Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway: Day 4. Lindsay Olives & A Recipe for Super Easy Bruschetta

Today I would like to introduce you to Lindsay Olives. As the name implies, they sell olives. But that's not all: they also have a variety of roasted peppers,  pepperoncini, capers, and sweet banana peppers, just to name a few. The company has been in business for over than 100 years, so they clearly know what they are doing. 
For more than 100 years, Bell-Carter has been bringing fun and flavor to America’s kitchen table. With a full line of domestic and imported olives as well as specialty condiments, Bell-Carter offers a wide variety of flavors perfect for family-favorite recipes and new culinary adventures. The fourth generation, family-run company processes well over half of all California olives processed and sold in the nation and has deep roots in California’s environmental and agricultural industry. From the beginning, the company has been focused on providing its customers with the best products possible, at the highest quality available, while working to reduce the production facility’s carbon footprint.

Lindsay Olives sent me a box filled with their products and I decided to use some of them to make  Super Easy Bruschetta. Don't worry, you will get a chance to win your own Lindsay Olives products and let your creativity go wild in your kitchen.

Super Easy Bruschetta

Equal parts of chopped 
California ripe black olives
California green ripe olives
red roasted bell peppers
sliced golden Greek pepperoncini
sweet banana peppers
fresh tomato

sliced and toasted baguette


1. In a bowl combine all of the ingredients but the sliced baguette.

2. Top sliced toasted baguette with this concoction and serve.

If you like salty foods, you will love this recipe. You can also use this mixture as an addition to pasta or rice or as a topping for poached salmon or chicken.

And now it's YOUR chance to win a selection of Lindsay Olives products.

1) You must ♥ olives
2) You must have a legal US address
3) This giveaway ends Thursday, December 5th at midnight. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted on Friday, December 6th ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget about the other Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaways!

Day 1: Greeting Cards from Social Print Studio
Day 2: Kallari Chocolate 
Day 3: Bonne Maman Jams & Le Creuset Jam Jar

Disclosure: I received a set of Lindsay Olives products and they will provide the same set for the winner of this giveaway. I have received no monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.  


Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway: Day 3. Bonne Maman Jam & Le Creuset Jam Jar. Cream Cheese & Jam Puff Pastry.

Did you all have a great Thanksgiving? I did! I'm ready for the weekend, but first there is a day of teleworking to deal with :)

But let's concentrate on fun things. It's time for Day 3 of Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway!

Today you have a chance to win 3 Bonne Maman Jams and a Jam Jar from Le Creuset!
I love Bonne Maman jars, and am completely in love with their cherry flavors. And of course you know that I love Le Creuset, so I love this addition to my collection.

If you are looking for a decadent breakfast that takes just minutes to make, make these Cream Cheese & Jam Puff Pastry!

Cream Cheese & Jam Puff Pastry
Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted over night
6 teaspoons cherry jam
1 ounce cream cheese
1 egg


1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Roll out the defrosted puff pastry and cut into 12 rectangles.
3. Top 6 of the rectangles with a bit of jam and cream cheese.
4. Top with the other 6 rectangles, and crimp the edges with a fork.
5. Whisk an egg with a bit of water and brush on the pastry.
6. Bake these puff pastry on a parchment lined cookie sheet for about 15 minutes.

Aren't these gorgeous???

Ok, time for you to take your chances and win your prize!

1) You must ♥ jam
2) You must have a legal US address
3) This giveaway ends Thursday, December 5th at midnight. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted on Friday, December 6th ;)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget about the other Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaways!

Day 1: Greeting Cards from Social Print Studio
Day 2: Kallari Chocolate 

Disclosure: I received a set of 3 Bonne Maman Jams and a Le Creuset Jam Jar from my sponsor and they will provide the same set for the winner of this giveaway. I have received no monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.


Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway: Day 2. Kallari Chocolate! Chocolate Covered Pretzels.

First, Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope you get to share this day (and at least one meal) with friends and/or family. I'm excited to go to my friend Laetitia's house and am bringing Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, mushroom and onion stuffing. I'm also planning on making rugelach (wish me luck!). 

Second, are you ready for Day 2 of Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway? Today you have a chance to win a set of Kallari chocolate. I've worked with Kallari chocolate in the past and love it in baked goods or as an afternoon pick me up. This time, I decided to make a super simple snack or dessert: Chocolate Covered Pretzels.

"Kallari is committed to community viability and economic growth, through knowledge sharing, the preservation of Kichwa cultural traditions and natural resource conservation.

Kallari (Kahl-ya-di) is the Kichwa verb that means "to begin" or "to commence". Kallari also refers to the beginning times, or how our ancestors used to live. Our effort is a new beginning to empower future generations, meanwhile remembering the traditions of our Nation."

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
1.76 ounce bar 72% Cacao Medium Dark Chocolate with Aji Chili, chopped
30 tiny twists pretzels
optional: ancho chile pepper

1. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate. {This chocolate melted incredibly easily and was smooth and silky.}
2. Dip the tiny twist pretzels into the chocolate and place on parchment paper.
3. If you like, sprinkle the dipped tiny twist pretzels with a bit of ancho chile peppers.
4. Refrigerate for at least a few hours.

Easy, right?? These are a great treat with coffee or just when you want a light dessert. I loved the deep flavor of chocolate mixed with a bit of the heat and the saltiness of the pretzels. These last for several weeks in a refrigerator in a tightly closed container.

If you want to learn more about Kallari Chocolate, make sure to follow it on twitter and Facebook.

Don't miss out on my other Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaways
Day 1: Greeting Cards from Social Print Studio

And now it's your chance to win your own 4 bars of Kallari chocolate!

1) You must ♥ chocolate
2) You must have a legal US address
3) This giveaway ends Thursday, December 5th at midnight. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted on Friday, December 6th ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a set of 4 chocolate bars from Kallari chocolate and they will provide the same set for the winner of this giveaway. I have received no monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.


Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway: Day 1. $25 worth of Prinstagram Greeting Cards from Social Print Studio.

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah!!! Fried food, the miracle of light, family, friends, gifts, and a menorah. To celebrate, I decided to ask some of my favorite companies to participate in the Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway. For the next eight days make sure to check the blog to see what company I'm profiling and to see what you may be able to win!

For the first day of the Eight Days of Hanukkah Giveaway, I'm excited to introduce you to Social Print Studio.

This company allows you to use your instagram photos and turn them into calendars, picture collages, cards, and many other fun projects. I've used Social Print Studio to print some of my photos before and loved not only decorating with them, but also sharing them with my family and friends.

(below are the photos I printed with my own money and how I used them to decorate my condo)

Social Print Studio generously allowed me to print a set of 24 Classic 4" x 6" cards, and is giving one of Mango & Tomato readers the same opportunity!! Aren't these gorgeous? The paper is thick and smooth and the quality of the photos is wonderful. The cards also come with brown envelopes that have a strip of white paper you take off in order to glue the flap...you don't even have to lick the eeky glue!!

I've already sent a few of these cards to my family and friends, and everyone really liked them!

I also really like the heart sticker included with your order.

And here's how YOU can win your own set of cards using your own instagram photos:

1) You must have an instagram account
2) You must have a legal US address
3) This giveaway ends Thursday, December 5th at midnight. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted on Friday, December 6th ;)

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about Social Print Studio, make sure to follow them on twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: I received a free set of cards from Social Print Studio and they will provide a set for the winner of this giveaway. I have received no monetary compensation. All opinions are my own.


Eating out with Instagram: I'm No Longer a Bonchon Virgin

I’m no longer a Bonchon virgin!!! What’s Bonchon?

"Walk down any neighborhood in Korea and you’ll find a mom-and-pop fried chicken joint on almost every block. With years of hands-on experience with Korean cuisine, founder Jinduk Seh, decided to focus on perfecting a recipe for fried chicken, and share one of his country’s favorite comfort foods with the world. The result was Bonchon, Korean word for “my hometown”."

Last night my friend Evi and I checked out Bonchon for our monthly dinner date. This was a first time at Bonchon for both of us!

I started with a cider and then we split an appetizer of Mandoo (pork and beef dumplings). These were fried and bursting with flavor, but as always Evi asked for extra hot sauce!

We both ordered wings (Evi chose all hot while I chose half hot and half soy glazed wings). These were ginormous!! We had plenty of leftovers to take home. The chicken was piping hot, incredibly crunchy and juicy. I preferred the soy glazed over the hot variety.

The kimchi slaw was a much better choice than the brown rice, and I loved pickled radish served on the side.

Unfortunately we were too full to try zucchini fries…maybe next time. Also, their salads looked amazing!

Stay tuned to see where our December dinner date takes place!


Book Recommendation: Anne Willan's One Souffle at a Time & A Recipe for Count Rocco's Minestrone

Last month I received a preview copy of Anne Willan's One Souffle at a Time. I have to admit that I had no clue who Anne is, but was interested in finding out. After all, there are very few books that tell a real person's story and include recipes that I will say no to....well, I could not really get into Dearie, but that's another story.

I absolutely loved Anne's memoir. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in food, travel, love, family, and the world of publishing. Yes, the book touches on all of these subjects and more. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Anne acknowledged how many times she happened to be in the right place at the right time or lucked out because of her connections. But don't be fooled: she worked incredibly hard.

I also enjoyed that Anne's memoir was sprinkled with many of the names you are likely to recognize if you love the world of food: Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse and Lisa Ekus, just to name the few.

So go get your own copy of the book and let me know what you think!

The first recipe that I cooked from Anne's book was Count Rocco's Minestrone. I used the exact same ingredients as Anne mentioned, but made two changes:
1) I decided not to peel the tomatoes.
2) Instead of baking {yes, baking!!!} the minestrone for 3 to 4 hours at 325, I decided to cook it for 2 hours at 400. Luckily, it came out perfect!

Count Rocco's Minestrone
Credit of Anne Willan's One Souffle at a Time
Serves 6-8


1 cup dried white kidney beans
2 medium tomatoes
3 bay leaves
medium bunch of thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium carrot, cut in 1/2-inch chunks
2 stalks celery,  cut in 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch chunks with the skin
20-28 green beans, trimmed and cut in 3/4-inch stciks
1 potato, peeled and cut in medium dice
3-4 Savoy cabbage or kale, finely shredded {I used kale}
2 cups fresh or frozen peas {I actually used 1 cup frozen peas and 1 cup frozen corn}
8 cloves garlic, peeled
slat and pepper
2-3 pieces of rind from Parmesan cheese
2 cups water, more if needed

to finish
bunch of basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil, more for drizzling if desired     


Soak the beans overnight in cold water, then drain them. Heat the oven to 325. Tie the bay leaves and thyme in a bundle with string.

Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the onions, and saute gently until very tender but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, carrot, celery, zucchini, green beans, potato, cabbage or kale, peas, and garlic. Add a little salt and plenty of pepper and tuck in the herb bundle and cheese rinds. Add the water to generate steam when cooking begins.

Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender and falling apart so the flavor is concentrated, 3 to 4 hours. The minestrone should be the consistency of soft risotto. During cooking, add more water if the vegetables seem dry. Discard Parmesan rinds, taste the minestron, and adjust the seasoning. It will mellow if you keep it a day or two in the refrigerator.

To finish: Reheat the minestrone. Coarsely shred leaves from the basil, reserving sprigs for decoration. Stir the shredded basil and grated Parmesan with a generous drizzle of olive oil into the minestrone. Taste again and adjust seasoning, particularly with pepper. Serve the minestrone in bowls, topped with a basil sprig. If you like, pass a bottle of your favorite virgin olive oil to drizzle on top.

I really enjoyed eating this vegetable stew for days. It's perfect for any season of the year and can be served for lunch or dinner. I bet you can even puree it if you wanted to. Definitely make this for yourself this weekend!


What to do with Leftover Cooked Chicken Breasts? Curried Chicken Salad with Mango & Pumpkin Seeds

Certain people (uhm, my mom and my friend Cecilia to name a few!) get quite upset that I only cook and eat skinless boneless chicken breasts. What can I say? That's what I like! {Well, other than my occasional insane craving for chicken wings!!!}

Last week I made a quick dinner of sauteed chicken breasts with broccoli and onions served over rice. I had a few chicken pieces leftover, and turned them into Curried Chicken Salad with Mango & Pumpkin Seeds.

You don't really need a recipe for this, so I'll just quickly describe what I did.

1) Chop cooked chicken breasts, ripe mango and fresh cilantro

2) Combine the above ingredients with pumpkin seeds, curry powder and enough mayonnaise to get a creamy consistency.

3) Season with salt and pepper.

4) You can eat this concoction as a salad, or serve it on toasted raisin pecan bread for a great sandwich!

Note: if you are making enough salad to have leftovers, don't add pumpkin seeds until you are ready to eat. You want to make sure the pumpkin seeds don't get soggy.

What do you make with leftover skinless boneless cooked chicken breasts?


Triple Chocolate & Pretzel Oreo Cookie Balls: Perfect No Bake Dessert

Because I grew up in Moscow, Russia, there are a zillion snacks and treats familiar to American kids that I've never had as a child. But don't you worry: once my family immigrated to the US when I was 13, I quickly caught up! Turns out, however, there was at least one snack/treat I've yet to try: Oreo Cookie Balls.

When I was contacted by Yummly representative to be a part of the Oreo Holiday Campaign by putting my spin on their Original Oreo Cookie Ball Recipe, I was up for the challenge. And you know what? This is one no bake cookie that actually tastes awesome. In fact, it kind of reminded me of a truffle.

Make these with your friends or kids and feel free to double or triple the recipe. And make sure to read till the end to see the original recipe that inspired me.

Triple Chocolate & Pretzel Oreo Cookie Balls: Perfect No Bake Dessert
Makes 8
9 chocolate Oreo cookies (the ones with chocolate filling)
2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1.5 ounces 75% chocolate, chopped
24 tiny twists, chopped in a food processor
1. In a food processor, pulse the Oreo cookies until they resemble the texture of sand.
2. Add the cream cheese and pulse to combine.
3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and make 9 balls, rolling them in your hands.
4. Allow the balls to sit in the freezer for 5 minutes, then re-roll them to make them more round.
5. Freeze for 5 for minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
6. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

7. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly and then roll the Oreo balls in it.
8. Roll the chocolate covered Oreo balls in chopped tiny twists (using a shallow plate for this helps).

9. Refrigerate the balls for at least an hour.

These were delicious! They also last for days in the refrigerator, that is unless you eat them right away.

I really liked the combination of chocolate Oreos and salty tiny twists.

And here's the original recipe:

Original OREO Cookie Ball Recipe
1 pkg. (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
4 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Make it!
MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.
SHAPE into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in
shallow waxed paper-lined pan.
CUSTOMIZE it with your own ingredient additions or decorative skills.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.

 Share and enjoy!

Have you ever made Oreo Cookie Balls? What spin do you put on the original recipe?

Disclosure: Yummly representative invited me to participate in the Oreo Holiday Campaign and reimbursed me for my time. All opinions are as always my own.


Where to Eat Brunch in Madison, WI: Graze

After a fun two days of the cheese festivities in Madison, WI, I had a free half a day before flying back to DC. Luckily my friend Emily was free to hang out with me. Of course we met up for brunch and shopping ;) Emily chose Graze, and I was more than happy to check it out for brunch, since I loved it for dinner the last time I was in Madison.

I started with a refreshing and beautiful cranberry ginger lemonade and a half a dozen oysters. After eating cheese and heavier food the previous few days, I was craving something lighter. These choices did not disappoint.

For my main course I ordered Eggs Benedict with Berkshire Ham. It was a winning decision.

And then, even though we were pretty full, Emily and I ordered beignets with a side of Nutella. We could only have one each ;)

This was a great brunch and a fun place to catch up. If you are ever in Madison, GO!

Have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to enter my cookbook giveaway!


The Can't Cook Book Giveaway: Roasted Lemon-Thyme Portobello Mushrooms

A few weeks ago I received a copy of Jessica Seinfeld's The Can't Cook Book. Although the book looks great and has a variety of easy to make recipes, I decided it's a little bit too simple for me. Don't hate!!! This means YOU WIN because I'm hosting a giveaway: one of you will win this book, and I will ship it directly to you.

Before sending you this cookbook, however, I decided to make one of the recipes and chose Roasted Lemon-Thyme Portobello Mushrooms. It was easy to make and incredibly flavorful! I served the mushrooms over leftover rice with broccoli and onions, but you can serve it with pasta, over polenta or mix the mushrooms into an omelet.

Ingredients and Directions

Before roasting/After roasting

Butter, lemon and thyme was a stellar combination for these mushrooms, unless you are my friend Cindy who doesn't like thyme. You can leave out thyme and use red pepper flakes if you want. You can even use rosemary, and or garlic, if that's what you like. This recipe really is just a template.

And now here's what you need to do for your chance to win:

{This is my first time using a Rafflecopter, so I am crossing my fingers and toes it works! Be patient just in case.}

You MUST leave a comment in the box below in order to be entered into the contest! The regular comments in the comment area will not comment.

The winner will be announced November 22nd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book, which I'm giving away, but was under no obligation to blog about it and received no monetary compensation. I'm using my own $$ to ship the book to the winner ;)