Humana Healthier Choices Were a Tasty Treat

by Jennifer Wieland
Today’s post was brought to you by Humana. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Last week the kids and I had the opportunity to head to the Taste of Chicago. It’s an annual event filled with loads of fabulous food from top restaurants around the city and suburbs. Thankfully Humana was there with a list of Healthier Choices to make picking out healthier options a breeze.

Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices

When we arrived at the Taste of Chicago we visited the Humana booth right away as it was conveniently located right near the entrance we came in at. There we were given a list of the Healthier Choices options to carry with us to navigate our way through better selections of food at the Taste of Chicago. Then we went into the activity part of the Humana tent. There they had raffles, games and activities for the whole family to participate in.

Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices

With our food and drink tickets in hand the kids and I then made our way through the Taste of Chicago. If you’ve never been to the Taste before I have to tell you that trying to decide just what to get can be overwhelming with all of the options. The kids enjoyed being able to read the signs, decide what they wanted and go up and order on their own and then pay with the tickets. They loved that they were each able to get just the things that they wanted. Humana and the Taste of Chicago made it easy for all of us to know which booths provided Healthier Choices Options. The Humana H logo was by items on the menus that were on the Healthier Choices list.

Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices

What was our favorite Humana Healthier Choices food?

Humana Healthier Choices Options at Taste of Chicago #TasteofChi #HealthierChoices

The day we went to the Taste of Chicago was ridiculously hot! The kids were sweaty and by the end very whiney about how hot they were. Luckily, near the end of our route around the Taste of Chicago we spotted the La Mexicana booth. There we each ordered either a strawberry or watermelon Paleta. (I grew up eating Paletas but if you’ve never had one it is a Latin American ice pop that is generally made with fresh fruit and they’re delicious.) Once they got their Paletas I took them over to one of the misting stations and between the Paletas and the cool misting water they were much happier within a few minutes.

Did you get a chance to try some of the Humana Healthier Choice options at the Taste of Chicago? What was your favorite?



Galileo Summer Camp – Creating Innovators

by Jennifer Wieland
Galileo Summer Camps are Creating Innovators


I have been debating sending my kids to summer camp for years! I never know where to start at and I don’t want them to go to sleep away camp because with two of them being on the spectrum I know they need the reliability of their daily schedules. I also see so many camps that are just cookie cutters of one another. If I am spending the money to send my child to summer camp I want the experience to be something special but that also fits their interests and personalities all while letting them expand their creativity all while sneaking in some education. When I heard about Galileo Summer Camp I was intrigued because they are creating innovators in so many different areas.

Galileo Summer Camps are Creating Innovators

I like to think that one of the greatest gifts I managed to pass on to each of my kids is my creativity. Whether we are baking in the kitchen together, creating artistic masterpieces for display, my oldest is working on his music, my two youngest boys are drawing anime or my daughter is sewing up her latest handbag we are always busy focusing on our projects and I am always the proud mom sharing their talent with any and all that will listen. I love to create fearlessly and to never fear failure because the only failure is never trying in the first place. That’s one of the things that attracted me to Galileo, they have a mistakes are marvelous approach. 

Galileo Summer Camp - Creating Innovators

Mistakes are Marvelous:

Galileo summer camp embraces mistakes while they teach campers to create without the fear of making them. They believe that mistake-making leads to magical learning opportunities and children shouldn’t spend their time in fear of making them. (Grown-ups either for that matter).

Galileo Innovation Approach ® and 5 Key Mindsets:

  1. Work with your child to identify their goals.
  2. Collaborate with them to brainstorm and generate ideas.
  3. Talk about the importance of being Visionary as they begin their designs.
  4. The fun really begins as you Courageously start to create,
  5. Remember to stay Determined as you test your projects,
    It’s time to be Reflective as you evaluate what worked and what didn’t and start your re-design.

Galileo Summer Camp - Creating Innovators

Since 2002, Galileo Summer Camp has been shaping a new generation of innovators by teaching kids to explore, make mistakes and create without fear! Drawing from the innovation process inspired by the Stanford Galileo’s curriculum packs serious substance and sparks kids’ imagination from pre-k through 8th grade.

For kids pre-K through 5th grade, there’s Camp Galileo where campers take on art, science, and outdoor activities tailored to their level. They learn lasting innovation skills like collaboration and reflection and take home tangible creations like a rocket, photos inspired by Ansel Adams, or even an archery bow!

For kids entering 5th grade through 8th grade there’s Galileo Summer Quest. Campers can choose from 13 immersive majors, each confidence-building, collaboration-packed session gives them an opportunity to realize their personal vision in a new inspiring subject. Campers make short films, engineer catapults, whip up inventive dishes, design custom video games, and much, much more.

One of the most impactful things about the Galileo Summer Camp experience is the staff and how much heart and energy they bring to camp every day. They screen thousands of applicants each year to find the absolute best people to work at their camps. The people they hire not only have the silly gene but a deep passion for education and developing young innovators as well.

Galileo Summer Camps are Creating Innovators

Sign Up Now and Save $$$ at Galileo Summer Camp

Readers who register their kids for Galileo Summer Camp before February 29th are eligible for both a $40 discount and the Early Bird Savings. After February 29th, the $40 discount will still be active.

By signing up now, you  can lock into Galileo’s biggest savings of the year! You will be get an exclusive discount of $40 off a week of Galileo Summer Camp using code 2016BOLD. What’s more if you register for camp by February 29th you can save an additional $25 per week at Camp Galileo and Galileo Summer Quest or $12.50 per class ($25 off a full day) at Summer Camps @ The Tech. Early bird savings apply automatically to your camp purchase and can be combined with Galileo’s multi-session discount. Guarantee your spot—and your biggest savings—by February 29th and you can change your camp date or location through May 2 for absolutely no fee.

Are you planning on sending your kids to summer camp this year?



Share a Sweet Breakfast Easily with Restaurant.com

by Jennifer Wieland
Share a Sweet Breakfast Easily with Restaurant.com
I am part of the Restaurant.com Review Crew and this post is sponsored by Restaurant.com but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Last week I needed to drive out to my sister’s house after I got the group off to work and school. We are working on my youngest nephew’s first birthday party. While she has two kids in school (ages 12 & 9) she also has a set of twins that are two and the baby is almost one. Since her husband and the older ones are at work and school it is hard for her to tote three kiddos two and under around by herself. I decided I would bring them all a little treat that morning plus grab something for my group too. I was able to put a smile on three little faces thanks to Restaurant.com and their gift certificates.

Share a Sweet Breakfast Easily with Restaurant.com

What some people don’t realize is that you find hidden gems like the Donut Den on Restaurant.com. the Donut Den is an old school donut shop that smells like a sugary heaven when you walk in. The locals that visit there often (my sister’s family included) swear by this place and how great its donuts are. There was a $5 Restaurant.com gift certificate available with a $10 minimum purchase on it. This made it easy for me to grab a half-dozen for my sister’s kids and a half-dozen for my kid’s after school snack. 

Share a Sweet Breakfast Easily with Restaurant.com Gift Certificates #ReviewCrew

The Donut Den’s donuts are light, fluffy and perfectly glazed and iced. While super flavorful they are not overly sweet. Their glazed donut is pretzel shaped for a bit of fun and whimsy.

Share a Sweet Breakfast Easily with Restaurant.com Gift Certificates #ReviewCrew

They do have your standard donut fair but they also have some fun and seasonal flavors like peanut butter & jelly, pumpkin and Oreo. My personal favorite was the cinnamon roll donuts. Each day they have a daily special and it’s listed as soon as you walk in. 

Share a Sweet Breakfast Easily with Restaurant.com Gift Certificates #ReviewCrew

Remember, for more information on Restaurant.com be sure to check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, find them on Google+ or check out their blog, The Dish.

“The only thing better than going out for a great meal, is getting a great deal.  Restaurant.com has been filling tables since 1999 and is the destination for dining whether you like to plan ahead or find a meal on the go.  Restaurant.com helps diners discover the perfect dining experience and boasts nearly 50,000 dining deals available every day, even on the weekends!  And, the deals are easy to use – present the certificate to the server on a mobile device, or print out a copy, and voilà – the savings will be deducted from your final bill.  Bon Appétit!”

End of School Year Water Balloon Gift Idea With Printable

by Jennifer Wieland
This is a fun idea for an End of School Year Gift for kids in your child's class. The fun comicbook theme is a fun design. #free #printable



I can’t believe it’s the end of the school year already but at the same time I am so happy that it’s here. Maybe I’m more excited about this year since I work at one of the schools in my district this year. So just like the kids I am excited about more time to do what I want and less time doing work. Every year though I do like to come up with little gifts for my kids to hand out to their classmates. It seems though that all you ever see for this online is ideas for bubbles or chalk. I wanted to do something different this year and I have. In fact, I came up with three different ideas and will be sharing each of them with you in coming days. Today though I will be sharing an end of school year water balloon idea with printable. This is a fun idea for an End of School Year Gift for kids in your child's class. The fun comicbook theme is a fun design. #free #printable

It’s pretty safe to say that I am a nerdy, geeky girl. I own that about me and am proud of it and flaunt it. In fact one of my recent posts gave me the idea for this printable. I am a huge Marvel fan and love comic books. I’m that parent that encourages her children to read them and graphic novels. So one day it just came to me that water balloons are such a great summertime thing plus they get the kids outside and playing but since you the play involves throwing stuff at each other it made me think of comic books. Of course that meant that I had to design a printable to use to hand them out that looked like comic book cells. 

To make these fun little gifts with your kids for their classmates all you need to do is download the free printable and print it out. Click on any of the pictures to download the printable.

This is a fun idea for an End of School Year Gift for kids in your child's class. The fun comicbook theme is a fun design. #free #printable Once the printables are printed and cutout all you need to fill is fill snack size baggies with water balloons and spouts. (I found two packs at Walmart. Each one had 50 balloons and a spout and was only 97¢ for the two. That makes this a really affordable gift idea.) Then fold the printables in half lengthwise and place the sealed top of the baggies in between the front and the back of the printable and staple. That’s it! Your kids now have a fun gift for their friends in class.

This is a fun idea for an End of School Year Gift for kids in your child's class. The fun comicbook theme is a fun design. #free #printable

At less than 75¢ a child this works out to be an affordable gift that will get kids outside to play.



Mangos – A Sweet, Tropical Treat to Enjoy Year-Round

by Jennifer Wieland
Delicious treats that kids will eat and can help make made with mango. #MakeItMango
Thanks to the National Mango Council for sponsoring today’s post.




Last week I had the chance to learn all about Mangos from the National Mango Board. I’ve eaten mango before and am a big fan of it but it’s always fun to learn more about the foods you love and new ways to prepare and enjoy them. To learn more I along with two of my kids were invited to The Chopping Block for a mango cooking class. The three of us walked away from the class with some new knowledge about mangos and three new ways to enjoy them.

Delicious treats that kids will eat and can help make made with mango. #MakeItMango

My 10 and 7 year olds have been dying to take a cooking class so they were super excited about this. Prior to the class though only my 7-year-old was a mango fan. My 10-year-old is very picky when it comes to food since he is on the Autism Spectrum. This made me a little nervous about bringing him to this class but luckily there was no reason for me to worry. He was all about being as hands on as he could and the more he did the more food he tried. It was nice to see him trying so many new foods for him and learning that he enjoyed them.

The first thing we did in class was learn about the types of Mangos available in the U.S and their availability. Did you know there are 6 varieties of mango available in the U.S. and that with all of the varieties they are available year-round here. Most of the mangos we eat here come from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru Haiti, Ecuador and Brazil. Mangos were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago and they are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They also contain 100% of your daily vitamin C, 35% of your daily vitamin A and 12% of your daily fiber. So not only are they yummy but they are also good for you.

Mango varieties available in the U.S. #MakeItMango

Then the kids learned the proper way to cut, slice and dice a mango. Then they were able to try it themselves. Who knew you need nothing more than a butter knife to cut a ripe mango?

Delicious treats that kids will eat and can help make made with mango. #MakeItMango

Would you like to learn how to select, cut, slice and dice a mango properly too? It’s simple just watch the video below and give it a try.


After that the kids learned how to use mango to make a smoothie, Cinco De Mango Quesadillas and Frozen Yogurt Dipped Mango Pops. All three were huge hits with my kids. In fact, the folks at The Chopping Block were nice enough to let us pack up food to take home because the boys loved the quesadillas so much that they wanted to make more.

Delicious treats that kids will eat and can help make made with mango. #MakeItMango

My boys’ two favorite recipes are listed below. Click on the picture of the recipes to download a PDF copy you can print to use with your own kids.


Delicious treats that kids will eat and can help make made with mango. #MakeItMango
 To learn more about the different mango varieties or find more recipes you can visit http://www.mango.org and learn all you can about this popular fruit and make yourself a mango expert.



Valentine’s Day Glow Stick Printable

by Jennifer Wieland
Valentine's Day Glow Stick Printable

Are your kids in a school district that no longer allows food treats at class parties? My kids are and I do miss being able to send treats but I understand why we can’t. With this though we end up with a ton of pencils at very single class party throughout the year. Pencils are inexpensive and you can always find themed ones that cover any holiday or special occasion. While I get that pencils are useful bringing home a bag of various pencils is not very exciting for the kids. So what do kids like? Mine personally love glow sticks. So I made these adorable and oh so easy to use Valentine’s Day Glow Stick Printable hearts.

 Valentine's Day Glow Stick Printable

You can snag cheap packages of glow stick bracelets at your local dollar stores. They usually have them in the toy or party supply areas and come in a variety of colors and 5-10 in a package.

 Valentine's Day Glow Stick Printable

To make these Valentine’s Day cards just download and print the below printable. Then cut each of the hearts out. Using a standard whole punch make holes on the left and right sides of the hearts. These holes should be the perfect size to hold the glow sticks in place. Carefully, slide the glow stick through the wholes and you are ready to go. The kids can write their names on the back so that their friends know just who they are from.

Valentine's Day Glow Stick Printable Valentine's Day Glow Stick Printable Valentine's Day Glow Stick Printable

Click on this link to download the Valentine’s Day Glow Stick Printable.



How To Make a Great Loves Print

by Jennifer Wieland
How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary

Late last week my brother and his fiance became proud homeowners for the first time. They bought a home a short drive from my parent’s house and the kids and I got to go and take a tour of it on Friday. Whenever I go visiting to a new home for people I know I always like to bring them a little housewarming gift. Since this was the first time since college that either of them has lived on their own they need pretty much everything. I decided to gift them with a Thirty-One Room For Two Utility Tote filled with all sorts of things from measuring cups and spoons to toilet paper to detergent and bleach and a lot of other goodies. The one goodie that I was really proud of and the only one I made for them was a framed Great Loves Print. I had so much fun making it for them and they loved it so I would say it was a good idea. Now, I want to teach you how to make a Great Loves Print for yourself or to gift at a housewarming, bridal shower, wedding or anniversary for someone you know.

How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary


The idea for the Great Loves Print is not my idea. In fact, I have seen them for sale in different variations on Jane.com in the past. I couldn’t find a link to a current one. On Jane.com the prints usually sell for $9.99 plus shipping. Now that is just for the print. There’s no frame or anything else. I was able to create the print and have it printed on card stock at OfficeMax and buy a frame with a matte in it from JoAnn all for a mere $7. That’s right and that’s a whole heck of a lot cheaper.

How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary

This is the print I made for my husband and me.

So how does one make this totally awesome print?

It’s easy and here’s how… 



Go to picmonkey.com, go to design and select your size.

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win


 You will be taken to the above screen and put into the Canvas Color. Select the background color that you want for your print and clink on the Apply button.

How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary

 Next you will need to click on the Tt icon along the left hand side. It will take you to the text window. Select the font you want to use. You can either use Picmonkey’s fonts (The ones with crowns by them are for paying users but not to worry there are a lot of free ones.) or you can click on Yours and use any of your fonts on your machine. You will click on the font and then on Add Text. This will open a text box and another box for the text properties. Select the color and size for your font here. Be sure to copy the font color you use so you can just paste it for the rest of the text boxes. Type a couple and size it to fit they way you want. Continue to do this for each couple making sure to match up the sizes. I like to move the text boxes over one that is already done to make sure they match up perfectly. The actual couples name should be somewhere near the middle and it should also be in bold with a gap between the names to place the heart.

How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary

 This is what it should look like when you have all of the names in and are ready to add the heart.

Need some inspiration on couples to use for your print?

Here is a small list to get you started:

Adam & Eve (Bible)
Marge & Homer (The Simpsons)
Harry & Sally (When Harry Met Sally)
Scarlett & Rhett (Gone with the Wind)
Rick & Ilsa (Casablanca)
Forrest & Jenny (Forrest Gump)
Johnny & Baby (Dirty Dancing)
Danny & Sandy (Grease)
Allie & Noah (The Notebook)
Ron & Hermione (Harry Potter)
June & Johnny (Cash)
Ross & Rachel (Friends)
Bella & Edward (Twilight)
Harry & Ginny (Harry Potter)
Peter & Mary Jane (Spiderman)
Han Solo & Princess Leia (Star Wars Saga)
Padme & Anakin (Star Wars Saga)
Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare)
Superman & Lois Lane (DC Comics)
Bonnie & Clyde (Outlaws)
Nickie & Terry (An Affair to Remember)
Cyclops & Jean Grey (X-Men)
Ken & Barbie (Toys)
Bill & Sookie (True Blood)
Lucy & Ricky (I Love Lucy)
Chandler & Monica (Friends)
Carl & Ellie (Up)
Maria & Capt. Von Trapp (The Sound of Music)
Edward & Vivian (Pretty Woman)
Cory & Topanga (Boy Meets World)
Carrie & Mr. Big (Sex in the City)
Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth (Pride & Prejudice)
Jasmine & Aladdin (Disney)
Shrek & Fiona (Dreamworks)
Cinderella & Prince Charming (Disney)
Ariel & Eric (Disney)
Belle & The Beast (Disney)
Fred & Wilma (The Flintstones)
Wall-E & Eve (Disney)
Tarzan & Jane (Disney & Tarzan)
Eliza & Professor Higgins (My Fair Lady)
Aragorn & Arwen (The Lord of the Rings)
Rocky & Adrian (Rocky)
Rapunzel & Flynn Rider (Disney)
Mario & Princess Peach (Super Mario Bros.)
Elastigirl & Mr. Incredible (Disney)
Trinity & Neo (The Matrix)
Katniss & Peeta (Hunger Games)
Cleopatra & Mark Antony (Historical)
Invisible Woman & Mr. Fantastic (Fantastic 4)

 How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary

You will need to click on the butterfly icon along the left hand side to get to the Overlays. Scroll down and expand the Hearts overlay section. Click on the heart you want to use and it will place it on your picture. Adjust it so that it is sized and centered correctly between your couple’s names. You can change the color of the heart (most will have two colors) by clicking on the boxes and selecting colors from the color grid or by manually typing in a color code.

How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary

Now it’s time to save your project so click on the Save button above your picture. In the save screen click on the File Name box and delete what is there. Give it a name you want and select .jpg or .png for the file extension from the drop down menu. Finally click on the Save to my computer button. This will open the computer’s save window and you can select where to save the file.


How to make a Great Loves Print - My Sweet Sanity #DIY #Craft #wedding #anniversary

You’re all done! All that’s left now is to print it, frame it and gift it.




How to Get Lotion Out of Hair

by Jennifer Wieland
How to get lotion out of hair.

Sunday night after the festivities from my husband’s birthday dinner I knew I had to get the kids into the bathroom to get baths and showers taken care of for Monday morning and the start of a new school week. My daughter gladly took a shower and let me wash her hair. I got her ready to go to bed with some cozy pajamas and brushed out her hair and then put her to bed. Monday morning I went to wake up that sweet, precious child and I looked at her head and was wondering why her hair still looked to be completely and totally wet. What had happened? I reached out to touch her hair and it was greasy. It appeared on closer inspection like she had globs of lard or Crisco coating it. That was not the case though, oh no, no, no. You see she put gobs and gobs of lotion in her hair.

I immediately went into super freak out mode and rushed her to the bathroom to wash her hair. I soaped, lathered, scrubbed like my life was on the line and then I rinsed, rinsed, rinsed. Upon towel drying though I noticed that almost nothing had changed. So shampooed, rinsed and repeated again, and again and each and every time it did little to nothing. Being Monday morning though we were pinched for time and I made the executive decision to do the unthinkable and let her head to her Pre-K class looking like she’d rolled in an oil slick. I know I should have just kept her home but i need to regroup and debate having a drink while she was at school for 2.5 hours.

To the munchkins credit though she did proudly tell her teachers that she had done this to herself. Yay for honesty? Anyway, we washed it a few more times and then I began searching the internet and was coming up with the brilliant conclusions to wash her hair. Wow, that was so not brilliant at all. I did have a light bulb moment and I covered her hair and scalp with baking soda and then let it sit for a few minutes. I then washed her hair one last time with Dawn Dish Soap because as the old slogan says “Dawn takes grease out of your way.” and you know what? It really does. Her hair is now really soft from all of the moisturization it received from the lotion and it’s no longer greasy.

How to get lotion out of hair.

Has one of your children ever done something crazy like this that left you trying to figure out how to fix it?

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

by Jennifer Wieland
Carrot Cake Cupcakes

This past weekend was all kinds of busy for us as I’m sure it was for many of you too. Saturday was opening day for baseball here in town so my daughter was in the parade since she is playing t-ball this year. It was also my dad’s birthday but since he had to work and Sunday we were doing Easter at my parent’s house we decided to wait and celebrate it then. So I spent Saturday at baseball pictures, a parade, baking and preparing things for three Easter egg hunts that I was doing at my mom’s house.

I always do an Easter egg hunt for the kids and they love it. It’s my three youngest and my niece and nephew but with the addition of my other niece and nephew who are twins and since it was their first Easter I felt I needed to make it special for them and give them their very own baby Easter egg hunt. It was very small and mommy and daddy had to do most of the work because once they found suckers they were pretty much done. It was adorable though and I got lots of pictures for my sister and brother-in-law to remember it by.

Kids Easter Collage

Baby Easter Collage The other Easter egg hunt I did was one for the adults. For some reason the males in our family always want to “help” the kids do their egg hunt and I decided it would be fun to just give them their own. I have to say it was funny and by the end they were all laughing like kids. Since this was a grown up egg hunt it did contain some candy but it also had boxes with instant lottery tickets, airplane size bottles of booze, shot glass necklaces and beer pong kits. Those boys tore into their bags faster than the kids did with theirs. Truly, it was something that everyone should add to their Easter festivities for a good laugh and loads of fun.

Big Boys Easter Collage

After eating copious amounts of food for brunch and drinking lots of mimosas, we sang Happy Birthday to my dad and I had baked him Carrot Cake Cupcakes for his birthday cake. He loved them, I could tell because he ate several. They were a yummy hit with everyone that had room to eat one or brought them home to eat later. My husband who does not like carrot cake but loves these just to give you an idea about how good these little babies are.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
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6275 calories
835 g
1235 g
320 g
44 g
193 g
2075 g
3628 g
697 g
9 g
98 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6275
Calories from Fat 2816
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 320g
Saturated Fat 193g
Trans Fat 9g
Polyunsaturated Fat 15g
Monounsaturated Fat 83g
Cholesterol 1235mg
Sodium 3628mg
Total Carbohydrates 835g
Dietary Fiber 14g
Sugars 697g
Protein 44g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For Carrot Puree
  1. about 1 - 1 1/2 c. baby carrots
  2. water
For the Cupcakes
  1. 3/4 c. pureed carrots
  2. 1 c. sugar
  3. 3/4 c. butter, softened
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 c. cake flour
  6. 1 tsp. baking soda
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp. cinnamon
For the cream cheese frosting
  1. 1/2 c. butter, softened
  2. 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  3. 4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla
  5. 2-3 tbsp. milk
For the carrot puree
  1. Place the carrots in a saucepan and cover with 1" of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until fork tender. Drain the water but leave a few tablespoons. Transfer the carrots and some of the remaining water to a food processor or blender and puree. Add more of the reserved water if needed. The puree should be fairly thick.
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line cupcake pans with liners.
  2. Cream together the sugar, butter and eggs on medium-high speed. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones until blended. Stir in the the carrot puree and mix on medium speed for a minute.
  3. Add batter to cupcake liners in the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack and continue to cool. Frost when cooled.
For the cream cheese frosting
  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed. Stir in the powdered sugar on low in 3-4 batches. Add the vanilla and 2 tbsp. of milk and stir on low. Increase the speed to medium-high and then mix for 1-2 minutes. See if you need the additional milk. Add it if necessary. Either way mix again for another minute.
  1. Cream cheese frosting does need to be refrigerated.
My Sweet Sanity https://mysweetsanity.com/

Mariano’s Tastemakers: Inspiring Foodies Everywhere & Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie

by Jennifer Wieland
Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie - Mariano's Tastemakers #MyMarianos #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.


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It’s no secret that I love shopping at Mariano’s! It’s unlike any other grocery shopping experience I have ever had with departments and foods not available at any stores near me. I can wander there for hours whenever I go, browsing through all of the departments to see what new things await me. I have noticed that Mariano’s makes people want to let the foodie in them have a free reign to eat and create. It should definitely be awarded the title Top Grocery Store Chicago for how different it is from the other big chains. There is so much there to inspire you to be creative with food and now even if you are looking for more inspiration and ideas they have the Mariano’s Tastemakers series on their website.

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The Mariano’s Tastemakers series has top Chicago chefs and gourmands helping you to make the most of your shopping and cooking with Mariano’s. There are a ton of videos and recipes for you to view. My favorite was pastry chef Sarah Jordan. Being a baker I was just drawn to her and I remembered her from an article I had read about her last year. She likes to blend savory and sweet together. I like that and have done that myself a few times but I still like to see and try other ideas. I like taking the whole concept of pairing things together that normally don’t get matched with each other or taking something and using it in an unsuspecting way.

Here are some of my tips and things I took away from shopping at Mariano’s and from the Mariano’s Tastemakers.

  • Swap out a liquid (e.g. milk, water, etc.) or part of a liquid in a recipe with something that will add another flavor to your cooking or baking. Use chicken broth in place of water. Use juices or fruit purees in place of water. The fresh squeezed juices in the produce section are perfect here.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different, non-standard flavor pairings. Many people may not know this but bacon and chocolate are phenomenal together. Stop in the baking aisle but remember you can find other things throughout the store that may take those cookies or cakes to a whole new place.
  • Mariano’s staff is very friendly and helpful. They are always willing to answer questions you may have. If you are in the spice house and aren’t sure about something just ask. I bought some new tea and they gave me tea bags and everything to use for it.
  • Go to Mariano’s hungry. You will eat there so just head there ready to eat and enjoy all they have to offer.
  • The other thing I learned from Sarah Jordan’s video is that you can get meats you buy grilled for you. So while I love baking, cooking is a job function as mom. I like that I can grab different meats for everyone and get them grilled. That means the kids can have burgers, the hubby a steak and I can get some chicken. At home this would not be an option. I’m not going to cook that many different meals in one night. This is great for families with picky eaters.

Sarah Jordan, Mariano’s Tastemaker inspired me to combine happy hour and dessert into one event. Her inspiration of thinking outside the food box is a great message. Many people bake and cook with alcohol but the heat cooks out the kick and makes it safe for anyone to eat as it is only then a flavor.

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I wanted to take an alcohol and make it into a no-bake dessert so you still had the kick of the drink but with the sweetness of the dessert. My alcohol of choice was Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys, which I used to make a Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie.

Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie - Mariano's Tastemakers #MyMarianos  #shop

This pie tastes like boozy, French toast in pie form. So, oh yeah, it’s good! Like crazy good!

Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie - Mariano's Tastemakers #MyMarianos  #shop

Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie
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3250 calories
364 g
336 g
140 g
18 g
67 g
906 g
1622 g
247 g
0 g
65 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3250
Calories from Fat 1236
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 140g
Saturated Fat 67g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 58g
Cholesterol 336mg
Sodium 1622mg
Total Carbohydrates 364g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 247g
Protein 18g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 graham cracker pie crust
  2. 1 5.1 oz box of instant vanilla pudding mix
  3. 1 c. Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Irish Cream
  4. 3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
  5. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  6. 2 c. whipped topping
  1. Whisk together the pudding mix, Baileys and whipping cream for two minutes. Whisk in the cinnamon. It should be soft set. Refrigerate until set and then fold in the whipped topping. Evenly spread into the pie crust and then refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with additional whipped topping.
  1. This does contain alcohol so do not serve to children.
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Vanilla Cinnamon Baileys Pie - Mariano's Tastemakers #MyMarianos  #shop

 If you’d like to check out the Mariano’s Tastemakers videos head on over here. Be sure to check out Mariano’s Facebook page and Pinterest for more ideas and inspiration. #MyMarianos #CollectiveBias

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