Category Archives: Giveaway

Caramelized Coffee Spiced Chicken & Giveaway ~ Rachel

Greetings everyone!

I’m still alive, I promise. I can’t seem to get a leg up on much of anything these days so until I do, my postings might be a little sparse. To hold you over to the next post, I’m posting a couple of our wedding photos, an awesome recipe, and a giveaway! Can you beat that???

First, a few wedding pictures (click on them to get the bigger version):

Photo by Stephanie Spencer Photography

Photo by Stephanie Spencer Photography

Photo by Stephanie Spencer Photography

Photo by Stephanie Spencer Photography

Second, an awesome recipe:

You’ve probably heard me mention my most favorite store, Savory Spice Shop? Well, a couple of weeks ago we stopped in to see if they had espresso powder. I was making fancy brownies in our new “all edges” brownie pan and the recipe called for espresso powder, which I couldn’t find in any grocery store. Apparently, it simply enhances the chocolate flavor and does not mess up the recipe if you don’t have it. ANYWAYS…Savory Spice didn’t have espresso powder but they had a couple of new spice blends with coffee in them. One of them was the Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice and it was suggested that we use that in place of the espresso powder. Well…we did and the brownies were awesome…and we also picked up the recipe for Caramelized Coffee Spiced Chicken.

I made that the other night, substituting boneless skinless chicken breasts for thighs, and served it over some jasmine rice. In the words of Dave, dinner was <expletive> awesome….he wants to put the glaze on everything. Which brings me to…

Third, a giveaway:

I’m going to hold a giveaway to try and bring back my readers from the post-less abyss I banned them to (at least in terms of our blog here). The winner will receive a 4oz. bottle of the Baker’s Brew Coffee Spice and a 4oz. bottle of a spice or spice blend of their choice! All from Savory Spice Shop! All you have to do is go to the Savory Spice Shop website, drool over all the awesome spices and recipes, pick one or two of your favorites, and leave a comment here telling me what you picked and why! Leave your comment by Thursday, December 22nd at 5pm and I’ll pick a winner on Friday the 23rd! I can’t promise you’ll get the spices before 2012 but I won’t make you wait too long.

Now…back to reality….I’m hitting up my first Weight Watchers meeting in months tomorrow morning….weigh-in ain’t gonna be pretty!

Detox Diet, Days 5 & 6 ~ Rachel

Before I tell you all about my fascinating life (*sarcasm*), I want to announce that the winner of the Hungry Girl cookbook was Lisa from Karma Per Diem! I only had 3 people enter the giveaway but that didn’t make Lisa any less excited about winning! She’s actually hosting her first giveaway on her blog so go check it out! Be careful…she posts some incredibly recipes that will leave your salivary glands working on overdrive!

I’ll probably do another giveaway in October that y’all will want to be sure to enter…let’s just say that it involves my favorite store in Raleigh (hint: they sell spices) and a few of my favorite things (hint: spices are involved).


I started Friday morning with my normal omelet and headed off to the gym. Five minutes warm-up on the Arc Trainer was a bad idea…my foot was screaming. Strength training was fine though! I then attempted 15 minutes on the stationary bike….my foot felt just kind of ok while doing it but when I got off the bike and set foot on land, there were sharp pains.  I’m thinking of taking water aerobics on Monday morning just so I can get some cardio in without screaming pain. We’ll see if I can get my act together in time to do that (I have to wash my old sneakers so I can grip the pool floor). I do not relish the thought of putting on a swimsuit.

The rest of Friday went pretty well even though I was in the kitchen a fair amount. I made low-fat chocolate chip zucchini muffins for Dave and a couple of other beneficiaries. They smelled incredible but I found that I wasn’t ravaged by cravings. I only felt a pang of craving when I was bagging them up for my Aunt but that quickly passed. The muffins were a success, apparently, as was my hummus!

According to Mark Bittman, who I will now consult on a regular basis because I trust him, you shouldn’t soak the chickpeas with baking soda. He also didn’t say anything about soaking them overnight and then again for additional hours. So I soaked them overnight in cold water and then on low in the crockpot for about  hours (Karen told me that trick). They were perfect! I baptized my new food processor and went to town making hummus. Um…it could not have been any easier! The result was fantastic. HOWEVER, the result was high in points. It was 10 points for a heaping 1/4 cup of hummus! I knew it was too good to be true! The problem was that the recipe called for 6oz of olive oil. I now know from others that (a) that seems like way too much and (b) I could probably get away without using the olive oil at all. DOH! No wonder the hummus was fantastic! So I need to mess around and perfect a points-friendly hummus recipe before I post it. At least I now know how to soak and cook chickpeas (and other beans). That crock pot of mine might be my favorite kitchen appliance. Or maybe it’s the food processor. Or maybe it’s my Kitchen Aid mixer. Hmmmm.

Saturday morning began with my normal omelet and a trip to the Farmer’s Market with Dave. This is now a standing “date” where we stop for coffee (or tea for me) on the way, fill up on produce, get Dave his Bavarian pretzels from the German baker and try to avoid all the bees that are flying around the fresh produce (peaches are magnets for them!). Dave also buys me a bouquet of flowers (see picture of this week’s bouquet and some of our produce booty but ignore my terrible photography). We had a lovely morning except for an uncooperative stomach…My colon is trying to figure out how to handle this detox too!

We are each going to take a certain amount of cash out of every paycheck for our Farmers’ Market trips and whatever we don’t spend goes in the Nightmare Before Christmas cookie jar for our honeymoon at Disney World!

The rest of Saturday was pretty lazy on account of me not feeling too hot. And by lazy, I mean cheesy tv. We even watched the second half of Marley & Me…I cuddled Darwin at the end while I sobbed my eyes out. Darwin is 60lbs but he was on my lap and I was holding him like a baby. I tell Kharma and Darwin, all the time, they have to live forever.

I felt hungry all day but managed to actually come in on target with my points for the day! Breakfast was my omelet. Lunch was leftover curried turkey with potatoes and I had snacks of nectarines, an apple with almond butter and some baked lentil chips with fruit salsa. I made myself flounder with okra (my first time eating fresh, not frozen, okra!) and more pineapple salsa. It was yummy!  I’m kind of digging all these fish dinners that come together in one saute pan! Dave, on the other hand, is not. He did not partake in the fish.

Tomorrow will be meal planning, grocery shopping and most likely food prep. I was supposed to do some of that tonight but ended up blogging instead 🙂

Have a good rest of the weekend!

Hungry Girl Cookbook Giveaway ~ Rachel

Hi, my name is Rachel and I am addicted to cookbooks.  I’m also addicted to spices from the Savory Spice Shop but that’s another post. Anyways…I recently decided to go through my cookbooks and purge a little bit. Instead of taking up 3 various shelves around the apartment, I am now only taking up about 2.

My pretty shelf of cookbooks

However, I now have a bunch of cookbooks I don’t know what to do with. I figured at least some of our readers might like a chance to win one or two. I’ll start with Hungry Girl’s Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World.

I actually won this book in a giveaway from another blog but I haven’t really used it. I don’t think Hungry Girl is my kind of cooking. She has fantastic solutions to normal recipes but it often involves food that already exists…kind of like Semi-Homemade with Sandra Dee on the Food Network.  But I imagine she is the right solution for many of you.

To enter, please leave a comment of any variety…introduce yourself if you’ve never commented before!

To get a second entry, leave me a recipe or a link to a recipe for something that involves quinoa that you like or that you think you would like! With this detox diet, I’ve a feeling I’ll be eating a lot of quinoa!

This contest is open to anyone, not just US residents. Just leave your comment…or two…and I’ll choose the winner by random number generator on Friday, August 12th at 12pm EST!

Giveaway Shout-Out ~ Rachel

A few weeks ago I won a giveaway hosted by Katie J Is On Her Way and wanted to send out a thank you in the form of a shout-out to her! I won the book Hungry Girl Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt Free Eating in the Real World and a really cute pink Thermos lunch bag.

I encourage you all to check out Katie’s blog. In her “about me” section she says, “I have taken on the task of losing 150+ pounds and nurturing my mind, body and spirit in the process” and I have to tell you it’s been a pleasure to follow her through that process. She’s been connecting with biological family members, finding out about her past, rediscovering old hobbies that make her happy, dealing with an insane living situation that involved the cops (a lot) and generally keeping her chin up through her healthy lifestyle challenges.

Rachael Ray Subscription Winner

And the winner of the free 1 year subscription to EveryDay with Rachael Ray is….

Rachel from Rachel’s Cottage House!

Congrats Rachel! I’ll shoot you an email to get your contact info.

You all should check out Rachel’s blog…it’s full of really cool things dealing with food, fabrics, crafts, books and my personal favorite, Pittsburgh sports!

Free Magazine Subscription ~ Rachel

I just got a notice to renew my EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine. Not only is it at a discounted price, I also get to give a free gift subscription to someone. Rachael Ray isn’t particularly known for very healthy meals but her meals are easy enough to substitute things in to make them healthy. Plus the magazine is actually kind of a fun one.

If you’d like to receive this subscription (to begin sometime around the holidays apparently), please leave me a comment and tell me who your favorite Food Network chef/show is! Mine is a tie between Alton Brown (yay science!!) and Guy Fieri (gotta love the food porn on triple D).

This is unfortunately limited to my US readers…sorry about that!

I’ll choose the winner by random number on Friday at 12pm EST.

Giveaway Winner! ~ Rachel

The winner of the America’s Test Kitchen recipe book is….

Suzi from spunkysuzi working towards a healthier me! Congrats, Suzi! Please email me your name and address and I’ll send it out next week. You can email me at


My summer cold is doing a number on me. I’m at the stage where a tissue can’t be more than a foot away from my nose (and I’m starting to look like Rudolph). My eating/tracking has suffered because I’m not interested in cooking or measuring or much of anything. And I haven’t been to the gym since Tuesday. When I get sick like this, exercise is the last thing I want to do. Hopefully, this clears up over the weekend and I can get back to it next week!

Happy 4th everyone!

Weight Gain Week Twenty-Four ~ Rachel

I’m up 2.0lbs this week. I’m going to blame it, rightfully so, on the craptastic food I’ve eaten (and not tracked) the last few days and my lack of exercise.

After my training session last Thursday, things fell apart a little. An old wrist injury flared up so strength training wasn’t an option. I apparently rationalized in my mind that cardio wasn’t an option either. I also have been hit with a summer cold of sorts. My throat is sore and I’m very hoarse. Other than feeling run down in general, I feel ok. Here’s to hoping that it doesn’t progress.

I made it to the gym this morning and did 30 minutes on the stationary bike (~9.8 miles) on level 8. I didn’t feel horrible but I certainly didn’t feel 100%. I hit up the steam room after the bike at the orders of my chiropractor. It was nice to breath in that hot, humid air for a little while!

While exercise this week might be a little lackluster due to not feeling great, I am back on track with eating the right food and tracking everything.  And I plan on sticking to that!

Don’t forget about my mini-cookbook giveaway! There are only 2 commenters so far. I do have more readers than that, don’t I???

Giveaway ~ Rachel

I’ve benefited a few times from fellow bloggers who gave away things to randomly chosen commenters. Sometimes the blogger gave away things of their own and sometimes they had been contacted by companies who sponsored the giveaway. I have yet to be contacted by a company to try out or review a product (How does this happen? I would love to know!) so I am giving away something of my own.

I recently received the Spring 2009 America’s Test Kitchen 30 Minute Suppers 64 Tear-Out Recipe Cards book with something else that I ordered from Cook’s Illustrated. I actually bought this when it came out in 2009 and certainly don’t need a second one! The recipes are AWESOME! Dave is willing to try at least half of them, LOL! And they are simple and quite easy to adapt into healthier recipes if need be.

Here are the ways you can enter:

(1) Leave a comment telling me what your favorite recipe sources are (cookbook, website, other blogs, etc).

(2) Post this blog entry’s link to your Facebook or Twitter page. Leave me a comment that you did this.

(3) Post this blog entry’s link on your own blog to mention the giveaway. Leave me a comment that you did this.

Don’t forget that each item is a separate entry (i.e., separate comment)! Please leave me your comments by 12:00pm EST on Friday, July 2nd. I’ll use a random number selector to pick the winner!

I have a ridiculous number of cookbooks (a lot of which I don’t use) so I might just make this a monthly thing until I thin out my supply 🙂