Free Giveaway! Brookside Chocolates Tasting Kit

This year for Christmas my mom Santa put a 100 calorie pack of dark chocolate covered pomegranates in my stocking.

Christmas Day:  Stocking Stuffers

I thought they were the yummiest little snack (perfect for random chocolate cravings!), so I set out looking for them in stores.  I’m not sure if I just didn’t look hard enough or they hadn’t hit shelves yet or what, but I couldn’t find them anywhere.  This is kind of embarrassing, but I decided to just email Brookside Chocolate to see if they knew where I could find those tasty little buggers in a store near me.  The awesome folks there ending up offering to send me a sample bag of not only my beloved dark chocolate covered pomegranates, but also of their dark chocolate covered acai with bluberry and their dark chocolate goji with raspberry.  Ok, fine.  Twist my arm, Brookside Chocolatiers.  Twist my arm.

Brookside Chocolates

I was obviously psyched for this package to arrive, but when it did I was pretty confused because it was seriously a ginormous package.  I thought that I might have just walked into a lifetime supply of real fruit juice pieces dipped in smooth dark chocolate (not that it would have been a bad thing!).  However, when I opened the box, I realized that Brookside sent me a whole bunch of super fun stuff aside from the three different flavors of chocolate.

A Crate & Barrel ceramic three bowl dip server:

Crate & Barrel Dip Bowl

A Crate & Barrel ceramic cheese board and knife:

IMG_0671

Two stemless wine glasses, also Crate & Barrel:

Crate & Barrel Wine Glasses

A Gaiam workout headband (love! and it matches my sneakers and my new Old Navy top)

Gaiam Workout Headband

A free year’s subscription to Fitness magazine:

Fitness Magazine

And I don’t have a picture, but also a $30 American Express gift card.

Ummmm, how awesome!  I literally was doing high knees around my apartment.  Excitement burns calories too, people.

Inside the package was a little note:

Welcome to Brookside:  A place where the perfect pairing of smooth dark chocolate and exotic real fruit juice pieces offers a deliciously different taste experience.  We use thoughtfully selected ingredients to develop intriguing flavor combinations.  We welcome you to enjoy the perfect pairings of Brookside Chocolate with this exclusive Tasting Kit.  Pair new Brookside Chocolate with an indulgent, relaxing evening of red wine and gourmet cheese and a healthy, active lifestyle.  We hope this kit provokes your passions and helps you find perfect balance.

Is that not me to a T?!

I absolutely love all my new stuff.  The three flavors of chocolate are so good.  There’s no eating right from the bag with these – too dangerous!  And while I liked all three flavors, I think the pomegranate is still my favorite.  Thanks, Mom, for swiping those from your break room at work for an extra stocking stuffer.  See what it got me?

The Giveaway!

Wanna get all the stuff that I got?  You can!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me how you like to find perfect balance between living a healthy lifestyle and treating yourself/indulging every once in a while too. 

That one comment is all that’s required, but you can earn extra entries for this giveaway by:

  • Liking both Fitness & Feta and Brookside Chocolates on Facebook (liking both = 1 comment)
  • Following both Fitness & Feta and Brookside Chocolates on Twitter (following both = 1 comment)
  • Sharing this giveaway on your own Facebook or Twitter pages (any form of social media share = 1 comment).

That’s a max of 4 comments/entries each.  The contest will remain open until Thursday night at 11:59 EST.  I will announce the winner on Friday.  Good luck!

Apple-Streusel Muffins and Peach-Mango Salsa

Morning, everyone!

Happy Columbus Day.  Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!  Or maybe you are continuing to enjoy an extended weekend if you have the day off today.  I spent the weekend down the Cape with a bunch of friends.  It was great weather and a fantastic time, but more to come on that later.

Tim and I each picked a recipe to try out and bring along for everyone.  I chose apple-streusel muffins to have for breakfast on Sunday morning, and Tim decided on a peach salsa to go along with the chips.  He wanted to try a new salsa since his pineapple salsa was so successful the last couple times we’ve made it on our own.

Did you all think from the title of my post that the apple-streusel muffins and peach salsa were meant to go together?  Cause that would be silly.

I found the recipe for the apple-streusel muffins on Fitness Magazine’s website.  This recipe makes 12 muffins, takes 25 minutes to prep, and 18 minutes to cook.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded apple with skin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork; stir in buttermilk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in apple. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way.
  3. In a small bowl, combine pecans, flaxseeds, and remaining brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon pecan mixture on top of muffin batter.
  4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack 5 minutes; remove from cups.

Fitness Magazine tells me that each of these muffins has 163 calories, 4g protein, 25g carbohydrate, 6g fat (1g saturated), and 2g fiber.

Silly me forgot to take a picture of the finished product!!  Sadface.

Tim found his recipe for the peach-mango salsa from the Food Network’s website.  This recipe makes about 5 cups of salsa.

Ingredients

  • 2 peaches, peeled and medium diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and medium diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped <— left this out because of a Greek that doesn’t do spicy food!
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Toss all the peaches, mango, onions, jalapeno, lime juice, oil and cilantro together in a large bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Both recipes were a big hit!!

Question of the Day:  Do you have a go to dish that you bring along when you stay at friends houses?  Recipes welcomed!

Off to morning heat yoga on my day off to kick start my week.  Have a good one 🙂

Restaurant Week Fail

This week was Restaurant Week in Boston.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Restaurant Week, it’s when participating restaurants offer certain items from their lunch or dinner menus for a fixed price.  You can choose from a 2-course lunch for $15.11, a 3-course lunch for $20.11, or a 3-course dinner for $33.11.

My girlfriends and I decided to have a ladies night out in honor of Restaurant Week on Thursday night.  We chose Antico Forno in the North End.  I scoped out the prix fixe menu options to make sure there was something on there I’d be able to eat and not feel totally guilty about.  I didn’t want Thursday to be a complete indulge night because I knew Friday night I’d be having a lot of drinks.

Below were my menu options:

APPETIZERS

  • Polpette con salsa di pomodoro – Traditional Italian meatball, roasted pepper & mix green salad, tomato sauce
  • Insalata di Spinaci – Spinach salad with crispy italian pancetta, balsamic vinaigrette
  • Arancini di Riso – Our recipe of Sicilian rice ball, stuffed with ground beef, sweet peas mozzarella & fontina cheese, tomato sauce
  • Cozze Piccanti – Sautéed mussels in a spicy plum tomato sauce and roasted garlic

ENTREES

  • Fettuccine Alla Bolognese – Chef signature Bolognese sauce served with handcrafted fettuccine
  • Risotto Caprese – Arborio rice, fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes, basil & asparagus tips
  • Chicken Parmigiana – Brick oven baked chicken parmesan, linguini pasta in tomato sauce
  • Swordfish e peperonata – Brick oven swordfish bistecca, pickled peppers, house signature sauce

DESSERT

  • Cannoli
  • Gelato of the day

I went into the night planning on getting the swordfish for dinner and one of the salad options for my appetizer.   I also read a nice healthy living tip in Fitness Magazine on my plane ride home from Arkansas that I was excited to try.  Different people from the Fitness Magazine staff shared their own personal tips on making good eating choices, and one person wrote that when she goes out to dinner she limits herself to “one of three.”  Meaning she allows herself to indulge in either alcohol, the bread, or a dessert – but not all three.  I like that.

The night didn’t really go as planned.

First of all, although Antico Forno had a cute cozy looking atmosphere, it didn’t feel that way once we were seated.  The restaurant was really noisy.  So noisy that the five us of were literally shouting across the table at each other; it was really hard to hear what everyone was trying to say.  Also, they seated the five of us at a four person table with two chairs on one side and three chairs smushed on the other.  So we felt crowded all night.  It was cute in there though.

Second of all, our service was TERRIBLE.  Our waitress was so unfriendly.  I don’t think she smiled once.  We got our appetizers before she brought out our drinks.  Two more crowded tables near us went through all their food, got their bills, and left and we were all still sitting there thinking, “Really?!”  It took about twenty minutes to get our check.

For my appetizer, I ordered the Italian meatball with the mixed green/red pepper salad.  And the swordfish as planned for my entree.  The waitress came back to the table after taking our orders to inform us that they were all out of the swordfish.  I understand that things like that happen, but I was so disappointed.  I really just did not even want to order any of the other Restaurant Week options!  I asked if I could substitute another fish off of the regular menu and she said no.  In hindsight, I should have just opted out of the Restaurant Week deal all together and just asked to look at the regular menu but I got flustered and pissed and just ordered the risotto.  It tasted fine, but carb-loading just wasn’t what I wanted and I really wasn’t happy to spend my money on a meal I didn’t leave loving.  That made me cranky that I totally ditched the “one out of three” idea and I had bread, sangria (which was actually really tasty), my meatball / salad app, the risotto, and the vanilla gelato for dessert.  Dammit, Athena.

And then the parking that we thought would be $3 with validation turned out to cost $35.  Awesome.

At least I was wearing my long mom skirt to hide my waddling out of the restaurant.

I was planning on taking the day off from working out on Friday, but I got my butt out of bed and to the gym early to burn off the Restaurant Week fail.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical – 10 minutes of fast jog (5 minutes forward, 5 minutes backward), 3 sets of 2 minute sprints and 1 minute recoveries (forward), one minute fast jog (backward), then 4 sets of 1 minute sprints and 30 second recoveries (forward), finishing with a few minutes for a cooldown.  Then I did some abs and lower body work.

After the experience at Antico Forno, I read some of the reviews on Yelp – and a lot of them sound pretty similar to the experience I just blogged about.  Next time I’ll read some reviews first before committing $64 to the night.

Oh well.  Next time.