Bring Your Lunch Giveaway (closed)

There are so many things that keep me from bringing my lunch to work every day.  Either I’m running late and I don’t have time in the morning to pack one.  Or I leave it on the kitchen counter.  Or I go to my next work location and forget my lunch in the teacher’s lounge refrigerator. With five schools to go to in a week, it’s no wonder some things get left behind!

I’m making a supreme effort this year to bring my lunch more often, and am hoping to help someone else do the same.  I put together a little “Bring Your Lunch, Dawg” giveaway that includes a lunch bag and salad combo container.  The bag is insulated, made from recycled plastic bags, and from the awesomely fun site, Mod Cloth.  The container is great for holding a sandwich and a snack, and comes with a cute container for dressing (like this homemade one!) and a snap together fork and knife.  One of my favorite lunches to bring is a DIY burrito bowl.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents over 18 years old.  See the widget below to enter.  Ends September 7, 2015 at 8:00p.m. Eastern time.  Good luck!

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Cookbook Giveaway

The Epcot Food And Wine Festival has been going for a few weeks now, and I’m already a regular fixture there, especially on the weekends.  Some of my favorite dishes have returned to the International Marketplaces, like the venison sausage at the New Zealand kitchen…

…along with some new favorites like the apricot jam filled donut in Germany

and the conch ceviche in Puerto Rico.

In honor of my favorite Disney event, I am hosting a little giveaway.  I always buy this cookbook every year they print one out.  Sure, some of the recipes repeat year after year.  But this year, I’m happy to discover that they included recipes from the spring’s Flower And Garden Festival, and recipes from Holidays Around The World at Epcot.  Can’t wait to make some of these fabulous foods at home, and now you can too!

One winner will receive a copy of the cookbook, A Taste Of Epcot.  The prize package also includes a Taste Your Way Around The World magnet.  Just fill out the below widget to enter.

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored by the Walt Disney World Company. I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

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Epcot Food And Wine Festival and a Giveaway

People around here are gearing up for the Epcot International Food And Wine Festival.  I’ve said this many times before, and it still holds true: this is one of absolute favorite events in Central Florida.  This year, Joey and I are not only going to taste our way around the World Showcase, but we are also going to a tequila lunch and the Party For The Senses.  I’ll post recaps of those later on.

In the meantime, here’s some recent recaps from past years:

– My favorite dishes from last year’s festival, and the new plates to make eating and drinking easier

– The stunning sweets that you could make into your own challenge – Desserts Around The World

Tips on how taste your way around the World Showcase without busting a gut

Attend a culinary demonstration, like the one with Chef John Ashton and Dr. Wendy Bazilian that I saw last year [Read more…]

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Chicken And Dumplings

Autumn is just around the corner, which means among other things it’s time for the Fall Progressive Dinner!  Remember the event from this past summer?  This time, instead of dividing up into different courses, everyone chose to post a favorite comfort food.  Nothing says comfort more than a hearty stew.  I recently made this for Joey when he was sick.  He was on a combination of medications due to his Crohn’s, and his body reacted badly to them.  Chicken and dumplings was one of the only foods that appealed to him at the time.

As always, the Progressive Dinner always comes with a giveaway! [Read more…]

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Desserts In Jars Cookbook Giveaway

desserts in jars

Quick, think of your favorite dessert.

Chances are, you can adapt it to fit in individual portions served in a jar.  That’s the concept behind Shaina Olmanson‘s book, Desserts In Jars.  She even has a chapter on mixes that can be given as gifts.  With the holiday season quickly approaching, those ideas could come in handy.

Today I’m giving away a copy of this beautiful book! [Read more…]

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Heirloom Tomatoes and a Whole Foods Giveaway

I’ve tried to grow my own tomatoes, with very little luck.  Even when starting them from seed, they just wilted, withered, and died in the FL heat.  I think I planted them too late, which meant they struggled to grow during the most sweltering time of the year. If anyone can tell me the correct time I should plant tomatoes in Climate 9, please leave a comment with the answer. I’d love to get better at growing my own food.

Recently, Whole Foods invited me to explore their selection of heirloom tomatoes. [Read more…]

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Pin To Win, Desserts In Jars and IACP Giveaway

desserts in jars
I’m not a trained chef.  I don’t work in the restaurant or food service industry.  I’m just a home cook with an above average interest in food.  Even so, even I want to attend the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Conference.  I’d love to learn about the upcoming food trends, speak with industry professionals, and learn some “tricks of the trade.”  So I was stoked to find out about this opportunity: [Read more…]

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How To Make Ravioli and a Giveaway

I recently bought a ravioli maker.  It’s pretty no-frills, but you can make a dozen ravioli at at time.  I find the task oddly calming.  I’m not sure why. It’s pure delight to see pillows of pasta with perfectly crimped edges appear on the counter top.  So, without further ado, here is a step-by-step tutorial (more detailed instructions below) of how to make ravioli, complete with photos:

First, make pasta dough.  Flatten dough and run through a pasta maker on setting no. 1.  Let dough rest for 30 minutes. (Again, more details about this in the recipe below.)

Flour the metal surface of the ravioli maker lightly with dough.  This step is crucial, especially for the first round of ravioli.  In my excitement, I forgot this the for the first batch, and the dough stuck completely.  Consequently, I had to scrap it.

Lay one sheet of dough on the floured surface of the ravioli maker.

Lightly press the plastic piece down on top of the dough.  This makes the pockets for the filling.

Place a scoop of filling into each pocket.  Flatten the filling lightly with your fingers.

Lay second sheet of dough over the top of the first.  Take a rolling pin and roll across the surface, making sure the ridged edges show through the top sheet of dough.

Flip ravioli maker over and lightly rap on the counter.  Ravioli may take a little coaxing to come out of the mold.

Ta-da!  Beautiful little squares of pasta.  One note: I used a little too much flour in the above picture.  The ravioli will come out fine with less flour, I just was over compensating for my flour-less first batch that was ruined.

Because I love this ravioli maker so much, I’m giving one away! Dipping my toe into managing a giveaway on my own.  One winner will receive this nifty device, along with a mini rolling pin that’s the perfect size for sealing the dough.  Contest is open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada. It ends at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, August 12th.  To enter, please fill out the form below the recipe. Good luck!

Homemade Ravioli

Homemade Ravioli


2 c flour
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs
1 Tbs water


  1. Place ingredients in a food processor with a metal blade.Pulse until the ingredients blend together and start to form a ball, about 1 minute. Remove dough, and form into a disc. Divide dough into three equal sections.
  2. Flatten each section, dust with flour, and roll through a pasta maker fitted with the flat sheet on the number 1 setting. Continue rolling another 3-4 times, until dough becomes smooth and uniform looking. Cover dough sheets with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Dust pasta sheets with a little more flour and roll dough through number two setting of the pasta maker. Continue rolling dough, moving consecutively to the number 4 setting. Cut sheet of dough in half.
  4. Sprinkle flour all over the surface of the ravioli maker. Lay one half-sheet of pasta dough on the ravioli maker. Take the mold (white plastic part) and gently press into the dough to form concave impressions. Fill with about 2 tsp of filling. Lay second half-sheet of dough on top of the filling. Gently press down on the dough to flatten the filling. Press a rolling pin along the surface, starting in the middle and rolling toward each end. Remove excess dough around the edges. Flip mold over and tap on the counter to remove pasta. Place raviolis on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  5. To cook the ravioli: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place ravioli in the the water; return water to a boil. Cook about 3-4 minutes, until all ravioli are floating and the edges are cooked through.
  6. To freeze: place baking sheet of ravioli in the freezer until frozen solid, about half an hour. Once frozen, place ravioli in a freezer-safe plastic bag. To cook: place frozen ravioli in boiling water. Cook until edges are done and filling is hot, about 5-6 minutes.

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Virtual Summer Picnic and Flavors of Summer Giveaway (closed)

Virtual picnic logo

I’m participating in a Virtual Summer Picnic this week!  Starting today, a group of bloggers are posting favorite summer/picnic recipes.  The virtual picnic ends on July 3rd, culminating in a giveaway.  Picnics are all about food that is easy to put together, easy to transport (if you’re going to a real location), and sharing it with friends.  Since I consider my readers my “virtual friends,” I’ll be sharing a few recipes this week with you.  The last picnic I went on was last summer when Joey’s family had a reunion.  We spent a very memorable day at my brother-in-law’s cabin on the lake.  Read further for details about the virtual picnic, and for a few pictures of our day at the cabin…


Celebrate Sweet Vidalia Flavors of Summer with the great tastes of fresh Vidalia Onions, Avocados from Mexico, Gourmet Garden Herbs, Johnsonville Italian Sausage, mangos, watermelon and Stemilt Cherries. Great food and good friends make everyday a party to remember so start entertaining and visit for recipes, coupons and entertaining tips.

Start celebrating the Flavors of Summer and enter below for a chance to win 1 of 7 prize packages.  Each prize package includes: a $50 Visa gift card, an “I Love Avocados” t-shirt, the newly released cookbook “Summer Thyme” from blogger Jennifer Dempsey, fresh Vidalia onions, and squeezable herbs from Gourmet Garden.

The prize winners will be announced during our Virtual Picnic PinChatLive on Wednesday July 3rd, 4:30-5:30pm Eastern on The Flavors of Summer Virtual Picnic Pinterest Board. Come to the board for an hour of PinChat Fun and find out if you won. You’ll also see questions pinned to the board. Every time you answer a question found on a pin, you’re entered to win yet another amazing prize. See you on Pinterest! (Note: we will also contact winners by email).

The following bloggers are participating in the Summer Virtual Picnic. Be sure to check their sites for some wonderful recipes!  I’m posting my first recipe later today.

Mother Thyme
Cook the Story
It’s Yummilicious
White Lights on Wednesday
{i love} my disorganized life
Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Sweet Remedy
Big Bear’s Wife
Cravings of a Lunatic
Katie’s Cucina
The Tasty Fork
Scarletta Bakes

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Pie Week Winner and Wrap Up


Congratulations to Carina! Her comment was, “Mmm..awesome giveaway! i love pie making but my pie-making supplies were recently depleted so this sounds great! and my favorite pie might have to be fresh blueberry pie, so hard to choose!! also, where do you find lard?”

I found lard in my local supermarket. It was with the vegetable shortening. Other places to look would be in the section with Latino food, or at a Latino grocery.

Thanks everyone for entering! The hardest part about hosting a giveaway was figuring out how to capture a screen shot of the random generator. There’s no snipping tool on my computer, so Hubs worked some technical magic. He’s so helpful!

Pie Week has come to a close. I have eaten waaaay too much pie in preparing for it. Along with all the pies featured on the blog, there were the ones that didn’t quite make the cut. There were the cracked, oozing hand pies,

The shepherd’s pie that tasted great, but used too many processed foods for my comfort,

And the fig galette that looked great but didn’t photograph well.

All in all, I am supremely satisfied with Pie Week. I hope you all had fun reading. I need some time away from pastry dough.

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