Category Archives: Food

All-natural snacks from Chomps Snack Sticks

As a busy family, we often need snacks on the go.  My husband has always been a fan of beef jerky, so he started getting it as a convenient snack for our kids.

Jerky has a lot of benefits.  According to the USDA’s food safety information about beef jerky:

This product is a nutrient-dense meat that has been made lightweight by drying…. Because most of the moisture is removed, it is shelf stable — can be stored without refrigeration — making it a handy food for backpackers and others who don’t have access to refrigerators.

In fact, it’s so nutritious and convenient that beef jerky is one of the foods that NASA provides for astronauts on the space station!

My kids have quickly become jerky aficionados.  I’m the one who reads the nutrition labels, though, and I realized that the nutritional content of beef jerky can vary a lot between brands.

I’m always on the lookout for the healthiest food options I can find for my kids that they will actually eat.  Recently I was intrigued to learn about a new brand of beef jerky that has been designed to be as healthy as possible.

Chomps Snack Sticks (gochomps.com) were created in 2012 as a health food.  Their beef jerky sticks are made with 100% Non-GMO Grass-Fed Angus Beef that is sourced from New Zealand. They contain no artificial ingredients (no nitrites, nitrates, MSG, colors, flavors), and they are shelf stable for a year with the help of celery juice.

Chomps Snack Sticks

Chomps Snack Sticks are available in three flavors:  Original, Crankin’ Cran, and Hoppin’ Jalapeno.

Per the Chomps website, the ingredients in the original flavor sticks are: 100% Grass-Fed Beef, Water, Salt, Citric Acid, Celery Juice, Black Pepper, Red Pepper, Garlic Powder, Coriander, Stuffed in a Collagen Casing.

Chomps Snack Sticks review

I had the opportunity to try a free sample pack that contained each of the Chomps Snack Sticks.  My family was super excited when that package arrived!  They couldn’t wait to try all three of the flavors.

They liked the flavor of each of the Chomps sticks, but the original flavor was the overall favorite.  My son thought the Hoppin’ Jalapeno flavor could use more kick, but I thought it had plenty of the jalapeno heat.  We agreed that the Crankin’ Cran was the spiciest; my son liked that flavor best.

The downside when we ripped into our package of Chomps was that we had to pull out scissors to open each of the individual snack sticks.  They didn’t have pull-apart packaging that we could open without scissors.  That cuts down on the convenience factor of a snack like beef jerky.

The Chomps sticks compare to a Slim Jim giant stick, but are healthier.  I looked up the Slim Jim giant sticks original flavor for comparison.  The Slim Jim serving size is a 28g stick, which is .99 ounces (a marginally smaller serving size than the Chomps stick).  The Slim Jim giant stick has 140 calories, 11g fat, 6g protein, 25mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, and 4g carbohydrates.

In comparison, the Chomps web site lists the nutrition facts for the original flavor one-ounce stick as: 100 calories, 6g fat, 9g protein, 20mg cholesterol, 250mg sodium, and zero carbohydrates/sugars.

As a mom who strives to teach my kids to eat well, I was happy to give Chomps Snack Sticks to my kids as a snack.  It’s great to have a healthier beef jerky option.

To learn more about Chomps Snack Sticks, visit their website at http://www.gochomps.com.

This is a sponsored post.
Thank you to Chomps Snack Sticks for a free product sample via BrandBacker.
All opinions are my own.

Celebrate World Pasta Month with the family!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Buca di Beppo® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Enjoy World Pasta Month with Buca di Beppo!

Did you know that October is World Pasta Month?

In my house we like pasta at any time, but we’re always happy to have another reason to eat some yummy Italian food! Our family can definitely get into celebrating World Pasta Month with some good food!

We’re clearly in good company among pasta lovers. Pasta is so popular in the United States that 24% of the global consumption of pasta is by Americans – the largest of any country in the world! I’ve learned that the average American consumes 20 pounds of pasta annually. That sounds about right for me!

Celebrate pasta with World Pasta Month!   {Image source: GutundTasty / Pixabay}

I especially love pasta as comfort food in the fall and winter when the weather turns colder, so I think World Pasta Month is perfectly situated in October. It’s a great time to fill up with some delicious pasta dishes!

One of my favorite places for Italian food is Buca di Beppo. They have great, authentic Italian cuisine, and the ambiance in the restaurant is always fun with their eclectic, vintage setting!

We have made some special memories at Buca di Beppo enjoying dinner together with the extended family. Buca’s family-style dishes make it easy to dine together as a large group.

During October, Buca di Beppo has a special Create Your Own Pasta Bowl experience in its restaurants in honor of World Pasta Month. It’s a fun way to personalize your meal! You can order your favorite pasta and sauce combination for the ultimate personal pasta bowl experience.

Buca makes it easy to create your perfect pasta bowl.

  • First, you pick your pasta. Will it be spaghetti, linguine, penne, rigatoni or cavatappi?
  • Next, select your sauce. Choose from marinara, alfredo, garlic olive oil, rosa, pesto or meat sauce.
  • Choose up to three veggies. You have a choice of diced roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, artichokes, sautéed mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, green peas or sliced red onions.
  • Pick a protein for your dish. Do you prefer chicken, prosciutto, meatballs, spicy sausage or mild sausage?
  • Season it the way you like, and then enjoy your personalized pasta bowl!

There are so many possible combinations for your own perfect meal at Buca di Beppo!

While you’re there, be sure to take part in Buca’s #PastaSelfie Sweepstakes! You can enter for a daily chance to win a $100 Buca di Beppo gift card. Just snap a picture of your Create Your Own Pasta Bowl dish or your favorite pasta dish and share it on Instagram. Use #pastaselfie #sweepstakes and tag @bucadibeppo on Instagram. See the Buca di Beppo website for the official #PastaSelfie Sweepstakes rules.

You also have a chance to enter right here for a free Buca di Beppo gift card giveaway!

Buca di Beppo Create Your Own Pasta Bowl Giveaway

Buca is a great location for date night, family meals, or even a large celebration! It’s not too soon to start thinking about special holiday events, and Buca is a fun spot for holiday parties. Or you can have them cater and bring the authentic Italian cuisine to you!

In celebration of World Pasta Month, what’s YOUR your favorite pasta dish or recipe?

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Easy cheesy baked chicken recipe

I like to make nutritious, homemade meals for my family so we can sit down and eat together at the dinner table.  That’s not always easy to accomplish when juggling various activities and schedules.  To get dinner on the table, I generally have some specific criteria for recipes.

Recipes need to be reasonably easy without too many ingredients to round up, especially on a busy weeknight.  They need to appeal to kids.  I mean, I try not to coddle my kids too much, but they all have definite preferences and I don’t want dinner to be a constant battle.  As I try to give everybody food that they like, I’m also always trying to make sure we’re eating something healthy.

Easy cheesy baked chicken recipe | AMerryMom.com This chicken dinner is a winner!  With just four ingredients, it’s so simple to prepare – and it cooks quickly, too.  This easy cheesy baked chicken recipe pleases even my most picky eater.

Yes, it has cheese and bacon bits (the real bacon kind) and canned soup, so this recipe isn’t going to turn up on the pages of a health food magazine, but I use Campbell’s Healthy Request soup variety.  I also go fairly light on the bacon bits and cheese.  They add some flavor as well as protein.

Easy cheesy baked chicken | AMerryMom.com

The prep work is fast to get this easy cheesy baked chicken ready to go into the oven.

The key for getting it on the table fast is cutting large chicken breasts into smaller pieces to bake faster.  This also helps control portion sizes and makes the pieces just right for kids.  Also good for kids:  it bakes up very tender so you can cut it with a fork.

Easy cheesy baked chicken recipe

Easy, cheesy baked chicken
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Ingredients
  • 3-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 10.5 ounce can of Campbell's Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
  • 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of bacon bits
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a 13x9-inch baking dish. (I like to cut each large chicken breast into three smaller pieces so they cook faster. I then have 9-12 pieces of chicken.)
  3. Open the cream of chicken soup and cover the chicken evenly.
  4. Sprinkle bacon bits evenly over the chicken.
  5. Spread cheese evenly over the top.
  6. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes untll chicken is cooked through.

Note: Always be sure chicken is cooked thoroughly.

This recipe is so fast and easy!  I like to serve this with sides of carrots and green beans.

Do you have a favorite weeknight meal?

I shared this easy cheesy baked chicken recipe at some of these link parties.