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It’s casting season, I’ve received two emails this week about TV shows looking for hard core foodies to try out for shows.  Oddly enough, both involve travelling all over the country while cooking.  I would love to have the opportunity to see more of the USA, get my mug on TV, and cook to my heart (and stomach’s) content.

I wish.

Too many strings attached to me, two of them in particular kinda need me on a daily basis.

2014-05-26 19.16.27

 

So I will share these with you instead.
Pressure Cooker Flyer

6-4-2014 11-29-23 AM

 

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bigchillCollage

Enter to win two tickets to The Big Chill!

It’s the coolest event in the hot Texas summer: the Big Chill! Join the Austin Food Blogger Alliance for a night to remember.

Dress up and cool down with chilly bites from some of Austin’s top restaurants in the beautiful Bullock Texas State History Museum. Chefs from top Austin restaurants—including The Carillon, No Va, St. Philip, Dolce Neve, Celtic Seafare, Nada Moo, Soup Peddler, Pleasant Storage Room, Swift’s Attic, Thai Fresh, Trace at the W, and Noble Sandwich Co.—will be creating special menu items for the event, with drink stations sponsored by Good Pop and Chameleon Coffee.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Meals on Wheels and More, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Meals on Wheels and More has served the Austin area for 42 years, nourishing and enriching the lives of people in need through meal delivery and other programs that promote independent living.

Event information:

Thursday, June 26 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Bullock Texas State History Museum
800 N. Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701

Total prize value: $130
Must be over 21 to attend the event.

Enter below to win now through June 15th, and don’t forget to follow along on Twitter and Instagram: #AFBABigChill

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CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO ENTER TO WIN!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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You’re thinking What the heck does Roller Derby have to do with food? Right?  Me.  That’s what!

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I’ve joined the Round Rock Roller Derby League called the Rockin’ City Rollergirls and aspire to be hell on eight wheels.  You know, when I’m not playing with the kids, donating blood, or baking cookies in my undies.  But seriously, derby is a motivation to get my tired aging ass back in reasonable shape.   I want to be able to walk up stairs without huffing and puffing by the fourth stair.  I used to swim every day in college, my muscles have been left to waste away to mush.

Mom, don’t worry, I have safety gear and a mouth guard.  Hmm, that also reminds me… You know why derby is awesome?  There’s no one to tell me “no, you can’t”, like those volleyball teams did all those years ago.  If you want to skate, you skate.  If you quit, that’s you’re own fault!

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for: winning two tickets to the Homecoming Brawl!  This is happening in Round Rock at Austin Sports Arena on Sept 22 at 11:30am.  Kids under 12 are free at the door!  Bonus, right?!?  All you have to do is leave a comment below, and if you’re into derby, tell me your favorite team and/or skater.  Be sure to use your real email address when leaving a comment so I can find you if you win!

Winner takes 2 free tickets, contest closes Sept 15th!

roller-derby1

 

Related: Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan’s Paleo Cookbook!

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While mailing berries would be difficult, instead I have coupons for you to win.  I have three $5 coupons for three lucky readers!  To enter, you must live in the continental USA (otherwise you could not use your prize!).  Contest closes June 5, 2013 at 11:59pm.

What to make with those berries?  Here’s an idea for you!

Raspberry Quinoa Bars

 vegan raspberry bars

Crumb:
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 cup shredded coconut (toasted)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups quinoa flakes
3 Tbsp cane sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2/3 c coconut oil

Filling:
3 cup Driscoll’s raspberries
1-2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Toast the shredded coconut as the oven warms up, just until lightly golden, about 5-10 minutes. Wash the berries and pat dry with paper towel. Mash the raspberries and set them in a fine mesh strainer to let any excess liquid drip out, don’t force the juices just let gravity work.  Line a square (preferably metal) 8×8″ pan with parchment paper, this will make it super easy to get the bars out later.

Combine the dry ingredients of the crumb mixture with a whisk. Add about 1/2 cup of the coconut oil and work it into the flours and spices. Using your hands, rub and mash the mixture until it resembles a coarse damp sand. Add a tablespoon of the coconut oil at a time until you like the texture of the crumb.

Pat about 2/3rds of the crumb into the pan. You want it to stick together but hold yourself back from compressing the bottom layer too much.

Take the raspberries to a bowl, keep the juices collected in a clean jar in your fridge until you can make something with it. Don’t waste anything! Stir in the other filling ingredients. Spread the berry filling evenly over the bottom crust in the pan.

(option: add a bit more cinnamon to the remaining crumb mixture and some honey) Lightly sprinkle the remaining crumb on top of the filling. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes (it will depend on the type of pan and your oven).

Let it cool completely before removing it from the pan, you can put the whole pan in the fridge to cool the pan before picking up the parchment ends to remove the bars. Cut into squares or bars and keep refrigerated up to 3 days (if they last that long!). Best served the day you make them.

Chef’s Notes: With the quantities of quinoa and coconut listed in this version, it seemed like there wasn’t enough of the crumb to go around. Next time, I will use 2 cups of quinoa flakes and 2/3 cup shredded coconut. The toasted bits of coconut give hints of a nutty flavor and crunch that is missing due to the absent oats.

ENTER TO WIN HERE

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Giveaway: Jade Monk Tea

jade monk tea giveaway 2013

I met the folks of Jade Monk Tea at TECHmunch this year.  They offered samples for a giveaway and I was excited to share this with you, lovely readers!

I tried the Lime Blossom cold tea.  It’s as light as a feathery lime petal as the name suggests.  Matcha is whole-leaf tea which allows you to enjoy the full potential of your beverage.  From Jade Monk’s website:

Regulating inflammation, in particular, has become a hot topic. Jade Monk® helps control the activation of proteins associated with the body’s inflammatory response-COX-2 and inflammatory cytokines-which appears to help thwart arteriosclerosis and other diseases.

Pretty nifty!

I have a variety pack to give away to one lucky reader.  How do you win your box of matchawesomeness?

ENTER HERE

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copyright 2013 heather santos

So excited to share with my dear readers about the community cookbook that the local food bloggers put together!  Right about now the press machines are getting primed to crank out hundreds of copies of our beautiful collaboration.

Addie Broyles is the mastermind behind this project.  There is something about a real book, a tangible chronicle that will become a foodie time capsule, which is lacking from the on-line food love affair we all share.  Addie had a vision and asked the other Austin food bloggers (dare I say writers?) to join her in this huge undertaking.  I loved the idea and jumped in, a bit over zealously too, Addie had to remind me she was only asking for two recipes in the first round.  I was madly entering anything I’d ever scribbled down in my kitchen notebook hoping one shred of it would end up in the book.

I still don’t know for sure what made the cut, but at least one recipe did.  Wouldn’t you like to find out what it was?  Don’t you want to see what a bunch of volunteers can pull together on short notice?  Well, I’ll give you that chance.  I’m giving away one copy of the book to one lucky reader.  The best part is that I’m willing to mail this cookbook anywhere! Hurry, contest closes April 30th!

ENTER TO WIN HERE!

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I’ll come right out and say that Gevalia wanted to send me coffee to test and write about their products.  Sure!  Who doesn’t like free stuff?  I’m normally a tea drinker at work and rarely prepare coffee at home.  I usually leave coffee to the baristas, it tastes better when someone else makes it.  However, this Gevalia Stockholm Roast Kaffe was so smooth, almost sweet, that I’ve renewed my hopes of finding a coffee palatable for home brewing.  I might be way off the path here, but this is my opinion after all.

I know there are local coffee vendors, hint hint, but Gevalia was the first to find me in the blogosphere.  Kudos for being first!

I’m always elated when a parcel arrives.  I also love to share the giddiness, therefore I will give one of my readers the joy of a box of coffee to enjoy while reading my blog.  Join the throngs of contestants by leaving a comment below with your favorite time of day to sip a cup o’ jo.

This coffee was also good iced.  Since Texas is too darn hot 98% of the time, this is the mode of choice for the barista prepared caffeine beverages I like.  Make a frosty with it and you are my new BFF!  Again, very little sugar was required.

Don’t know what else you can do with coffee?  Ever baked with it?  I got the idea from the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), you know, that episode where she made chocolate cupcakes with a ganache and put coffee in the second batch (or maybe the first… I don’t recall the order of the batches).  Her friend took the “A” batch and the “B” batch to a pack of drooling women confined to a conference room without natural light (this can bring out the PMS in any woman forced to conference chocolateless).  Anyways, guess which cupcakes tasted better?  The ones with the coffee, of course.  I must say, it does highlight the flavour of chocolate, especially dark chocolate.  If you have a chocolate cake recipe you like that calls for water or milk, try using a strong brew of coffee as the liquid (keep some portion of the milk if called for, the acidity might be a key factor).  Try Paula Deen’s Texas Sheet cake using this swap!

If only they could send that Swedish guy (who is really an actor from Cali, but hey) with the coffee….

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* Contest Rules *

Open to US and Canadian residents

Please include your email address in the comment submission form or I can’t find you if you win!  To clarify: you don’t have to put your email in the comment field, include it in the form field *above* the comment and *below* your name.  Sorry for any confusion 🙂

Leave a comment once per day until contest closes on Oct 19, 2012.

Bonus entry if you Tweet this post, leave 1 extra comment for a Tweet.

Winner: 35th comment!

Thanks everyone who entered!

Update: The winner doesn’t want the coffee.  I’m drawing again:

Congratulations #9!   I’m sure you really want the coffee, not links, comments, and such like the last person….

OK, people… use real email addresses when entering contests.  Second person either doesn’t exist or doesn’t care.  Let’s try this one more time I will pick #28 my favorite number because random.org  isn’t working right now.  So the winner (hopefully) is Jennifer!  I will be contacting you shortly!

 

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The Austin Food & Wine Festival is long over now but I’m still enjoying one of the foods I sampled: peanut butter.

Two peanut butters actually.  White Chocolate Wonderful and The Bee’s Knees, which is infused with honey.  The flavor of The Bee’s Knees takes me back to my childhood when my busy parents made me peanut butter and honey toast in the summer.  We used to let a local bee keeper harvest honey from the boxes they installed in our clover fields.  It was a win-win agreement, more bees means better clover crops, better crops means more honey, more honey donated back to us!  We would get white plastic pails full of honey.  It was to die for when fresh and still liquid enough to pour.  If you think it’s a b&$%* getting hard honey out of those little bears, try dealing with a couple of gallons of hard honey.  Nevermind all that, just buy yourself a jar of this stuff and you’re done…

Want a jar for free?  Well, I happen to have one to give away to one lucky winner!  Rules are below:

  1. To ENTER to win a jar of The Bee’s Knees peanut butter leave a comment on this post, once per day allowed per person.
  2. You must live in the continental USA or Canada.
  3. No P.O. boxes, need a real address to ship you your prize.
  4. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.
  5. Winner has 4 days to respond after the contest closes on June 11, 2012 at noon (CDT) and winner is announced on this page.

Simple enough, eh?  Now for the recipes I came up with using these peanut butters.  You won’t hurt my feelings if you eat the whole lot straight out of the jar, this stuff is dangerous.  Otherwise, try one of these recipes.

Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

It’s been years since I ate satay in The Netherlands with chips and mayo on the side.  I’ve wanted to try making it at home for a while and took The Bee’s Knees for a spin with it.

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 red chilies, if dry soak in hot water and remove seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 3/4 cup The Bee’s Knees Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat the oil in a small pan.  Chop the chilies very fine and add to the oil.  Add the garlic, lemon zest, ginger and coriander.  Stir until fragrant.  Add The Bee’s Knees peanut butter, water, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and whisk smooth.  Add more water if you want it thinner.

Serve with grilled chicken or pork kebabs, fried egg rolls, or just over rice.

PB&J Smoothie

This might sound weird but the kids liked it and so did I!

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaica flower syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup crushed ice, divided
  • 1 banana
  • 4 tablespoons The Bee’s Knees Peanut Butter

In a blender combine the strawberries, 1/3 cup of yogurt, Jamaica flower syrup and 1/2 cup of the ice.  Blend until smooth.  Pour out and reserve in a large cup or measuring cup.  You should have about two cups of the “jelly” smoothie.  Now for the “peanut butter” half of the drink!

In the blender combine the remaining ice, yogurt, banana, and White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter.  Blend until smooth and frothy.  This is also about 2 cups after blending.

Layer the two flavors in each glass to create a PB & J Smoothie.

White Chocolate Wonderful Cream Cheese Frosting on Gluten Free Cupcakes

Cupcakes rock.  Peanut butter is awesome.  This was fun to create!

  • 8 ounces soft cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Beat the cream cheese to get it smooth.  Add the peanut butter and beat smooth again.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the confectioner’s sugar, add more to get a good frosting consistency.  Top some vanilla or chocolate cupcakes with the frosting and enjoy.

Full disclosure: I offered to write about Peanut Butter & Co in exchange for sample product.  These are my thoughts about the product and actual food that I made using the products mentioned in the recipes.

Crystal wins!

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We were out at the Outlet Mall (almost as bad as the real mall) shopping for gifts for the parents in November.  In one of the kitchen stores, I scoured every isle and every shelf searching for a cookie press to make my spritz cookies.  I gave up, the kids were looking at me like I was mad (the crazy kind not the about-to-blow-my-top kind).  I happened to turn around while leaving the store to hold the door open.  “THAT’S IT!”  I scream-whispered to Hubby.  “That’s the cookie press I was looking for all over the store!”  By then we had hit the point where the kids started acting like little animals, they needed to be fed.  I didn’t want to spend a moment more at the outlets either.

A couple of weeks went by and I decided to pick up a cookie press I found at the grocery store, a seasonal item sitting among the oven mitts, cookie cutters, and festive cupcake papers.  I tried the first batch of cookies, cleaned it up, and it’s been living on the kitchen counter ever since.

Little did I know, Hubby was listening to me at the mall.

Christmas came and I unwrapped Hubby’s gift (he even bought new paper to wrap it in).  An electric cookie press and piping tool.  Everything works better as a power tool, obviously cookie making and cake frosting needed an extra boost of horsepower too.  I thanked him profusely for the very thoughtful gift and that I would return my manual press or give it to his mom.

On the way home, Hubby confessed he had kept the receipt in case I wanted something else.  I liked his gift.  I liked the idea of faster, maybe more consistent, cookies.  Plus it was multi-purpose!  I opened the box and found a recipe booklet, several different flavours of cookie batter are included, as well as pâte à choux!  Awesome.  This will be a swell addition to kitchen toy island.

Now the manual cookie press needs a new home.

Giveaway!

All these contests have rules, so here it how to enter to win this cookie press (used once to subdue my craving for spritz)

  • Follow my blog (leave 1 comment for this)
  • Like Cardamom Finnish Cottage Bakery on Facebook (leave 1 comment for this)
  • Follow midnitechef on Twitter (leave 1 comment for this)

Choose any or all methods, maximum of three entries until contest closes Jan 14th, 2012

You must live in Canada or continental USA to win.  Random.org will be used to select the winner.

UPDATE:

The lucky comment is #1, that means The Edmonton Tourist!

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If you are a local Austin reader, this is the contest for you!

Be the 100th fan on Facebook

& win a free loaf of Finnish Pulla Bread!

* Must live in the Round Rock / Austin area to win this giveaway*

Go to http://www.facebook.com/CardamomFinnishCottageBakery and click Like

Good Luck!

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