Almond Coconut Bark


If you love chocolate AND coconut, you seriously need to try this ridiculously easy recipe for candy bark. All you need is three ingredients and a double boiler.


2 bags of milk chocolate chips

1 cup of almond slices

1 to 1  1/2 cups coconut



Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. Pour chocolate onto the wax paper. Sprinkle almonds over the chocolate. Cover chocolate and almonds with coconut. Freeze for two hours. Break into pieces and keep refrigerated.

That’s all it takes. Enjoy!


Easy Tex-Mex Goulash

With having all the kids’ activities in full swing, I am always on the lookout for quick and easy dishes to make for the whole family. Recently, I got inspired to make this tasty dish and thought I would share it with you!

Easy to make Tex-Mex Goulash

Easy to make Tex-Mex Goulash


(serves 6)

1 28 oz can of Diced Tomatoes, juice and all. (I used Redpack because I love how fresh their tomatoes taste)

1 15 oz can of reduced sodium black beans, drained

1 15 oz can of chili beans, half drained

1 T of Dry Salsa mix. (If you want to make your own, there is a tasty recipe found on The Sustainable Couple)

3 C of Elbow Macaroni


In a pot, heat water to boil macaroni. In a large skillet, heat 2 T of oil and add drained black beans, half-drained chili beans, and diced tomatoes and juice at medium heat. Stir in dry salsa mix and let simmer. Once macaroni is cooked, drain and add to the tomato and bean mixture. Simmer for ten minutes and serve warm.

For extra flavor, add sour cream or cheddar cheese to taste.

So good that you won't have leftovers!

So good that you won’t have leftovers!

Toss in the Flavor with a Sassy Chicken Salad

May is National Salad Month, and the kids and I are celebrating by making some tasty salads using Redpack tomatoes! We will be sharing some great tomato recipes with you throughout the month. Be sure to also check out the Redpack Tomato Facebook page for a chance to win a Grand Prize Picnic basket that includes everything you need to toss a terrific salad!

Sassy Chicken Salad with RedPack Tomatoes

Sassy Chicken Salad with RedPack Tomatoes




1          (10 ounce) can RED GOLD® DICED TOMATOES & GREEN CHILIES, drained

½         cup light mayonnaise

1          tablespoon honey

2          cups chunked cooked chicken breast

1          cup thinly sliced celery

1          cup grapes, halved

⅓         cup chopped toasted pecans

  • In a medium bowl, combine RED GOLD® DICED TOMATOES & GREEN CHILIES, mayonnaise and honey.  Stir in chicken, celery, grapes and pecans.
  • Cover and chill.  Maybe served in hollowed out melons, avocados or papayas. Also makes a great sandwich when served on a Croissant.

*I received a gift pack of Redpack tomatoes for this promotion. All opinions are my own.

Princess Leia Waffles

Today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day! To celebrate, I made the kids a breakfast fit for a rebel! This year’s theme: Princess Leia Waffles!

Princess Leia Waffles for Star Wars Breakfast

Princess Leia Waffles for Star Wars Breakfast

These are easy to make and fun to eat! All you need is:


Jif Hazelnut Spread or Nutella

Samoas or you could substitute with Fudge Rounds, Thin Mints, or Oreos

Candy pieces

samoasYou start by applying a thin layer of Hazelnut spread for the hair and attach the cookies. Use the candy pieces to create facial features, and voila! You have a Princess Leia Waffle!


Princess Leia Waffles from Bear Haven Mama

Do you celebrate Star Wars Day? If so, what kinds of foods do you make?

Easy Peasy Tropical Smoothie

Summer is just around the corner, and with that comes chilled sweet treats! Here is something that is easy to make and better than a shake! It’s my Easy Peasy Tropical Smoothie!

Photographer: Erbs55 (pixabay)

Photographer: Erbs55


1 5.3 oz Yoplait 100 Calorie Coconut Greek Yogurt

2/3 cup Orange Juice (no pulp)

1/3 cup milk (can substitute soy or almond)

1 cup frozen pineapple (you can always buy ahead of time and freeze for later use)


Throw it all in the blender and blend for 30 seconds.  Enjoy!

Serves 2

Happiness in a cup!

Happiness in a cup!

Red Pack Tomatoes Review, Authentic Italian Gravy Recipe and Giveaway

In our house, this bitter cold weather has lead to some awesome food. After all, a warm kitchen makes the house warmer which is why I was excited for Bear Haven Daddy to try some new Carnevale recipes for our family with fabulous Red Pack Tomatoes! For those of you not familiar with Carnevale, it is a traditional festival held in Italy during the winter that includes parties and delicious food!

Authentic Italian Gravy with Red Pack Tomatoes

Authentic Italian Gravy with Red Pack Tomatoes

We used Red Pack Tomatoes for our Italian Gravy. Red Pack Tomatoes are grown in the Midwest where the distinct seasonal changes really impact their flavor. We got a great recipe from them, and here it is!

Authentic Italian Gravy


1 cup red wine, +2 tablespoons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 baby back ribs, beef neck bones or short ribs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 carrot, minced
10 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 (6 ounce) cans Redpack® Tomato Paste
4 (28 ounce) cans Redpack® Whole Peeled Tomatoes In Juice, crushed with hands
1 (28 ounce) can Redpack® Tomato Sauce
1 quart water
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained, or meatballs


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place 1 cup red wine, oil, beef neck bones, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, salt and black pepper in a roasting pan; stir to coat.
  • Roast neck bones and vegetable mixture in oven until vegetables are tender, 1 hour.  Stir in about 2 tablespoons red wine while scraping any brown bits of food off the bottom of the pan.  Roast until vegetable are browned, about 30 minutes.
  • Pour vegetable mixture into a 16 quart stock pot over medium-low heat; simmer for 30 minutes.  Add REDPACK® TOMATO PASTE,REDPACK® WHOLE PEELED TOMATOES in JUICEREDPACK® TOMATO SAUCE, water, basil, oregano and parsley; stir well.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces, 4 to 6 hours.
  • Remove neck bones from sauce; scrape marrow out of bones.  Add marrow to sauce and simmer until dissolved, 1 to 2 hours.
  • Add choice of meat to sauce during the last ½ hour of cooking.
  • For a smooth sauce, blend in batches until smooth.  Add Italian sausage or other meat to sauce after blending.
  • Option: Cook pasta, a pound pasta in ½ gallon water, just until al dente.  After sauce has cooked add ¼ cup pasta water and al dente pasta.  Cook until pasta is completely cooked.  This allows the pasta and sauce to combine their flavors for an exceptional tasting meal.
Doesn't this look amazing?

Doesn’t this look amazing?

My family and I really enjoyed eating this dish. My husband, the gourmet cook in our family, said that he loved using the Red Pack Tomatoes. They weren’t too sweet and tasted fresh.

Right now, Red Pack Tomatoes is holding a a Facebook promotion at  running Feb. 19th – March 3, during which 1,000 Redpack followers will get a Redpack branded apron each week (for a total of 3,000 aprons). A grand prize winner will receive a pasta stock pot, pasta-related serveware and Redpack products.

We are also hosting a giveaway here as well! From now until March 3, you can enter here to win a variety pack from Red Pack Tomatoes to create your own yummy Italian gravy or other fantastic recipes.

To enter our giveaway, please click on the Rafflecopter link below! Good Luck! Contest ends March 4 at 12:00am EST and is open to residents of the continental US.

Enter to win a Variety pack from Red Pack via Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received recipes and a variety pack of Tomatoes from Red Pack Tomatoes for this post. My opinions are my own.

Fun Hot Wing Ideas for your Next Tailgating Party

by Bear Haven Daddy

A fun idea for a football weekend stay at home tailgating party is making hot wings. While they can be a bit messy, it is a fun project for the whole family. I have been making wing for years at home and I prefer to bake them in the oven. My experience with ordering wings has been that they are often over-cooked and dry. The method I use keeps them moist tender and delicious. I have served my classic wings to rig crews and have received many compliments on how good they are.
The first step is buying your wings. Usually I buy whole wings fresh and cut them myself. You also need to remove the wing tips because they will more than likely burn when cooking. You will need a heavy knife and you need to cut the wings at each joint. Once you have done so they will start to look more familiar. Another option is to buy pre-cut wings usually found in the frozen section of a super market. This saves time in cutting. However, you will need to defrost them if you plan to brine the wings (see below). Place all the wings into a 6 quart pot and if you have time soak them in a salt brine overnight. Drain the brine and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. You can add the wing tips to this and if you plan on using it for a soup stock.
Next, place the wings on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place in a 450 degree oven and cook until the wings are golden brown on the top side. This takes about 15-20 minutes in my oven. Remove the wings from the oven, turn them over, and repeat. Watch them closer because they tend to cook faster the second time around.


Here is where kids can get more involved. Every family member should have a sauce picked out for the wings, or if you want to keep it simple, just make one or two sauces. My two favorite ways of coating the wings are using a bowl or an old plastic gallon ice cream tub. The bowl is pretty simple. Just add the sauce and then the wings. Using a spatula carefully stir/roll the wings from the bottom to the top to cover all the wings. You may have to do it in batches. The ice cream tub is a bit easier. Just add the sauce and wings. If I have my kids helping, I secure the lid with tape and have them shake the tub in a rolling motion to coat the wings.
Serve hot and enjoy. Make sure to have plenty of celery and/or carrot sticks as well as ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Below are a few different ideas you can use for sauce for the wings. Take note the Old Bay and Taco Spiced wings are coated before they are baked. With all the others just toss the wings in them like the classic hot wing sauce.
Classic Hot Wing Sauce: ½ cup Franks Red Hot, 1/3 cup butter or margarine. Or just buy Franks Red Hot pre-made hot wing sauce.
Variations on the Classic: Add another hot sauce to the mix to bump the heat up a bit, such as Tobascco, or a few drops of your favorite harbano or ghost chili sauce. You could also add a drop of liquid smoke to give it a smoky flavor.

Creamy ranch: This one is great for kids. Use 1 cup ranch dressing, 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese. To make bacon ranch add 1-2 tablespoons of real bacon bits. You can also mix the classic wing sauce and the creamy ranch.

Old Bay: 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon Old Bay. Toss 2 lbs of wings to coat. Bake and toss in classic hot wing sauce.

Garlic Butter: Mix 1/2 cup butter and 2 tablespoons lightly sautéed minced garlic.

Soy Honey: Toss wings with 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup honey, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce.

Chipotle: Purée 3 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 1/4 cup each  of apple cider vinegar and honey, 3 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin.

Teriyaki-Orange: Bring 3/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce to a simmer until reduced by half. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

Ginger-Scallion: Add 2 tablespoons of each of grated ginger, butter, soy sauce and mirin to a sauce pan. Add 3/4 teaspoon each of sea salt and sesame oil. Heat until blended. Add 1/2 cup minced scallions. Toss with wings.

Taco-Spiced: After boiling the wings, pat them dry, and toss with 3 tablespoons taco seasoning and roast. Serve with salsa.

Pizza: Toss the wings with salt and 2 teaspoons dried oregano; roast 30 minutes. Divide 1/4 cup sliced pepperoni and 1/2 cup sliced onion between the 2 baking sheets; roast 15 more minutes. Toss with shredded mozzarella and serve with warm marinara sauce.

Garlic Parm: Mix 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon onion salt, and black pepper to taste.