Category Archives: blog giveaway

NFL, Cocktails & a $300 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Changing leaves are great. Pumpkin spice lattes are awesome. Sending the kids back to school is … sanity saving.  The best thing about fall though is the return of NFL FOOTBALL! From the minute that the first fantasy draft books hit the news stand I start to hope again. Rivers‘ is going to stay healthy and on target. Mathews has at least one more season of greatness in him. We might actually have both a D and an offense this year. Hope springs anew with the first Sunday of the NFL season, the Superbowl is within reach. GO CHARGERS!  When it comes to game day though, I do enjoy a little bit of liquid faith in my team. Craft beers? I’m all about that. However, since 2014 is going to be OUR year, I thought I’d kick it off with a little celebratory cocktail. (also helpful for those inevitable crap calls from the Ref) I spent some time with my Mixology playbook, reached out to a team of experts on the interwebs and came up with two original recipes that pair perfectly with optimism and chicken wings! Cherry Bomb (to the End Zone)

Cherry Bomb (to the end zone)
Serves 1
Dark Cherry and Pomegranate Frozen Awesome, featuring PAMA pomegranate liqueur, black cherry rum, cherries.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
  1. 2 oz Cruzan Black Cherry Rum
  2. 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  3. 1 oz Cherry Juice
  4. splash of Grenadine
  5. 1/4 cup Cherries (frozen)
  6. Ice
  1. Place ice in blender (recommend 4-6 cubes). Add liquid ingredients, top with frozen cherries. Blend until smooth.
  1. Garnish with a frozen cherry skewer. A sprig of lavender adds an aromatic touch and brings out the tart sweetness of the pomegranate. To make a larger batch, simply adjust ingredients to serving size, keeping the number of frozen cherries to 1 cup or less to avoid changing the texture.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom
  For those that like a little pig with their pigskin, we concocted an sweet, salty, aromatic option – because you’ve got to have options in your game plan. I’m a fan of a pass-option, and frankly since Ladainian left and took our kickass, two-back-run-game with him, it really is our best option. All American Apple Back Cocktail

All American Apple Back
Serves 2
What's more American that apple pie? Bacon! This cocktail pairs sweet and salty with an aromatic hit on the back end.
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
  1. 4 oz Dr. McGillicuddy's Applie Pie
  2. 2 oz Bourbon
  3. 1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
  4. 1/2 cup Tart Apple Sauce
  5. 1/4 cup Maple Simple Syrup
  6. 1 cup Martinelli's Sparking Apple Cider
  7. 2 slices Cooked Thick Cut Bacon
  8. 1 tsp Mulling Spices
  9. 1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel
  10. 1 Green Apple
  11. Ice
  1. Place one cup of ice into a cocktail shaker. Add in liquids, and mulling spices. Shake rigorously. Rim highball glass with fleur de sel. Strain over mix over ice into highball glass. Garnish with bacon and green apple slice.
  1. A sage leaf makes a nice aromatic addition as a garnish.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom
Do you have faith in a winning season for your team? Okay, maybe you’re not quite as delusional optimistic as I am… but YOU could still win. In fact I’m hoping you do… just not on the field against my Chargers. My sisterhood of traveling bloggers, Alpha Blogga Blogga Sisters has put together a great giveaway to get your season started off with a shot at that End Zone… YOU could win a $300 Amazon Gift Card, baby! Our sisterhood made of awesome is not only hosting this giveaway, the also have TONS of ideas to help you kick off your NFL season, from food to cocktails to love-of-the-game kvetching. PLUS endless EASY options for entering to win. See details below, and GOOD LUCK! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are some other great ideas, inspiration and gridiron chat from my ABB Sisterhood


Smokey & Friends: Memories, Music and a Giveaway

The latest release from Smokey Robinson, "Smokey & Friends" smolders and rocks - Giveaway

My earliest memories involve my Dad with a guitar in his hand, sitting at a piano, or dancing around with Mom. Music has always been a part of my life – a friend.

I grew up with the sounds of everything from 60’s protest songs, to classical compositions, dad’s original tunes to the soulful sounds of Motown. The Shirelles sang me to sleep at night. I can’t thank my parents enough for giving me the gift of good music. Now I’d like to do the same for you.

The legendary Motown icon and Grammy® award-winning singer-songwriter, Smokey Robinson released an album that is sure to become as iconic as he is. A compilation of duets with other music legends (hello, Sir Elton) and some of today’s top artists (John Legend, swoon) titled, “Smokey & Friends.”

Everything is good in the world tonight, when Smokey sings along with; James Taylor, Sir Elton John, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and Mary J. Blige, as well as with some of today’s hottest artists including John Legend, Miguel, Jesse J, and CeeLo Green, among others.

John Legend lends an elegance “Quiet Storm,” with his soul-filled grace at the piano. Legend starts the track with an homage and thanks.

“Bob Dylan called Smokey Robinson one of the greatest poets of our time, Smokey it’s an honor to sing this with you.”

The honor is all ours, dear music fans. I literally got goosebumps when Smokey began to sing.

Smokey & Friends

The Tracks Of My Tears – Elton John

You Really Got A  Hold On Me – Steven Tyler

My Girl – Miguel, Aloe Blacc & JC Chasez

Cruisin’ – Jesse J (almost good enough to erase the memory of Gwyneth Paltrow butchering it with Huey Lewis – almost)

Quiet Storm – John Legend

The Way You Do (The Things You Do) – CeeLo Green

Being With You – Mary J. Blige

Ain’t The Peculiar – James Taylor

The Tears Of A Clown – Sheryl Crow

Ooh Baby Baby – Ledisi

Get Ready – Gary Barlow

Whether you – like me- love Smokey’s velvety, soulful, put-the-kids-to-bed-early groove, or enjoy a more contemporary vibe, there is something for you here. Like Sinatra’s duets before it, “Smokey & Friends,” is sure to become a timeless classic.

I’m so excited to have two copies of “Smokey & Friends,”  to give away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Getaway Giveaway from Marriott’s Residence Inn

I lived for road trips when I was a kid. We grew up in a rural berg nestled in the High Desert of Southern California. Escaping Getting to go anywhere that held the promise of new faces, food mom hadn’t cooked and “modern amenities” was a big treat. Heck, my Hip Hippie parents didn’t even get us a TV until well after I’d become one of the Tooth Fairy’s favorites. Hotels were like a wonderland for my brothers and I. Our own little slice of Narnia, equipped with a talking box, “Magic Fingers” and a glittering machine that made us ice.. Whenever. We. Wanted!

My kids have it all. Yet they still get giddy when I say we’re headed to a hotel. Most of the time I’m a bit less excited. Having to hide the room service menu, explaining to the front desk that my 5 year old doesn’t get that they aren’t there to talk to her for hours on end about Justin and Selena and the search for “second breakfast” after the stale bagels and yogurt don’t get it done for them… not things I look forward to.

That all changed last summer when we booked a quick escape to a Residence Inn in Virginia Beach. All of the sudden I was loving the hotel time! This place had everything a family of 6 could want and more. Heck the breakfast alone was worth going back for.

We’ll stay up all night, swap stories and in the morning THEY are makin’ waffels!

Residence Inn realizes how busy life can be for moms and strives to make traveling seamless and as comfortable as possible with spacious suites, free hot breakfast, free Internet, swimming pools, great value and as we found out in Virginia Beach… AMAZING SERVICE!

What I loved most about  Residence Inn by Marriott, was the balance between getting away from it all and still enjoying the comforts of home. While Residence Inn is best known for their extended hotel stays, the suites at Residence Inn are PERFECT for family vacations!  Though I’m not terribly keen on having to cook while on vacay, I hate a huge eating out tab too so the fully equipped in-suite kitchens with a full sized refrigerator, stove,  and microwave make it easy to feed the brood on the cheap. The coffee makers make it safe for my family to be in the same room with me.

This month we’ll be traveling to the Residence Inn in historic downtown Savannah

Gorge, huh?! I’m looking forward to seeing all Savannah has to offer and taking advantage of the free grocery delivery service that Residence Inns provide. Hello, anytime I can NOT go to a grocery store, I’m all about that!

So now on to the fun stuff for YOU. Want to getaway this summer and check out all the AWESOME that is Residence Inns? Then you’re in the right place. One lucky reader will be going home with a $250 gift card for a stay at any Residence Inn in the country! Check out all the details below. GOOD LUCK!

Disclosure: As ALWAYS my opinions are my own. As a member of the Resident Mom Club, I received a gift card from Residence Inn in order to get out there and get you the best perspective I could. Because, well… you’re worth it! The contest prize is being supplied to the winner by Marriott.

Home-Ec 101

The year 1980-something

The setting: Mrs. What-was-her-name-I’m-too-old-to-recall’s Home-Ec 101 class.

She is imparting her wisdom about proper cleaning of an iron. I once again am staring longingly at football-star-dream-boat Lance H. sitting at the table next to me -who has no clue I exist- rather than soaking in this invaluable 411.  This pattern will repeat itself during pillow sewing, laundry sorting, baking basics and light switch repair. A wasted opportunity that will come back to haunt me -repeatedly- in later years.

Lucky for me – and those of you who were also hopelessly distracted by teen dreams in high school-  author, chef, fellow mom of four and all around GENIUS Heather Solos has our back. Her new book Home-EC 101: Skills for Everyday Living is an epiphany for anyone who has ever struggled with reducing laundry piles <–I live here rounding up the clutter <–what this can be done? Imagine my shock or even how to bake a pie.

mmmm pie

Heather imparts common sense along with reviving long lost arts such as on-the-fly fashion repair and proper “seasoning” of cooking gear. With titles like “Pantry Principles: Are You Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse”, “Wallpaper and Other Crimes Against Humanity” my personal fav “Shoes are NOT Hammers” she’ll have you whipping your pad into shape and laughing all the way. She even had a section on how to clean jetted bath tubs, a skill as yet obtained in this house without the aid of outside assistance. Watch out mold you’re goin’ down!

This book is really a revelation. It should be required reading in every bachelor pad, newly wed love nest and Home-Ec slacker’s house!

Want a copy? Well you can’t have mine! You’ve got a few options though. Order it from Amazon, grab it at your local Barnes and Noble or one lucky reader can win it RIGHT HERE! I’ll even be tossing in an Amazon gift card ($10 value) to get you started on that zombie prepared pantry Simply leave me a comment telling me what your biggest  Home-Ec challenge was. At random one of you will win a copy of the book.

Giveaway is open to US residents only. UNLIMITED entries! Closes at midnight Friday April 22, 2011. MUST have either an account via subscription to Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom or leave an email address in your comment so I can reach you.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the book to read. This review was my choice and all opinions are my own. The giveaway copy is coming directly from me, not Heather or her publishing company. I LOVE this book so much I’m forking over my own dough to share it’s genius!

“Skinny” Dipping

Okay put that first thought you had on hold, this post is about food.. come’ on people! Of course if Johnny Depp had returned my calls about MANuary we could have gone in a whole new direction with this one. Alas, it was not to be. So we will rebound with SNACKS! And because we have ALL stuck with our resolutions this year we’ll make those snacks a bit more “skinny” with the help of Frito-Lay and my mad kitchen ninja skills. Thus the “Skinny” Dipping (punny aren’t I?)

Oh and yeah since I have this thing about “sharing” the nice folks of Frito-Lay have indulged me with a giveaway FOR YOU!

(stay tuned to the end of the post for details)

First we’ll head south of the border for my childhood comfort food with a twist.

Tasty Tamale Dip

1 8oz package low-fat cream cheese (room temp)

1 cup low-fat Mexican cheese blend (shredded) -reserve 1/4 cup for topping

1 can diced green chilies

2 tablespoons reduced sodium taco seasoning

1/2 cup green olives (sliced)

Hot sauce to taste (after all some like it hot)

Low fat sour cream and shredded lettuce for garnish (optional)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients (accept reserved 1/4 cup of cheese) until well mixed. Place in a baking dish (I used a fun Mexican pottery dish). Top with reserved cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish as desired

Now here is the MOST IMPORTANT part. A tamale is a wonderful stuffed corn meal concoction that warms your belly and takes you to Mexico.. so you must have corn! How do we do that? By dipping Fritos Scoops into the warm cheesy goodness. Trust me it’s really good and a heck of a lot less work than an actual tamale!

Next we take a trip to Italy.. alright maybe it’s just a new take on an old dip but doesn’t a trip to Italy sound great?

Mexico meet Italy in this tasty dip!

Sicilian Salsa

2-3 Roma tomatoes (diced)

1-2 gloves of garlic (minced) the amount of garlic increases the “heat”

6-8 leaves basil (FRESH, chopped)

1/2 cup onion (chopped)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 cup olives (chopped) I use Greek but you can choose your favorite

1/4 cup Pine Nuts (toasted)

1/4 teaspoon Anchovy paste (optional)

cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste

EASY PEASY PREP! Combine all ingredients accept oil, lemon zest and anchovy paste (if using) in a medium sized bowl. Add lemon and paste to the oil and stir until combined, pour over salsa mix and combine. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes prior to serving. We noshed on these with Tostitos Scoops.. it was like an Italian taco salad!


Now that you’re all hungry and stuff how about we set you up with some Frito-Lay snacks and say $100 DOLLARS (in the form of an Amex gift card) to host a killer Super Bowl party or an out of this world snack fest? One lucky Nuggetier (aka reader) will win this fabu prize! And how you say? I’ll tell ya.

Required for entry:

Visit the Snack Chat blog (which is a treat in itself). Follow Frito-Lay on Twitter (@FritoLay) and come join me as a Frito-Lay fan on Facebook…it’s fun, trust me!  Come back here and leave me a comment telling me you did this and what your all time FAVORITE game day snack is (If you don’t dig football, don’t tell me. I’d have to not like you and neither of us want that, ha ha).

Want ONE more entry? Follow me on Twitter and tweet this:

“I’m going “skinny” dipping w/@DipaolaMomma to #win $100 & snacks from @FritoLay

MAX of two entries per person. Contest ends January 31, 2011 at 10 pm (est). Winner will be chosen by random number generation and notified via email on or about  February 2, 2011

This is post was not sponsored by Frito-Lay however I was provided with monetary compensation in exchange for creating the ORIGINAL recipes featured in this piece. Prizes are being provided by a third party.