Showing posts with label cupcakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cupcakes. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Frost Yourself!" Sparkly Vanilla & Passion Fruit Jam-Filled Cupcakes for Food 'n Flix March: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

I love a good sparkly chick flick and I really love How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, the Food 'n Flix selection for March. I don't own this movie, but it is one that I turn the channel to whenever I come across it on the television. Thus I have maybe watched the entire movie in a sitting only a couple of times but, I have seen the various bits and parts of it way too many times to count. 

Yes, it's silly and sappy, but it doesn't fail to make me smile. Kate Hudson, at her golden, sparkly best is Andie Anderson, the "How-To Girl" for Composure magazine, writing Cosmo-style articles on dating, fashion and other fluffy topics. Andie wants to be a serious journalist and write about more important things, but ends up assigned an article on How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days--using all the crazy dating mistakes women make that drive men away. Matthew McConaughey, all drawling cocky charm, is Benjamin Barry, an advertising executive who wants to handle more prestigious accounts than the sports and beer-related ones he has been getting. After a bet with his co-workers, Benjamin will get a chance to pitch a diamond campaign if he can make a woman fall in love with him before the company party in 10 days. Of course, the two end up dating each other under these false pretenses with Andie trying to figure out why Ben won't break up with her already and Ben trying to figure out why the cool girl he met keeps getting all psycho on him. Of course the usual rom-com antics ensue. 

The movie is predictable but fun. Andie's over the top antics like getting baby pictures from Ben's mom and making a scrapbook with wedding photo mock-ups and pictures morphing her and Ben to predict what their children will look like (pretty scary actually), getting them a little ugly/cute dog Krull and dressing them all up in matching Burberry plaid, and crying over their dead "love fern" ("Our love fern! You let it die!), etc. make me chuckle. Ben starts out as kind of a jerk in the beginning, but is quite likable by the end and it's entertaining to watch him squirm with Andie's bizarre behaviors.

Until our host for March, Tina of Squirrel Head Manor picked it, I never thought about How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days as a foodie movie, but surprisingly it does have a decent food presence--from Ben cooking his special lamb dinner and Andie pretending to be a vegetarian and singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb"--resulting in them ending up at a vegetarian restaurant the next date, to Andie exchanging all the typical poker party snacks at Ben's boys night with cucumber sandwiches and a veggie plate. 

When it came to picking a dish inspired by the movie, I went with sparkly frosted cupcakes in honor of the advertising tagline that Ben comes up with after Andie tells him diamonds are "frosting." So "Frost Yourself"--Vanilla Cupcakes filled with Passion Fruit Jam and frosted with Vanilla Buttercream and lots of bling. I went with white and gold sprinkles after the stunning golden diamond necklace Andie "frosts" herself with at Ben's company party. The green leafy background is my nod to Ben and Andie's "love fern"--looking much healthier than the poor fern in the movie ;-)

For my cupcakes: I used this recipe for Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes and Vanilla Buttercream found at Food Network. The recipe made a light cake, maybe slightly dry--but the jam filling helped. 

To fill the cupcakes, I cut small cones out of the center of the cooled cupcakes and removed the excess cake, filled the holes with a small spoonful of a locally-made lilikoi (passion fruit) jam, and put the top of the come back on the cupcake. (You could of course use any flavor jam but I was going for a golden color and the tangy flavor of the passion fruit cuts some of the sweet.) The amounts of sprinkles I used (on the cupcakes I photographed only) were a bit heavy handed for eating, but I wanted them as glitzy as possible. The frosting was sweet and creamy--next time I would make it a bit stiffer to hold the piping better. I'm not sure I would make this recipe again, I have had better vanilla cupcakes, but they were fun to play with. 

Thanks to Tina at Squirrel Head Manor for hosting this round of Food 'N Flix and making me look at an oft-watched film in a new way. Tina will be rounding up the entries on her blog soon. If you missed this round but love food, film and foodie films, join us for April's pick of Practical Magic, hosted at Can't Believe We Ate...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Book Tour Stops Here: The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson with Little Warm Lavender Almond Cakes

We had some unusual weather for Hawaii several days last week. Heavy rains, multiple thunderstorms with lightening, hail... even a tornado not that far from where I live. It was perfect weather to tuck into a Gothic mystery novel like The Lantern, by Deborah Lawrenson. The Lantern is set in Provence, at Les Genévries, a old and crumbling three-story stone farmhouse hedged in rosemary and cypresses leading to fields of aromatic lavender. Les Genévries is the new home of Eve and Dom, who met in Switzerland and after a whirlwind courtship, are settling in to isolated country life and slowly renovating the house. Les Genévries was once the home of Bénédicte Lincel and her family and The Lantern weaves back and forth between Eve's present day story and Bénédicte's story going back to her childhood days.

The first summer in the house is full of hope and promise for Eve and Dom, but as the season starts to wane, Eve starts to feel a presence, like she is being watched. Dom is acting mysteriously too. Eve knows he was married before, but he refuses to discuss it and her need to find out more about his former wife Rachel, puts a strain on their relationship. When news of a series of local girls gone missing in the surrounding area moves closer to home, Eve begins to wonder what else Dom might be hiding from her and what happened to Rachel.

If I had to pick one word to describe The Lantern, it would be lush. It is a book for the senses. Author Lawrenson writes so descriptively that you feel the winds that sweep through the countryside, you see the crumbling stone and cracking plaster of the old house, you get a small shiver of awareness at a sudden sound or shadow, and you can smell the pungent floral scent of the lavender mixed in with the rosemary, mint, thyme and other herbs growing about Les Genévries. The Lantern is billed as being inspired by the Gothic classic Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, which I read many, many years ago and there are definite plot similarities, although the story has it's own twists and turns. The interwoven stories of Eve and Bénédicte reveal the story in small snippets, and I think overall it works well, but I did find Bénédicte's character and her tale more compelling. I didn't feel the romance, passion and connection between Dom and Eve as strongly, maybe because more emphasis is given to descriptions of the atmosphere of Les Genévries, than to developing these characters and their relationship. This is a curl-up-in-a-comfy-chair-on-a-stormy-night kind of story, and a lovely escape to the south of France. If you enjoy Provence, beautifully descriptive writing, Gothic tales and ghost stories, and/or have a sense of mystery, you will like this book.

Author Notes: Deborah Lawrenson grew up in Kuwait, China, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Singapore. She studied English at Cambridge University and has worked as a journalist for various publications in England, including the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, and Woman’s Journal magazine. She lives in Kent, England, and she and her family spend as much time as possible at a crumbling hamlet in Provence, France, the setting for The Lantern.

Note: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher through TLC Book Tours but I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

For a dish inspired by the novel, although there were plenty of wonderful sounding dishes, meals and ingredients throughout the book it was obvious from the cover alone that it had to be something involving lavender. Plus, lavender plays heavily in Bénédicte's story. I had a few recipes tagged to make, even a savory fish dish, but I decided to crack open The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking With Fragrance and Flavor by Jerry Traunfeld (a cookbook that I would also describe as lush and beautiful) and I was immediately drawn to the Warm Lavender Almond Cakes.

Jerry Traunfeld says, "These cakes are miraculous. You whiz everything up in a food processor, pop the batter into the refrigerator overnight, and then scoop into ramekins or muffin tins to bake. You'll be amazed. The warm slightly chewy cakes have a light crisp crust and a dense, moist interior suffused with the deep flavors of nuts, lavender, and honey, almost like a cross between a cake and a macaroon. Serve them in summer with lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream and fresh berries, or end a winter meal with the same cream and a fruit compote. Or simply cut them in quarters and serve them with coffee, tea, or a glass of sherry in any season."

Warm Lavender Almond Cakes
Recipe by The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld
(Makes 6-10 small cakes--depending on size of pan)

1 cup raw sliced almonds
4 teaspoons lavender buds (fresh or dried)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup egg whites (about 6 large)
1/4 cup honey
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
2 tablespoons softened butter, for prepping the molds

Note: Begin preparation at least 1 day before serving.
Put the almonds and lavender buds in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the powdered sugar and continue to process for 30 seconds. Add the flour and salt and process briefly. Pour in the egg whites and honey and process until combined. Add the melted butter and process for an additional 15 seconds. Scrape the batter into a plastic storage container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or as much as a week.

To Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F.

Generously butter 10 (4 or 6 oz.) ovenproof ramekins or custard cups and place them on a baking sheet, or use a standard muffin tin. Divide the batter evenly among the cups. Bake until the cakes are evenly puffed and the tops crack and turn a deep walnut brown color, 30-40 min., depending on the molds and the temperature of the batter. Cool slightly and tip the cups out of their molds. Serve them while still warm, whole or cut into quarters.

Notes/Results: These are lovely little cakes. I always wonder if the lavender will be too strong in a recipes (I have had some lavender-infused dishes that were like eating potpourri--not a good thing), but in these cakes it comes across in a subtle way at first, getting a little stronger but not overpowering, towards the end. I used larger ramekins for these (about 6 oz.) and filled them 3/4 full, so I got six cakes from the batter. Instead of whipped cream, I used this whipped cashew cream, using up the leftover thick cashew cream from Sunday's soup, and garnished with some fresh organic blueberries. (I adapted the linked Tal Ronnen cashew whipped cream recipe slightly, by using honey as the sweetener and adding almond extract to enhance the flavors in the little cakes.) These cakes are like a French financier--chewy on the outside and soft with a nice crumb within. I will make these again.

Giveaway Update: In case you were stopping by to see who won the Joy the Baker Cookbook giveaway, I will be drawing the name and posting the announcement sometime tomorrow (Friday). Thanks for your patience! ;-)

I am sending my review of The Lantern and these pretty little cakes over to Novel Food, a literary-inspired cooking event hosted by my friend Simona at briciole. Simona will be rounding up an array of fabulous books and the food inspired by them after the deadline of March 18th, so be sure to check it out.

What are you reading and cooking?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vegan Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cookoff

Chocolate cupcakes may seem redundant when we have already made brownies with chocolate buttercream and chamomile cupcakes for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cookoff. Still, when I got to choose a recipe to make for Blogger's Choice Week of the challenge, this is the recipe I kept going back to. I have been wanting to finally try baking up a vegan chocolate and avocado pairing so Joy's Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream seemed like the perfect opportunity.

These cupcakes turned out incredibly moist and delicious. Sadly, the frosting wasn't quite a win for me. It kept separating and seemed somewhat greasy and a bit grainy. I used the Earth Butter sticks and followed the recipe, then I tried adding more powdered sugar, refrigerating it and re-mixing, freezing it, etc. but it wasn't quite as buttery and fluffy as I would have liked and it doesn't look that pretty. Of course it also had to compete with my memories of Joy's incredible chocolate buttercream with Ovaltine in it that topped the brownies on week one, and I don't think it could have done that even if it had turned out perfectly. All in all, these cupcakes were still excellent and no one would guess they are vegan--always a plus.

Joy the Baker says, "This is the part of our baking journey that will make you raise your eyebrows at me. Yes, this fine chocolate cake has avocado in it. Avocados are so rich and creamy that I like to consider them the vegetable equivalent of butter. This vegan cake recipe uses both oil and avocado to create a moist, tender, and sturdy crumb. Combine the cake with vegan chocolate frosting, and you've got quite a treat. You won't have to tell a soul that there's avocado in the cake, unless of course, you want to brag. You can double this cake and frosting recipe to make one 2-layer 8-or9-inch cake."

Vegan Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes w/ Vegan Chocolate Buttercream
The Joy the Baker Cookbook
(Makes 12-14 Cupcakes)

Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup mashed ripe avocado (about half an avocado)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
(I added 2 tsps espresso powder)

Cupcake Directions
Place rack in the upper third of the oven, and preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with foil or paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, oil, avocado, water, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the avocado mixture and fold with a spatula until well combined. The batter will be so loose that you can pour it into a measuring cup to dispense into the cupcake molds. Fill each cupcake liner until it’s about two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cakes cool for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Frosting Ingredients
3/4 cup Earth Balance butter (or any vegan butter in sticks), at room temperature
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp soy milk

Frosting Directions
Place butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and pliable. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the cocoa and sugar. Turn mixer on low to slowly incorporate. Add the vanilla and soy milk. Increase the mixer speed to medium or medium high and beat until frosting is soft and fluffy.

Spread onto cupcakes with a butter knife and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Frosted cupcakes can last in fridge for up to 4 days.

Notes/Results: I think I said it all above--the very moist and delicious cakes get a thumbs up and will definitely get made again. The avocado disappears completely when you bake them and I love how it replaces most of the oil and egg with healthy fats. I did add some espresso powder to the cupcakes--just for a little depth of flavor, and I topped them with chocolate-covered coffee beans. I'll probably try the frosting again--maybe it was just a bad frosting karma day. And, I promise that I will be making one more recipe from the book for my final review next week that isn't a cake or brownie. ;-)

&&<span class=

*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Reviews & a Recipe: Three Novels of Love and Loss & Warm Chocolate and Banana (Cup)Cakes

I seem to have gotten into a bit of a theme this month with the books I have been reading. With these three novels (two sent to me for review and one I selected myself), they are centered around love and loss. Sure, there was sadness in reading these books and there were plenty of tears shed over them, but at their heart these are well-told stories about strong women, hope, and the power of love and how it helps us get through the toughest times we can imagine. All three are great summer reads

"The Summer We Came to Life" by Deborah Cloyed, follows Samantha, who joins her childhood friends--Isabel, Kendra and Mina every summer on a fabulous vacation along with Isabel and Kendra's mothers, Jesse and Lynette. This year is different as Mina has passed away from cancer six months ago and Samantha, who is especially close to her, struggles to face a life without her best friend and can't imagine their annual trip without her. Still, the group shows up in Honduras where Samantha is waiting for her "artist in residence" to begin at the university. Bringing along Mina's father Arshan, and Kendra's father and Lynette's husband, Cornell, they head for a Honduran beach house.

The group's stories are told and the past and present are interwoven as Samantha searches for a way to go on without Mina and tries to decide what direction her life should take. She looks to a journal, given to her by Mina before her death, and where the two friends have communicated back and forth about the afterlife and theories about trying to contact each other when Mina is gone. At first I found this back and forth and particularly the discussions of different physics theories to be a little distracting from the rest of the book but Cloyed manages to pull it all together for a touching and absorbing story that lingers in the mind long after the book is finished.

The five women in "The Art of Saying Goodbye" by Ellyn Bache don't have much in common other than the neighborhood they live in. Julianne is a divorced nurse who seems to have a second sense that allows her to "feel" when a patient is dying--an ability she does not want. Ginger struggles to balance her family life with her desire for a career. Andrea has spent the past 10 years worrying about her daughter who battled kidney cancer as a young child and it has taken a toll on her marriage and her life. Iona, older than the rest of the group, lost her beloved husband in a tragic accident and struggles with her anger and bitterness. Paisley, a beautiful young wife and mother, is the center of their group, the one that brought them together and who adds the spark of life to the group.

When Paisley is diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer the women come together to support her and all are changed by the experience of losing a friend and realizing the beauty and promise in their own lives. Told from the point of view of each of the characters, it's a touching, well-written book that illustrates the meaning of friendship and love.

Callie, the central character in Jane Green's "Promises to Keep" is adored by everyone. A beloved wife, mother of two, an older sister, a daughter and a friend, she is happy and settled into her comfortable life until the breast cancer she thought she had beaten reoccurs and her prognoses is grim. Her husband Reece adores her but is focused on his busy travel-filled career and is rarely home for any length of time. Callie's younger sister, Steffi is a (mostly) vegan chef and free-spirit who has avoided any form of settling down. Her best friend Lila has finally met a wonderful man and is fond of his young son but very resentful of his demanding ex-wife. Callie and Steffi's parents, Honor and Walter are long-divorced but still struggle with being in the same room together. They are brought together to support Callie and her children in an emotional year that changes all of them in ways they don't expect.

Green is a prolific chick-lit author but "Promises to Keep" has an emotional pull that her other books lack, probably due to the fact that it was inspired by Green's best friend, Heidi, who lost her life to breast cancer a few years ago. This one really tugs at the heartstrings.

Books that make me emotional call for comfort food and definitely chocolate. ;-) I didn't have to look too far for a recipe as "Promises to Keep" ends its chapters with recipes, as Steffi is a chef. Many of the recipes sounded delicious and I will likely try more than a few of them, but the one that caught my eye and stomach first was the Warm Chocolate Banana Cake. Apparently a family recipe from Jane Green's mother, it is a fudgy cake, moist with ripe bananas. Because cakes are a bit unwieldy for me and I either toss them, share them, or eat them all, I chose to make it into cupcakes instead--portion control and the leftovers can be given away or frozen and enjoyed in moderation.

Warm Chocolate and Banana Cake
Adapted from "Promises to Keep" by Jane Green

1 cup plain baker's chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Pre-heat oven to 350º F.

Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (or my lazy way of VERY, VERY slowly melting in a microwave.)

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale. Add the eggs gradually while beating. Stir the flour, baking powder and cocoa together and fold into the wet mixture. Add the bananas and melted chocolate. Mix well.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Notes/Results: This is a simple to make and delicious cake--full of chocolate goodness. In addition to making cupcakes from the recipe and dusting them with a mix of cocoa powder and powdered sugar, I made two small changes based on the ingredients I had on hand. I didn't have any plain sugar in the house so I used some coconut palm sugar (more like a brown sugar with caramel notes). Also, I only had white wheat flour so I used that. I don't think either made a major difference in the taste and texture with all that chocolate. ;-) Speaking of chocolate--you could whip up a ganache or frosting to top them, but these do stand really well on their own without any extra sweetness. I love how moist these cupcakes were with the fudge-like texture and bits of mashed banana. Wonderful warm and pretty great cold too--I would make them again.

So what are you reading this summer?

Obligatory Disclosure Statement: Copies of two of these books were provided by the publishers however I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ina's Lemon Cake, (Now Slightly Lightened Up Lemon Cupcakes)--Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipe + Giveaway #3 Winner!

Our Barefoot Blogger's BRC recipe this month is Ina's Lemon Cake and was selected by McKenzie at Kenzie's Kitchen who referred the most people to the Barefoot Bloggers site last month. I love lemon and this recipe looked delicious, but since I have been on the "sore throat ice cream diet" most of the week I decided to go ahead and try to lighten it up just a bit to make it at least a little healthier. First step of course is portion control, so I made half and made the cake into cupcakes. I also cut a bit more than 1/2 the butter out, replacing it with some non-fat yogurt, swapped out part of the regular flour for some white whole wheat flour, and lightened up the sugar in the cake itself. (There is plenty sugar already in the syrup and glaze!) My changes are in red below.

The recipe can be found both at the Food Network website (here) or in Barefoot Contessa Parties! on pages 104-105. 

Lemon Cake
Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Ina Garten
(Makes 2 loaves)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature (I used 1/3 stick butter and 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt for 1 cake or 12 cupcakes)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided (I used 3/4 cup for 1 cake)
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest lightly packed (6 to 8 large lemons - Use only fresh lemon juice and zest)
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose flour & 1/2 cup white whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (I used non-fat milk and lemon)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, the key to great cakes is beating the butter and sugar until the mixture's until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, (break the eggs into a dish before adding to the batter to avoid a bad egg or shells in the batter), one at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, to make sure there are no lumps, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Separately, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, cool for 10 minutes, invert them onto a rack set over a tray and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

To freeze these cakes, prepare them except the glaze. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. When you're ready to use, defrost and glaze.

Notes/Results:  Great! Lots of lemony flavor and a good moist texture. This is definitely one for the lemon lovers--it is tart but very good. You could leave off the syrup or glaze to cut more sugar, but for a small portion, you can indulge a bit. I did cut the amount of the glaze down by half which turned out to be a good thing--I should have done the same with the syrup too as it made more than I needed for the cupcakes. Slightly lightened, these were still really yummy, I would make them again, maybe play around with the ingredients and cut even a bit more of the fat. 

Thanks for a fun and delicious pick Kenzie! You can see which other Barefoot Bloggers did this optional recipe challenge and what they thought of the lemon cakes by going to the BB site here.


It is time to announce the winner of my final 300th Post / Blogoversary Giveaway. This week's prize is a fun little Hawaii "foodie stuff" box. I really had a great time reading your comments and hearing what fun, local treats from your neck of the woods that you would give to someone. 

As usual Max decided that helping with the random drawing was beneath his dignity (and energy level) and I was on my own, writing down all the names, folding up the slips of paper, putting them into my Thai bowl, shaking them up and drawing the name of the winner.

Although he tried to be very "helpful" in writing this post after he woke up from his nap.

But I digress.  Let's get on to our winner! (Drum roll please...) And the winner is:

It's Rebecca from Chow and Chatter!  Rebecca is from the U.K. but is currently living in the US. For her local gift box (from the UK), she would give; "British tea-Yorkshire tea, digestive biscuits, custard, Heinz baked beans, Boston Sausages from my Grandparents town, and Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate". 

Congratulations Rebecca! Email me with your mailing address and I will get your box of goodies out to you. Thanks to everyone who entered. It was fun to give some foodie stuff away the past three weeks. I hope to do it again!

Have a great week!