Giveaways at MomStart Ending Tonight

MomStart has a ton of great giveaways ending tonight, so hurry on over and enter!

Mom Start – Cook or be Cooked Wii Video Game – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – 2 100.00 GC to Borders – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – Sun Sweet Prunes – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – Free Agent Theater+ 99.00 value – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – A century of Flavor Cookbook – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – Curious George Christmas Gift Pack 50.00 Value – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – Shred Sled Scooter – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – Trumpet Infant Socks Value 25.00 – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – 50.00 Gift Card to Burlington Coat Factory – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Mom Start – Active Fit Kit (clothing, bag 50.00 Value) – Ends November 30 (11/30)

Thanksgiving V-Log: Watch Me Drink Tofurky Soda

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Jones Soda. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve been working with IZEA quite a bit this year as a member of several of their blog networks, including SocialSpark. Earlier in the month, they asked if I would like to receive a complimentary “Thanksgiving Postie Pack”, which included a Turkey hat and a bottle of Tofurky and Gravy Jones Soda . And how could I turn down an offer like that?

Tofurky and Gravy is the latest creation from the Jones Soda Co., who have become famous for their bizarre, limited-edition holiday flavors. I remember first hearing about these around six years ago, when people were clamoring to get their hands on soda that tasted like mashed potatoes and stuffing. People were bidding hundreds of dollars on eBay to find out: what would carbonated stuffing taste like?

I’ve always been curious to try these, so I awaited the arrival of the new Tofurky edition with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation. I knew my first sip would be a special moment, so we set up the video camera to capture my first taste of the soda on film. I was expecting the flavor to be like watered-down gravy, but it’s a very unusual combination of sweet carbonation and savory turkey flavoring. I’ve never had Tofurky before, but now I’m even more curious to try it.

We’ve been so entertained by this bottle of soda – how many drinks can you say that about? And of course, Thanksgiving is all about sharing, so I didn’t keep all the Tofurky soda to myself! I’m going to bring it with me to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and let the braver members of our family have a taste. Many of my friends and relatives share my sense of humor, so I could see this being a popular gift item in my circle. If I were to pick one person on my Christmas list to give this to, I might choose my friend Cathy, so she could add it to her list of oddball culinary experiences.

So it’s time for my readers to weigh in: Would you try a taste of Tofurky and Gravy soda?

SocialSpark Disclosure Badge

V-log: UPrinting 18 x 24" Poster Review

Back in September, I held a fun giveaway for an 18 x 24″ rolled poster print from UPrinting. They also sent me a voucher so that I could create my own poster, and I promised that I would update you with the results – so here is my v-log showing off the final product! This video also serves double duty as an entry into a contest, as UPrinting are offering a competition for bloggers in their program who submit video reviews; so thanks again for sponsoring this fun challenge, UPrinting!

Thanksgiving with Sandra Lee and Joshua Bell – Recipes, Music, & Special Giveaway

Most of my American readers are gearing up for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. If you’re playing host this year, you’re probably scouring for recipes and figuring out how to set the perfect mood for your celebration. Well never fear, because Contest Corner has you covered! Sandra Lee, queen of easy and delicious meals, has created some special Thanksgiving recipes inspired by violinist Joshua Bell’s latest album, At Home With Friends. You may remember my review of this record from last month; and now Sony Music is not only providing us with a free stream of his album to set the mood during your gathering – they’d also like to give one lucky Contest Corner reader their own copy of At Home With Friends on CD, so read on and get ready to host the most fun Thanksgiving yet!

Step One: Set The Mood!

Pop Up Audio

Click on the “Pop Up Audio” link above to stream the full At Home With Friends album by Joshua Bell. Your guests will delight in the gorgeous sounds of this record! You can play this album while you’re looking through the recipes below – then come back here and stream it again on Thanksgiving, to create the perfect ambiance for a relaxed gathering!

Step Two: Create The Perfect Meal – Without The Stress!

Food Network celebrity Sandra Lee is famous for her “semi-homemade” creations. And she would like to share some great time-saving tips and recipes inspired by At Home With Friends!

“Thanksgiving is the perfect time to bring everyone together to celebrate a year of blessings,” says Lee. “Serve savory and decadent dishes such as Savory Bread Pudding and Praline Sweet Potato Casserole on an inviting table, filled with rich colors and seasonal textures. Simple, time-saving shortcuts to create a meaningful feast can be found in my new book Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time. Give your gracious gathering a heartwarming start with my personal favorite, Joshua Bell’s album, At Home With Friends and greet guests at your door with a vibrant cocktail, such as a Peach and Apricot Cider or Pumpkin Pie Martini . The main attraction is food, so try turning your Turkey or Pork Roast into a colorful centerpiece, served with a side of cornbread stuffing or cranberry sauce. For a quick and easy dessert try Semi-Homemade Glazed Spice Donuts with Pecans or a Sweet Potato Cake with Citrus Glaze, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating with your family and friends.”

Sandra Lee’s Top Tips:


*Tip from Sandra: “Re-name your cocktails for a signature touch and serve them in an array of glasses in different shapes and sizes for a glamorous effect. If you have a special album playing, review your song list and allow the song titles to inspire your cocktails, ie. Peach Cider can be turned into “Cinema Paradiso” to match the beautiful duet of the same name on Joshua Bell’s new album At Home With Friends. Brilliant!”


*Tip from Sandra: “If you’re facing a time crunch—pick party foods that are delicious and impressive, without being fussy. I recommend, Savory Bread Pudding and Fig and Port Tartlets—both of these tasty treats can be prepared before your guests arrive and served at room temperature.”


*Tip from Sandra: “Sometimes you need the culinary equivalent of a big warm hug. Praline Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic, comfort food creation that is baked to perfection.”

And to make your Thanksgiving meal even easier, Sandra Lee has shared these exclusive recipes from her new book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, as well as excerpts from her other cookbooks!

Savory bread pudding – Appetizer

Prep 25 minutes Bake 35 minutes Makes 12 mini bread puddings

    o-stick cooking spray, Pam®

    8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, Johnsonville®

    1 package (8-ounce) sliced fresh mushrooms

    1 tablespoon canola oil, Wesson®

    1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic

    2 cups milk

    4 eggs

    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, McCormick®

    1⁄2 teaspoon salt

    1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    1⁄2 loaf country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat twleve 21⁄2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook sausage until browned, breaking up lumps. Remove sausage from skillet. Add mushrooms, oil, and garlic to skillet. Cook and stir until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in sausage. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add cubed bread and sausage mixture to egg mixture; press bread with back of a large spoon to submerge into milk mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes or until bread absorbs milk mixture. Ladle bread pudding mixture into prepared muffin cups and place in a large rimmed baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and bread pudding puffs. Serve warm.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Fig and Port Tartlets – Appetizer

Prep 15 minutes Cook 6 minutes Makes 15 tartlets

    1 jar (12-ounce) royal fig preserves, St. Dalfour®

    1⁄4 cup port

    2 cups whipping cream

    3 tablespoons granulated sugar, Domino®/C&H®

    1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon extract, McCormick®

    1 package (2.1-ounce) baked miniature phyllo dough shells, Athens®

    round cinnamon, McCormick®

    Powdered sugar, Domino®/C&H®

  1. In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat preserves and port, about 6 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. In a chilled mixing bowl, beat whipping cream, sugar, and cinnamon extract with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Snip 1⁄2 inch off one corner of the bag. Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon of fig mixture. Pipe whipped cream on top. Garnish with a dusting of ground cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Cinema Paradiso – Cocktail

Prep 10 minutes Cook 2 hours (Low) Makes 10 drinks

    2 cans (11.5 ounces each) peach nectar

    2 cans (11.5 ounces each) apricot nectar

    1 bag (12-ounce) frozen peach slices

    3 cups water

    1 cup packed light brown sugar

    1 cup bourbon, Bulleit®

    1⁄2 cup lemon juice

    1 teaspoon ground allspice

    2 cinnamon sticks

    Cinnamon stick

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine peach nectar, apricot nectar, peach slices, the water, brown sugar, bourbon, lemon juice, allspice, and 2 cinnamon sticks. Cover and heat on Low heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. Discard cinnamon sticks. Turn slow cooker to Warm heat setting. Serve in mugs with additional cinnamon sticks.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Praline Sweet Potato Casserole – Side Dish

Prep 15 minutes Bake 45 minutes Makes 6 servings

    No-stick cooking spray, Pam®


    3 cans (15 ounces each) cut sweet potatoes, drained, Princella®

    3 large eggs, lightly beaten

    1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

    1 can (5-ounce) evaporated milk, Carnation®, or 1⁄4 cup heavy cream

    2 teaspoons lemon juice, Minute Maid®

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract, McCormick®

    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, McCormick®


    1 cup packed light brown sugar, Domino®/C&H®

    1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour

    1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut in small pieces

    2 cups finely chopped pecans, Diamond®

    Pecan halves (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set side.
  2. To make the casserole, in a large mixing bowl, mash the drained sweet potatoes with a potato masher. Stir in the eggs. Add the butter, evaporated milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice; mix until well combined. Spread into the prepared baking pan.
  3. To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture is the size of peas. Stir in the chopped pecans. Sprinkle topping over the casserole. Garnish with pecan halves (optional). Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is browned.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Pork Roast and Cranberry Dressing – Entree

Prep 15 minutes Cook 5 to 6 hours (Low) Stand 15 minutes Makes 6 servings

    1 1⁄2 cups frozen chopped onions

    2 stalks celery, chopped

    1 3-pound boneless pork shoulder roast

    2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning

    1 can (16-ounce) whole cranberry sauce

    1⁄2 cup dry white wine

    1 cup vegetable broth

    1⁄4 cup butter

    1 box (6-ounce) pork stuffing mix

    3⁄4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

  1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine onions and celery. Sprinkle roast with steak seasoning; place on vegetables in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and wine until combined. Spoon over roast in slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on Low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.
  3. Transfer roast to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring vegetable broth and butter to a boil. Stir pork stuffing mix and dried cranberries into pan. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  5. To serve, mound some stuffing on center of plate. Spoon a portion of celery, onions, cranberries, and accumulated juices from slow cooker over stuffing. Top with sliced roast.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Brownie Bottom Cheesecake – Dessert

Prep 30 minutes Cook 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours (High) + 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours (Low) Chill 4 hours Makes 8 servings

    Canola oil cooking spray

    1 box (18.3-ounce) fudge brownie mix

    4 eggs

    2⁄3 cup canola oil

    1⁄4 cup espresso-and-cream coffee drink

    2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese

    1⁄3 cup sugar

    1 tablespoon cake flour

    Pinch salt

    3 tablespoons heavy cream

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Coat an 8 1⁄2-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap foil around the bottom of cake pan. Crumple additional aluminum foil to create a “ring base” about 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together brownie mix, two of the eggs, the oil, and coffee drink until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Place foil ring in bottom of slow cooker; pour 1⁄2 inch of hot water into bottom of slow cooker. Using 2 long strips of foil, make an “X” over foil ring and bring it up along the sides of slow cooker to assist removing pan from slow cooker. Place springform pan on top of ring and the “X” in slow cooker. Stack 6 paper towels; place over top of slow cooker bowl. Secure with lid.
  4. Cook on High heat setting for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. (Do not lift lid for the first 1 hour of cooking.)
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add sugar, flour, and salt; beat until smooth. Add the remaining two eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add cream and vanilla; beat until combined. Pour over brownie mixture in slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook for 1 1⁄2 hours more. Turn slow cooker to Low heat setting. Cook for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until cheesecake is set with a wet-looking center. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes.
  7. Use foil strips to lift springform pan from slow cooker. Place pan on wire rack; let cool to room temperature. Chill in pan for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, remove cake from pan.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Step Three: Take a Break and Enter To Win!

Prepping for the holidays is a lot of work – so now that you’ve got the food and music covered, take a breather and relax by entering a fun giveaway! One lucky Contest Corner reader will win a copy of At Home With Friends by Joshua Bell. Here’s how to enter:

1. For your first entry, click here to stream At Home With Friends. Then come back here and tell me which song is your favorite!

This step is required to qualify for the drawing. Be sure to leave an email address with your comment, so that I may notify you in the event that you are the lucky winner!

Want extra entries? Do any of the following, and leave a separate comment for each one:

2. Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway, Sandra Lee and Joshua Bell. Then come back here and leave me the link!
3. Write about this on Twitter, then come back and leave me the link to your tweet! One tweet entry per person.
4. Subscribe to my blog updates by entering your email into the “Subscribe” box in the sidebar. Then come back and leave me the email you subscribed with!
5. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the “Follow” button in my sidebar! Then come back here and let me know in a separate comment!
6. Post my button on your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

Rules, regulations, and other important stuff:
Giveaway ends on December 8th at 11:59 PM, PST. Winner will be chosen the following day via Winner has 48 hours to respond to my notification email, or a new winner will be chosen in their place.
Giveaway is open to US residents.