CLOSED: $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Thanks to everyone that entered. The giveaway winner, picked by random.org was comment 163 from Amy of uTry.it. Congrats Amy!


It's time for the last $100 giveaway of the year.  It's a little sad if you ask me. I have loved working on these projects and having opportunity to give away $100 each time. 
To refresh your memory, here is the Rice Krispies Winter Wonderland that we built:


Featuring our Swirly Peppermint Roll-ups:





Here is how you can enter the $100 Visa gift card giveaway:
1. Visit Kellogg's Rice Krispies on Facebook and like them-1 entry-
{Already do? Just remind me!}
-1 entry-

3. Follow me on Twitter (CuteAsAFoxBlog)
-1 entry-
4.  Follow my Blog with Google Friend Connect.
Already do? Just remind me!
-1 entry-
5. Tweet, Facebook or Blog about this Giveaway.
-1 entry-
(tweet: I entered to #win a $100 #giveaway from #RiceKrispies with @cuteasafoxblog ends 12/06. Enter here: http://cuteasafox.com )

**Please leave a separate comment for each entry along with your email address. I will pick a new winner if I do not have an email address for you.**

Each member of the team will also be giving away $100, check out their blogs for more chances to win.
Ashley - Cute as a Fox
Jacqui - Aly & Ash
Kristyn - Lil Luna
Wendy - Around My Family Table


Giveaway ends at Midnight Eastern on December 6th. The winner will be announced on December 7th, 2011. Coming up on December 8th, 2011 you can head over to the Rice Krispies Making Memories Circle on The Motherhood for a special live chat.




Abbreviated Rules. No Purchase Necessary. Begins no earlier than 12:00:00 AM (ET) on 11/14/11 and ends no later than 11:59:59 PM (ET) on 12/20/11.  For complete Official Rules, go to http://web.mediacdt.com/docs/RKBloggerHolidayRules.pdf

Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Subject to complete Official Rules. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: The Motherhood; www.TheMotherhood.com.

Gifts, a craft, and a giveaway

The giveaway is CLOSED. Thanks to everyone that entered!
Today's post is an exciting one. We get to talk about some great and easy gift ideas, a quick and simple holiday craft, and a giveaway! Yep, it is another giveaway. This is the season of giving after all. Stick around to the bottom of the post for all the giveaway details.

I don't know about you, but right now I am in the midst of doing my holiday shopping. At this point I am left with the people that are just plain hard to shop for. One of those people is my sister. It's not that she is picky, she just seems to buy things when she needs them, so her Christmas wish list is usually small or nonexistant.
P&G gift sets to the rescue! P&G has put together a whole line of gift sets that are available in stores right now. They are thoughtful, useful, and convenient.  With a suggested retail price of only $10, they are very budget friendly too.
One of the sets that I would personally like to see in my stocking is called Soothing Moments.
The gift set contains:
  • Olay Luscious Embrace Cleansing Bodywash 8.4 oz
  • Olay Luscious Embrace Body Lotion 8.4 oz
  • Febreze Lavender & Vanilla Comfort Candle
  • Olay Luscious Embrace Body Bar 4.25 oz
  • Bath/Shower Pouf
  • Bonus 1-year subscription included from choice of six magazine titles
I can just imagine the lavender and vanilla washing away all the stressful hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Please visit the P&G Beauty Facebook page or more information on the gift sets.

Now it is onto the easy holiday craft! I am going to tell you how to make these cute jingle bell napkin rings. Each ring takes less than 5 minutes to make! I love crafts that are quick and easy but deliver a big visual impact. That is some stress free holiday entertaining right there. :)

Jingle Bell Napkin Rings

Supplies:
  • 24 gauge jewelry wire - or whatever you might have on hand
  •  Small bells - approximately 18 bells per ring
Instructions:
  1. Using wire cutters, cut about 6 inches of jewelry wire.
  2. Loop the wire through the top of one on your bells. Make sure the end of the wire is pointed down inside the bell, to avoid getting poked later on.
  3. String the bells on the wire, alternating colors.
  4. Loop the wire through the last bell to hold it in place. To make this project more cost effective, the bells only cover the top half of the napkin. 
  5. You should have some wire left. Take the remaining wire and loop is around to the first bell. Once again, wrap it around the bell and make sure the wire is pointing down.


Now I am so excited to tell you about the giveaway. P&G is giving one lucky reader a gift basket with $90 worth of P&G products. The gift pack includes the
Olay Luscious Luxuries Set pictured here.
 Also included are products from:
  • Crest
  • Covergirl
  • Clairol
  • Ivory
Giveaway requirements:The giveaway is now CLOSED!
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment and share a tip or story about how you create simple, special holiday traditions in your home. I get to send in my two favorite tips and P&G will be making a top 10 list!

Optional Entries: You must do the mandatory entry in order for the optional entries to count:
1. Follow Cute as a Fox with Google Friend Connect. It's the "Join this Site" button the side bar
2. Follow Cute as a Fox on Twitter (Twitter handle: Cuteasafoxblog)
3. Like Cute as a Fox on Facebook. http://facebook.com/cutesafox

Leave me one comment for each entry. Make sure I have your email address in at least one entry. No email address, no winning. The giveaway ends Monday, December 5, 2011 at 10pm Arizona time(Midnight EST). I will notify the winner via email. Good luck everyone and try to keep your holidays stress free this year!

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. US Residents Only. Must be over 18. Giveaway will end on December 5, 2011 at 10 pm MST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. Winner will be notified by email and  will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.


Disclaimer: I received a gift and a stipend to tell you about keeping your holidays stress free. All thoughts, opinions, and craft ideas are solely mine.

Hot Cocoa Krispies Reindeer

Since first revealing our Rice Kripies Winter Wonderland, I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about the reindeer. I thought I would give you all the details so you can make them too! Using hot cocoa in these treats give it an extra boost of chocolate flavor plus an enhanced brown color too!


Hot Cocoa Krispies Reindeer
Ingredients:
1.5 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups mini marshmallows (or 1/2 of a 10 ounce bag)
1 packet hot cocoa mix
3 cups Cocoa Krispies
Pretzel Twists - antlers
Pretzel sticks - legs
Optional Ingredients
 Chocolate Almond  Bark
Candy eyes
Black Gel icing
Candy for a nose

Prep Work
  1. Cut pretzel twists in half to create antlers. I broke quite a few pretzels before I was able to get antlers I liked, so don't get frustrated. Using a sawing motion with a knife might help you get less breakage.
  2. If desired, dip pretzel sticks in melted almond bark for legs. You can see in the pictures that two reindeer have dipped legs and one doesn't. I think they look cute either way.
Preparation Instructions
  1. Melt the margarine over low heat on the stove top.
  2. Add the marshmallows to the butter and stir the marshmallows melt to prevent burning
  3. Once the marshmallows have melted completely, mix in the hot cocoa mix and stir until incorporated.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the Coca Krispies.



Assembly Instructions

  1. While your Hot Cocoa Rice Krispies are warm, form a small round ball for the head and a larger shape for the body. 
  2. Gently push the pretzel antlers into the side of the reindeer's head. If you are having trouble getting them to stay in, you can "glue" them in with some melted chocolate.
  3. Using melted almond bark attach candy eyes and a nose of your choice. I used a mini juju bee, the end of a gingerbread candy corn, and some black glitter gel icing for my three noses.
  4. Now take your reindeer body and insert the four legs. Each of the legs was about 1/2 to 2/3 of the pretzel stick length. You can always make them shorter or even them out if necessary. 
  5. Insert half a toothpick into the front of the reindeer body and slide the head on.




CLOSED: Black Friday Mystery Box Giveaway!

The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to commenter #30, Gianna!

Is everyone getting their shopping on? I do love the shopping olympics, aka Black Friday.  On this most wonderful holiday weekend I am teaming up for a mini giveaway hop with my other blog, East Valley Mom Guide and the contributors on that blog to bring you a bunch of cool giveaways. The giveaways run from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. At the bottom of this post you can see a list of all the blogs participating!

My giveaway here is going to be a bit of a mystery. Here is what I can tell you. I am going to take a Large Priority Mail Flat Rate box and STUFF it full of crafty goodness.  I mean really jam pack that thing.

I am not telling exactly what is going in it, but there will likely be products from:
  • Mod Podge
  • Elmers
  • X-acto
  • DISChangers
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Crafty Chica
  • and whatever other fun prizes I can fit in the box.

Here are the entry requirements. Leave one comment for each entry.
1. Follow my Blog with Google Friend Connect. (It's the Join This Site button the side bar.) 
- 1 entry -

2. Follow East Valley Mom Guide with Google Friend Connect. (Follow the link and follow that site too)
 - 1 entry

3. Like Cute as a Fox on Facebook. 
- 1 entry - 


Giveaway Starts: 11/24 @ 10pm Arizona time Ends: 11/28 @ 10pm Arizona time. Make sure you include your email address in at least one entry. If I can't email you, I will pick a new winner.
Don't forget to go and checkout the other giveaways below!
Happy Shopping!

A Thanksgiving Song

I just wanted to pop in and wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! I thought I'd include a cute little video from my daughter's preschool class. She is on the far right. 




I hope everyone gets to enjoy time with their families today.

Oh and make sure you come back and visit me this weekend. I'm having a fun Black Friday - Cyber Monday giveaway. It will be at 12am, Eastern. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rice Krispies Treat Winter Wonderland featuring Swirly Peppermint Roll-Ups

I could not be more excited to share our final Kelloggs Rice Krispies Challenge with you guys after what has been such a fun and creative year! For this last challenge we wanted once again to focus on the kids! During this time of year we all get to reclaim the magic, joy and excitement of the holidays so this project is really for everyone! May I present to you our Rice Krispies Treat Winter Wonderland featuring Swirly Peppermint Roll-Ups.
There is nothing more important than making memories with your kids and while making our project with your kiddos you will definitely do exactly that! So forget the gingerbread and whip up some Rice Krispies treats this year while you let your imagination run wild! From reindeer to penguins, houses to trees, there are no limits to what your very own Rice Krispies Winter Wonderland can hold!
 Let’s not forget a yummy treat to snack on while you work! Featured in our Winter Wonderland as giant lollipop trees, you and your kids will love the taste of our Swirly Peppermint Roll-Ups! With only a few easy and kid friendly steps these versatile treats are perfect for parties, gifts and holiday snacks!
 Swirly Peppermint Roll-Ups    
yields: 1 large roll/6-8 Slices 
Ingredients: 
3 Tbs Margarine or Butter 
6 Cups Kelloggs Rice Krispies 
4 Cups Mini Marshmallows
Cream Cheese Frosting  6 Regular Candy Canes Crushed  Red Food Coloring (Optional)
Directions:
1. Melt margarine or butter in a large sauce pan on low heat.
2. Add mini marshmallows and stir constantly to avoid burnt marshmallows.
3. Remove from heat and stir in 6 cups of Kelloggs Rice Krispies
4. Set aside for about 5 minutes or until the Rice Krispie treats are comfortable to handle. You want them to be warm so they are easy to work with.
5. Spray your hands with non-stick spray or coat with margarine. If the Rice Krispies start sticking to your hands, add some more non-stick spray to your hands.
6. Flatten Rice Krispies onto a greased baking sheet to create a thin flat layer of Rice Krispies Treats.
7. Evenly spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on the Rice Krispies and top with crushed candy cane.
8. Starting at one end, gently lift and begin rolling your rectangle long ways until you have a finished roll.
Tip: Allow roll set a few minutes in freezer or fridge before slicing.

We had so much fun getting together and creating such a delicious recipe and festive display this challenge! We are excited to share how we made the rest of our creations with you too!
Everything in our Winter Wonderland is edible and made out of Rice Krispies! We used only Rice Krispies and food safe materials when creating our display. From cotton candy snow to Rice Krispies presents with licorice ribbon, we really mean that it is ALL edible!
 Each member of our team has agreed to share detailed instructions on how to make all of the projects in our Winter Wonderland. Stay tuned to all of our blogs over the two weeks so you can create a Rice Krispies winter wonderland of your own. 
In the meantime, you can head over to the Rice Krispies Making Memories Circle on The Motherhood. Thursday, December 8th there will be a special live chat with all the different teams.
You can also show your support for “liking” our project on Kelloggs Rice Krispies Facebook page December 8th-14th
And of course we will be giving away and other $100 Visa Card!!! The giveaway starts Tuesday, November 28th!  Each of our team members will be giving you a chance to win so stay tuned for details!!
Our whole team hopes that you are inspired to get in the kitchen with your kids and start making memories! Have a wonderful holiday season!
  Disclosure: I am working with Rice Krispies and TheMotherhood and have received a stipend for participating in this project.

LiveOn Review

There is a brand new website called LiveOn, where you can create memories and time capsules and share them with your "tribe." Your tribe consists of people that you choose to let view your timeline. LiveOn is so unique because they promise to keep your memories forever. They have an intricate backup system of servers that will act as your personal vault, ensuring your stories are available for all future generations to enjoy. This idea of permanence is what stood out the most to me about LiveOn. Technology is changing so quickly I was quite surprised to hear this this company is dedicated to making sure these memories you create are available forever.

LiveOn is like a personal journal or scrapbook taken to the next level. Your LiveOn timeline is where all your memories are stored. A memory can consist of pictures, video, audio, a music soundtrack, text slides, or any combination of those things. You enter everything you want about your memory and LiveOn compiles everything into a video. One of my favorite features is that you can link your LiveOn account to Facebook and use photos from your Facebook albums in your memories. I upload a lot of pictures to Facebook and I really enjoyed this feature. You can of course upload pictures from your computer as well. After you create a memory you can also share on your Facebook page as well.

 I decided to create a memory of the hot air balloon festival we attended last month. I pulled up my Facebook album, picked the pictures I wanted to use, picked a soundtrack and I was good to go.
This is the memory creation screen. The facebook album is on the right, the pics I chose on the left.


LiveOn has the option to create voice or text captions. I don't have a webcam or microphone but I would really like to try this feature out. I think it would be much more meaningful to record your voice and you can talk about the memory.
Add a text or audio caption for each picture if you like.

 
One of the other features I really thought was neat about LiveOn is the Time Capsule. You can have multiple pictures, LiveOn created videos, and webcam videos. You can pick when you want the Time Capsule delivered to someone. I keep thinking about what a neat birthday present this would make for a parent or grandparent. You could set up a time capsule and deliver it on your child's graduation day or wedding.

I feel like I have failed miserably at keeping a journal throughout my life, but I see LiveOn as a real chance to create my life story in a meaningful and lasting way. I also look forward to creating some nice multi-media time capsules as presents and keepsakes for my loved ones.

LiveOn has video tutorials and cheat sheets about each section of the website. I highly recommend that you watch the videos or at least read the cheat sheets. LiveOn is easy to navigate but since I have never seen another site like this, I found the additional help very useful.

The final verdict? I thought LiveOn was a unique and useful concept. Before I started using it I was expecting just another media sharing platform. I was wrong. It is new and unique and I plan to continue using LiveOn.

Thank you again to LiveOn for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about storing and sharing your most special memories. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Learn From My Fail: Cornucopias

Here is a reminder to go and enter the Shutterfly giveaway. It ends Saturday night and you can enter once a day!

I had big plans to show you a really cute food craft idea for Thanksgiving. I saw some cute cornucopia cake pops over HERE and thought I would put my own spin on them by using taffy to create the cornucopia. I found some caramel flavored taffy at the store and I thought that would be the perfect thing to roll out and wrap around my cake balls. Last night I made my treats and all was well. It was too dark for a photo shoot though, so I left it for today.

Here is what I found when I looked at my creations today. What on earth happened? The taffy started to slide off and ooze maybe? I don't even know what that little pile of liquid is.
Your food should never be described as "oozing"


Normally I would just write it off or revamp the idea and move on. However, I thought it might be fun to show you that not everything turns out fabulous on the first try.
I promise it did not look like this last night!
What do you think caused the problem? I'm guessing it was the moisture in the cake ball, but I don't know. How would you fix it? I loved the look before it all went sideways. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Maybe you can regale me with a tale of one of your own craft fails. Sometimes you just need to laugh at yourself!

Cowboy Caviar


Today I am sharing a recipe for cowboy caviar. I tried this recipe a few years back at a recipe exchange and boy is it delicious. My little girl is such a good eater and she loves this recipe. Really she loves anything she can call "salsa" and dip with a chip. I think she takes after her mama! :)
Ingredients:
1 can black eyed peas
1 1/2 cup petite white frozen corn
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
1 can black beans
2 avocados, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp.cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions:
Rinse beans and drain, then mix with corn. Prepare tomato, cilantro, avocado, green onions, jalapeño, and garlic. Mix with beans and corn. In separate dish mix together oil, vinegar, juice, cumin, and salt and pepper. Toss with bean mixture. Serve with tortilla chips or serve as a main dish salad. Note: Sometimes I leave out the jalepeño for less heat.



Did you notice that the cowboy caviar has avocados in it? Did you know avocados have the vitamins and nutrients essential for child development and growth? That’s right; avocados aren’t just for adults and guacamole anymore. Just 3 slices of this creamy green fruit (yup, it’s a fruit!) packs potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin C, E and those B-complex vitamins that support memory and brain function. If they don’t love them already, the Avocados from Mexico Mini Chef Video Contest is a great way to introduce your kids to them!

New Message

CONTEST INFORMATION:
Starting November 14th, Avocados from Mexico is hosting a video contest for parents of children ages 5-15. Submit a 1-3 minute video of your child/children preparing an avocado dish and be sure to have them include why they love avocados and the catchy Avocados from Mexico jingle found on their website. Videos will be judged on the Mini Chef’s personality and the presence of avocado.
One grand prize winner gets $1,000 in cash plus an HD Camcorder (for future home videos!), a Nintendo 3DS, 2 games and a personalized Mini Chef jacket. Nine runners up win big too with an HD Camcorder, a Nintendo 3DS and a personalized Mini Chef jacket. Tons of great prizes and tons of chances to win – what’s not to love?
Get your video in by December 4th and check back on December 6th to see if your video is one of 10 finalists. Public voting will take place on YouTube December 6-11. The video with the most Likes wins and will be posted on the website December 12th.
Those are some great prizes! My five year old has an aversion to anything that is not a peanut butter sandwich so we probably won't be entering this contest, but I really encourage you to. Those prizes would make for some really great Christmas presents!
Visit Sponsor's Site

Holiday Cards Chat TONIGHT!

Tonight I will be taking part in a chat with Kodak all about creating holiday cards. I hope you can join me tonight! Here are all the details.


What: A Facebook Chat called Holiday Cards 101 – How to design the best family cards. The chat is the first of a two-part series, sponsored by Kodak.

When: Tuesday, November 15, at 8 p.m. ET.  It will last 1 hour.

Where: Kodak’s Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/Kodak

About the class: With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to think about creating the perfect holiday greeting card!  If you’re planning to design your own this year, this Facebook chat is the place to be!  Amazing creative mind and card designer Bonnie Marcus will be joining us to answer any and all questions you might have about how to make gorgeous family holiday cards. As a bonus, Bonnie will be telling us all about the cool new Kodak Picture Kiosks in Target and CVS stores, which use RSS technology to connect you directly to your Facebook albums – allowing you to retrieve your favorite pictures to use in your own photo creations!

The chat is sponsored by Kodak, moderated by Jenny Cisney, chief blogger at Kodak, and features talented card designer Bonnie Marcus.

A holiday card designed by Bonnie Marcus

I’ll be there with six other bloggers to co-host the class, and I hope you’ll join us!  Here are all of the ladies that are co-hosting!

Ashley, Cute As A Fox Creations: http://www.cuteasafox.com 
Jamielyn, I Heart Naptime: http://www.iheartnaptime.net
Jenn, SuperJenn: http://www.superjenn.com
Kristi & Kelli, Lolly Jane: http://lollyjaneboutique.blogspot.com

Kristyn, Li'l Luna: http://www.lilluna.com
Rachel, Family Ever After: http://www.familyeverafterblog.com
Steph, Somewhat Simple: http://www.somewhatsimple.com

See you tonight on Facebook!

Shutterfly Giveaway

I have had the opportunity to host a few House Parties and I always wish I could include my readers a little more. When I was chosen to host a Shutterfly house party, I saw my perfect opportunity! I am inviting you all to my virtual house party.

Here is the picture that I put on my Christmas card last year. I think this year we will be doing another photo with Santa. My kids are finally past the stage where Santa is terrifying, so I plan to take full advantage of these few golden years!

Here is how the virtual house party works. I am going to give away TEN prize packs.  Each prize includes the following:

  • A code to get 15 free Holiday cards from Shutterfly
  • A code for 1 free photo calendar
  • a $10 Shopping card to Plum District (No minimum purchase required)
Shutterfly has some great tips for getting some good holiday pictures and I thought I would share those with you. 
Get everyone comfortable - Make sure everyone (especially kids) are well rested and well fed.
Set the stage - A white or softly colored sheet provides a great background. Try a naturally textured background—brick walls, tall wood fences or ivy-covered outdoor walls. Make sure the space is well lit.
Shoot, Shoot, Shoot - It’s all about quantity. Don’t worry about taking the perfect photo. Just keep clicking away.
Try Props - They can really bring out your family’s personality.  Musical instruments, sports equipment, hats and more can add an element of whimsy to a photo. Don’t worry about not having a “holiday” background. The card design will showcase your holiday spirit.

Get Close - Much closer than you think. Close-up shots look great in cards.
Get Your Family In Action - Skip the stiff poses. A picture of the kids playing in the snow or sand looks great in a holiday card. Let everyone have a chance with the camera. You’ll be surprised what a six-year-
old can do.
Try Different Angles - Portraits can sometimes look at, so sit, stand and kneel to energize the shot. Have parents sit and kids stand. Make a pyramid. Better yet, get the shot of the kids trying to make the pyramid. Or take a shot from a bird’s-eye view of  your kids lying down.
Capture relationships, not just people - Get candid shots of your family talking to really showcase your relationships. And, make sure you take dozens of pictures to get the one shot where everyone is wide-eyed and happy.


Okay lets get back to the part about you winning some prizes. In case you forgot already, I am going to give away TEN prize packs.  Each prize includes the following:

  • A code to get 15 free Holiday cards from Shutterfly.com (must redeem by 12/15/11)
  • A code for 1 free photo calendar (must redeem by 12/15/11)
  • a $10 Shopping card to Plum District (No minimum purchase required)
You can enter by leaving a comment for every entry:
1. Follow Cute as a Fox Creations with Google Friend Connect (It's the "Join this Site" button on the sidebar.)
2. "Like" Cute as a Fox on Facebook.

You can earn 1 entry each day for doing the following:
Vote for my Bowser and Princess Peach costume in the Dollar Tree Costume contest. http://apps.facebook.com/promotionshq/contests/150970/voteable_entries/35105404
Leave a comment for each day that you vote. You can only vote once every 24 hours. 

This giveaway is special because if you enter multiple times, you can win multiple prizes. If random.org picks 3 of your entries, you will get 3 prize packages. Awesome right? So it really pays to vote everyday. :)
The giveaway will go until Midnight(AZ time) on Saturday, November 19.
Good luck everyone! Don't forget to enter everyday for your best chance to win!

Olive Oil Tasting

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carapelli for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was recently sent a bottle of Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste and review. I had no idea that you have olive oil tastings much like you would have wine, coffee, or bourbon tasting. I have never invested in a good quality bottle of olive oil and I was pleased to learn so much about it.

001950 CarapelliTastingProgram_9_28_11.pdf

I am going to tell you the proper way to taste olive oil. First,  pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a blue glass. Why a small stemless blue glass?  The round shape fits in the palm of your hand so the oil warms and releases its aroma. The blue glass also conceals the color of the oil since color is never an indicator of quality. You can see the blue glass in the picture above. Next gently warm the olive oil by covering the glass with one hand and holding the bowl of the glass in the other.

There are four S's for tasting olive oil – Swirl, Sniff, Slurp and Swallow

1. Swirl – By swirling the olive oil in your glass, you release the oil’s esters, which are the molecules that
contain the aroma.
2. Sniff – Now inhale deeply. The aroma is the key to the fruitiness of the oil. Is it intense or is it
more subtle?
3. Slurp – Sip the oil while “sipping” in a bit of air. This slurping action emulsifies the oil and helps spread it
throughout your mouth. Take note of the various tastes and sensations. Is it fruity, peppery, smooth?
4. Swallow – Once you swallow the oil, it should leave your mouth with no aftertaste. Again, take note of
any peppery or stinging sensation in your throat.

Carapelli's line of Olive Oils have three varieties including:

  • Premium 100% Italian – made solely from the first cold pressing of the finest 100% Italian olives with an intense, robust flavor and aroma
  • Il Numerato – a supremely smooth and low acidity oil that is a result of a delicate cold pressing of olives
  • Organic – Obtained only from organically grown olives and produced according to organic farming standards; certified USDA organic

I had the pleasure to try the Premium 100% Italian variety. I have only really ever used olive oil in recipes and it was very interesting to taste it on its own. I was a little intimidated at first because I have never had an official "tasting" of anything. I was surprised that I really could taste the complex notes in the olive oil by following the four S's.

I have some good news for you. You can visit the Carapelli website and get a coupon so you can taste one of Carapelli's Olive Oils for yourself. You can find the $1.00 OFF coupon at www.CarapelliUSA.com

Visit Sponsor's Site

The best gravy you will ever eat, ever!


This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

We are headed into my favorite time of year. I love the holiday season.Nothing says comfort to me like a big holiday meal with family. Last year at this time my Mother-in-law had some serious health issues and I took over planning and executing the Thanksgiving meal. It was my first time preparing the turkey by myself, and it was quite a comfort that it was a success! Today I am going to share with you the best Turkey and gravy recipe I have ever eaten. That is the truth. It's really the gravy that I love so much, but you need to prepare them in conjunction with each other. Generally I shy away from making dishes with a lot of ingredients or if it seems like a lot of steps are required. I promise this is 100% worth it.



Roast Turkey with Gravy
Ingredients
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • Several sprigs of fresh herbs, such as thyme, parsley, rosemary, or sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 to 4 medium carrots
  • 2 to 4 celery stalks
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 cups chicken broth (about 4 small cans or 2 quart boxes)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Special equipment: large roasting pan, pastry brush or bulb baster, instant-read thermometer
Directions
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and remove the other racks. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the turkey: Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Discard the liver, set the others aside. Dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels.
  3. Season the breast cavity with salt and pepper. Slice the onions and halve the garlic head crosswise. Stuff all the garlic and half the onions inside the turkey along with some of the herbs and 1 bay leaf.
  4. Halve the carrots and celery lengthwise; put them in the center of roasting pan and set the turkey, breastside up, on top of the vegetables.
  5. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, and brush about half of it all over the bird, season the skin with salt and pepper.
  6. Tent turkey with aluminum foil and roast for 2 hours. Set aside about 3 tablespoons of the butter for basting the bird.
  7. Cook the rest of the onion, neck and giblets in the remaining butter in the saucepan, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until browned, about 15 minutes. Add the broth, remaining herbs, and bay leaf; cover and simmer over medium-low heat while the turkey roasts, about 2 hours. Discard the giblets if desired, or reserve for giblets gravy.
  8. After 2 hours, remove the foil from the turkey and use a pastry brush or bulb baster to baste turkey with the reserved butter and some of the pan drippings.
  9. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer stuck in the thigh registers between 170 and 180 degrees F, about 1 hour more.
  10. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest 15 to 20 minutes before carving.
For the Gravy:
  1. Pour all the turkey pan drippings into a liquid measuring cup and discard the vegetables.
  2. Ladle off 1/2 cup of the fat from the top of the drippings, and transfer to a saucepan. Tip: Put measuring cup with remaining drippings and fat in the freezer for a few minutes to separate.
  3. Heat fat over medium heat, scatter the flour evenly on top and cook, stirring constantly, with a wooden spoon until the flour browns slightly and smells toasty, about 4 minutes.
  4. Switch to a whisk; then gradually and carefully ladle the hot broth into the flour mixture while whisking constantly.
  5. Bring the gravy to a boil; adjust the heat so it simmers gently.
  6. Skim and discard any excess fat from the remaining drippings, and add the pan juices to the gravy.
  7. Continue to simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes.
  8. Season with the Worcestershire, salt, and pepper.
  9. Remove and discard onion, garlic, herbs, and bay leaf from the turkey cavity. Pour any juices that have accumulated into the gravy, Carve the turkey.
After you eat this delicious turkey and gravy you will probably need a nice Tempur-Pedic pillow to sleep it off. LOL!
I would love to hear what you holiday comforts you look forward to. Leave me a comment, I would love to add a few new traditions to our family.
    Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic's Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

    Elmer's Craft and Tell Winners

    I drew two winner's for the Elmer's Craft and Tell Prize boxes.

    The first winner is #41 Jessie Alora
     The second winner was #23, Neva.
    Congrats ladies. I will be emailing you for your address. You have 48 hours to get back to me!

    Brobee Party Hats

    I am going to jump back and tell you how we made the Brobee party hats from the Yo Gabba Gabba party.

    My son with the Brobee cut-out.
    I love that these hats are simple to make but they really scream Brobee.

    What you need: 
    Red card stock
    Adhesive of your choice, hot glue, glue dots, tape, or staples
    Hole punch - I used the 3/16" punch on my crop-a-dile
    elastic thread

    How to:
    • Cut out 2 - 6" circles from the red card stock.
    • Cut each circle in half. At this point you should have 4 half circles, you will only need 3 of them.
    • Roll the half circle into a cone shape. Overlap the ends about 1/2"..
    • Secure the cone with your adhesive of choice. We placed glue dots where the paper overlapped so that the adhesive was hidden from view. Hot glue would be a quick and easy choice too.
    • Punch two holes in each cone. One on each side the cone.
    • String the elastic thread through the holes and tie the ends together to make the hat. We varied the length of the elastic a little to accommodate the adults.  

    Here they all are lined up on the table. 

    I had to borrow this cute pic of the Birthday Boy with Brobee from Aly & Ash. I love his striped shirt. I think it could have made a really cute Halloween costume. Especially since it 90 degrees on Halloween!

    I still have the foofah hats to show you which will come with a template that you can use for any party hats.
    You can check out the rest of Jax's Yo Gabba Gabba party HERE
    The instructions on the Muno Pretzels can be found HERE

    Elmer's Craft and Tell Party and Giveaway

    I told you about the food at the Elmer's Craft and Tell Party, and now it is time talk about the crafts. Make sure you stick around until the end of this post. I am giving away TWO boxes of awesome Elmer's and X-acto products.
    First I want to show you my little splurge for the party. I was out at the store gathering supplies when I saw these cute little frames for a dollar. I thought they would make really cute place cards plus a fun additional favor for the ladies to take home.

    For our Elmer's Craft and Tell project I thought it would be fun to make double sided holiday decorations.
    We used the bi-fold foam board and decorated each side with a different holiday theme. I think these are great for your mantel, piano, shelf, or really anywhere you like to set up decorations.

    Here are the ladies working away on their projects. 

    Here are some of the projects:

     The two images on the top row were created by Julie from It's Sew Stinkin Cute. I loved getting to finally meet her in person. She is so sweet and nice. I'm really glad she could come.
     The bottom row was created by Vanessa of the Sew-er, the Caker, the Copycat Maker. Everyone was amazed at Vanessa's paper crafting talent. She wiped those pumpkins, leaves and vines included out of thin air. Her Christmas side wasn't finished yet but I took a picture of her work in progress.

    My friend, Edna, who claims she is craft-challenged took some Fall/Thanksgiving paper and added rhinestones to give it some pop. Simple and really cute!

    You can see from the pictures that Elmer's and X-acto really hooked us up with some awesome products. We took full advantage of everything too!


    I wanted to talk about this awesome spider that Mary made for Halloween. She cut the leg shape out of purple paper and then glued it onto black. She used the X-acto decorative scissors to trim around the legs to make them look like they had little hairs on them. I thought that was such a fun technique and a good use of the decorative scissors. She created the spider web with some ribbon I had brought.  

     

    I was seriously amazed by the creativity of my friends.

    Now it is giveaway time!! Elmer's so very generously is giving away TWO prize packs which include the following:
    · 3 X-ACTO Retract-a-Blade knives
    · 3 CraftBond Extra Strength Glue Sticks
    · 3 CraftBond Tape Runners
    · 3 Mini Bi-fold 9x12 Foam Board packs
    · 1 Painters Markers pack
    · 1 X-ACTO Decorative Edge Scissors pack
    · 1 Circle Cutter
    · 1 X-ACTO Self-Healing Mat
    · 1 Glue Dots pack
    · 2 Photo Corners packs (various colors)
    · 1 Gel Pens pack
    · 1 Tacky Glue bottle
    Here is how you can enter to win:
    1. Leave a comment telling me what you might make with all of those craft supplies.
    2. Follow Cute as a Fox with Google. (It's the Join This Site button the right side bar)
    3. Like Cute as a Fox on Facebook.
    Leave a separate comment for each entry, so up to three comments. Make sure at least one comment has your email address in it. If I can't contact you, I will pick a new winner.
    The sweepstakes will end on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at Midnight EST. A winner will be selected using random.org

    Disclaimer: I was provided a box of supplies to host an Elmer's Craft and Tell party. All thoughts and opinions are my own.