1/30/12

Virtual Potluck Healthy New Year Challenge – The Final Week: Lemon Basil Tea Biscuits

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Welcome to the final dish of the Virtual Potluck Healthy New Year Challenge sponsored by Bob's Red Mill and California Olive Ranch

This week's theme is Ahhhh.... Dessert. 

The ingredients used in this week's dish were Bob's Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Pastry Flour and California Olive Ranch Every Day Fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Virtual Potluck




But before I tell you how these sweet treats were made...

Would you like to find out how you can win some Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour and California Olive Ranch Olive Oil? 
Here's how! 









Mandatory Entry:



To enter: You must visit the California Olive Ranch Facebook page and retrieve this week's Virtual Potluck Code Word. (You'll find it on the Virtual Potluck portion of their FB page.)  Then, use that code word in a sentence in the comment section below.



Additional Entries:



For extra entries, do any or all of the below and then come back here and leave a comment for each:



  1. Follow Bob's Red Mill on Twitter
  2. Follow California Olive Ranch on Twitter
  3. Follow Virtual Potluck on Twitter
  4. Tweet about the contest: “I just entered to win @Bobs_Red_Mill & @CA_EVOO products from @TaratheFoodie #virtualpotluck Enter here: http://bit.ly/wXYeGm“ Comment again, letting me know you've done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
  5. More Blogs, More Ways to Win: Get additional entries in each week's giveaways by visiting our host blog for this event, Groovy Foody, and finding other participating VP bloggers sites to comment on. You have 48 chances to win great products!
If you are chosen as the winner, you win BOTH products:
the California Olive Ranch Every Day Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

California Olive Ranch would also like to offer FOODIE readers a 10% discount by entering coupon code ‘BLOGFRIENDS’ upon checkout at their online store.   


Contest will end on Wednesday, February 1st at 6 pm EST and a winner will be chosen via random.org.

This contest is now closed... and the winner is...

Athena! 
Follow her @GoddessFoodie on Twitter!

 

See how I made these tea biscuits after the jump...

1/21/12

Virtual Potluck Healthy New Year Challenge (Week 3!): Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa with Ribeye and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Welcome to Week 3 of the Virtual Potluck Healthy New Year Challenge sponsored by Bob's Red Mill and California Olive Ranch

This week's theme is The Main Event. 

The ingredients used in this week's dish were Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa Grain and California Olive Ranch Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Virtual Potluck
So the idea this week is to use both products and produce an amazing, delicious, healthy main dish.  This week I went more traditional (at least for me) and did the meat, grain, and veggie all separate on the plate kind of meal.  This is the way I think many people that aren't foodie cooks like me probably cook every day.  I don't dislike this way of presenting a meal, but if I did it more than once in a while, I'd get very bored.  However, this presentation just worked for me this particular night and this dinner was SO. FREAKIN. GOOD. 

We got some big fat ribeye steaks from Costco a while back and since each one is over a pound, I just thawed one out for Mark and I to share.  Using Mark's grill-master-of-the-universe advice, I was able to "burn" a really good, juicy, medium-rare steak.  I was pretty proud of myself - just ask Mark.  He was making fun of my self-back patting all night that night. 

We had a bag of Brussels sprouts that I wanted use up, and I always make them the same way.  Cut off the little brown ends, cut each sprout in half (unless they're super tiny), put them all in a glass baking dish.  Hit them with a good extra virgin olive oil (hhhmmmm how about some California Olive Ranch Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil), and season them with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Toss them to coat them all with the goodness, then pop them in a 350 degree oven until they begin to brown a bit.  The only thing I did differently this time was I also added lemon zest and some lemon juice to the sprouts before I popped them in the oven and I highly recommend this.  Yum! 

But before I tell you how the rest of this meal was made...

Would you like to find out how you can win some Bob’s Red Mill Grains and California Olive Ranch Olive Oil? 
Here's how! 



Mandatory Entry:



To enter: You must visit the California Olive Ranch Facebook page and retrieve this week's Virtual Potluck Code Word. (You'll find it on the Virtual Potluck portion of their FB page.)  Then, use that code word in a sentence in the comment section below.



Additional Entries:



For extra entries, do any or all of the below and then come back here and leave a comment for each:



  1. Follow Bob's Red Mill on Twitter
  2. Follow California Olive Ranch on Twitter
  3. Follow Virtual Potluck on Twitter
  4. Tweet about the contest: “I just entered to win @Bobs_Red_Mill & @CA_EVOO products from @TaratheFoodie #virtualpotluck Enter here: http://bit.ly/wXYeGm“ Comment again, letting me know you've done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
  5. More Blogs, More Ways to Win: Get additional entries in each week's giveaways by visiting our host blog for this event, Groovy Foody, and finding other participating VP bloggers sites to comment on. You have 48 chances to win great products!
If you are chosen as the winner, you win BOTH products:
the California Olive Ranch Arbosana Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

California Olive Ranch would also like to offer FOODIE readers a 10% discount by entering coupon code ‘BLOGFRIENDS’ upon checkout at their online store.   


Contest will end on Wednesday, January 25th at 6 pm EST and a winner will be chosen via random.org.


This contest is closed... and the winner is...

Carmen! 
Follow her @cmouse01 on Twitter!

 

See how I used the quinoa and put this whole dish together after the jump!

1/14/12

Virtual Potluck Healthy New Year Challenge: Grande Whole Grains with Spinach and Serrano Ham

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Welcome to (the end of) Week 2 of the Virtual Potluck Healthy New Year Challenge sponsored by Bob's Red Mill and California Olive Ranch.  This week's theme is Supportive Side Dish.  The ingredients used in this week's dish were Bob's Red Mill Grande Whole Grains and California Olive Ranch Miller's Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Virtual Potluck
So yeah... it's Saturday already in Week 2 of our Virtual Potluck party with Bob's Red Mill and California Olive Ranch.  Where did the week go??  Sorry I'm a little late sharing my healthy side dish and tips this week, but don't worry... I still have a great dish to share with you, some great tips, and another giveaway of some amazing products that you will love. 

I managed to make it to the gym twice so far this week and also made some pretty great dinners trying to use up the huge bags of salad greens, spinach, cabbage, and Brussels Sprouts we have in the fridge(s).  For years now, Mark and I have tried to incorporate vegetables and whole grains into as many of our meals as possible for the benefit of our health and frankly, for the benefit of our taste buds.  The "healthy" whole foods actually taste better!  That packaged and frozen food may taste good for the first few bites, but after you're done eating it, how do you feel?  Probably less than awesome, right? 

Well, try eating non-processed, whole foods for a while and see how you feel.  Shop the perimeter of your grocery store and only go down the aisles that have things like spices, olive oils, vinegars, etc. for a little added flavor and pastas and rice (whole grain and brown and white in moderation).  But really most of what you need to make delicious, healthy meals can be found around the perimeter of the store.

Around the perimeter of your grocery store is the produce section (fresh fruits and veggies), the deli counter (get some turkey for sandwiches for lunch), the dairy section (yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs and cheese), the meat and fish sections (get some lean meats and some beautiful fillets of real fresh fish), the juice section (get some 100% orange or grapefruit juice to rev up your morning) and the bread section (whole grain bread).  By purchasing most of your groceries from the perimeter of your store, you will end up with real, whole foods that aren't packed with preservatives and that you can feel good about eating.  You don't need a boxed up rice dish with the flavoring and a bunch of preservatives added.  You are very capable of cooking up some rice and flavoring it yourself with ingredients you can identify and without added chemicals. 

Your goal may be to lose some weight this year (I'm with ya there, sister...), but you also want to feel strong and energetic too, right?  Well, eating this way will help you achieve both.  If you focus on eating nothing but fat-free, fake-sugared, meal-in-a-can type stuff just to save on Weight Watchers points or calories if you're counting that way, you may lose weight, but you're going to feel weak, tired, and well BITCHY.  If instead you eat whole foods and pare down your portions, you'll also gradually lose weight, but you'll feel awesome and your body will thank you.  You know, if we're gonna do this... if we're gonna slim down, tone up, and feel the best we can feel, then we're gonna do it right.  We'll do it together!

Ok, on that note, let's talk about a great side dish you can prepare using some Bob's Red Mill and California Olive Ranch products - both delicious and good for you. 

When trying to decide what to make, I immediately noticed that the Grande Whole Grains reminded me of brown rice, only slightly larger.  I read the back of the bag for the cooking instructions and these grains are prepared the same way: 1 part grains to 2 parts liquid (water, chicken stock). Put both in a pot and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low and cover until the grains soak up all the liquid, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour (as does brown rice).  That may seem like a long time, but if you do this step first, you can then do all the prep work for the rest of the recipe and once you've gotten to the point in the recipe where you need the grains, they'll be ready.  You can also cook up your grains the day before, pop them in the fridge, them add them to your hot pan of goodness the next day and save even more time. 

So since this is a healthy new year challenge, I wanted to make sure these grains and olive oil, which are super healthy on their own, had more good things stirred into them to create not only a healthy side dish, but a tasty one.  Nothing will make you stop eating healthy sooner than eating a bunch of tasteless, bland food.  I don't care how healthy it is, it must taste good or I'm not eating it.  Oh you too? 

Ok well before I show you how this deliciousness is made...


 Would you like to find out how you can win some Bob’s Red Mill Grains and California Olive Ranch Olive Oil?  Here's how! 


Mandatory Entry:


To enter: You must visit the California Olive Ranch Facebook page and retrieve this week's Virtual Potluck Code Word. Then, use that code word in a sentence in the comment section below.


Additional Entries:


For extra entries, do any or all of the below and then come back here and leave a comment for each:


  1. Follow Bob's Red Mill on Twitter
  2. Follow California Olive Ranch on Twitter
  3. Follow Virtual Potluck on Twitter
  4. Tweet about the contest:I just entered to win @Bobs_Red_Mill & @CA_EVOO products from @TaratheFoodie #virtualpotluck Enter here: http://bit.ly/wXYeGm“ Comment again, letting me know you've done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
  5. More Blogs, More Ways to Win: Get additional entries in each week's giveaways by visiting our host blog for this event, Groovy Foody, and finding other participating VP bloggers sites to comment on. You have 48 chances to win great products!
If you are chosen as the winner, you win BOTH products: the Bob's Red Mill Grande Whole Grains and the California Olive Ranch Miller's Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil


California Olive Ranch would also like to offer FOODIE readers a 10% discount by entering coupon code ‘BLOGFRIENDS’ upon checkout at their online store.   

Contest will end on Monday January 16th at 6 pm EST and a winner will be chosen via random.org.

This contest is now closed... and the winner is...
Faith Tiemann!
Follow her @FCJewelryDesign on Twitter.


grande grains millers blend


See how this side dish is prepared after the jump! 

1/4/12

Virtual Potluck Healthy New Year Challenge: Prime Rib and Shrimp Whole Wheat Fried Ravioli

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Happy New Year everybody!  By now everyone should have returned to their "normal lives" and most of us are probably looking over our new year's resolutions lists assessing how we might tackle our goals for the year.  I don't know about you, but losing weight and leading a healthier lifestyle is at the top of MY list (for the past few years...).  When I say "leading a healthier lifestyle" I don't mean eating nothing but salads with fat free dressing.  No thank you.  I mean cooking as many meals as possible at home using good, natural ingredients and making sure every meal has some sort of fruit or vegetable included in it. 

Virtual PotluckSO...  To kick off the new year, me and my Virtual Potluck buddies have been given the opportunity to work with California Olive Ranch and Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods to bring you some delicious and healthy recipes using products from both companies!  This means you'll get 12 new, original recipes from each of the Virtual Potluckers a week for four weeks.  Hopefully these recipes will give you some ideas on how you can use these great products to prepare amazing dishes for you and your family, too.  I can tell you that my recipes will always use good, whole, REAL ingredients and will be fun to make. 

Healthy doesn't always have to mean boring and tasteless.  No, my recipes will not be 200 calories or less...  if that's what you're looking for, then you're reading the wrong blog.  Plus, you're also probably focusing only on losing weight and not very much on eating healthy.  To truly have a healthy diet, you want to make sure that you cook with good, whole, natural ingredients that are good for you to begin with and then practice a little thing called portion control.  That way you're satisfied because you ate something that actually had some taste, but you also get to lose weight gradually... which is really the only way you'll have a prayer of keeping it off anyway.

So there's also another very cool aspect to this project.  Each week, you will have a chance to win the flour/grain and olive oil combination used in that week's recipe!  That means a full sized bottle of spectacular olive oil and a full sized bag of flour or grains.  These are great products that I know you'll love and how cool is it to get them sent right to your house for free?

Find out what products I used this week and how you can win them after the jump!