean Cuisine

Lean Cuisine with fresh vegetables

Remember how I told you a couple weeks back that I was getting fit with Lean Cuisine and the Couch-To-5K program? Well I’m back with an update! It’s been fun and most of all easy to make healthy choices with this program.

First, lets start with the one thing I typically despise- exercise! Following the Couch-To-5K program started me off slow which is the way I need to start. Check out the first day:

I hate running. Hate it. But running for 60 seconds? Yeah I can do that! Here’s me after one of my workouts {please don’t mind my post-workout look}:

I also had fun on one of the days working out on the soccer field at the parents vs. kids game on Jacob’s last day of soccer. These are the kind of workouts I like because it doesn’t feel like exercise {but those parents that have ever played a sport with a young child know you do a lot of running to get stray balls!}

I enjoyed the food I ate during the past couple weeks as well. Thought I was eating healthy meals with low calories I didn’t feel like I was on a “diet”. I’ve been really busy so some meals I ended up eating at my computer.

Some Lean Cuisine meals I ate with a side dish. I chose fresh vegetables for most of my sides.

With the addition of these sides I was full afterwards which was a great feeling since I’ve found I tend to be hungry after eating other frozen meals.

Out of the three flavors I ate in the past couple weeks, my favorite Lean Cuisine frozen meal was the Sesame Chicken. With these meals there is no reason for me to skip lunch or dinner anymore. In less than 5 minutes I can create a healthy, delicious meal for myself.

Tammilee, my blogging partner in this challenge, enjoyed this challenge as well. I love the tip she gave for making sure workouts stay on her mind by putting her shoes right next to the couch so she sees them everyday. That’s a tip I’m going to steal! {You can read about her journey in today’s update post.}

If you want to try the Asian flavors Lean Cuisine meals you can find 6 packs of them at Sam’s Club in the freezers.

You can see more pictures from my shopping trip and of my meals in my Google+ story.

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and (Nestle) LEAN CUISINE #CBias #SocialFabric #FrozenFavorites