All About The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014


This year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was way more fun for me than the past couple of years because I already knew what to expect and how to get things done.

I had my recipe for Biscoff Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies ready to go in August!

Being that I felt so ahead of the game, I didn’t worry too much about it until November and then I started wondering if my recipe was good enough.

It’s way hard to not be a perfectionist when you are sending a food item to another food blogger.  I liked my cookies and so did my co-workers. I hope those I swapped with like my cookies.

My “swappees” this year were:

Renee from Kudos Kitchen

Heidi from Awesome With Sprinkles

Rebecca from Bake N’Quilt

I sent them each a dozen of my Biscoff Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies.



I received cookies from:

Melissa at CupCake Friday Project


Sarah at The Chef Next Door


Tammy from Tammy Circeo Photography


They were all really delicious! Make sure and check out their blogs for the recipes to the above cookies!

Thanks to Lindsay and Julie for hosting this again! It was awesome!


~Mrs Galvan~

P.S. Want to participate next year? Sign up here to receive notifications about when the 2015 swap will start to  and do your part to share some cookie love over the holidays.

You’ll also be helping Cookies for Kids’ Cancer in the process!

 ~Mrs Galvan~

Biscoff Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

For this years Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I made Biscoff Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies.


I love me some Biscoff–My favorite is Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. During my vacation in November, I picked up 10 jars because I knew this cookie was going to be the Christmas Cookie of the year for my family food gifts. Yes, 10 jars. Each jar makes 6 dozen, LOL!

Here’s the recipe!

Biscoff Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (real butter)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (Or other biscoff spread)
  • 1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl or in your Kitchen Aid Mixer and cream until the ingredients are fluffy.

2. Add the egg, vanilla and cookie butter (Biscoff) and mix until well combined.


3. In a separate bowl add your dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking soda and mix with a fork.

4. Add dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix til it’s just combined.

5. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.

6. Drop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper as ablespoon-sized balls of dough.


7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.


Influenster Blogstar

Have you ever heard of Influenster?

If you haven’t, let me tell you a little about it but first, a couple of questions:

Are you one of the first people you know to try new products?

Do your friends ask your opinion about certain products or how to use them?

Do you like blogging/reviewing products on the internet?

If you do, then you will really like Influenster.

“Influenster is a community of trendsetters, social media hotshots, and educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences.

Influensters meet here to learn about new products from our favorite brands as well as review the products they already use in their day-to-day lives!

We invite our most active and social media savvy members to participate in exclusive rewards campaigns, such as:

  • - VoxBox campaigns where members receive complimentary full-size products to test and review!
  • - Interactive Twitter chats with celebrities and in-the-know experts
  • - Fun contests where members can earn sweet giveaways
  • - Special discounts on featured brands, services, and more!

In return, all we ask of our members is to do what they already love to do: share their opinions with their friends & followers on social media!”

I absolutely LOVE Influenster. I love getting that survey in my email that asks me to answer some questions to see if I qualify for a campaign and then getting that email that says I qualified.

I have received some really awesome VoxBoxes too!















I’ve received full size products, tried them and reviewed them, either on my blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. 

I just recently started using the Influenster App (#InfluensterApp) and I LOVE it too! It makes it easy to read and review products from wherever I am so I don’t miss out on anything. I love that Influenster HELPS me be a better INFLUENSTER!(#Influenster)

If you haven’t joined, you REALLY should!

~Mrs Galvan~


Recap of Vacation

For the past week I have been on a lovely vacation. This is kind of a long post but totally worth scrolling through :-D

It started with a burger & nachos at Chris Madrid’s in San Antonio:



Some of our friends recommended this place and it was a WIN!


Then a LOVELY Fiesta Wedding:

With Maracas,



A beautiful kiss,


 and awesome wedding decor!



The next morning we ate at The Guenther House:

We had the Chicken & Waffles and Guenther’s Favorite Breakfast Platter.


We had already kind of started eating when I realized that I needed a picture of the deliciousness that we were consuming. This is as good as it gets!


That biscuit there is like 2 inches thick! It was so good!

For lunch we ate at The Dough Pizzeria. This was probably my most favorite meal of our time in San Antonio.



The creaminess of this was just unexplainable!




They only use San Marzano Tomatoes and their cheese is made in house.



This was the best Tiramisu I have ever had and I’ve had a lot of Tiramisu in my life. Now if only I could get to where it originated, lol!

I got to visit The Container Store and Sur La Table. Those are not local stores for me so it was very nice.

We also made our annual trip to Trader Joe’s. I had to stock up on cookie butter and other goodies!


The next morning we ate at The Magnolia Pancake Haus.

We have eaten here a few times whenever we are in San Antonio. It’s always so hard to choose what we are going to eat because there are so many amazing choices.


The Mister had The Crab Cake Louie’s Benedict.


I had The Stonewall Ranch Breakfast.


After all that eating of food, later that evening we decided that we would like salad for dinner.

We had an early dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.

Asian Lettuce Wraps for The Mister



Skinnylicious Asian Grilled Chicken Salad for me



Our last night in San Antonio we got to eat at The County Line BBQ but I didn’t get any pictures. I can tell you that the food was good and that the servings were HUGE! If you’re hungry, this definitely a place to EAT.

Before we headed home,we stopped at TEAVANA. Yea, I won’t ever go in that store again. LOL! Just kidding but we left with $136 worth of tea stuff. Luckily we drink a lot of tea!


On our way home Tuesday, we stopped to visit my sister and her family. I got to see my beautiful niece and hold her in my arms.




She even hugged me when we left.

I have been home for a few days now and it has been nice to be in my own bed, on my own couch and watching my own TV. It’s been a great vacation from my vacation. Tomorrow that vacation is officially over.

I’m grateful to have had the time away to spend with The Mister and relax with family and friends.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

~Mrs Galvan~



Try It Out Thursday: Homemade Pad Thai

Try It Out Thursday is dedicated to recipes, products or ideas that I find on Pinterest or receive in my e-mail. I tend to “pin” and save a lot of recipes and craft ideas and never try them so I decided that this will help me wade through the many pins and e-mails that I have.

I am a fan of Pad Thai.

There is a little local restaurant where I tried Thai food for the first time last year and I fell in love.

This little restaurant is run by a husband and wife and the wife does all the cooking. The husband is the front end guy and he just makes you want to eat there all the time. I wish I could eat there all the time but that would get pricey.

I found this great recipe by Kelly over at Just A Taste. I totally recommend this Homemade Pad Thai recipe. It didn’t take long to make once I had everything prepped and it was absolutely delicious. The recipe says that it makes around 4 servings. We liked it so much that we both had 2 servings each. 

The picture below is of the homemade Pad Thai in these awesome chinese soup bowls that a friend gave to me. They are my favorite bowls in the whole world!




The flavor profile of this dish is explosive! It may look like JUST cabbage, cilantro, peanuts, carrots and lime thrown over chicken and noodles but oh my foodie goodness! 


You have got to try it!

The only ingredient that I had to really go looking for was Tamarind Paste but I found it at our local Spices & Grains store. It was super inexpensive too! 

If you can’t find Tamarind Paste you can substitute lime juice  mixed with an equal quantity of light brown sugar. This will give you the sweet and sour effect that the tamarind flavor is being used for.

Just a reminder to go and enter my 3rd Blogiversary Giveaway! It ends on midnight, Nov 21st so there is still plenty of time!

I’m giving away a $40 e-gift card to Target and a Pioneer Woman Cookbook.

It’s cold here so stay warm!

~Mrs Galvan~

3rd Blogiversary Giveaway

It’s that time of year again! My little old blog here has been on the “world wide web” for 3 years this month and well, I am growing fond of CELEBRATING!

I’m giving two items away:

A Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays cookbook



A $40 Target E-Giftcard



The giveaway starts today and will end on November 20th. The winners will be announced on November 21st which is my actual blogiversary date.

You do need to do some fun little things in order to enter and one of them is leaving a comment on this blog post answering the question, “What is your favorite holiday tradition?”

And here we go!

May the odds be ever in your favor!!

~Mrs Galvan~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Getting Ready! #fbcookieswap



It’s that time of year again! Time for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

This time of year is exciting for me because I get to bake up some cookies that will be sent to three other people across the United States. 

I have had my recipe for this picked out since August and I’m thrilled about getting my matches soon.

Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen have done such a great job hosting this swap! 

This is my 4th year participating and it gets better and better every year.

I love that as a bloggers we get to give back too.

The swap will be partnering with COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease.

Here are the recipes and blog posts for my past 3 years of participation:

Christmas Cardamom Cookies (2013)

Chai Snickerdoodles (2012)

Dark Chocolate Cafenela Cookies (2011) from my old blog

I should get my matches in the next week or two. Be excited with me!

You wonder what the big deal is? Well aside from sharing those cookies that I make with others, I will be sharing a recipe that I have been keeping all to myself for the past 3 months! 

Hope you’ll keep up with the excitement too!

~Mrs Galvan~

Homemade Helper of Hamburger

I haven’t had Hamburger Helper in quite some time but I have to tell you that as a child, it was one of my favorite things to make. 

As an adult, thinking about the stuff from the box kind of makes me want to gag but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought about picking up a box at the store and making some. 

I decided that I would make my own version of Hamburger Helper with added vegetables and I was quite happy with what I came up with. 

Homemade Helper of Hamburger

Ground Beef Mixture:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1lb Lean ground Beef
  • 1 tsp NO MSG Taco Seasoning
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 ½ c hot water + 1 c more
  • 2 ½ c milk
  • 2 c whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 16oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided in half


  • 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp NO MSG Taco Seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced

1. Combine all seasoning together in a small bowl, mix together and set aside. 


2. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil and then brown the ground beef with 1 tsp taco seasoning and diced onion. (I added the olive oil because I got 96/4 lean ground beed-it needed some fat)


2. Add 1 ½ cups of hot water, milk, pasta and spice mixture. Stir to combine.


3. Bring to a boil. This mixture will thicken quickly because of cornstarch. When it starts to thicken add the extra cup of water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and simmer for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally until the pasta is tender. Since I used whole wheat pasta, it took almost the full 10 minutes.

4.Add the squash and zucchini and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.



5. Add half the shredded cheese and stir until melted through.




6. Season to taste. I had to add a little bit more of all the spices because the squash and zucchini muted some of the flavor but it was just a sprinkle of each one.


7. Add the second half of the cheese to the top and serve hot!


This was great comfort food! I know it doesn’t exactly look BEAUTIFUL but looks are most definitely deceiving with this dish.

The Mister absolutely loved it! Hope you get to make it soon!

~Mrs Galvan~

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes are some of my favorite things to eat year round.  Last night I was trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner. I wanted it to be simple. It didn’t need to be done in 15 minutes, I just wanted something that didn’t require me to stand in the kitchen all evening.

I remembered that I had an extra large sweet potato and I began thinking about what I could do with it. In the end I decided to dice it up and roast in the oven.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 Extra Large Sweet Potato (or 3 medium)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary (dried or fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

1. Prepare a sheet pan with some parchment paper and set aside.

2. Peel your sweet potato and dice it up. Try to keep the dice all the same so that they cook evenly and all at the same time.

3. Pour potatoes into a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over them.

4. Stir the potatoes around with a wooden spoon until the olive oil is evenly distributed.

5. Sprinkle in the rosemary, salt and ground pepper. Give it all another stir to make sure that all the spices are evenly distributed.

6. Pour potatoes onto your sheet pan and spread into one layer.

7. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

8. Then pull the sheet pan out and with a spatula flip the potatoes as best you can.

9. Put the sheet pan back in the oven for another 20 minutes and when that time is up, they are done.


Once my sweet potatoes were done, I remembered that I had a microwaveable bag of Brown Rice & Quinoa by Seeds of Change. I love this stuff! I love that it takes 90 seconds to make in the microwave and that I can add whatever I want to it to kick it  up a notch or just eat it as is.


I scooped about ¼ cup of sweet potatoes off the sheet pan and into a bowl, poured in the pouch of Brown Rice & Quinoa and then about another ¼ cup of sweet potatoes on top. I sprinkled a little more kosher salt over it all, mixed it around and then ate it up.


It was delicious!

If you don’t have access to the Seeds of Change pouch, you can always make some brown rice or quinoa on the stove or , I know there are other pouch products that can be substituted.

This is a great fall meal. Early dinner and then a walk, YES!

It makes for a great lunch too because I had a lot of left over sweet potato so I can just pack it up in a little container and take a pouch to work with me and VOILA! Instant lunch!

~Mrs Galvan~




Favorite Fall Soups Round-Up

Fall is here officially  and the mornings and evenings are little cooler. I’ve felt the humidity lessen a little as well. It is still 80+ degrees outside but nonetheless wonderful out. The evening sky and sunset colors are also screaming FALL IS HERE!

 Favorite Fall Soups Round-Up

This post is a round up of all the fall soups that I have been making and some that I recently pinned on Pinterest and will be making soon. Have I mentioned how much I love soup?!?

Vegetarian Chili 

veggie chili

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

photo (6)

Red Pepper & Tomato Tortellini Soup

photo 5 (4)

Tortilla Soup

design (5)

Tex Mex Chili Caviar


Italian Wedding Soup


French Onion Soup au Gratin Stuffed Meatballs


Ramen Noodle Soup


Mushroom Stroguignon


Cauliflower Chowder

Lasagna Soup

Chicken & Rice Soup

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Hope you’ll get to make some soon!


~Mrs Galvan~