McCormick Look Book: Double Cinnamon Sugar Cookies Recipe

McCormick Spices and Extracts

Take a peek at just about any kitchen spice rack or cupboard in America and chances are you’ll find some McCormick spices and extracts in there.   Those distinctive bottles with the red lids lined the shelf in my mom’s kitchen and I’ve got a nice collection going myself today.  I was recently introduced to the McCormick Look Book, a great place to get inspired with some new recipes this Spring.  If you’re a visual person like I am, you’ll love the layout.  So many lovely photos to tempt your taste buds to get you dashing off to the kitchen.  You can store your favorite recipes in your personal look book, or pin them to Pinterest with an easy click.  I love it!

McCormick Look Book

I had a hard time deciding which recipe to try first, but I’m a sucker for cinnamon so the Double Cinnamon Sugar Cookies were quick to catch my eye.  They were super easy to mix up with ingredients you probably already have on hand.  These were a big hit with my family, if you love cinnamon and sugar I think you’ll enjoy them too.

Double Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Double Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
Makes 4 1/2 dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Refrigerate Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 6 to 8 minutes per batch

2 3/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground, divided
2 teaspoons McCormick® Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

1. Mix flour, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon in small bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Be sure to check out the McCormick Look Book for more Spring-inspired recipes!

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for McCormick. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating.


The Versatile Easter Egg Dipper

Egg decorating is great, Mom, but this egg dipper thingy is fascinating!

Yes, Mom, I know it’s called an “egg dipper” but honestly, I don’t want to get it dirty by actually using it on eggs.

Let’s just agree to use this spoon for the messy stuff. I want to keep my dipper clean because…

…I really want to use it at lunchtime.

Mountain High Yoghurt: Keeping It Simple

Mountain High YoghurtAre you a label reader?  Do you ever get label shock when you read the nutrition information for foods that you thought were healthy?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised with what I’ve found on a label – lots of added sugars, chemical additives and plenty of hard to pronounce ingredients I’m not familiar with.  Over the past year, I’ve been making an effort to clean up our diet.  I want to know what’s in the food we’re eating.

Yogurt has been a favorite food of all three of my kids since before their first birthdays, it was love at first bite.  Until recently, I assumed that yogurt was a healthy anytime snack choice.  When I glanced at the label of the brand I’d been purchasing the most, I wasn’t thrilled.  The ingredient list was quite long, including artificial flavoring and colors.  Blueberry yogurt that doesn’t contain any blueberries?  Surely there were better options out there.  I decided to look for a new yogurt.

This is when I started buying Mountain High Yoghurt.  The ingredients list was both shorter and simpler: Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Nonfat Milk, Cream, Crystalline Fructose, Natural Vanilla, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Live, Active & Probiotic Cultures.

I was worried about how my kids would react to the change, as they had been eating the old brand for so long.  As it turned out, there were zero complaints, they loved Mountain High.  We love yogurt for many reasons, but what I love most about Mountain High Yoghurt is the simplicity.

Have you tried Mountain High Yoghurt?  Did you enjoy it?

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mountain High Yoghurt. I received a gift card to purchase yogurt, a product kit, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.




BodyMedia FIT LINK Armband: Review

BodyMedia FIT Armband Review

Anyone who has made an effort to lose weight and get in shape knows that it can be quite the challenge.  In theory it’s so simple – eat healthier, cut out some calories and exercise.  But in practice it’s all a little more complicated.  How many calories should you be eating?  How much exercise do you need to reach your goals?  How do you get motivated on those days when you’re just not feeling it?

Losing a bit of weight and getting fit are two of my biggest goals for the year.  Since January I’ve been making an effort to make better food choices and get up off the couch.  I bought an inexpensive pedometer and made it a goal to reach 10,000 steps each day and most days I get there.  Without too much effort, I dropped about five pounds.  Then I hit a standstill.  Frustration was setting in, so I jumped at the opportunity to test out a BodyMedia FIT Armband, a wearable device that is designed to eliminate the guesswork and help you get results.

BodyMedia FIT LINK ArmbandThe BodyMedia Armband is designed to be worn up to 23 hours a day, and syncs with your computer via USB cable.  Using four sensors, the armband measures motion, heat flux, skin temperature and galvanic skin response.  These measurements are used to track calorie burn, physical activity, steps taken and even your sleep duration and efficiency.  You can view your activity as well as track your food consumption via the online Activity Manager, giving you a full picture of your daily calorie intake and expenditure.

There are two armband models to choose from, each with its own benefits.  The CORE Armband is sleeker, 1/3 smaller in size.  The LINK Armband is Bluetooth enabled, to deliver real time data to your mobile device via the BodyMedia FIT App for Android and iOS.  I opted for the LINK Armband as the Bluetooth capability was very appealing to me.

Getting started with the BodyMedia FIT system is fairly simple. Log into the online Activity Manager and enter some basic information including your gender, height and weight. You can then choose a goal: Lose Weight, Maintain Weight or Get Active. I set my goal as weight loss and soon I had a plan for losing 1.5 lbs a week: a personalized calorie target and an activity goal to help reach a daily 750 calorie deficit. Seeing my results on a daily basis has been very motivational for me, I’m driven to reach that daily activity target.

BodyMedia Activity Manager GoalsIt does take a bit of time to get used to wearing the armband day and night.  I feel a little self-conscious wearing the armband out in public, though this is a small price to pay for fitness.  That said, the armband wouldn’t be my first choice accessory for a little black dress and I do have a few long sleeved shirts for layering that simply won’t fit comfortably with the armband on.  Fortunately the weather is warming up and casual tees and tank tops will be my uniform for months.

Having used several other websites to track my food intake in the past, I’ve been spoiled by the their extensive food databases.  I was unable to find many of the foods I eat on a regular basis in the system and entering all of the calorie and nutrition values can be time consuming.  The good news is that once you enter a food into the system, it will always be there for future use.

BodyMedia FIT Dashboard

There is no doubt that I’m getting a much clearer picture of my physical activity with the armband than I was before.  Where before I was simply focused on reaching the 10,000 step mark, now I can see the difference it makes in calorie burn when I walk faster or run.  I don’t have to guess how many calories I’m burning when I torture myself with a Jillian Michaels video.  I have noticed that the step count I get on the armband is not accurate.  Wearing both the armband and a pedometer which I know to be accurate resulted in big discrepancies.  I’m not sure if this is to be expected from the armbands in general or just something off with mine.  Being that the goal here is calories burned and not steps taken, this isn’t a dealbreaker.

The BodyMedia FIT LINK Armband retails from $179 from the BodyMedia website and at retailers including  Included with the armband is a three month subscription for the online Activity Manager, a subscription fee of $6.95 will be billed monthly thereafter.

If you are serious about losing weight and getting fit, a BodyMedia Armband is definitely worth a look.  You may find that it’s worth the investment.

Disclosure: I was provided with a BodyMedia FIT Armband and trial subscription for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own.

My Creative Outlet

Sometimes being an at-home mom can get to feel like Groundhog Day – the same routines, day in and day out. I think it’s important to take a little time for myself and I do that by creating scrapbooks. Scrapbooking allows me to combine preserving memories with creativity – a win-win combo for me! With a toddler, it is a little difficult to find the time to put a memory book together, but it can be done (usually during naptime).

A great time saver is shopping online for my supplies. I used to rush out on Sunday mornings to my local craft store with my coupon with the hope of getting a jump on everyone and getting the best deals before they run out. Invariably, I’d pull into the parking lot at 8 a.m. and find two dozen ladies already lined up. Well, I don’t do that anymore. I buy my supplies online and boy, that frees up a lot of time I’d spend running around town (especially with gas at $4 a gallon).

While searching for supplies, I came across Factory Direct Craft and it immediately impressed me with the variety of cute 3-D stickers, embellishments, stamps, embossing tools and books they offer at reasonable prices – some for just .99! They even have music buttons and voice recorders which I had never heard of before. Wouldn’t it be cool to create a scrapbook page and then record a ten-second personalized message to my son? What a timeless gift. I sure wish I could open a page from my childhood photo albums and hear my mom’s voice speaking to me. Technology is amazing.

After I picked up all my scrapbooking goodies (they have free shipping over $50, yay!) I looked at everything else Factory Direct Craft has to offer and they definitely have something for everyone, whether you create dolls, floral arrangements, soap, candles, or love to paint. Not sure what your next project should be? Visit their blog to get project ideas and view informative tutorials. This site has it all.

As my son grows I hope to not only scrapbook more myself, but work on projects with him as well. I think spending time being creative with your child is one of the best enriching activities you can do. If you love crafts, or if your children have created anything special lately, leave us a comment! We love hearing from you.