Friday, March 19, 2010

springtime and swag

It is SPRING!

I have been living spring: I took a walk in the park in a t-shirt, admiring the crocuses! And ducks!

And I have been eating spring:

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Bliss. But let’s rewind because the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a few days arrived in the form of a UPS package.

Lookit my box of goodies!

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My coffee table can barely contain the goodness!

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Newmans Own Organics HOOKED ME UP with products to review!

That is Fig Newmans (low fat and nonfat), mints (ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, spearmint), hermits (original and ginger), Newman O’s (2 boxes of chocolate, two boxes of original), pretzels (mini, round, and rods), cookies (orange chocolate chip, chocolate alphabet, and espresso chocolate chip), soy crisps (lightly salted and barbecue), and CHOCOLATE! (milk, mocha milk, dark, extra dark, orange dark, espresso dark)

I am wonderfully overwhelmed with carbohydrate love. Mmm.

It began with teatime, on the decksie.

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Let’s have a look at that lil plate, shall we?

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That is three chocolate alphabet cookies (I just randomly drew them out of the bag and was so excited when they made a pattern- it’s every other letter! God I’m so weird), and also a Hermit.

The chocolate cookies are gooooooood. Usually when you buy chocolate flavored cookies, they taste like sugar and not a lot else. These actually had the richness and complexity of real cocoa. Their texture was also perfect- nice and crisp, but not so dry they sucked the air out of your mouth.

As for those famous hermits…

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This was what I was THE MOST excited to try, because I’ve seen so many other bloggers going gaga over them.

Well, they did not disappoint. Their texture is absolutely perfect and buttery and homemade tasting (I can’t believe they don’t have butter!) and the flavor is heaven. They are definitely sweet, but not cloyingly so: they get complexity from molasses and dried fruit (raisins! figgies!). They are definitely a nostalgia cookie- took me back!

Then I just sat on the deck for awhile staring at my view.

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There was a really awesome bird flying around- a vulture? I think? Couldn’t catch him on film, though.

For dinner, I pulled out another Newman’s Own Organics goodie: pretzel rods! Why are pretzels so much more delicious in stick form?

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I like my pretzels dipped in things, so I made my mama and I a tasting assortment. My dippers of choice:

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Sweetish Vidalia dressing, savory and sour tapenade.

Secret confession though: my favorite all-time pretzel dipper is ranch dressing (ideally peppercorn ranch). My friend Lauren turned me on to it in high school. It’s rare that I have ranch dressing (or pretzels for that matter) but man oh man is it good. Do other people have favorite pretzel dippers?

The pretzel rods are really good! They have a perfect crunch level, but again, taste nice and fresh and thus don’t dry out your mouth. Also, props on the sodium- big chunks of sea salt give nice texture and flavor, but they taste like wheat, not salt (which, in my opinion, pretzels should!)

For the main course, this gorgeous quasi- Salade Nicoise.

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I love laying out a salad like this, it’s such a feast for your eyes.

This combo was excellent. From your 10:00 going clockwise, I used the last of the asparagus; the last of the artichoke-walnut-parsley-lemon zest topper from the pasta I made the other night; a huge red potato; tuna; spring (!) greens, and a hardboiled egg.

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I’m still workin’ on my Eggland’s Best eggs I got from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program! I am seriously hoarding them. Including hardboiled egg meant I got to use my favorite kitchen tool ever:

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Do other people have egg slicers. Are other people IN LOVE WITH THEM? Because I am :D

I used my favorite cooking method for red potato of late- wrapped in foil, baked at 350 for an hour or so (I use my countertop oven- thanks Linda!), and then sliced. I hate boiling potatoes. You suck out nutrients! Oh and don’t even get me started on peeling. Red potato peel is so delish!

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And finally, I dressed everybody with this:

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1 T-ish chopped parsley, 1.5 t. lemon juice, 2 t. olive oil, 1/2 t. dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

I actually made dinner earlyish so I could take daylit pictures (the things we do for food blogs, eh?) but even in the dim light on the kitchen table (er, plus I keep meaning to replace the lightbulb over the table) everything looked REAL tasty!

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20 comments:

mayapamela525 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
La said...

Good lawdy I love Newman's products...overload. I can't keep a package of ANYTHING in my house for longer than like two days.
My fave pretzel dipper is peanut butter and chocolate melted together. It's a perfect storm of crunch, sweet, salt, nuts, chocolate.

Umm..never used an egg slicer but totally jealous of people who do, I think they look crazy cool for some reason. Maybe I'm weird.

Maya said...

I want a composed salad now! I see my lunch!

Genesis said...

fun package. i remember when i got my box, my brother was more excited than i was. we actually still have some NO products in our home. enjoy.

PJ said...

very interesting package! have fun with them and love the spring's bounty.. those pictures are carving me some salad fix now,

Stephanie @cookinfanatic said...

I love dipping pretzels in mustard! And peanut butter! not at the same time though haha ewwwwwwwww

Tracey said...

Newmans own makes the BEST products!!! I've been using their products for years but have not tried any of the cookies.

rustique said...

Why is Newman's so consistently amazing? I have always had a soft spot for their Ginger O's and peanut butter cups, and I'm definitely not a big sweets person.

Morgan said...

I'm drooling over all the food in this post! yum!!!

I love your dishes, too. Where did you get them?

MelindaRD said...

Everything looks great, I love the egg slicer. I haven't seen one in ages. Great goodies from Newman's.

I love to dip pretzels in just about anything. Various mustards, salsa, even cream cheese.

coffeeandberries said...

That salad looks so good! I might have to put a hard boiled egg on my next salad. I've never thought of doing that before!

Sweet pretzel dipper: Nutella! omygosh, soooo good!

Savory pretzel dipper: Mustard. Plain yellow, honey mustard, or spicy brown. All are fabulous!

healthyamy said...

Wow- that package of goodies looks yummy and i think i will have to copy your salad one day soon! I love boiled egg on salad.

Christina@Health Foodie said...

Oh wow, they REALLY hooked you up! haha That salad looks so yummy. I love the plating.

That plate with the cookies on them reminds me of my grandmother's plates. Such good memories. I ate so much good food off of them! haha

- Christina

Trying To Heal said...

I love Nemans stuff! i got there big package and am still eating their stuff! soooo good!

Molly said...

check out that hook up you received... i don't think i have tried any Newman products but wow they look so awesome!

my mom use to always slice our eggs growing up with an egg slicer to make egg salad sammys..

healthyexposures said...

Oh man - looks like you made out like a bandit!! Too cool. I've still got to try those hermits! And you're right - your salad is definitely a feast for the eyes. Beautiful! And no shame about the early dinner for a decent photo thing. I do it too, haha.
Pretty much anything is good dipped in ranch - i'm totally in agreeance with you that pretzels are, too! I make my own with greek yogurt and dill, sage, garlic salt, pepper, and chives - and buttermilk if i just so happen to have a splash on hand. yum!

Lele said...

Morgan-

The little brown bowl (with the pretzels in it) was a Christmas present that contained some rockin' mixed nuts (don't know where from!). The little dishes with the tapenade and dressing in them I got in Taiwan (hahaha sorry). However, the big blue square plate is from Target!

Angharad (Eating for England) said...

I could definitely get involved with those Newmans Own goodies!! Lucky gal!

Susan said...

Hey chickadee! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog - you had me crackin' up with that blog title.

That salad looks tres magnifique aka needs to be on my plate soon. I'm craving salads like crazy now that the temperatures are rising!

localfoodiefight said...

oooo yummo that salad looks great. I love making my own dressing at home. soo much better!