New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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Review and Giveaway: Bigelow Holiday Teas

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 by Lisa

Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter.  If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!

Ho Ho Ho!  I love the holidays and all of the great holiday products that come out at this time of year!   What flavors could say “holidays” more than Apple Cider, Eggnogg’n, Ginger Snappish and Pumpkin Spice? Bigelow Holiday Teas are the perfect addition to your holiday traditions.   Sitting by the fire with a plate of cookies and a cup of Eggnogg’n tea.

A cup of Ginger Snappish and a bowl of piping hot oatmeal for breakfast.  A sip of Pumpkin Spice tea with that slice of pumpkin pie that your grandma brought over,  A big mug of Apple Cider tea after  a day of sledding with the kids.

  Did you know you can also cook with tea?  Bigelow has some great recipes on their website.    I’ve been enjoying Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea ever since I received my sample in the mail.  I love the flavor so much, I decided to try one of the many gluten-free recipes, Hot Pumpkin Spice Buttered Toddy.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  This isn’t really “cooking” with tea.  Well.  You figured me out.  I didn’t feel like cooking last night.  I just wanted to sit down, read a little and have a nice after-dinner drink.  This recipe is easy and delicious!!!

Hot Pumpkin Spice Buttered Toddy

Ingredients:

6 tea bags Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea* 6 cups (48-ounces) hot water

Spiced Butter:

¾ cup light brown sugar ½ cup butter,

softened 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 to 12-ounces (1 to 1 ½ cups) clear rum

Whipped cream, optional Extra pumpkin pie spice, optional

Instructions:

In large glass batter bowl, place tea bags; add hot water.  Brew for 4 minutes.  Squeeze tea from bags then discard bags. Meanwhile, in small mixer bowl add all Spiced Butter ingredients; beat at medium high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until light in color (1 minute). In 6 mugs or heat-proof glasses, place 2 tablespoons spiced butter, 2-ounces rum, and 6 ounces hot brewed tea.  Mix until Spiced Butter melts. Garnish with whipped cream and a dusting of spice,  if desired.

  I cut the recipe to make only enough for two cups, one for my hubby and one for myself.  We both drank it down!  Sooo good!   You can also substitute some of the other holiday teas:

 

*Variations: Try using  Bigelow Eggnogg’n Tea   or Bigelow Apple Cider Herb Tea

 

 

I think I will try both!!!  I’ll even bet that you could put all the ingredients in a slow cooker and serve it at a party!  Yum!   Bigelow Holiday Teas are available on their website, along with some BEAUTIFUL gifts such as gift baskets and teapots for that tea lover on your list! Bigelow Teas are also sold at stores near you!

I am happy that the wonderful folks at Bigelow have offered to give away one Holiday Tea Assortment shown above to THREE lucky readers!

 

To enter this giveaway, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.   You may also garner additional entries by:

  1. Liking Bigelow Tea on Facebook.
  2. Following Bigelow Tea on Twitter.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT FOR EACH ADDITIONAL ENTRY SO THAT I CAN BE SURE TO COUNT YOU!  THANKS!

 

This giveaway will run from today (Wednesday, December 5, 2012) until Wednesday, December 11, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Time.

 

The winners will be notified via email!!!

Good luck as always!

~Lisa

Review and Giveaway! Peet’s Coffee & Tea

Monday, November 26th, 2012 by Lisa

Friday, November 30, 2012 at 5pm PST.  This giveaway is now OVER.  Thank you for all of your comments.  I really enjoyed reading all of them!  The winner has been randomly chosen and notified via email.  Congratulations Wendy!

Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter.  If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!

These cold Fall nights have me drinking a lot of tea.  When I received my sample of Peet’s Holiday Blend Coffee and Teas, I was really excited!  New teas to try!  My husband was really happy that there was caffeinated coffee included as he is not a tea drinker.

The first thing I noticed when I took the tea tins out of the box was how festive they are!  Perfect for gift giving!  I received both Peet’s Winter Solstice Signature Blends tea and the Holiday Breakfast Blend tea and a bag of Peet’s Holiday Blend Coffee.  I also received a really lovely box of Peet’s Good Hope Spice Blend Tea Bags (pictured below).

I first tried the Good Hope Spice Blend.  I loved it.  I’ve been drinking a cup just about every afternoon since receiving it.  It’s very smooth and not spicy at all.  It’s great with a biscotti or a Christmas cookie!

My husband has been drinking Peet’s Holiday Blend Coffee for about a week now.  He usually doesn’t say much about his coffee, unless he really hates it, but when I asked him he did say he liked it.  I myself don’t do caffeinated coffee, so I sadly haven’t tried it, but it does have a wonderful aroma while it’s brewing!

I realized when I opened the Winter Solstice Tea Tin, that I didn’t quite know what to do with it!  It is loose tea and not tea bags.  It smelled wonderful, but not having the proper equipment to craft the perfect cup of “real” tea, I closed the tin back up until I could think of a way to try it!  I mean, I don’t even own a teapot.  I usually nuke water in the microwave and then stick a tea bag in it!  (Yikes.  I know.)

So, I went out and bought a tea ball!  It worked perfectly!  I had a lovely, aromatic cup of tea!

Now, I haven’t opened my tin of Holiday Solstice Blend Tea yet, but I’m sure it will be great, just like the other two teas!

Peet’s Coffee & Tea can be purchased online on their website Peets.com.

I am happy to say that that nice folks at Peet’s have offered a fabulous giveaway for one of our readers!

Peet’s will send to the winner:

·         A French Press

·         Chocolate Covered Cherries

·         A bag of Holiday Blend Coffees

·         Three Different Teas

 

Pretty great, huh?

 

*I have confirmed that the coffees and teas are gluten-free.  The chocolate covered cherries do not contain gluten but they are crafted in a kitchen with other products that may contain gluten.

 

To enter this giveaway, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW:

 

You may garner additional entries by:

 

  1. Like “Peet’s” on Facebook.
  2. Follow “Peet’s” on Twitter.

PLEASE LEAVE AN ADDITIONAL COMMENT BELOW FOR EACH ADDITIONAL ENTRY SO THAT I MAY COUNT YOU!

 

This giveaway will run from Today (Monday, November 26, 2012) until Friday, November 30, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Time.

 

The winner will be notified via email.

 

Good luck everyone!

 

~ Lisa

 

 

Review and Giveaway! Holiday Stars Beaded Ornaments from Oh My Maya, Inc.

Monday, November 12th, 2012 by Lisa

Friday, November 16, 2012 at 5pm PST.  This giveaway is now OVER.  Thanks so much to everyone who entered.  Please visit the Oh My Maya website and purchase a gift for someone on your list!  The winner has been chosen at random and notified via email.  Congratulations Audrey B.!

Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter. If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!

 

Today I have something really special for you.  Three beautiful, handmade beaded star ornaments from Oh My Maya, Inc.

The real story here is about Oh My Maya, Inc. and the lovely, Guatemalan women who make these ornaments.  Here is more about Oh My Maya, Inc. and the wonderful work they do:

 

Oh My Maya, Inc. is a 501(C)(3) non-profit charity organization located in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Oh My Maya raises money for charities serving Guatemala through the sale of beautiful beaded jewelry, fine textiles and clothing handwoven on backstrap looms, and other goods you’ll find in our shop. 100% of profits are donated and 100% of the work of the organization is done by volunteers.

Your purchases benefit those in need two times over.First, the purchase of goods from the artisans in Guatemala provides much needed income for those artisans.   And second, purchases by our customers generate monies for charities. While not yet certified as a fair trade organization, for the last few years nearly all our purchases have been from the artisans or through cooperatives.   Pictured above are some of the women beaders from Santiago Attitlan, who make all our beaded goods, working under a tarp in the rain. In June 2010, we expanded our inventory to include scarves/shawls purchased from the Asociacion Maya de Desarrollo, a cooperative of weavers in Solola.

We made a tentative start in 2004 as a way to stay in touch with and give back to the country that is the birthplace of our daughter; we sold at house sales, crafts fairs, and out of the trunks of cars, before launching this website in June 2009.

The primary recipient of funds has been Safe Passage, or Camino Seguro, an organization serving hundreds of children and families whose lives center around the Guatemala City dump. We have also supported Transitions Foundation which provides training and wheelchairs to disabled in Guatemala, as well as Guatemala Student Support Group which brings impoverished and promising students to the U.S. to learn English and receive an education with the commitment to return to Guatemala to enrich their communities.  In 2011 we added Mayan Families as a recipient.  This organization has a wide reach in Panajachel and around Lake Attitlan, feeding the elderly; installing fuel efficient, clean stoves in homes; supporting schools; running an animal shelter; and numerous other projects.

 

Simply said, when you purchase items from Oh My Maya, Inc., you are helping so many people in need.  As was stated above, 100% of the profits are donated and 100% of the work of the organization is done by volunteers.

There are so many beautiful items on the Oh My Maya, Inc. website, that I had a hard time deciding what to buy!  There are more beaded ornaments, jewelry, kids jewelry, key chains and wonderful handwoven clothing.

I thought the beaded star ornaments would be nice for the holidays, either to give away as a gift or to keep for our family tree.

They are simply gorgeous!  Pictures can’t really show how beautiful they really are.  The bead work is so intricate.  The beads catch the light so that they look like they are sparkling.

 

More about these ornaments:

The stars come in sets of three and are done in classic holiday colors.  They are two-sides, so they look perfect from any angle. The stars measure approximately 4 inches and they come with a convenient loop for hanging.

NOTE: Each handmade piece is truly unique, but the materials, quality and beautiful results are the same. Each piece of original jewelry, textiles and other handcrafted good is authentically created by Guatemalan artisans for your enjoyment — PHOTOS DEPICT A CLOSE REPRESENTATION OF EACH ITEM, HOWEVER, BECAUSE EACH PIECE IS UNIQUE PLEASE EXPECT SLIGHT VARIATIONS FROM THOSE PICTURED. ALL MEASUREMENTS ARE APPROXIMATE.

 

Please take a few moments to browse the Oh My Maya, Inc. website to see the items that are for sale there.   I’ll bet you can think of several people on your Christmas list who would love a beautiful, handmade present!

 

Robin Freeman, the Founder of Oh My Maya, Inc. has graciously offered to giveaway one set of Three Holiday Stars Beaded Ornaments to one lucky reader!

 

To enter this giveaway, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.

You may garner additional entries by:

  1. Liking Oh My Maya  on Facebook.
  2. Following Oh My Maya Inc.  on Twitter.

PLEASE LEAVE AN ADDITIONAL COMMENT BELOW FOR EACH ADDITIONAL ENTRY SO THAT I MAY COUNT YOU!!!

 

This giveaway will run from today (Monday, November 12, 2012) until Friday, November 16, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Time.

 

The winner will be notified via email.

 

Best of luck!!!

~Lisa

 

 

 

Review and Giveaway! “Duncan Hines Complete Cake Mix Magic: 300 Easy Desserts Good as Homemade” by Jill Snider

Friday, November 9th, 2012 by Lisa

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 8am PST.  This giveaway is now OVER.  Sorry for the delay in picking a winner.  Crazy busy here!!!  The winner has been randomly chosen and contacted via email.  Congratulations Megan!

 

Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter. If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!

 

Mmmmmm.   Cake.

Today’s review isDuncan Hines Complete Cake Mix Magic by Jill Snider.   You won’t believe the awesome recipes in this cookbook!  I never knew you could make so many different desserts using store-bought cake mix!  Wow!

“Duncan Hines Complete Cake Mix Magic” is written by Jill Snider, who is a bestselling cookbook author and a highly-respected food stylist and recipe developer. She has 25 years of experience as the Test Kitchen Manager of a major flour maker.

Jill has pulled together some of the easiest, most fabulous recipes in this book.  Not only are there some spectacular cake recipes, but also cookies, cheesecakes, muffins, bars and squares.  This is NOT a gluten-free cookbook, but many of the recipes can be modified using gluten-free cake mixes and ingredients!

 

Ok, now.  I HAVE to show you this!

 

 

Chocolate Coffee Marble Cheesecake!

 

That cheesecake will be the FIRST dessert I’m making from this book!

Followed closely by these recipes:

 

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Tower
  • Caramel Cashew Cheesecake
  • Hazelnut Rum Cake
  • Rum Balls (yes.  I like rum. )
  • Pumpkin Pie Squares (Maybe for Thanksgiving?)
  • Cinnamon Brunch Cake (For Christmas Morning?)

I’m really thrilled to be able to share a recipe from this great cookbook with you!

 

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake

This holiday cake is simple to make but very festive.

 CAKE

1 Package (18.5 oz/515g) Devil’s Food Cake Mix

3 eggs

1-1/3 cups milk

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp peppermint extract

 

FROSTING

1 container (15 oz/450 g) ready-to-serve butter cream frosting

1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Whole small candy canes to decorate

 

* Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

* 13 by 9-inch (3L) cake pan, greased

  1. Cake:  In a large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, milk, mayonnaise and peppermint extract.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  2. Frosting:  Stir crushed candy canes into frosting.  Spread frosting over top of cake.  Decorate with whole candy canes.

 

Variation:  Replace candy canes with hard mint candies to enjoy this cake year-round.

Tip: Crush leftover candy canes and stir into vanilla ice cream.

 

 

You can purchase “Duncan Hines Complete Cake Mix Magic” at Amazon.com or at Barnes & Noble.

 

Would you like to win a copy?

 

I am happy to be able to give away one copy of “Duncan Hines Complete Cake Mix Magic” to one very lucky reader!

 

To enter this giveaway, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.

You may garner additional entries by:

  1. Liking  Duncan Hines  on Facebook.
  2. Following  Duncan Hines   on Twitter.

PLEASE LEAVE AN ADDITIONAL COMMENT BELOW FOR EACH ADDITIONAL ENTRY SO THAT I MAY COUNT YOU!!!

 

This giveaway will run from today (Friday, November 9, 2012) until  Tuesday, October 13, 2012  at 5pm Pacific Time.

 

The winner will be notified via email.

 

Best of luck!!!

 

 

 

 

Review and Giveaway! Lucy’s Cookies

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 by Lisa

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 8am PST.  This giveaway is now OVER.  Sorry for the delay in picking the winner!  It’s been a busy, busy week!  The winner has been randomly chosen and contacted via email.  Congratulations Amber!

Lisa Irvine writes at Lisa’s Blogety Blog. You can find her at @Lirvine98 on twitter. If you have an idea for a giveaway, please let her know!

Have food allergies?  Love cookies?  No problem!

Lucy’s Cookies are not only delicious,  they are free of  peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs and gluten!

First, I want to tell you a little bit about Lucy’s.

When Dr. Lucy Gibney discovered her child had severe food allergies, she got down to some serious medical research—in the kitchen. What began as a mother’s tasty recipe for her child has today developed into a delicious alternative for people with or without special dietary considerations.

As an M.D. and mother of a child with severe food allergies, Dr. Lucy Gibney brings understanding and a first-hand knowledge of the importance of strict quality standards and how to achieve them. With clear ingredient and allergen information on our packaging and careful selection of all raw materials, we employ the very best methods for quality control.

Lucy’s cookies are made in a dedicated bakery where we use the best available testing methods to exclude specific allergens: gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.

Lucy’s Cookies are also Vegan, Kosher, Non-GMO and have Zero Grams Trans Fat and Zero mg Cholesterol!

When I received my sample cookies, I couldn’t wait to open them up and try them!  Along with Lucy’s Brownie Cakes and Snack ‘n Go Packs, I also received as sample of their NEW Holiday Cookies, Chocolate Merry Mint and Holiday Sugars!

I loved all of these products!

  •  The Brownie Cakes are really Lucy’s cookies are very chocolaty and chewy.  They come in little packages of two brownie cakes.  Really handy for lunch boxes!
  • The Snack ‘n Go Packs contain individual packages of of three cookies,  Maple Bliss, Chocolate Chip and Chocolate flavors. All of the cookies are sweet and crunchy.  My favorite here is the Maple Bliss.  I really like the delicate maple flavor!
  • The Holiday Cookies are perfect for a snack with hot cocoa or eggnog!  I will definitely be purchasing some of these to keep in the pantry for those cold, snowy nights around the fireplace!  Santa may even like these left out on his cookie plate!

Lucy’s Cookies can be purchased at many retail stores.  You can find a store in your area HERE.  You can also shop online for Lucy’s Cookies  HERE.

I am excited to be able to offer a Free Sample of Lucy’s Cookies, just like the one I received, to one lucky reader!!!

To enter this giveaway, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.

You may garner additional entries by:

  1. Liking Lucy’s on Facebook.
  2. Following   Lucy Gibney  on Twitter.
  3. Going to Lucy’s website and signing up for her email updates!

PLEASE LEAVE AN ADDITIONAL COMMENT BELOW FOR EACH ADDITIONAL ENTRY SO THAT I MAY COUNT YOU!!!

 

This giveaway will run from today (Thursday, November 8, 2012) until  Tuesday, November 13, 2012  at 5pm Pacific Time.

 

The winner will be notified via email.

 

Best of luck!!!