Bertolli Baked Gnocchi Giveaway

Don't forget to enter to win the Bertolli Baked Gnocchi Giveaway.  This is an awesome package worth a lot  with lots of ways to enter and low entries!!  I added one additional way of earning 3 bonus entries (by Google+1).  Just over a week left!!!

Worm Composting

Worm Composting

This year I decided to start composting for my garden and I want to share some tips I have learned along the way.  Composting is a great way to flourish your garden AND recycle waste.  I try to utilize every resource I have for my family and home to be "green".  I believe we all not only need to do our part to protect our planet but to ensure a safe future for our children.  Chemicals can be dangerous to keep inside our home with small children AND harmful to the environment and food we consume.  Composting also helps minimize the amount of waste going into our landfills.  Worm composting is easy and can be done indoors all year round or outside when the weather is warmer.  Worms help breakdown the food much faster than a normal compost and their "castings" or wastes produce some of the richest ingredients for your soil.

To build your own worm composter instead of purchasing one (quite costly), all you will need:
(2) Garbage Cans same size w/ 1 lid (or even Rubbermaid Containers)
Small Bag of Dirt
Drill or Hammer & Nail
Bedding (See list of items added to compost)

Drill or hammer out several (10-15) tiny holes into the bottom of one of the garbage cans for drainage.  These need to be smaller than an 1/2" thick since you only want water draining through and not your worms.  You may also want to drill a few holes into the lid for ventilation since the worms still need to breath.  Then place the garbage can with the holes inside the other can and add dirt, bedding and worms.  You will want to purchase approximately 1,000 or 1# of Red Wiggler worms depending on the size of your can and food waste.  The rule of thumb is 1# of worms for every 1/2# of food.  This can cost you between $20-$50 depending on the supplier.  I say start small since these little guys multiply quickly if the conditions are right and there is ample food supply.   You can even ask a friend or local greenhouse for some to get you started since these guys multiply to quickly.

Here is a list of the items you can add to compost to feed your worms and use as bedding:
shredded newspaper                            manure
shredded cardboard                             chopped up straw
shredded fall leaves                              sawdust

dead plants                                          seaweed
grass clippings                                     fruit and vegetable peels
tea bags                                             crushed egg shells                               
coffee grounds                                     bread
pasta or rice                                        potatoes

NO Meats or Dairy Products!  These attract pests such as rodents and flies.

You want to have a good 50/50 mixture of brown and green ingredients.  I like to use as much of a variety of food and bedding to keep my worms "happy".  Worms need lost of moisture and oxygen so make sure to water and gently toss your ingredients frequently.  The moisture level should be that of a wrung out sponge.  You can usually collect your food waste in a milk carton or other container for a couple days and then add it to the compost.  The worms will not eat fresh leftovers right away anyway.  They like to wait a couple days to a week to let the microorganisms begin the break down process, and they actually feed off that "slime".  The drainage into the second container can be used as a liquid fertilizer.

**If you begin to notice your worms escaping or hanging out on the sides and lid, there may be a few reasons for concern.  This means something is wrong with their environment.  Is their enough moisture for them?  Have you added enough food waste lately?  Is there a variety?  Too much acidity can kill them so limit the amount of acidic fruits you toss in there especially in the beginning.  Their wastes can also be harmful to them so its possible you need to start a new bin if they have cycled completely through their current one.  This also happens quickly if they have multiplied and there is not enough room and food supply for them to survive.

When its time to either start a new bin or add compost to your garden/plants, there are two simple ways to remove the worms.  

1.  You can set up a new section in your bin by moving the old compost to one side and preparing this empty section with fresh new bedding and food.  The worms will all gradually move themselves over so you can remove the older compost.  This is only if you have a couple days before needing the rich compost since it will take them some time to separate.
2.  You can simply pick the worms out either by sifting through with a grate or by hand.  This is my favorite way since the kids can help and can learn even more while having fun getting dirty and playing with the worms.  We all garden together so this is a way for them to help out!

Thanks for being GREEN...Have fun with your new project!!


Back to School $200 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

BACK 2 SCHOOL GIVEAWAY!! 20 FANTASTIC BLOGGERS have gotten together to provide you with a $200 Visa Gift Card in celebration of back to school!!!

Here are the Rules:  This is SO Easy to enter! You just simply like all the sponsors and you are entered! you MUST USE your PERSONAL Facebook Page…This Giveaway will start on July 29th end on August 12th and Winner Will be announced by Monday August 15th by CouponFrenzyMom!


Bertolli Baked Gnocchi Giveaway *CLOSED*

After my last Bertolli Giveaway, I was just so impressed with the intense flavors of their products, I had to work with them again to provide yet another great giveaway!  The feedback I received not only from my family but from all of you regarding their phenomenal tasting food.  I love preparing their frozen meals when I am in a hurry or using their pasta sauces for many of my signature dishes when I have a little bit more time!

Bertolli Sauces cover the best of Italian sauces – everything from classic to complex in a variety of sixteen different red and white sauces. Bertolli® is featuring their Olive Oil & Garlic Sauce in their Baked Gnocchi with Two Cheeses and Walnuts recipe


  • Serves 4
  • prep time: 10 minute(s)
  • cook time: 20 minute(s)
1 jar Bertolli® Olive Oil & Garlic Sauce
1 lb. fresh or frozen gnocchi, prepared according to package directions
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 6 oz.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Combine Sauce, cooked gnocchi, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon basil in 2-quart casserole. Top with remaining cheeses, walnuts and bread crumbs.
  • Bake uncovered 12 minutes or until bubbling. Sprinkle with remaining basil.
Cost per recipe*: $10.03.

Cost per serving*: $2.51.

*Based on average retail prices at national supermarkets.
Nutrition Information per serving
Calories 420, Calories From Fat 140, Saturated Fat 6g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 15g, Cholesterol 35mg, Sodium 910mg, Total Carbohydrates 53g, Sugars 10g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 18g, Vitamin A 10%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 25%, Iron 15%

This recipe pairs together fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses with hearty gnocchi and fragrant basil for a dish you’re sure to love! Take some time to watch YouTube video I've included HERE-Bertolli Clip.  It shows how the Bertolli® Olive Oil & Garlic Sauce in this dish pairs perfectly with the fruit and acidity of a rich Barbera wine.

The giveaway will include:
Bertolli coupon for a FREE sauce product
Gnocchi Maker
Gnocchi Board
Le Creuset Au Gratin Dish
Required Entry (complete an individual comment for EACH entry)
  • Must be a follower publicly on Google Friend Connect to enter (right side click join to follow)
Bonus Entries (complete a comment for EACH bonus entry)
  1. Like A Lucky Ladybug on facebook and comment here that you are.
  2. Add your button to A Lucky Ladybug's Blogroll
  3. Follow me on Networkedblogs
  4. Google+1 this post and comment here that you did (3 Bonus entries)
  5. If you are a blogger come follow me on BlogFrog and post a comment/discussion on the page and comment on here that you did. (3 bonus entries)
  6. Share this post via facebook or your blog and comment here with the link. (3 bonus entries)
  7. Bring me some readers!  Send someone new to follow me on A Lucky Ladybug and have them comment here that you referred them!! (3 bonus entries each follower)
  8. Add my blog button to your page and comment here with the link. (3 bonus entries)
Good Luck and a special Thanks to Bertolli

Giveaway ends Monday August 8th @ 12pm. Winner must be a U.S. Resident to be eligible to win.  Winner will have 24 hrs to respond or a 2nd winner will be chosen.  I received a set myself from Bertolli but all opinions are my own. This giveaway is being run independently


MYO Outdoor Remedies

Recipe #1 - Works as Multipurpose bug Non-toxic Pesticide (Flies, Snails, Worms, Moths, Mosquitos, Nats, etc)
Blend 5-10 Garlic Cloves with about 1 cup Water
Let sit over night and strain with a cheese cloth
Add to 1 gallon of water and add a couple drops of liquid dish soap (helps mixture stick to leaves)
Use a garden sprayer to spray both the leaves & undersides of leaves
Repeat in 2-3 weeks or after a major rain fall

Recipe #2 - Works as Multipurpose bug Non-toxic Pesticide & Pests deterrant(Flies, Snails, Worms, Moths, Mosquitos, Nats, Rodents, Rabbits, etc)
Blend 3 Large Red (spicy) Peppers with about 1 cup Water
Add to 1 gallon of water and add a couple drops of liquid dish soap (helps mixture stick to leaves)
Use a garden sprayer to spray both the leaves & undersides of leaves
Repeat in 2-3 weeks or after a major rain fall
**WARNING: This recipe can cause your plants to have a spicy taste because of the strength of the peppers.  Do not use if you are harvesting soon or do not do spicy foods.

Herbs (here are a few herbs that when planted tend to get rid of pests but no guarantee)
Pennyroyal repel fleas, mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers
Rue repels Japanese beetles
Marigolds repel nematodes
garlic and chives will repel aphids
Basil repels flies and mosquitoes
Mint repel ants
Petunias repel aphids and tomato worms

Weed KillerMix 1/2 cup Salt, 1/2 cup liquid dish soap, 1 gallon Vinegar and let sit for 2 minutes
Add to a garden sprayer and spray weeds or driveway/sidewalk cracks - Do not use in your garden the vinegar will kill it.
Vinegar kills the weed and salt keeps it from growing back


Twice Baked Potatoes

Amazing!!  A college friend and I used to love making a few variations of these!  You can add or remove ingredients of your choice. You can also increase/decrease amounts as well based on your taste preferences.

Ingredients Needed:
8 Potatoes
4 tbsp Butter (I usually add more as I go)
12 oz Shredded Chedder Cheese (I use one bag from the grocery store)
1 cup Sour Cream (I usually add more as I go)
1 tbs Garlic Salt
8 tsp Bacon Bits
Chives (optional)

***I will post pics the next time I make these

Boil your potatoes until tender enough to stick a fork in.  Remove and dry.
With a spoon remove an oval section at the top of the potato while on its side long ways.  Put this piece into a large mixing bowl.  Then scoop out as much of the interior of the potato as you can without tearing the sides and add this to the mixing bowl as well.  You want the entire potato skin as a shell left at the end.
Add sour cream, butter, (8oz) cheese, & garlic salt to the mixing bowl.  Mash with a potato masher and mix until smooth.
Scoop mixture back into the potato skin shells and over fill.  Top with remaining cheese and bacon bits.
Bake at 375 for about 12 minutes or until cheese is crispy.  Garnish with Chives.

This side goes great with Steak.

Serves 6-8 people and takes approx. 25 min.

Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

Ingredients Needed:
10-11 cups Water
1# Broccoli Flowerets
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
12 oz Pasta (Bow Tie or Rotini is best)
1 Small Tomato (diced)

You can either cook broccoli - In a 5 qt pan bring approx 8 cups water to a boil.  Stir in broccoli and cook until tender.  OR you can steam your broccoli.
Immediately drain and immerse in ice water until cool and drain again
In a food processor or blender (I use my magic bullet), combine 2/3 of the broccoli with the garlic, cheese, oil, salt, & 3 tbsp water.  Whip until smooth and set aside.
In a 5 qt pan bring 3 qt water to a boil.  Stir in pasta and cook till tender.  Drain pasta and add to a serving bowl.
Add Pesto, remaining broccoli, and diced tomatoes.  Stir and serve.  Garnish with additional shredded parm if you like.

Makes 4 servings in about 30 min.

Turkey & Tortellini

Ingredients Needed:
7 cups chicken broth
1.5 # filled tortellini (Cheese, meat, or spinach filled)
3 cups diced turkey
1 tsp celery seeds
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup diced chives

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a 5 QT pan.  Add tortellini and cook until tender to bite.  Remove tortellini (leaving broth) and keep warm.
  2. Add turkey and celery seeds to broth and cook thoroughly until turkey is warm and no longer pink.  Remove turkey and spoon over tortellini.
  3. Place sour cream in a small pan.  Stir in chives and 1/2 cup of the hot broth.  Mix over low heat until hot and spoon over turkey and tortellini

This meal is best served with a citrus salad.

Makes 6 servings in approximately 40 min.

Chicken au poivre

This is an amazing recipe if you like just a little spice or if you are a pepper fan!

Ingredients Needed:
2# Chx Breasts (boneless, skinless, split)
1-2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
1-2 tsp crushed pink peppercorns
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup whipping cream

  1. Place chicken in a plastic bag and pound flat with a rolling pin.  Once chicken is 1/4 in thick add 1/2 teaspoon of each peppercorns to the sides of the chicken and pound into chicken.
  2. Melt butter in a wide frying pan over high heat.  Splash pan with dry sherry (not too much).  Add chicken without over crowding the pan cooking both sides until chicken is no longer pink and remove.
  3. Pour dried sherry into pan and scrape pan as stirring.  Add cream and bring to a boil while stirring frequently.  Reduce heat and allow sauce to thicken.
  4. Pour over chicken and serve

This meal goes great with grilled asparagus (if you are a fan)

Makes 4 Servings in approx 20 minutes.


Puddle Jumpers

I had to post this picture from over the holiday weekend.  These floaties are the best money I've ever spent!!!  This is my 10 month old swimming no trouble at all!  My 3 year old can swim without his since thats what I used to teach him to swim with and now he just wears these so he doesn't have to be hovered over 100% of the time.  I purchased these "puddle jumpers" from a company called Overtons AND from Target.  I paid exactly the same for both and they virtually the same.  I feel a little more confident though in the quality from Overtons-like it will last a bit longer.  Totally worth it if you have a little one who swims or even a boat (they are certified safe for boats).


Flip Flop Wines

I was given the lucky opportunity to sample/review three wines from a great company Flip Flop Wines.  Now by all means I am not a wine expert however, I have been a restaurant manager for quite some time which has given me the chance to learn quite about about wines.  I am also an avid wine drinker.  I frequently enjoy myself a glass of wine (or 3 hehe) with dinner and especially with my best friend.  She by the way belongs to a wine club (which isn't cheap) so I consider her to be my own personal wine expert.  Now not only are Flip Flop Wines inexpensive so that the average person can enjoy them but they are made by a company that gives back to the community.  Everyone who knows me knows I believe we need to do everything we can to protect our children and planet today so that there can be a tomorrow for everyone.  Flip Flop Wines is partnered with Soles4Souls, a non profit organization that helps put shoes on over 100,000 feet of children who aren't fortunate to have the most basic protection.  They have also supported several other charities such as Friends of the Forest, Netting Nations, & Habitat for Humanity.  Amazing.

Immediately after receiving these three wines I was thrilled, my favorite kind of wine was included - a Reisling.  My friend and I tried this one over the holiday weekend with some weekend BBQ.  It was of course chilled to approximately 26 degrees and went down as smooth as water - well a fruity water.  This reisling was very sweet and to me had the taste of being on a beach without the umbrella in my drink.  I would definately recommend this wine especially if you are not familiar with wine flavors.

The next flavor I tried was the Pinot Grigio with my mother last weekend with a mostaccoli bake we always make for an easy family dinner.  Although, she too is a wine drinker, we had two very different opinions about this one.  I felt the Pinot Grigio was very strong and bold flavor that complimented the pasta.  She felt it was almost flavorless with our pasta.  This suprised me since she doesn't usually drink white wines, she sticks to blush (and I personally think blush is weaker tasting).  The Pinot Grigio is a medium bodied wine that I would recommend if you are a fan of whites.

I would like to say I saved the best for last but for me any red wine could never compete with the taste of a white.  Pinot Noir is a great red wine for those who like it dry - not me.  I don't even care for my wine to be room temperature so I of course against its recommendation chilled this red.  I gave this one a try with my best friend last night as an after dinner snack.  I was not a fan but not because of the quality but because as I already stated I don't care for wines.  My friend thought it was great, she said it had a great aroma and was full of flavor.

Flip Flop Wines are again very affordable and can be found be found at your local Kroger priced at 2 for $10 in my area.  I will be purchasing these again on my normal grocery trip, especially the Reisling!


Bertolli Taste of Italy Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Brenda Wood for being randomly selected by as the Bertolli Taste of Italy Giveaway winner!!  Thank you everyone for entering to win...I will hopefully have another giveaway coming up soon so keep your eyes out!  Thank you to everyone who posted this to their facebook and their friends!!  We are getting larger everyday!


Dot Com Address

We now have changed over to address, so much easier to find!!  You will still be able to visit with the old addy just redirected here!!!  No transferring posts or having to follow me again.  I'm super excited!


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