Easy Spicy Southwestern Rice & Beans (& A Hamilton Beach Giveaway!)

Easy Spicy Southwestern Rice 4

Hey, everyone! Tis me, your local loon. I have a delicious recipe for you (do I do ANY other kind? I mean…really? Pshaw! *looks totally fake humble* 😛 ) as well as a Hamilton Beach giveaway. As you already know, I’ve been a proud ambassador for them for a couple of years now and I love their products. This is the final 2016 review and it’s one I personally love. I had a rice cooker I bought for $3.99 at Goodwill before this and sure, it worked; more or less. Problem was, all it did was rice and the way the inside lid was made, you couldn’t clean under it and there was nothing stopping condensation from getting up in there. So what did that lead to? The starches in the water from the rice would get in there and mold and every time I opened the lid, all that oh so nasty water would drip down the backside of the cooker. Not INTO the rice, but still…  I was soooo ready for a new rice cooker.
We’ve been using it literally since the day it came and I am in love with it. I am a total and complete failure at cooking rice on the stove. I even burn rice a roni. Guess what? I can make my rice a roni in this rice cooker and no longer have to scrape it off the bottom of a pan, lol. Plus, we eat a lot of brown rice and that can be difficult to get cooked all the way through. Another plus; this cooker has a steamer basket up top that can be used at the same time as when you have rice cooking or by itself. That comes in handy getting veggies steamed while the rice is cooking or can be used to, say, make some fish up top while the rice cooks below. Did I forget to mention that you can also cook oatmeal and other grains in this? Yup. You totally want to try to win the Hamilton Beach 4-20 Cup Rice And Hot Cereal Cooker or if you don’t win, go to their website to buy it. While you’re there, you can check out some of the other great appliances they have on their site  Here are the cool features of the cooker-
Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker
4-20 cup cooked rice capacity – 2-10 cup uncooked rice capacity
With rice rinser/steam basket
Great for oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat
Delay start makes breakfast and meal planning easier
Use your own recipe or packaged pasta & rice mixes
Automatically shifts to warm after cooking
White rice: cooks all varieties of white rice, including short- and long-grain rice
Quick rice: great for preparing rice in a hurry
Whole grain: for brown rice, farro, quinoa, and other whole grains
Keep warm: illuminates when cooking is complete
Delay start: prepare for cooking up to 15 hours in advance
Heat/simmer: use this function for flavored pasta and rice mixes, beans, soups, and one-pot meals
Steam cook: vegetables, meats, fish, and more
Hot cereals: great for oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat

cooking timer

The push button timer area of the cooker

So what did I make? Well, I have a confession to make. I adore pretty much any flavor of Rice A Roni with a definite weakness for both the Mexican and the Spanish ones. So, I wanted to make a rice similar to those, but without having to stand over the stove worrying that I was going to burn it. I have to say, I succeeded admirably *she again says humbly* I have one step in here outside of the rice cooker, but it can easily be considered optional. I saute the veggies for a couple of minutes with the rice, then dump it all in the rice cooker. I wanted to get rid of the raw taste of the veg, plus brown the rice a bit. But again, that step is totally up to you. I also added a can of pinto beans cause I adore rice and beans. No matter what though, get one of these Hamilton Beach rice cookers and make this rice!

Easy Spicy Southwestern Rice & Beans

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup minced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 1/4 cups good quality chicken broth
  • 1/2 of a 15 ounce can of salsa style fire roasted diced tomatoes (you could sub whatever flavor you want, or plain. Just make sure it is a type that has a good amount of liquid.)
  • 1 well drained and rinsed can of pinto beans (again, make this how YOU like it. Prefer black beans? Use them, just make sure you rinse them well. Or maybe kidney beans. Or NO beans)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup (no, it doesn’t make the rice taste ketchupy. It just cuts the acidity of the tomatoes some)
  • 1 tablespoon of either McCormick Mexican seasoning or McCormick Southwestern seasoning (they are quite similar in taste, so either would work)
  • a few dashes of liquid smoke
  • sliced green onions, cilantro, grape tomatoes and various cheese for garnish
  1. Pour the oil into a medium non stick pan (8 to 10 inch),  then add the veggies. Sautee over medium heat for maybe 3 minutes or, just enough to cook off some of the rawness. Add in the rice, crank the heat up to medium high and cook for about two minutes more, or until some of the rice is a light golden brown,
  2. Scoop all of this straight into the rice cooker. Pour the chicken broth and diced tomatoes with their liquid over the top of the rice.
  3. Add the ketchup, liquid smoke, can of drained beans, and seasoning. Give this all a few good stirs, then close the lid, set the cooker for white rice and go read a book, or do some housework (you know you prefer the book idea).
  4. When it’s done, stir it well, then spoon it into a serving dish. Garnish with sliced green onions, fresh cilantro, some chopped grape tomatoes and cheese. I used some cheddar and some queso fresco. This was so good!

Easy Spicy Southwestern Rice 7

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Now for the giveaway!! Hamilton Beach is kindly allowing me to offer one lucky reader one of these lovely rice cookers all of their own. Just use the entry form below, doing as few or as many of the types of entries as you want. I will choose a random winner in a week and notify them by email. They will have 48 hours to get back to me. if they don’t, an alternate winner will be chosen. Good luck! [promosimple id=”a5d8″]

Hamilton Beach sent me a rice cooker for review, but all opinions in this post are 100% my own.


My favorite Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies & A Hamilton Beach Giveaway!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

It’s time for me to get to enjoy being a Hamilton Beach Ambassador one more time! I always love when I get the chance to share my thoughts on one of their products with you, and I especially love getting to give away whatever that product is to one of you! So, what do we have to talk about today? The most recent thing the lovely people at Hamilton Beach sent to me is their Easy Reach 4 Slice Toaster Oven .

4 Slice Easy Reachâ„¢ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door

4 Slice Easy Reachâ„¢ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door

This toaster oven is so darn cute! Yes, I just called a toaster oven cute. But really, it is.31334 Other women will understand it, while men will just shake their heads and assume I’m insane; rather like my husband does when I say that those teeny tiny mini sized bottles of ketchup are cute. Inside, this oven is only a wee bit smaller seeming than the typical toaster oven. What makes it seems tinier is it’s lack of bulk. You have a glass door on the front that rolls up rather than opens downward. This has a pro and a con. It makes it easier to get into the oven without worrying about the door getting in your way as you pull things out. BUT… and this is again something most women will “get”; it also means that you can’t set any sort of knick knacks or decorations on top of this oven. On my old one, I kept the cup that held all the keys, my ceramic cow named Herman (don’t ask) and a knick knack that once belonged to my mother in law. With this one, I can’t do that due to the roll top door.
But it makes up for it in other ways. The Hamilton Beach 4 Slice goes from 200 degrees all the way up to 450 degrees. Beyond toasting, you have the already mentioned bake function, plus a broil one. I can see THAT one working great for melting the cheese on top of something or crisping up a food; making burgers.

Did I mention that the door was removable? Can we say “easy cleanup”?! Unlike ones where you end up with a door so splattered and icky that you can’t see through it, with this one, after each use, just take the door off, wash it up, dry it and put it back on. No mess! 31334-04 This comes with a removable rack that can be used in two different positions and a crumb tray that isn’t attached inside, so you can pull it out easily and clean it off.
My old toaster oven? I was afraid to actually COOK anything in it. I used it for toast and frozen pizzas and that was about it. But I knew if I was going to be able to accurately review this for you, I needed to branch out a little. I thought about homemade pizza, then realized that was still hedging my bets; pizza is pizza when it comes to baking. So I finally decided to make one of my family’s favorite cookies; my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies. This cookie isn’t cheap to make generally, so I was counting on this oven to do it correctly and not end up burning the tops or the bottoms like other ones have done. So I took a deep breath and dived in.
IT WORKED!! The cookies came out looking just like they should, though they seemed to finish baking about a minute and a half quicker. Obviously, you can’t fit a full sized tray of cookies in there, but the oven comes with a tray and that tray fits four cookies just fine. If made smaller, you could fit six, but I like generously sized cookies 😀 My sons got a hold of the cookies (I only got ONE cookie! Darn kids!) before I got a photo (I had only made a half batch) so the photo I am using here is my old one, but trust me, there was no difference in the cookies.
As for the cookies themselves, if you haven’t tried these before, now’s your chance! These cookies are awesome, if I do say so myself, hehe. They are ooey gooey, with a slight nutty flavor from the browned butter, but no actual pesky nuts. They have that wonderful soft middle with the crispy edge. You could make a half batch like I did and have enough for the here and now, or make the full batch of dough, freeze half in cookie sized balls, then bake in the toaster oven anytime you get a craving. You can bake straight from frozen; just add a couple of minutes time on.

                         Browned Butter Chocolate Chip & Toffee Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned to a golden brown color & cooled
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag Heath Bar toffee chips (or 4 Heath bars, crushed)


  1. To brown the butter, in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Let cook,stirring frequently, until it turns a golden brown color. This can take anywhere from five to ten minutes. It will sputter, spit and foam a lot at first then that will stop. Do NOT walk away from this as it can go from yellowish butter to burnt garbage very quickly.
  2. Pour the browned butter into a large bowl, leaving behind all the solid bits at the bottom of the pot (though if you get some in there it’s no big deal. Don’t worry about it.). Let cool.
  3. When cool, pour both kinds of sugar into the bowl with the butter. Beat until well mixed.
  4. Add in the egg and egg yolk, then pour in the vanilla and the cream. Beat on low speed until well mixed.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and at slow speed (unless you want to be covered in flying flour), mix until you have a cohesive cookie dough.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips and the toffee bits.
  8. Now you can chill for about an hour if you want. The original recipe says to but I didn’t bother and they were fine.
  9. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. If you don’t have a silicone mat, please go buy one. They aren’t cheap but oh my, they’re worth it. Trust me on this. The first time you use it, you’ll totally understand. Spray the cookie sheet with baking spray.
  10. Scoop the cookies up and place about 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheet.
  11. Bake at 350 until golden brown on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Do NOT over bake or they will lose that delicious softness and gooeyness (yes, that is now a word). They should be firm on top if you press one lightly but not hard.
  12. Let cool for a minute on the sheet then transfer over to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Now for the fun part; the giveaway! Enter below for your chance (chances) to win one of these Hamilton Beach 4 Slice Toaster Ovens for yourself!

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Disclosure-The lovely people at Hamilton Beach provided me with a 4 Slice Easy Reach Toaster Oven With Roll Top Door to review, but all opinions are 100% my own and completely honest.

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake & A Hamilton Beach Giveaway

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake

Hey everybody! It’s time for a creamy Summer recipe and a Hamilton Beach giveaway. I still so love being one of their ambassadors. Their products are wonderful and this one is no exception.  Before I give you the recipe and details on the giveaway, let me tell you why you want this blender. 😀

BlenderRaise your hand if you’ve ever had a blender that came with a cheap, “look at this funny and it’ll break” plastic jar! *Raises my hand and waggles it around wildly*. Not with this bad boy. This jar is SOLID. It’s a nice thick, heavy glass jar with a good heft to it. If you can manage to break this jar, you should probably not be trusted with kitchen appliances or sharp objects, hehe.

Also, have you ever been making something in the blender and it gets stuck down by the bottom? Then you have to turn it off and shove a spoon or butter knife down by the blades and try to unclog it. That won’t happen here for two reason. The first is that this has a 700 watt motor and it makes the liquids move! The “wave action” continually forces the mixture down towards the blades so it doesn’t get clogged. This recipe used some thick ice cream and not a whole lot of liquid, but the blender had no problems breaking it down. The second is that if things DO get stuck, they give you what they call a “stir spoon”, a thick plastic spoon that works wonders for stirring things up down by the bottom of the blender.

Another plus to the Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender is the pour spout. This one seals up when the blender is in use and gently pulls open when you’re ready to pour and you don’t end up with a puddle on the counter as you have with some blenders that are hard to pour from due to an overly large pouring area.

The ONLY issue I have with the Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender is the lid. It fits so well that it can be difficult for hands like mine, that are arthritic, to pull off. Even if I opened the pour spout to let air in, it was still a struggle to get the lid off. BUT… that said, for those of you with no joint pain, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Now, on to what I know you want; the recipe for a creamy, delicious Chocolate Covered Raspberry Shake and a chance to win one of these fantastic blenders.

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Milkshake

  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate milk (GOOD stuff here, not some cheap watery store brand)
  • 2 dry pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • chocolate syrup and whipped cream for garnish
  1. Dump your raspberries in a large bowl and smash them down to pulp. The easiest way I’ve found is simply to take a flat bottomed glass and smush them. No getting out a food processor and it takes just seconds.
  2. Then, push them through a fine mesh strainer (I use the same flat bottomed glass to push them through) into a large measuring cup. You should end up with about 3/4 of a cup of puree. It’s ok if it’s a bit less or more.
  3. Dissolve the coffee granules in the chocolate milk. Pour the milk into the blender, then add the ice cream and 1/2 cup of the berry puree. If you want a thinner shake or just want to make it go farther, add a bit more chocolate milk. Just make sure to add some more raspberry puree also, so you don’t overpower the raspberry flavor with the chocolate.
  4. Use the milkshake setting on the Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender to blend it all up until it’s smooth and creamy.
  5. Get two 8 to 12 ounce glasses out. Tilt the glasses sideways and drizzle the chocolate syrup in a circle over the inside of the glass. It will drizzle down and make a pretty design on the inside of the glass. Divide the shake mixture between the two glasses and top with whipped cream, some of the extra raspberry puree and some chocolate syrup. Enjoy!!

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Hamilton Beach provided me with a Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender for review  and will send one to one winner of my giveaway, 18 years or older, in the United States. I received no other compensation for this and all opinions are my own.

Caramel Mocha Shake With Cocoa Whipped Cream & A Hamilton Beach Giveaway!!


Caramel Mocha Shake With Cocoa Whipped Cream

My husband is one of those people who has to have his gallon few cups of coffee in the morning when he gets up or it is like living with a drowsy grizzly bear. I’m normally a tea person myself, but in the last year or so have gotten into the habit of having a cup or two of coffee every other day or so. I think it came about because of the convenience of things like K-Cups. I wasn’t feeling like I was wasting coffee by making a half pot and not even finishing that much. So when the lovely people at Hamilton Beach contacted me and asked if I was interested in doing the first Brand Ambassador Campaign of 2015 by receiving and reviewing one of their 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Makers , I was thrilled. I thoroughly enjoyed working with them last year and hope to continue to do so for a long time. Their products are wonderful and this coffee maker was no exception.

Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker

The 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Makers is so darn convenient! It works for the coffee guzzlers like my husband because on one side you have a 12 cup carafe and can make a full pot to get going. On the other side is an individual brewer where you can make it one cup at a time using a K-Cup pod or the coffee reservoir that comes with it. Using the reservoir, you can use whatever type/flavor of coffee you prefer, not just a prepackaged pod. Better for the environment and less expensive. This side of the brewer works wonderfully for someone like me who does it one cup at a time  So far, we are loving the FlexBrew. There is a bit of a learning curve with the K-Cup side as you insert the pods a bit differently and it can be tricky getting the insert in until you get used to it. But once you do, it’s easy peasy. The K-Cup side can brew up to a 14 ounce cup of coffee and like I said, you can use the insert it comes with to use your own coffee and not a pod. Another feature I love is that you can make the coffee regular strength or, as they call it, “bold”. Basically, bold has the coffee stay in the filter for a bit longer, thus draining out every bit of flavor and making a stronger cup of coffee. This works great for me on the days when I’m needing a bit more of a caffeine jolt.

As usual when I review one of their products, Hamilton Beach is letting me offer one of these Flex Brew Coffee Makers to one of my readers. That reader could be you! The entry form is down below *points down*

With the weather heating up, it was a natural choice for me to make a yummy coffee milkshake using coffee made in the FlexBrew. Oh my, this puts those drinks from a certain national coffee chain to shame. I used a chocolate caramel gelato (imagine that…me…using caramel :-P) and instead of plain old milk, I used chocolate milk in this. Then I topped it off with a cocoa whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup. With the coffee brewing time included, this takes maybe 7 minutes to make. You can be sitting on your porch with this not particularly diet friendly drink in hand, enjoying the weather. And if you were really feeling froggy, you could throw a shot or two of Kahlua or Baileys in this to give it an adult flair. 😀

You know the drill… and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!!!

Caramel Mocha Shake With Cocoa Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee (throw a couple of ice cubes in it to cool it down quickly)
  • 2 cups chocolate or chocolate/caramel gelato (I used Breyers Chocolate Caramel Gelato)
  • 1 1/2 cups good quality chocolate milk (please don’t use something like a Yoo-Hoo. I’ll cry. Those are just chocolate flavored water.)
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons caramel syrup
  • Cocoa whipped cream-
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash of vanilla extract
  1. Make your whipped cream while your coffee brews- simply combine all the whipped cream ingredients in a medium bowl and use a whisk to beat until firm peaks form, about 4 minutes. You can do it… work those arm muscles!
  2. Combine all the shake ingredients (and don’t forget to add that shot of Kahlua if you’re wanting to go that route) in a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until thoroughly blended, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour into 3 glasses and top with the cocoa whipped cream. Drizzle with some extra caramel syrup.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Hamilton Beach provided me with a 2-Way Flexbrew Coffee maker for myself and will send one to one winner of my giveaway, 18 years or older, in the United States. I received no other compensation for this and all opinions are my own.

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Product Info for the Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker-

  • Single serve side:
  • Compatible with K-Cup®* Packs or ground coffee
  • Brews up to 14oz from ground coffee in travel mug**
  • Adjustable cup rest allows for standard-size cups or travel mugs
  • Better coffee extraction than the leading competitor
  • 12 cup carafe:
    • Brew a full pot of coffee
    • Regular or bold brew strength
    • Programmable timer with 2 hour automatic shutoff
    • Automatic pause & serve to grab a cup before the brew cycle is done
  • Durable, stainless steel features and dishwasher safe, removable parts
  • Equipped with a “Quick Start” Guide with simple, step-by-step brewing guidelines
  • Customer service support available through a US toll-free number
  • One-year warranty
  • This model is the same as 49983A, 49983P and 49983S.

Brewing with a Single-Serve Pack 

For some java drinkers, pouring fresh-ground coffee into their coffeemaker is the perfect start to their day. For other coffee lovers, being able to quickly insert a pre-packaged, single portion pack into their coffeemaker and enjoy a piping hot cup in a few minutes is a match made in heaven. The 2-Way FlexBrew® Coffeemaker offers the added convenience factor of a pack holder, which allows quick instant brewing in less time than an in-store café experience. Simply insert the single-serve pack and push the lever down – that’s it.

Brewing with Ground Coffee

Pre-packaged coffee isn’t for everyone or every palate. The 2-Way FlexBrew® Coffeemaker caters to coffee aficionados by featuring a single-serve permanent filter brew basket that holds a variety of fresh-tasting ground coffee. You can grind your own coffee beans to the medium-grind setting or save time and purchase pre-ground coffee. Brands such as Folgers, Maxwell House, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks are recommended because they are medium-grind coffees.

Note: Coffee that is ground too finely will cause an overflow. If you are unsure about the coarseness of your coffee, check with your coffee manufacturer.

About Homemade Brewing

Did you know that 86% of coffee drinkers still brew most of their java at home? With more and more Americans picking up the coffee habit and cutting back to save money, coffeemakers are now being designed to be more feasible and economical for the home budget and lifestyle. Source: 2012, National Coffee Association of USA

Caramel Mocha Shake With Cocoa Whipped Cream2



Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili (And A Giveaway!)

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili

We’re well into the school year and I don’t know about you, but it seems like half the time, I’m so busy with chauffeuring here and there, plus doctors appointments for physicals and vaccinations, etc, etc, that I end up saying “it’s snack night!” to my kids when they ask whats for dinner. Then I feel guilty because what happens is they eat cereal (they’re thrilled with that; me, not so much) for dinner and everyone ends up spread out chowing down on foods that I normally prefer not be served. One will be in his room, eating sandwiches. Two will be parked in front of the TV, watching Uncle Grandpa (Lord, I loathe that show) while my husband and I will be sitting in front of our computers. NOT exactly a family friendly eating experience and NOT how I want my kids childhoods to be. My husband working third shift exacerbates the problem because half the time, after getting the kids to school, I’ll come back and lay down with him and before I know it, half the day is gone and no dinner prep was made.

So what do I do more often now? Yep; you guessed it. The trusty slow cooker comes out. I own about 5 of them. The problem is, most of them are either too small or too limited on their usages (high or low, that’s it for settings) , so I let them sit and gather dust. So when I was contacted again as a Hamilton Beach Ambassador and asked if I wanted to try out their Set ‘n Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid I was thrilled. Finally, I would have a slow cooker that I didn’t have to babysit.

This cooker is pretty awesome. You can either manually set it for how many hours you want the food to cook and set for high or low. Then once it has timed out, it automatically clicks over to warm. That way the food doesn’t overcook or get too cold to serve. Another option is, if you’re cooking, say, a roast or a whole chicken or maybe a turkey breast, you can use the included temperature probe. You insert it through a hole in the top of the lid right down into the meat, set the cooker for the temp you want the meat to come to and when it reaches that temp, it shuts off. Again, no overcooked dry chicken breast meat or stringy pork roasts because you forgot them.

I can honestly say I love this slow cooker. Yes, they sent me one for free, but my opinion is still honest. So much so that I’ll mention the ONE thing I didn’t like about it. The outside tends to get really hot, so you need to make sure this isn’t in reach of little ones.But other than that, I love it and have used it multiple times already.

Guess what else? Hamilton Beach has graciously offered to let me give one of these slow cookers to one of you. This is a $59.99 value and it’s just in time for colder weather (or as a great Christmas gift to someone, maybe?)  Plus, as the holidays get closer, we’re all going to be busier and you know darn well that having dinner on the table every night can be a hassle. So this is the perfect time to win this.

All you need to do is enter down below by commenting and using the optional methods in the rafflecopter box. Tell me what would be the first thing you’d make if you won this and there is one entry!

If you need an idea, I have a fantastic chili recipe for you. This is spicy, but not so spicy the kiddos can’t eat it. My six year old loved it. It uses chorizo sausage as well as the typical ground beef and some other ingredients that all add up to a warming, comforting, soothing bowl of chili. Serve this with some sides of fresh onions, cheese, sour cream and maybe crackers or tortillas and you’ve got a wonderful meal as well as some leftovers for lunch or dinner tomorrow. You know the drill… 🙂

Spicy Two Meat Slow Cooker Chili




  • 2 lbs ground chuck
  • 1 lb chorizo (removed from casings and crumbled if link style)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 14 to 16 ounce can of chili beans (your preference on heat)
  • 2 16 ounce cans kidney beans, well drained
  • 1 16 ounce can pinto beans, well drained
  • 1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes (regular or chili style; your choice. I prefer the chili style)
  • 2 whole jalapenos in adobo sauce, finely chopped (store the rest in a container in the fridge) (use more or less as desired)
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I use franks because I like that is has flavor along with the heat)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces chili powder (I use Bloemers)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  1. In a large pan, crumble and saute the ground chuck until brown. Drain and toss into the slow cooker. Brown the chorizo. Don’t drain this when done; just scoop it out and put it in the slow cooker.
  2.  Toss the onions, green pepper and celery into the drippings form the chorizo. Stir to mix, cover and cook over medium heat until the onions and celery are soft and limp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir once or twice during the cooking.
  3. Add the veggies to the crock pot; stir to combine.
  4. Add all the other ingredients, in order given (makes stirring easier), then stir to combine.
  5. Set your slow cooker for 4 hours on low.. Halfway through cooking, open it up (make sure you’re quick; slow cookers lose heat quickly and can take quite a while to reheat back up) and give it a good stir. Re-cover it and let it finish cooking.
  6. When done, stir it well and serve. This is excellent served with sides such as cheese, sour cream, green or red onions and cilantro. I also love mine wrapped up in a tortilla. My family, on the other hand are firmly in the cracker camp. Do what makes you happy. 😀
     Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

I was provided with a slow cooker as compensation, but all opinions in this post are 100% my own!

To enter the giveaway, just scroll down to the raffle copter giveaway form!

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget® 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker With Spoon/Lid


Product Features



    • Three (3) choices for easy, automatic cooking: program, probe and manual


  • Probe mode is perfect for cooking large cuts of meat or for recipes that require food to reach a certain temperature
  • Thermometer probe reads the actual temperature of food as it cooks; the temperature is displayed on the slow cooker control panel
  • Travel-friendly design secures contents en route to parties, potlucks, family gatherings and tailgating
  • The lid securely seals in place with sturdy wire clips on each handle
  • 6 quart removable stoneware crock fits a 6 lb. chicken or a 4 lb. roast
  • Wraparound, even heat cooks food evenly and consistently
  • Full-grip handles make carrying heavy meals easier
  • Power interrupt protection keeps slow cooker on during a brief power outage
  • Questions are supported by a toll-free call center located in the U.S.
  • Backed with a one-year warranty


  a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Giveaway From Hamilton Beach!! (And Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins)

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a rep from Hamilton Beach asking me if I’d like to be a Brand Ambassador for them. Being a long time fan of the company, I immediately said yes. I think I had the email answered before the poor lady on the other end even had time to breathe after sending me the offer hehe. It was rather provident also because my poor hand mixer had finally bitten the dust just the day before. It went up in smoke and stinky fumes. All we needed was flames to complete the perfect kitchen apocalypse.

The deal was this- I would receive one of their hand mixers as well as a stand mixer to try out on my own. I was also told that I could offer one of my lovely readers the same deal… both a hand mixer and a stand mixer of your own. Are they awesome and generous or what?! All I had to do was give my honest opinion of the mixers and make a Spring inspired goodie. No pressure to say they were both wonderful unless I felt that way. Well, guess what? I absolutely love them both! Now, I have a stand mixer from that other known company, who shall remain unnamed 😛 and I love it. BUT… it can be a bit bulky and it’s really heavy. Good qualities when I’m making bread or the like. Not so much when all I want to do is make some cookies or whip some cream. The #HamiltonBeach stand mixer has no such issues. I can lift it without getting a hernia lol and it is a workhorse too. The motor isn’t as powerful as the more well known brand but it still does the job just great and is easier to clean being smaller. Plus…. it’s quieter. A DEFINITE advantage in my kid chaotic household. Anything that saves me from noise headaches makes me happy. 😀 This mixer cmes with a dough hook, a paddle attachment and a whisk one, so it’s perfect for just about any job you do.

Now to the hand mixer. I really, really, really love it. Did I mention that I really love it? It has what they call “Soft Scrape” beaters that are coated with a pretty bright red rubber coating. This helps them catch the sides of the bowl so you don’t have to scrape it as much when using it. The hand mixer also comes with a whisk attachment and regular non coated beaters if you don’t want to use the Soft Scrape ones. But the Soft Scrape ones are quite handy. The muffins I made for this had a lot of zest and if you’ve ever used a beater for a recipe with zest, you know it ends up getting caught on the beaters and you have to scrape it off, put it back in the bowl and stir it back in. Rather a pain. But none of the zest stuck to the Soft Scrape beaters. It was all in the muffin batter. WooT!

Trust me… you want to win this combo!

Now onto the muffins. I have a thing for the lemon ginger combo. I use it in tea, baked goods, savory dishes, etc; you name it, I love it. I thought for weeks about what to make for this giveaway and finally settled on this flavor combo. I mean, what better than something I love for a mixer I love, right? And Lemon is definitely a nice Spring sort of a flavor. Citrus always makes me think of warmer weather, even when I use it during the middle of Winter. These muffins are pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. They have a nice tart, but too tart, lemony flavor with a mild bite from the candied ginger and a sweet crunch on top from the sugar. I garnished them with one of my favorite candies ( a gummy candy of course. It’s no secret of my love for gummy candies hehe)… a Lemon Ginger Gummy.

You know the drill…… but today add on something to it. Go down to the bottom of the post and enter this giveaway! You could win a Hamilton Beach stand mixer AND a Hamilton Beach hand mixer!!

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of two lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lemon flavored Greek yogurt (the blended kind, not the kind with fruit on the bottom)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sparkling Sugar for garnish
  • Haribo Lemon Ginger Gummis for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease them.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and candied ginger. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, at low speed on a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the extracts, lemon juice and lemon yogurt, at low speed, JUST until combined.. Stir in the flour mixture; again, just until combined. Don’t over mix this.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar if using
  5. Bake at 375 for about 18 to 22 minutes or until a nice golden brown.
  6. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack. When cooled, cut a small slash in the top of each muffin and push a piece of gummi candy into it. You could also use a small slice of candied ginger the same way or even some candied lemon peel. 🙂

Now! The giveaway!!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Here is the info on what you’ll win if you’re the lucky person picked at random!


SoftScrapeâ„¢ 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case-

  • Classic styling with brushed stainless steel housing
  • Snap-on storage case — no more lost attachments
  • Also includes 2 traditional metal beaters
  • 300 watt peak-power motor
  • Quick Burstâ„¢ button
  • Bowl Restâ„¢ feature lets mixer rest on bowl’s edge

6 Speed Stand Mixer

  • Same mixing action as KitchenAid® stand mixers*
  • Mixing action gives complete bowl coverage
  • Powerful 300 Watt motor
  • Better mixing than 2-beater stand mixers
  • 3 attachments offer mixing versatility
  • 6 speeds and special fold setting
  • Stainless steel 3.5 quart bowl
  • Flat beater, dough hook & whisk are dishwasher safe
  • Mixing head spins as it rotates completely inside the bowl
  • Tilt-up head lifts out of the way for easy bowl access
  • Nonslip feet

To enter this contest, a blog comment below is mandatory as well as entering that into the Rafflecopter widget below.

In your blog comment, let me know, “What’s The first thing you would make with your new Stand Mixer?”. Then click the button on the Rafflecopter entry below. This will open up a bunch of extra entries to this contest that you can use if you’d like. The only mandatory one is the blog comment, but it’s worth 2 entries apiece for the other methods! (Please note all extra social media entries will be checked for completion if you are chosen as a winner. If they are found to be invalid, a new winner will be notified. (So make sure you actually click and follow or it will be invalid.) Contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years old and older and Hamilton Beach can NOT deliver to P.O. Boxes. You must have a valid U.S. mailing address.

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Disclosure Notice-  Hamilton Beach provided me with both a stand mixer and a hand mixer for review, but all opinions in this post were my own and I was not otherwise compensated. 🙂 (May 13, 2014)