What We’re Loving | Sartori Artisan Cheeses

Gone are the days of typical cheese and crackers platters at dinner parties, get-togethers or healthier snacking. These days our palettes are more sophisticated and we may experiment with various flavors, especially as we’re more exposed to various cultures and exotic flavors. You may be thinking “what does this have to do with cheese?”. Believe it or not, we’re seeing more and more fusion of flavors in cheese. Take for example Sartori Cheese, dedicated to making the world’s finest artisan cheese from premium milk supplied by local Wisconsin farmers, they are winning us over with their distinctive variety of tempting flavors.

For those who need their caffeine fix, Sartori has two bold flavors that are sure to please. Tea lovers like me will love the Chai BellaVitano, an exotic pairing of the spiciness of Chai and Sartori’s creamy and sweet BellaVitano cheese. Coffee lovers will jump for joy at the combination of sweet, sugary and creamy BellaVitano, hand-rubbed with freshly roasted espresso that is the Espresso BellaVitano.

For those of you who love a glass of a fine wine or cognac with your cheese will love the marriage of creamy cheese and the berry and plum notes of Merlot that make up the Merlot BellaVitano. If you prefer something stronger, you’ll love the Limited Edition Cognac BellaVitano (not pictured); the sweet, buttery BellaVitano, aged at least 18 months and steeped in Rémy Martin Cognac for 7 to 10 intoxicating days. It’s a unique and complex celebration of smoky, nutty, oaky flavors with toasted notes of vanilla and caramel.

When one thinks of Christmas, cheese doesn’t always come to mind but thanks to Sartori’s Limited Edition Peppermint BellaVitano, you’ll always associate the two. A definite blend to keep in mind for the holidays, Sartori’s sweet BellaVitano is kissed by real peppermint candy for a delicious yet unexpected taste.

What do you think of these exotic flavored cheeses? Any flavors you hope to try?

Talking Tequila | Hornito’s Lime Shot

Be more than just the life of the party, be the guy that brought the Hornito’s Lime Shot.  If you are feeling a bit adventurous and want to kick things up a notch, try Hornito’s Lime Shot.

Part Hornito’s Plata Tequila with a splash of lime and a touch of salt, Lime Shot mixes these quintessential ingredients in just the right amounts. However, it is more than just an interesting night in a bottle, Hornito’s Lime Shot honors the taste behind the classic tequila shot. The combination of perfectly crushed salt, slightly sweet lime and ice cold tequila.

If you really want to mix it up, try it with some soda and a splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice…but, we really suggest you try it straight up…

Hornito’s Lime Shot is ideal for lively parties, BBQs and the best game nights you’ll ever have. Chill really well and enjoy.

Written by Andrew HoChoy
***Thank you to Gentleman Blogger, Andrew HoChoy of The Digital Gent for reviewing Hornito’s Lime Shot for My Life on and off the Guest List. Make sure to check out his blog***

July 4th Cocktail | Kilbeggan Patriot Punch

Toast to America’s independence with a patriotic cocktail this July 4th holiday. Kilbeggan is a a smooth, sweet-tasting whiskey with a lovely malt finish. The finest grain and malt whiskeys are blended together for a characteristic of their pot still that is over 180 year old and still at the heart of Kilbeggan® Irish whiskey. In celebration of the 4th, they bring you this rich cocktail perfect for the holiday

Kilbeggan Patriot Punch

2 parts Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
1 part DeKuyper Apricot Brandy
1 part Cranberry Juice
2 parts Champagne
Lemon Wheel (thinly sliced)

To Serve As A Cocktail:
Build all ingredients over ice in a stemless red wine glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

To Serve As A Punch:
Double the recipe and multiply by the number of guests you plan to serve. Add Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey, DeKuyper Apricot Brandy and cranberry juice to a punch bowl, stir and refrigerate. When guests arrive, add champagne and lemon wheels. Serve over ice in stemless red wine glasses.

Happy 4th and safe celebrating.

New Year, New Cuisine From Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia

There are lots of upcoming occasions that are a great time to show off your cooking skills, new recipes, etc – there’s Chinese New Year, Super Bowl Sunday parties, regular get-togethers and for a more intimate setting, Valentine’s Day. For these and other occasions, Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia offer simple solutions to spice up any celebration. Chinese New Year is a great time to get time to try some new delicious Asian recipes. One of my favorite dishes, Shrimp Pad Thai, can be spiced up with some color by using Thai Kitchen’s new Rice Noodles, a first-of-its-kind that is made with all-natural, gluten-free ingredients and comes conveniently packaged in four individual servings – wow your guests with either the Purple Corn and Rice Noodles or Red Rice Noodles

Thai kitchen noodles

Another recipe hit is Zing Rolls (see the spring roll recipe below), you can also add Simply Asia’s Stir-Fry Sauces to seamlessly spice up Restaurant-Style General Tso’s Chicken and Ginger Teriyaki Lettuce Wrap recipes. Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia actually offer a complete line of Asian convenience items including sauces, curry pastes, rice noodles, noodle bowls, coconut milk and more.

Zing Rolls – Vegetable Spring Rolls with Red Rice Noodles


Prep Time: 45 minutes
Refrigerate: 30 minutes

3 single-serve packages (2 ounces each) Thai Kitchen® Red Rice Noodles
12 round rice paper wrappers (8 1/2-inch)
2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 medium avocados, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
Thai Kitchen® Spicy Thai Mango Dipping Sauce, for dipping

Bring large pot of water to boil. Remove from heat. Add Red Rice Noodles, stirring to separate noodles. Let stand 5 minutes or until noodles are tender but firm. Drain well. Place in large bowl with cold water. Separate noodles fully. Set aside.

To assemble Spring Rolls, fill 9-inch pie plate with warm water. For each spring roll, dip 1 rice paper wrapper in water to wet completely. Place on work surface. Blot dry with paper towel. Place 1/3 cup drained rice noodles in bottom third of rice paper. Layer with 4 bell pepper strips, 8 cucumber strips, 1 tablespoon carrot, 2 avocado slices, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro and 1 teaspoon peanuts. Fold in sides, then gently roll tightly to enclose filling. Place spring roll on platter or tray. Cover with damp paper towels and plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers and filling ingredients to make 12 spring rolls.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve with Dipping Sauce. Makes 12 spring rolls.

Super Bowl Sundays fans will be truly impressed with with unique game-day favorites like their fun Satay Par-tay (see the photo below), General Tso’s Meatballs or Kung Wow wings.

Satay Par-tay


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes

1/2 cup Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen® Premium Fish Sauce
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch strips
Bamboo skewers

Mix Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk, Thai Kitchen® Premium Fish Sauce and Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste in small bowl until well blended. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; toss to coat well.
Refrigerate one hour or longer for extra flavor. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Thread chicken strips onto skewers.
Broil or grill over medium-high heat 3 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with Thai Kitchen® Peanut Satay Sauce or Thai Kitchen® Sweet Red Chili Sauce for dipping. Makes 8 servings

Tip: Soak bamboo skewers thoroughly in water for at least 30 minutes before threading with chicken. This prevents them from burning when on the grill.

For Valentines Day, dazzle your sweetheart with a spicy and delicious meal made with Thai Kitchen’s Red Rice Noodles. Thanks to the versatility of Thai Kitchen’s Rice noodles, you can create noodle stir-fries, rice noodle soups, and more with ease. Of course you don’t have to wait until these occasions to create and serve these delicious recipes. These easy recipes make can make every night a special night.

Holiday Entertaining with M&M’S Chocolate

So you’re hosting a holiday party, be it your first or your annual family and friends gathering. This means planning recipes, decorating ideas, etc. Why not let M&M’s help you with that. To delight and warm up your guests as soon as they walk through your door, greet them with a smile and a chocolate cocktail like the decadent Chocotini featured below

4 pieces DOVE® Dark Chocolate
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 ounces vodka
2 ounces coffee liqueur
1 tablespoon instant espresso
Heat DOVE® Dark Chocolate in plastic bag in microwave until melted, about 10–15 seconds. Snip corner of bag and drizzle inside chilled martini glasses. Rim edge of glass in cocoa and chill until ready to serve. Shake vodka, coffee liqueur, instant espresso, and ice cubes. Pour into prepared glasses and serve chilled.

or the absolutely divine Sipping Hot Chocolate

2 cups lowfat milk
⅔ cup chopped MILKY WAY® Bars
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
1 ounce almond-flavored liqueur
Whipped cream, optional
Shaved DOVE® Milk Chocolate, optional
Combine milk, MILKY WAY® Bars, and cinnamon in saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring. Once hot and well blended, remove from heat and add vodka and almond-flavored liqueur. Serve in tall mugs with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of shaved DOVE® Milk Chocolate, if you like.

Wow your guests with a colorful M&M’s decorated dinner table like the one created by Jes Gordon, the Design Mentor on Bravo TV’s Rocco’s Dinner Party and author of the party planner’s guide, Party Like A Rock Star

Regarding treats, M&M’s gives you several options to make both the young and older guests very happy. Give traditional treats a M&M’s makeover like the delicious treats in these amazing recipes

You can get all of these great M&M’s recipes at www.brightideas.com but I’m going to share one or two here with you.

Cutie Cakes

Cake mix
Frosting can
My M&M’S® Faces
Prepare cupcakes per package instructions.
Cool, and apply frosting and sprinkles. Then place at least one My M&M’S® Faces candy on each cupcake. You can use two photos per order, so I’d suggest putting one of each on each cutie cake. Then place at least one My M&M’S® Faces candy on each cupcake. You can use two photos per order, so I’d suggest putting one of each on each cutie cake.

Chocolate Caramel Apples

6 small apples, washed and patted dry
1 bag (14-oz ) soft caramels
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups M&M’S® Chocolate Candies

Special Equipment:
10 craft sticks
4-cup microwave-safe measuring cup
Wax paper
Press the craft sticks into the tops of the apples and set aside. Melt caramels with water in measuring cup for 1 to 2 minutes in microwave. Stir occasionally until smooth. Dip apples into caramel, rolling to cover. Roll apple bottoms in M&M’S® Chocolate Candies and chill for 20 minutes.

So if you’re thinking of fun ways to entice your family and friends this holiday season,let M&M’s help make it an even more memorable get-together. There are lots of new M&M’s products to enjoy and I will showcase them in another post.

T-fal ActiFry – Cook Deliciously! Eat Healthy

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and I’ve heard so many cooking stories, trading of recipes and lots of ideas for a healthier Thanksgiving. So many of us think if you use certain ingredients, then you’re eating healthier but it’s not just the ingredients you have to worry about, how your food is prepared is important too. I was introduced to one heck of a machine from called the T-fal ActiFry. A wondrous machine that allows you to cook entrees, sides, desserts, and appetizers without worry.

ActiFry is a unique kitchen appliance engineered with innovative heat-pulse technology. It will definitely make you throw out your deep fryer. ActiFry will change your perception of how food can be cooked. Enjoy absolutely delicious homemade meals with this versatile low fat multi-cooker, using just a tablespoon of oil, its pulsating heat system and stirring paddle. There are several amazing recipes that are possible with the t-fal ActiFry but I wanted to start out with something simple, so I decided to try some healthy fried chicken. All I did was season the chicken and place them in the Non-Stick Removable Pan (I didn’t even need any oil in the recipe)

The T-fal ActiFry features a removable ceramic-coated, non-stick pan, a transparent steam-free lid, a measuring spoon and an automatic stirring paddle which ensures even distribution of oil in each meal prepared (all which are dishwasher safe so cleaning up the ActiFry is just as easy as using it to cook). The recipe called to set the timer for 25-30 min but I put it at 30 because I like my fried foods crispy. The ActiFry features a timer, which can be set for up to 99 minutes. Simply place the ingredients in the non-stick pan, close the lid, set the timer and switch your ActiFry on. The timer beeps to let you know when your food is ready. It’s amazing to see this baby in action. I literally didn’t have to do anything else but wait for the timer to go off an enjoy some amazingly tasty (and super healthy) chicken. I took some video a few minutes after I started the ActiFry

and again when there were just about four minutes left when the wings were a beautiful golden brown

I cannot wait to try some of my Thanksgiving recipes and I don’t plan on being boring either. I might experiment with Spicy Thai Chicken Curry, Chicken and Pineapple or maybe chili (god I’m so excited to cook).

The T-fal ActiFry comes in Black and white and is available at T-fal.com, Amazon.com, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, JCPenney, etc. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Refreshingly Sweet Taste of Mirassou Moscato

Sometimes the day gets to be so stressful, you need a break. Times like these call for a relaxing bath, some peace, and quiet, maybe some soothing music and definitely a good glass (or more) of wine. Before you reach that point, make sure your bar is properly stocked with some fabulous wine…i a sucker for a good white grape. I want to make a particularly delectable wine recommendation that is new to me. I was recently introduced to Mirassou Moscato and its incredible crisp, clean and sweet palette and all I can say is wow…..I am hooked.


The delightful Mirassou Moscato is made with carefully selected California fruit from several regions, with the majority coming from San Luis Obispo County along the Central Coast. From the moment the bottle is opened intense fruit aromas of orange blossoms, peaches, pineapples and ripe citrus delight the senses. The refreshing flavors of peach, tangerine, melon and honeysuckle make their Mirassou Moscato a sweet expression of California’s most celebrated growing regions.
Moscato isn’t the only delight from Mirassou Winery; White wine lovers will enjoy their Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Reisling while lovers of Red will swoon over their Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Balancing intense fruit flavors with delicate aromas, Mirassou wines embody the optimism and pioneering spirit passed down through six generations of the Mirassou family.


Featuring a bright, uniquely approachable style, these wines honor the Mirassou family’s heritage while appealing to a new generation of wine enthusiasts. So take some time out for yourself with a glass of Mirassou Moscato or any of their other wine offerings, you will thank me for this.