Monday, August 30, 2010

Peppadew Giveaway! Peppadew Giveaway! Peppadew Giveaway!

I am SO EXCITED about this giveaway! 
Peppadew International  is one of my favorite gourmet pepper lines, so much so that I can honestly say that I love all of their products. How often can you say that?  Peppadew was one of the first gourmet food lines I carried in my retail store and customers absolutely fell in love with them. 

So what exactly is Peppadew International?  Peppadew is a South African company that has designed a line of gourmet products from the sweet piquanté pepper.  They have found a way to balance the sweetness with the spice and keep the pepper crisp all at the same time.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the peppers!  Here is a link that will give you more information on just what made Peppadew a top ten out of 50,000 at the NY Fancy Food Show in 2003.

 I must admit that at times my lunch consisted of only Peppadew Potato Chips. I love the thicker cut of the chip which is coated with a special blend of that sweet and spicy goodness.  I swear after your first bite you will not be able to eat just one of these.  I love to use the chip in place of crackers also for things such as chicken or tuna salad.  YUM!  I also love the Splash-On-Sauce hot sauce which takes your food to the next level whether it be on eggs, ethnic dishes, soup, beans, meats or cheeses. Whatever you can think of to try this on , the food will definately be complemented by any of the pepper products and will make food dance in your mouth.       
So, for this great giveaway there will be 3 winners!  Yes, I said 3!  How great is that??!!!  The giveaway will begin today, August 30 and run through September 10, 2010.  Complete the two little requirements to be eligible for the giveaway:

1.)  Follow my blog and post a comment that you have done so.

2.)  Visit the Peppadew site and let me know what products you would love to have in your kitchen.  Post a comment on my blog telling me which products caught your eye. 

The winners will be chosen at random on September 10, 2010 and notified via email. 
Good Luck!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Toasted Pine Nut Lemon/Blueberry Mini Bundt. Yes, I Am Impressed With Myself!

A baker I am not.  I generally don't like to bake because I have had more flops than rave reviews.  Don't get me wrong, most of the time anything I try to bake tastes perfectly yummy, however, I have never claimed to be Picasso, O'Keeffe, Monet or even Duff.  Baking induces anxiety in me kind of like Finite did in college. In baking, everything needs to be precise and measured.  I don't like to measure or follow recipes. I consider myself to be more of a free spirit when it comes to cooking - no measuring, no rules, no recipes = perfection in the kitchen.

Having rambled enough, I had fresh blueberries I was itching to do something with.  Blueberry anything is my favorite and I was craving blueberry muffins but wanted something more filling (so I wouldn't eat half a dozen at one time) and opted for mini bundt cakes.  I took a basic recipe and altered it to what I had on hand and thought might actually turn out well.  This was a big risk for me (see opening note) so I actually measured what I added and wrote it down (another big deal for me since I rarely write my recipes down).  What I came up with was a Toasted Pine Nut  Lemon/Blueberry Mini Bundt Cake and just let me say HOW VERY IMPRESSED WITH MYSELF I AM! 

Toasted Pine Nut Lemon/Blueberry Mini Bundt Cakes
1/3 cup  Butter - softened
2  Eggs - room temperature
1  Lemon juiced & pulp
2 T.  Lemon zest
1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Milk (use whole or 2 %)
2 cups Fresh Blueberries
1 cup Pine Nuts - Toasted
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees and grease and flour pan

Mix flour, baking soda and salt in bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each egg.  Add lemon juice with pulp and lemon zest.  Alternate adding milk and flour a little at a time and mix well (don't over mix though).

Fold in blueberries and toasted pine nuts.  Pour into pan and bake approx. 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

*Tip for toasting nuts - Put nuts in skillet over medium heat and toss continuously.  When you start to smell their nutty fragrance they are done.  It's very easy to burn nuts while toasting so don't walk away.

Note - I'm still finding it hard to eat just one!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Palm Plates Biodegradable Review

First, let me start this post by thanking Justin Marx at Marx Foods for the sample of the Palm Plates.  I had forgotten that I was going to be receiving them so it was a great surprise when UPS came to the door!  I was expecting a small box or envelope with a plate - yes, 1 plate - so I was shocked when a decent sized box was packed with several plates of different sizes.

After opening the box, I have to admit that the top few plates were not the prettiest things I had seen.  They actually looked like they had been used and  picked out of the trash (sorry Justin, you said to be honest) and boxed.  Even my son, who was home from college, thought I had a pile of plates to be thrown away (again, sorry Justin) when I questioned why he wasn't using them.  This is where the old saying "don't judge a book by its cover" comes in (it's going to get really good Justin).  This is one of the prettier plates!

Palm Plates are a disposable and biodegradable plate made from leaves that have fallen from the Adaka palm tree.  The leaves are not picked or cut off nor is the tree cut down for this process, they are actually gathered from the ground and so the process begins. Please visit their site to read about the rest of the green production process.

The plates are not all the same size or thickness due to the natural product, so I knew there would be variations in this as well as the color of each plate.  I picked them up and inspected several and was almost convinced these were not disposable due to how sturdy they were.  The thought even crossed my mind to wash them when finished with dinner (I still might try this with the couple I have left) just to see how well they hold up to water.  I would love to try the bowls to hold soup or cereal!  Yes, Palm Plates even makes bowls, utensils, several shapes of plates and entire place settings - everything you need except the drinkware for your next soiree.

Not only was I impressed with how sturdy the plates were, the smallest size I tried held a TON of food.  The picture below has at least 2 cups of melon, a container of yogurt, a small bagel and the scattering of blueberries. As you can see, there is still room for plenty more on that plate!  These plates would hold a Thanksgiving feast no problem without the need to refill. 

Needless to say, I absolutely love these plates!  After getting past "the face only a mother could love",  I looked deeper and found true beauty.  I would use these every meal if I could get away with it (told you it would get better Justin).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Food Giveaway

I am so excited to be able to be offering a food giveaway very soon!  Several years ago I owned a retail  business that offered gourmet food products and had a few favorites that I  really got hooked on.  I wanted to be able to promote some of those companies with a giveaway and share the goodness!  Details coming soon!