Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas! Please Remember Your Local Food Pantry. {Giveaway}

      I just shared about going to the Fabulous Food Show last weekend and it was great fun! We stuffed ourselves full of food truck goodness and partook of the generous samples from the booths. We will be spending the holidays with our extended family and enjoying lots and lots of good food. We are all so blessed.

     I know not everybody is as fortunate as we are. When people are going through a difficult time, one thing which can really help is knowing there is enough to eat. Last year I shared this article about ten things foodbanks won't ask for  on this blog post: Can you spare a square? What food pantries really need.

     Again, I'll tell you I think the items are better off donated straight to the local food pantry, since the local food pantry has to pay the food bank for items. I know it's less costly than buying at the store, but your donation straight to a food pantry avoids the middleman. We support the  Sharing Center  at St. Paul's in Sharon Center, which offers help to people in Medina County. Once a month, people can come in and shop the Sharing Center. 

     The Sharing Center is helped along by so many different sources. School food drives sometimes go straight to the sharing center. Every other Thursday night is their night for Panera Bread donations. Volunteers go pick up everything left at the end of the night from Panera. As a matter of fact, Panera Bread does a lot to help hungry people. You can even sell Panera Bread gift cards as a fundraiser for your non-profit organization! Now there's a fundraiser I can appreciate. Gift wrap and questionable candy? Not so much. You can learn more about all the ways Panera Bread helps at Panera Cares.

*this was not done as an advertisement. It's just me appreciating a company who gives so much where others opt to throw good food in the trash. 

    Sometimes the clients speak up about what they never see at this (or any other) place where they get free food. They don't see spices, not even salt and pepper. There is never sugar or flour. These are pantry staples for everyone, so there must be some reason for it. I just do not know what it is. Personal care items are sometimes unavailable or in low supply. Cream of anything soups are in high demand, but not often on the shelves. Rarely have I seen chocolate, crackers, or baby items, People appreciate toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, dish soap(!) and shampoo/conditioner. There are also no condiments. 

     I bet there's a place close to your house just like our Sharing Center. I bet they would be thrilled if you and some of your friends dropped off a few bags of stuff. Why not go out to lunch with your friends and then swing by with a donation? Calling ahead is good, of course, since these volunteer run places do not have paid staff - make sure someone will be there to take your donation. If you do not have time  you can always donate cash.

     Last weekend at The Fabulous Food Show we met these great students from John Carrol University who are doing their group project to help end hunger and homelessness. They started something called Coins For Cleveland.  They are partnered up with the Cleveland Food Bank. If you click this link right here you can make a donation. All of the money goes straight to the food bank, but the kids get the acknowledgement for the fundraising.  The page shows what your donation will do. For example, a $30 donation will buy 450 oranges or 150 pounds of pasta! That's your donation really going far! If you want to donate easy peasy on the internet, this is a great way to do it.

     Really, if you can do it, you will feel so great to know you have helped other people have a great holiday season. Now that I have implored you to do something for people, how about something for you? Because I was yapping about Panera Bread and everything they do to help, how about a $50 Panera Bread gift card for one of you?

     In addition to the Panera Bread gift card, my friend Ilene from Hippie Chick Granola has generously donated a $25 gift card for you for the best granola in the world. I have tried other granolas and they shouldn't even be called the same thing. Win it now, order and enjoy - you can thank me later, when you are addicted to this delicious stuff! I am a huge fan of the Kimberly blend because I love ginger. She has fantastic flavor combinations. You just can not go wrong.

     Who wants to win!?

     First, I'm going to ask you a little favor. But it's fun, and I think you will enjoy it. Please watch this video:

     Thanks. Now, go ahead and enter this giveaway in the form below.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Fabulous Food Show, Cleveland Ohio


Thanks to Justin over at In A Cents I won tickets to the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland last weekend. Thanks, Justin! We were not sure exactly what to expect, but we did know it would be a fun day full of one of our very favorite things - food! As we first walked in we saw this: 

One of the things that is so great about Micheal Symon, besides his fantastic food, is that he is a local boy who goes all out with his love of Cleveland. Everybody loves him. Good job, Michael, not getting too big for your britches.  I heard they rejected him being at the Fabulous Food Show last year because he was local and they were trying to prove they were not just a Cleveland show. I'm glad they got smart and brought him in. It would be like telling Lebron not to come to your basketball show.  

These kids were hanging out close to the beer. Ahem. 

On the left we have a Marine Corp chef and on the right we have a Navy Chef who worked in the White House. They were nice and more than willing to pose for a photo. 

One thing I noticed Saturday is that all the chefs walked around with a sense of pride. It was fun to see so many of them all in one place. 

There were booths selling products, like Vitamix.  The Vitamix crew definitely had one of the more energetic demonstrations. They seemed happy to be showing us how to use their mixers. 

I know this isn't the best photo, but I had to add it because the lobster ball was AMAZING! 
(From the Orange Truk)

Wholly Frijoles did not disappoint with their delicious chicken tacos. The Tequila lime chicken tacos with the mild sauce (it was still spicy enough) were delicious.

Yes, another taco truck. But let me explain:
'nuff said.

Also, I had it on good authority that this guy makes the best tacos:
Hello, Damon, you are a taco genius!

 And he was even working both of the windows. Whatta guy! 
You can find Barrio Tacos in two locations; Tremont and Lakewood. 

I give their pork taco two thumbs up. I give their cilantro lime chicken taco an engagement ring.
Will you marry me, cilantro lime chicken taco from Barrio?

There were chefs doing demonstrations. Say hello to Brian Doyle of Sow Food.
He is a local chef down with the farm to table food. Yum! 

These kids stole the show for me. 
They are students from a local university using their project to help the homeless and the hungry.
 It was very touching to meet them.

There were copious amounts of samples. We were given the opportunity to taste everything from apples and pears to sausages and cakes. 

I would like to personally invite all the food trucks to come and park in my driveway and the driveways of my neighbors. No, I don't need to ask the neighbors. We've all got to eat, right?

Yet another reason we are lucky to live in Northeast Ohio. Thank you, Fabulous Food Show.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Good Luck With That!

Hey kids! Daddy and I will be at the Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland today.

Be good! 

 Some of the inmates will be running the asylum.

It should be okay, we're taking the bus with us.

I hope your Saturday is filled with promise.