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Win a GALLON of Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil! {CLOSED}

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This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Hanh Nguyen!

No, this is not an early April Fool’s joke, this is fer real, peeps.  The good folks at Tropical Traditions are now offering a full gallon of their good-as-gold (AKA Gold Label) coconut oil to one of my readers.  So if you didn’t win the quart, lucky you, you can enter to win a gallon instead!

Note: if you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. Thank you to those who order, I’ve earned $50 in gift certificates so far and soon hope to be buying my own gallon so that I don’t die of jealousy!

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - gallon.Win 1 gallon of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

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To enter to win, all you have to do is click here to sign up for their newsletter (required for entry, no comments count as a vote unless you have done this first) and then leave a comment letting me know you did or are already subscribed.  Then you have to agree to let me move in with you until the coconut oil is gone.  OK, just kidding about that last part, but I would be a great partner in crime when it comes to using up all that glorious oil.  Please? Yes? Maybe?

You can earn up to seven more chances to win by doing any of the following and leave a separate comment for each, letting me know you did (however you must subscribe to the newsletter first and leave a comment telling me you did/do so, or no comments you leave will count as an entry):

o    “Like” Veronica’s Cornucopia on Facebook
o    “Like” Tropical Traditions on Facebook (Please no, “I was sent by…” posts or posting a link to your blog, they will be removed)
o    Follow me on Twitter
o    Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter
o    Follow me on Pinterest
o    Follow Tropical Traditions on Pinterest
o    Follow Tropical Traditions on Google +

The giveaway will be open until Wednesday, January 23rd, at midnight.  I will notify the winner by email and the winner will have 48 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.  Good luck!  I’ll start packing now…

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to commenter #261, Hanh Nguyen!

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An Evening with P-Dub {plus a giveaway!}

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Yes, this happened.  Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman herself, came to my little hometown for a book signing!!  When Julie told me about it, I about flipped out.  Foodie celebrities just do not come to our town for anything.  This was the most exciting thing that ever happened in Wichita!  Well, at least for me.

Julie and I had planned to go together, but she ended up moving earlier than planned so Dennis was my date for the evening.  Dennis, the anti-foodie.  The anti-foodie who won’t even read his own wife’s food blog.  Perhaps not the best date for the occasion, but he’s a trooper and is usually up for anything.  He’s incredibly supportive, despite refusing to read my blog, and I think my excitement made him a little eager himself to meet this superwoman.

We arrived at the Forum Theater (previously a church) an hour early and still there was a massive line.  We were even further back than in the photo above, rounded around a corner, but I forgot to take a photo until that moment.  Hello, Veronica, a blogger must remember to photograph everything when it comes to such a monumental occasion! I didn’t make that mistake again and documented the remainder of the evening by snapshots…and even short video.  Of P-Dub singing!!

I apologize for all the exclamation points.  It’s hard to control my excitement and enthusiasm.

It only took us about fifteen minutes to get through the line and into the theater.  Everyone with tickets #500 and under could go in right away.  There were tickets all the way up into the 1,300s and I think they managed to fit most people in.  Apparently there was an “overflow section” but I never saw it, and I guess those who couldn’t find seats waited there for the signing.

Dennis, the sweetheart, went to the front of the theater to take these photos for me.  We were seated in the middle, way in the back.  That section was flat, not tiered like the front rows, so it’s harder to see all the people back there.  I can’t even make out my own head, but I could see the stage just fine.

After an hour of waiting and reading her cookbook (yes, reading, I read cookbooks like novels) while Dennis read Anthony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within, Ree was finally introduced and came striding out on stage.

Seriously.  P-Dub in the flesh.  Is this really happening?  Really?  But she made it very clear how real she was as she nervously criticized her entrance and the awkward way she walked behind the movie screen instead of in front of it.  She apologized for being nervous and sweaty, then asked for a show of hands of everyone that got sweaty when they were nervous.  She was so genuine and sweet, even if you didn’t know her from her blog already, you had to love her immediately.  Dennis was not immune to her charms and was laughing all through her presentation.

She gave a slideshow presentation of her life, with all the humor she infuses into her blog.

which explains her senior photo…

I stopped snapping shots of her slideshow at that point, but did catch the last half of her “special moment” with her basset hound, Charlie.  She started singing “My Endless Love” along to pictures she had taken of him…

Then we waited.  Books were signed according to the number on your card, so there were 182 people ahead of me.  And there were no limit to the amount of books she would sign.  I’m sure Ree is sporting a permanent hand cramp right now, as she had to have signed thousands and thousands of books that night.  What a trooper!  After waiting foreeeeever (OK, more like two hours), we finally were next in line!!

I was so flustered, I had nothing to say.  I could have said, “I made your chunky chicken soup five times this year already!”  I could have told her how well she did with her presentation.  I could have told her how honored I was to meet her.  I could have told her how much I enjoyed her book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, or even asked her if Marlboro Man was taking care of the kiddos by himself while she was away.  But I couldn’t say anything!

Since I was so quiet, she finally asked me, “Are you from Wichita?”  How humiliating, to have forced a huge celebrity to try to spark a conversation in the face of my epic silence.  That she even bothered is a testament to how nice she truly is.  “Yes, this is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me!” I blurted.  And that’s all I said.  Ugh.  Dork master!

And then the picture from hell happened.  A lady offered to take one with both of us in the picture, so I made sure my ugly heavy-duty bra strap was showing, and Dennis made sure to give the camera what I’ve dubbed his “creeper” look…the one that makes you think there’s something seriously wrong going on inside his head.  Here’s another version of his creeper look:

Run awaaaaay! IT’S THE CREEPER BUNNY!

This is my impression of his creeper look, given at a restaurant after we left the signing:

Creeper V!

OK, way too much creepiness happening here.  Let me remind you of how handsome and non-creeper-like my husband actually is:

There.  I feel much better now.

So that was it, a lovely presentation, a long wait, and an awkward introduction in which I made a fool of myself.  And I came out of it with this:

Poor Ree, it’s a wonder I can read this at all.  Here’s the translation, as best I can tell: Love to Veronica, ♥ Ree D

The cookbook follows the format of her blog, giving step-by-step photos for each recipe.  If you like photos with your cookbooks, this one is for you!  As far as I can tell, there are no new recipes–you can get them all online (though at least a few recipes in the book are improved from the website versions, like the Coffee Cake (the first one I’ll be trying!)), but if you love owning cookbooks, love the Pioneer Woman, or need a gift for a new bride/groom to help them learn how to cook, this would be great.

Would you like your own signed copy?  Well, it might just be your lucky day, because I got a second copy signed to give away to one of my readers!

If you’d like to enter to win, just tell me what your favorite Pioneer Woman recipe is, or what recipe of hers you’re looking forward to making.  You can still leave a comment without entering, just be sure to answer this question for your comment to count in the drawing.  Giveaway will close April 19th at 10 PM CST, and I’ll announce the winner on Friday.

If you’d like additional chances to win, you can do any or all of the following (and yes, it counts if you already do/have done them, just leave a comment letting me know).  Be sure to leave a separate comment for each, and make sure you answer the question above first, or none of the additional entries will count.

*Subscribe to Veronica’s Cornucopia by RSS or email (email subscribe box is in the upper right column).
*”Like” Veronica’s Cornucopia on Facebook.
*Follow me on Twitter.
*Pin this post on Pinterest.
*Tweet the following message:  @vraklis Win a signed copy of Food From My Frontier by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer woman! https://veronicascornucopia.com/2012/04/17/an-evening-with-p-dub-plus-a-giveaway/ #giveaways Please RT
*Tell your friends about this giveaway on Facebook, including a link to the post.

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Brandee Lake!

Celebration Frosting & A Giveaway! {CLOSED}

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***The giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Jenna, Suzie, Biz, Cheryl, and Kim~the lucky winners!***

Celebration Frosting | veronicascornucopia.com

Wedding and birthday cakes from good bakeries, at least here locally, have a certain evasive flavor in the icing that I’ve always mentally defined as “celebration.”  I am still unable to describe the flavor any other way, but I learned the secret of that flavor and have been using it in the frostings for my own homemade celebration cakes ever since.

It is a flavor emulsion called “Crème Bouquet.”  This is wonderful stuff.  It is an oil-based flavoring with lemon and other essential oils that aren’t listed on the label (because they are sneaky and don’t want us to figure out how to duplicate it at home!).  Believe me, I’ve tried, but I can’t make anything that tastes even remotely as wonderful as this emulsion.  It doesn’t taste like lemon to me, although that’s the only essential oil listed, and it doesn’t taste like anything else I’ve ever had.  Well, besides wedding and birthday cake.  I have relatives that call it “that sweet flavor.”  But that is not an apt description, either.  You just have to try it for yourself!

Since I’m so in love with this flavoring and know it’s not a common household ingredient, I am going to give five lucky readers a 2-ounce bottle from Cake Stuff!  To enter, just leave me a comment on this post and I will draw the winners using Random.org on Friday, November 5th .  Simple as that.  For those interested in purchasing crème bouquet, you can order by phone from Cake Stuff–just call the number on their website.   It is very reasonably priced at $2.50 for a 2-ounce bottle, and they also have two larger sizes available.

You can turn any vanilla frosting into celebration frosting by adding crème bouquet to it, and I’ll share the two that I use it in.  Enjoy!

White Celebration Frosting

I try to avoid this one since it’s kind of a non-food, one but sometimes, you just need a good, bright white frosting and the only way to achieve that is with shortening. And believe me, it does not taste like non-food. It is utterly delicious. I promise. The meringue powder is essential in this recipe to eliminate the greasy mouth-feel that shortening frostings usually have. It is also important to use good shortening because cheaper brands tend to be clearish, off-colored, and slimy. You want one that is an opaque white, like Crisco.
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 cups Crisco vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons meringue powder
2 teaspoons crème bouquet
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
Pinch of salt
2 lbs. (8 cups) powdered sugar
1/3-1/2 cup water

Put the Crisco in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium a few seconds, until creamy. Add in the meringue powder, flavorings, and salt and beat until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, alternating with water when it becomes too thick. Add more or less water to get your desired consistency. Once it is all added, beat on medium-low speed for four minutes. This frosting will keep for up to a month, tightly covered, at room temperature, or several months in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Celebration Frosting

This is my favored celebration frosting. This frosting on white cake, for me, makes the ultimate celebration cake. And be sure to try it on red velvet as well–divine!
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 pounds powdered sugar
2 teaspoons crème bouquet
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract*
Pinch of salt
Milk, if desired

Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low, scraping the sides, until all the sugar is incorporated, then turn to medium/high and beat for another two minutes. I prefer not to add any extra liquid because I find it easier to get a perfectly smooth cake with thick frosting**, but you can add milk as needed to make it creamier. Refrigerate or freeze if you won’t be using it within a few days.

*You can use regular vanilla but the color will turn more yellowish-ivory (like Mom’s birthday cake above), which is fine unless you are aiming for a lighter color.  To illustrate, I made the following two wedding cakes with the same recipe for cream cheese celebration frosting, but used clear vanilla on the first and regular on the second:

**To get my icing perfectly smooth, I use a straight-edged offset spatula and the water bottle trick: fill a clean (ideally, brand new or designated for water only) squirt bottle with water and spray the frosted cake all over.  This allows the spatula to glide over the surface and smooth it easily.  I recommend placing the cake, uncovered, in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight to allow the water on the surface to evaporate completely before decorating.  You can see me demonstrating the “water bottle trick” in this video: How to Make a Layer Cake part 3: stacking and frosting.

~Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this blog or sponsored by Cake Stuff to promote them.  That is the store where I’ve always purchased my crème bouquet and it is consistently delicious.  So I decided to buy some to share with my readers so you can experience the awesomeness for yourselves!~

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