Weekend Review: Diamond Candles (& the chance to win one!)

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Disclosure: I received a free product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The folks at Diamond Candles contacted me recently and wanted to know if I’d be interested in doing a review. I’ve heard a lot about their candles lately and candles in general are a staple in my kitchen, so I was excited to check them out. Diamond Candles are 100% soy candles with a special surprise inside – a ring worth $10-$5000. Now, let’s be real: most candles aren’t going to have rings worth a lot of money – but the fun is in the possibility.

I picked the black raspberry vanilla scent to try. There are lots of different scents and even a collection called “Life Moments” with candles themed to birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Shipping took a full two weeks, which surprised me as I feel like most packages we order make it to us within a week – so if you’re ordering for a deadline, make sure you plan ahead.

When the candle got here, I opened it to sniff and was pleasantly surprised how fragrant it was, even without being lit. I always end up sniffing a lot of candles before picking one, but obviously that doesn’t work with ordering online. I wasn’t sure if I’d end up liking it, but this was a great scent and I was really pleased.

And, of course, I wanted to see the ring so I started burning it pretty much immediately.

The rings are packaged in a small plastic bag covered in foil. It was a little messy to get the ring out. Despite being in the wax, the ring itself have zero wax on it. It took me about 15 hours of burning to make it down to my ring. Since all of the rings in the candles are different, its always a surprise what you get.

My ring is sort of adorable.

It doesn’t fit my fingers, but I wasn’t expecting it to either. They include most standard sized rings – think 6-8 mostly, with some bigger and some smaller. My freakishly tiny size-4 fingers didn’t stand much of a chance. I uncovered one of the rings valued at $10. Despite the fact that it doesn’t fit, I really like it. I’ll probably pass it along to a friend who can wear it.

Another fun thing is that Diamond Candles is all over social media – and people like to share their ring reveals. You can check them out on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’ve been loving looking through and seeing what rings other people got!

Overall, I thought this was a really cute concept and would make a great gift for candle-lovers.

Diamond Candles is also offering a Kate’s Recipe Box reader the chance to win a candle too. You can enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review + Win It!: Hoo Rag

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I am pretty fanatical about keeping my hair pulled back when I’m cooking.

I think it stems from my first job in a deli; I’d come home after a long shift and hop right into the shower to get all of the bits of food the food slicers had shot into my hair. Even with a ponytail and headband, things always ended up in my hair. I’m still not sure how.

Today, I don’t have to worry about meat slicers, but I still highly prefer to have my hair tied back as much as possible. That usually involves at least two hair elastics, a headband and - occasionally - a bobby pin or two. So, when the folks at Hoo Rag asked me to try one out, I was stoked.

A Hoo Rag is a seamless bandana that can be wrapped and worn multiple ways. It’s thin enough that you can wrap it up and use it as a pony tail holder, and large enough that you can cover most of your head with it if you wanted to. I was really impressed with how easy it was to maneuver my hair into and not make it look like a mess. (I’m often hair-challenged, so this was a feat!) It doesn’t stretch out like other headbands I’ve had and it’s washable – which makes it perfect for the kitchen.

It also comes in a lot of different, fun designs too. I chose the colorful Groovy-Hoo, because I’m super drawn to bright colors:

They also have some fun cooking-related, ones:

 

The people at Hoo Rag want you to have a chance to try it out too so they’re offering two more for lucky readers.

To enter:

Pop on over to www.HooRag.com and take a look at all the different designs (there are lots!). Leave a comment letting me know which design you’d pick if you win. That’s it!

Comments can be made until midnight EST on December 25, 2012. I’ll contact the winners on December 26.

This contest is now over.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I was sent a Hoo Rag for review. Hoo Rag is providing the prize for this contest and I’ve recieved no addition compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.


Win It!: The Science of Good Cooking

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This is currently my favorite cookbook, so I’m super excited that the generous people at America’s Test Kitchen have offered up a copy for a lucky Kate’s Recipe Box reader! The Science of Good Cooking breaks down cooking into managable concepts and include the science behind them in addition to recieps that demonstrate the techniques.

You can read my full review here.

It’s a great book for beginners to kitchen experts, which is why I included it in yesterday’s post about gift ideas for cooks and foodies.

To enter:

Leave a comment letting me know what cooking project you’d like to tackle or technique you’d like to perfect.

For an additional entry, like Kate’s Recipe Box on Facebook and leave me a comment letting me know. Already like Kate’s Recipe Box? Leave me a comment letting me know that too and you’ll get a second entry.

 

Comments can be made until midnight EST on December 2, 2012. I’ll contact the winner on December 3.

This contest is now closed.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I previously received a copy of this book for review. America’s Test Kitchen is providing the prize for this contest and I’ve recieved no addition compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.




Bakerella Signed Cookbook Giveaway!

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November was the month of cookbook signings around here. The weekend after Rachael Ray was signing, Bakerella did a signing at a nearby mall. I adore her blog so I was super excited to go see her.

This signing was a lot different than the Rachael Ray one – definitely more friendly and intimate. She started off with a question and answer session and explained some of the tricks of her trade.

And then, she signed.

She was super sweet. It’s so nice to know the person you’re idolizing from behind your computer screen is really a good person.

Giveaway!

While I was at the book signing, I got another copy of Cake Pops signed for a lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting me know who your favorite food blogger is. Which food blog can’t you get enough of?

For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right-hand column) and leave me a comment letting me know. Already an email subscriber? Leave me a comment letting me know that too and you’ll get your second entry.

Comments can be made until midnight EST on December 17, 2010. I’ll announce a winner December 18.

Good luck!


Rachael Ray Look + Cook Giveaway Winner!

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Congrats to Joan, the winner of the signed Rachael Ray cookbook!

Here was Joan’s inspiration:

“I think I got into it because so many of my close relatives also love to cook.. my Mom, Dad, both Grandmas and several Aunts and an Uncle. It just came natural I guess.”

Family is great inspiration!

Joan, you’ll be recieving an email from me shortly.

Didn’t win? I’ve got another giveaway (with another signed cookbook) coming up later today!


Chipotle Chicken Chili with Flaming Tequila-Pepper Salsa and Avocado Ranch Dressing + Rachael Ray Signed Cookbook Giveaway!

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I’ve mentioned before that my first cookbook was a Rachael Ray cookbook and I have a soft spot for her because of it. She was the first cook that made things feel accessible enough for me to try them out myself.

I bought a few of her cookbooks early on but I’d since abandoned them. Except for a few pages in t he middle, they didn’t have any pictures and I came to realize that I’m much more likely to cook something if I know how it’s supposed to look finished.

A few weeks ago, Rachael was at my local bookstore signing copies of her newest cookbook, Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook. I decided the opportunity to meet her was worth the price of another cookbook for the shelf. Rachael was really nice and I was pleasantly surprised to see a good chunk of the book had color pictures.

Mark picked this recipe out of the book to try and I was a little hesitant about it for a weeknight dinner because it seemed like it had so many elements. Everything came together quickly, though, and it produced a very nice meal with less effort than I anticipated. Definitely a keeper.

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Flaming Tequila-Pepper Salsa and Avocado Ranch Dressing
(from Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook, also available on her website)

4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
2 pounds ground chicken breast
2-3 T. pureed chipotle in adobo, depending on preferred heat level
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. ground coriander
1 T. smoked sweet paprika
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
3 T. tomato paste
4 c. chicken stock (32 ounces)
Salt and pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
4 shots of tequila
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
1 avocado, pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. fresh chives, finely chopped Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish

Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the bacon to the pan and brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot and brown, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the lumps. Add the pureed chipotle, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika, then stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until tender, 5 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and chicken stock and some salt and pepper to the pot and bring the liquids up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

While the chili is simmering, place a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bell peppers, red onion and jalapeños to the skillet and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tequila. Return the skillet to the heat and flame the tequila to burn off most of the alcohol. Add the lime juice, cilantro and some salt to the salsa.

To a food processor bowl add the avocado, chives, lemon juice and buttermilk. Process until smooth and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve up the chili with some of the tequila-pepper salsa and avocado ranch dressing. Garnish with tortilla chips.

Giveaway!

While I was at the book signing, I got another copy of Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook signed for a lucky reader.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting me know who or what inspired you to cook.

For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right-hand column) and leave me a seperate comment letting me know. Already an email subscriber? Leave me a seperate comment letting me know that too and you’ll get your second entry.

Comments can be made until midnight EST on December 10, 2010. I’ll announce a winner December 11.

Good luck!


Michael Chiarello Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

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Congrats to Samantha, the winner of the signed Michael Chiarello cookbook and lemon-pepper panko, courtesy of MyBlogSpark and General Mills!

These are her plans for the panko:

“I have been playing a lot with our steamer basket lately, and would make these wonderful mini chicken meatballs, then roll them in toasted panko before serving…guilt free “fried” flavor!!”

Sounds great! One of my favorite thing about panko is creating the fried flavor without actually frying.

Samantha, you’ll be recieving an email from me shortly.

Didn’t win? I’ve got another giveaway (with another signed cookbook) coming up later today!


Lemon Pepper Chicken & Signed Michael Chiarello Cookbook Giveaway

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General Mills, in conjunction with MyBlogSpark, recently sent me a package of Progresso’s Lemon Pepper Panko to try out. I’ve used panko before to make chicken so I decided to try this out with chicken too so it would be easy to compare.

The Lemon Pepper Panko was good – and would probably be really good with fish. It’s a great way to add some flavor quickly and without much thought. The one drawback of buying pre-seasoned breadcrumbs is that you don’t have as much flexibility with it. Still, this was good and I would definitely consider buying it again.

Lemon-Pepper Panko Chicken Nuggets
(Method from back of box)

2 chicken breasts
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. flour
1 c. Progresso Lemon-Pepper Panko

Cut chicken into chicken nugget-sized pieces. Rinse and pat dry.  Place egg, flour and panko in three separate bowls.

Dip each piece of chicken into flour, then egg, then panko and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken. Bake at 350F degrees for 20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165F degrees. Broil for an additional minute to crisp up panko.

For crisper chicken, I place the chicken on a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet – raising it slightly keeps it from sitting in any juices released.

Giveaway!

General Mills and MyBlogSpark is providing a pack like the one they sent me to one lucky reader. It includes a package of Lemon Pepper Panko to try out and a copy of Michael Chiarello’s Bottega with a signed book-plate. The cookbook is beautiful and would be a great addition to any cook’s library.

To win, just leave a comment letting me know what you’d like to make with the panko breadcrumbs. For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right hand column) and leave a comment letting me know. (If you’re already a subscriber, just leave a comment letting me know for your second entry.) Comments can be made until midnight EST December 3, 2010. I’ll announce the winner December 4.

Additionally, be sure to check out the Progresso’s Wine & Dine with Chef Michael Chiarello Sweepstakes. Now through December 31st, participants can enter for the chance to win a trip for two to Napa Valley to attend the Spring Bud Break Party, an annual dinner and wine tasting event taking place on May 7, 2011. In addition to two tickets to the party, the grand prize also includes roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations. Visit www.progressobroth.com for the sweepstakes rules and entry form.

Good luck!