Vermont Maple Sriracha Giveaway + more!

Big Lenny’s Specialty Sauces has been making mustards and relishes for over 20 years in Rutland, VT. This past March Lenny and his friend Jackson Whelan collaborated to create something new: Vermont Maple Sriracha.



Here’s the short and sweet review from my husband: “Become really good friends with these guys! Tell your readers I said this stuff was amazing five times!”.

He gets right to the point. This product is a must have. It’s a must have for daily use. It’s a must have for gift giving. It’s a must have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Last week I received an email from Apple Mountain Gifts in Burlington. The owners wanted to make sure that I knew about Vermont Maple Sriracha, a product they keep selling out of (that’s a good thing!).

What makes this product unique? “Quality over quantity. We use the freshest ingredients we can find, and use no fillers or thickeners. Simple all natural ingredients combine to make one magical hot sauce. We make it the way we would want to eat ourselves, instead of finding the cheapest way to produce it.” ~Jackson


I have enjoyed Vermont Maple Sriracha on Shepard’s pie, pulled pork, pizza, chili and just a few drops in salad dressing. The possibilities are endless. Jackson enjoys spicing up his eggs each morning and has a great recipe for chicken wings on his website. There are lots of great recipes to try. This sriracha sauce has a medium heat and wonderful flavor.

Vermont Maple Sriracha was a nominee in Martha Stewart’s American Made competition. See details here. Find Vermont Maple Sriracha here there and everywhere!


I also want to tell you how much our family enjoyed Big Lenny’s mustards. Note that these did not last long at my house. They are delicious and versatile!

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A friend sent me this recipe and I recommend that you try it soon, with your jar of Big Lenny’s mustard! Everyone loved this recipe – my husband found the flavors to be just bold enough, my son thought the chops were sweet and asked for seconds (plus dipping mustard!), I enjoyed how well the different ingredients married together. I will make this recipe again and again!


My friend Lauren is reviewing the Apple Cider Honey Mustard:

We gave the mustard a try one night with a ham dinner.  Usually the kids aren’t too interested in condiments with their ham but I asked them to give it a try.  It went over amazingly well…. my 4 -year old even dipped her asparagus in it!!  My husband, who always uses mustard when having ham, said it was delicious.  There was the slight hint of spice like brown mustard but then the sweetness kicked in and left you with a very mild flavor, which is why I think my kids enjoyed it so much.  I wasn’t overwhelmed with Apple cider flavor, but it was an excellent accompaniment to our dinner and I look forward to trying it with other dinners!


Lenny and Jackson – we thank you for sharing your great Vermont products with us. Now it’s time for YOU to enter to win gifts from Vermont Maple Sriracha and Big Lenny’s.


Click and ENTER HERE —– > a Rafflecopter giveaway



Good luck, stay spicy!

Bee’s Wrap – Food Storage Giveaway

What’s all the buzz about? What IS a Bee’s Wrap?


It is a fabric based food storage product that has been infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. This is revolutionary!

Bee’s Wrap started as a home based business and is currently located in a larger production setting in Bristol. Owner Sarah Kaeck tells us more:

Bee’s Wrap began with my love of making things and concerns about our environment.  Our family life revolves around the garden and kitchen.  That is to say we love food!  Finding a healthy sustainable storage solution was important to me and with the health safety of plastic in question and its danger to the environment, plastic was no longer a viable option for food storage..  As a stay at home mother of three I was also interested in bringing in additional income while staying home and available to my children.”


I asked Sarah what makes her product unique. Here is her answer: “There are not many viable sustainable products on the market that can replace plastic wrap.  Bee’s Wrap is made right here in Vermont, made of all natural ingredients and can be used to keep fresh a myriad of products- cheese, bread, baked goods, avocado, greens or fruit.  It is perfect for covering a bowl.  When it has run its course it can be composted or used as fire starter.


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The Bee’s Wrap is so versatile! The pictures above show a bit of leftover lunch that I needed to save. I simply put them on the wrap and folded it up. There are step by step tutorial videos here.



The Bee’s Wrap can be used over and over again after cleaned with with mild dish soap and cold water.


You can find Bee’s Wrap in many stores in Vermont and all over the country. Find the complete list of retailers here. To see the full Bee’s Wrap collection of various sizes visit their website.



Enter to win a two Bee’s Wraps for your family! Click here to ENTER –> a Rafflecopter giveaway




 Good luck!

Vermont Cottage Works Giveaway


Vermont Cottage Works was years…. decades in the making. Owner Jean Grover knew for a long time that she wanted to create useful things with her hands, just as generations before her had done, but it took awhile for her to get there.


“I am a fifth generation Vermonter, born and raised in the wonderful Green Mountain State. My parents were both raised on small farms, growing up during the Great Depression. I mention this because I would not have been taught thrift, self-reliance, and the value of a dollar handed down from my grandmother to my mother had it not been for the hardships they endured. Both of these wonderful women made their own braided rugs from old wool coats left over from rummage sales, and quilts from my old pajamas and my fathers’ worn shirts. I remember putting my heel through a worn sheet on my bed one morning. When I came home from school my mother had made pillowcases from the sections that were still “good”. All our pillowcases were beautifully embroidered or tatted. Gorgeous hooked rugs adorned my Aunts’ floors. All these art forms were born out of necessity, and these skills were handed down by mothers to their daughters in order for them to maintain households of their own.  While my mother was always making quilts for our church and the Ladies Aid Society, as a teenager I did not share her enthusiasm for sewing.  I would rather have fun with my friends, and later I was focused on my career in nursing.  I married and raised two wonderful boys.  Now that they have grown, I have reached back to my roots and discovered the satisfying feeling of making things with my hands.  I opened my Etsy shop, Vermont Cottage Works.”



These compact pet bags are as useful as they are cute! Fill the bag with disposable bags, treats, and your keys. Then clip it to your leash and head to to enjoy time with your best friend.


My sister in law is beautifully modeling this infinity scarf from Vermont Cottage Works. The cotton fabric is soft and the pattern is eye catching. It’s simply lovely! I love the variety of fabrics that Jean has in her shop.


Now… meet one of my favorite new items in my kitchen. I showed it to my sister in law and she agreed that this is a genius idea! This is a microwave soup bowl cozy. My previously burnt hands are thanking me now. Simply place your standard sized bowl in the cozy before you put it into the microwave, and when your meal is heated you can easily get it out without causing yourself pain.

Best idea of the year!


I have used mine countless times in the few weeks that I’ve had it. Be sure to get one for everyone you love.


Jean’s talents don’t stop there! Below is the gift set she will send to one lucky Try Vermont First reader:

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Click here to ENTER HERE to win this gift: ——–> a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!

Valentine’s Day DONUT Giveaway

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In recent years, since becoming a parent, Valentine’s Day has quickly become one of my favorite holidays. I am happy to shower my children and those I love with extra love and affection… and maybe a few delicious donuts!

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Green Mountain Mini Baked, located in Barre, is back with another giveaway for Try Vermont First fans. They are giving away one dozen mini holiday donuts – shipped!

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Debbie Mast, owner of Green Mountain Mini Baked, has been sharing her donuts across the country since 2011. Recently we have seen her creations on many party planning websites and blogs including Celebrate Magazine, Twinkle Twinkle Little Party, Hostess with the Mostess, and The Party Wagon. These sweet treats also found their way onto our WCAX spot for ShopVT2014.

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There are SO many different donuts that you just need to visit Green Mountain Mini Baked on Etsy and check them all out for yourself. What’s your favorite flavor? Maple, chocolate, banana, peanut butter, chocolate chip, nutella, cranberry orange, cinnamon? How about mimosa or beer & pretzel? Not only will you find the perfect Valentine’s Day snack, but also donuts for baby showers, special events, corporate gifts, wedding favors, and more!

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Surprise your Valentine with a completely unique sweet! Note that Valentine’s Day is just one month away! Try Vermont First readers can use the code SHOPVT to receive 10% off their order! Offer good through January 31st.

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Enter HERE to win a gift from Green Mountain Mini Baked:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Hearts Day and love from your favorite VT blogger,



One more:

Red Velvet


Best of Vermont Giveaway

Happy New Year! It is fitting that our first giveaway of 2015 is with Best of Vermont! Let’s ring in the new year with a renewed commitment to shop locally, eat locally and support local businesses!


Best of Vermont began as an on-line gift business in 2008 with 50 products. Their unique offerings and lovely packaging were a hit and online shoppers were hooked!

Just two years later Best of Vermont became one of the area’s leading retail distributors. They currently are working to bring the best products to businesses in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts.


Here is more from Best of Vermont owner Bonnie Kelsey:

“Our focus is to support small producers that have the need to get their quality products to market and to create jobs in our local communities. We mentor our producers to help them succeed and grow with us.”

Best of Vermont continues to grow! They now offer over 1,500 products and expect to add more this year.


Whether you are looking for sweet, salty, spicy, savory, or something completely new… Best of Vermont has it all. In addition they offer complete Gift Cubes.

Are you ready for your chance to WIN a great Gift Cube from Best of Vermont?


There are a few of my favorites in this prize: Vermont Peanut Butter, Rex’s Road Crew Crunch, Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps, Blake Hill Farm Preserves, and more! ENTER HERE to win the Gift Cube pictured above.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of Vermont was a sponsor of ShopVT2014. Learn more here.

Good luck… and again… Happy New Year!


Vermont Stocking Stuffers Giveaway

Ho Ho Ho and Happy Holidays!


Filling stockings is Santa’s favorite job. It always has been because his Mom always helped to make his own stocking so special . If you want to share a few stocking stuffer ideas with Santa please share this blog post with him!


Find twelve great stocking stuffer ideas below with links to purchase each!


Rich Frog has a great collection of soft, cuddly and fun toys for the babies and kids on your list.

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Alaina’s Mosaics has a large variety of cards, tote bags, and shirts. She also has an adorable Animal A-Z book for children.

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Lotus and Lily brings fun and excitement to bath time! They also have a variety of lotions, lip balms, salves, and more.


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Fat Toad Farm will bring just the right amount of sweetness to your holiday. Great for baking, sharing, or eating by the spoonful!

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VT Smoke and Cure is at the top of this Santa’s list. My son has asked for 16 Real Sticks. He’ll need this healthy snack as he tackles the gifts under the tree.

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Chickens A-Z by Vermont author Sarah Rosedahl is perfect for the chicken enthusiast on your list! Kids love this book too! Cluck Cluck!

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Sarita’s Bagitas are as practical as they are fun! These handy bags are great for school snacks and lunches, or to pack when on the road this holiday.

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Vermont Village Applesauce is a pantry must and also a great addition to Christmas breakfast. Try their cranberry applesauce!

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Lake Island Girl makes these beautiful Christmas tree ornaments from green, blue, white (and more) colors of sea glass, much from the shores of Lake Champlain!


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Tiny Gang Designs has kept me laughing this holiday season. Their fun and witty cards are sure to delight!

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Honestly Simple Soaps will help keep your lips and skin hydrated, happy, and smelling great this winter. Their lip balms easily fit into any size stocking.


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Vermont Maple Granola offers both granola and trail mix sweetened with VT’s finest maple syrup. Serve hot or cold, with or without yogurt!


There you have it – Vermont’s finest stocking stuffers. This Santa will be sending these gifts this year, and I hope to find them in my own stocking too.

You can WIN a gift from each of the companies above in our Stocking Stuffer Giveaway!


ENTER HERE to win this giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck. Happy (local) shopping and happiest holiday wishes to you!





PS: Love you Mom! ;)

ShopVT Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered our 36 fabulous ShopVT Giveaways. We are thrilled to announce winners today.


Before the winners are announced I would also like to thank Nissa Sutphen and her team at the Burlington VT Mom’s Blog. They are wonderful to work with. I encourage you to go to one of their very fun events, and of course follow their blog.

Both Nissa and I would like to thank our sponsors: Vermont Harvest, Best of Vermont, Topnotch Resort and Spa, Localvore Today and Mix 102.3. These sponsors have helped make ShopVT a reality.


To our participating businesses, authors, artists: THANK YOU! We are very happy to showcase your products and work.

Please remember the impact of spending your holiday dollars locally!


Now… on to the winners:

Gifts That Give Back (Handle With Love, JewelryOs, VT Chocolate For Change): Jennifer Knowles

Gifts To Stay Active (CCOutdoor Store, Skida, Bolton Valley): Josilyn Adams

GiftsTo Stay Active (Petra Cliffs, Evolution): Heather Ogelby

Gifts To Send (Best of Vermont, Cold Hollow Cider Mill): Connie Godin

Gifts For Host/Hostess (Alaina’s Mosaics, Wild Wood VT): Stefanie Gray

Gifts For Host/Hostess (Time Out For Whoopie, Ariel’s Honey): Rosie K.

Gifts For Expectant Moms/Families (Earthy Soul, Poe Wovens): ShawnnaLea Young Zemanek

Gifts For Expectant Moms/Families(Chunky Love, Bitybean): Michelle M.

Go Choose Your Gifts (Kids City, Apple Mtn, Touch of VT): Rachael Karp Lizotte

Go Choose Your Gifts (Stella Mae, Localvore, Aristelle): Meredith Ray

Gifts For Kids (Turner Toys, Mister Chris): Kayla Tornello

Gifts For Kids (Meet The Multiples, Michael Fedison): Kara Woodard

The Makings For a Perfect Holiday Party (Tala Taste of Persia, Cookedoodlez): Mattie Pontecorvo

The Makings For a Perfect Holiday Party (Squirrel Stash Nuts, Green Mtn Mini Baked): Christina Daudelin Deeley

Gifts Just For You (Wildflower Inn): Patty Frechette

Gifts Just For You (Topnotch Resort and Spa): Kiersten Hallquist

Gift of Photography (Zinfandel): Brianna Howard
Gift of Photography (Mae Memories): Jamie Slater

Gift For The Lover of Local Restaurants (Eco Bean): MacKenzie Jur
Gift For The Lover of Local Restaurants (New Moon): Robin Miller

 Gift For The Lover of Local Restaurants (Skinny Pancake): Katie Pensak
Gifts That Pamper (Salon Cruz): Michelle Rousseau
Gifts That Pamper (Bare): Nikki Coast
Gifts That Pamper (Mini Spa): Jennifer ParDue
Gifts That Pamper (Essex Resort and Spa): Emily Leader

Gifts From The NEK (Circus Smirkus): Maria Jackson
Gifts From The NEK (Stepping Stones Spa): Kerrin Kritchman
Gifts From The NEK (NorthPole Express): Heather McLane

Gifts That Have Style (Alloy Jewelry, Beatriz Jarvis Make Up Artist): Erin Baslow

Gifts That Have Style (Bella Mink, Minou Kids): Beatriz Bryan Jarvis
Gifts That Have Style (Lake Island Girl): Darby Mayville
Gifts For The Sweet Tooth (Good Comida): Katie Wiseman
Gifts For The Sweet Tooth (Snowflake Cupcakes): Donna R.
Gifts For The Cook (Gringo Jack’s): Eyvonne Marceau
Gifts For The Cook (Vermont Harvest): Betsy Mohler Combs
Gifts For The Cook (Chef Contos): Lauren Driscoll

 CONGRATULATIONS! We are so happy to share these amazing Vermont products, services, art and more with you!
Happy Holidays,
Honi Bean Barrett & Nissa Sutphen

ShopVT2014 – Your Local Shopping Guide & Giveaways

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Shop VT is back for the second year to showcase amazing Vermont products, services, art work, jewelry, nonprofits and more! We are once again collaborating with the Burlington VT Mom’s Blog. Together we have 35+ giveaways to share with you, from 55+ local businesses! The total prize value is over $4,300! You will also find dozens of coupon codes designed just for this event.


We believe that it’s important to spend our holiday shopping dollars in our great state. There are fabulous products being made, there are wonderful stores and restaurants to visit, and we want to support our neighbors and our state. Within our sixteen categories you are sure to find a gift, or two or three, for each person you are buying for. You are likely to find items to add to your own wish list too!


I would like to thank the sponsors of ShopVT2014: Localvore Today, Mix 102.3, Topnotch Resort, Vermont Harvest and Best of Vermont. Thank you for your commitment to Vermont businesses and bloggers!


Not in Vermont? Don’t worry… you can still win many of our great giveaways! We know that love for Vermont spreads far and wide.


Without further ado… please enjoy Shop VT 2014!


Best, best, best!




Tiny Gang Giveaway


Tiny Gang Designs opened in May of this year but started with a promise made long ago between two friends in sixth grade. Stephanie Farrell and Katie Wilhite made a vow to one day open a shop to share their doodles and drawings with the world.


I asked Katie where their shop name came from and she shared this: “The name Tiny Gang Designs reflects just the two of us hanging out, doing what we love to do and having fun while we do it! We hang out like a little gang and draw and design (while listening to Beyonce most of the time). We’re a little weird, a little quirky and a little silly – which we try to showcase in our cards.”


I really love sending and receiving mail, and I encourage my children to send mail to friends, grandparents, great grandparents, and cousins. Tiny Gang cards are exceptionally simple, and very eye catching. Their playfulness, fun fonts, and colorful drawings bring smiles!


Katie tells us that their “Whale, Whale, Whale” card is one of the best sellers. Her personal favorite is “You’re A Real Gem“. Check out one of my favorites here.


Who would you like to send a card to? And for what occasion? I like to send “Thinking of You” cards, because I so often am thinking of those that I love who I can not see everyday. I want them to know they are on my mind. Sending them a Tiny Gang card will be like sending a hug.


Stephanie and Katie would like to send YOU cards that you can send and share. Simply ENTER HERE TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember to LIKE Tiny Gang Designs on Facebook!

Send a smile,