Fore River Sanctuary Samosas with Mango Dipping Sauce

I don’t typically cross-post across my two blogs, preferring to compartmentalize my life (hah) but I’ve been so busy recreating this recipe I didn’t get round to writing anything else.  So indulge me.

Portland Trails is holding a “Trail Gourmet” Recipe Contest and I won’t beat around the bush.  I’d like to win.  I thought long & hard about which of my recipes to enter, and while walking the Fore River Sanctuary this week it came to me.  SAMOSAS.  I’d created a fantastic low sodium recipe for samosas four years ago, shortly after launching The Daily Dish.  While a little time intensive to make, these samosas freeze beautifully and would showcase one of Maine’s premier agricultural crops: Potatoes!  Samosas are perfect hiking fare.  Small and portable, yet hearty and filling.  They’re a healthy meal in an incredible, edible wrapper.  And they’re DELICIOUS – especially with the tangy subtle sweetness of the mango dipping sauce, which is easily toted in any lightweight lidded container. Double dipping a MUST!  So if you’re craving something extraordinary the next time you head out on the trail, look no further than Fore River Sanctuary Samosas with Mango Dipping Sauce.  Gourmet vegetarian snacks that pack a healthy, meal-like punch – NO SILVERWARE NECESSARY!

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Attention DAILY DISH Readers

Today’s recipe – Salmon Cakes – will be my last new post for a week. We are celebrating my grandmother’s 95th birthday with extended family this weekend and I’ll be BUSY!!! Unfortunately, waaaaaay too busy to make updates to the website. I will resume regularly-scheduled posting on Wednesday, April 30th, once the craziness has died down and everyone has returned home. Till then, please feel free to browse the Recipe Index at your leisure for hundreds of mouth-wateringly delicious low-sodium dishes. Many thanks for your continued support and VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!!

I *heart* Stonyfield Farm

Last month I got a very unexpected email from the marketing coordinator at Stonyfield Farm yogurt informing me I’d won their Recipe of the Month contest. WOW! I didn’t even know I’d been entered, but apparently when you submit a recipe (something I did), they enter you automatically. Coool. So I was super excited to hear I’d been chosen as one of three winners for the month of November (an honor in and of itself), but even more psyched when I read that I’d also be getting… a PRIZE! Now, I don’t know if you can tell from my online persona, but sometimes I can get PRETTY EXCITED, and this was one of those times. A goodie bag of yogurt wonders ALL FOR MY VERY OWN!!! WOOHOO!

So I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my precious yogurt box, and late last week I began wondering where it could be. I worried about it a little bit. You see, we have issues with our mail delivery here at our palatial West Philly estate. Indeed, our postal service has become so erratic that we’ve had to open a PO Box at the main Philly branch in order to ensure we actually get some of our mail. Unfortunately when you miss a payment, businesses do not care if it was because you never ever got the bill. That’s simply NOT an excuse. And when we do receive mail at our house, it’s often sampled or heavily used. Like our bank statements, which come open and pre-scrutinized. Or our magazines, which arrive so dog-eared we know what the mailman had for lunch. We also routinely receive mail for other people, blocks away, which I dutifully walk over and place gently through their slot. But who is getting my mail? And why aren’t they kindly returning the favor?? Yesterday my 94 year old grandma called to say she’d gotten my recent card, but someone had slit the envelope down the side and removed the rest of its contents. It made me SO MAD. WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOME PEOPLE?? HAVE THEY NO SHAME?? DO THEY NOT HAVE A GRANDMA~?? DO THEY NOT REALIZE GOD DOES NOT LOOK FAVORABLY ON THOSE WHO STEAL FROM 94 YEAR OLD WOMEN LONGING FOR PHOTOS OF THEIR GRANDCHILDREN??? As my husband would say, may God smite them. Painfully.

So you see, I was beginning to think my beautiful Stonyfield Farm prize might have been delivered and stolen off my porch. Like the time my husband ordered something from Apple, and UPS delivered it to some deranged woman 12 blocks away, who called us demanding money for its return. Or the time my neighbor ordered books from Amazon and found the open package three blocks away in the street. So this weekend I contacted the very nice marketing coordinator, explaining my concern, and YIPPEE! she told me that my package was on its way …. and finally, yesterday, my beautiful box from Stonyfield Farm arrived. 🙂

Let me tell you, it was even better than I’d expected. No expired yogurt at all. Instead I got coupons! Always great when you consume lots of healthy yummy delicious STONYFIELD FARM YOGURT like I do (*wink to camera*)! And not only that, but I got a bunch of awesome cooking stuff – a super thick Stonyfield Farm logo oven mitt,

heavy-duty pyrex measuring cup and double-spoon AND spatula. PLUS a yougurt cheese maker – which looks like a hairnet,

but actually makes you YOGURT CHEESE. Doesn’t that sound delicious??! I confess it does not sound all that delicious but I bet it is delicious if it is made with STONYFIELD FARM yogurt, because IT is the BEST. And not only did I get all of those amazing things, BUT I also got a cute cow-emblazoned magnet, a brand new pencil AND a Stonyfield Farm Cookbook, with tons and tons of recipes and ideas for using their delicious healthy yogurt, complete with scrumptious-looking color photographs. This book was written and tested by the CEO’s wife, so you know it’s got to be good. And last but not least, is my brand new beautiful Stonyfield Farm tote bag, with the SF Farm logo on one side and the Brown Cow logo on the other. My husband asked me who the Brown Cow is and I have to say I have no idea, but he/she is cute and that’s all that matters. I even got to USE my tote bag last night when we went to the library. I proudly displayed my yogurt preference to all and sundry and I know everyone was GREEN WITH ENVY. It’s lucky the library is so darn close to Whole Foods, because I think I left a trail of yogurt-hungry people all waiting for a quick release.

So, in conclusion, I urge each and everyone of you to go out and buy some wonderfully spectacular Stonyfield Farm yogurt today. Then you should go home and create a magnificently delicious recipe and send it to Stonyfield Farm, so that you too may be as happy as I am right now. Sitting here with my new potholder on my hand and my yogurt cheese maker on my head.

WOW. I just won another contest. ROCK ON!!

Dear Christin:

Congratulations! The recipe you submitted to our website, Stonyfield.com, was selected as a winner in our Monthly Recipe Drawing for the month of November. Your prize, a bag full of Stonyfield Farm goodies, is waiting for you! Please reply to this message with a mailing address that we may send your prize to.

We will be featuring your winning recipe on the Get Cooking Monthly Recipe Drawing section of our website and would also like to include your photo and hometown. If you would like your photo included, please send us a digital headshot of yourself when you send your address. Thank you for submitting your delicious recipe. Be sure to visit Stonyfield.com frequently to get new and updated recipes!

Best Regards,

**** ******
Marketing Coordinator
Stonyfield Farm

Great ideas for Valentine’s Day. Creative. Thoughtful. AND CHEAP!!

This post was inspired by my blog buddy, Hayden, who just wrote about The Big Day. And it got me thinking. I’ve done lots of sweet things for my husband on Valentine’s Day, I really should share some of them. So whether you lack creativity or money (or both), here are some ideas to make V-day sizzle. JUST REMEMBER: You do not have to spend a lot of money to make someone’s Valentine’s Day the best they’ve ever had. Romance is in the eye of the beholder and thoughtfulness always trumps money when it comes to true love.
Now.. onto the ideas!!

Image courtesy of ValentinesDayIdeas

1) I don’t normally toot company horns, but this one is so great, I am making an exception. My husband and I made books – REAL books – as presents for some of our loved ones this year, and they were fabulous. It was beyond easy to do and truly affordable. Go to BLURB.COM and download their bookmaking software for FREE. Then upload photos of you and your sweetheart, personalize everything, and order. Blurb.com does the rest. Choose from soft and hardback styles. We’ve done both and they are simply AWESOME. Your loved one will be touched beyond belief.

2) Not into that? Then make your own scrapbook. I have made several of these for my husband. One with all of the emails we exchanged in college. Sweet and silly. Another with all of our wedding mementos. Another with poems. You get the picture. All that matters is that it’s from you, filled with loving memories of your time together. They will LOVE IT.

Image courtesy of BlissTree

3) Make a gift basket filled with treats he or she especially loves. This does NOT have to be expensive! One year, I went to the dollar store and bought a brand new woven wicker trash can, a silk red rose garland, and every single Reese’s peanut butter cup variation I could find – 12 packs, singles, white chocolate, candy bar interpretations, etc. I went home and arranged everything artfully in the basket, wound the garland round the top, then delivered it Valentine’s Day to my husband’s office as a surprise. I cannot tell you how many women SQUEALED IN DELIGHT!! when they saw me coming. My husband was floored when he came back to find this sitting on his desk. They charge a fortune for this stuff online. DO IT YOURSELF. Just vary the basket filling according to what your significant other likes. Candy bars, snacks, health food, fruit, specialty foods, beer, wine, arts & crafts supplies, beauty supplies, sporting goods, you name it. IT’S ALL GOOD.

Image courtesy of Cookerie-Girl

4) Decorate your bedroom to set the mood. One year I went to the Dollar Store and bought a bag full of party decorations. Streamers, hanging lanterns, hanging hearts, etc. Then I pulled out some white Christmas lights and I decorated our bedroom, weaving the lights around our bed, hanging the hearts above, etc. My husband was so surprised!! And it was so lovely with the fairy lights and everything, it looked like our own private wonderland. We kept the stuff up for weeks afterward it was so nice.

Image courtesy of DesignFling

5) Instead of taking him/her out to eat, cook dinner yourself – or hire a friend, family member, someone else to. I dated a chef years ago – he made me dinner one night at his apartment and I still remember the meal – figs stuffed with cheese, softshell crabs. Amazing. But you don’t have to be a professional cook to impress. Check my website for recipes! Heck, email me and I will even talk you through it. Just take the time to show your loved one how much you care. Skip the expense of a faceless meal. Make your own. Or pick up take out food and pretend it’s your own. Still impressive! You can confess later, after you’re both full and happy.

Image courtesy of TripAdvisor

6) Couples massage ROCKS. But you don’t have to pay a professional to touch the one you love. DIY, baby! Buy a bottle of scented massage cream or oil, at home place a clean sheet over the bed, dim the lights or better yet, light some candles, and put on some relaxing music. Invite them to their very own “spa”. Crack your knuckles and work it. They will LOVE YOU for it. Trust me.

Image courtesy of SheKnows

7) Make your loved one a card. Hallmark doesn’t know them, BUT YOU DO. What is it about them that you love? Their smell? Their eyes? Their sense of humor? EVERYTHING? WONDERFUL!! If you’re good with words, write your own poem for them. They will never forget this most simple gesture, ever. If you’re not good with poetry, just write out your feelings. That’s all that matters. Even just, Honey, I love you. Always. For a woman this is everything.
I still have the only secret admirer valentine I’ve ever gotten. It was handmade, just a piece of plain white paper with blue pen. 18 years later, I still think it’s one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever given me.

Image courtesy of HomeLifeWeekly

8) Plan a date night out. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE!! Be thoughtful. What does your s/o like? Art – take him/her to a museum. Nature? Go to a local park or arboretum. Sports? Take them to an event. Music? Go see a local live band. And so on. For our first Valentine’s Day together, my husband – then boyfriend- and I were flat-out broke. He took me ice skating along the Delaware River. It was magical and cost almost nothing.

Image courtesy of LakeGeorge

9) Instead of buying chocolates, make your own. Check my website for a decadent peanut butter truffle recipe. Bake them a heart-shaped cake, or a big tin of cookies. DELICIOUS + MADE IT YOURSELF > CRAP CHOCOLATES IN HEART-SHAPED BOX FROM CVS

10) Print and frame a nice photo of the 2 of you. My husband framed my favorite picture of us and gave it to me as a Christmas present this year. I burst into tears, it was so sweet. I LOVE IT. And he/she will too.

Image courtesy of PersonalizationMall

11) Have a special skill or talent? SHARE IT. Are you good at making things? Then make something for your loved one. Write them a story. Draw them a picture. Build them a birdhouse/ bookshelf/ mailbox. Good at fixing stuff? Fix that broken cabinet that’s been annoying her. Or the car. Or the dishwasher. EVEN If you’re totally talent-less, you can still do something thoughtful. CLEAN THE HOUSE! Or the basement, or the WHATEVER. Do the laundry. The dishes. You get the picture. I know you don’t want to do it, but neither does she, and trust me, she WILL REMEMBER THIS, and in a GOOD WAY.

Image courtesy of Anonymous8

12) This one’s more for the men out there. Buy something to pamper her, especially something that she wouldn’t normally buy herself. A treat. Is she a waitress, a chef, a nurse or doctor? Someone on her feet all day? Buy her a foot bath, foot cream, and give her a foot massage. Is she an overworked mom? Give her a night of relaxation away from the kids. FOR INSTANCE: at Trader Joe’s they sell gorgeous French-milled natural soaps, with scents like lavender and lemon verbena. Since they go for $4-5 bucks EACH, she won’t splurge on herself, but YOU CAN. Buy her four different scents, along with a new thick bath towel, scrub brush, and a scented candle. Throw in a CD of her favorite relaxation music – I recommend Astrud Gilberto. Chill a bottle of wine for her. Fill the tub. Then take the kids to the park.

Image courtesy of SupremeMassage

13) Are you musical? Write her a song and she will be yours forever. Can’t carry a tune? Then make her a mix-tape of songs that remind you of her. Even if you can’t sing, they can. And that will woo her far better than you crooning the hits if you can’t croon, though she’d probably still like it anyway.

Image courtesy of IndiaForums

14) This one may take some doing, so it’s good I’m posting this early. Make her a movie or simple video asking her to marry you, or just proclaiming your love. You can upload it to YouTube, or put it on your own website – or even just email it to her. Or you could invite her over for a special screening. Be creative.

Image Courtesy of GreenvilleDailyPhoto

15) NEW!! JUST ADDED!!!!!!! Order a one-of-a-kind portrait of you & your sweetie!!

***Whatever you do, IT’S the gesture that counts. If it comes from the heart, it’ll be amazing. Just think of the person you love, only of them and what they enjoy. Then imagine how you can make them happy. Can you bring them something? Do something for them? It’s often the simplest things – not the most expensive or elaborate – which mean the most.

NEW! Reader Recommendations page

For those of you reading through from my “day job” — this morning I launched a new READER RECOMMENDATIONS page. I hope this will become a valuable feature of the site; a place to share and collect information about low-sodium products (and the all-important where to find them), salt-free recipes & other cooking tips.

I created the THE DAILY DISH website to be a COMPLETELY FREE resource to those in need. I myself despise those obnoxious flashing banner ads and loathsome deceptively-placed promotional links. So contrary to (what many see as) good sense, a year into this venture I still continue to run my website gratis for the world. Over this past year I have garnered a dedicated and growing readership. Hundreds of people visit the site each week and find it a useful tool. So… Here’s your chance to give a little bit back!

AS AN EXAMPLE.. People google into THE DAILY DISH each day looking for places that sell salt-free or low-sodium bread and lavash. If readers would just take a second to email about where they buy their bread, I can post a list of stores by state and location. I myself can provide information about not only Philadelphia, but Atlanta, as well as some parts of Vermont. And I’m just one person. If Knowledge is Power, then collectively we can all be stronger.

My readers are valuable, and I KNOW they have valuable information to share. People on low-sodium diets suffer from inconvenience as well as health ailments. Some feel alienated from life and loved ones, particularly when it comes to social (read, eating) situations. Eating out isn’t fun when you have to check and re-check orders! And having to explain your medical history to strangers is embarrassing. But life on a salt-free diet doesn’t always have to be so hard. Through this forum, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE and all it takes is a moment of your time. I look forward to hearing from you.