Tuttorosso Tomatoes Giveaway & Stew Recipe!

I received complimentary Tuttorosso Tomatoes to use for this post. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

After doing my post for Redpack Tomatoes, I was approached by another brand from the Red Gold family – Tuttorosso Tomatoes, to do something similar. (That includes a GIVEAWAY at the end of this post by the way.)

Special delivery!

Special delivery!

That means I received another tomatoe-y gift pack – but this one with a nifty tote, which has since then obviously been used to tote around wine.

What could it be...

What could it be…

And an apron, which I admittedly have not yet used, but should probably consider busting out after how messy I got while making the recipe in this post (more on that later).

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Well now I have the option of dressing like a tomato next Halloween!

Oh yeah, and of course I received some awesome and supremely useful products, from Tomato Sauce to Crushed Tomatoes with Basil, from Peeled Plum Italian Style Tomatoes to Tomato Paste.

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I decided to use the Crushed Tomatoes with Basil to make a stew, because what’s better in the winter time than a hearty stew?

Making this stew was certainly adventurous. Did you know that if you add crushed tomatoes to a pot that’s set to medium-high heat, said tomatoes will splatter back at you and find their way onto your shirt, arms, and stovetop, albeit at blistering hot temperatures? Well yeah, that is apparently a thing.

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Picture this, but also on me.

Once I jumped back, turned the stovetop, and texted my mom (it sure is great to be able to go to her for advice!), I found out that I needed the pan on low heat, with a lid on. Lessons learned every day!

Tomatoes in the can, before the splattering began. I loved the chunky texture and could tell they ingredients in this were very real.

Tomatoes in the can, before the splattering began. I loved the chunky texture and could tell the ingredients in this were very real AND few.

But all’s well that ends well. The stew turned out great, and gave me a way to use my leftover wheat berries too! I had no problem polishing this off in a couple of evenings. The perfect cozy dish to enjoy while catching up on my shows! (Any night I stay in, you can find me eating dinner and watching TV. Because I don’t care what every fitness magazine says, watching TV is better with food.)

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Please don’t mind my liquor cabinet and recyclables scattered about.

Hearty Italian Sausage Stew

(Serves 2-3)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of Tuttorosso Tomatoes Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
  • 1 cup of uncooked wheat berries
  • 1 package of uncooked sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup of chopped baby carrots
  • 2 cooked chicken sausages (I used an Italian variety with Gruyere), chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of EVOO
  • Italian seasonings (to taste)
Stewin'.

Stewin’.

Directions:

  1. Cook wheat berries in water on stove top on medium to high heat. Drain into colander.
  2. Put same pot back on stovetop, turn to medium heat. Add EVOO, mushrooms, carrots, chicken sausage, seasonings, and garlic. Sautee.
  3. Add cooked wheat berries and kidney beans. Continue to sautee.
  4. Turn heat to low (very important!), add crushed tomatoes, and stir together. Then put on lid.
  5. Let simmer until dish hits your desired thickness. Enjoy!

Giveaway Time!

Now for the reason you may be here (I won’t be offended if that’s the case ;-) )…it’s time for a giveaway! Firstly, head to the Tuttorosso Tomatoes Facebook page to enter their Celebrate the Sauce giveaway. Every day someone wins a wooden spoon, every week 1,000 people wear an apron, and one person will win a 12-piece Martha Stewart cookware set. The giveaway is open until 12/23/14.

…And so is mine. Secondly, you can win the same Tuttorosso Tomatoes gift pack that I received. This giveaway is open to US residents only, and entries will be accepted until this Sunday 12/21 at 11:59PM EST. No purchase necessary – winner will have until 72 hours after being contacted to claim his/her prize. There is more than one way to enter, but be sure to leave a comment for each entry if you want multiples to count:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite hearty winter dish.
  2. Tweet “I entered to win @RedGoldTomatoes #TuttorossoTomatoes from @CaitPlusAte! http://caitplusate.com/?p=13544” and comment here with the link to the tweet.
  3. Visit the Instagram photo of my stew, and like it!

Bubbles & Bites at The Capital Grille

I received the food and drink of this post free of charge. All opinions are my own.

I’ve been wanting to visit The Capital Grille ever since my dear friend Kat started mentioning the Hartford, CT location on her blog and social media. Since I came home this past Friday night for a family weekend trip, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit for a sampling of bar bites and holiday champagne.

Bubbles and bites interspersed with selfies.

A table was ready for us upon our arrival, but we opted to sit in the bar (as I so often do). The restaurant was quite busy with couples on dates, friends out on the town together, and large parties celebrating the holiday season. We were waited on by a bartender Carrie – she did a wonderful job.

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A Marvelous Take On Tradition

I went home to Connecticut this weekend so that I could my dad, sister, and I could head to New York City for our annual holiday trip! But due to some unforeseen circumstances, we never made it there. I’ll explain in a sec but will also share up front that everything ended up turning out marvelous!

Link up with Katie if you’re sharing marvelous today!

I started my weekend with Friday night out in Hartford, because I drove home late that afternoon. Kat and I went to dinner at Front Street’s location of The Capital Grille (more on that in another post next week) followed by the Nutcracker Suite & Spicy after-party at NIXS. As usual I ran into a ton of CT event circuit friends and it was so great to see them all.

Me and the newly-blonde Jonathan!

Me and the newly-blonde Jonathan!

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My Hair Cuttery Look!

Disclosure: I have received promotional consideration and a free salon service from Hair Cuttery.

I love living in Boston, but something I’ve noticed about living here compared to Connecticut? Beauty services are more expensive! Even my nail polish changes are a couple bucks more expensive…and don’t even get me started on hair! I still see my go-to CT hairdresser for highlights, but not often enough to keep split ends from running my hair ragged. So when Hair Cuttery reached out to me about trying out their services, I was all over visiting for a trim – and a special style surprise at the end!

A visit to the salon locator revealed to me a Hair Cuttery just around the corner from me. I'd walked right by it many a time and never noticed it!

A visit to the salon locator revealed to me a Hair Cuttery just around the corner from me. I’d walked right by it many a time and never noticed it!

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Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole!

I received complimentary products from Pacific Foods. They did not ask me to write a post, nor is this post sponsored. My (positive) opinion is my own.

Every now and then Pacific Foods sends me a variety of products to sample, and I honestly have had the Organic Vegan Mushroom Gravy they sent me in my pantry for almost a year now! But what better occasion to use gravy than right after Thanksgiving, when leftovers are abound? My mom sent me home with plenty, plus a bag of fresh Brussels sprouts. When I got back to Boston on Sunday, I could hardly wait to get this casserole prepped!

Once my casserole was in its pan I just put it in the fridge, and the next night I put it in the oven and I was ready to chow! Plus I ended up with leftovers…of these leftovers. Does that qualify as inception?

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Marvelous Thanksgiving at Home!

I have to start this post with a quick Cyber Monday plug for 90+ Cellars! We are doing FREE SHIPPING on everything in our online store, so head on over and check out our wine selection! We ship to over 35 states, so click here to find out if yours is one of them!

It’s been quite awhile since I did a Marvelous In My Monday (MIMM) post! It’s been quite a weekend away from Boston, back in Connecticut to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. I certainly ate and drank plenty, but I also didn’t let any bad feelings get me down and keep me from continuing to enjoy myself. Though I weigh more right now than I ever have in the last few years, I also felt happier and more fulfilled over the course of this long holiday weekend than any Thanksgiving I can remember in “recent” history. And that’s certainly marvelous!

Link up with Katie today if you too are sharing the marvelous!

Marvelous is…being able to drive home Tuesday night. Especially given the snow we got on Wednesday! I worked from home that day so was able to beat (a little) traffic by heading out of Boston around 8PM on Tuesday. Plus I had a car buddy – I gave my neighbor Molly a ride too. The 1.5 hour ride took 3 hours, but according to her that wasn’t nearly as much of a delay as she experienced last year. And I was home in time to accompany my dad and Nana Connie (yes she was back!) to get my sister from t he airport at midnight.

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Great Grain: Wheat Berries!

Today, a day during what is probably the most recipe-heavy week of the year, I’m here to talk about a fall recipe I recently made – using wheat berries. I’ve mentioned cooking with them once before, but hadn’t done so since then. I was recently selected to partner with the Grain Foods Foundation to bring you a post on the grain of my choice, and I selected the one I thought the least amount of you may have heard of. Might as well make this post useful!

I like using wheat berries so much more than a dish base like pasta, because of their hearty texture, which is similar to barley or farro. You can usually find them in bulk bins, but my local store didn’t have any and I still found a bagged version. Milled wheat berries become whole wheat flour, so clearly they are a great source of whole grains. And they’re so easy to make – just put them in hot water on the stove top. When I cooked mine, I put the wheat berries (in water) on the stove and brought the water to a boil. If you keep a watchful eye on the pot and stir it every now and then, you don’t have to stick around and watch them cook. That is one of the top factors I look for when selecting a recipe.

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Wheat berries simmering away!

I selected Kath’s Ultimate Fall Wheatberry Salad for this post because it seemed to be just what it advertised – an ultimate fall dish. I would definitely recommend making this for your Thanksgiving table! I used dried cranberries instead of fresh since I had some on hand, but I think it would definitely be more enjoyable with those (I was just being cheap). I also skipped the brown sugar and cinnamon because I didn’t have any on hand…also don’t recommend doing that. It would have been worth it to spend some extra money and enjoy the salad more!

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More Work, Less…What?

It feels good to be back with a “real” post! Since this past Monday evening when I had a mini-breakdown while on the phone with my mom, I have been wanting to address a topic that has been weighing on my mind since the start of November. For those who do not know, I work in the wine industry, for a Boston-based wine negociant called 90+ Cellars. Starting 11/1 (and even before that), the holiday season is really in full swing. I have been planning for Thanksgiving since September but now it’s REALLY here and things at work have been really busy. Still loving the job, no worries, but I’m working more than full-time in the office (plus events in the evenings and weekends). I also have been finding myself staying late and doing work-related tasks over the weekends. This results in spending more time at work.

Weekend work-life.

Time is a finite resource. More time at work means less time spent on other stuff. Like what? Well, I like to go out with my friends some weeknights and on weekends. There are some non-work-related events that still peak my interest. I run errands, I do chores. I’m (trying) to keep up with pleasure reading. And oh yeah, that other little thing that I certainly spend much of my finite time thinking about…the gym.

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drybar at Chestnut Hill Square

I received discounted blow drys for myself and my friends for review purposes. All opinions are my own and this is not a compensated post.

Real quick – the winners of my Lightlife veggie products giveaway are Katie, Amy, and Amanda! I will be emailing you about claiming your prize!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to attend Thirst Boston‘s opening night gala, The Thing, on Friday 11/7. My friends Jeannie and Allie agreed to join, and we knew we wanted to make it a big night out. That included getting dolled up in black dresses and looking our best. Thankfully, drybar in Chestnut Hill Square was willing to help us out with that part.

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“The Mind Project” was playing – so appropriate.

I just love drybar’s decor and overall branding! Even the products used during each blow dry have adorable names.

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Lightlife Lights Up Meals (Plus Giveaway!)

I received complimentary product coupons for review purposes. I received no monetary compensation for this post and opinions are my own.

Firstly, let me announce the winner of my Redpack Tomatoes giveaway…it’s Annie of Avocado Athlete! Congrats, girl!

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Now I know it seems a bit meh for me to do two product/giveaway posts in a row, but I’m keepin it real: both were due this week, and I do like to give you guys a chance to win products that I actually enjoy. And I seriously enjoyed (and am still enjoying, because there’s some Smart Dogs in my freezer right now waiting to be used) Lightlife veggie products! I have been a fan of cooking with vegetarian “meat” for awhile, and was excited for the chance to try a new brand.

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