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

-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

This post contains my referral link.

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


S’mores Ice Cream

This post contains affiliate links.
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


  • – 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:


  • – 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


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 and

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?

Pick Your Pepper – Dr Pepper’s New Labels

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.

Dr. Pepper


To me, summer is all about enjoying life.  Family, friends, the outdoors, the sunshine, the food, and the fun!!  The Dr Pepper Snapple Group also loves summer and fun so this summer they have created limited edition Dr Pepper bottles to help us enjoy celebrating our own style while staying refreshed on hot days.

Pick Your Pepper




I don’t know about you but I love the creative campaigns that brands come out with.  Maybe it’s from watching Bewitched as a kid but I love getting a glimpse of the advertising world from the outside looking in.  This campaign is a fun one!  There are hundreds of unique images that are being printed on Dr Pepper labels.  I’m sure you’ll find one or two that fits your personality and style.  From just browsing at the ones on the Dr Pepper website I love a bunch of them!  Especially the retro ones.  I’m an 80’s girl at heart.

Dr. Pepper Label


While you’re browsing the cool designs on the Dr Pepper website go ahead and take a moment to design your own Dr Pepper GIF.  It’s actually pretty fun and a little addicting.  There are hundreds of images to go through and the creative combinations are endless…well, actually about 4,000 but practically endless.  Once you’ve created a design you like share it on social media using the hashtag #pickyourpepper.

Dr. Pepper

Here’s a look at the one I created.  Floral and girlie.  Classic logo.  Banjo playing bass that remind me of my childhood growing up in West Virginia.

To learn more about Dr Pepper Snapple Group and it’s large family of brands, be sure to visit  Don’t forget to look for the special limited edition labels on 20 oz bottles of Dr Pepper this summer!

Share Your Chiquita Smile & Win a Disney Vacation!

This post is in partnership with Mom It Forward Blogger Network and I’m being compensated by Chiquita for this post because I adore bananas!

Bananas are one of the staples moms always need to have on hand.  Maybe not all moms but I sure do anyway!  They’re a meal on the go.  They stow away nicely in diaper bags and purses alike.  They’re full of potassium and other goodies that most snacks don’t contain.  They’re the perfect on-the-go food to fuel moms, kids, toddlers, and babies.  Because they’re the best food on earth, they are always on my shopping list and they always give my family a smile.

We mostly eat bananas by themselves but they’re also great in cereal, in yogurt, with peanut butter (or almond butter…or cookie butter!!), and on peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  I’ve never had a banana split but I saw one at an ice cream shop last night and have decided that the next time we visit our family is going to share a banana split!

Do you want a chance to win a Walt Disney World® Vacation?  Yes, I thought that might get your attention! 🙂

Share Your Chiquita Smile

Pull out your best Chiquita smile, snap a pic, share it, and could take you to a Walt Disney World® vacation compliments of Chiquita! That’s all there is to it!  You’re only a few steps away (4 to be exact) for a chance to win a Walt Disney World® vacation!  Visit and enter to WIN a Walt Disney World® Resort family vacation!

  • ● Contest Period: begins at 10:00 a.m. ET on April 29, 2016 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 26, 2016
  • ● Entry Period: begins 10:00 a.m. ET on April  29, 2016 and ends 11:59 p.m. ET on June 19, 2016
  • ● Voting Period: begins 10:00 a.m. ET on April 29, 2016 and ends 11:59 p.m. ET on June 26, 2016.

Chiquita Bananas

The picture above is my entry.  You can take photos with your own bananas or add these fun sticker.  They even have Mickey Mouse hats and gloves too!  My photo hasn’t fully been approved yet (it takes up to 48 hours) but this is the preview of my submission.

Chiquita Banana Smiles

After we entered the contest we wanted to take photos with our own bananas just for fun!

What are you waiting for? Pick, Pose, Post, Share and Get votes!  Your best Chiquita smile could take you to a Walt Disney World® vacation from Chiquita!

Here are some other fun things to smile about!  Check out these Chiquita Banana Walt Disney World® inspired recipes (and fun facts!) about each of the Walt Disney World® points of interest: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Spring and Walt Disney World® Resort.  I’d love to visit Epcot with my kiddos one day…okay, all of the above but especially Epcot!

Here’s one last thing to smile about!!  Enter to win a Chiquita Prize Pack!!

The prize pack includes:

  • Just Smile Breakfast Bowl
  • Just Smile Magnets
  • Chiquita Pens
  • Chiquita Aprons
  • Chiquita Short Sleeve T-shirt

No purchase necessary. One Entry per household. Must be 18+ to enter. Offer valid in the US and Canada only. 

Good luck!

Congratulations, Laura J. is our winner!

French Toast Casserole

This is a project of The Women Bloggers and Kendal King Group to share the goodness of Nestle Gerber Cereal.

French Toast Casserole Recipe

French toast casserole is one of those recipes that’s incredibly comforting. It’s also one of those recipes that are so incredibly easy to make that you are going to ask yourself why you didn’t make it before. Yes, it’s that good and yes, it’s that easy!

Berry French Toast Casserole

This is one of those recipes that asks for things most of you already have in hand, sandwich bread, a splash of milk, two eggs, some fruit, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and for a little extra goodness Gerber MultiGrain Cereal. That’s it. Thicker french toast bread is great but usually we just make it with what we have on hand and that’s regular old bread.  There are no hard to find ingredients in this recipe and definitely, you don’t need to trek to different supermarkets to find the ingredients.  They can all be found at your local Walmart.  {As a side note we are loving our new Walmart Market and can’t wait till they roll out their free order online, drive up, and they’ll load your car service.}

Did you catch that?  Yes, you read it right.  Gerber MultiGrain Cereal is an ingredient in this family friendly, easy-peasy, delicious french toast casserole.  It’s an easy way to sneak in iron, calcium, and other vitamins.

Gerber Cereal

Although this is a partnered post with Gerber, to tell you the truth, I’ve been mixing it in my kid’s applesauce for a long time.  My son, as you may know from other posts, has serious eating issues.  Pickiness to the extreme caused by sensory issues, early untreated heartburn, and allergies to soy and dairy.  That’s our best guess as to the reason but because of his unwillingness to eat the cereal I bought for him…and the oatmeal…and the rice, I wanted to find some use for it because I didn’t want to throw it out.  I started adding a tablespoon here in the applesauce, another in the spaghetti sauce, and another in the casserole.  The only thing my daughter ever noticed it in was yogurt and I still think that was because I wasn’t fully awake and didn’t mix it thoroughly.

Gerber MultiGrain Cereal

Now that my son is a little older and eating a handful of things more than he used to I’ve started sneaking Gerber cereal into the foods he can eat.  Mainly those are carb laden foods so I figure the more nutrition I can sneak in the better.  For instance, those hot chocolate brownie bites I made the other day had a few tablespoons of cereal thrown in to make them a little bit nutritious for him.  It’s so fine that it mixes well into many, many recipes.  Now back to the French Toast Casserole!

After trying a couple of different methods to make them, my favorite one is cutting the bread in half. While a lot of recipes ask for cutting the bread into cubes I found that makes it a bit mushier than I like. So if you don’t like a soggy french toast casserole just cut the bread in half.

Then dunk each slice into an egg, milk, Gerber cereal, and maple syrup mixture and place into your casserole. Dunking each slice guarantees that everything gets coated into the deliciousness and that each slice is full of flavor. However, don’t worry! This step is super quick and it only takes 5 minutes for enough french toasts to feed a family of 4.

French Toast Casserole

Once your casserole is full with french toast, you can pour the remaining mixture on top and take it to the oven as it is or add some toppings. I prefer to bake them with the toppings, basically because I like how the toppings get more delicious with a little bit of oven time. So sprinkle on some powdered sugar, throw your toppings on (I used a frozen berry mix), and bake it for 40 minutes.

Once it’s done serve it in the casserole and you are all set!

Berry French Toast

French Toast Casserole

  • Ingredients:
    –  2 Eggs
    –  ½ Cup milk
    –  ¼ Cup maple syrup
    –  8 Slices of bread
  • –  ½ Cup berries (frozen or fresh)
  • –  ¼ Cup Gerber MultiGrain Cereal (although the Oatmeal with banana flavoring might be good to try too!)
  • –  a little (2 Tbs?) Powdered sugar
  • Direction:
    –  Preheat your oven at 350F.
    –  In a bowl mix the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and cereal.
    –  Cut the bread in half, dunk each side into the mix, and take to the casserole.
    –  Once the casserole is filled, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and top it with berries.
    –  Bake for 40 minutes.
    –  Serve and enjoy.

What do you think about #CookingwithGerber?  Give this French Toast Casserole recipe a try and let me know what you think!

National Cereal Day and Nature Valley Cereal

Happy National Cereal Day!

That’s right, today is National Cereal Day!  Everyone loves cereal, right?  We sure do at our house.  It’s the quickest, easiest way to make sure my family is properly fueled to begin the day.  Occasionally I’ll go the extra mile and whip up pancakes with a side of bacon.  Normally though, cereal is the breakfast for me….and a late night snack too. 🙂

Nature Valley Cereal

Recently, I discovered Nature Valley’s new line of cereal.  Did you know they had a line of cereal?  I sure didn’t!  I’ve always loved their granola bars (and being the prepared mom that I am I am always within an arms reach of them).  Their cereal has the recommended daily serving of whole grains plus it’s packed with the protein that my family needs.

Honey Oat Clusters is my favorite.  Okay, so it’s the only one I’ve tried but I have a feeling it will be my favorite.  It’s just sweet enough without being too sugary.  Call me crazy but as much as I love desserts, I really dislike sugary cereals.  My husband will definitely be snacking on the Chocolate Oat Clusters box when he finds it.  I think my daughter will love the Baked Oat Bites that we’re going to try together tomorrow.

If you’d love to pick up a box or two of Nature Valley’s new cereal don’t forget to print off this $1 coupon before you head to the store.

Happy National Cereal Day!  I don’t know about you but I think I’ll be celebrating this all week long!

What’s your favorite cereal?

Bowtie Chicken Parmesan

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson® and Barilla®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Bowtie Chicken Parmesan

This effortless Bowtie Chicken Parmesan comes together in 30 minutes or less. This is what dinner dreams are made of! It’s quick, easy, and delicious!

Quick Dinner

Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips

This mouthwatering Italian dish is perfect for hectic weeknights when there is no time for a recipe that takes more than 30 minutes. Monday-Friday are when my family relies on quick meals and only on Saturday and Sunday evenings do we try more complicated dishes.

Barilla Mini Farfalle

Tyson® Crispy Chicken Strips, Barilla® Tuscan Herb sauce, and Barilla® Mini Farfalle pasta are three convenient products that combine perfectly for less time spent with meal prep and more time spent enjoying my family! Plus, they give this dinner protein that my family needs!

Barilla Bowtie Pasta


– Tyson® Crispy Chicken Strips (frozen)
– 1 jar of Barilla® Tuscan Herb pasta sauce
– 1/2 box of Barilla®​ Mini Farfalle
– Optional grated parmesan cheese


– Bake chicken strips at 400 F for 20 minutes (3 or more strips depending on how much your family will eat)
– Meanwhile, boil your pasta (which takes 7 minutes for al dente), drain, and return to pot.
– Add Barilla® Tuscan Herb sauce and stir continually till heated.
– Slice chicken and serve on top of pasta. Grate parmesan cheese on top if you’d like. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Bowtie Chicken Parmesan

Want to try this meal out on your family? Run by your local Publix to pick up the above ingredients and save $3.00 off when you buy any 1 Tyson® Chicken Strips, Tenderloins, or Fillets 25 oz (frozen) AND any 1 Barilla® Pasta Sauce 24 oz AND any 1 Barilla® Pasta 8-16 oz (combined purchase required) with this coupon. Coupon is valid February 13 – March 4, 2016.

For more quick dinner dishes check out this Tyson® & Barilla®

Pinterest board.

What quick weeknight meals does your family enjoy?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson® and Barilla®. The opinions and text are all mine.