Monday, March 10, 2014

5th Annual Paella Challenge!

Hey guys!
This weekend I had an awesome opportunity to attend the 5th annual Paella Challenge. Paella is a Spanish dish consisting of rice, fresh vegetables, seafood or other meat, and spices. My company had a team that was entered in the cookoff. It was really awesome to walk around and see the chefs in action creating huge pans of piping hot paella. 
Saffron is generously used in many paella sand lends to the brilliant yellow color! More than half of the contestants used seafood including prawns, lobster, mussels, clams, shrimp, crawfish, and octopus! 

This particular batch you can see the body of the octopus right in the middle. This pan isn't ready to eat yet, throughout the day each team made batch after batch to sample out to the crowd. 
Many tables had unique displays to help showcase their dish. This team had an entire ice sculpture to keep their live lobsters and crawfish fresh.
Hi there!
Just one of many beautiful pans if paella.
This presentation is outstanding! 
Each table full of fresh bright ingredients and sizzling skillets of paella. 
THIS PAELLA WAS AWESOME. The chef is from Minnesota and his dish had ingredients including wild boar and quail. Not the traditional additions to this dish but amazing flavors and one of my favorites from the bunch.
This impressive beauty is the paella that my company's team dreamed up. It was hands down the nicest presentation. With a shrimp skewer pineapple centerpiece! The flavor was also great. Not too fishy like several of the others. Way to go guys!
Paella for dessert? Sure!
This was a cold, rice pudding style fruit "paella". Really great, and an awesome addition amid the savory contestants. 

I didn't get a photo of the winning paella because we had to leave before the judging took place. Overall the event was awesome! All the food and drinks (beer, wine, SANGRIA!) were included in the cost of admission, around $55. Because my company was part of it, Ryan and I were able to attend for free. Even if you aren't a huge fan of paella, which I discovered I really don't care for it much, we couldn't pass up a great deal like that. 

I suggest you check out local events happening in cities near you because you never know if there might be a cook off or other food festival as well as other fun adventures!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!
Til next time, 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February Birchbox Unboxing!

Hey there!
I know it is into March already but it's never too late to show what came in a previous months sub box. When choosing sub boxes I really liked to look at posts about past boxes and see what types of items could be in store for future months. 
The iconic birchbox with the chevron pattern and red tissue paper. It's always exciting to tear it open and see what's inside!
Product lineup looks pretty good...
This glitter polish by Ruby Wing changes color in outdoor setting. I'm assuming it's the sunlight, maybe the change in temperature that attributes the change but it will be interesting to see how well it's works applied to the nails. I believe this is smaller than full size which retails for $10, but is still a good amount of polish.
Birchbox features Beauty Protector products frequently and I have already fallen in love with their Protect and Detangle Spray. My hair is very fine and I am weary of adding oils to it because it weighs down and turns greasy easily but I will give this a shot and if it doesn't work for me I can pass it along to a friend with more lush locks. The full size sells for $21.95 which is about what the spray costs. With birchbox points from sub purchases it's easy to earn a $10 coupon which knocks the price down significantly. 
Next is a sample of Hello fragrance by Harvey Prince. It's a cheery and bright scent. It retails for $55 which is not too bad as far as perfume goes. I'm not sure if I would repurchase but I love getting fragrance samples in these boxes because I can play with different scents daily. 
The star of this box is the Cynthia Rowley Liquid Liner in Black Ink. I think this is the full size product and costs $18. I love liquid liners and can never have too many. First application is pigmented and a smooth line. Perhaps I will do a more in depth look at this product after I try it a few times. 
The last item in the box is this sample of Previse Hydromilk. It claims to be a lightweight hydrator for most skin types without any synthetic ingredients or parabens. The full size is $60 which is out of my budget for face cream. That's the cool thing about subscription boxes though you get to try products that you otherwise would never get to test. 

The monthly cost for Birchbox is $10. It's a pretty good value for what you get. 

Hope you enjoyed seeing what came in the Birchbox last month. Any thoughts or ideas for reviews you'd like to see I'd love to read them in the comments below!

I was nominated recently for the Leibster Award  and plan to do a formal post soon thanking the reader who nominated me and nominating more bloggers! 

Thanks for reading! 
Til next time,