Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

This Pecan Pie Bread Pudding could also be titled Best.Thing.Ever. I know that’s a strong statement to make, but geez…it was pretty darn tasty. If I do say so myself. And I do. Because I have a blog and that’s sort of my job…to let y’all know when something should be put on your “to make” list ASAP. This would make an excellent breakfast/brunch dish for the holidays too. Just sayin’. Since it’s already NOVEMBER! (Don’t ask me how that happened already!)

pecan pie bread pudding - before

I’m calling this breakfast, but slap some vanilla ice cream on that bad boy and it could become dessert. I think I ate it for every meal until I gave the last two pieces to my parents so they could experience it’s awesomeness. And the fact that I couldn’t button my jeans. Calorie friendly it is not.

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding - after

It’s like pecan pie and French toast casserole got together and had a baby. A sweet, delicious, nutty baby.

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

This is what dreams are made of right here.

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Recipe Source: Something Swanky

Once done, you can use the parchment paper to lift the casserole out for easy cutting. Enjoy!

This recipe is featured at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage & Diana Rambles!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage   PIN MEme

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) Nibbles By NicThe Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be MoMypping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Mandy’s Recipe BoxSowdering About in SeattleNaptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206Anyonita NibblesThe Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife,Play.Party.Pin

Copycat Sausage McGriddle Casserole & Krusteaz GIVEAWAY {#ad}

I received a gift pack from Krusteaz to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.

This post is full of good things: breakfast food; an easy, kid-approved recipe; and a giveaway! My love for breakfast food is pretty well documented here on the blog. As is my love for casseroles, and breakfast for dinner…which makes an appearance pretty regularly around here. That’s why I am happy to partner with Krusteaz to celebrate National Breakfast Month, and give you some ideas to incorporate Breakfast Night at your house. How about tonight?!

My kids love pancakes. I love sausage and eggs. Since my oldest daughter’s favorite fast food breakfast item is the Sausage McGriddle (from Mickey D’s), this recipe was born. It could be called Breakfast Lasagna because of the layers, or Pancake Casserole, but whatever you call it, give it a try. It’s easy, it’s yummy, it’s filling and it’s just…fun. A little twist on dinner that brings everyone together at the table. Or, you know, you could serve it for breakfast too!

I made my pancakes with Krusteaz pancake mix ahead of time and stuck them in the fridge to make the prep for this even easier.

I was surprised how tasty it was when all layered and baked together.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Pancake Casserole

12-15 pancakes (depends on size)
8 eggs
1 lb sausage (maple sausage, turkey sausage, or favorite)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
maple syrup (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cook sausage on medium high heat until done, crumbling/breaking into pieces as it cooks. Reduce heat to medium.
  • In a bowl, scramble eggs, season with salt and pepper. Add to skillet with sausage. Stir eggs in with sausage and cook until eggs are set.
  • Add pancakes in a single layer to bottom of baking dish. Make sure pancakes are touching or slightly overlapping. I used 5 pancakes for this.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over pancakes.
  • Add 1/2 the sausage/egg mixture to the pan.
  • Top with additional 1/4 cup cheese.
  • Drizzle with syrup, if desired. (Using the maple sausage and/or using maple syrup gives this a more authentic McGriddle flavor. Could also add syrup to pancake mix when preparing.)
  • Repeat layers, starting with pancakes.
  • Top with final layer of pancakes.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.
Slice and serve!
So many Krusteaz products to help make breakfast easy!

Giveaway details:

One prize pack (not pictured) will be awarded to a Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader. It will include:
  • One box of Buttermilk Pancake Mix
  • One box of Belgian Waffle Mix
  • One box of Blueberry Pancake Mix 
  • One Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix 
  • A pancake pen (for pancake art!)
  • A spatula and 
  • A coupon for FREE product
Enter via the Rafflecopter form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Breakfast Casserole ‘Muffins’ & VISA Giftcard Giveaway! {#sponsored}

I was provided coupons and a gift card to purchase ingredients for this post by Nature’s Harvest® to facilitate my review of Nature’s Harvest® Bread. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Where has the summer gone?! I’ve already heard of some kids going back to school, and my own go back in a couple of weeks. I really don’t feel like we’ve had much of a break! However, with school being out, I have really been off my normal routine, and with that, meal planning has gone out the window. I’m very ready to get back to planning healthier, balanced meals. This will mean planning for super busy mornings, lunch boxes, and meals in hurry due to various sports practices.  

With so many meals eaten on the go, or prepared in a hurry, it’s easy to opt for convenience foods. However, I still want our nutritional needs met. For example, did you know it is recommended that adults eat 48 grams or more of whole grains daily and children ages 4-13 eat a minimum of 40-48 grams per day? (You can read more about whole grains and guidelines here and here.) Many of us are not getting enough, which is why Nature’s Harvest® bread has launched the “Whole Grain Challenge”. The challenge is to encourage moms and families to incorporate 48 grams of whole grains into their diets every day. You can find educational content on the Nature’s Harvest® website and Facebook page to help stay on track and participants can take the whole grain pledge on the Nature’s Harvest® Facebook page and automatically be entered into a weekly sweepstakes, but hurry, it ends August 10th.

Nature’s Harvest® bread has at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving, no artificial flavors or colors, and no high fructose corn syrup. That gives them an A+ in my book!
These portable Breakfast Casserole ‘Muffins’ incorporate whole grains, protein rich eggs and cheese and best of all, they are portion controlled, easy to eat on the go, re-heat beautifully (I actually prefer them re-heated the next day!) and I imagine they could even be frozen…but mine have not lasted long enough to find out! They are also a great way to use up leftovers or fresh veggies from the garden, the recipe can be modified to whatever your family likes – add pepper and onions, use ham, sausage, mushrooms, vary the cheeses and spices, get creative!

Breakfast Casserole – To Go!

3-5 slices whole grain bread (enough to fill your muffin tins almost to the top) I used Nature’s Harvest® Butter Top Made with Whole Grain White Bread
1/4-1/2 cup bacon pieces (or meat of choice; I used this)
1 cup shredded cheese 
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sage (optional)
1/2 teaspoon basil (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  • Tear or cut bread into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in prepared muffin tin, filling 3/4ths full.
  • Sprinkle bacon pieces over bread, top with cheese.
  • In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk and spices. Carefully pour into muffin tins, dividing equally. (I just eyeballed this!)
  • Bake for 15-20 mins, or until eggs are set and cooked through.
Recipe adapted from Thriving Home and Makin’ it Mo’Betta
 
These make a handy breakfast, lunch or dinner. I served mine for ‘brinner’ with grits, then reheated the leftovers in the microwave for breakfast with a side of fruit. As I stated earlier, I actually preferred them reheated, which is a rarity, but definitely puts these in my keeper file! 
GIVEAWAY:
Now, how many of you would like to win a $25 VISA Gift Card and a coupon for free Nature’s Harvest® bread? To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway has a quick turnaround so go ahead and enter!
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ideas for Easter Brunch

Looking for ideas for Easter Brunch?
Check out this round-up to make an extra special breakfast or brunch for Easter or anytime! Muffins, scones, breakfast casseroles, and more.

Make Ahead Awesome Breakfast Casserole

Baked Bacon and Eggs


Cinnamon Roll Cake

Warm Fruit Compote

Breakfast Pizza


Sausage and Hashbrown Casserole

Ham and Cheese Biscuit Pull-Apart Casserole

Baked French Toast with Streusel Topping

Sausage, Ham and Cheese Quiche

French Toast Casserole (egg-free)

Copycat King’s Hawaiian Bread

Sausage Balls

Sausage Muffins

Easy Oven Pancakes

Chai Latte Scones

German Pancakes


Blueberry Greek Yogurt Muffins

Monkey Bread (with Parker House Rolls)

Chocolate Glazed Donuts {Baked}

In yesterday’s post I mentioned Chocolate Glazed Donuts, so I wanted to share the recipe. My son (as with most kids) LOVES donuts. However, being the mean mama that I am, and being all concerned about trans fat and such, I very rarely buy them. Luckily, my children don’t realize that baked donuts are basically muffins in a donut shape, and consider it a treat when I make them.

I’ve made many, many donuts and these are among my top three. My other favorites being these Apple Cider Donuts and these Meyer Lemon Donuts.

Chocolate Glazed Donuts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar (I like to sub 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount with xylitol)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Glaze:
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray donut pan with nonstick spray. (If you do not have a donut pan, you can use a mini muffin pan to make donut “holes” or make traditional muffins, adjust cook time accordingly.)
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (if using). *I usually just whisk everything until no clumps remain, but my girls actually used the sifter for this recipe. Yes, I had flour and cocoa everywhere. 
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, then add milk, yogurt, and vanilla. Whisk until combined and smooth.  Whisk in butter.  
  • Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture (wet to dry) and mix just until combined.  
  • Fill donut (or whichever) pan about 3/4 full and bake for 10-12 minutes (again, depending on pan being used), or until done. (Use the toothpick test if unsure). 
  • Cool for 5 minutes in the pan,then transfer to a wire rack.
  • While cooling, whisk (or sift) the powdered sugar, then add the milk, vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk until combined. (If too thin, add more sugar; too thick, add more milk.) Dip warm (not hot) donuts into the glaze (you can do one side or both) and place on wire rack to set.

Quick & Easy Cinnamon Rolls {in 30 minutes!}

I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday because….it was SEVENTY-FIVE degrees outside!!!! I had full on Spring fever. Washed my car, did some grilling…and guess what the high for tomorrow is? TWENTY-FIVE. Yes, 25. A 50 degree drop in temp, and tonight, we are supposed to get an inch of sleet/rain/snow #overit. This bi-polar weather is making me crazy. So, what better way to start yet another snow day (or any day!) than with cinnamon rolls. Not fussy, waiting for things to rise cinnamon rolls – but super easy, roll and go cinnamon rolls. ‘Cuz that’s how I roll.

They look pretty good right? Other than my ‘taken in the bad morning light with my cell phone pic’ of course. You would probably never guess they started with pre-made pizza dough. Yep, pizza dough!
Is it exactly the same as homemade, baked from scratch cinnamon rolls? No, not exactly. Is it a very good compromise? In my opinion, yes. In my kids’ opinion, absolutely!

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Pre-made pizza dough (thawed, if frozen) *I used Pillsbury pizza dough in the can, from the dairy section of the grocery store (with the biscuits)

3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

Icing:
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/8-1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8″ by 8″ baking dish.
  • In a small bowl,  stir the softened butter until spreadable. (Can microwave in small increments to soften if needed)
  • Lightly flour a flat surface and roll the pizza dough out with a floured rolling pin into a rectangle. (approx 12 x 15 inches)
  • Spread a thin layer of the softened butter (about 2 tablespoons) over the surface of the dough.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt (if using) over the buttered dough, covering the entire surface (to the edges). 
  • Starting on one of the 12″ (shorter) sides, tightly roll the dough to form a log. Pinch the seam if needed to keep from unrolling. 
  • Place log seam side down, and slice into 9 even pieces (about 1 1/2 inches thick). Place into buttered dish – with 3 rows of 3 rolls. Top rolls with remaining butter.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until rolls are lightly browned and no longer wet and doughy looking. While rolls are baking, mix together icing ingredients. It’s okay if icing appears a little thick, since it will melt on warm rolls.
  • Remove rolls from oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Place spoonfuls of icing on warm rolls, allowing icing to melt and cover rolls. Enjoy!
So, I’m going to go drink yet another cup of coffee and complain non-stop to my friends via group text about the weather. Don’t I sound like a BFF you want to have? haha

This recipe was featured at Friday Frenzy!
Friday Frenzy

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be MoMypping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Mandy’s Recipe BoxSowdering About in SeattleNaptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Sausage & Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

I love a breakfast casserole. Actually, I love a casserole, period! What can I say…they are easy, and I like to have all my food mushed together so I get all the flavors in one bite. That sounds weird doesn’t it? Well, no weirder than my brother, who as a child refused to let any of his food touch. Too the point he had to have a plate with dividers, and he would even take apart sandwiches and eat them one piece at a time. Now that’s weird. You’re welcome little brother.

This one is a little different from my other breakfast casseroles on the blog in that it has hashbrowns. I do love a potato. It also has homemade turkey sausage, but you can use any sausage or meat you like.

This would be great for a breakfast or brunch, and feeds several so it may come in handy over the holidays. You can also easily adapt it to suit your family’s taste buds.

Sausage and Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

1 pound sausage (I used turkey breakfast sausage)
1/2 cup chopped veggies (optional – I used some very finely chopped onion and green pepper, because my kids are super picky, and only about a 1/4 cup)
1/2 bag of shredded hashbrown potatoes (approx 3 cups), thawed
pinch of salt
8 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups cheese
seasonings – fresh ground pepper, parsley, etc. (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In an oven proof skillet*, cook sausage on stove top over medium high heat, breaking up sausage as it cooks. Add vegetables in (if using) when sausage is about half way cooked. (Drain fat if needed).
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle potatoes over the meat.
  • Add a pinch of salt over potatoes.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and desired seasonings.
  • Pour eggs over potatoes in skillet.
  • Top with cheese.
  • Place skillet in over and bake for approx 45 minutes or until eggs are set.
*I used a 10-inch cast iron pan.
Recipe Source: Makin’ it Mo’Betta
Other crowd-pleasing breakfast casseroles:

This recipe was featured at:
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from Above,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage ChicLady Behind the Curtain (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest; The Gooseberry Patch Blog

Make Ahead Awesome Breakfast Casserole

I know a lot of people may be planning a Mother’s Day Brunch, and a breakfast casserole is perfect for that. It’s also great for ‘brinner’ a.k.a. breakfast for dinner. Or, you know, you could actually eat a breakfast casserole for….breakfast. This casserole is made ahead of time, and then can be baked when ready, so if you have young kids that really want to make mom breakfast in bed this Mother’s Day, you could actually do all the “real” work the night before, then they could pop this in the oven (maybe with Dad’s help) in the morning and serve it to you in bed! No burnt toast, runny eggs or kitchen mess to deal with. Sounds like a plan to me!

I know breakfast casseroles are pretty basic, and there are a ton of recipes for them online. However, I thought this one was pretty awesome…hence the title, due to some easy changes to the ingredients – starting with the bread. I used a cheese bread (store bought, but of course, homemade would be awesome) instead of regular loaf bread or Italian.  I also think using a cinnamon raisin bread for a sweet and savory combo would be good. I know my kids wouldn’t go for that, but it sounds good to me. I also swapped out my usual cheddar for combo of smoked Gouda and extra sharp white cheddar. Then I added in some spices to my eggs, – sage, salt and pepper, a little dry mustard, to give it some extra flavor. You could also add in veggies – tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, etc. However, that would never fly around here!

Awesome Breakfast Casserole

  • One loaf of day-old bread (approx. 6 cups) {I used a cheese bread}
  • 1 lb. sausage – cooked and crumpled {Use your favorite – pork, turkey, chicken; I used turkey}
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup bacon pieces, cooked {I used the real bacon pieces in a bag – could also use ham}
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (divided)
  • 8 eggs (I used 6 extra large eggs)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • salt, pepper, desired spices (too taste)
Spray or butter a 9 x 12 casserole dish.
Cube bread in 1 inch cubes and spread evenly in bottom of casserole dish.
Sprinkle sausage and bacon over bread.
Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the meat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, half and half, seasonings/spices.
Pour egg mixture over top of cheese/meat/bread.
Lightly press bread down into egg mixture.
Add remaining 1/2 cup cheese to top of casserole.
Cover with saran wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
When ready to bake, uncover casserole and place in cold oven.
Turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for approx 1 hour or until nicely browned and set.

Skinny Cherry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast w/GIVEAWAY! {#sponsored}

Today I get to talk about one of my favorite things…BREAD! Hi, my name is Kim and I am a carb-addict. Seriously, I love bread – all kinds of bread, and so do my kids. If there is a bread basket around, you better watch out, b/c they will crush it. So, it’s no surprise that when I was given the opportunity to get free coupons for Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® and Pocket Thins® and Thomas’® Bagel Thins ®, I jumped on it. I was already a fan of their products, and purchase some items on a regular basis. 

Like these Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls. I use them for sandwiches frequently, like this breakfast sammie loaded with lots of protein (eggs, Canadian Bacon, reduced fat cheese) and the rolls are only 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers®! They come in 100% Whole Wheat, Healthy Multi-grain, Honey Wheat, and Flax & Fiber. I like to make this sandwich on Bagel Thins ® too. However, I’ve had this recipe pinned for a while, and definitely wanted to try it out. I came up with a slightly different version and it was quite tasty!

I enjoyed this on my sun porch on a (finally!) nice day, and (briefly) pretended like I was on vacation…because it reminded me of something I would only eat while splurging at breakfast or brunch while on vacay!
However, this quick and easy version can be made anytime, letting you feel like you are splurging, when you’re actually not!
YUM! If you are not a fan of cherries, you could use any no sugar added/sugar free pie filling (apple, blueberry, etc.) or fresh fruit too.  Blueberry and lemon curd will be my next flavor combo!

Skinny Cherry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

1-2 Tablespoons reduced fat/fat free cream cheese (depending on taste preference, I used 2 T.)
1/4 cup No Sugar Added Cherry Pie Filling
1 egg or 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
Cooking spray (I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray)
sprinkle of cinnamon
powdered sugar (optional)
  • Add cream cheese to bottom half of roll.
  • Top with pie filling.
  • Place top of roll on pie filling, making a sandwich. Gently press together.
  • In a shallow bowl, beat one egg or pour in Egg Beaters, sprinkle with cinnamon (a lot or little depending on taste preference. I like a lot!)
  • Carefully dip sandwich in egg, flipping to coat both sides. Allow excess to drain off.
  • Heat a skillet on medium high heat and coat with cooking spray (can also use reduced calorie butter spread).
  • Add sandwich and cook until browned on bottom, then flip and cook other side.
  • To serve, add a dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Skinny Kitchen

 I’ve only made one at a time, so I saved my leftover egg/cinnamon mixture in a sealed plastic container to use later in the week, as well as the pie filling. I’m pretty sure the pie filling could be frozen as well, but I haven’t tried that yet. (I have another super easy recipe using pie filling coming soon!)
You could also make French Toast with bagels. I usually buy the Thomas’® Bagel Thins® Bagels because they are only 110 calories and 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers®. (They come in Plain, 100% Whole Wheat, Cinnamon Raisin and Everything) but when shopping I saw these….
Banana Bread Bagels! I knew my kids would flip since they love banana bread. They smell heavenly (the bagels, not my kids) and I don’t even like bananas! I think they would be really awesome in this recipe I found for Bread Pudding using bagels. However, I don’t think ours will last long enough! I need to go back to the store anyway, because my 5 y/o loves pizza made on bagels, and I need plain for that. We also like to make pizzas on flatbread. Arnold®, Brownberry® and Oroweat® makes Pocket Thins® Flatbread which are perfect for this, and they are only 3 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers too! They come in 100% Whole Wheat and Healthy Multi-grain.
Now, who wants to get their own free product coupons AND a $25 Visa Gift Card?! Because I appreciate all of you, and want to enable you in your own carb-loving addiction, one Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader will win just that! To enter, use the Rafflecopter form. (If viewing this in an email, you will need to open it up in the browser so that the form will load.) Open to US residents only.
Disclosure: Sandwich Thins®, Pocket Thins® and Bagel Thins ® provided me with coupons for free product and a gift card for recipe ingredients. The opinions and photos are my own!