Archive for October, 2012

Contest Announcement!

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

OK, so you’ve read about the first-ever Goodies Box from Goodies Co, right?  You haven’t?  You can check out my blog post about it here.  This is an all-new tasting box that offers delectable goodies like Cherry Berry Crunch and crunchy, delicious Somersaults.  When you subscribe, you receive a box of tasty goodies delivered to your doorstep every month … all for just $7 per month.  Yes, you read that correctly.  That’s SEVEN dollars per month!

This is easily the lowest priced tasting box that I’ve found … and while the old saying of “you get what you pay for” is often very true, I’ve got to say that I think that this box offers unbelievable value.  I don’t know that I could have walked out of the store with the seven items that I received in the September box for under seven dollars.  And this was sent to me with no additional cost for shipping!

The September Goodies Box

The only way this deal could get any better is to offer the box free … and that’s just what I’m doing right now! 

The nice people at Goodies Co., recently contacted me and offered me the chance to send one of my readers (like YOU!) the September Goodie Box absolutely FREE!  Sounds awesome, right?

Well, there’s a catch.  There’s always a catch, right?  But with this offer, the catch is simple:  Just comment on this blog post.

Yep, that’s it.  Just comment on this blog post.  Hey, I told you it was simple.

Just comment on THIS blog post, and tell me which of the seven items in the Goodies Box interests you the most, and why.  Don’t know what’s in the September Box?  Here’s the link to my article about the box, which includes a list of everything that was in the box!  So, if you count reading the previous article, that’s really two things that you have to do to win the September Goodies Box.  But, you should read the article anyway, so I’m not counting that.

You MUST comment on this blog post before October 23rd, which is when I will conduct a random draw of all those who commented on this blog post, and will announce one lucky winner who will receive the September Goodie Box free of charge!

When you comment, please be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner.  I will, at that time, email you to get your name and shipping address, I will forward your information to Goodies Co., and they will ship you your free Goodies Box!

What a deal!

OK… I’m a little behind on my restaurant reviews.  Fortunately I do take notes … these aren’t based on my memory!  My memory just isn’t that good!  I do remember though that on the day we visited this restaurant for lunch it was a dreadfully HOT day.  I think we both just wanted to get out of the house, and out of the heat, which is what brought us to Ducktales Kitchen in Vancouver.   And the fact that we had a LivingSocial voucher was certainly another incentive…

Location:  612 N. Devine Road, Vancouver, Washington

Order:  I ordered the special of the day which was an Artichoke and Feta Cheese Ravioli with chicken and pesto sauce.  The special came with a choice of soup or salad – I chose the Caesar Salad.

What I Think:

The atmosphere at Ducktales Kitchen in Vancouver, Washington is very comfortable, very homey.  From the artwork from local artists hanging on the wall to the friendly waitstaff that treats you more like family than like patrons, it is a very warm and inviting kind of place.

The service is pretty quick, too.  My salad seemed to arrive almost immediately after placing the order.  The salad was composed of very fresh, crisp romaine, Parmesan shreds, croutons and dressing.  The lettuce was ice cold, and this was especially refreshing on such a hot day.  But … there was just too much dressing!  Had I known that the Caesar salad would be so drenched in dressing, I would have preferred the soup (although, it might have been too hot to really enjoy the soup!) or the house salad with dressing on the side.  It was still a tasty salad, but, there was just way too much dressing.  The croutons on the salad were a little “off” too, they tasted stale and they were kind of chewy.  I appreciated the freshness and chilly temperature of the romaine lettuce, but the rest of the salad was kind of disappointing.

Fortunately, the ravioli made up for whatever the salad was lacking.  When the plate was first brought out, I noted that the pasta sauce was a little soupy, but it was incredibly flavorful.  So flavorful, in fact, I was kind of wishing I had a soup spoon to dish out the sauce and eat it by itself!  By the time I was about halfway finished with my dish, the sauce had thickened up nicely, though.  The chicken was very tender, and the ravioli was delicious, filled with lots of tangy feta cheese.  There wasn’t much artichoke in these pillows of pasta, but, I like feta cheese, so I couldn’t really find a whole lot of fault with them, except that I did notice that the pasta of the ravioli was just a little bit chewy.  Other than that, though, everything about this dish, from the sweet, juicy tomatoes and olives to the juicy chicken and flavorful sauce was really, really enjoyable.

My husband ordered a burger, and he really enjoyed it.  At the time of our visit, Ducktales was in a competition with one of the local radio stations where patrons would vote on their favorite burger, and Ducktales was in the top three.  We helped out by texting in a few votes, and in return we got a free dessert!

For dessert, we chose the berry cobbler, and it was so yummy.  Filled with marionberries, this dessert tasted like something that would have come out of my gramma’s kitchen.

My Final Thoughts:

I think that the dessert exemplifies what I really liked best about Ducktales Kitchen.  The food may not have been perfect, but it was really good.  It tasted like it was made with love and care … just like gramma would have made.  It tastes like a good, home cooked meal that I didn’t have to cook, and I really like that!

Ducktales on Urbanspoon

photo from Sensible Foods. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Details:

100% Fruit – 100% Fat Free – Gluten Free – No Added Sugar – No Additives/Preservatives – Crunchy, Sweet & Delicious

This product was part of my Goodies Tasting Box for September.

Tea Suggestion:

Because the dried fruit is so flavorful and such a strong taste, I decided to go with something on that had good flavor but wasn’t a strong, overpowering flavor so that the snack and the beverage were not competing with one another.  I selected this tasty Hazelnut Vanilla Oolong from Zenjala Tea Company.   The sweet, creamy vanilla and nutty tones provided an excellent contrast to the bright, flavorful fruits of this product.

What I Think:

I am really liking this snack … and so far, it may just prove to be my favorite product in the September Goodies Box.  These fruits are freeze-dried, which I like better than the dehydrated fruit, because I love the crunchy texture that the freeze-dry process imparts on the fruit.  I’ve tried a few freeze-dried fruits up until this point:  apples, strawberries, and pineapple … and of these three, pineapple is definitely my favorite.  It tastes like candy!

This package of Cherry Berrry Crunch doens’t have pineapple, but it does have apples, strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  Of the four fruits, there is far more apple.  I found this kind of interesting since the mix is called “Cherry Berry” … and based on the name I would expect there to be more cherries and berries than apples, but, I’m not entirely surprised, since apples are cheaper than cherries, strawberries and blueberries.

And the apple is nice in this.  It is sweet and crunchy, and when eaten by the handful with the cherries and berries, the apple gives off a mellow enough flavor that the flavor of the cherries and berries really shines through.  The cherries aren’t really strongly flavored, though, which kind of surprised me – I expected a slight tangy-tart note from them but they’re rather mild.  The blueberries are only slightly more tart and flavorful than the cherries.  Of the fruit, the strongest flavor is the strawberry, and it is bright and very sweet and has a tart finish.

My Final Thoughts:

This was a very tasty mix, although I found myself wishing for more flavor from the blueberries and cherries.  The strawberries seemed to dominate the entire pouch, and as a strawberry lover, I didn’t really mind that, but, I think it would have been neat to taste more from the blueberries and cherries.   If I see this in the store while shopping, I might pick up a bag.  It is an enjoyable, healthy and energizing snack-time choice.

Photo from Petit Amuse. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

Crunchy and buttery with a healthy dose of garlic, these croutons taste like they are fresh out of the oven.

These Butter & Garlic Croutons are available at Petit Amuse.

What I Think:

I received a sampling of these croutons in my Petit Amuse box for October.  The little sample pouch holds six croutons, just enough to determine whether they are something you’re going to want to get a full-size package.  Since there were only six croutons in the package, I decided to snack on them as they were, rather than toss them on top of a salad or float them in a bowl of soup.

And the verdict?  They’re pretty good.  They’re really crunchy, and very buttery.  And heavily seasoned with garlic.  As in GARLIC-Y!  Seriously, don’t plan on kissing anyone after eating these croutons!

I happen to love garlic, so I find the flavor of these croutons to be very appealing.  I love the buttery taste of them, and I love the strong taste of garlic.  I think they’d taste great in a tomato soup or on top of an ordinary salad – these croutons would really liven it up.

My Final Thoughts:

Because the garlic is so strong, I don’t think I would actually buy a full-sized package of these croutons for me and my family, because I’m the only one in the household who really loves garlic.  My husband likes it alright as long as it’s moderate … and I know he would think that these are way too garlic-y.  And truth be told, he uses more croutons than I do as I generally prefer my salads without croutons (I prefer nuts of some sort).   Good, but not something that would appeal to my entire family.

Product Information:

When we began our quest to make scrumptious, healthy snacks out of seeds, we developed our original flavor, Pacific Sea Salt. The touch of sea salt on these crunchy nuggets is sourced right here in our own backyard, the San Francisco Bay, and highlights the nutty taste of sunflower and sesame seeds. Pacific Sea Salt is sure to twirl your taste buds.

Tea Suggestion:

With salty snacks like this, I want iced tea!  I brewed some of this Organic Korakundah Green Tea from Butiki Teas and served it iced with these Somersaults, and it was a great pairing.  The slightly smoky, sweet yet bitter taste of the green tea offered a nice contrast to the nutty crunch of these salty snacks.

What I Think:

I received a small package (1 ounce) of the Pacific Sea Salt Somersaults in my Goodies Box for September.  I was pretty certain I’d enjoy them, as I have loved the other flavors that I’ve tried of this snack.

In comparison, though, this one is just a little bland.  It is basically like eating roasted, salted sunflower seed kernels … only more substantial.  They have that very satisfying crunch and substance to them, and I find that this small package made for a nice between meal snack that kept me satiated until dinnertime.

They’re salty, but not too salty.  Tasty … nutty.  I like them, and they seem to satisfy that empty feeling between meals better than something less healthy like potato chips.

My Final Thoughts: 

If I were to shop for snacks, I might choose Somersaults because they’re healthier than something like potato chips, and I’d feel better about my daughter snacking on these.  For my daughter, I’d probably select this flavor because I think that the salty pepper would be a little too peppery for her taste… but for me, this is probably not the flavor that I’d select.  I enjoyed them, sure, but after sampling the salty pepper or the cinnamon crunch Somersaults, these Pacific Sea Salt Somersaults left me wanting a little bit more flavor.

Wow!  It was really an unexpected surprise to open my mailbox this afternoon to find my Petit Amuse Box!  It’s only October 9 (this article will be published on October 10th) and usually these tasting boxes do not ship until the middle of the month.  I received my box before I even expected it to be shipped!  Yay!

You too can subscribe to the monthly Petit Amuse Sampler Box by clicking here.

The box this month is smaller than I remember the previous boxes being (you might have noticed that I skipped September’s box.  My subscription hit a hiccup, not by fault of Petit Amuse, but because my bank information had changed and I forgot to update Petit Amuse in time), so at first I thought that maybe it was a special gift or sneak peek into a new product from Petit Amuse, but it is indeed the sampler tasting box for October.  I don’t mind the small size, because, the price of the Petit Amuse Box is also small … so I think it averages out.  And also, inside this month’s Petit Amuse box is a product I have been wanting to try for a long time now, so I’m thrilled that I finally DO get to try it!

What’s that product, you ask?  Fat Toad Farm’s Caramel Sauce!  Woo-Hoo!  I love caramel, and I’ve heard very good things about this product, I can’t wait to try it.

Also inside this month’s box were sample sizes of a Fruit & Nut Press from Grace & I, Butter & Garlic Croutons from Olivia’s Croutons, and Rutland Rye Crackers from Castleton Crackers.  I had the opportunity to try the Wheat crackers from Castleton Crackers thanks to last month’s Knoshbox, and they were excellent.  I expect great things from the Rutland Rye!

All of these products are available in the Marketplace of the Petit Amuse website.

I can’t wait to start sampling these goodies!

Picture from Knoshbox. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:
Whitney Lamy of Castleton, Vermont bakes some of the finest New England crackers you can find for wine & cheese pairing. Her crackers are all natural, hand-made, and hand-cracked.

The Windham Wheat crackers are light, buttery and slightly salty which pair beautifully with a Vermont Jasper Hill Cheddar and oaked Chardonnay. This particular cheese has nutty, lightly caramel flavors that work so well with the toasty, buttery oak notes of the Chardonnay- while the cracker backs it all up with a salty crunch.

I received these crackers in my September Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

Knoshbox suggests pairing these crackers with a Chardonnay, but I don’t drink wine very often.  Instead, I chose to pair these crackers with this Oolong Chardonnay from Vintage TeaWorks.  The smooth, softly buttery taste of the tea was a perfect match for the buttery, nutty taste of the crackers.

What I Think: 

Oh, my!  I think I may have just discovered a new favorite cracker.  I tried these ever so briefly while enjoying the Chorizo Rioja which was also featured in the September Knoshbox, but now as I sit here with a cup of tea and eat these without cheese or meat adornment, I am truly able to appreciate the complexity of the cracker.

I love that these are broken by hand, rather than by machine.  You get a sense of the love and dedication that goes in to these crackers.  They are super thin, like wheat thins … but they taste so much better than wheat thins.  And even though they are thin, they are really satisfying.  With each bite I can taste the wholesome wheat.  And, then there is a buttery taste to these too, and just a hint of salt.

Really delicious!

My Final Thoughts:

Somehow, these crackers seem a bit more like bread to me, in that they don’t taste ‘wimpy’ the way some crackers do.  Some crackers are mere snacks … these crackers are substantial enough to serve along with a meal like a hearty stew or chili.  I really like these crackers a lot.