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Friday, November 28, 2014

Individual Pumpkin Cheese Cakes #sugarfree #glutenfree

Individual Pumpkin Cheesecake - Gluten Free, lower calorie options


If you are gluten free, please be sure that each of your ingredients are gluten free.  I have made special notes on higher risk ingredients, but each package should be checked before you purchase, as ingredients and policies change.  

2 cups crushed graham crackers, Oreos, cookies or Gluten Free Cookies
3 tablespoons light brown sugar (You can sub Splenda Brown sugar for less calories)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

2 cups of pureed pumpkin - (cook the pumpkin before you use it in this recipe)
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar (I subbed Apriva for a lower calorie option)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (for gluten free use a Gluten Free Flour alternative)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust:
Crush your cookies or crackers until they are fine small pieces.
In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients then add melted butter.
Spray the sides and bottom of 2 large muffin tins with non-stick spray
Press 2 Tbs plus 2 tsp (2 2/3 tbs) of crust mix into the bottom of each of the 12 spaces.
I used a cup with a flat bottom to flatten out the mix.

For the filling:

I used a blender to mix the ingredients.
First I added the pumpkin and liquid ingredients (eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, vanilla) and pureed thoroughly.
Then I slowly added each package of cream cheese (make sure it's room temp)
Finally add the remaining ingredients.

Pour about 1/2 cup into each of the muffin tin spaces.   Cook for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Watch Out Sherlock, There's a New Detective in Town - The Great Escape Room @greatescaperoom

The Great Escape Room is excited to announce the opening of their latest location in Royal Oak, Michigan on Friday, December 26.

The adventure is a “real-life room escape game," based on the popular computer and mobile phone escape games. After entering a room with your team of up to 12 people, the door is locked behind you. 60 minutes are on the clock, you must work together in order to find the clues and solve the puzzles that will lead you to your escape. It is part scavenger hunt and part puzzle game. You have to hurry, only about 20% of groups are able to meet the challenge and escape!

Locations in Orlando and Miami have received numerous 5 star reviews on Trip Adviser, Facebook, and Yelp. The experience has been extremely popular for corporate team building, birthday parties, youth groups, church groups, and even professional sports teams!

Please visit their website for additional information and to reserve your tickets.

Keep updated and follow The Great Escape Room:

The Great Escape Room
(248) 291-7599

Experience Holiday Magic at Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Looking for a little bit of holiday cheer with some history?  Don't miss your chance to stroll the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House grounds and walk under a canopy of twinkling lights. Listen to carolers while sipping hot chocolate around a fire. Share a carefully created wish list with Santa in his South Cottage Workshop.
Experience the magic of the holiday season at Ford House.
During Winter Wonderland at Ford House – which takes place every Friday and Saturday evening in December – the historic Grosse Pointe Shores estate will sparkle with more than 100 luminaries and 80,000 glimmering lights, guiding visitors down an outdoor path of holiday cheer.
“It’s a really lovely evening stroll through a spectacular outdoor display with lights adorning the trees and in the gardens,” said Megan Wood, Ford House Associate Vice President of Education & Visitor Experience. “Winter Wonderland has something for everyone. The atmosphere is ideal for a reflective walk, a cozy date night or a  fun family night.”
She said guests can warm up in front of one of the open fire pits (which were created from extra pieces of limestone from Ford House’s roof), sip hot chocolate or mulled wine, and enjoy storytellers as they share tales of the holiday season.
Little ones won’t want to miss a seeing Santa in his Workshop or a stop at the charmingly decorated Play House. At warming stations along the path, there will also be holiday crafts for children to create and take home with them.
Winter Wonderland at Ford House takes place Fridays and Saturdays, December 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, and 26-28, from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person.
For those desiring to tour the 1928 mansion’s interior during Winter Wonderland at Ford House, they can leisurely walk through the decorated home and listen to live holiday music in the Grand Gallery for an additional $5 per person.
For more information and for tickets, visit
Holiday Tours
During the daytime hours, enjoy a Ford House Holiday Tour, which offers an intimate peek into the lives of one of America’s most beloved families.
Visitors experience holiday décor on the guided tour and hear about the family’s Christmas traditions and treasured moments spent together at the estate.
After the Tour, see Santa’s Workshop in South Cottage and meet one of his elves while Santa’s away preparing to greet all the girls and boys at Ford House’s Winter Wonderland! In North Pole fashion, there will be holiday crafts to create and games to play.
General Holiday Tours at Ford House are offered Tuesdays through Sundays, through January 4. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 seniors and $8 children ages 6-12. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Santa’s Workshop is included with Holiday Tours.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Celebrate Thanksgiving Day with free park entry at Oakland County Parks

OAKLAND COUNTY – Guest Appreciation Day will be held Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27 at six Oakland County Parks. Visitors can enjoy free daily park entry with access to natural areas, trails and all park amenities.

The offer is available at Addison Oaks, Highland Oaks, Independence Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Rose Oaks as well as the three dog parks at Lyon Oaks, Orion Oaks and Red Oaks.

Park hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, or as posted at the park. Visit:

Addison Oaks, 1480 West Romeo Road, Leonard Highland Oaks, 6555 Milford Road, Highland Independence Oaks, 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston Lyon Oaks, 52221 Pontiac Trail, Wixom

Orion Oaks, 2301 W Clarkston Road, Lake Orion

Orion Oaks Dog Park, entrance on Joslyn Road between Clarkston and Scripps roads Red Oaks Dog Park, 31353 Dequindre, Madison Heights
Rose Oaks, 10400 Fish Lake Road, Holly

Visit for more information. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @DestinationOak..

Making the Most of Your Holiday Season With Coinstar #giveaway @coinstar {ends 12/16}

I was compensated for this promotional post.  All opinions are genuine and my own, based on my personal experience with this product.  Your experience may differ. 

Chances are you have seen the green Coinstar machines at your local grocery store or other places.  I personally have known about this service for years, but have always shied away from trying them because of the fee involved.  Let me stop right here and tell you that you can use this machine and get 100% of your coins in gift certificates to your favorite stores or restaurants.  

It's so easy, check it out: 

Step one: find a Coinstar machine near you.

Step two: what are doing with these coins?  You can get cash back (10.9% service fee applies), get 100% of your coin in the form of a Gift Card or Donate to Charity. Some kiosks even allow you to pay bills with your PayPal account (9.8% fee applies).

Step three: insert your coins and watch the magic.

 Step four: collect your rejected coins and receipt and enjoy!

Look at that, I had just over $52 in coins collecting in our coin jar.  This will cover dinner with my family at Red Robin and we will have some left over for a second visit.

The paper receipt will work just like a gift certificate in the store.  Just present the receipt at check out.  It's so easy.

You can even use your Gift Card as a holiday gift for a family member or friend.

Based on this experience, I will be using this service again in the future.  I found it to be a convenient way to trade in my coins for a usable form of currency.  I highly recommend Coinstar.

More tips for getting the most of your money: 

  • Control it with cash. The need to get holiday spending under control might explain why 50 percent of holiday gift givers usually pay for most or all of their presents with cash. 
  • Coins are money, too. While 85 percent of Americans report that they have spare change lying around, 86 percent of survey respondents would not feel comfortable buying holiday gifts with just coins. 
  • Gift card collectors. More than half (58 percent) of Americans are holding at least one gift card and many of these gift cards might be lying around for some time before they get used. In fact, 48 percent of Americans admit that when they receive gift cards they wait to use them or never use them at all. 
  • Money going to waste. Many people look for ways to ensure that they can get gifts for everyone on their list, but only 12 percent sell gift cards to help stretch their budget. That still leaves a lot of money – more than $1 billion in gift cards goes unredeemed annually – that could be used to bolster holiday budgets.

What are you going to do with your extra coins this holiday season?  

The great people at Coinstar have given me a $50 gift certificate to award to one lucky fan.  Enter below for your chance to win.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Green Bean Casserole with Bacon Recipe from Emeals

Join eMeals During November and December and Get a Holiday Plan for Free
eMeals has a Traditional Holiday Menu Plan, a Paleo Holiday Meal Plan and a Clean Eating Holiday Meal Plan available for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are even complete with a pre-made grocery list! 
eMeals knows it can be daunting to enter the kitchen to cook for your family during this time of the year, so take this as your easy way out!

As you prepare for the holidays this year be good to yourself and let eMeals be your game plan.  Along with the free holiday plans, save money and make time for family with delicious eMeals weekly meal plans everyone will love.  eMeals provides easy recipes with concise directions and a grocery list for budget minded and busy people. eMeals is the new way to organize and simplify the usual chaos of dinner at home.

Check out this Traditional Holiday Meal Plan recipe below. Doesn’t it look SO good?
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
  • 2 (12-oz) packages steam-in-bag green beans
  • 1 (8-oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-oz) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • 1 (2.8-oz) container French fried onions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook beans in microwave as directed. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Sauté mushrooms in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once after 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add to beans in bowl.
  3. Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Crumble bacon, and add to beans. Reserve 1 Tbsp drippings in skillet. Cook onion and garlic in drippings until tender. Add to beans. Stir in Alfredo sauce and cheese.
  4. Spoon into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with French fried onions. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another great #NoBoxXmas Deal: Henry Ford Museum Memberships 20% off and Holiday Nights, Plus a #Giveaway

The Henry Ford {and Greenfield Village} is offering a 20% discount on all new-membership purchases on site only (valid through December 31st). This is a great #NoBoxXmas gift idea for your own family or another Metro Detroit Family.  To obtain the discount you will need to buy the membership onsite.  If you are buying a gift membership, be sure to bring along the name, address and phone number of the recipient.

Find other great #NoBoxXmas ideas here:

The BEST Santa Experience in Metro Detroit is at the Henry Ford.
But why wait to enjoy The Henry Ford?  There is so much going on right now to celebrate the holiday season.  You can enjoy the museum and the holiday decorations (including model trains, holiday stories in a real train, the best Santa in town (bring your camera), The Polar Express at the IMAX and so much more.

You can also enjoy Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village.
December 5-7, 12-14, 18-23 and 26-27, 2014 (6:30pm - 10pm)

Take a lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season.

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village is like stepping into a Christmas card from the past — the golden glow from candlelit windows, the scent of roasting chestnuts, the sound of carolers in the distance, the jangle of sleigh bells. This is how the holidays are supposed to be. No wonder Holiday Nights has become the most popular holiday event in the region. Where else will you find lantern-lit paths, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagons and Model T rides, plus Santa with live reindeer. It’s perfect, right down to the spectacular fireworks display that provides a dazzling finale to each and every evening. Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village is America’s premier holiday celebration!

So here is the fun part... enter below for a chance to win 4 tickets to the Henry Ford Museum.