Teaser!

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of posts lately… I’ve just been so busy! I hope you are all having an awesome week!

This is just a “teaser” post to let you know what’s ahead! February is national cherry month, and cherries being one of my absolute favorite fruits, I figured I’d help you all celebrate before the month’s over!

Stay tuned for a recipe for Chocolate Cherry Cinnamon Spice Banana Bread, and a review of Coconut Bliss Cherry Amaretto Ice Cream!

Be sure to check back, I’ll be posting soon! 🙂

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Winner!

Hello everyone! Hope your weekend has started off well! I can’t believe this month is already almost over!! Craziness!

I just wanted to let you all know the winner of my Souper You giveaway!!! Thanks to Random.org, the winner of my first giveaway is… Jolene! Congratulations! Please email me at leenaloca@gmail.com with your mailing address so you can receive your Souper You Prize Pack!

Also – don’t forget to enter Holey Donut’s blog reader giveaway for a chance to win 4 assortments and a $250 store credit! Just click here then add your email address and Living Leena Loca in the subject line and your in!!!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! I’ll be back soon with more recipes and reviews! 🙂

Discounts and Giveaways Galore!

Hey everyone! Hope you had an awesome Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year! I have some pretty awesome deals for you in store today, so keep on reading!

First up:

Remember those Awesome Almonds I posted about last week? Well the incredible people at Dr. Lankin’s were kind enough to provide all of you with a  a discount code so you can order and try their Awesome Almonds too!!! Just enter Blog This at the checkout, and it will give you 25% off of your entire order!

Thanks Dr. Lankin’s!

Next:

Also…. have you ever heard of Holey Donuts? Well if not, you don’t know what your missing! Holey Donuts is a donut company that makes great tasting gourmet donuts, but they’re low fat! They come in all sorts of delicious flavors like Fudge Boston Cream, Caramel Apple, Vanilla Coconut… the list goes on!

Now, Holey Donuts is hosting a blog reader giveaway! They’re giving you a chance to win 4 assortments of their delicious donuts AND a $250 store credit! Think of all the donuts you could get! All you have to do is click here to fill out the form with your email address, and LIVING LEENA LOCA as the subject title, and you’ll be officially entered for your chance to win!

And Holey Donuts is also offering MORE major discounts for you! Right now you can buy 4 get one free + $15.00 store credit good for the next 30 days! This is great if you want to place an order to split with friends, family and coworkers. Get together and save up to $36!.

Here the code information:

BUY 4, GET 1 FREE + $15 STORE CREDIT – place 5 assortments in your cart, enter the code VDAY3 at checkout, click recalculate and finalize payment. You will then receive an email within a few days with a special discount code for your $15 store credit good for the next 30 days.

Lastly:

Here’s ANOTHER great giveaway!

A few weeks ago the I was sent 15 cans of soup courtesy of MyBlogSpark and Progresso! Along with the soup, they also sent me an awesome bowl and an electric jump rope!

Soup is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods, especially in the winter, so I was so thrilled when I received this awesome package! Progresso has tons of great flavors, that now come in traditional, light, 100 calorie, and even low sodium! There’s over 40 delicious flavors, my personal favorites being the Chicken and Dumpling, Chicken Barley, or Manhattan Clam Chowder! All the soups just taste fantastic, and they make the perfect, quick, easy, healthy, and certainly comforting, delicious, winter meal!

To celebrate the new year, Progresso is holding and awesome “Souper You Debut” contest, for a chance to win a full makeover in New York City!!!

Three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 21st-23rd. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in a NYC hotel, a full makeover, a $1,000 wardrobe shopping spree and personal consultation at a New York department store.

To enter, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Go to www.Progresso.com/SouperYou to learn more and enter the contest

  • Submit your essay (200 characters or less) telling Progresso why you love Progresso Light or 100 Calorie Soups and why you would like a makeover

  • In addition, please submit a photo of yourself that visually reinforces the theme of your essay

Once you enter, you’ll have the chance for your photo and/or an excerpt from your essay to appear on www.Progresso.com/SouperYou, so be sure to check back frequently! Once the 10 finalists are announced, you can visitwww.Progresso.com/SouperYou from March 29 through April 12 to vote for your favorite.

In addition, throughout the duration of the contest you can visitwww.Progresso.com/SouperYou to download a coupon for $1 off any three varieties of Progresso Soup!

But wait… there’s MORE! Progresso and MyBlogSpark are giving you a chance to win some soup too! One lucky Living Leena Loca winner will win: Two cans of Progresso soup, one Progresso soup mug, and one digital jump rope!!

And you even have three ways to enter – each way giving you an additional entry! Here’s what to do:

1. Leave a comment on this post letting me know you’re favorite kind of soup. (Do you have a favorite canned variety, or a favorite homemade recipe?)

2. Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter: tweet “I wanna win a Progresso Soup Prize Pack from @leenaloca!” and leave a comment letting me know you’ve done so.

3. If you have a blog, link back to this giveaway on your blog, and leave another comment letting me know you did!

I will choose a winner on Saturday, February 20th, so get those entries in!

Good Luck!! 🙂

Call the Doctor – These Almonds are Awesome!

Dr. Lankins Awesome Almonds

Overall Score: 4/5

A little while ago I received some awesome samples from Dr. Lankin! I love almonds, they’re so yummy, and they also have tons of nutritional benefits too! They are the best whole food source of vitamin E, in the form of alpha-tocopherol, which may help prevent cancer, and contain more magnesium than oatmeal or even spinach! Also, one ounce of almonds provides you with 12 percent of your daily allowence of protein, and contains as much calcium as a 1/4 cup of milk!  With all of these healthy benefits, the almond makes a perfect healthy snack or a topping for your oatmeal or yogurt, but I have to admit, sometimes they get a little boring! Well, these almonds really liven things up! They come in three delicious and pretty unique flavors! There’s Cinnamon Vanilla, Cocoa Java, and Orange Vanilla!

These Awesome Almonds are made from all natural ingredients of just almonds, pure beet sugar, real vanilla extract, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee and orange juice. They also contain no partially hydrogenated oils, trans fat, or artificial colors. They were also developed by a real doctor!

These almonds all have a nice sugary coating that’s perfectly sweet and crunchy! The texture is really great. They’re not overly sweetened, and not disgustingly sicky sweet like other sugared things tend to be! They all taste natural, not artificial tasting at all, and are super addictive!

The first flavor I tried, Cinnamon Vanilla, was probably my least favorite of the three, however it was still very good! The combonation of the cinnamon and vanilla created a smooth, sweet taste, but there was definitely lots more of a cinnamon flavor than vanilla.


The next flavor I tried was Cocoa Java! This was also really, really good! They were nice and chocolaty, and had a subtle, yet decadent coffee flavor! They’re roasted in coffee, so the flavor isn’t just in the coating, it’s actually in the almond itself, which really takes the flavor to a whole new level! They reminded me of chocolate covered espresso beans! They weren’t too sweet, and had just the right amount of chocolate-coffee balance!


The last flavor, Vanilla Orange was my absolute favorite! Now, before trying these, I was a bit hesitant, only because sometimes I find some orange flavored things to be too “orangey” or artificial tasting, but not these! They tasted like an orange cremesicle! Like the Cocoa Java, these are actually roasted in orange juice, so they flavor is amazing! They vanilla and orange flavors balanced out each other so well, and they orange flavor definitely didn’t overpower like I thought it would!

So, overall, these almonds really do live up to their name – they’re awesome! They’re all incredibly unique, and super tasty too!

Apple of my Eye

What’s not to love about apples? They’re so versatile – they make a super easy grab-and-go snack, and are great for baking! Whether they’re baked, dipped in caramel, or made into a delicious pie or cobbler, they’ll never leave your palate bored!

A couple weeks ago, I received a package from Canterbury Naturals, and in it was an apple cake mix – Little Grandma’s Northwest Apple Cake mix to be exact! Today I figured I’d give it a try!

Canterbury Naturals Little Grandma’s Northwest Apple Cake Mix

Overall Score: 4/5

The instructions for this mix were super easy! All you had to do was add 2 cups of chopped apples (peeled or unpeeled) and two eggs to the package mix…

I also decided to add about a 1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger for some spice.

Then, all I had to do was mix it all up…

The directions on the mix said there was no need for any extra liquid to be added, but the batter was really dry, so I decided to add a couple tablespoons of plain yogurt.

The yogurt really did the trick. It moistened it up just enough, without making the batter too watery.

Then, I just poured the batter into a non-greased loaf pan (you could use a cake pan, or any other pan that you want, as well)

And pop it in the oven for about 45-55 minutes!

So, my apple bread/cake didn’t come out looking all that pretty, and it fell a little in the middle, but let me tell you – it tasted amazing! It had a nice, crisp outer “shell” or crust, that i actually really liked! Then on the inside, the apples got nice and caramelized and soft, and it had a great consistency! It was so light and airy, and very moist and sweet! I also highly recommend the addition of the crystallized ginger, because it sort of melted into the cakes, and gave it a nice sweet kick, and really balanced about the spices that were already in the mix! The cake tasted like something between gingerbread and apple pie!

Canterbury Naturals also offers a whole variety of other mixes, ranging from crepes, pancakes, muffins, flatbreads, cakes, brownies, fudge, soups, and scones! They also have delicious hot beverage mixes, one of which I was lucky enough to try!

Canterbury Naturals Snuggle Up Vanilla White Cocoa Mix

Overall Score: 3/5

This was really good! It was sweet, and creamy, and does the trick to warm you up on a cold morning! It’s pretty much what you’d expect a white hot cocoa to be – with a nice vanilla flavor. I’m not a huge white chocolate fan myself, but I thought that this was pretty good! Once thing to be sure of though, is no matter what, do not add this to just water! I made the mistake of not reading the package well enough, and added to it water instead of hot milk… and it wasn’t a pretty sight! Make sure that you make this with milk! I also added in some caramel flavored coffee creamer to it, which just made it all the more decadent!

Beyond the PBJ…

HAPPY NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER DAY!

Today, January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day! In honor this day, I thought I’d review my favorite nut butter… Barney Butter! Yes, I know, Barney Butter is not peanut butter, it is almond butter.. but it’s close enough, right?

Barney Butter

Overall Score: 5/5

Barney Butter is by far my FAVORITE nut butter out there. It has such a unique taste and texture to it that just cannot be matched. It’s slightly sweet, a tiny bit salty, and it’s made from only all natural, healthy ingredients of: Almonds, Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Fruit Oil, and Sea Salt. I love it so much, because it doesn’t taste ‘healthy’ like other all natural almond or peanut butters.  It’s also not gritty like other nut butters can be… actually, it’s the exact opposite. It’s silky smooth, almost like Jif, but without all of those nasty hydrogenated oils! It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and it doesn’t have that unpleasant oil separation.

Barney Butter comes in two varieties – smooth and crunchy (the crunchy’s my favorite), as well as single-serve 90 calorie packets. For each serving of Barney Butter, you get more protein than an egg, as much calcium as a 1/4 cup of milk, 14% of your daily fiber, and 8% of your daily iron. It’s also 100% natural, contains no trans fats or hydrogenated oils, has less saturated fat than peanut butter, and is high in magnesium and vitamin E!

My favorite way to enjoy Barney Butter is either between two pieces of bread with jelly (AB&J!), or plopped on top of a nice bowl of steaming hot oatmeal, like Kath and Tina! Since today is National Peanut Butter Day however, I thought I’d get a little creative, and use it in a recipe instead! Here’s what I came up with: Thai Peanut Almond Noodles!

Thai Chicken, Vegetable, and Barney Butter Noodles


Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup Barney Butter (or other nut butter) smooth or chunky – I used chunky

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp minced fresh ginger

8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

Assorted Vega tables: I used about 1 cup each of baby carrots, mushrooms, red bell pepper, brocolli, and snow peas

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta, and make sure all of your vegetables are chopped to desired size.

Meanwhile, put chicken in a saucepan and cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low and let simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes.

Once cooked, move chicken onto a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, shred into small, bite-sized pieces.

For the sauce: whisk together Barney Butter, soy sauce, cilantro and ginger in a large bowl. (I used the same bowl that I’d be serving out of) This mixture will be very thick, but will be thinned out later.

Once pasta water has boiled, cook pasta in water until slightly al dente, about one minute less than specified on package instructions. Add in vegetables (I added all but the mushrooms) to the pasta pot, and cook until the vegetables are just tender, about one minute more. Drain pasta and vegetables, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

Whisk the reserved cooking water into the Barney Butter mixture.

Add in pasta, vegetables, and chicken, and toss until throughly coated with the sauce.

Makes around 6 servings.

Oh my goodness, this was to die for! The Barney Butter totally made the dish! It just gave it such a nice, smooth, nutty flavor that I absolutely loved, and since it was the chunky kind there was little bits of almonds throughout that gave it a nice crunch! Again, you can definitely make this with any other nut butter, but Barney Butter is one of my favorites!

This would also be great served cold or at room temperature!

Mushroom Lovin’!

I absolutly LOVE mushrooms! They’re probably my favorite veggie! I love to put them on top of my burgers, so I figured why not put them in a burger instead! Instead of your usual beef or turkey, these burgers are made with ground chicken and chickpeas, and of course mushrooms – plus they have a little bit of cumin and cilantro in them, which just kicks the flavor level up even more!

Mushroom Chicken Chickpea Burgers

Ingredients

– Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

2 large eggs

– Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp lemon juice

1 lb. ground chicken

1 cup chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and mashed

1 tsp cumin

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

¼ cup bread crumbs (I used panko)

Directions

Spray a large pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. In a large bowl combine sautéed mushrooms, eggs, salt, pepper, lemon juice, chicken, mashed chickpeas, cumin, cilantro, and bread crumbs – the mixture should be stiff. Divide the mixture into about 8 – 10 portions, and shape into patties. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

Spray a the same large pan, or electric flat-top skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 3 to 5 minutes per side or until golden brown and crisp.

Makes about 8 to 10 medium sized burger patties.

These patties hold up great on their own, or on a bun! They’re also great topped with cheese, slathered with mustard, or dipped in sour cream or plain Greek yogurt!