Monday, June 28, 2010

Pop-Tarts Outing and a $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Pop-Tarts.

My 5-year-old twins are starting kindergarten this fall, and the school suggests bringing them to the playground during the summer so (1) they can get used to playing on it and (2) they will associate kindergarten with fun things. So off we went, them with their playclothes and me with my book, to do our respective fun kindergarten things.

Fun thing!

Fun thing!

Fun thing!

My job for my second Pop-Tarts post was to bring Pop-Tarts on a fun outing, so I saw the perfect opportunity to merge two tasks. I had coupons from Pop-Tarts for free boxes, so we had a selection of flavors on hand: Elizabeth chose Frosted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Edward chose Frosted S'Mores, Henry chose Frosted Blueberry, and I chose Frosted S'Mores. (I would not have predicted that I would like the S'mores flavor, but the key is that the pastry part tastes like graham cracker. So then it's like a chocolate-marshmallow graham cracker cookie. Mmmmm.)

Fun thing!

The giveaway portion goes like this: BlogHer is giving away a $100 Visa gift card. I've written two Pop-Tarts posts, this one and the previous one. There's one gift card for the two Pop-Tarts posts together. The random drawing will be July 4th, 2010.

To enter, leave a comment telling me what your favorite flavor of Pop-Tarts is, or telling me whether you like them toasted or right-out-of-the-box, or saying which unusual flavor you might be willing to try, or really anything about Pop-Tarts.

You have 9 other chances to win: go to the special offers page to get the links.

See the official rules for more details.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pop-Tarts Fourth of July Recipe and a $100 Visa Gift Card

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Pop-Tarts.

The challenge: come up with a 4th of July project/recipe using Pop-Tarts® Ice Cream Shoppe(tm) Vanilla Milkshake.

The research: eating Vanilla Milkshake Pop-Tarts while thinking. (The taste, in case you are curious: kind of like frosted sugar cookies.)

One thing I like about Pop-Tarts is that they are already DONE. They are mixed, filled, baked, cooled, frosted, and sprinkled. They are FINISHED. There is no need to deconstruct them in order to make something new, although I admit it's pretty genius to use them as a pie topping.

(And by the way, if you click that link and then want to "Browse All Our Tasty Creations," there is a little slider bar to the right of the six little pictures, do you see it? You use THAT to browse. You don't, for example, repeatedly click the words "Browse All Our Tasty Creations" as if they are a link, and then keep clicking it even when nothing happens. Ahem.)

I would be more likely to make something like the ice cream sandwiches. Or maybe the Celebration Flags, where you take unfrosted Pop-Tarts, add some frosting yourself, and then add pretty flag-fruit a la the classic 4th of July cake.

(This is a photo I yoinked from the Pop-Tarts site,
which is why it looks so much better than
the photos down below.)

I would be even MORE likely to make what I did in fact make, which didn't require me to have additional ingredients on hand OR cut and arrange tiny bits of fruit. Here is what you will need:

1. Cookie sheet
2. Cutting board
3. Sharp knife
4. 8-count box of Pop-Tarts
5. Photoshop, to "clean" your walls

If you are nervous and/or Pop-Tarts has sent you a case of Pop-Tarts, you could have TWO boxes on hand instead of one.

Now! CUT the Pop-Tarts into letters.

Go for SIMPLICITY. To make a P, for example. I cut out a big chunk and then cut off two little corners, that's IT. I didn't try to do the middle cut-out, I didn't try to do a cool font, I did as little as possible.

If there is a little mishap, and the Pop-Tarts are splitting as you cut them, DON'T PANIC! Just sort of smoosh them back together and then put them carefully on the cookie sheet.

ACK! It split and blurred when I cut it!!

DON'T PANIC. It's fine. Just smoosh it back together.
And hold your camera a little steadier.
And maybe consider a newer model that takes better flash-free photos.

And here they are on the cookie sheet:

The exclamation point is one of the pieces I cut off the T, plus a triangle scrap that seems like it must be from the top of the Y, but isn't, but could be.

I like my Pop-Tarts toasted, so I put the cookie sheet in a pre-heated 350F degree oven for 7 minutes, which was perfect. Do I need to remind you that things that come out of the oven are BURNING HOT, and that sugary sizzly melty fillings are PARTICULARLY burning hot, and that you should not TOUCH or EAT hot things until they are COOLER THAN BURNING HOT?

So! This project was a total success. I forgot to look at the clock but it took maybe 10 minutes to cut the letters. And then 7 minutes to bake them. And the result was shaped, filled, frosted, sprinkled sugar cookies (this would also work for birthdays or anniversaries or whatevs). And in case this is something you go for, it totally got a "WHOA!!!" reaction from the children, who were super impressed with my mad skillz and/or were kissing up to get sweets.

Yes, our coffee table cover is repaired with duct tape.
That poor cover.

The giveaway portion goes like this: I'll be writing two Pop-Tarts posts, this one and another one in about a week. You can enter on each post, but there's one $100 gift card from BlogHer for the two Pop-Tarts posts together, so the drawing will be on July 4th, after the second post.

To enter, leave a comment telling me how AWESOME you think my recipe is (I especially like the way it has EIGHT letters so it takes exactly one 8-ct box of Pop-Tarts), or what your favorite flavor of Pop-Tart is, or whether you like them toasted or right-out-of-the-box.

And dudes, you have 9 other chances to win (plus 9 other chances to see what recipes other people came up with): go to the special offers page to get the links.

See the official rules for more details.