Posts Tagged ‘Giveaway’
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Today’s giveaway is close to my heart. As many of you probably know, I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in Middle Eastern culture for most of my adult life (thanks to my Middle Eastern hubby), and I’ve come to fall completely in love with both Middle Eastern culture and cuisine.
I’m really excited to be giving away a few of my favorite Middle Eastern goodies today, and I hope that they’ll soon become your favorites as well.
One lucky winner will get everything you see in this post, so let’s get right to the good stuff… (more…)
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
I have a confession. In my world, comfort trumps fashion at least 85% of the time and if left to my own devices, I would live in my comfy workout clothes 24/7. Phew. So glad to get that off my chest. :)
That’s why I was tickled pink when I recently found out about Albion Fit’s line of beautiful and comfortable high-performance fitness wear. I’d call that the best of both worlds.
I was thrilled at the opportunity to try a few of their beautiful pieces for myself, and to host a giveaway for a $150 Albion Fit Gift Card! With Christmas right around the corner, this would make the perfect gift…or gift-to-self if you’re all done shopping for everyone on your list. (more…)
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
(Image above courtesy of Staples.)
Are you a coffee drinker or a tea drinker? Or maybe hot cocoa is more your thing. Whatever you drink that gets you going, it’s likely that you can brew it in a Keurig…I’ve even seen K-Cups for hot spiced cider and iced coffee! (I know, iced coffee. How I love you.) I’ve had a Keurig for about six months and I can tell you that it gets more than its fair share of use; we use it just about every day and sometimes more than once a day. I am absolutely thrilled to be giving away a Keurig! (more…)
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would get excited about vinegar. Vinegar, of all things. Either my life has gotten that dull (lol!) or this vinegar is really that exciting. An eternal optimist, I’m going with scenario two. :)
A couple months ago I received a few oil and vinegar samples from Vom Fass. Right away the name intrigued me; it means “from the cask” and it conjures up an old-world, artisanal feel, doesn’t it? I don’t know what I was expecting when I tried the samples, but whatever it was, everything I tried exceeded all my expectations. Scratch that; everything blew my mind. (more…)
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
Holiday season is in full swing and you are going to love me – I have the perfect holiday gift idea, either for yourself or for any food blogger you know! You are in for a real treat today because I’m sharing my review of Nancy’s beautiful food photography eBook Yummy Pics!
Have you looked back through my archives at my first posts? Focusing in particular on the pictures? (Ironic that I use the word focus, since it seems like I didn’t know about that feature of the camera back then…true story, lol.) Take a look back, and you’ll be amazed at the evolution of my photos.
In large part I credit this to inspiration from my fellow food bloggers; there is no more talented bunch of people that I know of. Throughout my time blogging, I’ve come across many blogs with photos that are nothing short of captivating. These are the blogs that make me not only want to run into the kitchen and make their food, but first grab a cup of coffee and sit down and really delve into their blog because I just don’t want to leave!
Nancy’s breathtaking blog Spicie Foodie is just that. A never-ending source of beauty and inspiration. (more…)
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Salads are one of the best ways to enjoy seasonal produce. This time of year I like including things like fresh apple, pear, pomegranate arils, dried cranberries, walnuts, cheese, and/or diced turkey. The combinations are just about endless. (more…)
Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
My mom has always told me that if you have something nice to say about someone and you don’t say it, you miss a huge opportunity. I can remember so many times when I’ve been a bit down and something a stranger has said or done has lifted my spirits…and so many times it was something as small as smile! Along those lines, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you out there who make my blog worthwhile…to those of you who take the time to read my blog, send me emails, make my recipes, or leave me comments…thank you! You mean the world to me. (more…)
Sunday, August 15th, 2010
The Islamic fasting month of Ramadan is upon us again! This is a time for prayer, reflection, giving charity, and fasting. During Ramadan, fasting includes not only abstaining from food and water, but it also includes abstaining from swearing, gossiping, arguing, etc. During Ramadan fasting is done from sunrise to sunset to teach you patience, discipline, and empathy for others who aren’t as fortunate.
Each day at sunset the fast ends with prayer and then the fast is broken with dates and water. This is followed by a meal called iftar, which usually starts with a first course of soup (traditionally Red Lentil Soup) and then a main course. During Ramadan Mike likes to have substantial meals, usually involving rice. You might remember last year when I made Beef Biryani Stuffed Inside Basmati Rice…this year I’m sharing a different (but equally delicious) form of biryani.
Ramadan Kareem (Generous Ramadan)!
I’m sending this recipe off to Chaya of Sweet and Savory for My Meatless Mondays!
(Yield: About 10 servings)
4 1/2 TB canola oil, divided
3 c basmati rice
1 bay leaf
1 pod cardamom, crushed
2 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, grated
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1/4 c biryani paste (or more to taste)
2 c frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c fresh minced parsley or 1/3 c fresh minced cilantro
1/2 c unsalted almonds or peanuts
Salt and pepper
Optional Things to Serve With This:
Roasted Spiced Chicken
Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce (Raita)
Soak the rice in cold water for about 10 minutes, then drain (alternatively, you can rinse the rice in a colander with cold water until the water runs clear). In a medium pot with a lid, heat 2 TB of oil over medium heat; add the bay leaf, cloves, and cardamom pod and toast until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes). Add the rice and toast until fragrant (about 2 minutes), then add 1/2 tsp of salt and the amount of water specified on the rice’s package, and cook the rice according to the package directions. When the rice is finished cooking, let it sit with the lid on for about 10 minutes before fluffing.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat 2 TB of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion, red and green pepper, carrot, and a dash of salt and pepper, and sauté with the lid on (stirring occasionally) for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until the veggies are tender but not browned. (You might need to add a splash of water to the veggies while cooking if the pan gets too dry.) Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, ginger, biryani paste, and a splash of water; sauté about 2 minutes (stirring constantly) until everything is fragrant. Add the frozen peas and heat another minute or so, just to warm the peas.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 TB oil over medium to medium-high heat; add the nuts and sauté until golden (about 3-4 minutes), stirring frequently.
To serve, combine the fluffed rice, cooked veggies, and parsley (or cilantro if using), and top with the toasted nuts. If desired, serve with roasted spiced chicken, cucumber-yogurt sauce (raita), and/or Salad Shirazi.
I want to thank everyone who participated in my recent Walmart giftcard giveaway! It looks like tomatoes, corn, and berries are a few favorites this time of year! I used a random number generator to determine the winner…
A huge congrats to Nicole of Geek Turned Athlete! Please email me your address and I’ll have your giftcard mailed out.
Sunday, April 4th, 2010
Brandy and I had so many lovely submissions for our All Through the Year Cheer Easter event…please check out the beautiful round-up and winner here!
Giveaway: Just in time for Earth Day (April 22) I recently received a gift package from Green Giant through My Blog Spark, containing a coupon for a free package of Green Giant frozen vegetables, a mini herb garden, a bamboo utensil set, and a 100% recyclable grocery tote.
For over 100 years Green Giant has worked hard to reduce the carbon footprint it leaves. A few of the things that Green Giant has done include reduce the amount of land and water needed to grow vegetables, team up with growers to install a more efficient irrigation system that can reduce water usage, and switch to a more earth-friendly paperboard to package frozen vegetables. This year Green Giant is celebrating Earth Day by giving $200,000 to The Nature Conservatory to help fund a project to encourage greener farming practices to protect the Root River, one of Minnesota’s (where Green Giant is located) best trout streams. If you’d like to win the same prize pack, just leave a comment on this post telling me what you do to help the environment. The giveaway will end on 4/10 at 9PM EST, when I’ll use a random number generator to determine a winner.
Book Review: The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged! by Tosca Reno: Since I loved Tosca’s Eat Clean Cookbook I was thrilled to recently receive a copy of this book to review. This book has over 50 healthy recipes, but the majority of the book is devoted to describing the ins and outs of “clean” eating. One of the most impacting things I got out of the book was what Tosca calls the “Body Beautiful/Body Healthy Formula.” According to this formula, a beautiful and healthy body results from 80% nutrition + 10% training + 10% genetics. Tosca put it best when she said “nutrition is far more responsible for creating your shape and your health than you ever could have imagined”!
In the book, 8 principles of clean eating are discussed; a few of these principles include eating more throughout the day, eating breakfast, eating a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates at every meal, eating enough healthy fats every day, and carrying a cooler packed with clean foods each day. From my own personal experience, I have noticed that eating breakfast is the most important eating habit for me, not only to start up my metabolism early in the day, but also because it sets the tone mentally for the food choices I make throughout the rest of the day.
Throughout the book Tosca gives a lot of helpful information, such as lists of lean proteins, starchy complex carbs (from both whole grains and vegetables), carbs from fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. A quick reference is given to show healthy portion sizes. Tips for clean shopping are given, including information on how to decipher nutrition labels. Tosca discusses how to eat clean in any situation, including eating at the office, at restaurants, and at parties. To decipher a menu when eating out, Tosca suggests looking for the following key words: baked, grilled, dry-sautéed, broiled, au jus, roasted, poached, or steamed, and avoiding the following: breaded, au gratin (with cheese), casserole, carbonara, creamy, sautéed, tempura, gravy, fried, or bisque.
Tosca describes her cooler plans in detail. Each cooler plan is meant to be a day’s worth of food. There are three different week-long cooler plans listed: (1) hardcore eating plan for rapid results, (2) strict eating plan for best long-term results and year-round maintenance, and (3) a plan to get used to the idea of eating for health and life.
In the book there is a whole litany of benefits that can be expected from clean eating, including a natural detox, lean physique, and constant energy. I think the best motivation for eating clean can be summed up in this quote from the book: “Just as cars do not operate properly on dirty gas, the human body does not function well on poor fuel. Eating foods devoid of nutrients stimulates your craving for more of them, and there is never a real sense of satisfaction in what you have eaten.”
The Recipes: The recipes portion of the book includes the following sections: breakfast, starters, salads, soups/stews, proteins, sides, complete meals, and desserts. Just like Tosca’s Eat Clean Cookbook, the recipes here are simple, focusing on quality ingredients that don’t need a lot of preparation or fuss to make into a delicious dish. I love how a lot of the recipes really seem to teach you the method of making something, but have a lot of leeway for customization. For example, I can imagine any variety of veggies in the Picante Frittata, a multitude of different fruits in the Ultimate Smoothie, and just about any type of legume in Lentil Spread.
The Recipe I Made Right Away: The first recipe I made from this book was Power Balls, which basically look like healthy truffles. I made several substitutions and alterations, mainly to work with what I had on hand (the only substitution I made because of preference was to use honey instead of agave). This recipe was easy to make an only took about 25 minutes from start to finish, including the time it took to roll the balls. They were delicious with a gooey texture and a flavor that reminded me of peanut butter cookie dough.
Power Balls (Adopted from Tosca Reno’s The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged!)
(Yield: 18 (1 TB) balls)
1/2 c unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 c rolled oats
3/4 c dried apricots
1/4 c honey
1/4 c natural, unsweetened peanut butter (I used Smucker’s)
1/4 c sesame seeds
In the bowl of a food processor, combine sunflower seeds and oats; process until they form a grainy powder. Add the apricots and process until they’re completely integrated with the seed/oat mixture. Add the honey and peanut butter and process until the mixture forms a dough-like consistency. Scoop the dough into 1 tablespoon size balls and roll in sesame seeds.