January 9, 2009

My First Blogiversary (w/a givaway)

A year ago I started this blog after being an avid reader/lurker of other food and parenting blogs. It's been a fun year of recording favorite recipes, new experiments and thoughts but what I love most is the variety of great, creative people I've met through blogging. To celebrate my first blogiversary, I'm pulling out ten of my favorite posts and giving away some of my favorite chocolates and an apron or bag with my logo.
The chocolate is from Grocer's Daughter Chocolates, a company located in Empire, Michigan on the Leelanau peninsula where we are building our new house. A local company with great practices, their interesting chocolate combinations are hard to resist. My favorite item is their chocolate drizzled thyme pecans, pictured above on the left. The pecans are caramelized in local maple syrup and have a hint of arbole chiles, thyme and are topped with just enough dark chocolate. They are savory, sweet and chocolaty all at once and are very addictive. To round out the prize I added their gift box named Paloma's Pick which is made up of chocolate that appeals to vegans, those who wish to avoid dairy* or anyone with taste buds. It includes Grocer's Daughter Maple Nibs, a Sun Bar (dark chocolate sunflower seed butter bar, sweetened with Agave), 75% dark Ecuadorean chocolate bar, chocolate covered hazelnuts and 1/2 pint of locally produced maple syrup. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not affiliated with Grocer's Daughter and did not receive any freebies (but I do welcome them).
*Though all of the chocolates are vegan they are produced along with peanuts, tree nuts, soy and dairy and may not be appropriate for those with allergies.
In addition to the chocolates, I'm adding your pick of an apron or bag with my logo. My brother-in-law has recently set up a Cafe Press shop to make items for our company, Raptisoft Games. He also created a ton of cool (at least for me) gear with my Dog Hill Kitchen logo. The apron and bag are my favorites but I wish I had the need for the maternity shirt and bib because they are too cute!!

My favorite posts of 2008:

Vegan Snickerdoodle cupcakes, this was one of the first photos I took that I really liked and the recipe was a huge hit with my son Alex. After a long hiatus, I just made a batch of mini cupcakes two days ago and he gobbled them all up.

Buckwheat crepes with foraged ramps, finding ramps on the property we are building on was tremendously exciting. Both Alex and I like these buckwheat crepes with baked eggs, though Alex was a stinker and preferred no ramps (my six year old is not a gourmet).

Coconut curry roasted cauliflower, I love roasted cauliflower and this version has become my favorite. It's better than buttered popcorn for snacking.

Hamsterball cookie/cake, I wasn't completely satisfied with the decorating on this birthday cake for my husband John but we all loved the combination of chocolate chip cookie and chocolate cake. These are my favorite cake and cookie recipes and I have them memorized but it's nice to know I have them online in case my mind goes, the stained copies get lost or catch on fire. Around our house they are called "the cake" and "the cookies", no other description is needed.

Vegan Danish braid, joining the Daring Bakers was an unexpectedly fun part of blogging. This Danish braid recipe and my veganized version was my favorite challenge of the year.

Cincinnati chili cupcakes, I also started making cupcakes for Iron Cupcake Earth which was the reason for these whimsical cupcakes. I used ideas and a favorite dish from my father and we celebrated his birthday with the tasty results.

Hungarian plum dumplings, these are a favorite recipe that came from my father's family. They are even more important to me now because sadly my grandmother pictured in the post passed away later in the year. I wish I had a chance to eat these one more time with her.

Vegan caramel, this is definitely not a healthy recipe but I'm so proud of how great dairy-free caramels can taste. They are my son's favorite candy.

Growing mushrooms, this was my experiment growing my own mushrooms. I loved the pictures of the emerging mushrooms and the chance to try mushrooms you can't find in stores. My second harvests were meager but I have high hopes for the morel spawn we planted on our property. The whole set of posts: Day 1, Day 4, Day 5, Days 6&7, Day 9, Day 12

Autumn olive fruit leather and jam, I'm not thrilled to have a ton of this invasive species on our land in northern Michigan, but I was happy to learn that the fruit was edible and tasty. I tweaked some recipes from another blogger and made jam and fruit leather.

To enter the giveaway:
1. Leave a comment on this post before midnight January 16, 2009 and let me know if you prefer an apron or bag from the Dog Hill Kitchen Gear Store.
2. If you do not have a Blogger identity with an email address listed, please leave a blog address or drop a line to doghillkitchen{at}gmail(dot)com with your email so I have a way to contact you. 3. Since everyone is doing it, if you post about my giveaway on your blog then I'll grant you an additional entry.

Dog Hill Kitchen Gear from Creative Recap
Grocer's Daughter Chocolates
About the Grocer's Daughter company