Category: giveaways

Lemon pie with Duchy Originals ginger shortbread crust (& a giveaway, too).

Lemon pie with ginger shortbread cookie crust PLUS a Duchy Originals giveaway!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Lemon pie? In February?” It might seem like a warm-weather dish, but this isn’t. Trust me. Want to know why?

Because of the crust.

I mean, winter is citrus season anyway, so you can use all those Meyer lemons instead of just starting at them in that pretty bowl on your table (not that I speak from experience). But it’s really the crust. The crust is made from Duchy Originals stem ginger shortbread; meaning it’s warm & spicy. Yes, the filling is cool & refreshing, as lemon is, but the crust gives it a new spin. It’s NOT a lemon meringue pie, it’s not quite a full-on icebox pie, and it’s not just a lemon cream pie. It’s somewhere in the middle. Clowns to the left, jokers to the right.

A lemon pie & ginger shortbread cookie crust made with Duchy Originals stem ginger shortbread cookies (plus a giveaway!)

That’s the pie sans the mess o’ whipped cream I piled on it. It’s even pretty that way, isn’t it?

It’s pretty amazing. And simple. I reserved some cookie crumbs from the crust & sprinkled them on top.  You could also use some finely chopped candied ginger,  but a piece of candied lemon zest would work too.

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Valentine’s Day Treatsie sweets box review & giveaway!

Happy Valentine’s Day, four days early!

You know what the perfect Valentine’s Day gift is for me? Other than flowers (which I do actually love)? CANDY! I love candy. I love sweets in general, but if you buy me chocolate, especially chocolate with caramel, I’ll love you forever.

A Treatsie giveaway!

Speaking of candy, two weeks ago I was gifted with an amazing treat box from Treatsie! If you’ve never heard of Treatsie, and you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re going to want to pay attention.

What is Treatsie, exactly?

Treatsie helps you find amazing, high-end artisan sweets you’d normally never find unless you stumbled across the shop. Try our monthly subscription sample box of multiple and ever-changing vendors or order boxes from our store to get sweets right away!

The sweets you get in a Treatsie box aren’t the kind you’ll find at big box stores. We only work with small, independent vendors. By subscribing to Treatsie, you are directly supporting small businesses around the country as every Treatsie box and store sale benefits those vendors.

And they certainly aren’t! This January box included hot chocolate pops from PopBar, lavender sea salt caramels from Lillie Belle Farms, peanut brittle from Brittle Brothers, AvenueSweets espresso caramels… this isn’t your average drug store candy. And I LOVE drugstore candy, but trust me. This is better.

A Treatsie box giveaway!

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Snack time with Milton’s! A delicious ricotta dip… and a giveaway!

*****COMMENTS CLOSED! 1/25/13*****

*The winner is… EILEEN! Comment #21*

Eileen- Milton's Cracker winner!

 -Thanks to everyone who entered! -

***********************

Yep. Today I’m going to be giving away a TON of crackers from Milton’s Craft Bakers, but first, I’m going to give you an easy recipe idea. A really, really easy dip recipe for any party, football game- or even just for movie night!

Baked ricotta dip with mozzarella, garlic, olive oil & basil. Goes great with Milton's Craft Bakers gourmet crackers!

I love dip. I love any kind of dip; hot, cold, room temperature, cheese, onion, vegetable, sweet, salty, creamy, tangy, savory, etc. And I love any kind of vehicle to eat aforementioned dip. I’m a snack person. I can make a meal out of snack foods. But crackers? I looooove crackers. I love crackers with 5 o’s, that’s how much I love them. I eat crackers plain. I eat ‘em with cheese. I eat ‘em with dip… and this hot baked ricotta dip is just the thing.

It’s easy to make, bakes up quick and you can make it in as large or small a batch as you need!

Baked ricotta dip & Milton's gourmet crackers. (click for recipe)

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Sprinkles! A “rainbowlicious” book review & giveaway!

Back in 2011, Quirk Books sent me a delicious cookbook (this one) to review & do a giveaway for. I loved the book & every recipe in it! The frosted maple pecan cookies are some of Jay’s favorite cookies ever. So when they asked me to do a review for a new book, Sprinkles! Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts, I totally had to say yes!

And I had to ask if I could give one of YOU a copy as well!

Sprinkles! Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts! Makes a great Christmas gift.

I love cookbooks. I love books in general, really- especially cookbooks, how-to books or DIY/craft books. I’m in the middle of redoing things around the ol’ homestead, so I don’t have easy access to them right now. Which is another reason why I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a new one.

But the main reason? It’s December! It’s time to start thinking about Christmas baking & Christmas presents. Cookbooks like this make not only amazing gifts, but provide some inspiration when we get a little stuck for holiday treats.

A review of: Sprinkles! Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts.

Sprinkles! Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts: Here’s a guide to baking and decorating delicious desserts with a colorful twist: sprinkles! Of course you can scatter them over cakes and pies–but you can also swirl them into waffles, “embroider” them on cookies, and freeze them in pretty popsicles. Jackie Alpers shares dozens of creative, colorful, super-fun recipes, plus quick-and-easy projects (ideal for little kids), holiday treats, party-perfect sprinkles crafts (great for gifting!). She also offers simple tutorials for tinting sparkling sugars, concocting homemade pop rocks, and even crafting your own sprinkles from scratch. Sprinkles! is an awesome rainbow explosion of a cookbook you won’t want to miss.”

The first thing that you need to know is that the photography in the book (& on the front & back covers) is beautiful. Beautiful colors & beautiful layouts. It’s enough to make a food blogger a little jealous.

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A deliciously NON-GMO giveaway from Milton’s Baking.

A giveaway for Milton's organic crackers!

I come from a cracker family. I know, I know, that sounds weird. But it’s true. When it comes to snacking, some families are potato chip/pretzel families, some families are cookie families (we might be a little of that too), and some are cracker families. When I was a kid, my grandmother was always eating soda crackers or other more buttery snack crackers. Sometimes plain, sometimes with a little butter, sometimes with cheese. My mother favored ‘fancier’ crackers like the baked whole wheat kind, with some goat cheese or brie, or maybe some fig jam. My dad on the other hand loves crackers, chips and cookies. Jay is a pretzel guy, but he does like the occasional cracker, maybe even with some aged cheddar.

So when I got an e-mail asking me to review & host a giveaway for Milton’s Craft Bakers brand new line of crackers, I was psyched. To find out they’re naturally sweetened, non-GMO & organic was a bonus! I love to buy things that aren’t genetically modified, and I try to do the best I can. I don’t go nuts about it, but I do try. It can be really hard sometimes- companies are very, very sneaky about this stuff. Not only that, but some of our old favorites that we just buy because we always did have come to be known as not so great choices nowadays. Between high-fructose corn syrup, GMO ingredients & trans fats, finding new, delicious alternatives isn’t always easy. Some “all-natural” options taste like cardboard. Others break the bank- lots of money for minimal product.

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Enter the Tiki Room- a Sourpuss giveaway!

************ COMMENTS CLOSED! GIVEAWAY IS OVER 5/28/13! ************

*** Thanks so much to everyone who entered! I hope to do tons more of these! ***

*** AND THE WINNER IS… ***

tikimugwinner

tikimugwinner2

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When I say that I’ve been excited to post this, I’m not kidding. I really have been. Crazy excited. And I know, it’s not quite warm enough yet to imagine yourself lying on a beach sipping a cocktail, but try. Because today I’m giving away a set of TWO limited edition Sourpuss Clothing Tiki mugs, and giving you a recipe for banana daquiri’s to put in those mugs.

See those mugs? Yep. That’s what one lucky winner will get. TWO OF THOSE MUGS! Namely, the two on the left. Sold separately, they’re $26.00 each. YOU COULD WIN THEM. FOR FREE. If you win, you’ll get one mug each of the first two shown in the photo above (listed from left to right as shown): one May I Be Frank tiki mug & one Aloha Zombie tiki mug.

Sourpuss Clothing LIMITED EDITION Tiki mugs! Enter the giveaway now... ends May 27th 2013.
Sourpuss Clothing LIMITED EDITION Tiki mugs! Enter the giveaway now... ends May 27th 2013.(Shown in my photos are the Headhunter tiki mug & the Tai One On tiki mug; you’ll be entering to win the other two)

Do you have an outdoor Tiki bar in the summer? Do you love Polynesian masks? Are you big into 1950’s & 1960’s Tiki culture? Do you have a wicked sense of humor? Do you love horror movies & zombies as much as the beach & the sun? Is your dream guy a weird conglomeration of Don Draper going to Hawaii with Johnny Cash & ending up with bolts in his neck à la Frankenstein? Well then, my friend, you’ve hit the jackpot today. Because you could possibly win these totally awesome mugs. Even if you aren’t into those things, you could win. But I’d hope that whoever enters actually likes the mugs, and doesn’t just like getting free shit. ‘Cause that’d suck.

See, I happen to have very weird & eclectic tastes. For example, I have a skull/sugar skull obsession (as you probably noticed back during my last Sourpuss giveaway in October). I have skulls on everything from oven mitts to plates. But then I go and buy pretty pastel pink striped tea towels, polka dot cake stands & vintage flowered tea cups. I don’t know, I’ve given up on trying to label myself. I love both vintage horror movie posters and vintage enamelware, both early 1900’s vintage mason jars and retro 1950’s kitchen stuff. It can’t be explained.

But either way, I’m totally in love with these tiki mugs!

Enter the Sourpuss Clothing & Cupcake Rehab tiki mug giveaway! Ends May 27th.

They’re awesome quality, beautifully painted & they hold almost 20 ounces of liquor drink! Specifically… banana daiquiris!

TIKI ZOMBIE BANANA DAQUIRI

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. dark rum (I use Myer’s)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 oz. banana liqueur
  • 2 oz. coconut milk
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled

Directions:

  1. Put rum, sugar, lime juice, banana liqueur, water, bananas, and plenty of ice into an electric blender, then purée until smooth and thick.
  2. Pour into two tall Tiki mugs, add a pineapple slice, a straw & umbrella, and sit in the sun.

Sourpuss Clothing tiki mug giveaway! Enter now... ends May 27th.

So at this point, you’re wondering what you’ve gotta do to win. Well, it’s pretty easy: there’s only ONE mandatory entry. All the others are purely bonus entries. Here’s what you’ve gotta do:

  • First, and most important, for the one mandatory entry you have to tell me something: if you were to win, what cocktail (or “mocktail”) would you drink out of them? Polynesian or Tiki cocktails would be the most obvious, but any and all ideas are welcome! And virgin cocktails are fine, too. Hell, frozen hot chocolate or Coke is fine. Whatever YOU like… tell me!
  • Secondly (the first optional entry), follow @CupcakeRehab & @SourpussBrand on Twitter. Then come on back here & comment again letting me know (giving me your Twitter name helps, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Third, pin one of these pictures from this entry on Pinterest! Any one you want, as long as you write about the giveaway in the caption. Then come on back here & tell me (again, your Pinterest names will help)
  • Finally (the last optional entry)… tell everyone in your social network about this giveaway! Copy and paste the following into a tweet or post about it on your Facebook page for an extra entry (then come back & let me know, in a separate comment)-

Aloha! I just entered to win a set of TWO limited edition tiki mugs from @SourpussBrand at @CupcakeRehab. You can too: http://cupcakerehab.com/2013/05/enter-the-tiki-room-a-sourpuss-tiki-mug-giveaway

Each comment is an entry, so obviously the more comments you have, the more entries you have, and the more chances of winning you have.

But there’s only one that’s 100% mandatory, so you’re under no obligation to complete the other three. The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 27th, which is exactly one week from today. At 12:00 a.m. EST on May 28th, the comments will be closed & I’ll choose a winner randomly (thanks to random.org). I’ll e-mail the winner right away, and if I don’t hear back within 24 hours, the prize goes to another randomly chosen person. Anyone & everyone is open to entering!

I’m off to go sit & sip my daiquiri while imagining that summer isn’t too far away… let the commenting begin!

Sourpuss Clothing tiki mugs: The Headhunter & Tai One On.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

And if you’re interested (or maybe if you win), Sourpuss has a ton of awesome Tiki-related stuff. Bottle openersmagnetstoothpick holdervotive candles & candle setsvalancesmini-candlesbeach towels… you can transform your entire house or patio into an island getaway. They even have dresses & heels with a Tiki theme. You can go tiki crazy!

Black velvet, sugar skulls & a Sourpuss giveaway!

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED! THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER!

and the winner is…#50!  Kate G!

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*** Congrats Kate! I’m e-mailing you right now. And thanks to everyone else who entered. I hope to do another giveaway soon… ***

*************************************************************************************************

BOY, are you all lucky this week. Cupcakes the other day, cupcakes today. It’s a cupcake-palooza around here… which is appropriate, given my blog name. But I will admit that in general, I haven’t been posting as many cupcakes as I should lately. I’ve been distracted with other goodies & yummies & I’ve kinda been neglecting the cupcakes.

Before I start going off on my tangents, lets get one thing straight right away: this entire post is going to be a big lovefest. It’s ALLLLLL about things I love. You’re going to see me write that over and over and over again, and I do apologize. Both for my repetition, my lack of other suitable words for the circumstances and also for beating you over the head with it. Are you ready?

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I love Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. It’s one of my favorite things about this time of year; along with Halloween, spooky things, black cats everywhere, fall leaves, vampires, apples & pumpkins. Just in case you live under a rock:

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world: In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.

The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico can be traced back to the Indigenous Pagan cultures. Rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed by these civilizations perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years.[1] In the pre-Hispanic era, skulls were commonly kept as trophies and displayed during the rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.

The festival that became the modern Day of the Dead fell in the ninth month of the Aztec calendar, about the beginning of August, and was celebrated for an entire month. The festivities were dedicated to the goddess[2] known as the “Lady of the Dead”, corresponding to the modern Catrina.

In most regions of Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants, whereas deceased adults are honored on November 2. This is indicated by generally referring to November 1 mainly as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”) and November 2 as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).[3]

-Wikipedia

Basically, it’s about life, despite the name. It’s about celebrating the lives of those we love who have passed on. What a beautiful concept. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s happy, it’s fun. It bridges that great divide between the dead & the living, and it keeps them in our thoughts through a celebration of their lives as opposed to the sadness of their deaths. I see nothing bad in that, at all. I find it to be a revelation, actually, compared to the stodgy, stuffy, overly melancholy grieving process of my Catholic childhood. I love to celebrate my ancestors & their lives, as opposed to just remembering them at the ends of their lives. In years past, I’ve not only made an altar, but I’ve celebrated by making tres leches cupcakes & Pan de Muerto. I have a hand painted Mexican sugar skull (Jay has one too, kinda like our version of Yin & Yang), and I have sugar skull printed pillows, etc. Suffice it to say I’m big into it, especially the sugar skull iconography.

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So that’s one more thing I love. Sugar Skulls. Any size, shape, colors, theme. I love them all. I want to collect a variety of them, but they’re hard to find here in New York. Hey, are you tired of what I love yet? No? Good, ’cause there’s more. Who’da thunk it that I actually do LIKE so many things?

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‘Cause you wanna know snother thing I love? Sourpuss Clothing. I’ve loved them for four years now, ever since they first contacted me to send me products to review back in 2008. I’m obsessed with their housewares department- don’t get me wrong, I love Crate & Barrel, I love Williams-Sonoma, and I love Pottery Barn too. But sometimes a gal like me, with my skull obsession & my mohawk, yearns for something more… offbeat… for my kitchen decor. And those mainstream stores will usually only carry creepy or “weird” things around Halloween. Well, that’s great, but what if I want a zombie cutting board in June? Or Frankenstein & his bride salt & pepper shakers in February? I go to Sourpuss, that’s what!

But you know, there’s one more thing I love: cupcakes. You knew that already, though. But sugar skulls on cupcakes? FORGET IT. Love it times a million. I’ve made cupcakes with little sugar skulls on them before, but why not repeat something when it’s a good thing? Thanks to Wilton for the awesome skull mold and beautiful food coloring gel that I used in this post. I made the frosting marigold color because marigolds are the traditional flowers of Dia de los Muertos, and are actually known as the flowers of the dead. (side note: they’d be great for Halloween too, with bright orange frosting)

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BLACK VELVET DAY OF THE DEAD CUPCAKES (taken from here)

Makes about 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of black liquid McCormick food coloring (or possibly less if you’re using Americolor)
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Line your cupcake tins with liners and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350° degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix the food coloring and cocoa powder until completely incorporated. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat until thoroughly combined, being sure to scrape down the sides.
  4. Add the vanilla and the red food coloring-cocoa mixture and beat well to combine. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat on medium speed until combined, then add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and beat until incorporated.
  5. Add another 1/3 of the flour, beat well, then the other half of the buttermilk, scraping down the sides after each addition. Finish with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the vinegar and baking soda, and immediately add to batter. Mix on high speed for just a few seconds until evenly dispersed, and pour right away into lined cupcake pans, about halfway, maybe 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
  8. Cool completely before frosting.

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They’re beautiful, aren’t they? Deep, dark, black cupcakes. Bright marigold colored buttercream and a pretty little white chocolate handpainted skull. Delicious & pretty to look at, a great combination. And the inspiration for them ain’t too shabby either, right? Look at the pattern:

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Would you like your own set? I bet you would.

In this giveaway, one lucky winner will get the ADORABLE Skulls in Love apron. I’m sorry I couldn’t get a decent photo of it for you, but it’s hard taking self-portraits that are full-on body shots; even with my awesome camera & tripod. Either way, the apron is super adorable & the winner will love it. But it’s not just that, oh no. They’ll also get a matching kitchen set (oven mitt & pot holder) & tea towel as well as a skull bowl and a matching bank too. Perhaps for saving up to buy a KitchenAid mixer? Or to upgrade your old hand mixer? Use it to hold your latte fund? Or maybe the “bad language tax” collection for your kids? Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you use it for. It’s cute, that’s the point. And it all matches & coordinates with the bowl. A little girl skull bowl with a bow, and a boy skull bank with a top hat. I die (no pun intended) of the cuteness. I used the bowl to house my handmade tissue paper marigolds (like I said, they’re the traditional flower of Dia de los Muertos & it’s also tradition to make them out of paper), but you can use it for anything. Flowers, candy, a planter. So did you get all that? ONE winner gets an apron, tea towel, kitchen set, bowl and bank. Jackpot!

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ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENTER IS COMMENT. Leave a comment here telling me why you love the Day of the Dead, too. What does it mean to you? Why can you relate to it? I’ll choose a winner at random via random.org on October 25th at midnight, EST. I’m doing this for ONE week exactly so that the winner has a better chance of getting their prize in time for Dia de los Muertos. As far as the winner goes: commenting on the Sourpuss blog or Facebook is invalid, as is a reply on Twitter. You must comment here to be entered. For an optional second shot at winning, tweet the following:

I just entered to win a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull apron/kitchen set/& more from @SourpussBrand & @CupcakeRehab! http://cupcakerehab.com/2012/10/black-velvet-cupcakes-sugar-skulls-a-sourpuss-giveaway/

Just copy & paste the above phrase, post it on Twitter, and then come back & comment a second time. That’s two chances to win. Optional third chance: share the link for this post (see the icon below) on Facebook and then come back & tell me. That’s three chances. Only the first one is mandatory to enter. The other two are just added extras.

But.. there’s ONE MORE thing. For an optional fourth bonus entry, get a friend to come here & enter. If you comment telling me who your friend is, you get a fourth entry, and they get an entry for themselves when they comment (maybe more, if they choose to use the Twitter and/or FB entries as well). So what are you waiting for? Go… get to commenting!

Sources & credits: Bakelite red-handled cutlery; vintage.