Pasta Salad and Creamy Italian Chip Dip Recipe + Giveaway

 So we planned to be gone for a couple weeks and in preparations I made sure we cleared out the fridge and pantry of any food that was opened or set to expire. Of course our plans changed and I was invited to a last-minute potluck and not having anything to bring, I had to get creative since running out to our local Publix for more food wasn’t an option, lucky for us, my youngest has been obsessed with cold pasta salads, Suddenly Salad to be exact, ever since the last church potluck. It’s amazing what you can do with one box, some extra pasta, peppers, olives and sour cream. 

Voila! and that’s how the best chip dip on earth was created! …Based on taste review done by my kids.

The Pasta salad was quick and easy, since my kids like mildly seasoned food, I took out about 1/4 of the Suddenly Salad Italian seasoning and put it to the side, added extra veggie pasta, the mayonnaise and stuck it in the fridge to cool. That’s when I notice a container of sour cream, I scooped out about a cup, added the remaining Italian seasoning and placed it in the dip bowl.

Creamy Italian Dip:
Suddenly Salad Creamy Italian Seasoning 1/4 of the white packet
(use 1-2 Tablespoons seasoning, slowly add to desired taste)
Mix with 1 cup Sour Cream

stir and serve!

I wasn’t prepared for what happening next, one after another they tried the new dip created from the Suddenly Salad Creamy Italian seasoning and went crazy for it! Everyone began asking me how I made the dip, it was the best chip dip they’d ever had and it was gone in a blink of the eye. Move over onion dip, this creamy Italian chip dip id the bomb!

Get $.75 off (with the purchase of 3 Suddenly Salads) in July! 
WINNER: S. Peterson
“I want to try the Layered Mexican Party Salad recipe.”

$15 Giveaway Details:
$15 Giveaway For Ramblings From Utopia Reader To Use Towards Buying more Suddenly Salad or Towards Your Next Potluck creation! 
Simply Leave a Comment or Link To Your Favorite Suddenly Salad Recipe, and an Email Address, if You Are Chosen Please Be Sure To Have A Paypal Address To Receive The Prize.

Summer Backyard Glamping

My family is not one to go off into the wilderness for fun, the closest we come to camping is in our backyard and what we like to refer to as glamping or glam camping, all the fun but without the bears. 
I made 5 tents a few years ago for little E’s Camping themed 7th birthday party (here), every now and again we take them out in the backyard and grab our sleeping bags for a night under the stars. Some of us make it through the night and others retreat back to the comforts of the VW camper and I’ve even found one back in their bedroom. I try my hardest to keep them in their tents all night but a potty break can end that pretty quick. If they to go back in the house, it’s almost certain the TV and the electronics will get turned on.
So I’ve come up with a solution, the modern day outhouse, fully equipped with a composting toilet for the adults and mini potty for the tiny tots, with a package of Cottonelle Fresh Care wipes. Since there’s no plumbing out back the moist wipes are a most have on the glamping list.

After potty training, I never got rid of the kids potty, it fits perfects in the stow-n-go of our van and for long trips I would never do with out. I’ve learned that one thing that is predictable is never knowing when a child has to go. So you’ll always find a potty and a package of the Cottonelle FreshCare Flushable Cleansing Cloths with us, in our van, the beach bag or the not so rugged facilities for glamping in the backyard.

Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths feature SafeFlush Technology™, so they start to break down immediately after flushing, yet are still strong enough to handle my littlest, let’s just say she’s experimenting with her big sister’s make-up, with 6 more years before she’s ready to actually wear any, I’ll should buy stock in Cottonelle. But I will keep up my Sam’s membership to make sure our supply never runs low. She looks so sweet sleeping with her best friend Sheepy, they’ve been together since day one.

Visit the Sam’s Club and save $3 on a pack of Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths (6/22-7/17). Sam’s Club Cottonelle® FreshCare® Flushable Cleansing Cloths come in a11 packs for a total of 462 sheets.

Sweet Dreams…until a bug crawls across your face, and in the house they all went, can you spot it?


Thank you to Cottonelle  for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to try their flushable cleansing cloths.

Summer Grilled Zucchini Burger with Peppers and Feta

Grilled Zucchini is my favorite go to dish for summer, it’s light and easy and a big crowd pleaser for vegetarians and meat lovers. This dish is quick and easy, and doesn’t hold back as a flavorful side dish  with Mezzetta peppers, even makes an awesome burger alternative. 

Thinly slice zucchini, lightly coat with olive oil, then lay them out single lay on a grilling pan. Depending on how hot the grill is, they can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes on each side to brown, roughly 10 minutes to cook. 

I sprinkle a generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper, topped with feta cheese and usually I’d do capers. But since it’s summer, color is always better, so Mezzetta mild pepper rings and roasted red peppers add a sweetness with a little kick to the dish.

Typically I’d serve this as a side dish, put my kids absolutely love putting it on a bun and making veggie burgers out of the zucchini, peppers and feta. The smoky flavor gives it a real nice grilled taste, that tricks you into think you’re eating a really gourmet cheese burger.

We add Mezzetta peppers to our salads and burgers, something about the bright yellow and red color that makes it feel like summer. 

Mezzetta has grilled up an awesome Bright Summer Giveaway!!

To enter the Mezzetta Bold, Bright Summer Giveaway visit HERE

Grand Prize (1): Weber® Spirit® E-310™ gas grill (ARV $499.00) + Weber® 3 Piece Tool Set (ARV $22.99) + 5 jars of Mezzetta Peppers + Summer Entertaining Kit (Cooler, Wooden Cutting Board, Apron, Towel, Beachball)

Runner-ups (10): Weber® ORIGINAL KETTLE® 18” charcoal grill (ARV $79.00) + Weber® 3 Piece Tool Set (ARV $22.99) + 5 jars of Mezzetta Peppers + Summer Entertaining Kit (Cooler, Wooden Cutting Board, Apron, Towel, Beachball) 

Dates: May 15th – July 15th, 2016

Many thanks to Mezzetta for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to be a summer grilling guru! 


Gluten Free Cheerios Cookie Dough Cheese Dip + Giveaway

I’m always looking for new summertime snack options, after the first couple weeks of summer pass, I feel like we get into a rut and finding a kid friendly snack that can accommodate all their friends is especially challenging, we have a few with gluten sensitivity. The kids and I came up with an friendly alternative to just plain fruit.

What kid doesn’t like Cheerios, cookie dough, chocolate and bananas?  

So why not add a new twist to your go to favorites, that’s gluten free and yummy! 

Cookie Dough + Cheerios dip 

12 ounces of whipped cream cheese 
1/2 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup powdered sugar  
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 

for dipping

Dried Banana Chips (sweetened)


Combined cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in a bowl, mix until incorporated, then stir in mini-chocolate chips. Place a piece of parchment paper in a bowl, fill with the cream cheese mixture, form into a ball and cool in refrigerator for 2 hours (can be placed in freezer for 45 minutes).

Pour crushed Cheerios into a deep dish baking pan, take out the chilled cream cheese dip ball and roll it in the crushed Cheerios until fully covered.

Place in the middle of a serving dish and surround the dip with banana chips.

total prep time is 90 minutes – 3 hours (depending if you refrigerator to chill or use the freezer for quicker prep time).

Dip Serves 8-10 

All ingredients we purchased at Public Supermarket

I prefer to use a food processor to crush up the Cheerios, a plastic ziplock bag and wood mallet will work just fine too.

Parchment paper is a great non-stick wrap for forming the cookie dough cheese dip into a ball, but plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick cooking spray will do fine.

If you’re short on time, placing the wrapped cookie dough cheese ball in the freezer will speed up the prep time by 75 minutes.

Cover the cookie dough cheese dip ball fully with the crushed Gluten Free Cheerios, looks pretty and makes it easy to pick up and plate it on to the serving dish. More Cheerios, more crunch!
 It’s just so good!


Get the Publix digital coupon and save $1.00 when you purchase 2 select General Mills cereals. 

 $15 giveaway 

I’m giving away $15 to one lucky Ramblings From Utopia reader, simply leave a comment below on your favorite Gluten Free cereal and your email. Winner will be chosen on June 29th and paid via Paypal.

Congratulations the winner!! Shelton.painter
(winner was chosen through random number generator)

 Many thanks to General Mills for sponsoring today’s story and encouraging me to taste this cereal! 


Youth Soccer Injury Protection

Soccer season has ended and lucky for us no major injuries this year, last summer my son was laid up with a broken femur, he’s happy to be back out kicking the ball around with his friends again.

Soccer is the most played sport in the world, counting over 250 million active players and has one of the highest injury rates: more than contact sports like hockey or lacrosse, according to some studies. Yet there has been little equipment to offer protection, leaving millions exposed to risks ranging from turf burns to head injuries.

I prefer to protect my children as much as possible when they’re playing contact sports.

Turf burns are no fun at any age and 56% of all injuries in soccer are skin abrasion related. 

As the speed and physicality of the game intensifies, Storelli wants athletes to prepare with smarter gear and teach athletes about the offensive mindset of wearing protection. 

Check out this Storelli Blog article about Turf Burns written by Dr. Raymond Rocco Monto, the more informed we get the better we can be at protecting our athletes.

Their BodyShield Field Players Sliders and BodyShield Women’s Sliders are #YourSecretWeapon

I feel better knowing mine are protected with the Storelli BodyShield Field Player Sliders (for Men and Youth), the BodyShield Women’s Sliders and the BodyShield Leg Sleeves are perfect for avoiding abrasion related injuries on a number of surfaces, from the best kept grass fields in the world, to lush artificial turf, to some of the hardest soccer conditions out there. 

It won’t keep them from getting a mouth full of grass, but honestly that’s sometimes the only greens I can get my kids to eat.

It’s nice to see him back out there playing, injuries and summer are never a good combination. We prefer friends, laughter and a good time.

“Taking inspiration from the world of extreme sports, Storelli’s apparel line incorporates proprietary, patent-pending technologies and sleek, intelligent design to better absorb impact; minimize and prevent abrasions, cuts and bruises; and take the pain out of the game to enhance performance and enjoyment.” 
 Use the promo code BURN15 to receive 15% off Storelli gear!
Play Safe!

Thank you to Storelli for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to try out a new secret weapon against turf burns!