Have you voted in the photo contest? Only 4 days to go!
Four of our trip pictures have been entered in a photo contest run by the good folks at easycar.com. Oh happy day - all four photos are currently in the top 10 out of 371 photos. You can vote for each by clicking here, (remember 10 is a good vote! *smile*) here, here, and here.
Yes, you CAN vote for all four photos.
You can only vote once from any given IP address - this means you can vote once for EACH pic from both at home and at work! If you have two computers networked at home, you can only vote on one of them, however. If you have a Blackberry though, that is a third vote. If you send these links to friends, relatives, or people who bug you with unwanted e-mails - just think of the of votes! It boggles the mind.
Heck, do what I do - vote at every hotel, conference centre, and friend's house in which you find a PC attached to the internet. Don't be shy at all. :-)
The wonderful Katie, owner of Thyme for Cooking, arranged a unique secret santa event for food bloggers. We e-mailed her our name and address. She paired people up and sent us an e-mail indicating to where and to whom we should mail our treat. We were encouraged to send some local delicacy or ingredient as well as a recipe that would assist the happy recipient in using it.
There you have it, secret santas for the digital age.
I received Barb, from Art n Barb Live in Italy, as the person i was to send to. Thank goodness she was in the US for a few weeks over Christmas and asked that her parcel be sent there. Whew - dodged a postal bullet there! LOL I sent her some maple syrup made by a friend from work, and some of our homemade fig jelly with balsamic and rosemary and some wild blueberry and grand marnier jam. She posted about her parcel here.
I was so wrapped up in the bustle of the holidays that I forgot about this until a package arrived at the door while I was in the basement wrapping gifts. When I opened it I had to laugh - my secret santa was my good friend Palma! Palma lives in the desert so I was curious to see what she had sent. Ever one to tackle a challenge with style - she sent some dates from the desert as well as a jar of prickly pear marmalade.
She also sent along a recipe for Malted Milk Date Bars which I made today. Palma is a talented cook so I had no reservations attempting the recipe, well except for one. I've never been a fan of dates! LOL However, as a dedicated food blogger I know it isn't about me and what i like it is about the event! I whipped these up this morning (and had to pick Paul up off of the floor when he discovered me doing more baking!), let them cool while I ran errands and iced them this afternoon. I am happy to say that these are delicious - a dense, almost brownie-like square with a delicious vanilla butter cream icing.
Even a confirmed date hater like myself LOVED them!
Perhaps like so many things in life I have discovered that I actually LIKE dates . . . happily I have plenty more to explore with.
Malted Milk Date Bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
- 1/3 butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup sifted flour
- 3/4 cup chocolate or vanilla malted milk powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup finely chopped dates
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 square (1 ounce) semisweet chocolate, melted
- Butter Icing, recipe below
Heat oven to 350°. In a saucepan, melt butter and add sugar; blend thoroughly. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs and vanilla; blend well. Add sifted dry ingredients, dates and nuts.
Turn mixture into greased 9-inch square pan or llx7x2-inch pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes; cool. Spread with butter frosting. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the icing and cut into bars. Note: Mix a little confectioners' sugar and water into the melted chocolate to make it easier to drizzle.
Combine 1 cups confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cream all ingredients together until of spreading consistency. Add more milk if necessary. Add a few drops of food coloring to this icing for special occasions.