{Giveaway} minted holiday cards

December 11th, 2012 · 35 Comments · Giveaways

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partridgecard

Is everyone in the full swing of the holidays? I want to say I am, but in actuality I spent much of last weekend trying to finish off the new nursery, and writing thank-you notes for the baby shower. Right after I finished the last thank-you note, I realized I had to do Christmas cards – it’s going to be one long card-writing marathon for me this week!

I thought it was serendipitously appropriate then that I was contacted by minted, an online paper goods store that features designs from independent designers around the world. I’ve actually received cards from friends who use minted, and I’ve found them fresh, unique, and well made. minted offers access to some really talented artists, a wide range of products that makes them a good one-stop shop for your paper needs – from invitations to business cards to stationery to calendars, and even the ability to customize your cards: minted designers can tweak the layout of existing designs or work with you to create a completely custom design.

northpoleform

The existing, constantly evolving selection of designs has enough choices to intrigue my non-designer self. Now that we have a dog and another family member on the way, the photo cards are looking like an appealing option for future cards we send out. And now, here’s your chance to try out minted, maybe get some last-minute holiday cards, or make some other custom card if you have some big announcement coming up in your life – like I do!

To enter: I’m happy to offer a $50 minted credit to one lucky winner.  Simply leave a comment below on your favorite design from minted’s holiday card page. The winner will be announced next Monday Dec. 17.

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In between bouts of card writing, I’m working in some holiday baking – look for a recipe post in a day or two. Teaser: think cranberries. In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the giveaway – good luck!

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{Giveaway} {SF} Teacake Bake Shop – In Praise of Local Bakeries

November 30th, 2011 · 65 Comments · Giveaways, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

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teacake sampler

Hi all, hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend and are getting a good start on your holiday shopping! I’m going to be posting up my annual gift recommendations in the next week, but meanwhile I thought I’d like to start off the holidays with a little giveaway!

Teacake Bake Shop is the sort of bakery I would have loved to open – it’s cute, girly, and all the pastries are sweetly sophisticated. The first Teacake opened in Emeryville (near Berkeley) while I was still in pastry school. When I found out the owner was a young female Asian entrepeneur, I thought, hey, she’s living out my dream!

A couple years later I had the opportunity to interview Agnes, the owner, for Edible East Bay, and finally had the chance to chat with one of my inspirations. There’s practically a cupcake shop on every block in the city now, but back when Teacake opened, there were only a couple around, so it’s really one of the originals, and I’m glad it’s succeeded and continued to grow. I have immense respect for all the local food producers and artisans – it’s people like Agnes who follow their dreams and open up a shop selling unique sweets, meats, cheese, jams, etc. that make the Bay Area such a vibrant culinary culture. There are four Teacake Bake Shops now, and again one of them is close to my current home. It’s always a treat to walk by and see the bakers working in the open kitchen (customers can see their cupcakes being made in front of their eyes), and there’s also a large room where they hold tea parties and classes for kids.

In fact, Jessie of CakeSpy stopped by her on her book tour! Check out her post to see some photos of the shop and of the two of us goofing around.

I’m excited to host a giveaway for Teacake Bake Shop, so you’ll get a chance to try out her goodies – or perhaps cross a gift off your shopping list! Teacake is offering up their Mini Treats Sampler, a collection of four of their bestselling cookies, including Strawberry Jam Thumbprints, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Sugar Cookies, and Chocolate Cookies Sandwiches. There are 30 cookies in the package – enough for a party, snacking during a gift-wrapping session, or to leave out for Santa.

To enter: Please note that Teacake Bake Shop will ship the prize within the continental U.S. only (not to Alaska or Hawaii). Please make sure you have an appropriate shipping address before you enter!

Simply follow Teacake Bake Shop on Facebook or Twitter, and let me know in the comments below. If you already follow them, that’s fine too – just note it in the comment! The giveaway will run through Sunday, December 4th and I’ll announce the winner on Monday December 5th.

Good luck! And if you live in the Bay Area, be sure to stop by a Teacake Bake Shop!

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And the Just Desserts giveaway winner is…

August 26th, 2011 · No Comments · Giveaways

Happy Friday everyone! Did you catch the Top Chef Just Desserts premiere? What did you think?

Thanks to everyone who commented – it was really fun to read all the answers! It looks like there’s a lot of love out there for Yigit and the Voltaggio brothers – you readers have excellent taste;)

So, the winner of the KitchenAid stand mixer is:

Picture 1

Reader 205, Trish! Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone who entered! Have a great weekend, and look out for my next post on Greece, on Monday!

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{Giveaway} Top Chef Just Desserts Season 2 This Week

August 22nd, 2011 · 230 Comments · Giveaways

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kitchenaid mixer

 

I always forget about the television during summer, so the start of fall programming usually catches me by surprise. Luckily, I got notification about one show I don’t want to miss: the second season of Top Chef Just Desserts is premiering this Wednesday, August 24, on Bravo.

The first season was…exciting, to say the least. The drama got a little over the top, but I was impressed by some of the desserts that some contestants were able to put together under some pretty trying circumstances. I’m looking forward to seeing what refinements the second season will bring, as well as seeing Chefs Johnny Iuzzini and Hubert Keller (le sigh) again.

To get a gander at the contestants for this season, go here.  You can also enjoy these recipes from the Yigit Pura, the winner of Season 1:

Peanut Butter and S’mores Cookie Dough Sundae

Strawberry Sorbet and Lemongrass Ginger Ice Cream

Now the best part- to celebrate the premiere I’m giving away the 5-quart Artisan stand mixer shown at the top of the post, along with this cupcake decorating kit:

cupcake kit

These prizes were generously donated by Bravo and I’m happy to pass them on to one lucky reader!

To enter: Leave a comment below with your favorite Top Chef contestant (either from Just Desserts or the original series). I’m going to cheat a little and say I’m partial to the very talented Voltaggio brothers, who came out on top of what I thought was the best season of Top Chef so far (by the way, they have a cookbook coming out this fall, if you haven’t heard!)

This contest will run through Thursday, August 25, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday, August 26. Good luck – and don’t forget Top Chef Just Desserts on Wednesday, August 24!

 

This prize was provided by the BRAVO Network but BRAVO is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of BRAVO.

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Going on Vacation + No Pictures Won’t Stop A Giveaway!

May 28th, 2011 · 85 Comments · Cookbooks, Giveaways

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Growing pains that come from moving and expanding your blog…unavoidable, and a neverending challenge. I currently am having some issues with getting images to appear correctly on this site, which sorts of renders a food blog a little pointless, no? While I’m sure (hopeful?) the answer is just a couple code lines away, I am also leaving on a two week vacation today…to the Mediterranean and far, far, away from the Internet. So I’m afraid no new photos will arrive until U return.

So sorry, dear readers! I meant to leave you with a few interesting posts to tide you over, but it looks like I’ve been stymied by technological roadblocks.

As consolation, click over to the online version of Edible East Bay, where my review of Alice Medrich’s new cookie book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy
has been published. I’ve met Alice a few times and she is a truly meticulous and inspired baker. Her cookbooks remain among my favorites n my bookshelf.

I’m also giving a copy of this book away to one lucky reader – just leave a comment describing your favorite texture of cookie. Do you like your chocolate chip cookies thick and chewy? Your brownies cakey? Your macarons just this side of chewy? Give me some adjectives!

I’ll let this run until I return on June 12, at which point hopefully all will have been restored to rightness here and I can post the winner, as well as some tidbits from my interview with Alice, and a recipe from her book.

Thanks for your patience, all! Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Now, I have a plane to catch!

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It’s My Birthday – And I’m Doing A Giveaway!

May 4th, 2011 · 200 Comments · Giveaways, Personal, Tools

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shortribslecreuset

I was talking to my sister last week ago and she was reminding me to get a Mother’s Day card for our mom. I replied, “Well, we don’t need to worry about so soon, Mother’s Day is after my birthday and my birthday isn’t for a while…ohhh.”

So how did it become May already? I love having a May birthday – all that spring sunshine – and I love looking forward to it. However, the last few years I seem to get really busy in April so my birthday jumps out at me like an exam I haven’t studied for. (Another thing about a May birthday? Remember AP exams in high school? I had one on my birthday one year. That was great too).

What’s to prepare for a birthday, you say? Well, I usually try to make my own birthday cake. And post about it. Thanks to my sister’s oh-so-timely reminder, I scrambled to pull my myriad ideas together. However, when I went into the kitchen last night I was told by the Husband that it was going to be occupied for a while, so maybe I could entertain myself in the meantime? Ohhh…birthday surprise! (Yes, I am also getting slower in my old age.)

Did I mention how lucky I am to have such a great hubby? So, I guess I’m going to have to hold off on a birthday cake post until maybe next week. While I’m making myself conveniently scarce, I’m going to invite you all to help me celebrate by holding another giveaway! I told you I had a lot of stuff to get out of my place:)

Walk into any cooking store or get a cooking catalog and chances are you’ll see Le Creuset proudly displayed like works of art in a museum. I was quite excited to be offered a Le Creuset braiser in their new fennel color for review. By the way, this is my first Le Creuset piece! Woohoo! I guess that counts as a pretty awesome birthday gift!

lecreuset35braiser

This cast iron braiser is great for searing off foods quickly at high temperatures and then braising them slowly and evenly. The enamelled interior makes cleanup a breeze; we’ve used it several times already and it cleans up like new. It also works great for poaching, marinating, or browning – the wide bottom lets you fit in lots of pieces without crowding. The website also says it’s works for baking, although I haven’t figured out what to bake in it yet! Something for fall, it feels like…at least I have several months to mull it over!

The Husband broke in the braiser by making some short ribs with polenta and we were extremely happy with the results – like eating the leftovers for several days straight happy.

I’m giving away a 3.5 quart Le Creuset braiser to one Dessert First reader. Just visit the Le Creuset website and comment below on what your favorite piece is. I’ll run the contest through May 8 and announce the winner on May 9.

Sorry there’s no birthday cake recipe! But I’ll have the Pebble Beach Food and Wine full recap up in another day, with recipes from Yigit Pura and Daniel Boulud!

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