April 19, 2010

Carrabba's Review and $100 Gift Card Giveaway!

This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Carrabba's.

Giveaway now closed! Thanks!

Last week my husband and I went on a date to Carrabba's Italian Grill. I was selected to do a review of the smaller portion size servings on the menu and I totally jumped on that one! I love eating out and trying new foods. I especially love having an excuse to get a babysitter for the kids and just enjoying a night out with my husband.

This was our first time to Carrabba's. We went to the Lancaster, PA location which is about a 40 minute drive for us. We don't usually head down to Lancaster very often, but think we just found a new excuse to visit more often.

When we walked in there was an immediate relaxed and warm atmosphere. The restaurant was very open, but still cozy. There were tables that could seat larger parties and comfortable booths for smaller parties. You could see and hear the chefs cooking away in the exposed kitchen. As a hopeless foodie, I loved that.

Our server greeted us and asked if we had ever been to Carrabba's before. When she heard that it was our first time, she kind of looked shocked at first, and then she proceeded to tell us all the things we needed to know. I was impressed, as she explained the menu, that everything is made fresh. That meant that my husband, who has a violent hatred of tomatoes, could request that they be left out of a certain dish. She basically told us that we could add, omit or substitute anything on the menu. Her words were, "If we have it in our kitchen, we can do it!"

Next, our server brought out a small, warm, sliced loaf of Italian bread. You know the kind that is deliciously crusty on the outside and soft on the inside? She also brought a small plate that had a mixture of herbs, spices and garlic. I was getting excited for what was next. She drizzled some olive oil over the spice mixture and left us to experience the simple pleasure of good, basic ingredients, that combined, make magic.

Now to order. On the menu you will see that some entrees give the option of a small or regular portion. I ordered the small portion of Pollo Rosa Maria which is grilled chicken breast stuffed with fontina cheese and prosciutto, topped with mushrooms and a basil lemon butter sauce. My husband had the small portion of Pork Chop Marsala which is a center cut pork chop topped with mushrooms, prosciutto and a Lombardo Marsala wine sauce. In all there were 8 different entrees that had the small or regular portion.

The smaller portion seemed to run about $2 less than the regular serving size and the nice thing is that you still get soup or salad before your entree.

I had the Pasta Fagioli soup and my husband had the Sicilian Chicken soup. They were both excellent. The chicken in the Sicilian Chicken soup looked like it was just pulled from a whole chicken breast. The pieces were so big, my husband had to use a knife to cut it into smaller pieces. He kind of liked that they weren't skimpy with the chicken. I loved the Pasta Fagioli. It was simple and so savory. I need to find a good knockoff so I can make it at home. Carrabba's also has a Minestrone that is offered everyday.

At this point I was glad that I was ordering a smaller portion. From the bread and delicious soup, I was starting to get full!!!

Soon after we finished our soup, our entrees were served. My plate had a very generous portion of redskin mashed potatoes and one serving of the Pollo Rosa Maria. I am assuming that the regular portion has two chicken breasts. I was more than happy to savor just one portion the grilled chicken and the subtle basil lemon butter sauce with a forkful of mashed potatoes.

I know that a second portion of chicken would have gone home with me in a box for the next day's lunch. I finished feeling full, but not so stuffed that I was uncomfortable.

My husband raved about the Pork Chop Marsala. I had a bite and I must say that it was bursting with flavor. I am getting that next time! I was happy to hear him say that the small portion size was perfect for him. He was completely satisfied.

The other good thing about smaller portions is that maybe you will still have room for dessert. We didn't this time, but I am eying these Bachini, "little kisses", for next time!

I want to thank Carrabba's Italian Grill for this fun opportunity to review their smaller portion size menu options. I was so impressed by the flavors, freshness and great service. I would gladly recommend this restaurant and smaller menu potions to anyone who understands the saying that "great things come in small packages!"

For more information about Carrabba's and to browse the menu, click here.

To find a Carrabba's near you, click here.

Now for the Giveaway! The people at Carrabba's have been generous enough to offer a $100 Carrabba's gift card to one commenter on this post. All you need to do is answer this question:

“What great things come in small packages?”

For the official rules of giveaway, click here.

For 9 more chances to win a $100 Carrabba's gift card, go to the BlogHer Special Offers page.

April 10, 2010

Zester Giveaway! (CLOSED)

I was recently contacted by CSN stores. CSN has over 200 online stores that carry everything from bedroom decor to TV stands to children’s toys and furniture! Check out all their stores here!

CSN’s mission statement:

Our Mission To build a lasting organization that succeeds and grows by making online shopping rewarding for our customers, partners and employees.

Align Left

CSN stores has agreed to host a giveaway from one of my favorite places, cookware.com. I am giving away a Microplane Zester so that you can easily zest oranges to make these:

Sticky Orange Rolls

Or maybe zest some lemons for some of these:

Lemon Gems

You can also use the Microplane to grate hard cheeses like Parmesan onto your pasta or salads, grate nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. The ease of use will but your box grater to shame!

All you need to do to enter the giveaway is: become a follower of "Cheat Day Cafe" at the sidebar and tell me what you would make with your new Microplane zester! This giveaway is open anyone and everyone. Just make sure I have an email address so I can contact you. :)

Giveaway will end at 10pm PST April 16th. Winner will be chosen by random draw.

April 1, 2010

Review: Werther's Sugar Free Hard Candies

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Werther's.

Most of my readers at, Cheat Day Cafe, know that I started a Biggest Loser competition at my church on March 1st. I needed a gimmick to get me motivated to eat better, exercise and lose weight. I am happy to say that in the last month, I have lost 14 pounds! It has been such a good thing for me.

The key for me has been to calm my raging sweet tooth!

You know what I realized this month? I realized that I can completely relate to a smoker or a coffee drinker who HAS to have a cigarette or a coffee after a meal. I noticed that I totally crave sweets after a meal! So this week, instead of raiding the vending machine for a candy bar, I pulled out my bag of Werther's Sugar Free Hard Candies and was completely satisfied.

I was so happy to be a reviewer for Werther's Sugar Free Hard Candies. Everybody knows that they are the best regular caramels on the market, and you just get the sense that the people at Werther's don't like being second best. So I was sure that these sugar free candies would not be a disappointment.

I was lucky enough to sample all of the Werther's Sugar Free Hard Candies. There is the Werther's Original Caramel, Caramel Mint and Caramel Coffee. Each of these recipes include real butter and fresh cream. How could that NOT be a winner? They were all delicious! I knew that my favorite would be the Caramel Mint before I even tried them. I am just a mint kind of girl!

The newest flavor that will be out at Wal-Mart in April is Caramel Cinnamon. What a yummy, warm combo that is!

I think that using sugar free candies is a great way to incorporate sweets into my diet without going completely off track.

Thanks Werther's for the delicious sugar free candy and for helping me stay on my diet. I would highly recommend your products to anyone. And if you make a sugar free Caramel Apple flavor, I'll be a fan for life!

If you could create a Werther's Sugar Free Hard Candy flavor to help you stay on track, what would it be? I'd love to hear your ideas!

To learn more about Werther's Sugar Free Hard Candies, visit the Werther's website. And don't forget to visit the BlogHer.com special offers page.