A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals

A sympathy meal is one in which you provide to a family who’s suffered a loss, poor health conditions, or similar situation that may leave them feeling down and out. Whatever the reason for your search to give a sympathy meal to someone, this guide will provide you learn how to give a sympathy meal in a way that ensures it’s received with a big smile.

Sympathy Meals

Make a Main Meal

If you’re not up for making a huge meal to provide to a neighbor in need, then you should at least be sure to make the main meal forgiving. Something like a dish of lasagna or a casserole meal that’s more of a nourishing meal will be best.

Avoid Allergens

Make sure you take into consideration food items that others tend to be allergic to. A main meal that includes peanuts or gluten, for example, may not be well-suited for a sympathy meal. Be sure to include a main course meal that avoids common food allergens.

Avoid Strong Foods

Foods such as fish or olives, for example, are items that many will have a strong opinion about. Perhaps they don’t like the smell, taste, or texture. Make sure your main course meal being provided doesn’t have any ingredients that could be considered a strong food that is often disliked by people.

Prepped for Pop and Cook

Make sure that the main meal you are giving as a sympathy meal is made well enough so that the recipient can keep it frozen and then pop it in the oven and cook when ready. Place a little note on the main meal that provides instructions for oven temperature and length of time to cook.

Notify the Family

You’ll know best if it’s okay to disturb the family you’re providing the sympathy meal to or if it’s best to reach out to an extended family member. Make sure that you notify the family of when the meal will be delivered so that they are not being disturbed from anything important going on.

There are people in need all around us in our community. They may not speak up and they may be too prideful to ask for help. This guide to giving sympathy meals is meant to inspire you to give to others in need without making them feel less than worthy. These sympathy meals should be a gentle act of kindness as a means to establish the neighbor helping neighbor mentality in this world again.

Instant Pot Applesauce Recipe

Instant Pot Applesauce

I love applesauce and my family eats so much of it!  I used to make small batches of it when I only had one little one but after my son came along I gave in and began buying it.  Now that my family is eating more and more applesauce (the kids eat it daily with their probiotic mixed in) I wanted to find a way to make it in bulk at home.  My friend Jennifer shared her Instant Pot Applesauce Recipe with me and I’m excited to share it with you.

Ingredients:

  • -8 apples, chopped (she used a full 3 lb bag)
  • -1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • -1 teaspoon salt
  • -1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • -Juice of one lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
  • -1/2 cup water

Directions:

  • -Place chopped apples in the Instant Pot and toss to coat with all ingredients except water.
  • -Secure Instant Pot lid and place on manual pressure for 10 minutes, or up to 20 if you want to really caramelize your applesauce.
  • -Mash up the cooked apples with a potato masher or blend it up in a blender to achieve your desired consistency.
  • -Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

I’m just learning to use my Instant Pot (well, mine is a different brand but same concept) for things other than the few pasta dishes I know.  What are some of your favorite Instant Pot recipes?

Prime Day Deals – Blackstone Griddle Sale 30% Off!

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Blackstone Griddle Grill

This Blackstone Griddle is incredible!  We own the first generation model and got it on clearance before this one rolled out. It was my husband’s Father’s Day gift this year.  He loves it and we’ve used it to make bacon, pancakes, cheese steaks, hamburgers, and so far everything has turned out fabulous. I can’t wait to try some stir fry type meals.  This new fancy griddle is even better with extra accessories and features that ours doesn’t have.  Plus, it’s 30% off today when you shop here on Amazon.  Don’t you just love Prime Day?  I do!  If you haven’t joined yet, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to take advantage of this Prime Day Deal and get free 2-day shipping!

Original Price: $299.00
With Deal: $209.30 & FREE shipping for Prime members
You Save: $89.70!! (30%)

Click here to see all the Amazon Prime Deals I’ve shared.  Maybe later when I’m not in deal sharing mode I’ll share pics of the Blackstone in action.  It’s truly a great cooking tool to have on hand and we love ours!

Double Chocolate Silk Pie

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Chocolate Pie Recipe

Double Chocolate Silk Pie

Hello Double Chocolate Silk Pie, you just became my go-to holiday dessert!

Look, I’m going to be completely honest with you, I love to experiment in the kitchen and come up with delicious and different recipe ideas! Everything that has to do with savory dishes, breakfast, desserts, and drinks inspires me, and while I love quick and easy meals just as the next person, I also love to spend time cooking with my loved ones.

Except when it comes to holidays. When it comes to holiday food, I like to stick with the tried and true recipes we all know and love. I want to make sure that I’m cooking a fail proof recipes that’s going to come out flawless (who has time for a fail when you have a ton of people over and all the expectations?). I also like to make sure I’m cooking a recipe that everyone loves, it’s party food after all so, I want all of my guests to really feel how much I love them.

But most important of all I also want to make something that’s fairly easy and quick because while I love to spend time cooking on an everyday basis, when ti comes to holidays I just want to hold a little bit tighter my family and I want to be really present during the whole celebration. This double chocolate silk pie it’s perfect because of that!

I mean it’s a quick and easy recipe, it’s extremely delicious and every single person that tries it loves it and raves about it, and it’s totally and completely fail proof. This recipe has been tested a million and one times, so it always comes out the same: flawless, delicious and ready to be served and shared.

Chocolate Silk Pie

 

Ingredients

Directions

  • -Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • -In a saucepan over medium heat melt the chocolate chips with the milk.
  • -Incorporate the cocoa powder, heavy cream, vanilla, cornstarch, nutmeg, and sugar. Stir and cook until getting a uniform mix.
  • -Aside, in a bowl beat the egg yolk and add 1 Tbsp of the milk mix to the yolk and whip it up. Repeat the process with each egg, and then pour them into the saucepan with the melted chocolate.
  • -Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • -Fill the pie crust with the chocolate batter.
  • -Bake for 20 minutes.
  • -Remove from the oven and garnish with the grated chocolate.
  • -Serve and enjoy.

Tips

For a lighter take, swap the heavy cream for Greek yogurt and the sugar for maple syrup.

Double Chocolate Silk Pie

5 Tips to Bringing a Meal to Someone in Need

When someone is in need, sharing a meal with them is the kindest gesture you can do. There are many ways in which you can bring a meal to someone in need. This someone could be a family member, a friend or someone in the local community who simply is hard up for food. Whether you are bringing a meal to someone in need that you personally know or a complete stranger, there are some things to think about first. Today I am sharing 5 tips to bringing a meal to someone in need so that you can provide a smile to someone in need today.

5 Tips to Bringing a Meal to Someone in Need

5 Tips to Bringing a Meal to Someone in Need

Food Allergy Check

Find out if that person in need has any food allergies. These days having a food allergy seems to be pretty common. There are nut allergies, gluten allergies, dairy allergies and so on. Figure out if there are any allergies pertaining to food for this person in need before planning what meal to bring them.

Easy to Reheat Meals

Now that you have done a food allergy check, you should be sure to bring a meal to someone in need that is easily reheated. If this person is sick or feeling down, they may not eat this meal in one seating. Having instructions on the meal for how to reheat the food will go a long way to ensure this person can eat later too.

Kid-Friendly Options

If this person in need has kids in the home, you may want to ensure you add a kid-friendly option. Parents know how finicky kids can get and the parent who may be sick doesn’t have the energy to deal with extra work. Bringing along a kid-friendly option will truly help this person in need if they have kids around.

Consider Dessert

Last, but certainly not least, you should consider bringing a meal that involves a dessert too. This is a nice added treat to bring along because we all know that dessert makes us happy. Bring a basic dessert option such as cookies or cupcakes for the person in need to enjoy after their meal.

Plan Proper Timing

Lastly, you will want to make sure that this person in need has time to enjoy the meal and dessert you brought to them. Ask questions about the proper delivery date and time for this meal to someone in need. Timing will help ensure your kind gesture is met with open arms.

Bringing a meal to someone in need is the perfect way to spread random acts of kindness to your local community. All it takes is a little planning and cooking to brighten this person’s day. During the holiday season, many are without family, bringing them a warm meal could really boost their spirits.

Game Day Mac n Cheese Recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tyson®. All opinions are entirely my own.

As much as I love sweet treats at tailgate parties, savory appetizers are my real jam! This delicious mac n cheese topped with Wright® Brand Bacon is an easy recipe that is sure to please.

Wright brand bacon

Ingredients:
-2 peeled shallots
-3 cloves garlic
-1 teaspoon olive oil
-4 pieces Wright bacon cooked, reserve 1 tablespoon bacon fat
-2 tablespoons flour
-4 cups heavy cream
-1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
-1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1 pound cooked penne pasta -1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is preheating place the shallots and garlic in a small aluminum foil pouch and drizzle with olive oil.  Allow those to roast for 20 minutes before removing and chopping.  While that is roasting, fry the bacon.  Add the reserved bacon fat with the roasted shallot and garlic over medium heat.  Whisk in the cream and thyme.  Reduce by a third.  Add the cheeses and stir until melted and delicious!  Add a pinch or two of pepper or salt if you like.  Remove from the stove and gently stir in the cooked pasta.  Place in a casserole dish.  Top mac n cheese with panko and chopped bacon.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

I personally love this recipe with the bread crumbs but my daughter isn’t so fond of them so we alternate whether we include them or not.  Either way, it’s delicious!

Best Mac and Cheese

We love Wright® Brand Bacon.  Ever since I’ve tried that brand I haven’t strayed.  It’s so convenient with it’s resealable package and not to mention it is SO good.  Seriously, you have to try it if you haven’t yet.  Right now, add it to your store list and pick up a package or two the next time you’re at Kroger.

Want some more Big Game inspiration?  Try Tyson® Any’tizers® (they’re boneless!) or Ball Park® beef hot dogs.

What savory dishes do you enjoy while tailgating?

Free $10 Olive Garden or Red Lobster Gift Card

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Darden Gift Card

I know I don’t normally post deals of this sort but I love TopCashBack already and this deal is too good to not share.  If you haven’t signed up for TopCashBack yet now is the time to do it!  They have a great deal going on where you can buy a $10 Darden Restaurant Gift Card (think Olive Garden, Longhorn, Red Lobster, Seasons 52) and you’ll get $10 cash back added to your account!  It’s almost like it pays for itself!  Besides, with Valentine’s Day right around the corner who couldn’t use an extra $10 gift card in their wallet?  Here’s how to get in on this amazing deal.

  • Click here to get started
  • Click on the pink “Get Cashback” Button – (If you’re on mobile scroll to the bottom and click “View Desktop Site” to proceed)
  • You’ll be redirected to sign up.
  • After signing up you have to go to your email and click confirmation link.
  • **Important** Come back to this post, then click back here, and click on “Get Cashback” again. You’ll be redirected to the Darden Restaurants website through TopCashBack.
  • Add ONE $10 Darden Restaurant Gift Card to your cart. Just choose the type you prefer (e-gift card or physical card), type ‘$10’ in the amount section, and check out.
  • Pay $10 for your order.
  • Voila!  That’s it!  Within 7 days your account will be credited the $10 Cash Back!  That money will become payable within 21 days and can be added straight to your checking account, Paypal account, or you can be paid in Amazon credit.  If you choose Amazon credit you’ll receive 3% more cash back so your $10 will become a gift card for $10.30.  How cool is that?

Root Beer Float Day!

Today, August 6th, is National Root Beer Float Day!  It’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a delicious, creamy, and freshing float.  Just grab some ice cream and a soda like A&W Root Beer and add to a glass.  Compensation was provided by Dr Pepper/Snapple via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Dr Pepper/Snapple or Momtrends.

Root Beer Float

When I was a kid I can remember my parent’s loving root beer floats.  I tried it a few times but I was never really a fan.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked pop (as we called it) and ice cream but mixing the two together just seemed to do an injustice to both ingredients.  My husband loves root beer floats and it’s what he gets every time we go out to get ice cream.  I always thought he was crazy until he convinced me to try his earlier this summer.  I was surprised how much I really liked it.  I guess my tastes have changed over the years as I’ve grown up.  Now I can’t get enough.

Ice Cream Float

I’ll be honest, I’ve been on a BIG float kick this summer.  I go through phases of my late night snacking and this summer it has been float after float.  IBC floats, A&W floats, Dr Pepper floats and even Orange Crush floats!  I’m enjoy a float right now as I’m typing this and I’m sad to say that I just scraped the last of the vanilla ice cream from the carton.  Unless I run to the store tomorrow I might be trying a rocky road root beer float.  Who knows though, maybe that will be delicious?  Did you know that Dr Pepper, IBC, A&W, Crush, and Stewarts are all under the Dr Pepper Snapple Group?  I had no idea!  Now every time I go down the drink I’ll I see the Dr Pepper Snapple Group brand everywhere.  Who knew my favorite drinks were all from the same brand?  I didn’t realize I was so brand loyal!  The Dr Pepper Snapple Group brand has a variety of regular, reduced, and zero calorie options.  Plus, they have caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks too.  They truly have a drink for everyone!

IBC Root Beer Float

If you like floats, what’s your favorite flavor of float?  Find more delicious flavors to choose from at DrPepperSnapple.com.

 

S’mores Ice Cream

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Smores Ice Cream

S’mores Ice Cream

Summer is in full swing, and I’m craving all the summery treats, s’mores and ice creams are all I can think of so I went into full cooking mode and made one of the most delicious ice creams ever s’more ice cream!

If this is the first time you are making ice cream from scratch, fear not. It’s really easy, and it’s one of those things that seems more complicated than it actually is. You just need to keep a couple of things in mind:

1. Use chilled ingredients: This is one of the most important things, start with cold ingredients and then mix them together. If the ingredients are cold, the freezing part goes so much faster.
2. Pick your method: You can use an ice cream maker (this is our ice cream maker and we LOVE it!  It’s so much quieter and nicer than the vintage ice cream maker I grew up with) or use a manual method.  All the options work great, and while the ice cream textures vary a little from one to the other, they are all delicious.

Homemade Smores Ice Cream Recipe

And that’s pretty much all the technical things that you need to know to make S’mores Ice Cream at home. Pretty easy right?

While you can make your base a chocolate one I decided to keep things on the vanilla side. I added marshmallow creme and graham crackers, and the result is pretty amazing. I usually don’t like adding chocolate chunks to my ice cream because they end up too hard when frozen, so I left the ice cream like this and then added a swirl of Nutella before serving.

The S’mores ice cream is incredibly creamy and refreshing, and it’s a perfect icy treat for the hot summer afternoons, and since it’s so easy to make is a great recipe to make with the help of little ones.

Homemade Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • – 2 cups heavy cream
    – 1 cup half and half
    – ¾ cup of sugar
    – 1 tsp vanilla
    – 7 oz. marshmallow crème
    – 2 Hershey’s chocolate bars, chopped
    – 4 graham crackers, chopped
  • – a swirl of Nutella (optional)

Possible Ingredients for Ice Cream Machine:

Directions:

  • – In a bowl mix the heavy cream, half and half, sugar and vanilla extract. At the end of mixing carefully spoon in marshmallow crème and mix until combined.
  • – Pour ice cream mix into ice cream maker and mix it according to instructions.
  • – In the last few minutes mix in the Hershey’s bars and graham crackers.
  • – Enjoy!!

S'mores Ice Cream Recipe

If you like this recipe, Pin it for later.

S'mores Ice Cream Cone

 

Dannon Pledge – Non-GMO Ingredients

Dannon

Since having to read labels for my son’s many allergies I’ve developed the habit of reading labels for everything we eat.  To tell you the truth, I wish I didn’t pick up this habit because it’s making my shopping difficult.  I don’t want to feed my family a slew of difficult to pronounce ingredients.  I want them to eat real food.  I’m now drawn to brands that use simple ingredients, less dyes, and less artificial ingredients.  I’m happy to partner with one of those brands for this post, Dannon.

This post contains content sponsored by The Dannon Company, Inc. The opinions expressed in my post are my own. For more information on Dannon’s move toward sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency,and non­-gmo ingredients visit www.dannonpledge.com and www.dannon.com/ingredients.

What’s New

Dannon, who is one of the biggest yogurt manufacturers in the world recently made a pledge to their customers.  The Dannon Pledge was made because Dannon listens to it’s customers and they know that we want honest food and clear labeling.  Dannon is moving some of their top selling brands toward non-GMO ingredients and will even be going beyond that to develop a supply of non­-GMO feed for their cows. Dannon will be the first national yogurt company to do that.

 

Dannon has pledged that by the end of 2017, the Dannon brand (full line! Dannon, Oikos, and Danimals & more) will be non-GMO and their cows will only be consuming non-GMO feed.

Dannon’s perspective on GMOs: “We believe the currently ­approved GMOs are safe. However, we believe there is growing consumer preference for non­-GMO ingredients in the US and we want to use the strong relationships we have with our farmer partners to move faster to provide products that address this consumer demand.”

I absolutely love when a brand listens to feedback and makes changes.  It feels good to be heard!

What about now – December 2017?

Dannon has pledged that until their products are all non-GMO that they will be completely transparent on their labels.  Isn’t that refreshing?

Dannon has already began sourcing all of the milk they use directly from farms they know and are the first leading national yogurt makers to do so.

Anything else?

Why yes, I’m glad you asked!  Not only are they using non-GMO products and getting milk from cows that are eating only non-GMO feed but they’re also making sure their milk is sourced from happy cows.  Dannon has already come a long way in implementing animal welfare practices to ensure the well being of their cows.  They do this using the Validus Certification system which is a group that’s USDA approved and uses third-party organizations to ensure that animals are treated fairly.

By July 2016, more than 90% of Dannon’s milk supply will come from farms that are Validus certified.

 

If you want to make a delicious, socially and environmentally-conscious choice, then check out Dannon’s yogurts next time you’re at the supermarket…and read the label while you’re at it!

I’d like to hear from you!

What do you think of the Dannon Pledge?  Are you OCD about reading labels too?