Martha Stewart Essentials Vegetarian Vitamins for Women + a Giveaway

marthastewartgummiesIt’s time for some real talk: vitamins aren’t very exciting. I know that. And now I want you to read a whole post about them. But bear with me; these are vitamins I am excited about. The folks over at Martha Stewart Essentials emailed me recently about their line of vitamins specially-formulated for women and noted that they are all vegetarian. Oh, really? Tell me more! They wanted to introduce me to their newest vitamin, the gummy multi. What?!? Gummy multi?!? Yes! You see, a lot vitamins—particularly chewable vitamins—contain gelatin. Gelatin is not vegetarian (and not something I want to consume; here’s why). Even many of the chalky vitamins have gelatin and every gummy vitamin I’ve looked at does as well.

But not Martha Stewart Essentials. Even the gummy multivitamins are vegetarian because they contain pectin for gumminess instead of gelatin. They’re also gluten-free and contain no preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners; they are naturally sweetened and colored with real fruit and vegetable extracts and come in three natural flavors – cherry, lemon and orange. I have never been so excited over a vitamin in my whole life. Even though I eat reasonably healthy, I like the “back-up plan” of having a multivitamin every day just to ensure I’m getting what I need. I also drink plenty of water, but I have still struggled with swallowing a big ol’ pill with breakfast, so this gummy option is great. No more excuses; I just eat them as I’m preparing my tea. And they taste like candy, so they’re actually enjoyable to eat.

Along with the gummy vitamins, the Martha Stewart Essentials product line includes a number of vitamins specific to the needs of women at various stages of life. These include vitamins for Graceful Aging, Digestive Health, Bone Support, Menopause Support, and Hair, Skin & Nails. There’s also a non-gummy Women’s Multivitamin. All are made with gelatin-free capsules, so they are all vegetarian as well. They were developed in partnership with Inergetics, a company that makes a variety of nutritional supplements.

marthastewartessentialsAnyhoo, when the folks at Martha Stewart offered to send me some vitamins to review, they also offered to let me host a giveaway. Woo hoo! You guys know you need to take your vitamins and now you can try these out for free if you win. And if you don’t, you can purchase the vitamins online or at Walgreens, Harris Teeter and other retail stores.

The winner of this giveaway will receive TWO bottles of these fabulous gummy vitamins plus five bottles from the selection of other vitamins in the Martha Stewart Essentials line, which (as noted above), includes Graceful Aging, Digestive Health, Bone Support, Menopause Support, and Hair, Skin & Nails. To enter to win, just leave a comment with the vitamin you would like to make sure is in your prize pack along with your two bottles of gummy vitamins.

For one additional entry (leave a separate comment to get credit for this entry!), tweet the following: Enter to #win a #giveaway of Martha Stewart Essentials vegetarian gummy vitamins & other supplements from @lesleyeats http://ow.ly/zPUhl

Limit 2 entries/comments per person. The contest will be open from now until Friday, August 8 at 1pm CDT and is only open to residents of the United States. The winner will be chosen at random and be notified by email that afternoon and will have until Monday, August 11 at 1pm CDT to respond with a valid mailing (street)address. If there’s no response by that time, I will choose another winner.

This contest is now *closed.* Congratulations to commenter #2, Alexandra!

Posted in Giveaway, Product Reviews | 22 Comments

Zucchini Noodles + a Veggetti® Giveaway!

I have to admit: I’m a pasta addict. My favorite comfort food is macaroni and cheese, though I’m almost as happy with just a big bowl of linguine or fettucine with some good olive oil and a little seasoning. But carbs. So many carbs and calories. Which is why I’ve been meaning to get a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles for a long time, particularly since my friend, Leah posted this recipe for zucchini noodles with lemon cream sauce.

And then, as luck would have it, the folks over at Veggetti® asked me if I’d like to try it out. Please and thank you!

While my brand new Veggetti® spiralizer was on the way, I happened upon a cooking demo that my friend, Trish of Nutrisha was hosting at the West End Farmers Market. She was using a Veggetti®! She told me it was very important to not overcook the “noodles” (they’ll turn to mush) and to use a fresh, firm squash for best results (it’s a lot more difficult to spiralize a…not-firm squash). I learned that it’s also a good idea to get a long, slender zucchini with a decent-size stem that will make it easier to grip and turn.

It's best to choose vegetables that will easily fit inside the Veggetti without being too thin.

It’s best to choose vegetables that will easily fit inside the Veggetti without being too thin.

Try to find a good stem that will act as a "handle" when turning the squash.

Try to find a good stem that will act as a “handle” when turning the squash.

This spiral core comes out the other end. I just threw it in with the "noodles."

This spiral core comes out the other end. I just threw it in with the “noodles.”

Trish shared this recipe (I made a few minor changes) for a nice, light Veggetti® that is a great side dish or “salad.”

Summer Squash “Spaghetti”
adapted from Trish Marzella Mathisen of nutrisha.com
serves 1-2

1-2 cups spiralized zucchini (from 2 medium zucchinis)
1 tablespoon softened goat cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
¼ cup chopped onions or leeks (white portion)
1 clove/teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a spiralizer, create veggie noodles by twisting (no need to peel first) through as shown (on the “thick” side).

Combine the goat cheese and lemon juice in a large bowl and set aside.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add oil, onions, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions have become translucent and the garlic becomes fragrant. Turn the heat up to medium high, add the “noodles” and cook for about 1-2 minutes, gently tossing to coat with oil until the noodles have softened (do not overcook). Remove from heat and scrape into the bowl with goat cheese and lemon juice. Toss to coat the noodles with the cheese sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

I’m not going to lie; nothing can replace a really good noodle, but with a tasty sauce like this one (or Leah’s), spiralized veggie noodles can be a really great substitute. You can use them in place of wheat noodles for just about any dish that would normally require a long, thin noodle. It’s particularly helpful when you want to make a light dish that’s healthy and gluten-free and/or diabetic-friendly (and vegan, too!). And not only can you use it for zucchini, but for carrots and cucumbers as well. They make a fun garnish or filling for spring rolls.

The Veggetti® is available at Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, CVS and numerous other stores that have an “As Seen on TV” section. However, you can win a Veggetti® PLUS a $25 Visa gift card by entering my giveaway! To enter:

Leave a comment telling me which pasta recipe (the name is fine, but a link would be great) you’d most like to try with Veggetti® noodles.

For a bonus entry (leave an additional, separate comment), tweet about this giveaway on Twitter. Whatever you’d like to tweet! Just please include my Twitter handle (@lesleyeats) and a link to this post. For example: “I’m ready to Veggetti! Win a spiralizer and gift card from @lesleyeats http://ow.ly/z8fy8”

Limit 2 entries per person. The contest will be open from now until Tuesday, July 22 at 1pm CDT and is only open to residents of the United States. The winner will be chosen at random and be notified by email (please be sure your comment includes a valid email address) that afternoon and will have until Friday, July 25 at 1pm CDT to respond with a valid mailing (street)address. If there’s no response by that time, I will choose another winner.

Note: this contest is closed. Congratulations to commenter #24, Liz!

Disclosure: The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel.

Posted in Giveaway, Product Reviews | 75 Comments

Black and White Cookies

Just before Father’s Day, I asked Twitter to recommend some chocolate cookies for me to make for Father’s Day. I got some great suggestions (Love and Olive Oil’s Double Chocolate Chipotle Cookies, these Brown Butter Pecan Praline Oatmeal Cookies with chocolate chips and a chocolate glaze), but after I looked through Pinterest and saw a picture of black and white cookies, I couldn’t get my mind off of them. After looking through the first recipe that popped up in my Google search, I was struck by how easy they seemed to be to make, too. How could a cookie as good as this be so easy? And if it’s so easy, why aren’t more bakeries making good versions of them? (Really, the ones I’ve had outside NYC were meh, at best.)

black_and_white_cookies

These cookies are a favorite in the Eats household. Mr. Eats and I “babymooned” in New York City and ate lots of potatoes, bagels, and black and white cookies. But they’re only shaped like cookies; they’re actually small, round, flat cakes (vanilla, sometimes with a hint of lemon) frosted with vanilla-lemon glaze on one side and chocolate glaze on the other side. And they’re usually huge. Like, four or five inches wide.

Anyhoo, this recipe comes from Epicurious/Gourmet, which I trust, but I still read through several pages of reviews to get some tips. One of the best tips was to double the recipe because you are definitely going to want plenty of these cookies (the only part I didn’t double was the amount of cocoa for the chocolate frosting). I used a large cookie scoop that yielded cookies that were about three to three and a half inches wide and I got an even three dozen. Enough to snack on for a while and to put some in the freezer for a nice treat at a later date. But I left the measurements of the original recipe.

Black and White Cookies
adapted from Gourmet/epicurious.com
yield: about 18 3″ cookies
Please see the notes section at bottom before making these cookies.

For the cookies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
2 to 4 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Spoon two-tablespoon-size dollops of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Dip fingers in a bit of water and tamp scoops down into a disk shape about 3/8″ thick. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack cool about 5 minutes.

Frosting:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons cocoa, adding more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing and more cocoa to taste.

Frost the cookies:
Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half. Use a pointed knife to make a straight edge.

Let the frosting set completely before storing. Stack cookies on parchment in an air-tight container. Refrigerate after a few days

Notes:
1. Set the butter out overnight to soften. Cut it to size first!
2. Set out the egg about a half hour before starting to get it to room temperature, which will help with the texture.
3. For the buttermilk, I put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a 1/3 cup container and added milk until full.
4. Be sure to use plenty of butter to grease the cookie sheets. And it’s better to overcook than undercook because the flat sides need to be firm so that they don’t come up and crumble when you frost them.
5. When I doubled my recipe, I just made the frostings separately and substituted water for the lemon juice for the chocolate frosting so that it did not have any lemon flavor.
6. I did *not* double the recommended 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, which is why I suggest starting with 2 tablespoons and adding more if needed. I used Valrhona cocoa powder and the frosting was amazing. Use good cocoa powder if you can.
7. To frost the cookies, I used the pointy butter knife that came with my silverware and got a perfect edge with it. Be sure to spread in only one direction so that crumbs from the cookie don’t get mixed into the frosting (so start with just a little bit and at the edge). If your white edge isn’t perfect, don’t worry; the chocolate will cover it up.

Posted in Desserts, Recipes | 8 Comments