Firebird Chocolate Giveaway

Today my little blog turns one. And what better way to celebrate than with chocolate?

Firebird Chocolate is the brainchild of Foodbeat Northwest’s founder, Michael Smith. Firebird Chocolate:

sources some of the world’s finest handmade, organic, better-than-Fair Trade chocolate. Our unique funding model puts more money into the hands that need it most, the farmers who provide the cocoa beans and other ingredients. Over half of the money earned in our sales go back to the farmers either directly (through acquisition of raw ingredients and profit-sharing) or indirectly (through the strategic partnerships we have set up with our vendors).

-Firebird’s Mission & Vision

I’m one of the only girls I know who isn’t a grab-it-by-the-handful-and-shovel-it-in chocolate lover. I only like good quality chocolate. Just like I only drink good quality wine. Subpar representations of what these two proofs that God loves me just aren’t worthy of my palate.

And, just like I only like good chocolate, I’m a sucker for good branding. Must be the former marketing professional in me. Similarly, I choose books by their cover.*  Firebird Chocolate definitely has cute labeling, which drew me in. And the bars fit in the palm of my hand, which provides perfect portion control. Although this chocolate is so creamy and rich, it is unnecessary to have more than one square at a time.

*Shh, I used to be a librarian, I didn’t say that.

The milk chocolate (41% cocoa) doesn’t have the chalky aftertaste I’ve come to know from mass-produced milk chocolate. Instead the flavor lingers in your mouth, long after the square has been consumed. But the star of the show is the dark chocolate espresso (70% cocoa). One bite sent me back to my days as a barista, filled with the glorious smell of espresso as shots were pulled for the waking. The chocolate isn’t just espresso flavored, but it has actual espresso beans chopped up and mixed inside. While, again, one bite is a sufficient after dinner treat, the flavor and calorie content make eating the entire bar in one sitting entirely appropriate. In fact, it might be a requirement.

That’s an ingredient list I can get behind. 

Firebird Chocolate is based out of Seattle and is available for purchase at small independent retailers and online. In Spokane you can find their chocolate at Atticus Coffee or Chocolate Apothecary.

When Michael realized my blog was about to turn one he was thrilled to celebrate with me, and is offering one lucky reader the chance to try three bars of their chocolate (Dark Chocolate Espresso, Milk Chocolate and Huckleberry Dark Chocolate).

To enter, simply visit Firebird Chocolate and tell me, by leaving a comment on this post, which chocolate from their currently available and/or future available chocolate you’re most interested in. They also take suggestions on flavors you’d like to see. I think a dark chocolate with sea salt would be divine.

You’ll receive an extra entry for tweeting about this giveaway (and leaving a separate comment). Stuck on what to say? Perhaps you could write:

@spinachandskittles is giving away Firebird Chocolate, which sources some of the world’s finest handmade, organic, better-than-Fair Trade chocolate

This giveaway closes at 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 26th.

*Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, all thoughts and comments are entirely my own. Michael sent me a few chocolate bars along with a Christmas card because he is nice like that. I asked him if he would be interested in donating the bars for this giveaway. He happily agreed.

It’s kind of a long story.

Do you ever start a response to, “how are you doing?” with a mustered up smile and a faux-enthusiasm “great,” only to think, not even close?

That is kinda how I feel, but it’s kind of a long story.

So instead of boring you with the not-so-fun details of my life, I will instead push through, carry on, and share with you some ueber-fabulous details instead.

(In bulleted order, no less. As that is how I roll. I’m an organized person, and bullets make me happy)
  • I finished Bloomsday (12K) in 1:22:27. I guessed I would finish in 1:38ish (12 minute miles). But I shaved 1 minute off my normal pace, and finished the race with an average speed of 11 minutes/mile. Go me! Also fun, I:
    • Placed 13,049 out of 50,611 total participants
    • Placed 161st out of 575 among 27-year-old females
    • Placed 14th among 31 people with the same last name

Not too shabby for someone who only now considers herself a runner :)

(source)
  • The momentum of the race propelled me to sign up to run my first ever half marathon!! My friend, Reese, and I signed up to run the Fueled by Fine Wine 1/2 Marathon in Dundee, OR (outside of Portland) on July 10th. My 28th birthday is on the 5th, and hers is on the 21st. So we are celebrating in style by running 13.1 miles. This might not be your idea of an ideal birthday present, but I cannot wait! As mentioned before, I never got to celebrate my birthday with classmates due to my summer birthday, so I’ve made up for the lack of school celebrations* in my adult life by doing extravagant things. Last year was Paris, this year is a half marathon. What will next year bring?
(source)

The coolest thing about this race is that you get to run through the vinyards of the Willamette Valley. There are a lot of hills, which I will have to train for, but at the end there is an after party with all of the wine makers at one of the vinyards. Talk about motivation to run a half marathon! The scenery is going to be breathtaking, and I can’t wait to taste the wine!

(source)
*this year I am teaching summer school, which starts on July 5th. Would it be wrong to throw myself a party with my students on the first day of school?
  • The chicks are now out in their (hubs built/reclaimed wood/ not quite [but almost!] finished) coop! Sunday was their first evening outside, and they were so excited! They have a chicken run, and the ability to go “upstairs” to chillax in front of the heat lamp and lay eggs. The coop also has a double agent identity as an herb garden. Once the weather gets a tad nicer (aka no more snow, ahem, it is MAY Spokane!), the hubs will transplant our indoor herb garden outside.
Please ignore our mess ;)

  • I have chocolate. Dark chocolate truffles filled with caramel and topped with sea salt to be exact. Good chocolate makes life much more bearable.

What good things are happening in your life right now?

Salsa chicken disaster.

Homigawd I am starving. The prunes I’m munching on are not cutting it either. (Yes, I happen to like prunes. No, I’m not 80.) I’m watching Arrested Development while I wait for my dinner to hurry up and finish cooking.

BEST.SHOW.EVER. Seen it? If you haven’t you really need to put this on your Netflix queue right away. I have been known to bust out the chicken during random events. And may have *almost* fallen into a fire once.

(source)

This weekend the lovely Anastasia informed me the Arrested Development movie is definitely on! I will be in the theater opening day, thank you very much.

Anyway…

The hubs opted to take the bus to work this morning (*thanks hubs!), so I wouldn’t have to deal with an extra early morning work out, driving back home, driving him to work and then driving myself to work. Just writing that sentence made me exhausted.

I really hate driving. I think it all started when I got in an accident four days after I got my license. My mom was napping and I interrupted her slumber to ask if I could borrow her car to meet my friend for lunch. After lunch I was attempting to drop my friend off at work and I pulled into a parking spot. Unfortunately my foot slipped off the brake and slammed onto the gas and I went flying over the divider between Burger King and Big O Tires. I hit another vehicle and their back end looked like my front end. It wound up costing my insurance company a pretty penny, (my bill went up before I even received the first statement in the mail), and I was scarred for life. Now I pretty much refuse to drive unless I have to. Or if there is a sale I need to scope out.

But I digress. This morning I hit the gym for my Tuesday run walk/jog. I decided my unofficial training plan would include a jog on the ol dreadmill Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and attempt an outdoor run once on the weekend. The couch to 5k program has never worked for me, so I am just making this plan up as I go. So far so good, except for the fact that I was still to Sudafeded-up to really have a good work out. After a half hour I jumped off the dreadmill to work my legs instead.

Brekkie was same ol, same ol oats (blueberry craisins, cinnamon, chia seeds, almond milk/water) and coffee…which tasted like an ash tray? Gross. Once we are out of this Kirkland House Blend I am going to be on a mission to find something locally roasted.

Are you bored with my breakfasts lately? I am.

Lunch was a repeat of last nights dinner: taco salad (turkey taco meat, bell pepper, tomato, red onion, homemade salsa, homemade guac and some colby jack cheese).

I snacked on a sad looking nanner w/decaf chia tea + ff half&half (finally threw out that nasty caramel macchiatto coffee creamer!)

I swung downtown to pick up the hubs and threw dinner in the oven: salsa chicken. We have SO MUCH salsa to use up this week! So last night I threw 3 large (Costco size) chicken breasts in a bag with 2 cups of salsa (half medium, half spicy). Tonight I threw it in a pyrex dish and into the oven it went…an hour ago. Usually this dish only takes a half hour. But due to the size of my breasts the dish took double the amount of time to bake.

What, you don’t like tasteless jokes?

Tada, by the time I finished writing this post dinner was magically ready. Ask and you shall receive I guess. Salsa chicken w/leftover cheesy rice.

I’m still starving though so I may dig into this (salted caramel chocolate!),

or this cookie a student decorated for me :)

Yes, I do go girl.

Medicine haze Monday.

Random thoughts filled my cloudy head today….

Does 24 Hour Sudafed contain caffeine? If not, why couldn’t I sleep last night.

Why am I so parched? Does Sudafed do that to you? Why does my water taste gross?

I wonder when I’ll get my next 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond. I could really use some more storage containers.

Why don’t we have a Container Store?

When will Trader Joe’s really open?

I wonder if I could talk the hubs into running over to World Market to pick up some more dark chocolate with sea salt.

Why have I not made my own nut butter yet?

I wonder if I could make my own Nutzo, there is no way I am spending $11.99 on a jar of nut butter.

There were more, but I’ll spare you. My head is very foggy from a combo of meds and I can’t really function.

I had to drive the hubs to work this morning because his car had to go into the shop. Long story short he left his car in his work parking garage over the weekend because it is making really loud, clanky, scary noises. He made an appointment for this morning at 7:30. He dropped the car off and walked back to work only to receive a phone call from Volvo informing him that they never ordered the part! What the fudge Volvo? So we have to wait around 5 days before the part will come in…one car + morning workouts + working on opposite sides of town = really cranky Leila.

Brekkie was a pretty standard coffee/half&half/raw sugar + oats/blueberry craisins/chia seeds mix.

Lunch consisted of some roasted red pepper & tomato soup, a side salad, some seltzer and a side of laughter.

Snackie of peach chobani + ice water, (I love that my water bottle still had a huge chunk o ice in it at 2:30 pm).

A co-worker dropped off a bunch of free brand new books from his sister, making my afternoon a whole lot brighter. Included in the mix is the 2011 Newbery Award Winner, Moon Over Manifest!

Then it was off to the gym. Uggh, I hate working out with the after work crowd. Not that I have anything against these people, I’m sure they are all very nice in another setting. But the too small parking lot + too many pieces of cardio equipment in a small space  = really cranky gym goers. Plus I am slightly claustrophobic, and after hitting elbows with the girl next to me for a half hour I was totally over it. Luckily she got off her machine before we had an elbow war and I was able to complete a full hour on the adaptive motion trainer.

After picking the hubs up halfway between his work and the Y, (volvo is not to be trusted on the roads), I quickly assembled taco salads from yesterday’s leftovers.

Yum.

And maybe a few chips w/salsa and guac on the side.

Now about that dark chocolate w/sea salt…