Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I got lucky!

When it comes to contests, I'm not what you would consider lucky. Frank can so much as look at a contest entry form and win something. One of my co-workers spends her off-hours entering online sweepstakes and wins all sorts of things - enough to make for some interesting Christmases in her family every year. But me... I don't have the luck o' the Irish, no matter what my Guinness-loving self might wish.

However, it seems that lately my luck has taken a turn.

Last month I was notified that I won a case of Pop Chips.

Two weeks ago, I won a pair of Levi's jeans from Gowalla.

And last week, I was notified that I won a contest hosted by GreenLiteBites to create a new spice set for Spices, Inc.!

Starting today, my winning entry will be sold on the Spices, Inc. Web site and I'll get one of my very own in the mail later this week.

And here's my original contest entry:
The Secret Ingredient Set

This is a collection of herbs and spices that are used in everyday recipes to really make them outstanding. I picked ones that I didn’t know I needed until after I tried them. Now they are kitchen staples for me and hopefully for you, too.

Organic Basil – add to canned tomato soup and feel like you’re at a fancy bistro, mix into pasta salad or sprinkle on pizza or sandwiches for an Italian flair.

Adobo Seasoning – mix with mayonnaise for a perfectly surprising sandwich spread, combine with sour cream for a quick and delicious taco topping, sprinkle in couscous, rub into chicken – the list goes on and on.

Marjoram Leaf – the secret to perfect meatloaf is marjoram. Period.

Crystallized Ginger – kick your sweet potato casserole to 11 by adding minced crystallized ginger. Or add it to molasses cookies, spice cakes and pumpkin rolls for a hint of goodness that will make them turn their heads – in a good way.

Lemongrass – combine with Asian flavors to make a delicious marinade for grilled chicken, add to soups for a light hint of the exotic, or mix with honey and drizzle over fresh fruit for an out-of-this-world dessert.

Nutmeg Powder – the secret to the best eggnog, the best quiche, the best savory bread pudding – if your dish is based on eggs, nutmeg will probably make them sing.

How cool is that? This contest was so much fun, and I love the thought that someone else might try one of these spices in a new way thanks to my set. The best way to add flavor while cutting back on fat and sugar when cooking is to experiment with herbs and spices. The only thing in the above set that I cooked with before the last year or two was nutmeg, and that was when it was sprinkled on top of a glass of eggnog. The more comfortable I get with the flavors of herbs and spices, the more comfortable I become as a cook.