+Anne Coleman

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Butternut Squash, Potato and Cheddar Mash

In my family we have mashed potato lovers and butternut squash lovers, and those who love both. This dual mash with sharp cheddar is so good you'll want to make it for more than just holidays. It's savory-sweet with a tang from sour cream and cheddar that just puts it over the top on flavor. Serve with your favorite protein and a heaping serving of green veggies.

Butternut Squash, Potato and Cheddar Mash
Serves 8

2 pounds potatoes - peeled, cubed and cooked until tender
2 pounds butternut squash - peeled, seeded and roasted until soft
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 stick butter
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1. Drain potatoes well and combine with cooked squash in a large pot. Add butter and once it melts, mash well.
2. Add milk, sour cream, salt and pepper and mix with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy.
3. Fold in cheese, mound in a serving dish, sprinkle with extra cheese and serve immediately.

*To cook butternut squash, peel and seed and cut into 1-inch chunks. Lay on a roasting pan and sprinkle with olive oil. Roast at 450 degrees F for 20 - 25 minutes or until soft and just beginning to caramelize.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Kids Quest at Sands Bethlehem Review and Giveaway

We have a winner! With each comment given a number in the order in which they were received, the random number generator gave me #2, which is Bobbie Butz! Congratulations to our winner and thanks to all who entered.

*Please note: This Giveaway is lightning fast! It will end on Thursday, December 4th at 11:59 PM EST so the winner will have time to use the Kids Quest Certificate. See instructions below.

All Smiles at Kids Quest!

I don't know about the rest of the parenting world, but for me the biggest obstacle in going out on dates has been childcare. There are many qualified sitters out there, but with the amount of children we have it's not always easy to get a sitter who's willing to deal with them.

Now that most of them are older and we really only need a sitter for two, that presents its own challenge. Sometimes the older kids are willing to babysit and sometimes they have things going on that keep them from being able to.

Kids Quest is the perfect solution for date nights. It's convenient, the kids are well taken care of, and most of all, they don't see it as having a sitter, but more like having their own night out and it's close to the same cost of an in-home sitter.

Last night we took advantage of the services at Kids Quest and dropped off the 10 and 8 year-old kids. I had registered ahead of time online (very easy!) and so all my information was already there. I signed the kids in, they were tagged front and back with labels that matched a bar coded label put on my own ID. 

The kids removed there shoes (this is a socks-only play area) and off they went. They looked a little apprehensive at first, but by the time I got back for them just under two hours later the first thing Lara said was, "I want to live here!" She had been painting a picture and was up to her elbows in paint - so it's a good idea to send along an old shirt or smock should the kids decide to do crafts.

Ian spent most of his time watching a movie and playing video games and the two of them had their own "dinner" from the Quest Cafe and when I picked them up I paid for their meals and stay. It was a very simple procedure and they were thrilled to be there and having fun while the rest of us went upstairs to Emeril's Italian Table for dinner.

Here is all you need to know about Kids Quest at Sands Bethlehem:
Kids Quest is now officially open to drop-off your children at our exciting new center. You can then enjoy any of the casino property amenities or shop at the Outlets at Sands. 
Play Time For Kids- Free Time For You!
Kids Quest is designed to be a place where kids are physically and mentally engaged with age-appropriate play-events, helping them grow happily! Parents love Kids Quest because they can entrust their children to our care with complete confidence-allowing parents to use their free time to better handle busy schedules, cope with frenetic lifestyles, or just take a break and relax and re-energize. 
Kids Quest Drop In Process
Like Kids Quest-Sands Bethlehem on Facebook
Monday-Thursday 10AM-11PM
Friday 10AM-1AM
Saturday 10AM-1AM
Sunday 10AM-11PM

As for Emeril's Italian Table, this time was just as good as the last visit. Our servers were attentive and professional and the food was excellent. We took 4 of the 7 kids with us and they all said they wanted to go back sometime soon.

This time we sampled the Classic Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken, Linguine Alfredo, Shrimp Scampi and Angel Hair Pasta, Homemade Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan and the Eberly Farms Chicken Plate. Wow. Not only is the food consistently delicious, it doesn't seem to matter what you order, it's always perfection.

The Eberly Farms Chicken Plate - this was fantastic!

Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta
Homemade Lasagna

The Eberly Farms Chicken Plate was mine and I was in food heaven after one bite of the brussels sprouts with pancetta. They were creamy and smoky and paired so well with the saffron risotto. The chicken was flavorful and there wasn't one dry bite to the entire breast. 

We're planning to go for Christmas Eve dinner, as well and I can't wait to try something new and wonderful! Now, here is YOUR chance to visit Emeril's Italian Table and make use of the services at Kids Quest, as well. 

**Simply leave a comment here and you're entered to win! Remember, this contest ends on Thursday, December 4th at 11:59 PM so enter SOON!**

Here is what you will receive, and let me tell you, the Sands goodies are so fun to have - the umbrella is quality and smart looking, the water bottle has a unique design and the kids absolutely love the puzzle box.

1 Emeril's Italian Table $75 Gift Certificate (expires 7/31/15)
2 Kids Quest Certificates (expires 12/30/14)
1 Sands Bethlehem Umbrella
1 Sands Bethlehem Puzzle Box
1 Sands Bethlehem Eco Water Bottle

*Please note: I was given gift certificates directly from Sands Bethlehem specifically for the purpose of reviewing Kids Quest and the restaurant and I was more than happy to oblige. Please note that the benefit of having my kids time at Kids Quest and my meal paid for does not in any way influence my review. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Candy Acorns

PB and Chocolate Candy Acorns
Candy Acorns

Two favorite flavors, peanut butter and chocolate, combine in these adorable little acorn-shaped candies. They are a perfect complement to any autumn holiday table and fun for everyone when paired with real or artificial oak tree leaves.

The amount of powdered sugar you need will depend on the humidity in the room and the texture of the peanut butter you use.

Candy Acorns

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields 48 candies


3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Blend together well, butter, peanut butter and extract. Add powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until a stiff and smooth dough forms. Refrigerate briefly (5 minutes) if dough is too soft.
2. Divide dough into 48 elongated balls and roll each between your hands, pinching at one end, to form an acorn.
3. Set pointed side up on a parchment or waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Once all acorns are formed, refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up candies.
4. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or 1 to 2 minutes in a microwave, until smooth.
5. Dip each acorn, smooth top-side down, into chocolate. Twist lightly and pull gently to form the acorn cap and stem. Set back on the cookie sheet, sides down this time, and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cooking with Kids

Check out this awesome infographic from Cabot Cheese with all sorts of tips about cooking with kids. This is something I do often, and with Thanksgiving just around the corner you can garner help from the littles in your house and they will surely appreciate the meal more than they would if they didn't pitch in. It's an excellent way to teach them so many things at one time. Give this a look! (Click to View Larger)

Cooking With Kids Infographic
Presented By Cabot Cheese

Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls
Mini Cheese Balls

If cheese balls are the hit of the party, mini cheese balls are an even bigger hit. Do you know why they're better? Coatings. Yep, when it comes to cheese balls, I like equal parts coating and cheese, but with a big cheese ball, you can't get that. Once that outer crunchiness and extra pop of flavor is gone, it's all cheese. These minis solve that problem and they're cute to boot!

Bacon Coated Mini Cheese Balls
Oh, yes you can. Bacon coated mini cheese balls.

These are perfect for a holiday cheese and cracker plate and my kids also like these for after school snacks. They each like different coatings, so I mix it up for them. Use your imagination and see how many coatings you can come up with.

Mini Cheese Balls
Mini Cheese Balls

Mini Cheese Balls

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: Makes 36 cheese balls


8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon paprika (I like smoked paprika for this)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped nuts, small seeds, chopped herbs, crumbled cooked bacon, etc. optional


1. Soften cream cheese at room temperature.
2. Blend with shredded cheese and seasonings until well combined.
3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, covered, until firm enough to roll.
4. Roll into 36 balls (about 1-inch in diameter) and roll each ball in chopped nuts, seeds, herbs or bacon if desired.