Taste Test Tuesday: Salted Caramel Chocolate

I have to admit, I was very excited about this particular taste test. I mean, who wouldn’t be when Salted Caramel Chocolate bars are on the agenda?!? (Actually, I shouldn’t even ask…my husband hates salted caramel, my 2 sons do not like chocolate, I also have a friend who does not particularly like it either, and my grandma is allergic to it!) But for perhaps everyone else in the world, this is an exciting taste test!

The results were also a little shocking, but practically UNANIMOUS. But first, I must introduce you to the contenders:



1) Good & Delish – generic bar new to the scene that I picked up from Walgreens. Retails at $1.99

2) Lindt Caramel with a Touch of Sea Salt – a seasoned performer as far as brands go, but this is a new flavor for them. Retails at $2.99

3) See’s Candies – Butter Caramel Milk Chocolate. This served as a control, but backfired just a little. I went in to find a salted caramel to add to our list of greats, but See’s is very traditional and does not carry a salted caramel. This was the next best option, and at just under $4.00 for 5 pieces, was also the  most expensive of the bunch.

4) Godiva Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel – another well-known and well-loved brand, this one also boasted salted toffee pieces. Retails at $2.99, but I got on sale for $2.50.

5) Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar, Caramel with Black Sea Salt – this bar was supposed to be the heavyweight contender, with much talk and support of fans, but it did not stack up well in this competition! Retails at $1.99

6) Ghirardelli Dark & Sea Salt Caramel – another well-loved competitor! I purchased this one on sale at $2.50, the small bags sell for around $4.69.




This was, of course, a blind taste test. We cut the chocolate bars into small pieces and distributed them onto their corresponding numbered plate.


All panel contestants took 2 pieces of each contender and put them onto their “placemat” with the matching number. We also provided water so the judges could analyze the flavors without them fighting each other. (Some chocolate flavors were stronger than others, but that didn’t necessarily mean they took first place).


We had multiple categories for judging: Texture, Caramel taste, Chocolate Taste, Saltiness, and Overall Taste. We also added Smell as a category at the last minute, as requested by the judges.

Here is the form we used:


(If you’d like to conduct this taste test in your test kitchen and you’d like this form, please let me know!)


Are you sitting down? Because 9 out of 10 judges chose the ONLY contestant that didn’t officially have “salted caramel” in their description!! The See’s Candies milk caramel took this whole contest by surprise! It does say something about tradition, though, doesn’t it? Sometimes the oldies REALLY are the best!

Unfortunately, the See’s Milk caramel had to be disqualified because it snuck into the fight without all the qualifications. However, I wanted to note this crazy turn of events, for you, dear reader! Because it’s worth taking a second look at an oldie. (And I was afraid that if I didn’t acknowledge this little gem, the judges might come after me!)


Godiva Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel !! (Crowd goes wild!)

Truth be told, the real winner actually came in SECOND place, but the first contender was disqualified for not actually having the “salted caramel” in the title. This Godiva bar was introduced to me by a good friend and neighbor (thank you, Sherri) and the results showed an all-around love and admiration by all!!


Good & Delish (yes, the generic one!) AND Ghirardelli (still a favorite, although it came in third place with a wide margin between 2nd and 3rd).


Lindt. Yes Lindt. Many judges were VERY vocal about their dislike of this particular contender. To me, the chocolate had a strange coconut taste, but other judges said: 1) it had a strange after-taste and 2) they wouldn’t want to eat an entire bar of this.

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate with Black Sea Salt. Some judges said it was too salty. Some said the chocolate was just too bitter. Another said it had a chalky taste. One judge even choked a little after eating this one! [editor’s note: I am very saddened by this report. I heard many great things about this bar, and eaten alone it may be good, but it just didn’t have what it took to stand up against the other contenders!]

Godiva-winner   Congratulations, Godiva!

A special thanks to all the judges and assistants: Jenn, Jay, Shellie, Kerri, Lindsay, Linda, Kait, Kari, Sherri, and Lann. You are truly professionals at what you do!

So, what do you think? Did I miss any strong contenders? Do you think you would have chosen the same winner if you conducted this taste test?


So if you do like Salted Caramel Chocolate, go out and try our winner and let me know what YOU think!

{Stay tuned for our next Taste Test Tuesday!}

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Dose of Sunshine Monday : Miracles Happen Every Day

The printable I’m sharing with you today is very near and dear to my heart. A saying I made up (and even sang it to a little song) when I was having many serious health and relationship challenges.

But even so, I always believed that you should never give up on a person because Miracles happen every day! And they do. What miracles have you seen in your life lately?


If you would like to download this pretty little printable, please like my page here:

and then download the 3×4 or 5×7 printable here:

3-13 miracles happen 3×4

3-13 miracles happen 5×7

Notice the miracles…enjoy!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Maple Pecan Waffles with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

It’s my husband’s birthday…almost! He’s a leap year baby, and so he really doesn’t have an OFFICIAL birthday this year, but don’t worry: he figures he can celebrate for TWO days this year.

I had a different post all planned, but it just didn’t seem right on this celebratory day. So this post is dedicated to my sweetie, who helped me test out this recipe on Sunday: Maple Pecan Waffles with Cinnamon Whipped Cream! (Yum!)


My husband is the waffle-maker in our house. He loves waffles, and he has a nice collection of waffle irons. He has round, square, belgian, and farm animal waffle irons! I’m surprised we don’t yet have a Mickey Mouse waffle iron, but I’m sure we will eventually. And I’m not complaining….NO! I LOVE that he has taken over as waffle chef in our house. His absolute favorite waffle iron is one that I got him a couple years ago on super-sale and he reaches for this one the very most: Check it out here

It will make TWO belgian waffles at once and that is great when you have a lot of mouths waiting for their waffles! We love to host a waffle party…and we even sometimes eat waffles for dinner….or lunch. When isn’t it a good time for waffles?

So let’s get to the “recipe.” It’s so simple (I love a simple recipe!) This comes together in minutes!

First, chop up some pecans.

Then, whip up your heavy cream (PLEASE use the real stuff! My kids are fine with the frozen whipped topping, but that just won’t do for this recipe…You need the real stuff here…believe me, you’ll thank me later)

When the cream is nearly fully whipped, instead of adding sugar to the cream, add CINNAMON/SUGAR. It is so delightful!


Now for the waffle part. Don’t laugh: my husband has found a shortcut to his waffle making secret. He uses Krusteaz waffle & pancake mix to start with! Fifteen years of trial and error and testing every waffle mix out there, and he has found this to be the best. We buy it in the giant bags at Costco! Make it using the instructions on the back. Then, add a bit of cinnamon and a bit of Mapleine.

Put your waffle mixture on your pre-heated waffle iron and sprinkle on some of the chopped pecans. Now let the waffle iron do the rest of the work. {Note: we tried this recipe two ways: one with the pecans sprinkled in the waffle batter, one with pecans sprinkled only on top. The winner: Pecans IN the batter!}


Add your Cinnamon Whipped Cream, a few more chopped pecans, maybe a strawberry or two!  These waffles are amazing. When you try this recipe, let me know what you think!


Before I go, I wanted to share that this “recipe” has me giggling a bit. It reminds me of a cartoon I once saw YEARS ago (If I can find it, I will post it here). It started out with the “Dad” of the cartoon getting ready to make breakfast. The kids say “Mom says that everything tastes better when it’s made from scratch.” The Dad replies “Then that’s what we’ll do!” The next slide shows the Dad pulling a box out of the pantry, and the kids say: “What’s in the box?” He replies: “Scratch.”

Gosh, I love my husband!

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Dose of Sunshine: Motivation Monday

It’s Monday!  The day that is most complained about of all the days of the week. It’s back to work for many, and the start of a long week. But why not embrace this day? I remember as a teenager listening to some motivational tapes (yes, cassette tapes!) and one of my favorites had positive affirmations that I was supposed to repeat after he said them: “I will greet this day with love in my heart.”

I still remember that affirmation all these years later. And I still sometimes say it to myself. So why not greet this day with love, with enthusiasm, with a desire to do something better or learn something new? What a great way to start the week!

I made you a chalkboard printable as a reminder to greet this day with love. It’s sized at 3×4″ …the perfect size to slip into a sheet protector if you are working on “Project Life.” Or print it to put on your bathroom mirror in the morning! Have a great Monday!


Please like my Facebook Page then Download the printable here: !Chalkboard today is a good day

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Happy Days Are Here!

Recently I’ve met with many friends who are going through tough times. It’s a part of life. You know it and I know it. But we can make it through with a few positive affirmations (and prayers, and friends!)

Here’s a little reminder to post somewhere you can see it everyday to remind you that every day can be a happy day when you have the right attitude!

I created it in three happy colors. To get your free printable, like my Facebook page (below), then choose your color to download below.

I hope you enjoy!



happy days are here again blue 5×7

happy days are here again lt yellow 5×7

happy days are here again dark yellow 5×7

May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Valentine Candy Pockets & Free Printable


Here’s an easy Valentine idea for boys or girls. I have more nephews than nieces and so I created these more “masculine” valentine pockets and included some Pop Rocks candy!

They are super easy and fast to put together. Here’s what you need:


Scoring Board, washi tape, brown ink, adhesive, printable tag, large circle punch (not shown), corner rounder punch (not shown), valentine paper, and pop rocks.

I have put together a little video on how to put together these pockets, and here’s some written instruction: (the video will help!)

1. Cut your valentine paper to 4 1/4″ by 6 1/2″

2. Score your paper at 1/2″ and 3 1/2″

3. Turn paper and score at 1/4″

4. Fold on score lines, trim corners

5. Cut a notch in the top front of the pocket with circle punch

6. Adhere tabs and fold pocket together

7. Round the corners on your printable, ink the edges, adhere to front of pocket

8. Wrap washi tape around bottom of pocket

9. Insert Pop Rocks into your new pocket! Deliver…and you’re done!

I hope my two nephews in Utah don’t see this post…I just dropped some of these sweet Valentines in the mail for them! I know this little pocket filled with Pop Rocks will inspire some smiles.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy these free printables to make your own and please leave a comment if you enjoyed this post.

you rock valentine printable pdf



May your days be filled with sunshine,
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Chocolate Covered Strawberries in Minutes


I love strawberries. And strawberries dipped in chocolate are even better! But I found that homemade chocolate covered strawberries are SO much better than any you buy in the store. And really, who wants to pay $8.00 for 4 little chocolate strawberries, anyway? (really, I checked the price yesterday while at the grocery store!)

So here’s an easy way to whip up a batch of delicious chocolate strawberries for your Valentine’s Day sweetie (or for yourself)!

First, you need strawberries. A couple large milk chocolate Symphony bars. And white chocolate chips. That’s all!

Wash your strawberries well. Put them on paper towels to dry. I usually let them air dry for a few hours while I’m working on something else. But if you get impatient like me, just take a paper towel and dry off those beauties…then set them on a dry paper towel to finish drying. Give them a few minutes. This part is important because water and chocolate DON’T mix. Believe me, it won’t be pretty.


Break up the symphony bars into a microwave-safe bowl. Put them in the microwave for just a couple minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. When the chocolate is completely melted, it is ready!


Now, just dip the dry strawberries in the chocolate, trying to get even coverage on all sides. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off, and then drag the bottom of the strawberry across the side of your bowl to remove any extra. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Repeat this process until you’ve covered all your strawberries.

I was able to cover about 60 strawberries with only 2 symphony bars.

Now, put a handful of white chocolate chips in a small ziploc bag and melt them in the microwave. Just put them in for about 30 seconds, then turn the bag over and put them in for another 30 seconds if needed. Smoosh the chocolate around in the bag to make sure it is fully melted. Then, snip of a tiny piece of the corner and drizzle the white chocolate over the strawberries.


It works best if you start to drizzle before you get to the strawberry, and allow the drizzle to keep going off the side of the strawberry. Make a few drizzles on each of the strawberries. Voila!

Now you have great looking strawberries in just a few minutes! Place the strawberries in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate before serving. Enjoy!



Aren’t they pretty? They will be a big hit!


May your days be filled with sunshine,
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