Back to School With Ready Pac Foods

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Ready Pac Foods. As always, all opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for supporting Kara in the Kitchen! 

Back to school is in full swing! We have been back for two and a half weeks; I am jealous of those of you whose schools started after Labor Day weekend like normal people! Gone are the lazy days of summer. Schedules and alarm clocks are back with a vengeance!Ready Pac - karainthekitchen.comI am always looking for ways to keep our family eating healthy. Between packing lunches, driving the girls to and from school (they go at different times in the morning), volunteering, and trying to run a household…it gets crazy. Ready Pac Foods has you covered with easy, healthy, on-the-go food options. I was so excited when Ready Pac asked if I wanted to work with them because I buy their Salad Kits and Bistro Salads all the time! Hello Caesar Salad with dinner :) My favorite is the Apple Bleu Pecan Salad below. It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth, and the pecans are pretty much candy on top of your salad. I feel good about basically eating candy for lunch! Ready Pac - Kara in the KitchenMy girls absolutely LOVE the Ready Snax® (what they are holding in the tent below)! The hummus was a hit with both of them. Do other kids like hummus or is it just mine? The fruit cups were also favorites. One had pineapple and grapes, the other strawberries and blueberries. Perfect lunch and after school snacks!Ready Pac - karainthekitchen.com-2The Ready Pac game is strong in Ada’s lunch:Ready Pac - Kara in the KitchenHere’s my Chicken Caesar Salad for lunch in the car one day! Classy right? Of course I’ve got my water and Dr. Pepper too :) It was the girls’ early release day, I’d gone on a hike, then had to jump in the car to get a parking spot on the right side of the street. You know, so that the baby could stay asleep in the car and I didn’t have to take her out, cross the street, and risk her waking up. Important things, people! Having a healthy lunch option to grab and eat on-the-go is awesome for this nursing mama. Hangry Kara is somebody that nobody wants to be around, so I like having convenient things like this in my fridge!Ready Pac - Kara in the KitchenFind out where you can buy Ready Pac foods here!

Now for the exciting stuff! Ready Pac has not one, but TWO giveaways for you!! Below is the $150 Visa Gift Card giveaway for my readers only! So that means your chances of winning are really good!

Ready Pac Foods Giveaway!

The next giveaway is where you can enter for the chance to win up to $3,000 in prizes through September 18th. Enter here! Good luck :)

WaterWipes at Babies R Us

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

As a mom of three (!), I am always looking for the best products for my children. Look at my little shopping sidekick! How could you not want to give that face the best? You know of my love for WaterWipes from a previous post, and this is one product that I have continued to use and buy for my family since writing about it the last time. Water Wipes - karainthekitchen.com-4Ever since having Ada, I have carried baby wipes around with me everywhere I go. Even after Lola was potty trained and before we had a new baby! They are the best to have on hand for messes, sticky hands, and faces. I have also been known to wipe down a table or two while out to eat! My Babies R Us has WaterWipes in the diapering section right at eye level. Water Wipes - karainthekitchen.com-3On our road trip to Santa Fe? WaterWipes in the car and diaper bag. On our trip to New York City? WaterWipes in the suitcase and diaper bag. Actually, my bag was stopped at airport security after going through the x-ray machine. It turns out that it was the two packages of WaterWipes that looked suspicious! It didn’t get searched on the way home, though. As you know, I love that WaterWipes are just water and fruit extract. While in New York City, June got a little bit of a diaper rash. I think it’s because her skin isn’t used to the heat and humidity. I thought that I would keep an eye on it and if it didn’t go away in a day, I would buy some diaper cream. I used WaterWipes on her when I changed her diaper that whole day and the rash cleared up on its own! I think it’s because there are no added chemicals or scents to the wipes. I have smelled some doozies!! One brand that shall not be named has a bitter smell to them. I really like that WaterWipes don’t have a smell so that you can wipe your face and hands with them and not worry about smelling funny. If you’d like to try WaterWipes out, enter the giveaway below! You could win one of 5 $100 gift cards to Babies R Us! Hurry though, the contest ends on August 18th. Good luck!

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WaterWipes Babies”R”Us Giveaway

I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).

WaterWipes in our hotel in NYC! I was temped to wipe down the window with one ;)
Water Wipes NYC - Kara in the KitchenFind out where WaterWipes are sold near you here.

PinkBlush Maternity Dress Review & Giveaway!

I received a PinkBlush dress for this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own!

You guys. There is an epidemic out there. It’s called Lack of Cute Clothes for Pregnant Women! I have become so frustrated while shopping through all of my pregnancies. I am big on quality. I can’t handle buying clothing items that will change after one wash. My momma taught me to look for items that would last the whole school year as a kid and what good fabrics felt like. That whole Wet Seal phase in Junior High just about killed her, I think :)

Thank goodness this time around, there are some great options for cute maternity clothing online! Pinkblush MaternityI found PinkBlush Maternity through a random search on Google. They also have women’s clothing for non-pregnant ladies, too! I immediately fell in love with their styles and flattering fits.Pinkblush Maternity-4Doesn’t the print on this dress just make you happy?! It’s like a Hawaiian luau! I like it so much that I’m wearing it in my new head shot to the right :)Pinkblush Maternity-2I got so many compliments when I wore this dress church. And lots of conversations were sparked about how much better maternity clothing is now! No more giant tent dresses, please. Pinkblush Maternity-3I wore my favorite (most comfortable) Born wedges and J.Crew statement necklace with it.   Pinkblush Maternity-6PinkBlush would like to give one of my readers a $75 gift code to use on their site! See details & enter on my Instagram here: $75 PinkBlush Gift Card Giveaway!

Good luck!

WaterWipes at Target

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Even though both of my girls have long been potty trained, I still carry baby wipes with me. Once you’ve had them at your disposal, you can’t go without! They are perfect for wiping up messes in the car, cleaning hands before and after eating, cleaning sweet cheeks that need it, wiping down tables while you’re eating out, I could go on and on!

The creator behind WaterWipes is a mother whose child was getting terrible diaper rashes. She was trying to get to the bottom of it, and in looking at the ingredients list of the wipes was shocked to see so many chemicals listed. Thus began her mission to create a baby wipe that was pure, clean, and contained only wholesome ingredients. WaterWipes only has TWO ingredients!! That blew me away. They are made up of 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. Water Wipes TargetI was skeptical about them, thinking they would fall apart in my hand, but I couldn’t be happier. They are durable and effective at cleaning without all of the other nasty junk that you find in other wipes. This is great news for my girls’ sensitive skin! Especially at this time of year with cooler temps and more vigilant hand washing. Their little hands get red and chapped, and I’m always trying to keep lotion or salve on them. Water WipesThey work well for washing off food coloring and frosting :)

Since WaterWipes are chemical free, they don’t have any preservatives. I never thought about that, but I guess it makes sense that a package would get moldy after time if there were no preservatives to keep it from doing so. A WaterWipes package will keep for up to 15 months before it is opened. Once it’s opened, though, it is recommend that you use the pack within a month.Water WipesI’m so glad to know about these for when baby June joins our family in May!

We’ve got an awesome giveaway for a $100 Target Gift Card! Enter below:

WaterWipes Target

I-C will randomly select 1 winner from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Find out where you can buy WaterWipes here.

Werther’s Original, Not Just Your Grandma’s Candy!

I was sent products to sample and a promotional item as a thank you. As always, all opinions are honest and 100% mine.

When I think of Werther’s Original, I think of the golden, hard caramel candies that would emerge from my Nana’s purse during church. While most delicious, I was so excited to find out that Werther’s actually makes more than just hard candies!

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Their Caramel Popcorn is the best packaged caramel corn I’ve ever tasted.

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Their Chewy Caramels are dangerously addicting…I was ashamed to see how many wrappers I had afterward! Oops :)

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I love both the Caramel Apple Filled and Creamy Caramel Filled Hard Candies. We ate them while waiting in lines at Disneyland and they are so yummy! Hard on the outside, then when you eat it, the filling inside comes out.

Right now Werther’s has an Unwrap The Magic Sweepstakes where they’re giving away a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival! Head over to www.werthersmagic.com to enter.

http://www.werthersmagic.com/

Werther’s would also like to give one of my awesome readers TWO free product coupons!! Enter below & good luck :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

fitmob!

This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for my time. As always, all opinions are 100% mine. 

Logo Full Large

What is fitmob you ask?

Let me share!

– trainer-led group workouts in various neighborhoods in the Bay Area

– workouts vary from dance, yoga, cardio, and strength training

– you pay weekly to workout and are never penalized for inactivity

– the more you work out, the less you pay each week

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fitmob is now offering MobTribes!

A MobTribe is a group of 2-6 people that get the benefit of a personal trainer without the expensive price tag (it’s $34 per session – but if you invite friends, you all only pay $29).

MobTribes receive nutrition coaching, personal attention, off day workouts, & training.

The Tribe trains together 2 times a week in a six week program focused on getting results!

If you would like to join, go here: https://www.fitmob.com/tribes

Choose a location, time, day, and fitness level.

fitmob will then match you up with a Tribe (or you can make one with your own friends). Your trainer will then email you with info to get you ready for your first session!

Doesn’t that sound fun? I love working out with friends. I always push myself harder when I know I’m being held accountable.

MobTribe

fitmob is hosting the giveaway below for a $25 Athleta gift card! Good luck – they have the cutest workout apparel :)

If you enter the giveaway, you may be contacted by fitmob by email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kidoodle TV!

I participated in a Blog Blast program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Kidoodle.TV. I received a promotional item and a free trial as a thank you for participating.

I have always worried about my daughters having access to wholesome entertainment. We have been extremely careful with what they are allowed to watch and the type of shows we allow in our home. One time, Ada was watching Sesame Street online and a suggested video came up afterward that was NOT Sesame Street! I hurried over and turned it off before anything inappropriate was seen or heard, but it was enough to make me stop letting her use the browser for videos. 

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Kidoodle.TV solves the problem of unwanted videos showing up. It has videos and shows that are age appropriate and meant for  ages 12 and under. You can set up profiles for up to 5 children and customize the colors and characters to their liking. Another huge bonus: no ads! Both of my girls love it, and I love the peace of mind it gives me. 

Kidoodle.TV is having a giveaway!!!

  • Try Kidoodle.TV for FREE and enter by December 31, 2013 to win 1 of 10 tablets or 1 of 10 Kidoodle.TV year-long subscriptions!
  • To enter the giveaway, go to Kidoodle.TV to sign up for a free trial. Follow the on-screen directions and submit!

Easy peasy. Good luck!

Follow Kidoodle.TV on Twitter & Facebook


Jaybird Headphones Giveaway!

Jaybird headphones fix a huge problem I have. While running, I usually end up having issues with my cord. Mostly while running with the stroller. I get too far behind it and it tugs me, or I have to reach under into the basket to grab snacks, take trash out of little hands, or 100 other things that inevitably happen while pushing two children in a double jogging stroller.

What I usually do is wrap the cord around the strap of my sports bra twice to avoid the thump-thump of the control, then put it down my sleeve and plug it into my phone.

Ada even asked me on my last run, “Why are you putting the cord in your shirt?”

There’s nothing worse during a run than a floppy wire bouncing around. It bugs me the most when it gets twisted and starts brushing my cheeks. Ah!

Seriously, how many times have you accidentally hit your cord and yanked an earbud out?

Or seen someone’s walkman, discman, iPod, or iPhone go flying off the treadmill?!  (I’m not going to lie, that always makes me giggle a bit) :)

Enter Jaybird!

Jaybird

They have made state of the art headphones that connect by bluetooth to your phone. Genius!

Jaybird is hosting a giveaway to win a pair of their innovative headphones! There will be a winner every day! Click the box on the right, below, to enter…and come back every day to enter. Tell your friends too! 

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The cord connects the two earbuds behind your head, getting the cord off of your neck. The rechargeable battery lasts 8 hours, meaning you could work out for an hour every day of the week without having to charge the battery in-between. You can control your music and answer calls with the mic/remote. The ear buds stay in place no matter what exercise you’re doing…sweat-proof so they don’t budge. They even have a lifetime guarantee against sweat. Pretty intense!

I see myself wearing these while doing housework, working out, running, walking and hiking! If I still had a bike (hope you’re enjoying it or the money you made off it thief), I’d wear them while riding it too. Basically I’d be like those people that keep their bluetooth on their ears all day, even when they’re not talking on the phone.

I love this video. I went stand up paddling once in Santa Cruz and loved it! My sister, cousins, and I tried to go at Port San Luis in May, but it was too windy so they closed up for the day. That was such a bummer! I really want to get out there again. I’d love to do it with these earbuds in so that the paddle wouldn’t get tangled in a cord!

JAYBIRD // Get Outside – Caroline Gleich from JayBird on Vimeo.

Remember, there is a winner drawn every day – so your chances are really good!  You can enter the giveaway every day.

Let me know if you win, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

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

Homemade Oreos

Meet our little decorative crow, Richard Nixon. Ada named him that…I guess she has picked something up from those Presidential flash cards!

He’s a proud bird. Proud to be sharing a photo shoot with such decadent cookies!

I saw this recipe on Bakerella’s beautiful site, and she made it from the cookbook Flour. Which has now been added to my wish list :) Thank you, thank you for sharing it! It is a keeper and so versatile. You could leave the filling white for any time of year, or add food coloring to make them festive for holidays.

Mine are definitely more rustic than Bakerella’s, but I’d love to make them perfectly round like she did (using a cookie cutter) when I don’t have two monkeys hanging on me. And Richard Nixon pecking at me.

Homemade Oreos!
 
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • For the cookies:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • For the filling:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⅔ cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Food color, optional
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the butter and sugar until well combined. Add in the vanilla and chocolate, then whisk in the egg until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, salt, and soda until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Let the dough sit for an hour to firm up.
  3. After an hour, turn the dough out onto waxed paper. Use a spatula to shape the dough into a log about 2½ inches in diameter along the edge of wax paper. Start rolling the dough and shaping as you wrap and roll. Try to keep the paper tight and push the ends of the log so that they are flat. Twist the ends of the waxed paper to secure. Refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm. If log settles and flattens on one side, rotate every 15 minutes or so to maintain a round shape.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Slice dough into quarter-inch-thick slices and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch. Note: Bakerella under-baked her cookies by half the time and said they were fine, so I followed her suggestion. I was worried about charring them since they're black already and there's no golden brown edge to go by! Mine were fully cooked and soft, I imagine if you cooked them the full time you would end up with a hard cookie much more like an Oreo. It's all up to you and what you prefer.
  6. Let cookies cool on a rack and prepare the filling. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the milk and salt and continue beating until smooth again. Place about a tablespoon of filling on the bottom of one cookie and sandwich with a second. Repeat with remaining cookies and enjoy!

 

Homemade Kettle Corn

And the winner of the OXO spatula is…

comment #5, Lindsay Johnson!

She just happens to be my lovely sister. I promise you all it was completely random! Here’s the proof:

She just moved into a new apartment and needs a spatula, so it’s on its way!

Thank you for all of your entries, I loved hearing all of your favorite cookies. I was surprised by the amount of snickerdoodle lovers out there! For me, nothing beats a chocolate chip cookie. Mmm.

Here is another one of my favorite things: kettle corn. I love the smell of it being cooked at Farmers Markets and can’t help myself when Costco has Popcorn, Indiana’s kettle corn in stock (their brand is my favorite to date…they have more sweet & sugary kernels than Trader Joes and other brands). It’s highly addictive! Matt & I ate a whole bag while watching The Bachelor last week. Oops! (Don’t tell him I told you he watches it. We laugh so hard together!)

I love homemade popcorn, it reminds me of Sundays at my grandparents’ house. Bobba makes it the best with lots of melted butter on top! I also use my popper to make caramel corn. So I thought I should try making kettle corn in it! Rule #1, DO NOT put corn syrup in your stir crazy popcorn maker! You’ll end up with a scary burning mess that will take tons of elbow grease to clean off.

This is how it’s done right.

Stir-Crazy Kettle Corn Recipe

1/3 c. canola oil

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. popcorn kernels

Pour canola oil into bottom of popcorn maker. Sprinkle sugar on top, followed by popcorn kernels. Move little hands out of the way, place bowl on top, and plug in Stir-Crazy. Watch the kernels pop and then flip over and remove base when pops are 3 seconds apart. Sprinkle with salt to your liking, toss, and enjoy!

If you want to get really crazy, melt 1/4 c. chocolate chips and 1/4 c. white chocolate chips and drizzle on top! Place in a small bowl and microwave chips separately in 10 second increments, stirring until completely melted. Be careful not to overheat them! Lay your beautiful kettle corn in a single layer on waxed paper.

Drizzle to your heart’s content!

I make this and store it in gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bags. It’s the perfect snack when you want salty & sweet!