Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

By Meg Hodson

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet SM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meets SM blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

I suppose people either love or hate cranberry sauce. I have always made mine from scratch. I make mine more like a puree, so it works great as a sauce or a jam for sandwiches. I also love swirling a little big into a cocktail or champagne.
Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce made with Monk Fruit In the Raw

I recently sampled In The Raw's Monk Fruit sweetener and thought it would be great to try to make a sugar free version of cranberry sauce. Monk Fruit In The Raw is a wholesome, zero-calorie sweetener made from real monk fruit, a vine-ripened fruit that is native to Asia. You can actually use it just like your would sugar. In fact, it tends to be a little sweeter, so you often have to cut the amount you use in half when replacing sugar in a recipe. 



Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce
Serves 4+

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbl. water
2 tbl. orange juice (feel free to sub lemon juice to eliminate all sugar)
1/4 cup Monk Fruit In The Raw

Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Reduce to medium low and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to food processor or blender; blend briefly if you like your sauce chunkier, blend longer for a smooth sauce. 

Very important:  test taste! The In The Raw sweetener is sweet, but since cranberries are so tart, the level of sweetness you may need will vary greatly. If you want it sweeter, add an additional tablespoon and then test taste again. Repeat the process until desired sweetness is achieved.

Chill at least two hours; overnight is better. Serve cold or warmed with your meal. Also great spread on sandwiches, as a jam on toast, or a teaspoon swirled into your mimosa is divine!


If you like what you're reading, I invite you to follow my blog.  Cheers!
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Science Day: Fun With Diet Coke, Mentos, and More!

By Meg Hodson

On a recent school holiday over Veterans' Day, I created a fun "science day" for my kids. It's sometimes a challenge to keep them happy and entertained on days off.  Instead of the usual reading and "let's finish our homework" routine, I opted for some fun experiments. 

I researched 3 experiments that I thought would please them all. I highly recommend all three of them, the main reason being they are easy to pull off! I hope you enjoy recreating these with your children.

1. Exploding Soda. Most people have heard of the Diet Coke/Mentos science trick. The key to success with this experiment is to follow these tips:
  • Use diet soda (it will explode better!)
  • Use 6-8 Mentos that you can rapidly add all at once to the open bottle of soda.
  • Find a funnel large enough to deposit the Mentos quickly to the bottle....or make your own funnel out of heavy paper, like card stock.
  • Be quick with your camera as the exploding happens almost instantaneously.
  • Buy numerous bottles in case you make a few mistakes.





2. Hopping Corn. This is a simple, fast experiment that my kids enjoyed! In a clear glass jar or vase, mix 1 cup white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda (feel free to double or triple the amounts depending on how large your container is). You can also add a drop or two of food coloring, if desired. Then, take about an 1/8 cup (small handful) of unpopped corn kernels. Drop in the container and watch the kernels "hop around". It should last for at least 20 minutes or so, sometimes longer!


3.  Colorful Carnations. Buy white carnations and snip them so they are about 5-6 inches tall. Fill individual glasses halfway with water and add 25 drops of food coloring. Place the carnations (one or numerous) in each glass. Check them every couple of hours to see the stems soak up the color and change the colors of the flowers!






If you like what you're reading, I invite you to follow my blog.  Cheers!
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Marbles.....and Influenster?

By Meg Hodson

I am pretty sure no one plays marbles on recess anymore at school. For shame! I have such fond memories of playing it with my friends in grade school. There were many steps to having a good marble collection, as well as getting good at the game. 

First, you needed a good marble set to start. I remember a five and dime store in my hometown called the "88 Cents Store". Most items were 88 cents, or the price ended in .88. Well, they had a pretty awesome marble collection. I didn't have a lot of allowance money to spend, so I chose wisely. Some were small, standard marbles; others were larger, sparkly marbles,,,,,the ones everyone wanted to win when they played. 

Some of those first marble games with friends were rough. I was lucky if I would win one good one.....after losing numerous of my prized possessions. But you know what they say, practice makes perfect. The more I played, the better I got. I was committed! Pretty soon I needed a small nap sack to carry my marbles out to recess. 

Photo credit: Visualphotos.com
So, what does marbles have to do with social influencer site Influenster? Well, think of it this way. When you first sign up for Influenster, it may take a long time before you qualify for one of their treasured Vox Boxes. A Vox Box is a themed package of numerous goodies from brands that would like you to try their product and talk about it on social media. Well, you might need to flex some social media muscle first before receiving one of these fun boxes. But believe me, just like those treasured marbles, they are worth the effort and wait. 

Just like the more I played marbles, the better I became.....the more you "play" on Influenster, the more badges you will earn, which will ultimately lead to more opportunities on the site. Think of badges as becoming an expert in a given category. For example, if you think you are a cosmetic expert, you might choose to write a lot of quality reviews to receive the Beauty Queen badge. As you keep earning more badges, your influence grows. Keep sharing your reviews on social media and before you know it, one of those prized Vox Boxes may be yours.

You can visit the Influenster site for more information.....or leave a comment below and I may have a few invites for ya!


If you like what you're reading, I invite you to follow my blog.  Cheers!
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