Archive for May, 2009

Thank Goodness It’s Free Chocolate Friday™!

Friday, May 29th, 2009

A lot of consumer product companies are pushing some sort of economic relief campaign right now. We’ve all seen the Domino’s commercials. And Wendy’s is trying their best to make “freakonomics” part of our language.

But there is one campaign that’s really caught my attention recently – the Mars Chocolate Relief Act. To say that I am a choc-o-holic is by no means, an understatement. And Peanut M&Ms, which I truly consider to be nourishment and refuse to get on an airplane without, are one of my two favorite candies.

Mars Chocolate Relief Act - Peanut M&Ms Chocolate Candy

So, when a co-worker (shout-out to account manager Jennifer “Jake” Higdon!) sent me the link to yesterday, I was literally drooling.

Every Friday, between now and September, Mars will give away 250,000 free full-size chocolate bars (M&Ms included) to website visitors. I’ve already added it to my calendar.

Using the site to promote that Mars’ confections are made with real chocolate, users can share their favorite chocolate-related tales, and even get coupons for more free stuff.

And, the free chocolate is limited to one-per-person, per week. So, I can enjoy my Peanut M&Ms all summer-long. Looks like it’s going to be a great summer!

Total Utilization at Home

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

A few months back I wrote about the comeback of head-to-tail eating. Inspired, but not quite so adventurous myself, I’ve attempted a little total utilization on my own, sans-animal innards.

More and more, I’ve been breathing new life into leftovers – not just reheating, but creating new meals from them. When recipes called for egg whites, I tried desperately to find something else to bake that would use the yolks. But a few weekends ago, my practiced methods came together like kismet!

On Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to bake an Angel Food Cake for mom – her favorite. My first, and successful, attempt (thank you Good Housekeeping cookbook!) used a dozen(!) egg whites. I sat the yolks aside, determined to find a use for them as I prepared my next concoction – limoncello.

Homemade Limoncello

The making of limoncello is a weeklong endeavor, and with a friend’s birthday the following weekend, it was time to peel the lemons to steep in grain alcohol for his homemade present. Of course, once the lemons are peeled, they must either be juiced and used immediately, or trashed. So, I juiced the lemons, initially with plans to freeze said juice, and again, set it aside.

With the cake baking, and the booze brewing, I flipped through my favorite cookbooks for an idea, and found the answer in my ever-trusty Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. Huzzah – lemon curd!! The recipe called for exactly 12 egg yolks (hooray) and a cup of lemon juice, along with lemon extract. With no lemon extract in site, I figured the 1¼ cups of lemon juice would suffice. It could not have turned out more perfect!!! For Mother’s Day, we indulged in Angel Food Cake with Lemon Curd…but my story is still not quite over.

The following weekend, while finishing the limoncello recipe and getting ready for the party, I realized I still had some residual lemon curd that needed to be consumed STAT! Well, I had just enough left, combined with exactly the amount needed of heavy whipping cream from my husband’s Tres Leches birthday cake (also from the week before), to make a Lemon Icebox Pie to bring along. Thank you again Magnolia Bakery!

Phew! Yeah, it was a lot of work. And while I realized why I probably hadn’t conducted a kitchen marathon such as this before, I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride that not one ingredient went to waste in my refrigerator, and I made a lot of people happy.

Grow Your Soup…

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Campbell’s Tomato Condensed Soup is an iconic American brand. But sadly, when we think of the brand, we may imagine factory lines rather than farm fields.

Campbell’s is trying to change that with a new program called “Help Grow Your Soup.” For a limited time, consumers who purchase a can of Campbell’s condensed soup will receive a code to enter online to receive a free pack of tomato seeds. And these are not just any ‘ol variety of tomato – but in fact the very same variety used in their tomato soup!

Campbells Tomato soup on a cold day

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit: thenestor

At, consumers can learn more about Campbell’s commitment to sustainable agriculture. Visitors can also get helpful tips for their own gardening efforts. For example, did you know that a condensed soup can is the perfect size for nursing small tomato seedlings? Reduce, reuse, recycle!

For every seed packet they send out, Campbell’s will donate 100 tomato seeds to the National FFA Organization, and web visitors can click daily to donate 50 more.

Since consumers are increasingly seeking foods that not only have “heart,” but that also help to better the earth, this promotion could not come at a better time.

Makin’ Whoopie (Pies)…

Friday, May 15th, 2009

When I was a little girl, my mom and her fellow teacher friends loved to take summertime day trips to Lancaster, Pennsylvania (a.k.a. “Amish Country”). We’d get lost on country roads filled with slow moving buggies. Walk idly through textbook warehouses, searching for the latest teacher editions. And stare at patchwork quilts for hours. Since the water slides and smorgasbords were reserved for when dad made the trips, you may be wondering why a young gal would want to tag along on these excursions. Two words – whoopie pies!

While lost on those country roads, we’d inevitably stop off at a farm or two, and raid the little shed-like shops where Amish wives would sell their wares. There amongst the fresh eggs, rhubarb and homemade root beer, lay my salvation.

A whoopie pie isn’t really a pie. It kind of looks like a giant sandwich cookie, only it’s soft and cakey. I fell in love with chocolate immediately, and grew to love the pumpkin even more. While mom insisted that the chocolate version was actually molasses – an Amish original, she claimed – my nine year-old self could have never dreamed up the possibilities in store for these delectable treats.

Years later, it seems whoopie pies are suddenly, well, hip. In fact, they appear to be the next cupcake. I was catching up on a little late reading on and came across a feature on the treats. Not only was I ignorant of the fact that the residents of Maine stake a claim to whoopie pie, as well (I was convinced this was a Pennsylvania Dutch thing only), but I was painfully unaware of a growing number of bakeries specializing in the treat.

In March, the New York Times ran an article on whoopie pies, citing a number of bakeries – from the fancy to the unassuming – that specialize in them. And the flavors! Wicked Whoopies of Maine sells everything from banana crème to CHOCOLATE COVERED for about $24 a dozen. And Cranberry Island Kitchen gets a bit more adult with Chambord and Champagne varieties.

The hopeful success of whoopie pies, as well as the popularity of cupcakes, is proof positive that we as consumers love what makes us feel good. Simple, childhood treats are what really pull at our heartstrings. Of course, there is always room for improvement and variation, which is why noveau classics are so popular.

Hmmm…I’m feeling a trip to Lancaster…

World Fair Trade Day this Saturday!

Friday, May 8th, 2009

In 2006, David Michael & Co. proudly announced our partnership with TransFair USA (now known as Fair Trade USA), a non-profit, independent Fair Trade certifier, to provide our clients with the first Fair Trade CertifiedTM pure vanilla in the United States.

Fair Trade ensures that farm workers around the world are paid a fair price for their crops. Fair prices lead to thriving communities, children in schools, a healthy environment and sustainable farming practices. When market prices fall below the cost of production, farmers are still guaranteed the fair trade price.

2009 World Fair Trade Day

Because of Fair Trade, family farmers gain access to international markets in which to sell their goods. But Fair Trade doesn’t just benefit farmers, as there is a growing interest among consumers to make responsible purchases.

Plus, there are some tasty Fair Trade treats available at your local supermarket. Kick back this Saturday, May 9th and celebrate World Fair Trade Day with a cup of Fair Trade CertifiedTM coffee, or, even better, a Fair Trade CertifiedTM chocolate bar!

Believe it or not, I’m drinkin’ on air…

Monday, May 4th, 2009

If you’ve ever heard someone use the expression, “I could get drunk on the fumes,” they may be on to something. UK “food experimenters” Sam Bompas and Harry Parr have launched Alcoholic Architecture, a bar where patrons actually breathe in their cocktails, rather than drink them.

The interior of the bar is designed to look like a gin & tonic, and the drink is actually misted into the air. Patrons don plastic suits, to protect their clothes, and inhale the intoxicating air. And apparently, the mixture can even get you drunk…

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