Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giveaway Winners and New Challenges

Wow, it's a good thing you've come by because I have so much to cover.

Over the past few days, I've had giveaways, product reviews, and recipe challenges and they just keep coming.

First up, I won't make you wait any longer…..

The winner of the Wendy's Natural Fries Gift Card Giveaway 

True Random Number Generator  18
Ang said...

on a sandwich and or smothered with homemade honey mustard (mine's better).... and with garlic, salt, and pepper 

Congratulations Ang!  Please send me your address and I'll get the giftcard out to you right away.

Next up, a recipe challenge!

If you remember, a few weeks ago, I entered the Marxx Foods Iron Foodies Competition. Sadly, I wasn't selected as the next Iron Foodie, but I was given another chance for a little friendly competition.

Marxx Foods sent me a sampling of some of their popular spices to come up with my own recipes.  If there's one thing I love, it's a challenge.  If there's one thing I love more than a challenge, it's a food related challenge.  I accepted with honor.

I was so excited to see some of the spices I was sent.  All ones that I've only heard of in exotic recipes and ones that I would probably never venture to buy on my own.

Espresso Salt 

 Maple Sugar

 Demerara Sugar

I was also sent Black Truffle Salt that somehow seemed to disappear from my camera. 

As I racked my brain trying to come up with a recipe that would incorporate one of these, I thought, I wonder if there is a way I can use ALL of them.   If you know me, you know that I am the queen of sweet and savory and these spices would be perfect in this type of combo. 

So the final result? 

Espresso Maple Salted Nuts 

  • 2 Cups Whole Pecans (or other nut)
  • 2 TBL Vegetable Oil
  • 1 TBL Vanilla 
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup 
  • 2 TBL Maple Sugar
  • 2 TBL Demerara Sugar
  • Espesso and Black Truffle Salt to taste
Mix nuts with oil, vanilla, syrup and sugars.  Roast at 450 degrees for 15 min (turning 1/2 way through). Remove from oven and sprinkle with salts while they are still warm. 

This was the most simple recipe and they came out fantastic!  I love the sweet maple aroma but the pungent saltiness gives them such a kick.  There is also a very subtle aftertaste of espresso which is quite lovely. 

I didn't stop with the nuts.  

Maple Balsamic Glazed Salmon 

  • 6oz Salmon Fillet 
  • 1 TBL Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBL Balsamic
  • 1 TBL Maple Agave
  • 1 TBL Crushed Garlic 
  • 2 tsp Maple Sugar
  • 1 tsp Demerara Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
Mix the soy sauce, balsamic, agave, garlic and sugars in a small bowl. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and pour the soy mixture over the salmon.  Let sit for 15 min.  Heat a skillet over medium high and add the salmon.  Pan sear for 4 min on each side, brushing with the remaining sauce. 

I served the salmon over a bed of Maple Roasted Veggies, Goat Cheese, and baby greens. 

Salmon will always be one of my favorite meals but I have to say, I'm pretty biased to my own salmon.  It's rare that I find a comparable piece when we go out and I definitely don't feel that this fish is meant to be poached.  Poaching salmon leaves it so flavorless and entirely dull.  

I'm still enjoying these samples and will continue to use them in more recipes I come up with.  I am having a bit of trouble with the Dulse though.  I've never used this before and I have absolutely no idea how to even use it!!  What in the world do you put dulse in? 

I'll have some more exciting reviews and challenges coming next so stayed tuned. 



  1. Congrats to the winner! And way to go with the homespun recipes! The nuts sound fabulous. Perfect to put out at a party? I think so!!

  2. You KNOW how much I love pecans :). You also know how much I love sweets. Those look fabulous.

  3. Hmm...can I have those nuts? Haha, they look so good!

  4. What fun recipes!

  5. WOW!!! truffle salt n nuts - how can you not love?!

  6. I'll have to try your salmon recipe. I am always looking for new recipes!

  7. Hey my sweet lauren!
    thanks SO much for sharing your story girl- you look amazing and I know you treat your body with SO much respect. You are so freaking sweet! I am so thankful we are keeping up with each others blogs, I check yours every day! And that salmon sounds AMAZING! oh my goodness! Great recipe! love you girl <3

  8. Yum, looks delicious! You're so creative!
    Love your blog, by the way. I'm your newest follower! :)

  9. hey girl,
    just came across your blog. i'm from PA too!


  10. WOW! These look like amazing spices. Have fun in the kitchen using that creativity!

  11. isn't that espresso salt awesome? such great flavor!

    those spiced nuts sound really good, and the salmon looks perfect!

  12. Those spice combinations sound fantastic!!
    and I've never used dulce either but have heard it's really good for your. Curious to see what you come up with!

  13. Loved this recipe, Lauren!
    Thanks for sharing :D

  14. I just did a balsamic reduction yesterday! I love balsamic flavor on fish, chicken, pasta, anything really!

  15. Look at all of those fancy salts and sugars! I bet the black truffle one is amazing!

  16. Love the nuts!!! They look so good, I bet they would be great on top of a salad :)


  17. I wish I could help you with the dulse...but I have no idea! I love your seasoned nuts though. I go crazy for treats like that over the holiday season. I would love to try some of those artisan salts and sugars though. I bet they make such a difference. Thanks for sharing, sweet girl. Have a great weekend!

  18. Those maple salted pecans look amazing!

  19. That salmon looks absolutely amazing!!! I've been trying to eat more fish lately (omegas, omegas). I will be making this real soon!

  20. I'm obsessed with those nuts!! Thanks again for the sweet gift :) xo