Enjoying Tea in Recipe Form

Linda Appel Lipsius, CEO and Co-founder of Teatulia, was kind enough to let me reprint some of their recipes for you all to enjoy.

The first recipe I wanted to share is Teatulia’s  Earl of Bengal Cookies recipe.  Linda spoke of these in our interview.  Click here to read the interview:   A Visit in Vickie’s Kitchen with Linda Appel Lipsius   I plan on making these cookies…..soon.  They sound delicious!  Linda says she loves to bake these during the holiday season.

Earl of Bengal Cookies
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cookies,Dessert
  • 9 tea bags of Teatulia Earl of Bengal Tea
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  1. Grind the tea from the tea bags into a fine powder ( using a mortar and pestle works best).
  2. Pulse together all dry ingredients in a food processor and then add the vanilla, water and butter.
  3. Pulse together until the dough is formed. Divide the dough in half.
  4. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a 12 inch log, about 2 inches in diameter. Chill both wrapped logs for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap dough logs ( one at a time to keep cold and hard) and slice into disks about ⅓ inch thick.
  6. Place cookies on parchment or foil lined baking sheet about an inch apart.
  7. Bake until edges are brown. ( 10 to 12 minutes)
  8. Let cool for a moment and then trasfer to wire racks. Enjoy!


Next, I want to introduce you to Teatulia’s spin on a Mint Julep – Teatulia’s Green Tea Mint Julep.  I am a Southerner at heart.  I love the Kentucky Derby.  I love wearing a big fancy hat.  And, I love a Mint Julep.  Teatulia’s version sounds amazing and I have decided that, while watching the Derby on TV this year, I will be enjoying this wonderful drink!

Green Tea Mint Julep
Here is Teatulia's spin on the classic Mint Julep! Enjoy!
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 1
  • 2 ounces Teatulia green tea
  • 1.5 ounces Stranahans Colorado whisky
  • Half a lemon, squeezed
  • 1.5 ounces simple syrup
  • Mint
  1. To make the drink, start with a sugar rimmed cocktail glass.
  2. Muddle the mint, lemon juice and sugar in the glass.
  3. Then, add crushed ice, and pour the tea and the whiskey over the ice.
  4. Garnish with mint and lemon.
  5. Drink!


Lastly, I want to share their Green Tea Poached Salmon recipe.  Salmon is my favorite fish to eat,  I think this would go well with some lightly roasted asparagus.


Green Tea Poached Salmon
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 2
  • 4 bags Teatulia Green Tea
  • 2 half pound salmon steaks
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt/pepper
  • ½ lemon
  1. Steep tea in water for 2 to 5 minutes, remove tea bags and add garlic, ginger and sesame oil to the tea.
  2. In skillet, heat oil and once hot, add salmon steaks. If salmon still has skin, place skin side up and sear other side. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Turn salmon over and add tea mixture.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and poach for 6 to 9 minutes.
  5. Salmon should flake easily with a fork.
  6. Once plated, squeeze lemon over salmon and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

So, there ya’ have it.  3 recipes involving tea.  Who says tea is just for sipping?  For more Teatulia recipes, please visit their Website:  Teatulia Tea.

Prime Rib with Herb Blend Crust and Horseradish Sauce

Prime Rib with Herb Crust and Horseradish Sauce is delicious and impressive.  I love to serve this for dinner parties or special family occasions.  Have your butcher cut the prime rib roast for you.  I always bake at least a 5 pound roast.  You can allow 1/2 pound per person when ordering the roast.  If you would like to serve wine with this dinner, The Velvet Palate recommends  Cicchitti – a Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina.  (Tasting Notes)

To view the YouTube step by step tutorial video for this recipe, click here:  Prime Rib with Herb Blend Crust and Horseradish Sauce

Prime Rib with Herb Blend Crust and Horseradish Sauce
Serves: 8 to 10
  • 5 to 6 pound boneless prime rib roast ( or larger)
  • ½ cup Kosher or Sea salt
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoon parsley
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup dried rosemary
  • ¼ cup dried red chilis
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • olive oil to rub on roast
  • Horseradish sauce: Sour cream and horseradish
  1. Blend the salt, lemon zest, parsley,sun dried tomatoes, rosemary,dried red chilis, black pepper, dry mustard, dried basil and vegetable oil together and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool. (Note: you can do this step a day or two ahead of time and store the herb blend in a zip lock bag)
  2. Let the prime rib roast come to room temperature and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Coat the roast with the Herb Blend.
  4. Place in a 450 degree oven and bake prime rib for ½ hour then turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Roast for 15 minutes per pound.
  5. It will be perfectly medium rare at the end of the cooking time.
  6. To make the horseradish sauce, combine 1 cup of sour cream with 3 to 5 tablespoons of horseradish. Serve with the prime rib.

Combine the salt, lemon zest, parsley, sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, red chilis, pepper, dry mustard, dreid basil and vegetable oil in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Baked herb blend…..

Let the prime rib come to room temperature and place in roasting pan.

Drizzle with olive oil and pat the herb blend on the roast.

Ready for the oven…..

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Bake prime rib for 1/2 hour and then turn the oven down to 325 degrees.  Roast for 15 minutes per pound.  The roast will be perfectly cooked to medium rare.

To make the horseradish sauce, combine 1 cup of sour cream and 3 to 5 tablespoons of horseradish.  Serve with the prime rib.


Enjoy this prime rib with a wonderful dry red wine.

Praline Topped Brie

Praline Topped Brie is a decadent appetizer that can be whipped up in 5 minutes and is sure to impress your guests!  What could be better than the gooey savory flavor of warm brie hot out of the oven – topped with the sweet delight of orange praline topping!

To view the YouTube step by step cooking tutorial for this recipe, click here:  Praline Topped Brie

Praline Topped Brie
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 8 oz OR 13 oz round of brie cheese
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • Crackers or toasted baguette-style French bread for serving
  1. Place pecans in 350 degree oven for 5 minutes to toast.
  2. Trim top rind from brie round .
  3. Place brie in baking dish.
  4. Mix the orange marmalade and brown sugar together in a small bowl, Spread on top of the cheese.
  5. Sprinkle with toasted pecans.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly softened and topping is bubbly.
  7. Serve with crackers or bread slices.


Place the pecans in a baking dish and lightly toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Trim the top off of the brie round.

Place the round in an ovenproof baking dish.

Mix the orange marmalade and brown sugar together in a small bowl.

Spread the topping on the brie.

Sprinkle with toasted pecans.

Bake in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly softened and topping is bubbly.

Remove from oven and serve.

Praline Topped Brie hot out of the oven:

Serve with crackers or hot bread.  Enjoy!

Remember, let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  


Interview with Linda Appel Lipsius: Teatulia Tea


A Visit in Vickie’s Kitchen with Linda Appel Lipsius:

Musings on Great Tea, Social Responsibility and Daily Life



I recently had the opportunity to have a chat with Linda Appel Lipsius, Co-founder and CEO of Teatulia.  Linda, whose laugh is heartfelt and contagious, was a delight to interview.  She’s the mother of two amazing cute kiddos and is proud of the work being done at Teatulia.  Her philosophy is, “if you can do it better, then you may as well.”  And, they are.  Her company recently took home the “Focus on the Future” award at the 8th annual Naturally Boulder Autumn Awards Party.  After sampling several varieties of Teatulia tea, I think that the taste of Teatulia tea, their business model, and Linda herself are all equally impressive.  I hope that you, my dear reader, enjoy the following interview as much as I did.

VW:  I wanted to talk just a few minutes about how you got into the tea business.  I read that it involved a chance meeting your husband had at a coffee shop.

LAL:  I am always surprised at all the stuff I put out there on the internet.  Yeah, my husband met this lovely man, Anis Ahmed, at a coffee shop in New York.  My husband has a habit of talking to strangers – to his benefit though.  So, my husband met Anis at a coffee shop and we became friends.  And a bit later, Anis was staying at our place while we were in LA.  We knew that he and his family had started a tea garden and he was interested in bringing the tea to the States.  My background is in consumer products, and we were getting out of our previous business.  So, I offered to help him and do a market analysis.  I was not a tea drinker, at the time, and didn’t really know much about the market. So, I started out just helping a friend.


VW:  I think it is amazing in life when things like that just happen.  Now that you are a tea drinker, how do you make the process special?


LAL:  I think, for me, it is the whole experience.  I usually use Teatulia’s pyramid bagged teas.  So, the process is fairly simple.  I like the taste and the beauty.  It’s actually called the agony of the leaves – the twisting of the leaves as they unfurl in the water.  It definitely does make you take a moment.  I find that it is a very different experience than having a cup of coffee.


VW:  I read that you like to watch your tea steep in a glass cup.  What is it about the steeping process that you like to watch?


LAL:  Oh, I think the glass cup is very important.  The agony of the leaves is so cool to watch.  We, half-jokingly, try to ban porcelain cups, just because you can’t experience the tea in the same way.  We do use porcelain cups, but I think glass cups are best for tea.  In a glass vessel you can really see the tea grow; it’s beautiful.  It really is a multi-sense experience.    But, it is only with tea.  The herbs don’t act the same way.  Our lemongrass herbal doesn’t do the same pretty dance in your cup that our black breakfast tea does.


VW:  You mentioned coffee.  I typically start my day with two cups of coffee and that is all the coffee I will have for the day.  Do you start your day with tea?  Do you end your day with tea?  Or, do you drink tea all day long? 


LAL:  You ask that at an interesting time in my life.  I am now ready to leave coffee entirely.  I used to have two cups of coffee in the morning and then tea the rest of the day.  But, here the last few months, I have really discovered tea in a new way.  I love our black tea and have begun drinking the white tea a lot more.  You know, I keep evolving.  I had a cup of coffee today while at a photo shoot.  But, I think if you speak with me next week I will be a tea all day person.


VW:  I noticed that you have Black, White, Green and Herbal varieties of tea for sale at Teatulia.  They all look amazing.  For any of my readers who are not familiar with the differences, what are your recommendations for steeping different types of tea? 


LAL:  The recommendations are based both on temperature and steep time.

  • Black teas are the heartiest, most robust and are fully oxidized.  When you prepare a cup of black tea, you can use water that is at a full boil.  Our black teas are best when steeped 3-5 minutes.
  • For our white and green teas, you want water just off the boil.  I think steeping them anywhere from 1-3 minutes is best.  Any longer and the tea will start to burn and become very tannic.
  • Herbals are very forgiving.  You can use boiling water, you can steep them for 10 minutes, you can steep them for 1 minute.  You can really do whatever suits your tastes on the herbals.


VW:  Here at Make Life Special, I love to encourage people to get together over food and drink for conversation and connection.  I know that tea can be used hot, iced, in cocktails and even in cookies.  What is your favorite way to use tea to bring your friends and family closer together?


LAL:  I think all of the ways you mentioned are nice.  I think tea is so new to so many people.  I like introducing them to tea, having them taste it and watching that big “ah ha” moment.  We do a news letter where we tell people different ways to steep.  Cold brewed iced tea is very exciting and interesting.  I think that sharing all the different ways to use tea create dialogue and gets people excited.

Perhaps my favorite way of making tea time special is pulling out a beautiful tea pot when I have people over to my house.  I think that creating ceremony is important.  You get everyone to slow down and enjoy the time a bit more.

Also, over the holidays I like to do cookies using all of our teas.  Earl of Bengal cookies, Ginger Green cookies and lemongrass cookies with a shortbread recipe base are all very good.  I love to make up a big batch of those and package them up to share with my friends.


VW: I understand social responsibility is a top priority for you.  Please tell my readers a bit about Teatulia’s approach.


LAL: So, the garden was started by my business partner, Anis Ahmed, and his family specifically to be a social enterprise and provide jobs.  That was the entire reason for building this garden.  It turned out that the tea was exquisite.  That was a happy accident.  The northern part of Bangladesh is the poorest part of the entire country.  There is a vicious cycle of unemployment, poverty and starvation based on the seasons.  So, they went in and built this garden from scratch and provided jobs.  During the high season, the tea season, up to 2,ooo people in the area are employed.  It sounds neat in and of itself that we are providing jobs.  But, if you know and understand the tea industry, and how most tea plantations are structured, you realize that this is revolutionary.

Most tea plantations were set up a while ago under different circumstances, like colonialism.  These plantations are work camps – that is literally what they are called. The people are only educated up to a certain point and the people that work there are not living in their home community.  As a result, the workers are often alienated.  Our situation is completely different.  The people who work the garden go home at night.  When they leave work, they go home to their families and their community.

The second thing that we do is a cattle lending program.  Our tea farm is 2,000 acres – which makes it one of the largest tea gardens in the world.  To support this amount of organic farming, we need a lot of organic fertilizer.  The Ahmed family decided that they didn’t want to go into the dairy business just to get the amount of fertilizer that they needed.  They decided to use this need for fertilizer and offer it as a benefit for the community.  Teatulia loans cows to women in the community and the women repay those loans with cow dung.  That is what the farm needs and that is how they pay down their loan.  All the while they are keeping the cows, the milk and any calves produced by the cow.  It is a tremendous aggressive asset.  Once the loan is repaid, the women own the cow outright.  Some of them have sold the cow and bought land.  Some have bought additional cows.  Most of them are now sending their children to university with the money.

My favorite story though is the rock star of the cattle cooperative.  Her name is Fahima Begum and she has about six cows.  Her husband actually quit his job and works for her now.  In that part of the world that is unheard of.  She’s been so successful that she was able to buy a solar panel for her home.  Now she can cook at night and the kids can study at night.  It’s tremendous.


VW:  So, is it only women who work in the tea garden? 


LAL:  Yes, it’s exclusively women.  The pluckers—when you pick tea you pluck it from the plant—are all women.  And, it is only women who are in the cattle cooperative.  Oh, and here is another of my favorite stories, we were over in Bangladesh last April and they have started a literacy program for the pluckers.  So, we sat in on one of the classes.  They are teaching twenty, thirty, even fifty year old women how to count to ten and sign their name.  We asked one of the ladies, who completed the course, “What has this done for you?”  She said “Now that I can sign my name and count to ten, I know that I will not get cheated at the market anymore.”  These are basic, basic skills that are very life-changing.


VW:  It sounds like a lot of wonderful things are being accomplished through Teatulia.  Even under the best circumstances, everyone has their stressful days.  How do you unplug and de-stress? 


LAL:  I hold my children.  That is all I want to do.


VW:  I’d like to pose a scenario to you:  a good friend of yours is a novice tea drinker.  You’ve heard that her job has been stressful lately and want to gift her all the tools for a perfect cup of tea.  What would you give her?  And, what tea would you include? 


LAL:  I’d give her some Teatulia white tea and some of our lemongrass tea.  I’d also give her a glass Bodum cup so she could enjoy watching the agony of the tea.  Oh, and I would make sure she had something sweet, of course.


VW:  I love to travel and see new places.  I’m certain that you travel a lot with your line of work.  What are some of your favorite places to visit? 


LAL:  This summer we were in Spain for a month.   I’d never traveled anywhere for that length of time.  That was a blast.  My favorite place though would have to be South Africa.  I went there a few years ago and it was just mind-blowingly beautiful.  I lived in London for quite a few years and I still love London.  I also still love New York.


VW:  It has been a great pleasure getting to know more about you and Teatulia.  Is there anything else you would like to add?


LAL:  I think that tea, in general, is such an unbelievably rich and complex world.  Having not been a tea drinker before joining Teatulia, I’ve had so much fun learning about it.  I have found that tea has really enriched my life.



Interested in purchasing some Teatulia tea?  Here is a link to their online Store.  http://www.teatulia.com/tea-store.htm


Amazon has a selection of their teas available for bulk purchase and their “Subscribe & Save.”  Also, for those of you who are Amazon Prime members, several items are Prime eligible!  Here is a link to their Selection.


If you are a brick & mortar store lover, here is a link to their Store Locator.


Note:  I want to thank Linda Appel Lipsius for this interview.  I have enjoyed the samples of Teatulia Tea we received for our Holiday Gift Guide Review.  No compensation was received.

“Crockin’ in the USA” Competition

I am currently testing and reviewing the Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes and will be posting that review early next week.  I will be reviewing :

BBQ Pulled Pork



Hearty Beef Stew



Savory Pot Roast

To celebrate the launch of the brand new Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes , they are offering a contest to give slow cooker lovers a chance to flex their creative muscles.  “Crockin’ in the USA” Competition invites slow cooker enthusiasts and fans everywhere to submit their own unique slow cooker recipes using one of the new mixes.  Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes will offer a slew of fantastic prizes for winners and entrants alike.

With the “Crockin’ in the USA” competition, Crock-Pot aficionados are encouraged to submit their one-of-a-kind recipes using one of these mixes.  Entrants should go to the dedicated tab at the Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes Facebook fan page   and enter your post and photos on the dedicated tab.

After submitting, participants can enlist their fans and friends to vote for their recipe on the Facebook tab.  Each voter also has a chance to win, with daily prizes and giveaways from Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes.  The winning recipe, determined by Facebook voting and Crock-Pot Judge, will win a grand prize of groceries for their entire family for a year, and have his or her own page on the Crock-Pot Seasoning Mixes webpage with exclusive content.

The contest launches on November 1, 2012 and the Facebook tab goes live then.   Hurry….the contest ends November 25, 2012. 

The winner will be announced on December 17, 2012.






**CONTEST CLOSED***AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker Giveaway!!

I start my day with a cup of coffee.  My daughter starts her day with several cups of coffee ( she has a toddler to keep up with).  I’m not a betting woman, but I’m pretty sure a lot of you all are coffee drinkers.  I’ve recently been introduced to AeroPress coffee.  It’s less acidic, it’s quick  and the flavor is amazing.  I love it so much that I decided to share the love and host a giveaway!



I have one (1) AeroPress coffee and espresso maker to give away.  Would you like to start your morning with an AeroPress cup of coffee?


To enter the giveaway, just answer the following question in the “Speak Your Mind” section at the bottom of the post:

“How many cups of coffee, on average, do you drink every day?”

Are you a single cup guy or gal?  Do you slowly drink a whole pot of coffee?  Do your cubicle mates make fun of your addiction?  Whatever your coffee habits, please share!

Note:  If you don’t drink caffeine, no problem!  Just say something along the lines of “hello” and you’re good to go.

The Rules

One entry per person, please.

Entrants must live in the US or Canada.

Giveaway begins Monday October 22, 2012 and ends Wednesday October 31, 2012 at 8 pm CST.

The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Thursday November 1, 2012.

Winner must email MakeLifeSpecial@gmail.com with their name and mailing address.

Note:  Giveaway sponsored by AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker.  Thank you! 




Nielsen-Massey Vanilla and Flavoring Review

As you all know, I LOVE to bake and I was thrilled when I was asked to review the Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and Flavorings.  Nielsen Massey has been known as a producer of  top quality vanillas for over a century.  The company was founded in 1907.  They have always been, and still are, a family-owned business and are now run by the third generation of the Nielsens.  The line of Nielsen Massey products is extensive – with vanillas from Madagasar, Tahiti and Mexico;  vanilla powders, sugars and pastes and  flavorings including pure chocolate extract, pure almond extract, pure orange extract, pure coffee extract – just to name a few.  My daughter, Nicole, uses the Nielsen Massey Vanilla paste and absolutely loves it.   Whatever your baking needs — Nielsen Massey has a flavoring or vanilla for you!

I decided to use the Nielsen Massey  Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and bake my Mom’s Old Fashioned Pecan Pie.   For the complete recipe, click here:  Vickie’s Mom’s Old Fashioned Pecan Pie.   This recipe has been in my family for years but I have to say it tasted even better with the Nielsen Massey Madagascar Vanilla! 

To watch the step by step tutorial video on how to make this recipe featuring the Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Click here:  Vickie’s Mom’s Old Fashioned Pecan Pie

I have only started playing with the other samples they sent me:  Pure Almond Extract, Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract, Pure Chocolate Extract and Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract, but I am amazed at how much each one adds to a recipe. 

The Nielsen Massey website has lots of information about all of their products and a wonderful section packed full of great recipes.  If you want to get inspired, click here to check out their recipe section:  Nielsen Massey Recipes.  Here you will see recipes ideas from appetizers and baked goods to drinks and entrees.  My favorite was the Ribs with Smoky Vanilla BBQ Sauce!

And speaking of recipes, Nielsen Massey has a great new cookbook out :  A Century of Flavor  Nielsen Massey Vanillas.  It is a beautiful cookbook with tons of full color pictures and many delicious recipes.  I can’t wait to try the Vanilla Caramel Corn Crunch this weekend!

Cooking and baking is so enjoyable for me and I love to use quality products.  The Nielsen Massey line of vanillas and flavorings will help you create all kinds of flavorful foods!

Thank you to Wilkspr for the Nielsen Massey gift set which I received in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other manner.  The opinions expressed above are my own.


**CONTEST CLOSED**Guylian Belgian Chocolate Truffle Giveaway

What better time of the year than the Holidays to enjoy the Guylian “ultra-indulgent” Belgian chocolate truffles!  Guylain is offering an assortment  Artisanal Chocolate Truffles   to  one (1) LUCKY winner from the Make Life Special website!

These decadent truffles are 100% pure, silky smooth, dark and white Belgium Chocolate and are filled with rich, luxuriously creamy chocolate praline truffle.   

These wonderful chocolates were born out of a love story that dates back to the late 1950’s.  Guy Foubert, a  passionate Belgium Chocolataire married his love, Liliane who then joined names creating Chocolaterie Guylian.  Today, Guylian crafts the finest authentic Belgium Chocolate Truffles, utilizing  the original handmade recipe of Guy and Liliane.  The original signature truffle recipe is still made in small-batch copper kettles exclusively by Guylian’s Master Chocolatiers in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium.

Guylian offers a new chocolate experience from a perfect pairing with gourmet tea and coffee to a special wine, to a nice cheese, the Guylian experience is one to surely savour on any occasion.  To learn more about pairing chocolates, click here:  The Guylian Chocolate Experience.   Remember, one lucky Make Life Special reader will win an assortment of Guylian Belgian Chocolates to enjoy over the holidays!

One (1) lucky winner will receive the following products:

One – 22 piece box of Guylian Artisanal Belgian Original Chocolate Truffles

Two – 6 piece Original Chocolate Truffle Box

Four – 2 piece Original Chocolate Truffle Box

Click here to view the various Guylian Chocolates:    Guylian Belgian Chocolate



1.  Go to the Guylian Website by clicking HERE and sign up for their newsletter.  Then say “signed up for newsletter”  in the “Speak Your Mind” section at the bottom of this post.

2.   Like Guylian Chocolates on their Facebook page by clicking HERE.  Then say “Liked Guylian” in the “Speak Your Mind” section at the bottom of this post.   

3.  Tell us how much you enjoy eating chocolates.  Don’t hold back!  We want you to share!  Just post your comment in the “Speak Your Mind” section at the bottom of this post.


Three ways to enter and each option will count as one entry.  

Giveaway starts    Thursday October 18, 2012 and ends Monday October 29, 2012 at 8 pm. CST. 

Only U.S. entrants, please.

The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on Tuesday October 30, 2012.

Winner must email  MakeLifeSpecial@gmail.com with their name and mailing address.

Thank you to Guylian Artisanal Belgian Chocolates for sponsoring this giveaway.




Nielsen Massey Vanilla and Cookbook Giveaway

This contest is now closed

I LOVE to bake!  Here’s my Old Fashioned Pecan Pie —hot out of the oven.  I used the Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure  Vanilla Extract in my pecan pie and you can really taste the difference!    I have learned that it is so important to use quality ingredients in your recipes because that one tip makes a big difference in the success of your finished product.  

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas are premium vanilla products that are known worldwide.  They have always been, and still are, a family-owned business and are now run by the third generation of the Nielsens.  The line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include:  Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste ( which my daughter, Nicole, absolutely loves) ; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar and Certified Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Beans.  They also have an amazing line of pure flavors:  Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract,  Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water.  Whatever your baking needs — Nielsen – Massey has a flavoring or extract for you!

Nielsen-Massey also has a cookbook, A Century of Flavor Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.   I read cookbooks like some people read novels and this cookbook took me on a journey of exciting flavors and dishes.  It is packed with 50 delicious recipes and full-page color pictures of every dish!  Just reading the book made my mouth water  with recipes like Vanilla Apple Pudding, Savory Pork Tenderloin, Vanilla-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette and Vanilla Caramel Corn Crunch!

One lucky Make Life Special reader will win a Nielsen-Massey Gift Set:

2 oz Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 oz Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract

2 oz Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract

2 oz Pure Almond Extract

2 oz Pure Chocolate Extract

A Century of Flavor cookbook

Win it!!!


To enter the giveaway, just answer the following question in the “Speak Your Mind” section at the bottom of this post:

” What is your favorite recipe you bake using vanilla?”

Maybe it’s your grandma’s recipe for sugar cookies or your favorite pie or cake recipe.  Whatever bakery creation that makes  your taste buds dance with delight, please share!


One entry per person, please.

Giveaway starts Tuesday October 16, 2012.

Giveaway ends Saturday October 27, 2012 at 8pm CST.

The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced October 28, 2012.

Winner must email MakeLifeSpecial@Gmail.com  with their name and mailing address.

Note:  Giveaway sponsored by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.


Mom’s Old Fashioned Pecan Pie

No dessert speaks to me like pecan pie!  I can’t resist it. I’ve even been known to have it for breakfast ( but don’t tell anyone) !  My Mom always made a good old fashioned pecan pie every Thanksgiving and every Christmas.  I still make pecan pie for special holidays but I don’t reserve it only for special occasions.  It is so quick and easy to make – you can have it anytime!  In fact, the filling only has 6 ingredients and you can whip it up in about 5 minutes.  Here is my Mom’s Old Fashioned Pecan Pie recipe:

Mom's Old Fashioned Pecan Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pie
Serves: 8
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup Karo light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine sugar, light corn syrup and melted butter.
  2. Add beaten eggs, chopped pecans and vanilla to the syrup mixture, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. (Note: Since this is a high sugar content pie, sprinkle a little flour on each side of the pie dough before putting it into the pie plate.)
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover the edges with aluminum foil or a pie crust protector to prevent burning.
  5. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 15 to 20 minutes.

Click the link to view the YouTube How-To Tutorial for this recipe:  Vickie’s Mom’s Old Fashioned Pecan Pie 


Combine the sugar, light corn syrup and melted butter.  Stir well.

Add beaten eggs, vanilla and chopped pecans to syrup mixture, mixing thoroughly.  

Bring the refrigerated pie crust to room temperature and unroll.  Sprinkle both sides of the pie dough with flour.  Place into the pie pan and flute edges.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  NOTE:  After 20 minutes, put strips of aluminum foil around the edges of the pie or use a pie protector to prevent the edges from burning.

After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Let the pie cool before serving.

Here is the pie— hot out of the oven.  (Notice my vintage pot holders?  My daughter, Nicole, made these for me when she was a little girl ( now she is a Mom too) and I love using my handmade pot holders !)


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