Monday, July 4, 2011

Safeway Gift Card GIVEAWAY! & World’s Longest Picnic Table


It’s official…a few weeks ago I entered into the Guinness Book of World Records AND I made my television debut, all in one day. Well, okay…maybe I’m not personally in the record books, but I did attend the event that broke the record for the world’s longest picnic table. And maybe my television debut was nothing more than about 3 seconds on the local news channel of a very wide shot of us wandering around said picnic table, but let’s not be picky about the details, okay? Let me enjoy my 15 minutes seconds of fame.



Safeway recently held an event to launch a new product line, Open Nature, as well as to break the record for the world’s longest picnic table. I was invited as “Media” (which thrilled me to no end, as seen in photo) to check out the product and take part in the festivities, where Tyler Florence would be doing a cooking demonstration. So on June 18, Andy and I took the short drive up to San Francisco and got ready to taste some food and break some records! Aside from the relentless wind, the day was sunny and gorgeous.

Check out my credentials...

First, let me tell you about this insanely long picnic table. At 305 feet, it broke the previous record by 57 feet. The table was constructed as one continuous length, taking four days to assemble. In keeping with a “green” theme, ten trees were planted for every one used for the construction, and after the picnic, the table would be cut into sections and donated to parks. It really was amazing to see this rambling table, sprawling down the park, slightly undulating with the uneven ground below. (To see a time-lapse video of the table being built, check out the Safeway Facebook page here.)


Now, onto the food…I hadn’t heard of Open Nature prior to this event, but after a briefing, I learned that every product in this line is 100% natural, meaning no artificial ingredients are used and products are minimally processed. In fact, they believe so strongly in their ingredients that they are all printed in a very short list on the front of the products. I’ve got to say that everything we tried (and we tried A LOT) was really good. Hands down, my favorite product is the Open Nature Creamy Peanut Butter. I’ve since bought 3 jars (it’s addictive!) and just want to eat it with a spoon.


We certainly did not cheat ourselves in the eating department at this event. Here’s what was on the menu, and you can believe that we tried each and every single item (including all three desserts!)

Appetizers
Open Nature Smoked Andouille Sausage with Crispy Cabbage Slaw
Grilled Open Nature Spinach Feta Sausage with Pesto Sauce
Open Nature Roasted Red Pepper Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches with Remoulade 

Main Plate 
The Ultimate Open Nature Barbecued Chicken and Ribs
Open Nature Summertime Potato Salad
Garden Fresh Broccoli Bacon Salad with Open Nature Balsamic Dressing
Summer Fresh Watermelon Fruit Salad

Dessert 
Open Nature Ice Cream Parfaits
- Cherry Vanilla with Honey Nut Granola and Peanut Butter
- Vanilla Bean with Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream
- Mint Chip with Shaved Chocolate


As I mentioned, Tyler Florence was doing a cooking demonstration of the chicken, ribs and potato salad dishes. It was fun to watch and hear his tips throughout the cooking process. We even got the chance to say hi!


This potato salad was the big winner. Andy, who is not usually a huge potato salad fan, loved it. We both picked it as our favorite dish of the day. The capers, the dill and the mustard really set it apart from your standard potato salad. 

Photo Credit: Safeway

Open Nature Summertime Potato Salad 
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence 
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes
2 large eggs
Kosher salt for cooking and final seasoning
1/2 bunch sliced scallions, white and green parts (reserving some for garnish)
2 tablespoons drained capers (reserving several for garnish)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Open Nature Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup Open Nature Sour Cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles with 1/4 cup juice, about 2 pickles
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 bunch dill, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions:
Put potatoes and eggs into a big saucepan of cold salted water. Bring to a simmer. After 12 minutes remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let cool. Continue cooking the potatoes until a paring knife poked into them goes in without resistance, about 3 minutes longer. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let cool.

Meanwhile, stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt, mustard, pickles and juice, red onion, remaining scallions and capers, parsley, and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes.
Peel the cool eggs and grate them into the bowl. Break up the potatoes into rough chunks, add to bowl, and toss to coat with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with reserved scallions and capers.

Photo Credit: Safeway

The Ultimate Open Nature Barbecued Chicken and Ribs
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Serves: 4 to 6 entrée servings

Open Nature Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 
Ingredients:
3 pounds Open Nature Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
2-3 tablespoon Extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme crushed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Open Nature Pork Baby Back Ribs 
Ingredients: 
2 slabs Open Nature Pork Baby Back Ribs (about 3 pounds)
Pinch each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-6 tablespoon Extra-virgin olive oil

Barbecue Sauce 
Ingredients:
2 slices Open Nature Hickory Smoked Bacon
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, rough chopped
3 smashed garlic cloves
2 cups ketchup
1 cup peach preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or 1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground paprika

To prepare the sauce:
Wrap the bacon around the thyme sprigs and tie with kitchen twine. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the thyme and cook slowly 3 to 4 minutes to render the bacon fat and to give the sauce a smoky taste. Add the onion and garlic, cook slowly without coloring for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and turn the heat down to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Once the sauce is done cooking, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and reserve; the remainder will be used for basting the chicken and ribs.

To prepare the chicken:
Prepare a gas or charcoal barbecue to medium heat. Spray or wipe grilling surface with non-stick spray or olive oil to prevent sticking.

Combine the olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic and thyme, add chicken breast, making sure to coat the chicken well. Arrange the chicken pieces on the grill and cook 3-4 minutes, turn over and finish cooking for 6-8 minutes. Liberally brush with barbecue sauce, coating entirely and cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from the grill and serve with reserved sauce.

To prepare the ribs:
Prepare a medium-low heat gas grill, about 250° covered. Spray or wipe grilling surface with non-stick spray or olive oil to prevent sticking.

Put the ribs on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil. Place ribs onto grill, cook low and slow for 1 1/2 hours. Then baste the ribs with sauce and continue cooking for 30 minutes, basting 2 more times.

For finishing, baste the ribs with additional sauce and grill for several minutes each side, until becoming caramelized. Remove from grill and serve with reserved sauce.


This was a fun event and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to attend!

I can't get enough of that media pass!!!

But wait…the givewaway!!! 

Now here’s the really great part…Safeway has kindly provided me with gift cards to give away to four of my readers! Up for grabs are four $25 Safeway gift cards, good at any Safeway Companies stores (Safeway, Vons, Pavillions, Genuardi's, Dominick's, Carrs, Tom Thumb, Randalls) in the U.S. or Canada. Go check out the Open Nature page here to see what’s new at Safeway. And if you win, I highly recommend the peanut butter! (Winners must have a U.S. or Canada mailing address.)

To enter (leave a separate comment for each; up to three entries per person):
1. Leave a comment below.
2. Go to the Open Nature product page and then come back here and tell me which product tempts you the most.
3. Tweet this giveaway on Twitter, then come back here and let me know you did.

I’ll pick four winners randomly on Monday, July 18, so get your comments in by Sunday, July 17 at 10:00pm PST. Good luck! (If your profile doesn’t link to your contact info, please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.)


I was invited to this event by Safeway/DEI Worldwide and given complimentary products. As always, all opinions are my own.

96 comments:

  1. Great giveaway!
    lesleymitchell52@yahoo.com

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  2. I'd like to try the salad dressings!
    lesleymitchell52@yahoo.com

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  3. That fruit basket looks phenomenal!

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  4. I would love to try the 1% plain greek yogurt!

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  5. I am from mexico but I still wanted to say that the ice cream really tempts me!
    I love Safeway It has so many things!
    I can't wait to go to the States again to buy a lot of things!
    Your blog is lovely I like your pictures :)

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  6. Beautiful pics and yummy recipes. Very chic table!!! L

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  7. This looks like such a fun time! Please don't enter me in the giveaway (as there is no Safeway near us).

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  8. That table looks incredible ... what fun, I'd have loved to see that live too!

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  9. Definitly would love to try that vanilla bean and vanilla cherry ice-cream ... I love the idea of minimally processed ... I normally avoid processed food because of all the chemicals and other not so nice stuff in them.

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  10. That watermelon basket is beautiful!

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

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  11. The open nature Maple yogurt sounds good.

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

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  12. OPEN NATURE yogurts sound good to try
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

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  13. http://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/88275975955161088

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  14. What an amazing post! Congratulations; we don't have Safe Way, but i wanted to tell you how I enjoyed all you photos.
    Rita

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  15. Oh, my! What a treat - YOUR POST ;-). How perfect is the weather we've been having, huh? [After that silly rainy weekend].

    I love my local Safeway!

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  16. What a fun way to spend a day. I have to say Safeway has dropped slightly below Trader Joes on my book, but i like the idea of the fewest possible ingredients being the best for us... and don't eat anything wrapped in cellophane. A friend of mine once told me that and I'll be darned if it is not true... ;-D

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  17. What a fun event and the menu looks amazing. How cool that you got to meet Tyler Florence. I'd probably drool all over myself if I met him. ;)

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  18. Awesome Awesome Awesome. Great recipes and cool event! So neat to be in the Guinness Big Book. I'm in for the world's largest bikini parade ;)

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  19. I'm super jealous you met Tyler! Love him! All of the food looks amazing and I love the product line! I don't have any of those stores here so please don't enter me.

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  20. I'm glad you enjoyed such a wonderful day and how did you really feel about that media pass??(LOL)

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  21. I love that they're donating the tables! Also...LOVE your MEDIA tag and how proud you are of it...I WOULD BE TOO! Oh and you and Tyler?!?! Super Jealous...shut up! I always say it but damn you Californians!!! LOL! XOXO (PS-we HAVE to meet some day! :)

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  22. Hi Karen, congratulations on being part of the world record! Whoo hoo. The potato salad looks super yummy and that is the coolest watermelon basket in the world.

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  23. This was so interesting! I would be super excited about the media pass too :-) I would love to try that greek yogurt!

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  24. It looks like you had a great time as a member of the press corps! Great post and pics!

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  25. Great post (and recipes)! I went to the Open Nature page and think the ice cream looks pretty tasty.

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  26. And I Tweeted your giveaway!

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  27. This sounds like so much fun! I think it is so cool that you got to meet Tyler Florence and got to take full advantage of your media pass. That is one really long picnic table!

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  28. What a fun day. The potato salad looks really good.
    Kathleen

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  29. Everything looks good on the Open Nature page but I think I'll have to try the Greek Yogurt first.
    Kathleen

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  30. OMG! You are so lucky and what a fun event! The potato salad looks delicious too!

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  31. Hmmm I'm interested to try Raspberry Walnut dressing!

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  32. I must have the peanut butter. Yes, it will be mine.

    Patty

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  33. Thank you for the giveaway. The watermelon basket looks so good
    merleandtina@yahoo.com

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  34. http://twitter.com/#!/HappyTina0115/status/89165564953632769
    merleandtina@yahoo.com

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  35. Milk Chocolate ice cream
    merleandtina@yahoo.com

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  36. I love your photos. Nice to see a picture of you and Andy. I'd like to try the Greek Yogurt.

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  37. Ahhh Karen, what an amazing opportunity! I'd give anything to meet Tyler Florance, The food look's delish. Henry Said he wants to do a BBQ throw down :) Im so picky when it comes to ribs, and he makes them like no other, and not because he's my husband :D GREAT pictures as always. I have to try Open Nature product never heard of then before.

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  38. That is one long picnic table! I wanted to let you know about my cookbook giveaway that is going on right now until July 16th. Stop on by to enter! Hope you are having a great week :)

    http://steaknpotatoeskindagurl.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-first-giveaway.html

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  39. Check out those credentials... the hilarious thing is that I literally just walked in the door, set my groceries on the counter, which included my first Open Nature product; a loaf of Ancient Grains bread. I didn't know it was a Safeway brand, but was excited to see the ingredients included actual whole grains rather than just whole wheat... I then headed straight to the computer bc I was thinking of you on my drive home and wanted to see what you were up to and email you. And then I see this entry!!! :)

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  40. I am also tweeting just to help you publicize. :)

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  41. The uncured bacon looks delicous.


    betsy_349 at hotmail dot com

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  42. Hey - great credentials! :) And those ribs & chicken look yummy!
    adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

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  43. I'd love to try the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
    adrianecoros(at)gmail(dot)com

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  44. Looks like you had a great time!
    bingomamanorma(at)gmail(dot)com

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  45. I'd like to try the Raspberry Walnut salad dressing
    bingomamanorma(at)gmail(dot)com

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  46. What a wonderful event to participate in. I would love to try the natural Bacon.

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  47. How exciting to meet Tyler Florence. Natural Bacon sounds great

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  48. I shop at Safeway all the time, so this is an awesome giveaway! Thanks so much for the chance!


    ~Beeb

    supercoupongirl AT gmail.com

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  49. I would like to try the tenderloin Angus Beef!


    ~Beeb

    supercoupongirl AT gmail.com

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  50. I tweeted this here: http://twitter.com/hardertobreathe/status/90895639600304128

    ~Beeb

    supercoupongirl AT gmail.com

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  51. My daughter is sitting on my lap and missing the ocean! awesome giveaway- thanks for the chance to win.
    onecrypticmama AT yahoo DOT

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  52. the open nature hickory smoked bacon sounds wonderful
    onecrypticmama AT yahoo DOT com

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  53. tweeted http://twitter.com/crypticmama/status/90897731182268416
    onecrypticmama AT yahoo DOT com

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  54. The beef franks would be practical for us since my boys love hot dogs!!

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  55. Tweeted!
    http://twitter.com/desertdealsdiva/statuses/90898877372301312
    And I love your name :-)

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  56. It looks like it was a fun day. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mrspoofa(at)aol.com

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  57. tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/Mrspoofa/status/90899072172572672
    mrspoofa(at)aol.com

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  58. Thank you for the giveaway!

    elena150980@yahoo.com

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  59. I'd like to try Open Nature yogurts

    elena150980@yahoo.com

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  60. Both the sausage & bread caught my attention. Thanks
    mrspoofa(at)aol.com

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  61. tweeted:

    http://twitter.com/#!/ElenaIstomina/status/90900673075478528

    elena150980@yahoo.com

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  62. What a fun event! I know how you feel about that media pass... The first time I got to sit in the press section at a movie screening I felt really special, LOL!

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  63. I think I'm the most excited to try the bread. I buy 100% Whole Wheat bread for my family and the one brand without all the junk is pretty pricey. I'd be happy to find a comparable brand that didn't have the same price tag.

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  64. Does Open Nature make Napkins?...cause I need one right now. I am Drooling just reading about the food served, no, really I am. : )

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  65. First I am so hungry now all the food looked awesome! Plus I had not heard of the Open Nature brand either. Second OH I am jealous of that media pass lol. I would frame it if I had one, since I am a blogger myself. Third so cool you have your picture with a great chef like Tyler Florence. What an awesome day! Id love to win a gift card we shop at Safeway all the time.
    lhoward916 at gmail dot com

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  66. I would love to try the Mint Chip Ice cream. Its hard to find a good mint chip without HFCS.

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  67. I shared the giveaway on twitter
    http://twitter.com/#!/FrugalFamTree/status/90967030513156097

    lhoward916 at gmail dot com

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  68. Did not realize this brand was out there or sold at Safeway.

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  69. mmm... I would enjoy some of the Honey Wheat bread.

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  70. I tweeted your giveaway @eclecticmommy

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  71. Thanks for the giveaway! I love shopping at Safeway for their selection of organic products and customer service.

    runningmatey at hotmail dot com

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  72. I like open nature cream top yogurt, maple flavor.

    runningmatey at hotmail dot com

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  73. I made Tyler's potato salad tonight and my husband would not shut up about how great it was. He went on and on that this is the best, no other potato salad compares, and there is no one alive that wouldn't love it! I think I agree.

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  74. Oh, my goodness! I was salivating as I read about the food & looked at the photos of it. Wow! I heard about the event so it was fun for me to read someone's personal take on it. Thanks for sharing.
    janet(dot)twokay(at)gmail(dot)com

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  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  76. I tweeted about your review & giveaway:
    https://twitter.com/#!/janettwokay/status/91802732217901057

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  77. Their breads tempt me the most. The "Ancient Grains" one sounds like something I'd love to eat.
    janet(dot)twokay(at)gmail(dot)com

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  78. How fun! Looks like an awesome opportunity and love the pics BTW. Thanks for the chance to win!
    gina.m.maddox (at) gmail (dot) com

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  79. tweet-http://twitter.com/#!/CrazyItalian0/status/91810118546636800
    gina.m.maddox (at) gmail (dot) com

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  80. I am tempted by their strawberry ice cream!
    gina.m.maddox (at) gmail (dot) com

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  81. http://twitter.com/LuckyDuckyToo/status/92023786014130176


    runningmatey at hotmail dot com

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  82. What a cool setup, looks like fun
    vlbsweeps at gmail dot com

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  83. I'd like the he Ancient Grains and Nuts and seeds bread
    vlbsweeps at gmail dot com

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  84. tweet https://twitter.com/#!/vlbsweeps/status/92546443163873280
    vlbsweeps at gmail dot com

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  85. I want to try the Honey Wheat bread.

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  86. Tweeted the giveaway:

    http://twitter.com/#!/calidreamin87/status/92773608883109888

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  87. Wow.. everything looks great! I love the pictures!

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  88. i like this and also californian bridge

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