Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ultimate Blog Swap: Honey Baked Ham

Today I'm participating in the Ultimate Blog Swap. You'll find me posting over at Feeding My Sunshine about one of our family's favorite recipes, and I'm excited to welcome Tammi from Picture Perfect Cooking to Bake Sew Write:

Good morning! My name is Tammi and my blog is Picture Perfect Cooking because I am definitely not perfect, but cooking and photography are the perfect hobbies for me. I am thrilled to be participating in the 2nd Annual Ultimate Blog Swap hosted by Life…Your Way and guest blogging at Bake Sew Write!

You will find that most of my blog posts are about food and photography with a little gardening, housekeeping, reading and pet love thrown in as well. My husband and I live next door to his parents on a farm in South Central Kentucky. My father in law and his cousin have bee hives and started producing their own honey last year so today my recipe is for a Honey Baked Ham using honey made by bees that live right across the road from me.

Honey Baked Ham

  • 1 spiral sliced pre-cooked ham
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and 1 cup water. Add spices and honey. Simmer over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Place the ham in a large baking dish and spoon about half of the glaze over the ham. Place ham in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting with honey mixture every 15 minutes.

Once the ham is done, remove it from the oven and pour the remaining glaze over the top. Let the ham rest for a few minutes then slice and enjoy!

Visit Life Your Way to see all of the Ultimate Blog Swap participants! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It's Raining Cash Giveaway!

$550 It's Raining Cash Giveaway

Welcome to the $550 It's Raining Cash Giveaway hosted by Giveaway Promote.   I've joined a fantastic group of bloggers to give away $550 in cash via PayPal to one lucky person. Just complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway. One winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.

Bloggers, join in an upcoming giveaway event! Sign up and we'll keep you posted about future group events, like this one, hosted by Giveaway Promote. If you'd also like to hear about all other events currently open for blogger sign-ups, subscribe to Giveaway Promote's weekly group giveaway events and hops newsletter.  

This giveaway is open worldwide. It will end at 11:59pm EST on April 29th, 2012.

4/15/12 Swagbucks Update and ANOTHER Tip!

Four months as a Swagbucks user, and I must say, I only like this program more and more the longer I'm a part of it! In the past month, I've earned close to 5700 Swagbucks, bringing my lifetime earnings to 26,440. That's equivalent to about $290 using the $5 Amazon gift card as a rate of exchange (90 SBs = $1). My goal is to earn a free Christmas (read about that here) and I'm well on my way!

I think it's helpful to set a daily (or weekly) goal to try to hit to keep on track. That keeps me from overdoing it -- once I've hit my goal, I can put it away for the day. But it also gives me a target to shoot for to keep me motivated. So far, I think a reasonable goal for me is 150-175 Swagbucks a day. That equals out to about 1100-1200 Swagbucks a week. This will allow me to redeem the 5 $5 Amazon gift cards that are the best deal and redeem a $50 Amazon gift card every other month. If I can hit this target, I can save up $600 in my Amazon account to use for Christmas! That is more than enough for our family of three :) Even if you have ten kids, though, how nice would it be to have $600 waiting in your account for you to use?!

I shared a tip last month with my update, and I thought that might be helpful again. Here's something new I have added to my "daily" Swagbucks checklist (read about the rest of my dailies here): Some of the Special Offer boards have daily surveys. Trial Pay and Peanut Labs seem to have the most consistent options. If you go to the Trial Pay wall and click "Surveys", there are several companies that offer a new survey every day. Of course, you have to qualify to earn the Swagbucks and they aren't screened for you like the surveys that pop up in Trusted Surveys, but it's worth the minute or two it takes to see if you qualify. If you do get to take the survey, you can earn an easy 25 to 90 Swagbucks!

I really can't recommend Swagbucks enough. They have a promotion going on now to give away a trip to Las Vegas! I mean, how awesome is that?! Actually, they'll be sending one super-Swagger AND someone who votes in the contest too, so even if you join now, you could be on your way to a great vacation :) You can sign up using any of the links in this post!

Read more of my Swagbucks updates and tips here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why Today Is a Great Day

TODAY is a great day. Why, you ask? Three reasons:
  1. Hunger Games premiere! I know, it's all the rage. Can it really be that great? YES! I can say because I just got home from seeing it :) If you're not into movies, The Hunger Games books are amazing!
  2. It's MEGA SWAGBUCKS DAY! Every Friday, Swagbucks offers bigger wins for searches. Mosey over to the Swagbucks Facebook wall if you don't believe me :)
  3. SWAGBUCKS CODE! If you haven't given over to the wonders of Swagbucks yet, NOW is the time to do it! Starting today through the end of the day April 2nd, Swagbucks is offering a 70 SB sign up bonus! When you register, enter the code MARCHSWAG and get 100 SBs at sign up instead of the usual 30 SBs. This will put you a quarter of the way toward your first $5 Amazon gift card, and all you have to do is enter your name and email address. I mean, hello?! There really is no better time to join! (Use any of the links above to sign up.)
I'm sure there are many more reasons why today is a great day. Can you think of one? Share! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March Swagness -- GET EXCITED!

March Swagness has come to Swagbucks - it's all about you earning bonus Swag Bucks while doing all of the things you’re already doing on Swagbucks. Every day thy’ll give you an earning goal, which you’ll find on their homepage. As you earn Swag Bucks throughout the day, that meter will fill up and when it’s full, you’ll have earned your bonus for the day. The bonus will always be 10% of that day’s goal.

Be sure to check in everyday, as the earning goal for any given day could be higher or lower than the day before. Your total bonus amount will continue to accumulate each day, and your bonus amount will be applied at by April 5th – this special promotion runs through April 2nd. If you hit the earning goal every single day of March Swagness, your bonus amount will be doubled!

EVERYTHING you earn on Swagbucks counts towards March Swagness – including (but limited to) Search,Surveys, Tasks, Swag Codes, Special Offers, Referral Bucks, Winning TTPTP, Hashtag and Comment hookups – if you earn it from us, it counts towards the day it was earned! Get your March Swagness on starting today, when the goal will be 50 Swag Bucks!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Easy Individual Lasagna

I came across this recipe on Pinterest (hello, muse) and loved the idea of it! I love lasagna, but it's just time-consuming. I'm starting to think it takes me forever to make because I just don't do it that often. I think it would be easier if I did it more! Anyway, there are two things about this recipe that were calling my name: 1) the "individual" servings and 2) putting the meat in the food processor. Why do these excite me? 1) We have a wee one at home, but the only people eating real food are me and my husband. I love recipes that allow me to freeze stuff in individual portions so we can eat them later. 2) My husband is a VEGGIE HATER. Seriously, corn and potatoes are the only vegetables he will eat. (Ok, let me be fair -- I have converted him to asparagus. But it took forever! Though he does love it now, so I guess it was worth it.) Anyway, in this recipe, she puts the browned meat in the food processor to chop it up super fine and get that pretty sauce that restaurants always have. I couldn't care less about pretty, but a light went off in my brain -- mix in veggies! If they're ground up, they're imperceptible! Woo! Here's my version of the recipe which diverts from the original a decent bit...
Pin It

  • 1 lb ground beef (or Italian sausage or whatever meat you love!)
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 container Ricotta cheese (15 oz)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 box of uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 zucchini
  • Salt
  • Pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Brown meat in high-sided pan. (You will be adding your sauce in here, so use a pan that gives you enough room.) While the meat is browning, put on a big pot of water to boil your noodles and chop up your zucchini.
3. Once the meat is done, drain off any excess fat. Put the meat in the food processor and pulse until finely ground. You're looking for an even texture all through the meat.
4. Once you get the meat out of the pan, put the zucchini in the pan and saute until soft. Add the zucchini to the food processor and grind it up with the meat.

You won't even notice me once I'm all chopped up!
5. Add the meat and zucchini back into the pan and pour in the sauce. Stir occasionally while you prepare the rest of the dish.
6. Once the water comes to a boil, ADD TONS OF SALT and then add the noodles and cook until al dente. (Just follow the directions on the box.)
7. While the sauce simmers and the noodles boil, mix your Ricotta cheese with the egg and add salt and pepper to season. Add 1.5 cups of Mozzarella cheese and 3/4 cup of Parmesan. I used a Parmesan/Romano blend. Just use whatever you have!
8. Once the noodles finish boiling, drain and lay them out on waxed paper or cookie sheets in a single layer.
9. Prep your pan by covering the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. This will keep the noodles from sticking.
10. Spread the cheese mixture onto the noodles. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup per noodle. I just heaped a spoonful on and spread til it was covered adequately.
11. Once all the noodles are cheesed, spread a heaping tablespoon of sauce on top of the cheese.
12. Roll the noodles up "jelly roll" style and place them seam side down in the pan.
13. Top the roll ups with the remaining sauce and cheese (1/2 cup Mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, or however much you like!)
14. Cover with aluminum foil (use toothpicks to keep the foil off the cheese if this is an issue for your pan) and bake for 35 minutes. Take the foil off for the final five minutes of cooking if you'd like your cheese to brown up a bit.

My husband loved this recipe -- LOVED IT! If you have veggie-haters in your home, try this one out. You can sneak anything into that sauce! I've also found that it freezes really well. We've been eating it off and on for a week! Hope you enjoy.

OH -- by the way, I have some Ricotta cheese left over. (The big container was on sale.) What's your favorite thing to do with Ricotta? I need some ideas!

Friday, March 16, 2012

3/16/12 Swagbucks Update AND a Tip!

Aaaand I'm a day late on my monthly Swagbucks update, BUT I didn't do much Swaggin' yesterday, so my stats should still be pretty accurate. This marks my third month as a Swagger (these are terms you pick up from spending time around other Swagbucks fanatics. ha), and I am proud to say in my three months with Swagbucks, I have earned a lifetime 20,756 Swagbucks! This translates to roughly $230 using the $5 Amazon gift card as my rate of exchange (90 SBs = $1). Amazing! Here is a screen shot of my redeemed gift cards:

That's right, it goes onto a second page now :) I have redeemed $125 in Amazon gift cards, $50 in Paypal gift cards, $10 off at Diaper Junction (we're trying out cloth diapers), and $5 at Barnes and Noble. That's $190! From searching! And surveys! And filling out offers! AHHH! I could not love Swagbucks any more than I do. It is simply wonderful!

As I looked over these stats, I was curious about my biggest moneymakers. If you are a Swagbucks member, you can look at your ledger (hover over your name at the top of the SBs page, click on "My Swagbucks", then click on the Ledger tab) and arrange it by Category using the drop down menu on the left.  Special Offers are my biggest money-maker. Even excluding the 3600 SBs for a credit card offer I completed, I've earned over 7000 SBs from Special Offers! (Surveys -- almost 5000 SBs -- and Tasks  -- almost 2000 SBs -- follow up in second and third places.)

Here's my tip for today:

My best resource for finding out about good offers without spending my life searching the pages is through Facebook. Occasionally, people will post offers they have completely successfully on the main Swagbucks Facebook page. I have also found the Swagbucks Offers That Credit page to have a wealth of information, including follow ups, cancellations, and ticket submissions. I will note that people are less careful of Swagbucks official rules on that page. They often talk of using false information to complete offers which is not acceptable according to Swagbucks and is just downright dishonest! However, I find the page to be infinitely useful and I owe it much credit for my crazy-high Special Offers total.

I'd love to hear about your Swagbucks experience! What is your biggest "money-maker"?

If you aren't a Swagbucks member, I hope my experience will encourage you to sign up! Referrals are another way to earn Swagbucks. Once you are a member, if people sign up through you, you can earn matching Swagbucks up to 1000 SBs. Consider signing up through me and then tell all your friends and earn Swagbucks from them!