Garden in Your Pantry – Inspire Your New Year with our Vegan African Peanut Stew

January 6, 2014 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups, Healthy Fare, Soups and Stews

 

 

 Start the New Year off right by entering the Del Monte® Garden in Your Pantry Sweepstakes, and cooking up a bowl of our Vegan African Peanut Stew!

Vegan African Peanut Stew

Vegan African Peanut Stew

 

With the New Year comes a New Beginning – and a fresh new way of creating in the kitchen. Let 2014 be the year of nutrient-dense foods and healthier ways of cooking them, we say! You just can’t get any healthier than this African Peanut Stew – with a vegan twist. African Peanut Stew is a wildly popular dish in Africa – usually made with chicken. But here, we vegan-ize this dish without sacrificing flavors or textures. It is, we think, better than the original chicken version. We added sweet potato chunks in place of the chicken and coconut milk in place of the cream. And the humble peanut is a nutritional powerhouse, it turns out. Who knew? Peanuts are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and contain resveratrol, the potent antioxidant found in grapes and red wine. These legumes have numerous other nutrients and antioxidants which make them nutritional rivals of berries. And, one more bit of good news: roasting increases their nutritional value! The addition of Del Monte® Petite Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies added at the last minute adds freshness and brightens this stew. These tomatoes have just the right texture and the flavors are sweet with a little added green chile punch. Usually I use diced tomatoes cooked down in a soup of sauce, but in this case, they are adding a bright finishing touch. Heaven in a spoon! Here’s another bonus to using Del Monte’s diced tomatoes – the nutritional value of tomatoes is actually increased by the canning process – which makes the nutrients more accessible to be used by your body. I have loved Del Monte products since I started cooking with my mom in the early 1970s – her shelves were lined with Del Monte products. When you have Del Monte products in your pantry, you have garden quality™ fruits & vegetables at your fingertips. Join us here at Apron Strings by starting the New Year right and adding some garden quality goodness to your table, and be sure to check out the Del Monte page. We are participating in the Del Monte “Garden in Your Pantry – Inspire Your New Year” sweepstakes. One winner will be chosen from comments to this sponsored post.

Please leave us a comment with the answer to this question: “What are your favorite fruits and vegetables to stock in your pantry?” Good Luck to all our amazing Apron String followers!

 

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And the winner of the Aroma Dehydrator is . . .

September 5, 2013 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

 
 . . . Karen Toensfeldt Compton!
Congratulations Karen! We will be in touch shortly to arrange shipping and handling for your prize! 
Thank you again to all of our entrants. It was genuinely fun to read through the comments and get new ideas for foods to try in the dehydrator. Wishing you all a happy and healthy start to your upcoming harvest season!

Photos all via Aroma Housewares. Again, this is not in any way a sponsored post.

– posted by Anne

 

Check out our end-of-summer giveaway: a 5-Tray Aroma Dehydrator!

August 29, 2013 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups, Healthy Fare, Side Dishes, Techniques, Vegan Recipes

Enter to win this fabulous 5-tray dehydrator!

Summer’s drawing to a close, and food enthusiasts everywhere are getting down to business with their late-summer preservation efforts. Canning gets tons of attention of course, as well it should. But dehydrating your fruits, veggies and herbs is another wonderful way to extend the life of your produce.  I used to do any dehydrating in my oven on a low temperature, which is manageable, but having this awesome piece of equipment has been a huge blessing.

Check it out!

The Aroma Dehydrator!

It’s lightweight, it’s easy to use, and gets fantastic results.I use it all the time for ludicrously healthful snack recipes like our Cheesy Kale Chips and Crunchy Broccoli Puffs.

From the manufacturer: “Perfect for everyone from outdoor hobbyists to the health-conscious, this dehydrator is designed for efficient, even drying. It handles everything from fruit slices to beef jerky on five spacious, height adjustable trays. It’s equipped with an electric fan and automatically rotating trays that spin in both directions, and was designed to prevent the overheating that eliminates food’s vital nutrients. The clear vented lid controls moisture and lets you monitor the process without disruption. Includes 5 stackable rotating trays, fruit leather sheet, drying screen and instructional cookbook.”

(I should also mention here that this is in absolutely no way a sponsored post. I’m genuinely, authentically enthused about the product, scout’s honor.)

So! You have six ways – one of which can be done once a day! Like so:

1. Leave a comment here, once per day, with something you’d like to try dehydrating. That’s IT! Every comment you leave counts as one entry (the other ways to enter you can only do once apiece).

2.  Like our page on Facebook (and then leave a comment here telling us that you did, so as to give you your point).

3. Follow us on Twitter, and then comment accordingly.

4.  Share the link for this giveaway and then leave us a comment here about that – Twitter, Stumble Upon, Facebook, or any other way!

5. Pin this giveaway on Pinterest, and then tell us so here.

6. Mention our giveaway on your own blog and leave us the link in a comment.

Winner will be selected via Random.org. We’ll announce the lucky reader after Labor Day weekend, and announce the winner on Thursday  September (yes, we’re already talking about September) fifth. Entries accepted through Wednesday at midnight. Best of luck to you all!

Mmm, bounty. Photos all via Aroma Housewares.

- posted by Anne

 

Virgin Vegan: Everyday Recipes – The Winners Are . . .

March 7, 2013 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

Virgin Vegan

Virgin Vegan

Just a quick, fun announcement – the five winners of our new cookbook giveaway are:

1. Stephanie-Oh

2. janet @ the taste space

3. Ashley

4. Tamra Augostino

5. Cookin’ Canuck

Congrats all! Please email us at ourapronstrings [at] gmail [dot] com with your shipping address (within a week) and we’ll send them along. Happy veganing!

 

And the winners are . . .

January 30, 2013 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

Northwest Gourmet Basket

Northwest Gourmet Basket

Thanks again to everyone entering our anniversary giveaway! It’s been an amazing and delicious four years. And for us, the fourth anniversary is apparently the fruit anniversary. So without further ado, time to announce the winners of these glorious Oregon fruit baskets from The Fruit Company.

First, the grand prize goes to:

10. Madeline Brubaker!

And the three runners-up are:

29. Darla Schmecekr!

15. Kimberly James!

and

34. Meghan Finley!

 

All selected via Random.org. Congrats, winners! Please email us at ourapronstrings [at] gmail [dot] com with your mailing addresses!

We’ll be having another giveaway – and a big announcement – coming up in just a few weeks here. Stay tuned!

 

**Important disclosure: We are not affiliated with, nor are we receiving any compensation from The Fruit Company for this post.

 

Happy 4th Bloggiversary and A Fruit Company Giveaway!

January 17, 2013 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

Our First Collaboration

Our First Collaboration. Donna & Anne en route to promote “101 Things To Do With Tofu” at the International Tofu Festival in Los Angeles, circa 2007

Hard to believe that it was just over 4 years ago, in October 2008, that we attended a BlogHer convention in Boston, with my 6 month old baby in tow. We had absolutely zero clue what we were doing, other than the fact that we had enjoyed collaborating on our first little cookbook and wanted to start a food blog.  A few months later, we launched Fab Frugal Food, which through the course of a few more conferences, eventually evolved into Apron Strings. To say we’ve learned a lot in the process is a massive understatement. When we first started, we didn’t even include pictures with every post. Can you even imagine?

Rewinding even further: in the first year after Donna and I first reconnected, checking the mailbox was always a big event. So much was exchanged  in those early months, nearly every week seemed to bring a new surprise my way. One day I’d get a thick envelope filled with copies of old photographs, and would spend hours marveling at the novelty of seeing my resemblance in others. Another delivery brought a few favorite childhood toys that she had never gotten to pass down to me. Then, one of the most memorable parcels arrived: a huge, fairly hefty box of cherries.

True confession time – I had never really liked cherries much before. I associated them with the freakishly bright maraschino cherries, a flavor (and color) I found unappealing, and I think I had only tasted the real thing once or twice, probably a sad out-of-season representative of its kind. But I was thrilled to try a food that Donna herself had sent me – and from a place that was literally minutes away from her home. Somehow this made me feel even more connected to her.

I sat in my Middletown, Connecticut apartment and made an evening of pitting the cherries, something I had never done before – and savoring samples of them as I went. Cherries were a whole new experience, the taste and texture seemed freshly magical and meaningful. I decided to take it a step further, and set out to make my first from-scratch cherry pie. I must say, though it wasn’t much to look at (my baking skills are limited even now, and were all the more limited 13+ years ago), the flavor was spectacular.

Other orchard offerings were to follow, pears and apples in particular, and I made ample use of each and every one of them. If only I had known that blogging would become the wave of the future, I’d have snapped some pictures of the tarts tatin, almond frangipanes, and other creations that resulted, but alas, Instagram was not yet available.

What a long, strange, wonderful trip it’s been. We think this calls for a giveaway.

Though we love giving away big gun items like Blendtecs and Kitchen Aids (and surely will again in the future), this time we thought we’d switch it up a little, with something a little more personal. For each of the four years we’ve been blogging, we’re giving away a huge box of glorious Hood River orchard fruit and other savory treats, courtesy of The Fruit Company, the same place from which Donna sent me those cherries, pears and apples.

Behold the Northwest Gourmet Basket Grand Prize:

FC northwest-gourmet

Northwest Gourmet basket for that “Northwest State of Mind”

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Favorite Posts for 2012: The Year of The Egg!

January 2, 2013 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

Onion Ring Eggs

2012 will be known here at Apron Strings as The Year of the Egg. It was a quirky idea of mine to cook eggs inside rings – and not just any rings, but EDIBLE rings. Rings that are easy. Rings that are pretty on a plate. Rings that are healthy.

The Onion Ring Sunny-side Up Eggs has been our most popular post of all time, giving us the biggest day ever on Apron Strings: 51,422 views on March 11, 2012. We are thrilled that everyone loved these eggs so much. But also a little embarrassed. I mean, after all this is just two ingredients – eggs and a ring from a large onion. It’s not a complicated culinary masterpiece, by any means. But. In a way, this post represents what we hope Apron Strings is all about: easy, fun, delicious, pretty, healthy food made with love.

Anne and I are so grateful for this culinary journey, and we are still amazed and astounded that we surpassed ONE MILLION TOTAL PAGE VIEWS in September 2012. Whooda thunk it???

We want to shout out a huge THANK YOU to all our followers – and please stay tuned for our huge anniversary giveaway this month celebrating 4 years of food blogging. Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss this one!

And, one more huge cyberspace hug goes out to the fabulous Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen, whose amazing, colorful, flavorful food inspired us to start this blog four years ago.

Flower Power Eggs

It all started with Eggs in Bell Pepper rings – I thought of this because a slice of bell pepper looks like a flower – so I dubbed them Flower Power Eggs. They really are pretty on a plate – and so easy!

Avocado Eggs

Perhaps my favorite egg-ovation (that’s for Anne, a lover of food puns!) is the Eggs in an Avocado Slice. Gentle cooking turns an avocado slice into a creamy, custardy delight. So YUM.

One other edible egg rings that were created this year:

Squash Eggs

 

Eggs in Acorn Squash rings

Now, eggs aside- we had other fun food fabulous-ness.

Cranberry Bars

Anne had a recipe featured on Bob’s Red Mill site: her Gluten Free Cranberry Bars.

 

julia child cake medium

We are huge Julia fans here at Apron Strings, so when her 100th birthday happened in August, we celebrated by making her Chocolate Almond Cake, which she said was her favorite dessert, and which is my favorite bite of cake of all time.

Avocado potato

avocado shrimp

Our Avocado Chopped Salad – served two ways, one with a potato gallette and one with shrimp – were a huge hit in 2012 and such beautiful presentations!

All in All, 2012 was a fabulous year. May we live and blog forever!

– posted by Donna

Thanksgiving Round-Up 2012

November 16, 2012 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups, Holidays

 

This post is becoming an annual tradition. I knew we HAD to be related when I found out we shared a favorite holiday: yes, the foodiest holiday of all, Thanksgiving!

Donna, we’ve come a long way since our first Thanksgiving together, haven’t we? This was the very first big holiday I got to attend with the rest of your family. I remember being a little worried about being the vegetarian in the midst*. Luckily, even the most traditional turkey dinner includes a veritable cornucopia of hearty sides that are naturally vegetarian, provided that the cooks make note to avoid adding meat products when they’re not central to the dish (i.e. using vegetable stock instead of chicken, etc), and provided that the diner is willing to forgo the gravy if necessary. I remember reassuring you that I’d have plenty no matter what, but if we really wanted to go all out, there was always Tofurky.

Yes, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, it’s a stuffed tofu loaf that comes in a box complete with veggie gravy, tempeh drumsticks, and even a Tofurky jerky wishbone. Donna was both generous and game, and set out to procure a Tofurky for me. Lo and behold, it turned out that Tofurky was actually a local product, produced exactly where Donna lived at the time: Hood River, Oregon.

We prepared it with love, to the amusement of her other kids (two of whom later became vegetarian themselves), joking that we should create a competing brand, Fauxturkey. And a holiday tradition was born. Little did we know that years later, Donna and I would co-author a tofu cookbook, kicking off our more formal foodie collaboration. Though I no longer eschew meat altogether (as long as it’s well-sourced whenever possible), Tofurky will always have a funky little place in our hearts.

Without further ado, let us share some of our favorite recipe creations from our favorite holiday. Have a  delicious Thanksgiving, everyone! Read the rest of this entry →

Let the Canning Begin! And the Winners Are:

September 7, 2012 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

Our latest giveaway!

Have you been enjoying the waning weeks of summer?  I truly am canning like I’ve never canned before:  exotic melon jams (two kinds), garlic pepper jelly with a serious kick, tangy lemon cukes pickled bread and butter-style, and chutneys are a-coming this weekend! (Look for a post on that next week!)

So in that spirit, it’s time at last for the big reveal of our FIVE winners!

Comment 14: Linda Carter!

Comment 21: Amy!

Comment 16: Mary Ann!

Comment 10: Tenntrace!

And finally, comment 5: Morgan!

So what do you need to do? Just email us at ourapronstrings@gmail.com with your snail mail address and we’ll get your copy in the mail as soon as possible.  Thanks for “putting  up with us” as it were, and happy canning! Drop in and let us know how you’re enjoying it.

– posted by Anne

 

Happy weekend, everyone!

Putting Up: Kicking off The Main Canning Season with a Giveaway! Plus: Garlic Pepper Jelly

August 24, 2012 in Contests and Carnivals and Roundups

Just comment to get a chance to win a copy of “Putting Up”!

For the first time EVER, my very own modest little garden is actually coming along. Seasoned pros would probably have to stifle a laugh at my progress, but for me, it’s a victory! Put that together with the bounty that has been flowing off the tables in farmer’s markets, and it all adds up to one thing: CANNING. I love that a culinary art with such a rich history has been undergoing a renaissance for a while now. I first tried my hand at this just two years ago, and have been looking forward to jumping back in again.

Since there are a number of great books on the topic, I thought I’d poke around Powell’s and pick one up. I came across a copy of “Putting Up: a Year-Round  Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition” by Stephen Dowdney, leafed through it and loved what I saw, then flipped it over- lo and behold, it’s a Gibbs Smith publication. Gibbs Smith just happens to be the publisher that put out our first joint effort, “101 Things To Do With Tofu”,  as well as a variety of Donna’s other cookbooks.

Though late summer is prime canning time, I also love the concept of canning throughout the year, and this book is the perfect introduction. I’m  really looking forward to making so many of these recipes, from jams to chutneys to pickles. It’s the pepper jelly that really intrigued me first, though.

Pepper jelly has a touch of personal history in it for me – though it’s a longstanding tradition in some areas, I had never tasted or even heard of it until my biological dad sent me a jar of pepper jelly from my birthplace, Tucson, not long after we first met more than a decade ago. Tasting something so unique and savory from my literal homeland was a revelation, and a favorite flavor combination ever since. Of course, my first foray into “Putting Up” just had to be a pepper jelly, and this version did not disappoint!

Author Stephen Dowdney says of it:

I first made the garlic pepper jelly for lamb chops – sweet and meat are a favorite secret of mine although I disclose it in book II, Putting Up More. I have a website with an embedded blog that has added recipes and helpful canning hints. With the economy the way it is going canning is coming into its own once again and this time there are as many guys as dolls!

I liked the book so much that after giving the original copy as a gift AND getting another one for myself, I decided that we really ought to do a giveaway. Thanks to our publishing company, we got some copies right away, and are ready to pass some along to you!

So, to enter, tell us: what’s YOUR favorite thing to can? Or, alternately, a canning tip, or a favorite canned item to eat if you’re purely an appreciator. We’ll pick 5 winners at random from the comments. (Please make sure you include a working email when you post your comment so we can contact you and get your address!) You’ve got a full week and a holiday weekend to enter as many times as you like – keep it up through Labor Day and we’ll announce the five winners that week.

And without further ado, now for the recipe.  Read the rest of this entry →