Winner of the Spartan Race Giveaway!

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the Spartan Race registration giveaway is. . .

random 07-13-13

Comment #2. . . Alberto Medellin!

Alberto, please email me at vegologyblog [at] gmail [dot] com to claim your prize!

Congratulations to the winner, and thanks to everyone who entered. If you didn’t win but still want to register for a Spartan Race this year, use the following link to get 15% off your registration:

http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior

Locally Roasted Wedding Favors

So, friends, here’s the thing. I have tried to minimize the impact of the wedding planning on the blog this year, but now that we are just three days away from the wedding, it’s going to be all wedding, all the time. I just can’t focus on anything else! And after the wedding, it’s going to be all honeymoon photos all the time. At least I can promise that some of those photos will be of food, because I just can’t help myself. Sometime in the next two to three weeks, I might post a recipe. But for now, wedding favors!

I am super excited about our wedding favors, and I should be, because they were the first thing we decided on at the very beginning of the planning process. Before I had a dress, a venue, a photographer or a caterer (heck, even before I had a budget), I had the wedding favors all picked out. Kyle and I are thrilled to be giving our guests little packages of locally roasted coffee from Blanchard’s Coffee.

We had a blast getting these together. We wanted something custom made, so we visited the roasting lab earlier this year for a tasting. We watched them roast the Dark as Dark blend while we were there and learned a little about their equipment and business. We tasted several varietals at different roast levels, then blended them together to see what worked together. We ultimately chose a blend and roast that we loved. It was so much fun and so personal!

Unfortunately we recently found out that one of the coffees in our blend is unavailable due to a limited crop. But on the bright side, we got to taste more coffee! Blanchard’s sent us samples of similar coffees and we had a tasting at home to come up with the next best thing. We had a great time again, while tasting in the comfort of our own home, and we feel that we picked another winner. I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as we do!

I am so excited about this because it is just one of the many ways we have been able to use a portion of our wedding budget to support a local business and feature a product that we believe in. Our vision for the wedding celebration is to convey our personalities and interests, while showcasing a well curated collection of products from local businesses, and we aim to get there by making sustainable choices along the way. Blanchard’s is a great local Richmond business and working with them has been awesome.

So would you like to try out our special blend for yourself? I’m giving away one 3-oz. bag of our wedding coffee to one lucky reader. To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post, about anything at all! Tell me how you take your coffee, what you do to support local businesses, or why you love Richmond. Give me some marriage advice. Tell me a joke. Introduce me to your cat. Whatever you want!

Because I plan to tell you whatever the heck I want to for the next few weeks. Then, when the wedding stuff is over, maybe I’ll give you a recipe for Three Sisters Soup, or tell you about my first time using habanero peppers, or show you what a Turks Turban squash looks like.

Leave your comment by 11:59 PM on Saturday, October 20th for your chance to win.

This giveaway is not sponsored by Blanchard’s Coffee; I’m just feeling generous.

Get Your Free Relay Foods Virginia’s Bounty Basket!

To thank me for writing a message of support for the Go With Bo campaign, my friends at Relay Foods are offering a special deal for Veg:ology readers.

They are offering a FREE Virginia’s Bounty Basket to ALL Veg:ology readers who want to give Relay Foods a try.

You can discover a wide variety of locally grown produce in this amazing mixed basket, which is also available for weekly refills, similar to a CSA share. Just to give you an idea of what is included in the basket, which changes every week, here is what was included in the Richmond basket, half share, for the week of 9/17/12:

  • Harvest Hill Farm Sweet Potatoes, about 1 lb. (2)
  • Harvest Hill Farm Collard Greens, per bunch (1)
  • Henley’s Orchard York Apples – Half Gallon (1)
  • Local Food Hub Red Juliet Tomatoes, 1 pint (1)
  • Local Food Hub Carrots, 1 lb. (2)
  • Harvest Hill Farm Virginia-Grown Yellow Squash, about 1 lb. (1)
  • Local Food Hub Red Leaf Lettuce, 1 head (2)
  • Local Food Hub Red Bell Peppers (2)
  • Vintage Virginia Apples Heirloom Apples, about 1 lb. (2)
  • Local Food Hub Yellow Onions, about 1 lb. (1)
  • Harvest Hill Farm Large Eggplant, each. (1)

To claim the offer, simply visit RelayFoods.com, build an order for one Virginia’s Bounty Basket, half share (retail value $40) plus $10 worth of additional groceries, and enter the promotional code RelayVeg at checkout. The cost of the basket will then be deducted from your total. You can select your pickup date and location, then after Relay does the shopping for you, pick up your groceries from one of their friendly employees.

It’s that easy!

Please note that you do have to live in the Relay Foods service area, and their minimum order amount is $50 so you do have to order additional groceries to take advantage of this offer.
I recommend closing the gap with some of my favorite local products:

  • Blanchard’s Coffee whole bean coffee
  • NoBull veggie burgers
  • Homestead Creamery milk
  • Twin Oaks organic tofu
  • The Farm at Red Hill salsa
  • Montana Gold Bread Co. 9-Grain Bread
  • Bearer Farms’ Local Wildflower Honey

So, tell me!

Have you tried Relay Foods before? Will you try the Virginia’s Bounty Basket? If you have tried it, what did you think?

Winner! OXO Salad Dressing Shaker Giveaway

We have a winner!

Today I used a random number generator from random.org to select the winner of my OXO Salad Dressing Shaker giveaway. You might recall that OXO recently sent me two salad dressing shakers from their Healthy Eating Tools product line. Check out my review and my lemon thyme vinaigrette recipe here.

And the lucky winner is. . .

Liz from I ❤ Vegetables

Liz, email me to claim your prize!

Thank you to everyone who shared their favorite salad dressings and followed vegology and OXO on Twitter. If you haven’t shared your favorite yet, keep them coming. Liz needs recipes for her new shaker!

Thyme for a Giveaway: OXO Salad Dressing Shaker!

Fact: The best time to hit someone with a groan-worthy pun is when you are about to give them something. Who can complain about your corny sense of humor in the face of such generosity?

OXO recently sent me two free salad dressing shakers from the OXO Healthy Eating Tools product line: one to review and one for you! I was really excited when the package arrived in the mail. I am a big fan of OXO products and this salad dressing shaker is the perfect complement to my OXO salad spinner. I couldn’t wait to test it out.

When I make a dressing, I usually whisk it together in a bowl then transfer it to a large liquid measuring cup with a spout to pour. Then when I have leftovers I transfer the dressing again to a smaller container with a lid. That is three containers for one batch of dressing. Since I still do not own a dishwasher, this is a significant consideration. I must say, it is really convenient to have one tool for mixing, serving and storing my salad dressing.

I experimented with a brand new recipe when I put OXO’s shaker to the test.

First, add liquid ingredients. The measuring lines make proportions easy.

Next, add non-liquid ingredients and screw the lid on top of the shaker.

This is a picture of my chest. Also, a salad dressing shaker.

Shake it.

Is it hot in here?

Finally, the dressing is ready to use! Simply open the toggle top and pour to serve. The airtight, watertight, leakproof seal makes it easy to close up and store in the refrigerator with no mess.

This dressing was fantastic. While the tool was awesome, I don’t think it had much to do with the initial taste. I think the great flavor was a classic case of the right dressing, in the right place, and the right time. I created this fresh lemon and thyme vinaigrette to complement all my favorite spring flavors. I think you could pair this dressing with just about any fresh vegetable (or fruit) you find at the farmers’ market this weekend and it would be delicious. Even strawberries! Especially asparagus! If you’re lucky enough to find them, the last of the winter greens! How could you go wrong with these ingredients to start?

Garlic, lemon zest, dijon, salt, pepper, thyme. Olive oil, white wine vinegar, and perfectly tart fresh lemon juice. This dressing was composed with asparagus and eggs in mind. It was inspired by hollandaise and kept in check by bikini season, which will be here before you know it. I served the vinaigrette over a spinach salad with roasted asparagus and leeks, fresh radishes, and hard boiled eggs.

The recipe follows, but because I know the anticipation is killing you, let’s do the giveaway first. One lucky reader will receive his or her own OXO salad dressing shaker. This contest is open to U.S. residents only. There are three ways to get entries, so you could have up to three entries into the giveaway, as long as you leave a separate comment for each one.

  1. Write a comment on this post telling me your favorite type of salad or salad dressing.
  2. Follow @vegology on Twitter, write a comment on this post telling me you did, and include your Twitter handle.
  3. Tweet at @OXO that you entered a giveaway on vegology to win a salad dressing shaker and write a comment on this post with a link to your tweet. (Sample tweet: “I entered to win an @OXO salad dressing shaker at @vegology because it’s thyme to shake it!”)

All entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on Monday, May 7th in order to qualify. I will announce the winner next week!

So, how about that recipe?

Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sugar, honey or sugar substitute
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Combine ingredients in OXO salad dressing shaker. Close lid tightly.
  2. Shake until thoroughly mixed then serve dressing over your favorite salad.
  3. Store in refrigerator (up to 3 days) in the salad dressing shaker.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

And We’re Back!

I have internet again!

New year, new house, new internet connection – with incredibly fast download speed. I couldn’t be happier.

Also. . . new header! How do you like it?

And unfortunately for one reader (and fortunately for you!) the winner of the Good Cookie gift pack giveaway has not contacted me so I fired up the old random number generator again and picked a new recipient. And the winner is. . .

Katrina!

Katrina, please email me your mailing address at vegologyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you didn’t win the giveaway and you want an OXO Good Cookie spatula, you can visit OXOgoodcookies.com to find a retailer in your area that may have one. This limited edition spatula is sold out online at OXO.com but I hear they still have them at select Bed, Bath and Beyond stores.

And now that we’re back up and running (new kitchen and new internet – woo hoo!), you can expect some more recipe posts. I have a healthy new version of a classic comfort food that I’m looking forward to sharing with you later this week. I hope it will satisfy those cheesy, buttery comfort food cravings without completely derailing you from any healthy living resolutions for 2012.

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and OXO Giveaway

Being in the midst of the holiday season means that we are also in the season of giving, the season of baking, and the season of eating delicious treats until the buttons on our pants pop off. That is why this giveaway couldn’t come at a better time. As the days  left in December fly off the calendar and we prepare for a new year, let’s continue the giving and keep baking while we’re at it.

I recently received some information from OXO about their charity, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Founded by two OXO employees, this organization raises money to fund research on new therapies for pediatric cancer. By baking cookies and holding bake sales, supporters around the country raise funds that are then matched by OXO through December 31st of this year. Check out their website here: OXO Good Cookies.

As a part of my recent foray into the world of baking, I developed my first cookie recipe, and I think this is the perfect occasion to share it with you! My Mocha Coconut Cookies are inspired by my sister, who once had a love affair with a Starbucks Frappuccino of the same name. I created this recipe for Meghan, who is a bit of a philanthropist herself. Throughout college she worked with her sorority to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. She is a proud cheerleader for my Dad’s efforts with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Ever since she was a little girl, she has felt a responsibility to protect and nurture all creatures, great and small. Especially the small. From taking in stray kittens to rescuing stray broccoli (“baby trees”) from the grim fate of being tossed in the garbage disposal, Meghan sweats the small stuff, so to speak.

I think Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a charity Meg would really get behind, so I hope that she is honored to share the dedication of the recipe with this great organization. Boyfriend-tested and coworker-approved, this one is a keeper. These delicious cookies are light and fluffy like a dollop of whipped cream and rich and chocolatey like mocha syrup. To top it off, they include that tender flake of coconut and bitter hint of espresso that makes Meghan’s favorite (non-alcoholic) frozen drink so delightful.

Meghan’s Mocha Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 tsp coconut extract for true coconut lovers
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups sweetened flaked or shredded coconut

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the first six ingredients, flour through salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy.
  4. To the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla and coconut extracts.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly. Fold in the chocolate chips and flaked coconut.
  6. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated over for 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

And now for a gift to you! OXO has been generous enough to provide me with an additional FREE Be A Good Cookie spatula for one lucky veg:ology reader. Let me tell you, this spatula is the bomb dot com. It is perfect for cookies and all my sweet treats lifted off the baking sheets with ultimate ease. And I’m going to throw in a few cookie ingredients to sweeten the deal.

There are two ways to get entries in the contest to win a Good Cookie gift pack, complete with an OXO Be A Good Cookie spatula and an assortment of my favorite cookie ingredients:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite type of cookie to receive one entry.
  2. Visit www.oxogoodcookies.com and register your own bake sale to benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer*. Leave a comment on this post with the name you registered your bake sale under to receive two additional entries.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 11:59 PM. I will use a random number generator to select and announce the winner on Wednesday, December 28th. Good luck and happy baking!

*OXO has pledged to match the proceeds of all bake sales held through December 31, 2011. However the fun does not stop there; feel free to register a bake sale in 2012 and continue the giving into the new year.