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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Our Little Pirate!
Unfortunately we did not go trick-or-treating. Our village canceled the event because of the bad weather. We made the best of it and carved a pumpkin.

I was having so much fun helping Little Bug carving our pumpkin. I forgot to tell the little guy that the inside was going to be gooey and sticky. His expression tells you what he thought about the insides. Little Bugs bad hair day can be blamed on Hurricane Sandy's humidity! These photos are from my phone so sorry about the blurry photos. They are priceless non the less. 

I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

What Are You Most Thankful For In 2012?

Fall is my favorite season. I love fall scents, colors and harvesting time. I enjoy the thought of making Thanksgiving plans. In the past when my children were young and all at home we really enjoyed the spirit of Thanksgiving in our home. Family, friends and many blessing to be thankful for. Now as my children have grown and some have married and started families of their own I have to look at new ways to create an inviting Thanksgiving meal for a small crowd. One crowd pleaser the whole family enjoys and expects is stuffing. Ever since we discovered Mrs. Cubbison's stuffing mix we have been able to create some very tasty stuffing recipes.
 Before I share one of my recipe I want to share a few interesting facts from the "Thanksgiving Across America" Survey.
When asked, What Americans favorite holiday was? Thanksgiving came in second to Christmas. All other holidays fell far behind. On a side note Thanksgiving is the #1 favorite nonreligious holiday. I would think most people are Thankful to God for all their blessing while celebrating Thanksgiving. I understand it is not considered a religious holiday but our religions can be observed through out Thanksgiving.
The next survey question was, "To whom or for what will you be giving thanks this year?" God, family and health were the top answers to this question.
I invite you to check out the survey for yourself it is very interesting! "Thanksgiving Across America" Survey.

My Stuffing Recipe:
2 packets one each of Classic and Corn Bread  stuffing mix by Mrs. Cubbison's 
2 cups chicken broth
2 eggs
1 diced sauteed  onion
3-4 stalks celery diced (saute w/onion)
2 diced granny smith apples 
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven at 400 deg. Fahrenheit. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until moist. You may need to reduce or add more broth to the mix. This will depend how moist you like your stuffing. Bake in a baking dish or stuff as desired. Bake until down and brown on the top. I had some acorn squash and bell peppers I wanted to use so that is what I stuffed. Does that look yummy? It sure was tasty.

How would you like to win Mrs. Cubbison's Stuffing mix for your holiday meal?
Contest ends 11/1/2012 11:59 pm 

Mandatory Entry: 
Leave a comment telling me: What recipe has your family handed down from generation to generation for Thanksgiving? Leave you email in your comment if needed.

Bonus entry #1 Like Mrs. Cubbisson's on Facebook and leave a comment thanking them for this giveaway at Grandma Bonnie's Closet! Leave your Facebook name in a comment on this post for verification.

Bonus entry #2 visit Thanks Giving Tips and tell me what recipe you would like to try?

Bonus entry #3 Enter any giveaway at Terri's Little Haven and jenn, too! Leave a comment here with the link to the giveaway you entered.

This giveaway is open to U.S Residents only. 18+yrs, Thank you for participating.

A Random number generator will be used to select the giveaway winner.
All entries are subject to verification.
Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond.
Grandma Bonnie's Closet will not be responsible for shipping the prize.

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned product in exchange for this post. No monetary compensation was received. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DIY: Decorating A Pumpkin Cake

Around this time every year I like to make a pumpkin cake for my son's birthday. This has become a tradition in our home. The cake you see here was made by myself, my daughter in law and my daughter.
Today I had to make my son's birthday cake on my own. I used the same technique as the above cake with just a little difference in the final touches.

First pour the cake batter into two stainless steal bowls (Pyrex glass bowls can be used) of the same size.
Once the cakes cool stack them together. Using icing between them to secure the cakes together.
Now apply a thin crumb layer of icing over the cake. At this point I laid foil (wax paper would also work) on the cake stand up against the bottom edge of the cake to catch the drips from the icing. This makes it easier to clean up the cake stand after icing.
The following step is my technique for getting smooth icing on a round cake. If you are using canned or homemade icing you will need to heat the icing in the microwave for a few seconds. You can also heat the icing on the stove in a double boiler. I heat it only to pouring consistency. Using a measuring cup pour the icing over the cake.

Once you have finished covering the cake you can spoon icing onto the lower half of the cake. This is where I changed my cake up this year. I used my cake spatula and pulled the icing up over the cake in single strokes. It made a textured pattern some what like a pumpkin.
Making the stem is very simple. I used a chunk of cake and spooned warm icing over the piece. Then lifted it onto the cake with a spatula.

This is my favorit part of making the cake. Decorate the cake with fall leaves. Using a piping tip and leaf tip decorate your cake with vines and leaves. Or just use fall leaves from a craft store.

Both cakes were easy and fun to make. It is nice to be able to make a cake with out buying a special pan. I have also made this same cake using a bunt cake pan. I did not like the results as much as I do using a mixing bowl. Do you have a cake decorating technique you would like to share? I would love to share your ideas with my readers. 

Facez by Scrubz

I have been so excited to review this new facial sugar scrub. With winter right around the corner I know my face will start to get dry. I have very sensitive skin and heat tends to dry my skin. I get these patches of dead skin building up on my forehead. I have to be careful of the products I use on my face. I can easily get an allergic reaction that can be long lasting.
When I read about the product Facez I knew this might be the answer to my dry skin problems. Facez is an all natural unscented facial scrub. It is made with natural sucrose, canola oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera oil, coconut-supreme oil, soybean oil, and vitamin e oil.

The package says it cleans, exfoliates, smooths and moisturizes. I was a little worried that with all the oils in the scrub it would leave my face with a greasy feel. Well, I have good news. Facez leaves my skin feeling fresh, soft and clean with no greasy feeling. I really like how it cleans deeply and leaves my skin feeling like a just had a facial at the salon.
Scrubz has an entire line of natural skin care products. A few of their products are Scrubz natural sugar scrub, Handz hand scrub, Scrubblez kids scrub, and Oilz massage & moisturizing oil.
Scrubz is also known for its great charity donations. Their scents program donates a percentage of select scents to popular charities. You can read more about their charity work here.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Butternut Squash Fries

We are still working on our new healthy eating plan and have been looking for alternative recipes for our favorite foods. If you follow Grandma Bonnie's Closet on Pinterest you may have noticed I have pinned lots of dairy free, gluten free and paleo recipes. One of the pins I see popping up in various forms is butternut squash fries. Now I have made sweet potato fries before and found they were OK but not a favorite. I had this butternut squash sitting on my counter for several days. I wanted to make a healthy snack for Little Bug. Why not try these new fries? So, here we go!
First I boil the squash for about eight minutes on the bottom. ( do not over boil or the squash will be to soft.) Then flip and boil for eight on the top.

I did this to soften the peel. This makes it easy to cut and peel. 
Now cut the squash in french fry strips. Toss the fries in olive oil and bake in a preheated 400 deg. oven  Once fries are beginning to brown flip over. Bake until preferred crispness. 

Little Bug enjoyed his fries!
What healthy snack have you made recently?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Todays Walk (Yesterday)

Every day my husband and I take a walk around our yard. We usually do this early in the morning but once in a while life gets in the way and we put our walk off until evening. Today was one of those days when we got busy and did not take our usual walk. I decided as he left for work this evening I would grab my trusty companion and take a walk myself. Along the way I snapped a few pictures with my phone so I could share the last of our lovely flowers.
King Arthur my companion. I love his very serious expression!
First stop our goldfish and koi catching the last rays of the sun. While I skimmed the leaves off the pond King Arthur went off chasing cats. Lol, some companion.

I am fairly certain these are the last of the season. I just love the late blooming roses. My pansies seem to love the cooler weather.

After my walk I had to sit on one of the benches to the left and just enjoy the last of this fall weather. Well, I also had to wait for King Arthur to finish his hunting adventure. Have you been on any adventures lately?

Free Holiday Lables

Another awesome freebie from Vista print. Do you need address labels, labels for your Christmas cookies or gift tags? Upload your child's favorite art work or a family photo to create a special label for your holiday needs.  If you do not have a special image use one from Vista print to design your special label. Shipping starts at $3.69. I plan to create and order some address labels for our holiday cards. What a fantastic deal. Click the banner to get your freebie.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

No More Diet Coke For Me!

I have been working on getting my family healthier for a long while now. It all started back about five or six years ago. My daughter in law and I joined Weight Watchers while her husband(my son) was deployed in Iraq. We both stopped drinking regular sodas and started drinking diet coke. We also stopped eating out. Our families benefited for having more fresh home cooked meals. We both did very well on our diets. I lost well over 40 lbs. and I know my daughter in law came near loosing 40 lbs. Thinking back I would have done one thing different. I would have stopped the soda and never started drinking the diet soda.
Just recently I started removing refined sugars from our home. I want my grandchildren to be healthy. With all the processed foods in the market it is so easy to just grab a package of something and cook up a meal in minutes. I started looking at all the packaged foods we have in our pantry. I saw lots of corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors. Not to mentions lots of other ingredients I can not even pronounce.
So we are now slowly cleaning up our diet and looking for ways to become healthier. The first step for myself was to stop drinking diet coke. I have tried to cut back slowly multiple times. This has never worked for me. After several tries at cutting back I decided to just stop completely.
Now I have not had a diet coke in four days! Yes it has only been four days. You might not see that as a big deal. But for me this is a big leap in the right direction. I can not begin to describe what the last four days have been like. I expected to get a headache the first day. When evening came I thought wow no headache I can not believe how easy this was. Wrong, oh so wrong. Four am day two I woke with nausea and a headache I have never felt before. I was sick, sick, and more sick. I got to the point I thought I would just throw in the towel and have a diet coke. I have to give credit to an awesome and loving husband who helped me stay strong and keep moving in the right direction. I actually still have half a case of diet coke in the pantry. Any suggestions on what to do with that left over diet coke would be welcome. I sure don't want to waste it or give it to my family. Now I am at day four. I am feeling a little better. I still have a lingering headache but my nausea has passed. I am thirsty as ever even though I have been drinking 6 to 7 bottles of water a day. I am also drinking a little juice and tea. I have an appointment to get a blood test in a few days. I wanted to make sure I am moving in the right direction and keeping my blood sugar levels in good order.
Once we have removed all the obvious sugars in our diet we will start working on hidden sugars and carbohydrates. I think my family has a long path ahead but we will be working on this as a family so we are bound to succeed.  Are you doing anything to improve your health or family diet?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet & Sour Chicken With Out Sugar

I started out today planning to cook up some homemade ketchup. As I was collecting the fixings I realised I had the fixings to make a Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe I had been thinking about.

My tray of ketchup fixings.
I actually think the word ketchup is what made me decide on Sweet and Sour Chicken. For the past few weeks I have come across a couple recipes for Sweet and Sour Chicken while browsing online. Each time I saw the ingredients lists I thought how simple the recipe could be if a little thought was put into the breakdown of the ingredients. Most of the recipes called for a type of vinegar. You can use white vinegar, apple cider vinegar of wine vinegar. Each recipe called for sugar. With my new pledge to reduce our sugar intake I figure any sweetener can be substituted. Each recipe called for different seasonings. I used what I had and liked.  I also added a couple extra ingredients to suit my families taste. I hope you are inspired to try this recipe. 
First off I want to talk about the sweetener I used in my recipe. I replaced refined white sugar with PreSweet Tagatose from NuNaturals. PreSweet Tagatose is a naturally occurring sweetener found in milk, fruits and vegetables. It is lactose free, gluten free and will not raise blood sugar levels.

1 Tsp serving of PreSweet Tagatose = 1 Tsp of sugar. 

Recipe: Sweet & Sour Chicken 


3 large boneless chicken breasts (I deboned my own)
½ cup cornstarch
2 beaten eggs
olive oil
Salt, pepper, garlic powder or other seasoning
1 green or red bell pepper
1 yellow onion
½ cup apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp ketchup   
1 fresh squeezed lemon
½ cup PreSweet Tagatose
1 tsp garlic powder
Chop onions and green peppers and sauté in a small amount of olive oil. Then set aside. Cut chicken breasts into small cubes. Bite sized pieces are best. Add oil to heated skillet. Season the chicken pieces to your taste. Toss chicken pieces in cornstarch and dip in egg. Fry coated chicken in the skillet until golden brown.
Combine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, garlic powder and sweetener in a medium bowl blend well. While making the sauce you should carefully add the ingredients to your taste. If you would like a more sour taste use more vinegar or lemon. For a sweeter taste use less vinegar and a little more sweetener.
Place the chicken back into the skillet. Then add the sautéed onions and peppers. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover and simmer on very low until the chicken is done and the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Serve over white rice.
 I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you recreate this recipe I would love to hear how it turns out. 

Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned product from NuNaturals. The product was used to facilitate the creation of a sugar free recipe. No monetary compensation was received.

#Win 3 Flavored Stevia Liquids #Giveaway

Enter this awesome giveaway for your chance to win one bottle of each of the Lemon, Orange & Peppermint Flavored Stevia Liquids. Finde the giveaway here.

Natural Flavored Stevia Liquids Giveaway

NuNaturals natural flavored Stevia liquids are great to use in any recipe you would like to make sugar free. a little flavor goes a long way. Check out the product review here along with my Banana, orange Ice cream recipe using NuNaturals Orange NuStevia Liquid. You can also see the Sugar Free Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe made from another NuNaturals product here.
NuNaturals is giving Grandma Bonnie's Closets readers DISCOUNTS on all orders placed on their website : www.nunaturals.com
When you get to the checkout page enter the code; BLG1212 and you will receive - 15% discount
on your entire order. This discount is effective until December 31, 2012 .
Customers ordering online can also receive Free shipping to the Continental U. S. on all orders exceeding $ 35.00 after discounts.

Four readers will win one bottle of each of the Lemon, Orange & Peppermint Flavored Stevia Liquids. 

 Please use the rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway.

Grandma Bonnie's Closet will not be responsible for the shipping of the prize to the winners.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Coupons

Meals at Home
  • SAVE $1.00 On Any Filippo Berio Olive Oil
  • $0.50 OFF Any ONE (1) Bob Evans® Refrigerated Side Dish
  • SAVE $1.00 off any ONE (1) Newman's Own® Thin & Crispy Pizza
  • SAVE 50¢ when you buy ONE 20 OZ. OR LARGER Original Bisquick® OR Bisquick Heart Smart® Baking Mix, OR 10.6 OZ. Bisquick® Shake 'n
  • SAVE 50¢ ON TWO when you buy TWO any flavor Betty Crocker® boxed Potatoes (Except Potato Buds® and Betty Crocker®Pouch)
  • SAVE 75¢ ON THREE when you buy THREE any flavor Hamburger Helper®, Tuna Helper® OR Chicken Helper® Home Cooked Skillet Meals
  • SAVE 75¢ when you buy ONE BOX any flavor Progresso® Kitchen Favorites™ OR Wanchai Ferry® dry dinner kits
  • SAVE 50¢ when you buy any flavor/variety Muir Glen® product
  • SAVE 40¢ on any THREE (3) Campbell’s®Condensed “Great for Cooking” Soups
  • SAVE 50¢ on any THREE (3) cans of Campbell’s® Chunky™ soup or chili
Snacks & Desserts

  • $1.00 OFF any one (1) ZonePerfect® multipack (Redeemable at Walmart)
  • SAVE 75¢ ON THREE when you buy THREE BOXES any flavor Nature Valley® Granola Bars (5 count or larger), Nature Valley®Granola Thins
  • SAVE 50¢ when you buy ONE POUCH any flavor 14 OZ. OR LARGER Betty Crocker® Cookie Mix
  • SAVE 50¢ when you buy ONE any flavor/variety Betty Crocker® Shake-N-Pour™ Desserts
  • SAVE 40¢ ON SIX when you buy SIX CUPS any variety Yoplait® Yogurt (Void in LA, NJ, ND, NV & TN)
  • SAVE 50¢ ON TWO when you buy TWO CUPS any flavor Yoplait® Greek yogurt (Void in LA, NJ, ND, NV & TN)
  • SAVE 75¢ ON TWO when you buy TWO any flavor Yoplait® products listed: • Yoplait® Go-GURT® Yogurt• Yoplait® (Void in LA, NJ, ND, NV & TN)
  • SAVE 75¢ when you buy ONE PACKAGE of Yoplait®Light yogurt with Granola (Void in LA, NJ, ND, NV & TN)
  • SAVE 50¢ when you buy any flavor 32 OZ. Mountain High® Yoghurt
  • SAVE $1.00 ON ONE (1) 4-pack (3.2 oz) of any flavor Mott's® Snack & Go Applesauce pouches

  • Free Personalized Holiday Labels

    Order labels with your favorite photo, childs drawing or just pick one you like from the many selections.
    Just pay shipping.
    Read more here

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Saturday Fun

    We are enjoying this beautiful day.
    We have many reasons to be thankful.

    Grandson, "What do you want puppy? Grandma said, no more cookies!"
    I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Our Koi Pond

    It has been a long scary week around here. I have learned a good lesson along with making a lot of work for my self. It all started with my need to add a waterfall to my Koi pond. I have been wanting to do this for some time. The biggest obstacle stopping me was that I did not have the proper rocks to create the look I wanted. I do have lots of limestone but that would cause the PH in the water to rise. When the water flows over the limestone it washes lime into the water causing bad water for the fish. My son came home a few weeks ago with a small pile of large sandstone rocks. He mentioned I could use it for the waterfall if I was interested.
    So, this week I finally made the time and set out to create a small but nice little waterfall. I purchased a small pond pump and hose. Then proceeded to hook them up to the water fall box that I purchased last year on sale.  At that point I wish I had taken pictures. I had thought about pictures but I wanted the waterfall to run a few days and hoped the filter would clear up the algae and make it a little clearer for some nice pictures. That was lesson one. Take pictures when you think about it do not wait!
    So my cute little waterfall was up and running. Next morning I go out to feed the Koi and Goldfish. The fish normally see me approaching the pond and swim right over to be fed. Hm, no fish! I tossed in a handful of pellets surely they would all come up for food. Just a couple poked up their heads grabbed a bite and disappeared. I began to think. The temperatures did drop last night. They would come up later when the surface warmed up a bit. Later in the day it was pouring rain so I did not see any fish. That is normal with hard rain.
    Next day I did not see them in the morning but was terribly busy with my grandson. I thought about the fish but had to put my thoughts on a back burner and play with my grandson. I did mention the fish to my oldest son when he picked up Little Bug. I even started to wonder if we had a crane in the area eating the fish.
    Some time very early the next morning my son called to tell me he thought the sandstone was poisoning the water. Oh, how terrible I felt. How could I have not thought about that myself. I should have researched about sandstone and fish ponds. I was out at the pond about 6 am draining the water as fast as that little pump would allow. I managed to drag the heavy stones about a yard away from the pond. Where they could wait for my son to finish moving them. I did not want the rain to wash more poison into the water. I drained about 1000 gallons of water from the pond. Leaving around 300 gallons of green water. I finished refilling the pond around 10:30 pm. The story does end well for my beautiful fish. No fish were found dead. For that I am thankful.
    I just had to share some pictures from today when they all came out to eat.

    What are you most thankful for today? I hope you all enjoy your day! 

    No More Sugar!

    I have been working with my children to help them limit the sugar and high fructose corn syrup from my grandchildren’s diets.  Thanks to NuNaturals I have found a great alternative to sugar. I love to bake and make treats for my grandchildren. I feel that a grandmother should to be able to share a cookie or other bake goods with her grandchildren. While I want to give my grandchildren sweets and snacks I need those snacks to be healthy.  Using the three new products from NuNaturals I am able to make cookies, cupcakes and other treats to spoil my grandchildren with.

    These three NuStevia products are highly concentrated extracts in liquid form. The products contain all-natural flavors of real lemon, orange and peppermint. The natural flavors are from pure plant extracts. They do not contain MSG, Soy, Milk, Sugar, Synthetics, Artificial colors or Flavors, Saccharin, Aspartame, Sucralose, or Artificial Sweeteners.

    I had to start right off and make a special treat for Little Bug while he was visiting. Every time he is over for a visit he asks for ice cream. I usually blend up a frozen banana with some berries and he calls it banana ice cream. I decided to try a little something different. I made a banana orange treat.
    Little Bug helping with the Banana Ice Cream.

    Recipe: Banana Orange Ice Cream

    2 frozen bananas peeled and cubed

    2 Tbsp plain yogurt



    Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until all ingredients are creamy and smooth. You may serve the ice cream as is. I like to place it in a covered container and refreeze for 30 min. I then scoop just like ice cream into a dish or cone.

    I have also tried the Peppermint NuStevia Liquid. I have to tell you it is amazing.

    On occasion I get severe headaches and I usually drink strong hot tea with a pinch of dried peppermint flakes and a spoon of sugar. I find this helps me reduce the amount of pain reliever I have to use.

     Well, two days ago I woke up with a terrible headache. The kind of headache I know is not going to go away soon. I started water for tea and remembered the Peppermint NuStevia Liquid. I brewed my tea strong and black then added 8 drops of the flavoring.  I had three cups of tea that morning without sugar. I did not have to take any pain reliever. I still had that foggy sensation I get with such headaches but I was happy to drink my tea without the little green flakes floating in my cup.  

    After my experience with the hot tea I was excited to try the Lemon NuStevia Liquid. I brewed a pitcher of iced tea and left out the sugar. As I served the iced tea that evening I added 4 to 5 drops of the Lemon NuStevia to each glass. My entire family is now a fan of the NuNaturals NuStevia products.  NuNaturals also sent me a few other products to try and I have been working on a few cookie recipes to share. Until then I want to share with you the Product PreSweet Tagatose. I have replaced the sugar in my sugar bowl with PreSweet Tagatose and have not heard one complaint from my son or my husband. This product is safe for diabetics because it does not raise blood sugar levels. It is a prebiotic ingredient. Prebiotics feed probotic bacteria like acidopholis found in yogurt. Their job is to help good bacteria in your digestive system multiply.  You can read  more about it here.

    I received the above mentioned products to review in exchange for an honest opinion.