Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Bertolli Meal Soup Review and Giveaway - CLOSED!

Winner Winner, Bertolli Meal Soup Dinner!!

Here is the result of the giveaway:

Congrats to latanya t !! 

I'll be contacting you so I can send out your coupons!! 

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to work with Bertolli to help them introduce their new line of Meal Soups.  We are a big fan of Bertolli spaghetti sauce and their olive oil is awesome!  But I was a little bit skeptical that a "Meal Soup" would truly be more like a meal than a soup.  I have to feed two active, growing boys and a husband who prefers more hearty meals to salad and rye crisps.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Bertolli Meal Soups actually live up to their name!  My first experience with the soups was great, so of course I am more than happy to work with Bertolli again to help them introduce two new flavor addition to the Meal Soup line.
Our week has been absolutely packed with work, school and evening activities, so the timing could not have been better to have a quick and easy meal to prepare for my family.  On two different nights I prepared Bertolli® Italian-Style Wedding Soup and Bertolli® Ricotta and Lobster Ravioli in a Seafood Bisque.  Both nights I served the soups with crusty Italian Bread and a salad ( I never said I was creative with my meal accessories) and had the entire meal ready in about 20 minutes!  How awesome is that?  And how much more awesome is it that everyone loved the soups and walked away full and happy two nights this week?  And even more awsome than a full and happy family?  I saved so much time on dinner prep and clean up that I was able to sit down and watch a chick flick before bed on a weeknight for the first time in FOREVER!
So how tasty are the soups?  Well, my mom has a word that fits these soups perfectly:  Mighsty.  It means mighty tasty.  And they are.  Mighsty I mean. 

The Ricotta and Lobster Ravioli in a Seafood Bisque (possibly the longest soup name ever) was full of shrimp and lobster/ricotta filled ravioli, both floating in a creamy seafood bisque that I think had a tomato base.  There were little bits of carrots and celery  to add some extra flavor and crunch.  I loved the carrots, but was not a big fan of the celery.  It seemed out of place in such a rich soup.  No one else in the family seemed to have a celery issue, so maybe it's one of those "texture" things for me.  At any rate, the soup was elegant and delicious and there was not one drop left at the end of the meal.

The next night we had the Italian-Style Wedding Soup.  This soup was the total opposite of the Ravioli in Seafood Bisque.  It had a much lighter base, but was still very filling because it is chock full of Mini Italian-style meatballs with spinach, bacon pieces, carrots and ditalini pasta in a savory broth.  My astute 13 year old immediately identified the bacon that I somehow missed as we were sorting through the bowls to identify all of the ingredients.  Little Man, my little carnivore, was excited to find plenty of meatballs and I loved the broth, spinach and pasta combo. 

 " have a little...uhmmm...thing...on know what?  Nevermind."

BTW...the bag says Meal Soups for Two, but with the bread and salad, all four of us had a decent size bowl and felt completely satisfied after the meal.
Wow.  Two great meals from Bertolli that tasted yummy and helped our family eat healthy and hearty dinners, despite our time crunch!  The week was a lot less stressful because we had alternatives to fast food that didn't take a lot of time to prepare and allowed us to be home together around the table.
Bertolli also has a new line of Risottos that I am dying to try if I can find them in this podunk town! I may have to drive out of my normal 15 mile radius to find them.  Check back for a bertolli Risotto review and Giveaway in the next week or so!
Wanna Win Bertolli Meal Soups?  Bertolli has graciously offered two coupons for free Meal Soups to one of my readers!!   Go check out the Bertolli website and then leave a comment telling us which Meal Soup you think your family would love.  Easy Peasy, right?  Just like dinner is with Bertolli! 
Want extra entries?  Do any of these and leave a comment with links to your posts, tweets or status updates:
  • Follow my blog
  • Tweet about the contest
  • Post a link to this giveaway as your status update on Facebook
  • Mention the Giveaway on your blog
Contest will end on October 15th at 12 midnight MST. Winner will be chosen by random drawing using and notified if chosen. Please make sure to leave your email so I can get in touch with you if you win!  Thanks for reading and good luck!
***Disclosure - Bertolli provided me with products to help facilitate this review.  However, the honest opinions shared on this review are my own.**

Monday, September 17, 2012

I Forgot How Back to School Works in My House

Whew!  Back to school and so glad to have some kind of routine again!  Everybody seems to have settled in to new classes and schedules and both boys are glad to get back to the business of making new friends while they whine about learning new stuff.
I have to say, I was surprised that I was caught off guard by Little Man's annual first day of school meltdown this year.  None of his friends OR their parents OR his teachers ever believe me when I say the kid can throw a major fit because he is "such a good kid!"  Well, he IS a good kid, but when he decides he has a problem, let me just tell you he verbalizes it loudly and incessantly. 
The issue this year is the same issue we have every year, which is that he needs to know that the teacher he has is going to take the time to get to know him on a very personal level.  He needs to bond.  And he really despises a classroom that seems too structured.  He needs to know he has some wiggle room to be himself.  The weird thing about that is, he really doesn't do anything that would go against any kind of structure in the classroom.  He just needs to know that if he wanted to be a little talkative or wiggly at his desk, he could.  And he gets himself ALL WOUND UP until he figures out how to function inside the sytem of his new classroom, EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. 
I know, I KNOW!  Another crappy phone pic.  Can't afford a new camera!
I guess the fact that he was excited for school to start this year made me think he was past the First Day Freakout.  WRONG!  That evening at bedtime, after an afternoon of "school was fine" conversation, the tears started rolling and the declarations that he would not go back to school if he couldn't have a different teacher were loudly and angrily proclaimed over and over again.  "Mom.  The teacher spent all day just telling us the rules.  There are so many rules.  We just talked about rules! You have to talk to the principal and get me out of his class!" 
He was amazingly unhappy with my response, which was that I would not remove him from the class at this point because "YOU BARELY MET THE GUY!  And you were only in his class for half a day!  Three hours is NOT enough time for you to make an assessment about whether he is evil or poopy or hates corn or throws tape balls at kids who misbehave!  (I did NOT tell him that I sometimes make assessments about people in 3 minutes, especially customers who call in with ridiculous questions that could easily be answered by actually reading the words on the bill that they are holding in their hand while they are on the phone with me, but he will learn about those kinds of people soon enough, so for now I will encourage him to look for the good in people before passing jusdgement.)
Again my logical and well thought out reply was eschewed for hystrionics and declarations that if things weren't better the next day he would go to the principal himself and tell her he needed a new teacher, to which I replied, "Go for it, Buddy.  Knock yourself out.  Good luck with that and let me know how your conversation with her goes."  Who am I to stop a kid who is unafraid to take his concerns up the chain? 
Actually, I figured things would get better the next day, but secretly I was feeling pretty lucky that I had an out and could let the principal take the heat on this one.  Sweet!  I wrote her a note to let her know what was coming and to tell her I would support her decision to let him learn to deal with a teacher who may not meet my son's personal agenda. Unless the guy is a total dillweed.  Then of course I want him moved.  I didn't say that last part because it occured to me that this particular school is not really  big on hiring dillweeds.  I digress.  The point I am trryyyyiing to make here is that I want Little Man to understand that he will have to interact with lots of teachers and bosses that he may not adore in his life and he needs to learn to deal with those people and situations, because we can't always change the circumstances that put us in their sphere of influence.  Nor should we.  At least not until those people make you so crazy that you want to flatten their tires or spit in their coffee.  THAT would probably be a good time to look at changing those circumstances.  But he ain't there yet.
So what was the end result of all of this First Day drama?  Nothing.  Second day was fine.  Mr S. is OK.  According to my kid, he's not as good as Mr. T was last year, but apparently he passed muster.  And the principal, who LOVES my son and can't imagine him EVER having such a fit because he is such a polite and well-behaved boy?  She laughed hysterically and was a little disappointed that he didn't come marching into her office with a list of his demands and expectations.
And me?  I made a mental note to remember not to forget about the First Day Meltdown next year.