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Monday, January 4, 2016

Cooking with DELICIOUS #foodie Sahale Snacks!



As a member of Crowdtap, I was recently given the opportunity to try a number of yummy products made by Sahale Snacks, and although I have enjoyed pretty much every sampling I've ever done, this was by far the best!
My husband is a chef at our historic Inn, the Elkhorn Inn, and thus I am his Official Foodie (LOL), and Sahale Snacks are delicious and unique enough that we were delighted to learn about and try them, so we could start buying them and incorporating them into Dan's dishes at the Inn!
In addition to "classics" like Herb-Stuffed Roast Cornish Game Hen, we love "exotic" and international dishes, and have many of them on our Inn's menu, including entrees from Vietnam, Israel, Chile, and the Caribbean. And the Sahale Snacks Nut Blends are really excellent for adding some gourmet "foodie" excitement to your dishes, as well as for simply snacking on!
  The products we were got to try were their Honey Almond Glazed Mix and Pomegranate Vanilla Flavored Cashews Glazed Mix, and the Almond Vanilla Latte and Salted Caramel Apple Pecan Layered Nut Bars- and hubs started snacking on the bars before I could even get a photo!

I (fortunately! LOL) do not have a "sweet tooth", and I don't like overly sweet snack bars, and usually avoid buying them, and so I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how delicious the Layered Nut Bars were- and the unique flavors each one had. Each one has a variety of flavors and textures which make them Very tasty, and they're truly yummy with a cup of coffee or an ice-cold glass of milk!
But my favorite products, so far, are the Nut Blends, as they are great for tons of different recipes, as well as for topping salads, yogurt, or just snacking!
The first place I went to for recipe inspiration was the Sahale Snacks Recipe Page on their blog:   http://sahalesnacks.com/blog/category/recipes/
The first recipe I chose to try- with a few little changes, of course!- was Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Pecans Glazed Mix and Crispy Sage.
First I pan-friend the sage leaves in olive oil and set the oil aside, as the menu calls for. We used Acorn Squash, which we cut into large pieces, covered with the sage oil and chopped garlic, dusted with cinnamon and cayenne pepper, and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes until it was tender. Then we sprinkled it with a bit of Kosher salt, and topped it with Sahale Honey Almonds Glazed Mix  and the fried sage leaves- and it was DELICIOUS! We served it with roast chicken and it was a wonderful side dish! The cinnamon and cayenne was a really delicious combination that enhanced the sweetness of the squash, and the almonds and dried fruit (this mix has almonds, cranberries, toasted sesame seeds, sea salt and honey) added both crunchy and chewy textures, as well as taste, making it really special! Next time I will use even MORE sage! :-) 
Other spices that we'd like to try for this dish are nutmeg and ginger, Harissa and Ras El Hanout, Moroccan spice mixes, and Garam Masala, an Indian spice mix, which Chef Dan uses in many of his dishes. Squash and pumpkin can be made in a variety of ways, including Vietnamese and Korean ones...
Roasted Acorn Squash with Sahale Honey Almonds & Sage

The next recipe we used the Honey Almonds Glazed Mix for was to top Pasta with Ramp Pesto, and the honey-glazed almonds were a delicious, textured counterpoint to the garlic-y goodness of the pesto! (And yes, those are meatballs, because my hubs has to have meat balls with his pasta, even with pesto. LOL)


Chef Dan is planning to use the Pomegranate Vanilla Flavored Cashews Glazed Mix to top a salad and a shrimp dish he is thinking of, so that will be our next foodie experiment with Sahale Snacks!





I Love authentic Asian food, and I REALLY want to try the Thai Cashews Glazed Mix  which has soy-glazed cashews, peanuts, pineapple, sesame seeds, and is lightly glazed with sake, rice wine vinegar, and dried lemongrass- that sounds AMAZING to top shrimp, noodles, stir-fried veggies, and other dishes with!
The other Sahale Snacks I'm aching to try are the  Maple Pecans Glazed Mix,  Balsamic Almonds Glazed Mix, and Pomegranate Flavored Pistachios Glazed Mix - I LOVE pistachios! 
The "Crunchers", such as the Sahale Crunchers Almonds with Parmesan Cheese + Herbs  and Mango Tango Almond Mix (which has almonds, peanuts, lime-infused mango pieces, and chipotle chili, and makes my mouth water just thinking about it!) sound EXCELLENT for topping entrees, as well as different kinds of salads, which we always do for Dinners at the Elkhorn Inn

More recipe inspiration- for when we have fresh figs!
The only problem we have here is that the Walmart, Kroeger, and Food City in our part of southern West Virginia don't carry them- so we have to order them online- and fortunately you can do that on the Sahale website!









So YES- a big "two thumbs up" for Sahale Snacks from Foodie Elisse and Chef Dan- if you haven't yet tried them you absolutely have to! (And check out Crowdtap, too- it's an excellent site for anyone interested in new products and marketing- and you can win gift cards, too!)




Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Landgraff Sweeps & Contest Queen Says "Thank You"!



As my faithful readers know, I am a bit of a “sweeper”, and enter a lot of contests and sweepstakes- usually late at night, when everyone else is apparently playing Candy Crush! LOL I have won a lot of wonderful things, and as 2015 comes to a close, I'd like to thank the individuals and companies responsible for the lovely things I've won- trips and things that Dan and I would seriously never have been able to enjoy if I hadn’t won them!
This spring Dan and I spent an amazing, wonderful month in Vietnam on the trip I won last year from Central Coast Vietnam Tourism on Facebook! My many blog posts earlier this year about Vietnam, and all the incredible things we got to do and see and eat and drink, were from that trip!

Emperor & Empress in Dalat!
Playing gongs in the Central Highlands!
Riding elephants at Lok Lake!
Water Buffalo Surfing: Wet Rice Farming!

Dan and I LOVE Vietnam, and when I entered this we were literally Dreaming about being able to go back some day- if we won Lotto- so my winning this trip was truly a dream come true!  









Please check out my posts on this blog, which have links to all sorts of great things to do in Vietnam, and also see www.centralcoastvietnam.com and "like" their page on Facebook for more incredible things you can do in Vietnam:  https://www.facebook.com/CentralCoastVN

This year I think my “bestest” win was THE most beautiful handbag ever- a $1200 cerulean blue Stella McCartney “Fallabella” Tote- from LoveGoodly, which, as their name makes clear, has truly lovely things, AND supports good causes: www.lovegoodly.com






I won a fabulous $200 Weber Grill in the #MyMahan sweepstakes from the PGA- and Dan got to pick it up at Ace Hardware in Bluefield. WV!


"Tweet-Ups" on Twitter (www.twitter.com) are a lot of fun, and this fall I got Really lucky & won a $250 Visa gift card and some great beauty products from UNT http://www.shopunt.com/eng/ a fine Taiwanese beauty brand, in the #UNTbeautytalk Twitter Party hosted by SheSpeaks www.shespeaks.com!




On Twitter I also won a $20 eBay gift card, from, yes, eBay! :-) And as I am a Total eBay Fanatic (if not for eBay, the Elkhorn Inn would look like Wally World!) this will Definitely come in handy!


I won a $50 gift card to C-A-L Ranch Stores http://www.calranch.com/  (got a cool, heated seed-starter kit for this winter!) for my photo of the Elkhorn Inn with our sunflower meadow that Dan planted... and then I won $1000 from Marlboro www.marlboro.com for two projects I submitted: Replanting our sunflower meadow across from the Inn, and building a photography platform for Railfans in McDowell County, West Virginia!
 






I won the #PSILoveYou box full of pumpkin spice yummies from the Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt Blog: http://cookiedoughandovenmitt.com And I have to say that Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter is DELICIOUS!











From Passports with Purpose passportswithpurpose.org I won a $169 Travelmate Deluxe Product Bundle provided by the blog Cloud Surfing Kids: http://cloudsurfingkids.com/

















We also got to enjoy the three months of truly beautiful flowers from Bouqs www.bouqs.com that I won last year when I was awarded “Marketer of the Year” Runner-Up from www.bedandbreakfast.com  (The other parts of the prize were an award, which we have displayed at the Elkhorn Inn, and a $100 gift certificate to Lowe’s- which Dan used immediately!)
Labor day flowers from Bouqs!
 
Flowers from Bouqs!
My Award











As readers of this blog know, I participate in a number of market research projects, and one of the best is Crowdtap. As a Crowdtapper, Dan & I (and our guests) have been able to try (and then write about) some great new products, including the Litter Genie, delicious foods & sauces from Campbell's, Ricola cough drops, yummy Brookside Crunchy Clusters and Folger's Flavors, Johnsonville "Grillers" Sausages, Kleenex tissues, delicious "foodie" Sahale Snacks, Listerine, and Zep Cleaners- and this Valentine's Day Zep surprised me with a gift bag! Check out www.crowdtap.com and sign up!







I won a great Rose Face Mask from Elvis + Elvin from Beauty Undercover www.beautyundercover.com:






And I also won an Aqua Teen Hunger Force DVD set from Cartoon Network!
Since I started entering sweeps and contests in 2002, I have won us 6 fabulous trips with plane tickets (Vietnam, Chile, Israel, San Diego, Virginia, and Arizona), absolutely gorgeous  designer shoes, beauty products, makeup, and perfume, fine jewelry, clothing, kitchen things, books, gift certificates, cash, food, and lots of other cool stuff! (My friends all made fun of me until I started winning trips with plane tickets. LOL) Many of my friends insist I must be terribly lucky, but if you enter 100 sweeps and contests a night you'll get "lucky" too! :-) I always tell people interested in entering sweeps and contests my three key rules:
1. Read the rules! I cannot stress this enough, especially with regards to contests. If you are going to spend the time creating an entry, make sure you know the rules so you don't inadvertently disqualify yourself! One entry only, or daily entries? Are you eligible to win? Is it a skill-based, judged contest, or a random drawing? What are you supposed to write or photograph and how? You get the idea! 
2. Check your email- DAILY!  You often have only 24 hours to respond to a winning notification email, or the prize will be awarded to someone else! Thanks to entering sweeps and being on so many email lists, I now have to scroll through about 1800 emails a day, and yes, that it is pain, but the payoff has been pretty fabulous! Consider it part of your "job" and it will feel less onerous. LOL  
3. Only enter for things you Really want to win! Apropos this, my favorite sweeps story is about winning a giant box of condoms! Dan was incredulous- WHY, he wanted to know, did I enter to win stuff like that?! I had actually entered to win the $10K trip to Vegas- but instead of winning the Grand Prize, I had won the First Prize- and the sweeps had been sponsored by Trojan! :-) 
And I also always thank those responsible, and try to give the people and companies who sponsor the sweeps and contests I win publicity and promotion- a "bang for their buck", as it were- on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc., because sweeps and contests are created to SELL STUFF, and sharing is caring! :-) I learn about a lot of great products through entering sweeps and contests, and we do buy many of them!
Good luck, and have fun sweeping! 
Let me know in the comments if you've won something- whether it was wonderful or just hilarious!
Elisse
 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#Kleenex Pocket Packs: Sharing the #Love!

I recently had the opportunity to sample and share Kleenex Pocket Packs through Crowdtap, and while we've used Kleenex tissues "forever", the new pocket packs are different, and really cool! The colors are bright and cheerful, and  each one has a sweet expression of "Kleenex Care" on it- on one side in English, and on the other side in French! They basically make you want to share them, and I think that's the whole point!
The cute sayings are in English on one side...

...and in FRENCH in the back!
As a result of the French on the back, I now know how to say  "Hard Times Call For A Soft Touch" in French:  "On A Tours Besoin De Douceur Dans Les Mauvais Monments"! :-)
On one there is a space to write a personal note!

The one that states "Just Wanted To Say..." has a place to write a personal note, so I wrote "I Love You!" and gave that one to my chef hubs!

The plastic wrappings are strong, and the resealable flap reseals well, and keeps the tissues from getting soiled in one's purse or briefcase.

As I said, we've used Kleenex tissues for Many years, and we always have them on hand, both in all the Guest Rooms at the Elkhorn Inn, and for our personal use, in my purse and briefcase, in our car for road trips, and in our ATV packs for when we go out riding!

Kleenex Pocket Packs are great products, and it was fun to try them and share them! Thank you, #Crowdtap and #Kleenex!

Gave that one to hubs!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

#ATV Leaf-Peep & #Railfan Site Scouting! It's fall, y'all!

Now!
Next month!
This week hubs and I did a wonderful, easy ATV ride through the mountains to scout out the best places to "leaf peep" in October. Because it's gloriously LEGAL to ride ATVs on our roads here in McDowell County, WV, we  rode right from the Elkhorn Inn in Landgraff, WV, all the way to Lashmeet! It was a long, lovely ride, and although it is fall now, it was warm enough to wear sweatshirts, and our mountains are still 80% green! The best  leaf-peeing here is in October, and the foliage here is usually beautiful all the way through Halloween! (We often get calls at the Inn asking what the best weekend for leaf-peeping will be, and if I knew the anawer to that question I'd be a Very rich woman! We get similar calls in the winter, asking which spring weekend will be best to see the Rhododendrons flower! I wish I knew! Like the cherry blossoms in Japan, foliage and flowers are a giant Mother Nature Crap Shoot! LOL)
We rode from the Elkhorn Inn through Eckman, WV stopping first to take some photos of one of Sky's great new organic farms, which is literally one minute from the Inn. What was once an unsightly field of overgrown weeds is now squash and corn and beans, thanks to Sky and "McDowell County Farms"! :-)
 As you can see, our mountains have Just started to change color! Wait 'till next month!!











Then we rode through Crumpler, WV...
 And started riding 'round and 'round, up into the mountains...
See- it really IS still green!


Looking down to where we started!

Bear Town Church, Herndon, WV
  
 One of THE most gorgeous "leaf-peeping lookouts" we know of in Herndon, WV! Wait 'till next month!
Turkeys in the yard!

Herndon, WV









 Another gorgeous "leaf-peeping lookout" for October...
Dan feeding "Cheetos Dog"!





















We found some great "railfan photo spots" along the way, too; these were near Giatto, WV.







An old RR line...


Elisse, at a great "railfan" photo spot!

Made it to Matoaka!


Another great railfan photo spot...


Lashmeet, WV: Pizza and Hoagies!
After Matoaka, we kept going to Lashmeet, WV, but just as we got there it began to drizzle! Fortunately, it was 4pm, and the Pizza/Hoagie place was just opening up for the evening, so we ran inside and had hoagies! And the rain passed us by!
On the way home... wait 'til next month!














On the way home, we stopped to take photos of some of the fall decorations in Keystone, WV...
Keystone, WV







Our last stop of the day was above our Theatre, where Dan took me to pick the cattails that I love to have to decorate the Inn in the fall!
Dan found THE Mother-lode of Cattails!



Then we came home, and DIY Dan decorated the Ekhorn Inn with garlands of leaves and wreaths and scarecrows- 'cause it's fall, y'all! :-)