Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Choice Organic Tea - Giveaway




I love tea. My mother gave it to me in the morning before the long walk to school in the winter the year I started junior high. I didn't like eating breakfast, and she wanted me to have something warm before I went out in the cold and bitter Michigan winds and snow. That began a life long habit of tea in the morning.
We didn't know the benefits to our health back then, she just didn't want me to be a coffee drinker. She believed coffee stunted your growth since she was only 4'10" and drank coffee when she was a young girl. Well, I am only 5'1" so it couldn't have been the coffee that caused the short stature in our family.
Anyway, I recently received some Choice Organic Tea to try out. I wonder how they knew that Earl Grey is my favorite? This particular one is scented with lavender flowers. Mmm, I love smelling it and it's just as wonderful to drink! I love sitting down in the afternoon with a good book and my Earl Grey.
I also received Jasmine Green Tea (another favorite, which I love drinking with Chinese food)and Sweet Licorice Mint --a new one to me. It's a calming tea that is also good for settling a nervous stomach.

Choice Organic Teas is Earth Friendly and Socially Responsible. They are Fair Trade Certified and USDA Organic. Even their boxes are made from 100% recycled material. The Sweet Licorice Mint comes wrapped in a biodegradable tea pyramid infuser instead of the standard tea bag. Other tea bags are made from unbleached natural fibers, without glue or heat-sealed polyfilaments. Some of the boxes do not even have staples in the tea bags but are tied with an elegantly knotted string.

I love everything about this company but especially I truly love their choice of teas. I can't wait to try more of the varieties they offer. If you think you'd like to give them a try, visit here.

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!!

Here's how you can win 3 boxes of tea for yourself:


1. Leave a comment about something you learned at the Choice Organic Teas site.


2. For a second chance to win, sign up as an e-mail subscriber with Feedburner, Feed Blitz, or become a Google Follower (see sidebar.) Then leave a second comment telling me you have subscribed or that you are already a subscriber.
If you subscribe in more than one way, leave a separate comment for each.

3. For a third chance to win, blog about this contest with a link here, then come back and leave another comment telling me about it.


4. If you're not a blogger, be sure to leave your contact e-mail address like this to avoid spammers: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com. If I don't have a way to reach you or you don't respond in three days, your name will be disqualified, and I will choose again, picking my favorite answer, so be creative!

Good Luck!!


Open to US residents only, 18+.
Winners will be chosen by random.org.
Email addresses will not be shared with any third parties.
This Giveaway ends on June 3rd, midnight EST.


If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Marinated Mozzarella Salad



Add this to your party favorites. It's pretty and the flavors are great!!

1 c. ( 4 oz.) part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and cubed
1 medium-size green pepper, seeded and chopped
6 radishes, sliced
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
2 T. minced fresh parsley
2 T. vegetable oil
1 T. minced fresh basil
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. ground white pepper
4 drops of hot sauce

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large shallow dish; toss gently. Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients; stir well, and pour mixture over vegetables. Toss gently. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours. Serve using a slotted spoon.

YIELD: 8 servings (87 calories per 1/2 cup serving)



If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cucumber-Watercress Sandwiches


Another fantastic party sandwich!


1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 12 1/8-inch slices
1/4 c. low-fat sour cream
1 oz. Neufchâtel cheese. softened
3/4 t. dried whole chervil
1/4 t. onion powder
8 slices honey-wheat berry bread
1/4 c. plus 1 T. minced fresh watercress

Press cucumber slices between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture; set aside.

Combine sour cream, cheese, chervil, and onion powder, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

Remove crust from bread slice. Cut three 1 1/2 in. rounds from each slice of bread. Spread 1/2 t. reserved sour cream mixture on 12 bread rounds. Place a cucumber slice on top of sour cream mixture. Top with remaining 12 bread rounds.

Frost sides of sandwiches with remaining sour cream mixture.
Roll sides of sandwiches in minced watercress.

YIELD: 12 servings (69 calories per servings)





If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Graduation - Party Pinwheels


With all of the parties coming up - graduation, picnics, showers and weddings - I thought you might be interested in some easy, low fat, snacks. This one and the one which will follow can both be used at a fancy tea or just for a grab-and-go.


Shrimp Pinwheel Bites:

8 slices pumpernickel bread, trimmed
1 ( 4 1/2 0z) can shrimp, drained
1/4 cup Neufchâtel cheese, softened
2 T. plain nonfat yogurt
1 T. reduced-calorie chili sauce
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. onion powder

Flatten bread slices with a rolling pin, and set aside

Combine shrimp, Neufchâtel cheese, yogurt, chili sauce, garlic powder, onion powder; stir until mixture is well blended.

Spread 1 T. plus 1 1/2 t. shrimp mixture onto each slice of bread. Roll up jellyroll fashion. Place seam side down on a serving platter; cover and chill thoroughly. Cut into 1/2-inch slices.

YIELD: 48 servings (15 calories per serving)




If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pineapple Jerky


My friends at Jerky.com sent me some of their newest product called Pineapple Jerky. I guess I was expecting beef jerky with a pineapple flavor added in. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually dried pineapple. This pineapple jerky is made with 100% natural ingredients in Maui. The only items listed on the label are pineapple and honey. That's a plus right there. The round yellow disk looks a little like a flower but is actually a slice of pineapple heaven. It's so sweet and still had a citrus tang. We took it on a picnic and shared it with relatives. All of the responses were favorable; in fact they came back for seconds! It will be great for a road trip. I am going to make a habit of carrying some in the glove compartment so we will be less likely to stop for potato chips and other junk food.
I know we all love to snack, but keeping healthy, nutritious items close at hand will help to lessen the urge to go for the "bad stuff." I think Jerky.com has really come up with something exciting here. I hope you'll give it a try.
If you're interested, just click on the banner in the sidebar for all of the products they have available.


If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Healthy Choice Winner

Congratulations to Chrissy at Wool Girl Sock Club. She won five of the New Healthy Choice Frozen Meals. Enjoy Chrissy!!

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Monday, May 11, 2009

Herb Kit Winner

Random.org chose Amy as the winner of the Herb Kit! Amy followed all instructions to the letter! She left a comment after visiting the Herbkit.com website, she registered as a follower, and blogged about the giveaway on her blog. As a matter of fact, the number that came up was the comment that she left saying she had blogged about it. So you can see that it does increase your odds to have more than one comment. Congratulations, Amy! This is what she wrote:

I like the Mini Garden Stacker. It would be handy to have the herbs I use often in one of these containers just outside my door.

You can visit Amy at her blog, Peace and Quiet.

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fresh Fruit Cup


Another brunch favorite:
(When fresh fruit is not available, you can use frozen mixed fruit)

4 medium-size fresh pears, cored and diced
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 cups halved fresh strawberries
3/4 pound fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced
2 cups peeled, diced fresh peaches
2 cups sparkling apple cider, chilled
Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Place diced pears in a large bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice; toss gently.
Add strawberries, plums, and peaches; toss gently to combine.

To serve, place 1 cup fruit mixture in individual dessert cups. Pour 1/4 cup sparkling apple cider over each serving.
Garnish with fresh mint sprigs, if desired.
Serve immediately.
YIELD: 8 servings.




If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The New Healthy Choice Giveaway!!


Have you heard of The New Healthy Choice Frozen Meals? They're all natural, no preservatives, and made with real food.
If you're like me, even though I want to do the best for my family, sometimes I'm not in a mood to cook, or maybe there's just not enough time for our hectic schedule. I really wanted to give these new frozen dinners a try.
I have eaten Healthy Choice in the past, often in fact, but I must say these are really different. There's a real flavor of food that has been cooked in your own kitchen!
I sampled Pumpkin Squash Ravioli, an all vegetarian dish; Sweet Asian Potstickers, very authentic tasting; and Tomato Basil Penne, bursting with basil flavor. My husband sampled the Grilled Whiskey Steamer(naturally), which he proclaimed to be the best frozen meal he has ever had,and the Sweet Sesame Chicken Steamer, everything it says in the name -sweet and full of sesame oil taste and smells. These meals were made with things like whole grains, real vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, and sesame oil. They are all low fat and low in calories. We both were very impressed with the change. I think Healthy Choice is really giving us exactly what we have been wanting, no-fuss meals, without the fear of "but what's in it?"

If you haven't had a chance to see the new commercials starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, check them out here. They're very funny while getting the point across. I enjoyed the laugh- she's one of my favorites anyway-and I look forward to the new commercial coming out soon!
There's also a coupon for $1.00 off here.

Giveaway Alert!!! Five Free Meals, one for every day of the work week!


1. Leave a comment about something you learned or a particular meal you'd like to try at the Healthy Choice website.


2. For a second chance to win, sign up as an e-mail subscriber with Feedburner, Feed Blitz, or become a Google Follower (see sidebar.) Then leave a another comment telling me you have subscribed or that you are already a subscriber.
If you subscribe in more than one way, leave a separate comment for each.

3. For a third chance to win, blog about this contest with a link back here, then come back and leave another comment telling me about it.


4. If you're not a blogger, be sure to leave your contact e-mail address like this to avoid spammers: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com. If I don't have a way to reach you or you don't respond in three days, your name will be disqualified, and I will choose again, picking my favorite answer.

Good Luck!!


Open to US residents only, 18+.
Winners will be chosen by random.org.
Email addresses will not be shared with any third parties.
This Giveaway ends on Thursday, May 14th at midnight EST.






If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Pineapple Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing


I'm thinking warmer spring days and/or summer garden parties!

NOTE: be sure to make this dressing first and chill before preparing the salad.


Poppy Seed Dressing:
3/4 cup orange juice
2 t. cornstarch
1 T. honey
1 1/2 t. poppy seeds
1/4 t. grated orange rind

Combine juice and cornstarch in a 2-cup glass measure. stirring well.
Microwave at HIGH for 2 1/2 minutes or until thickened, stirring once.
Add honey, poppy seeds, and orange rind; stir well.
Cover and chill. YIELD: 3/4 cup



Pineapple Salad:
Curly leaf lettuce leaves
1 medium-size fresh pineapple
2 medium-kiwifruit, peeled
Poppy Seed Dressing

Place lettuce leaves on a serving platter; set aside.
Peel and trim eyes from the pineapple, removing core. Cut pineapple into 6 slices. Arrange over lettuce leaves. Cut kiwifruit unto 6 slices; arrange over pineapple slices. Pour 2 tablespoons of Poppy Seed Dressing over each serving.
YIELD: 6 servings.


If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Monday, May 4, 2009

Herb Kit Giveaway



If you love growing your own herbs to cook with like I do, the Herb Kit is just right for you. It's a no fuss way of starting your seeds in the kitchen. Just add water to the peat pellets in the 12x12x5 greenhouse container and wait for them to expand. Then pop a few seeds in each pellet. Some of my seeds broke ground in three days!




My kit came with 12 culinary seed packages comprised of Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro/Coriander, Basil, Dill, Oregano, Sweet Marjoram, Chives, Savory, Garlic Chives, Mustard, Sage.
I also received 50 Peat Pellets, a CD-ROM disk and a laminated instruction sheet -- great to prevent smudges and to save for another day. It seems to me that everything is well thought out in this kit. Now that my seeds are sprouting, it's all up to me. Just keep them watered and transfer to pots for my herb shelf or out into the garden. What fun!

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!

Herb Kits.com offer a variety of herbs and other items for your growing needs. AND they are also offering you a chance to win one of their kits. Here's how:

1. Leave a comment about something you like at the HerbKits.com site.


2. For a second chance to win, sign up as an e-mail subscriber with Feedburner, Feed Blitz, or become a Twitter or Google Follower (see sidebar.) Then leave a comment for each telling me you have subscribed or that you are already a subscriber.
If you subscribe in more than one way, leave a separate comment for each.

3. For a third chance to win, blog or tweet about this contest with a link here, then come back and leave another comment telling me about it.


4. If you're not a blogger, be sure to leave your contact e-mail address like this to avoid spammers: pianananna(at)gmail(dot)com. If I don't have a way to reach you or you don't respond in three days, your name will be disqualified, and I will choose again, picking my favorite answer.

Good Luck!!


Open to US residents only, 18+.
Winners will be chosen by random.org.
Email addresses will not be shared with any third parties.
This Giveaway ends on May 10th at midnight EST.


If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Faux Pink Champagne



With Mother's Day just around the corner, I thought you might be planning a wonderful Sunday brunch. Of course, all brunches need a champagne cocktail, but maybe you're not comfortable drinking alcohol or maybe your new diet declares it a no-no. Whatever the case, you can still celebrate in style with this faux pink champagne recipe. This bubbly won't give you the giggles, but it's guaranteed to tickle your nose!

3/4 c. sparkling apple cider, chilled
3/4 c. sparkling cherry-flavored mineral water, chilled
1/2 c. reduced calorie cranberry juice cocktail, chilled

Combine apple cider, mineral water, and cranberry juice cocktail; stir lightly. Pour into 2 champagne glasses. Serve immediately. For larger brunch parties increase recipe accordingly.

YIELD: 2 cups (1 cup servings)
55 calories

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories

Friday, May 1, 2009

Garlic Cheese Spread




Have you ever used Neufchâtel cheese? The American version is a low-fat alternative to cream cheese. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it.

French Neufchâtel is a soft, slightly crumbly, mould-ripened cheese made in the region of Normandy. One of the oldest cheeses in France, its production is believed to date back to the 6th century. It looks somewhat similar to camembert, with a dry, white, edible rind, but the taste is saltier and sharper. It has aroma and taste of mushrooms. Unlike other soft-white-rinded cheeses, Neufchatel has a grainy texture.[1] It is usually sold in heart shapes, however it is also produced in other forms, such as logs. It is typically matured for 8–10 weeks. In 1872, a New York dairyman, in the township of Chester, created cream cheese as the result of an attempt to create a batch of Neufchâtel.

American Neufchâtel is a lower-fat cream cheese product marketed as a healthier alternative to cream cheese. It is not identical to French Neufchâtel. American Neufchâtel is somewhat softer than cream cheese due to its 33% lower fat and higher moisture content.[citation needed] In the United States, this Neufchâtel is occasionally called farmers' cheese.[2]


I don't usually promote name brand products without their permission, but Philadelphia Brand is the only one I know of in my area that makes Neufchâtel.

This spread recipe goes equally well with crackers or vegetables and it only requires a few ingredients!

1 (8 oz.) package of Neufchâtel cheese, softened
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. chopped fresh chives
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until well blended. Cover and chill thoroughly. Serve spread with unsalted crackers or fresh raw vegetables.
YIELD: 1 cup ( 40 calories per tablespoon)

If you like this blog, please look for my other blogs:
Thyme for Herbs
Happenstance House
Tickling the Ivories