Strawberry Cheesecake Cups Recipe $400 Giveaway #EggItForward

Here in Ontario it’s Thanksgiving weekend which always gets me to thinking of the blessings in my life. As I take the time to truly reflect on my journey, I’m struck by the amazing opportunities, people and gifts I’ve been given. There were times in my life when I had much less, when my health failed, when finances were in the gutter…so many times when people would step in with a gesture of kindness which would change my negative perspective. I can remember right after my first daughter was born I found a homemade meal on my doorstep with a loving note from someone wishing us well. It probably the BEST meal we’ve ever eaten and reminded us that we had folks pulling for us.

With this in mind I’m so happy to have teamed up with This Lil Piglet to invite you all to #EggItForward to someone in your life. We are giving you a chance to win $250 towards your local food bank AND $150 Burnbrae Farms gift basket, including coupons. Details about this fantastic giveaway are at the bottom of the post…way below these delicious photos…oh and be sure to check out This Lil Piglet’s Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake, you’ll thank me later.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups Recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups Recipe @SoberJuilie.com #EggItForward

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup  graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup  plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp.  butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp.  vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam
  • 6 strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Preparation:

Begin by heating the oven to 325°F.

Mix the graham crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter until they are well blended.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cup base

Now press the graham cracker mixture onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups; I found it easy using an ice cream scoop.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups Muffin tin

Set aside the muffin tins and beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups mixing

Now pour the cream cheese mixture over crusts in the muffin tins.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups before baking

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until centers are almost set, then cool completely.

Spread evenly with 1/3 cup strawberry jam, (I was far too generous and ended up with very messy cheesecake cups), garnish with fresh strawberry halves and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cups Recipe @SoberJulie.com #EggItForward
Strawberry Cheesecake Cups
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Julie Elsdon-Height
Serves: 18
Lovely Strawberry Cheesecake cups which are perfect to take to gatherings.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup strawberry jam
  • 6 strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
Instructions
  1. HEAT oven to 325°F.
  2. MIX graham crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter until blended; press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups.
  3. BEAT cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crusts.
  4. BAKE 25 to 30 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 2 hours.
  5. Spread evenly with 1/3 cup strawberry jam. Garnish with fresh strawberry halves and drizzle with chocolate sauce.

#EggItForward Giveaway

#EGGITForward

One lucky Canadian winner will recieve a donation of $250 in their name to their local food bank AND a $150 Burnbrae Farms gift pack full of swag and coupons.

 

It’s simple to enter:

  1. Often food is used to show our appreciation. First tell me how you give thanks using eggs around Thanksgiving in the comments below.
  2. Pin one of the 2 finished Strawberry Cheesecake Cup images in this post to Pinterest.
  3. Mandatory Entry: Using Instagram via Twitter or simply Twitter, tweet your favourite recipe you use to #EggItForward and include another fellow Twitter pal. You can either tweet a picture of that recipe OR just tell us in a tweet using the hashtag #EggItForward using the following format:

For example: ” @BurnbraeFarms I would share my Strawberry Cheesecake Cups with @ThisLilPiglet #EggItForward “

Note: You can tweet directly on Twitter using a statement OR via Instagram through to Twitter using attaching a picture to your tweet. You can enter as many times as you want on Twitter BUT always use this format.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

Sayin It Out Loud: I Like GOOD Toilet Paper! #LetsTalkBums

I know many of you are here because my title is just so far out there from the normal conversations we find ourselves having and you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind. Frankly I know you all have preferences for toilet paper and today I’m going to be right out loud and tell you all what I think!

I HATE cheap, thin, rough toilet paper! There it is, I’m saying what many of us feel.

Whew it feels good to expect more and say that outright. So what is a girl to do when she is looking for bathroom tissues which she’ll actually appreciate? Well, I was sent some products from Cottonelle which have honestly changed my routine.

Cottonelle-logo

 

Cottonelle Wipes Get Thumbs Up

Having two daughters one may think that bum talk isn’t heard around out home…but one would be WRONG. There’s nothing like toilet humor or complaints to get the laughter going. My girls have both had the chance to try out the new Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths and officially give them the thumbs up.

I will spare you the entire conversation but my youngest says that they don’t leave bits of paper on her butt and my eldest likes that they’re smooth and don’t “bug” her bum.

Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths—Sleek New Dispenser

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These wipes were designed to be used in conjunction with Cottonelle toilet paper. They really did leave us with clean feeling bums as advertised. My first question was about their impact on septic systems but they’ve been tested and meet the requirements of municipal  treatment so no worries there.

These wipes contain no alcohol, oil or soaps and the new sleek dispense is not only attractive but durable so it will last long enough to be refilled a few times.

Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths On-The-Go Soft Packs (10 count)

Cottonelle-Fresh-Care-Flushable-Cleansing-Cloths#LetsTalkBums Twitter Party

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Join us to chat about BUMS on October 17th at 8pm EST using the hashtag #LetsTalkBums. I can predict it will be a hilarious, fast moving party you won’t want to miss! There will also be some fabulous prizing from Cottonelle including party prizes of GC’s and a year supply of Cottonelle.

Hosts: @MyChaos, @SimplyStacie & @SoberJulie

For your chance to win, RSVP below and Please follow @Cottonelle and the party hosts. Then, jump on Twitter using the hashtag at 8pm EST on the 17th, don’t forget to use your Twitter handle url in the rsvp.



Celebrate Everyday Moments #OpaYopa

Assuming you’ve been reading SoberJulie.com for more than 5 minutes, you’ll probably know that I am a HUGE fan of celebrations. From Birthdays to Christmas I simply love the feeling when I’m looking forward to being together with my family to mark the occasion. These days I’ve extended that celebratory feeling to the little things in life.

The little victories matter in my life, with everyone being so busy and the challenges which feel like they’re around every corner I’ve learned that an attitude of gratitude can make a difference in how I experience life. If I’m busy running around looking for disaster, I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. When I’m able to look through life’s disappointments and still see the gifts, well now those are the true joyful moments.

Today my daughters were arguing, my body was in pain and yet I was able to feel some Florida sun on my face for a moment and breathe that lifeblood of humility and gratitude back into my body. “Let’s have a smoothie!” I yelled to the girls and off we went in search of a smoothie to celebrate the moment.

These days my celebrations don’t include booze, I look for heathy choices like one of my Mocktails or a treat that is actually healthy while being delicious.

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Each 100g serving of Yopa! is 80 calories and offers double the protein of regular yogurt, no gelatin, no artificial flavours or colours, and 0% fat. This is a healthy snack with 5 flavours which everyone will enjoy!

Yopa! Giveaway

One lucky Canadian reader will win a prize pack from Yopa! valued at over $100! Entry is simple, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends October 26th, the winner will have 48 hours to respond. There are other blogs with the same giveaway, feel free to enter them all but you can only win one prize.
Disclosure – I am participating in the YOPA Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills, and received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion.
The opinions on this blog are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure – I am participating in the YOPA Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills, and received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. 
The opinions on this blog are my own.

Heading to St Pete Beach to stay at a Tradewinds Resort in Florida

As a family, each of us has a different wish list when we’re planning a holiday. While I’d enjoy spending all of my time shopping and relaxing in the sun, my family has different interests. As you can imagine it can be quite a challenge to find a vacation which hits everyone’s wants and needs (sleep is a priority!).

In the past few years we have fallen in love with Florida, its warm climate, friendly people and fantastic customer service has never let us down. We are actually here in Orlando now, after spending a few days having our minds blown at Disney we are staying steps from the outlets which pleases me immensely! Tomorrow we are heading down to Island Grand, a Tradewinds Resort on St Pete Beach.

TradeWinds Entrance

We specifically chose Island Grand because it has something for everyone in our family at a resort that is not an all-inclusive located right on the beach.

TradeWinds Island Grand has completed all phases of a $20 million renovation project! Renovations include guest rooms, suites and specialty units; meetings space, lobby, Grand Palm Colonnade, and more!

A 20-acre beachfront playground, TradeWinds Island Grand was created with fun in mind. Bask beside one of five heated pools. Let the kids play at the KONK while you indulge in a massage or a romantic dinner. Explore our impeccably landscaped grounds by paddleboat along the meandering waterway. Give our concierge a call to arrange a fishing, golf or snorkeling excursion. At the Island Grand, your choices are limited only by your imagination. You pack your things, we’ll pack your stay.

Activities & Services at Guy Harvey Outpost

The choices here seem endless but each of us has made a wish list of activities which we can enjoy. Many are provided free of cost, and a few will be special treats.

On my list is the Body Works Spa, I’d love to see about getting a pedicure after doing so much walking. I also plan on making good use of the cabanas on the beach, I’m picturing myself utterly relaxed watching the kids play in the water.

CabanaHero3 (2)

Sydney cannot wait to check out Fish Tales with Captain Tim and the Splash Island Water Park. How amazing that there is fishing themed activities for our little angler, honestly this is rare to find located directly within the resort.

Watersports Hero 3

Chelsea is looking forward to having her hair braided on the beach and swooping down the High Tide Water Slide which is right on the beach.

HTS Hero Volleyball

My husband is easy to please. He wanted our own kitchen to prepare meals using local foods, shopping close by and a gorgeous beach. Guy Harvey Outpost has all of his requests and MORE, I cannot wait to see which activities he’ll choose to try.

You can find out more about Tradewinds Resorts on Twitter @TWResorts or FB on their Tradewinds Island Resorts page.

Keep an eye out for my updates over the next few days as we experience all they have to offer. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Disclosure: I was provided a stay at this resort for purposes of review; I was not compensated. All opinions are my own. 

Looking for a Restaurant to Please the Whole family? #MandarinON

When given the choice of where to eat our kids will always scream they want to go to Mandarin!

pink logo

As someone who has recently developed a taste for Oriental foods, in the past I shied away from dining at Mandarin…boy I didn’t know what I was missing! This is a restaurant which caters to all tastes, the atmosphere is amazing, the customer service is stellar and the food…oh the food is delicious!

buffet shot

What began as a small Á-la-carte restaurant in Brampton in 1979 has transformed over the years to the buffet style restaurant which has 20 locations across Southwestern Ontario. Each location’s award-winning buffet has an extensive soup and salad bar, grill tables, a prime rib counter, a sushi corner, and a variety of hot foods showcasing the best in Chinese Canadian fare. An array of desserts and an ice cream sundae bar offer the perfect end to the meal. Take-out and delivery are also available at every location.

Mandarin is committed to customer service, their missions statement is certainly upheld each and every time we visit!

“Every customer must feel welcomed as soon as they arrive. Every customer must be happy and smiling when they leave.”

Mandarin Moon Festival

Recently I was presented with the chance to take our family to experience the Moon Festival at Mandarin. We knew the girls would be super excited and to make it even more of a celebratory dinner we decided to include two of their friends.

Mandarin Outside kids playing

When you enter Mandarin the atmosphere immediately speaks to you. The restaurant was totally dressed to celebrate the Moon Festival and there a gorgeous pond which spans the waiting area at the front of the restaurant. The children were fascinated watching the Koi swim around the area and it kept them occupied as I went to the desk.

mandarin pond

 

The staff greeted us all warmly and our reservation was confirmed. We didn’t have to wait long, right on time we were led through the restaurant by our host who happily explained the entire layout and the legend of the Moon Festival.

Once upon a time there was a famous archer, Hou Yi, who with his arrows was able to slay mankind’s worst enemies, ferocious beasts that inhabited the earth. Yi was married to Chang-O, a beautiful but inquisitive woman who had been an attendant of the queen mother of the west before her marriage. Now at this time, there were 10 suns that took turns circling the earth-one every 10 days. One day, all 10 of the orbs circled, together, causing the earth’s surface to burn and threatening mankind. The wise emperor of China summoned Yi and commanded him to kill but one of the suns. This Yi proceeded to do. Upon the completion of his task, Yi was rewarded with a pill, the elixir of life, and advised: “make no haste to swallow this pill, but first prepare yourself with prayer and fasting for a year.” Being a wise man, Yi took the pill home and hid it under a rafter while he began healing his spirit, In the midst of this, Yi was summoned again by the emperor.

While her husband was gone, Chang-O noticed a beam of white light beckoning from the rafter. She followed it and a fragrant perfume, discovered the pill and swallowed it. Immediately, Chang-O found she could fly. Just at that moment her husband returned home, realize what had happened and began to reprimand his wife. Chang-O flew out the window into the sky. Yi sped after her, bow in hand, and the pursuit continued halfway across the heavens. Finally, Yi had to return to the earth because of the force of  the wind.

His wife reached the moon and there, breathless, she coughed and part of the pill fell from her mouth. Now, the hare was already on the moon and Chang-O commanded the animal to take pestle and mortar and pound another pill so that she return to earth and her husband. The hare is still pounding.

As for Yi, he built himself a palace in the sun as Yang (the sun and the male principle), Chang-O as Yin (the moon and the female principle).

Once a year, on the 15th day of the full moon, Yi visits his wife. That is why the moon is full and beautiful on that night.

It’s a romantic legend which we all appreciated and the decorations were gorgeous. Once we were seated at our table our very engaging server arrived to explain the buffet system to the children and take our drink orders. She had a great sense of humour and totally understood the kids, even to the point of teasing them about eating dessert first.

Mandarin family

There was much banter and the kids boasting about who was going to eat the most….and off we went to experience the buffet. To say there’s something for everyone is the understatement of the year! From salads to desserts Mandarin has thought of every dietary need, low sugar, low sodium…it’s all represented in their delicious dishes.

Mandarin Buffet

The staff at Mandarin were very conscious, we were paid close attention to with offers for drink refills and even warm facecloths to clean up before and after our meals. And in case you’re wondering how the kids did…..well I think that they’d agree the buffet at Mandarin kicked their butts!

Mandarin after dinner

If you’re in Southwestern Ontario, grab your family and head over to your local Mandarin to experience the Moon Festival before October 20th! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

WIN a Trip to Bahamas from Mandarin

In celebration of the Moon Festival, Mandarin is giving away an all inclusive trip for 2 to the Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort in Nassau Bahamas! Head over to Mandarin’s Facebook page and share your story of romance with the one you love to enter.

 

Tips for Protection on Social Media #ESETProtects

As a parent of two girls I was excited when I was asked to use  EST Smart Security 6 and share my findings with you all. Last month I focused upon the features that ESET Smart Security 6 provides and how to set it all up. You can see my review of that on my ESET Smart Security – The Protection We’ve Been Looking For blog post. This month I want to talk to you all about being protected while you’re using social media. October is National Cyber Security Awareness month and I don’t know that we all keep our security in mind while we’re watching YouTube videos or chatting with friends on Facebook or Twitter.

Personally, I spend copious amounts of time on Facebook and Twitter. It’s so easy to access wherever I am, there are times when I’m laying in bed, resting but still able to interact. It’s amazing how far we’ve come…the days when my chronic pain is too bad for me to go out and interact with folks aren’t spent in isolation because I can connect on social media. BUT there are risks involved with this development of technology which we have to be aware of and protect ourselves and our families from.

Tips for Protection on Social Media from ESET

Don’t give too much away…

Be careful how much you give away about yourself in your “About” profile (on the far left of your profile page). The more you add, the more an identity thief can learn about you straight away.

Many people like to say as much about themselves to make them seem more interesting. Resist this, your friends know how interesting you are! So no clues to your home address, mother’s maiden name, age or relatives should be given. You can add your phone number but this can be locked to friends only or even just yourself and Facebook. It can be useful for Facebook to know your mobile number as they can use it to alert you of suspicious activity.

Keeping your private stuff private

Facebook gives you the option to control your privacy settings, although by default it opens up your info to more or less anyone. So, let’s look at Facebook’s Privacy Settings in detail. These are found under the arrow at the far right of the Facebook window. Click on the arrow and then click the Privacy Settings tab. This opens up a menu bar that governs what Facebook can do with the information it holds about you.

Who can see your timeline?

Now go to Timeline & Tagging. This allows you to determine how much or how little of your timeline is seen by others and whether you want to be “tagged” or not.

Who can access your personal data?

This set of options is probably the most important on Facebook as it allows you to control what third parties can access to your Facebook profile.

A Facebook friend is not forever

Unless you are using Facebook for marketing purposes, think about the actual ‘friends” you really want to connect with. For example that guy who you kind of knew in the your first dorm room? The random woman you once met on holiday. Do you have any idea what they are doing now? Are they trustworthy? When was the last time you heard from them? You get the picture. A little pruning of the Friends list is a good idea every now and again. One more tip, don’t publicly announce holidays or other absences on Facebook and use Facebook email to communicate directly with friends.

Set the controls on YouTube

This deserves a special mention simply because of the popularity of the video sharing site among teenagers. Like Facebook, Google states that no-one under 13 should use the site. However the safest bet is to set up a child user account which will block any inappropriate content. You can also turn off comments to prevent your kids being abused or bullied by other users and stop them from doing the same. A quick review of the comments on virtually any YouTube video will demonstrate how nasty these can be – a practice known as “Trolling”.

With regards to social media safety tips, we have a recent WLS blog post that is great, and features Bieber (great for SEO given his high profile) which discusses Five Social Media Posts you should never click.

ESET provides a free tool called Social Media Scanner that can scan your Facebook and Twitter to protect you and your friends’ timeline, messages and newsfeed from malicious objects.

ESET Helps Protect Against Risks on Social Media

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 1.14.11 PM

When you purchase ESET Smart Security 6 you also get their Social Media Scanner. Wether you’re logged into Facebook or not, once you install ESET Social Media Scanner it protects your profile from malicious content by providing Facebook security scans of your wall, newsfeed and private messages. It scans these areas looking for any malicious links and if it finds any you’re immediately notified by email with instructions on how to clean the threat.

Installing the Social Media Scanner is very simple, I just went to this link:ESET Social Media Scanner. It asked me for approval to access my approval for the app to access my data and scan it. Next I was asked if it could post on my profile that I was using Social Media Scanner and finally it hit the main screen where I clicked to perform a scan.

social media safety

The scan was completed and I found I had not threats but there were some on my friends walls which I was notified of. Thankfully they weren’t actually threats, they were links I knew but if they were threats I could have the system notify my friend or I could directly.

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 1.56.15 PM

Tips to Avoid Theft of Your Device from ESET

Password-protect your computing devices.

While it sounds obvious, if anyone steals your device they will have to defeat your password to get at your data and accounts, which will significantly slow attackers. Although it is not impossible to defeat password protection on a digital device, it adds a useful layer of protection, buying you time to locate and recover the device.

Always backup your files.

Why? Even if you can’t recover a stolen device that does not mean you have to lose all your information and software. Regular backups are the ultimate defense against theft of your files. There are plenty of options for backup these days including online backup. Taking the time to setup backup really pays off if a device is stolen, helping reduce the pain involved in re-creating the sensitive content.

Use tracking software to help get your stolen device back.

Why? Getting your stolen device back is not impossible, particularly if the device itself can tell you where it is and you can communicate with it using a sort of “remote control” via SMS or other methods. You may even be able to communicate with the person who has it. (Here’s an example of how one piece of anti-theft software for PCs.) However, it is not recommended that you physically confront the thief for safety reasons. Always work with your local law enforcement.

Don’t tempt thieves with unattended mobile devices, particularly in public places.

Why? Leaving your computer or mobile device unattended in a car, airport or restaurant is akin to asking for it to be stolen. In a recent survey we found that 1 in 5 stolen devices were taken from a car, 12% from an airport, train, bus, or other public transportation, and 11% from a restaurant or coffee shop. (Here’s an example of anti-theft software for Android devices.)

Encrypt sensitive data

Why? Storing sensitive data in encrypted files prevents anyone exploiting your data if your computer is stolen. Note: File encryption is available free on recent version of both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X operating systems. This step is a lot easier than it used to be, so the pain level is low these days (unlike in years past).

Bonus tip. Think about removing sensitive data from your device.

Why? Your computer may interact with sensitive data but it does not need to store all of it right there in one place. Consider using encrypted removable media for sensitive data and carrying that separate from the computer. Maybe leave sensitive work files on the company network and access remotely over a secure connection. This way, if “bad things” happen, you’ll have much lower likelihood that the bad actors got off with critical information.

In today’s age it’s not easy keeping up with the changes and risks in social media but we ARE living our lives online and we must be sure that we’re investigating and protecting ourselves appropriately.

To find out more head over to the ESET Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter. ESET Smart Security received the esteemed PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) Seal of Approval, the most publicized and highly recognized award seal in North America.

1236278_588610881184933_248625282_nFor a limited time, receive 15% off the purchase of ESET Smart Security 6, the first step to online security for your family.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

Prizes:

5 Eset products (valued at $59.99 each)

1 x $100 Target Gift card

1 tablet preloaded with Eset software (Choice of Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab or Google Nexus)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

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WIN an Acer Iconia Tablet!

Lately I’ve had the pleasure of offering you all many chances to WIN some AMAZING PRIZES! The problem is that most have been for my Canadian readers but thanks to my good fiend Trisha at MomDot, today it’s all about my American friends.  How would you like to WIN an Acer Iconia 8.1″ 32G Tablet???

Acer

Listen, I’m a total technology love and this tablet looks amazing!

The Acer Iconia W3 Series puts desktop PC productivity in a tablet, so you can work on the go more conveniently than ever. At 8.1″, it is compact enough to hold in one hand, yet sports a screen big enough for comfortable viewing. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 and sporting 8-hours of battery life, this tablet keeps you in touch and productive while traveling, at work or play. Rounding out this premium mobile-productivity package are Windows 8 and a robust Intel processor.

You can find out more about the Acer Iconia 8.1″ Tablet HERE.

Entry is simple, just out the rafflecopter form below to enter.  This giveaway ends on October 11, 2013.  US only, winner will be notified via momdot@live.com and have 48 hours to respond before new winner is pulled. Please allow 6-8 weeks for prize delivery.

GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apple Maple Pecan Skillet Pancake Recipe

With Autumn in the air here in Ontario it’s the perfect time to head out to the apple orchards and begin some baking. The choices are endless, from apple pies to apple brown betty we love them all! Today I decided to try something different, I wanted to incorporate some good old Maple Syrup and delicious pecans. This Apple Maple Pecan Skillet Pancake recipe can be used for either a breakfast or dessert dish. It’s a lovely breakfast on a Saturday morning or accompanied by some ice cream for dessert.

I hope you all enjoy it!

Apple Maple Pecan Skillet Pancake Recipe

Apple Maple Pecan Skillet Pancake Collage

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 small McIntosh apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, split into two portions
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup pecans, broken into small pieces

Preparation:

Begin preheating your oven to 425 degrees.Next peel your apples, coring them and cutting them into 1/4 inch slices.

Apple Dessert

Melt the butter in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Once melted, throw in your apple slices and allow them to cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until they’re soft.

Apples cooking

Add in the brown sugar and cinnamon and continue cooking on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until they’re caramelized.  While they’re cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and flour. When the apples are lovely and soft, gently pour in your batter and move your skillet into the preheated oven for 12 minutes.

Apple Dessert Mix

After 12 minutes, pull out the skillet and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar over the top. Drizzle the maple syrup onto this lovely creation, sprinkle the pecans on top and return to the oven for approximately 5 minutes or until it’s all nice and brown.

Apple Maple Pecan skillet pancake
Apple Maple Pecan Skillet Pancake Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Julie Elsdon-Height
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
A lovely dessert jammed with caramelized apples, maple syrup and pecans
Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 small McIntosh apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, split into two portions
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup pecans, small pieces
Instructions
  1. Begin preheating your oven to 425 degrees.Next peel your apples, coring them and cutting them into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Melt the butter in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Once melted, throw in your apple slices and allow them to cook for about 6 to 8 minutes until they’re soft.
  3. Add in the brown sugar and cinnamon and continue cooking on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until they’re caramelized. While they’re cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and flour. When the apples are lovely and soft, gently pour in your batter and move your skillet into the preheated oven for 12 minutes.
  4. After 12 minutes, pull out the skillet and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar over the top. Drizzle the maple syrup onto this lovely creation, sprinkle the pecans on top and return to the oven for approximately 5 minutes or until it’s all nice and brown.

Bloggers Pitching a Brand Series – Laying the Groundwork

So you’ve started a blog! Being a blogger is tons of fun! Whether you’re writing about your life in general or a specific niche, me thinks we can all agree there has to be a passion for the craft or we’d all go cra-crazy quickly. As I sit here typing away I can easily remember how jazzed up I was in the early days of blogging, what power there is in sharing my thoughts and dreams here in my little spot on the web. Eventually my blog developed and I found that my inbox was becoming jammed with opportunities to review products but unfortunately not the products I would have chosen. Somehow I don’t feel the need for a moustache trimmer..but that’s just me. I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and pitch brands I’d really like to work with.

Having the idea to pitch brands is good and all but it’s worthless if you don’t know how. There is an art to it which is unique to each and every blogger but perhaps I can help shed some light into pitching for the newer bloggers out there with my Pitching A Brand series. This is the first of the series, which will help you with the groundwork bloggers do before the actual pitch is sent.

Pitching a Brand

6 Tips To Prepare for Pitching a Brand

Know Your Own Brand

Before you begin seeking out opportunities with brands you need to have a hold on who YOU are. When I say YOU I mean your brand as it is seen outwardly. Take stock of who your brand is today, at this EXACT moment online before you even develop a strategy.

If you’ve decided you’re becoming a “Healthy Eating” blogger and REALLY want to work with health-based brands you’d better look the part with your online interactions. Photos of you mowing down on fast food via Instagram aren’t going to help your pitch. Perhaps you want to slant this to your advantage, how about a “Life Change to Healthy Eating” as your brand focus instead?  If you indeed are making changes to your brand, get them underway before you begin pitching so that people can see and validate your voice.

Google your blog name and take a look at what you find with fresh eyes. Imagine you’re seeing your brand for the first time, what do you think it’s about? This is actually a good practice for seasoned bloggers, sometimes we aren’t in touch with our outward impact simply because we’re immersed in our brand’s activities.

VALUE your voice!

If you have readership, you have power! Each and every person on social media/blogging has the opportunity to create a buzz with their followers and you simply must understand the power of that. Bloggers should know who their readership is and what they’re interested in, this will help you to choose which brands to pitch.

Know the Brand You’re Pitching

My advice to bloggers who are just starting out is to look around your home and choose brands which you already use. Get yourself online and check out any campaigns they’ve done in the past and see if your blog is currently a fit for their brand personality. By getting to know the brand on social media, you’ll have some insight on what they appreciate in a campaign and can asses whether or not you have the ability to deliver the quality of work they expect.

Clean Yourself Up

Before you pitch your brand, take the time to get it your blog looking the best it can! Make sure your design is sharp and fully functional. Clean up any broken links, update your About page, replace any photos of poor quality, ensure your avatar is consistent across your social media platforms and all are linked together and current. Make it simple for people to find you and put your best foot forward wherever you are online.

Establish a Rapport

Assuming you’ve chosen a brand you’d like to pitch, get online and begin interacting with them. Unless you’ve already been conversing with them directly, you’re a stranger to them. Why not write a blog post about your favourite product from the brand or chat about it on Facebook or Twitter.

Brands receive copious amounts of pitches and you need to set yourself apart by showing you are an existing customer who values the products/services. This should come from a place of authenticity and be a simple interaction which genuinely reflects how you feel. Don’t waste time with a few tweets if you really have no interest, believe me it shines through!

Think Outside of the Box

If you’re going to pitch a brand you’ll need to know who you are, what you’re capable of and what sets you apart. This is the time to think outside of the box and brainstorm something unique for the brand you’re seeking to work with. Take your time with this, have a look at what avenues there are to choose from (Vine, Instagram, Pinterest) and find an angle which suits your readers expectations while giving the most bang for the brand’s buck!

 

Establishing yourself as a trusted blogger who works with brands takes time and energy. It’s a system which has failed when bloggers or brands aren’t clear on their abilities or expectations. Taking some time to ensure you are ready for taking on a campaign will make a world of difference, you’ll have the confidence to send your pitches to those brands you dream of working with.

Stay tuned for my next post in the Blogger Pitching Brands Series where I’ll outline how to develop a solid pitch.

We Are Heading to Walt Disney World! #DisneyHaunt

There’s something BIG on the horizon for our little family! Last week I received an email invitation which made me SQUEAL like a little girl…and believe me it’s been a while since that’s happened! Disney Canada has invited our little family down to Walt Disney World to stay at The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Lodge and experience Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party and the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!!! We’re tagging it #DisneyHaunt and hope you’ll all follow along on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag.

#DisneyHaunt

You know how we adore Walt Disney World, earlier this year I told you all about surprising our daughters with a trip to Walt Disney World for Christmas and shared our trip with you over 4 posts which detailed our favourite attractions at each theme park.

There’s not much time to prepare, we’re busy here with home renovations and normal daily activities but together we’re getting our things in order to be able to jet out of here soon to sunnier weather! We have never experienced the hotel or the festivities which we’re getting to go to but oh man they look awesome online! Here are some things we’re looking forward to!

The Cabins at Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World

Image https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Image https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

“Escape to the rustic majesty of America’s Great Northwest. Inspired by turn-of-the-century National Park lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge celebrates American craftsmanship and honors the beauty of the untamed wilderness. Soak in the splendor of the great outdoors, from nature trails through pine forests to rocking chairs that overlook a murmuring creek. Inside, discover towering totem poles, headdresses and more, and sink into a plush leather armchair in front of the roaring fireplace.”~ https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

We are staying in a cabin which is super exciting, they’re rustic, quaint and private. They have so much to do at this resort; from campfires, archery, pools, movies to visiting Circle D Ranch I know the girls will be having a blast!

Image: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween

Image: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Image: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

“Don your favorite costume and get ready to trick-or-treat at this Halloween-themed event held in Magic Kingdom theme park.”

This is going to be AWESOME, ok I have to get some costumes together which is a challenge but we’re really looking forward to experiencing Mickey’s Halloween. There is trick or treating and eerie entertainment throughout the park. This event is one that you purchase passes to, it’s on from Sept 10- Nov 1st on select nights from 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM.

18th Annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival

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“The 46-day festival, celebrated for its inspired food-and-beverage marketplaces, high-energy concerts and premium dining events, debuts a Scotland Marketplace and adds fresh flavor to the Brazil Marketplace, returning by popular demand.  Griddled lobster tail with garlic butter sizzles at the Hops & Barley Marketplace by American Adventure, and the aromas of more than 25 ethnic and specialized marketplaces — Africa, France, South Korea and Florida Local included — waft across the World Showcase Promenade. Guests can have their own complimentary “passport” stamped at each location for a fun festival souvenir.”

Oh I’m sure you can guess how much I’m looking forward to this! We will be surrounded by delicious foods from around the world and I’ll have the opportunity to see and learn things I wouldn’t otherwise. With our park admission we’ll get authentic Taste seminars, Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.

Other festival highlights include:

  • More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country
  • Party for the Senses grand tasting events Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26, and Nov. 2 featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
  • Premium events including “Scotland: Land of Food & Drink” the new “Parisian Breakfast” on Sundays, ”3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery on select Fridays, and Cheese Seminars on Saturdays.The

The 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is presented by Chase Sept. 27-Nov. 11, 2013.

We are scrambling to prepare and cannot wait to head out but in the meantime if you’d like to offer your costume ideas I’d love the help! Keep up with the chatter on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #DisneyHaunt