Archive for Freebies

Win a Year’s Supply of Chocolate from Amano

mystery cacao beans Calling all cacao nerds! My favorite American chocolate maker, Amano, is making a new bar with these beans. If you can guess where they’re from, you can win a year’s worth of chocolate!

These beans are unusually dark, so this could be a major clue. Also, Amano says, “They have a beautiful rich chocolate flavor with some very nice fruity notes. We have made a number of test batches and the chocolate made from these cacao beans is wonderfully complex. The finished chocolate is unlike any of our current chocolates.”

Go to the Guess the Origin Contest to enter. When the bar is released, a drawing will be held for everyone who guessed correctly.

Full disclosure: I’ve loved this chocolate from the beginning and followed their introduction of “dark” milk chocolate. By promoting this contest, I’ve received an extra chance at winning the raffle.

Photo: Amano Chocolate

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Amano Chocolate Winner

Hey everyone, thanks for entering the Amano chocolate giveaway! I enjoyed reading your responses, especially all the nice things you’re planning to do. The winner is…Ling Ling. Congratulations! The chocolate’s in the mail.

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Amano Chocolate Giveaway

Amano Ocumare 30% milk chocolate
Photo: Amano Chocolate

If you only associate American chocolate with gritty Hershey’s bars, you’re in for a big surprise. One of my favorite chocolates in the WORLD is made on a mountain top in Orem, Utah. When Amano debuted two years ago, they only made 70% chocolate, but the bars differed radically because of where the cacao was grown.

Now Amano is making “dark” milk chocolate. This is not your mother’s candy bar. In the U.S., milk chocolate only needs a minimum of 10% cacao solids; Amano’s is 30%. As a result, you have the creaminess of milk chocolate and the complexity of dark.

Amano’s PR people are offering three of their newest bars for free. You can win the limited edition 70% Montanya (notes of grass, apricot kernels and toasted marshmallows), 30% Ocumare (notes of coffee and peaches), and 30% Jembrana. All together, they’re worth $22.

To enter the giveaway, please pay it forward: promise to do a good deed (we’re working with the honor system here) and tell me what kind of chocolate you crave most (milk, dark, or white) in the comments below. Contest ends Fri., Oct. 30 at 9:00 PM EST, just in time for Halloween!

Related links:
How to judge chocolate based on its origin
First impressions of Amano
Amano website

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Pay it Forward Giveaway: Liz Lovely Cookies

Liz Lovely cookies

While it’s good to cut down on animal products for the environment (think of how many people you could feed with 14 trillion gallons of water, instead of giving it the cows), it’s also hard to refuse a buttery chocolate chip cookie. Vegan dessert options aren’t good; most taste and look like Birkenstocks. Ironically, some are junkier than their regular counterparts. I’ll take butter over Crisco any day.

Liz Lovely is an exception. They only use fair trade, organic, and natural products: flour, sugar, Spectrum sustainable palm oil, baking soda, and your typical flavorings (chocolate, peanut butter, ginger). They make some of my favorite cookies, vegan or not. They practice what they preach too; they ship the cookies with biodegradable corn “peanuts.” These aren’t the corn forks that actually fill up landfills; they dissolve in water.

The nice folks at Liz Lovely sent me a three-pack sample, and the Chocolate Moose Dragons are my favorite. Unless you make flourless chocolate cookies, you can’t get much richer than this. The chocolate chunks are top notch. I didn’t care for the spiciness of the Ginger Snapdragons, and it was heavy on the baking powder taste. Although I fantasize about raw cookie dough, the Cowgirl Cookies showed me that too much of a good thing is just too much (but I bet the dough would go well with vanilla ice cream).

Just be careful with these cookies. Each bag comes with two cookies the size of your hand. While the package brags that you can share it with a friend, you won’t want to. But you should, because each cookie contains two servings. Liz Lovely’s mission is to do good, but I hereby declare their cookies evil because they ruined my dinner…and breakfast.

They might ruin your appetite too, if you win a sampler containing two each of the Chocolate Moose Dragons, Snicker Dudes, Goats a’ Grazin’, and Macaroonies Sock-It-To-Me! To enter, please promise to do a good deed and give me your best vegan dessert recipe (either write it in or provide a link) in the comments below. No recipes with trans fatty shortening please. The entry with most delicious sounding recipe will win. Contest ends Sun., July 13 at 5:00 PM EST.

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A Lovely Winner

Congratulations to Niko of Dessert Buzz for winning a free galley of CakeLove! While most people love cake because of the frosting, his favorite part is the contrasting textures. Extra points for originality, but I did pick a random winner.

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Pay it Forward Giveaway: CakeLove

cakelove You may have seen him on the Food Network, and now you can bring him into your kitchen. This week, I’m giving away a bound galley of CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown. To enter, please promise to do a good deed and answer this question in the comments section: What’s to love about cake? The contest ends next Wed., May 28 at 12:00 A.M. EST.

What’s this Pay it Forward Giveaway, you ask? It’s my way of sharing the wealth. I have too many cookbooks, so I’m spending my own money to ship them, as long as you promise to do good, too. If you need ideas, here’s two causes: the Myanmar cyclone and the North Korea concentration camps.

Even before the cyclone, the military regime kept the rightful president, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest. Myanmar’s also the world’s second-largest producer of opium. Now, the government is stealing aid and giving out spoiled food. While the victims starve, rice is being exported. If you donate to the victims, please make sure the aid actually gets to them. World Vision reports that it has complete control over emergency supplies.

Up until two weeks ago, the only thing I knew about North Korea’s sketchy history was its nuclear weapons. It’s only a shadow of a bigger problem: concentration camps that rival Auschwitz. Citizens (and the next three generations of their family) go there for upsetting the government in the smallest way. A lot of aid ends up on the black market in China, so I don’t think it’s necessarily wise to donate. I can only think of educating people and praying about it.

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Hello, winner!

cupcakes Congratulations to Jessica, who won an advance reading copy of Hello Cupcake! What a craftster. When she was 12, she made her sister a farm/bug cake with gummy fish and swirly blue-green icing. I enjoyed reading all of your comments. You are a creative bunch!

Photo: Hello Cupcake! blog

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Pay it Forward Giveaway: Hello, Cupcake!

Hello Cupcake book

Happy Easter! In honor of the One who paid it all for me, I’m giving away an advance reading copy of Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack, a cooking teacher and food stylist for Gourmet, Parents, Woman’s Day, and several other publications. In this book, she’ll show you how to make an animal farm, “The Starry Night,” and even “spaghetti and meatballs” out of cupcakes.

The book doesn’t come out until April 24, but you can win a copy (a softcover with black-and-white images and almost-finalized text) here if you promise to do a charitable act. To enter, tell me what’s the most creative thing you’ve done with food in the comments section by 12:00 AM EST, Friday, March 28. A winner will be chosen randomly.

cupcake pizza
Photo: Alan Richardson

Can’t wait that long? Get started with Karen’s City Skyline Cupcake and Cupcake Pizza.

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Food calendar: Free ice cream, chocolate and more

You know I love freebies, so check out these NY and nationwide events:

April 10
6:30–7:30 p.m. at Whole Foods Market Culinary Center, 95 E. Houston St. Between Bowery and Christie St., New York, NY 10002

Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking From the Spice Islands Of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore Demonstration & Book Signing

James Oseland, Editor-in-Chief Saveur Magazine, will take you on a culinary journey to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the tropical archipelago that lies between Thailand and Australia. Native home of nutmeg, cloves ,galangal and turmeric and some of the most lavishly spiced dishes on the planet — these countries have lured spice seekers for millennia. For two decades, Oseland trekked through rice paddies, shopped in open-air markets, slurped noodles in food stalls, and became friends with the finest home cooks and street vendors! In this book, Oseland shares his passion for regional cuisine, the colorful people, majestic places, and unforgettable food!

April 11
7:00–9:00 p.m. at Whole Foods Market Culinary Center, 95 E. Houston St. Between Bowery and Christie St., New York, NY 10002

Chocolate 101 (Demonstration)

Chocolate is best enjoyed with all of your senses. Robert Hammond of Moonstruck Chocolates will show you how to make the delicious, natural chocolates that have won him worldwide renown. At the end of the class, you take home truffles made with your very own hands.

April 13
Last day to redeem this free scoop coupon at Baskin-Robbins. Valid only at participating locations in CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, and RI.

April 17
Ben & Jerry’s free cone day. Check the website for participating locations. Last year, I went to two places before I got my free scoop.

Back to Nature mail-in rebate – Back to Nature has a “Total Taste Promise;” if you don’t like their products, fill out this form and get a refund. I’ve tried their chocolate chip cookies and Oreo knock offs. I like how they’re vegan and there’s no weird ingredients. No high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats or artificial flavorings. Unfortunately, they use very coarse sugar, so the texture is off. Also, their cheese crackers are a pale comparison to Cheez-its. I wouldn’t buy their snacks again, but I think they’re worth the price of free. Their cereal is very good though. Offer expires 11/15/08.

Free appetizer or dessert at Zen Palate – Only valid at their new location at 104 John St. (Financial District in Manhattan). Zen Palate has deeply divided opinions, but I love their food. Coupon expires May 31.

Free Soyjoy nutrition bars (3) – I’m usually suspicious of protein bars, but at least these have whole soybean powder rather than soy protein isolate. Here’s Lagusta’s Luscious’ explanation of soy protein isolate:

The worst vegetarian protein source is soy protein isolate. Unfortunately, it’s an ingredient in many “foods.”

  • Soy protein isolate and anything containing it (fake cold cuts, processed soy ice cream, “breakfast links,” some veggie burgers, most soy cheese, soy based whipped toppings, and so much more — read labels!). A truly horrifying and omnipresent product that is just about as refined as a product can be and still be “edible.”
  • A soybean consists of proteins, carbs, and fat. In order to make get only the protein (the soy protein isolate) from the soybean, which is what’s in TVP, TSP, and other processed sources of soy protein:
  • First step: the fat is taken away using hexame solvents – very bad stuff, unless it’s been expeller pressed, which is better but still rather terrible.
  • Then the carbs are taken away by bathing them in acid solutions, base solutions, and alcohol.
  • What’s left is the protein. Practically no nutrients are left. It is an almost completely empty food. Used to make soy cheese, ice cream, etc. – all nontraditional, weird foods.
  • For TVP and TSP the isolate is spun at high heat into soy protein chunks and artificial color, flavor and synthetic nutrients are added, to make up for all the nutrients that were lost during the intense processing that it went through. Yum!
  • Soy protein isolate increases nitrates and carcinogens (the things that cause cancer) in your body, and it increases the need for vitamins A and D.

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Quick Bites: Wii Love Free Yogurt Gelato

Photo: Mark Peterson/New York Magazine

Yolato, a new store selling yogurt gelato, is offering two chances for free dessert. Sign up to receive news and get a coupon for a free regular-sized yolato at their West Village location. Or stop by their new Upper West Side store on March  9 and 10 14 for a taste. It should be delicious, since gelato is like ice cream amplified to the nth degree, and real frozen yogurt is making a comeback in New York. For the record, that L.A. transplant, Pinkberry, tastes like grainy frozen ice milk because they reportedly use 7-UP.

120 Macdougal St., New York, NY 10012
nr. Bleecker St.

2286 Broadway
nr. 82nd St.

In other small news, check out Avenue Food, an NYC blog with street credibility. Last Saturday, Sarah hosted a Wine, Cheese and Wii Party. I don’t know what was better: the crusty mac and cheese, gruyere/caramelized onion pizza or the workout on the Wii. Sarah posted videos of us playing (it’s more entertaining watching the player than the TV screen itself). Unfortunately, the video of me had some technical difficulties.

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