Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recipes made by Smart & Final Smarties using La Romanella Products

I am a member of Smart & Final's Smarties.  Right now,  there are 80 members in this group.  Recently, several of us were asked to share a recipe with our readers using La Romanella products from Smart & Final.  This is so easy for us to do because there are so many products in this line!  I posted my recipe last week along with a couple other Smarties.  I wanted to share with you their recipe.

My friend Sara Hawkins of SavingForSomeday made a delicious recipe: Spinach Stuffed Shells.  She also included a dessert recipe that sounds divine: Roasted Stone Fruit with Honey-Blood Orange Ricotta Creme.  Her pictures make you want to be invited for dinner.

My other friend is also named Sara!  You can imagine my husband's confusion when I'm talking about Sara!!  It's always, " Which Sara!"  Well, her blog is SuperSavingSense.  Her blog is all about saving MONEY!!!  So she created a dish that would taste great, be easy to make with kids and cost conscience.  She whipped up Grilled Chicken Pasta with Asparagus.  I just love Asparagus!

Please, check out their recipes; they are fantastic.  

Just as a reminder....

Smart & Final is giving away a fabulous trip for two to Sonoma Wine Country.  Have you checked it out yet?  Well, you still have a chance if you haven't.  The contest is open until March 8, 2011.  You have to be 21 in enter but I don't believe that's a problem for my readers!!  What a wonderful getaway!  You could go with your honey and have a very romantic time.  Another idea is to take a girl friend along.  Anyways, click here to enter and GOOD LUCK!!  I would be thrilled if one of my readers won!

Smart & Final's La Romanella Facebook Contest
Have a FABULOUS day and make it GREAT!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Smart & Final La Romanella Products, Giveway, and Recipe

Smart & Final has a wonderful product line:

Here are a few products from La Romanella:

Mediterranean Inspired Cooking
using La Romanella Products
sold at Smart & Final

Smart & Final is having a wonderful Giveaway!

They are promoting their La Romanella products by having an amazing contest/giveaway on Facebook.  Enter here for your chance to win a trip for two to Sonoma Wine Country!

Smart & Final sent me a box full of their La Romanella products and asked me if I would like to share a Mediterranean inspired recipe with my friends & followers.  Well, of course, I said "yes."   It's really wonderful  when a company is asking you to try out their products and cook a nice meal for the ones you love!  Smart & Final also gave me a $25 gift certificate to buy any additional items for my dinner.  Right now they are having a fabulous deal:  Buy a bottle of Turning Leaf Wine for $5.99 and get a package of selective varieties (16 ounces) La Romanella Pasta Free!  I sure did take advantage of this promotion! (Promotion good through 2/22)

First, I had to investigate what would make a recipe Mediterranean.  I checked out this website to get my answers.  I was surprised by the wide range of countries that actually made up the Mediterranean area.  Mediterranean cuisine is defined by the preparation of food in three regions: North African (particularly Morocco), eastern Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey), and southern Europe (Italy, France, and Spain).  As you can see, I could go in many different directions with the recipes!  
I browsed the internet to find the perfect recipe that was considered Mediterranean that my husband would enjoy.  There are so many to choose from so go and explore!  I picked a few recipes that I felt would be easy to prepare with the wonderful ingredients from the La Romanella line.  I asked my husband to pick from them.  His choice:
Penne Pasta with Blue Cheese and Mushrooms (I modified this recipe to our liking)

  1 package of La Romanella Penne Pasta
    1 Medium onion - finely chopped
    2 Clove of garlic - finely chopped
    1 Teaspoon of dried tarragon
    1lb. Of mushrooms - sliced
    1 Cup of vegetable or chicken stock
    8ozs. Of good blue cheese - Gorgonzola       
    1 Bunch of flat leaf parsley
    La Romanella  extra virgin olive oil
    La Romanella Parmesan to sprinkle
    Salt and black pepper to taste
    10 Cherry tomatoes: cut lengthwise
    1 sweet red pepper


First fry the onions, mushrooms, red pepper and tomatoes in some of the olive oil in a non stick fry pan - on a good heat - making sure they are well browned. This takes about 10 minutes.  

Turn down the heat and add the garlic - cook for five minutes stirring as you go.
Now add the stock and tarragon and reduce until sticky. About 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile you can cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water for about 8-9 minutes.
Crumble the blue cheese into the sauce - add half the parsley and salt and pepper to taste, giving it a good stir.
Drain the pasta, return to the pan and add the sauce - mix well.
Spoon onto 4 dinner plates. 
Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and the rest of the parsley.

This was an easy recipe to make.  Although, I really did make a big mess in the kitchen while making it! 

P.S. My husband loved it!  Worth the mess I made in the kitchen.

Don't look in the kitchen

Please, go check out Smart & Final's La Romanella line; they have so many great products.

Disclaimer:  I was compensated for my time from Collective Bias.  All of my opinions are truly mine.  I will always share my honest opinions.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Creating a Pseudonym for Your Creativity

I love that the author is unknown.  She was just creating,  not worried that her name would not be associated with the quote.

I'm trying not to find myself  but relax enough to let whatever creativity flows within me and out to whatever I am doing.

Would I be more relaxed if I didn't place my name on everything  I created?  Would I take more risk?  Would it be easier to create?  Would I be more daring?

Sometimes when I make something I find all the reasons I shouldn't give my gift or sell my items. Finding everything that is wrong with an item, I feel I want to remain anonymous.

I love the idea of being unknown at times.  I'm going to have to invent myself a pseudonym and see if creating is easier when there is less pressure on me.  It may be more liberating and allow me to be more creative and be less critical.

Do you believe you would be more creative if no one knew it was you who created it?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Recent Sewing Projects

It has been forever since I shared with you what I've been sewing.  When I first started this blog, it was supposed to be about sewing and I feel a bit of guilt that I haven't even really talked about sewing.  So here are a few things that I've sewn lately...

I loved playing with Paper Dolls when I was little.

I guess I really never outgrew this stage!

I saw a lot of Red & White Flower Prints in Hawaii
and this reminded me of my trip.

I made this when it was really cold outside and I needed
to make something that reminded me that Sunny Days
are ahead.

I have made several of these bags and love them.  It's a book
bag that can be used for everything.  I use it for traveling
all the time...

... and it's reversible!

I'm thinking of adding these items to my Steer Crazee Etsy Shop.  What do you think?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Biggest Accomplishment This Year: No Cell Phone while Driving

I wish every blog post could be funny but life just isn't always about being funny; we have many responsibilities that should be taken very seriously and this is one of them.

I made a pledge to myself, husband, family and friends:  

I pledge not to use my cell phone while driving.

I turn my phone off so I can't even hear it ring.  At first, I left the phone on and just looked to see who was calling.  Well, I was just fooling myself into believing this was enough.  If the phone rang, I was distracted enough to have no time to react to sudden change in traffic conditions.   Now I just turn off my phone. 

I had made this decision not to talk or text because recently someone who was on the phone almost hit me and it would have been a very serious car accident.  I was so angry at this woman who barely missed me and was not aware of the traffic.  What was she talking about that was more important than our lives?  I knew I had not one conversation on my phone while driving that was worth endangering someone's life.  So I made the decision right at that moment to stop using my phone while driving.  Honestly, I feel much better about myself now that I'm not part of the problem anymore.  It's a proven fact that texting or talking while driving is dangerous and yet more people than not still carry on down this dangerous path thinking it won't happen to them or that they are in control. Please just check out the many videos on YouTube about texting or talking on cell phones while driving and you will see plenty of the people who thought the same thing.  Anyone of them would love to have back that second before they picked up the cell phone while driving to prevent an accident but unfortunately, there is no "do-over" in this situation.   

Are you part of the problem?  All of us can make plenty of excuses why we need to use the phone in the car.  But they are just that: excuses.  Don't fool youself with your excuses of why you need to be on that cell phone while driving.   How many conversations have you had while driving that were truly urgent enough to put other people in danger...?  

When I made my pledge, I thought it would be great to get others to pledge too.   So I went on Twitter and Facebook and offered the first person who took this pledge a free steering wheel cover from my Etsy's store.  Guess how many pledged?  Sadly, not one person.  I twitted a few more days about it and again no one took the pledge.  Well, the good news is no one lied and said they would and really weren't planning to take this seriouly.  But I'm really upset to think that all my friends and family didn't take it.  I realize it's an inconvience not to chat/text while driving but driving is our only responsibility while in the driver's seat.  How would you feel if a loved one was injured by a driver who was on a cell phone?  

If nothing I am writing touches you in a way that makes you want to take this pledge please watch this.....

Winner of Smart & Final's Coffee Giveaway (#MyAmbianceMoment)

I want to say Thank You to all those wonderful people who left me coffee lovin' comments.  My heart is warmed by all of you supporting me on my very first giveaway!  

Congratulations to Jodi Rall, you are the winner!

I will be sending you an email, letting you know you have won. Please email me back within two days with your shipping information at learningtosow@gmail.com.

Again, thank you all for helping me spread the word about Smart & Final's new coffee line Ambiance.   

I hope you are having an "Ambiance Moment"!