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We love the holidays. Why? Because it puts us in a giving mood, and we know how much you guys like receiving from us. That’s why we’ve teamed up with our friends at shoot it! to bring you this awesome promotion. If you’re a gamer, you probably know that Microsoft is set to release a limited edition Modern Warfare 2 Xbox 360 console. It hits stores on November 10th, and we’ve pre-ordered one that we’re giving away to one of you. In case you’re unfamiliar with the console, here’s what’s in the box:

  • Limited edition Xbox 360 Console with exclusive design
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Standard Edition.
  • 250GB HD
  • 2 black wireless controllers
  • 1 black Xbox 360 wired headset
  • 1 Ethernet cable
  • 1 Standard Xbox 360 Composite A/V cable

Yeah, did you see that? A 250GB hard drive. That is more than twice the size of any other Xbox 360 hard drive that you’ll find. This is a serious piece of kit! So, how do you win? Simple. We want to see your “pwned face.” This is where shoot it! comes in. We want you to take a pictures of the face you make when you just pwned a n00b straight out of existence - but we also wanna see the sad pwned face you make when you get straight-up schooled by an 6-year old Halo prodigy. Entertain us, make us laugh, and strike fear into our hearts. We’ve got a few ways that you can enter the contest:

  1. If you don’t have the shoot it! app: You can register for the shoot it! app and they’ll email you a link to download the app for either your BlackBerry 8900, Bold, Tour, or iPhone. They’ll also add 3 FREE postcard credits to your account. All you need to do is snap your photos and send them off using shoot it! to the Gear Live mailing address listed below.
  2. If you already have the shoot it! app on your phone: Enter the promo code “gearlive” to receive the 3 FREE postcard credits. All you need to do is snap your photos and send them off using shoot it! to the Gear Live mailing address listed below.
  3. If you don’t have any of the shoot it! compatible phones: Take a photos of your pwned face, send them to the Gear Live mailing address listed below.
  4. On Twitter, send the following message:
    “Hey @gearlive - I’m sending you my #pwnedface with @shootitmobile. That Xbox 360 is mine! http://bit.ly/pwnedface”
    (Click here to tweet this now)

You should be following the Gear Live Twitter account. Be sure you put your email address and Twitter handle that you used to enter in the message area so that when we get your shoot it! postcard, we can contact you if you win! We will be picking a winner on Monday, November 30th. You can enter as many times as you like, so if you wanna send us fifty different shoot it! images, go for it. The more, the merrier. Here’s the address:

Gear Live
PMB 443
914 164th St SE Ste B12
Mill Creek, WA 98012

Of course, there are always rules to keep things legal. In this case, you’ve gotta be 16 years old or older as of November 1, 2009 to qualify, and you’ve gotta be a US resident. Good luck to all!

Read More | Gear Live shoot it! Xbox 360 giveaway

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Free Maghound Membership giveaway

We’ve been using MAGHOUND for a couple of months now on an evaluation basis, and we must say, we like the concept. The easiest way to describe it is to say it is like for magazines, but even that isn’t quite right. In a nutshell, when you join MAGHOUND, you choose a number of magazines that you’d like to receive each month. Let’s say, 3. Unlike traditional magazine subscriptions, though, if it turns out you don’t like a magazine, you just log in to your MAGHOUND account and replace it with something else.

Even better, if you subscribe to a magazine that only publishes every other month, then you also get to specify what substitute magazine you want to receive in the off months. You see, you are paying for three magazines per month, period. So if a magazine doesn’t print that month, you get to choose something else. It’s very cool, especially if you know there is an upcoming issue of a magazine that you definitely want. You can take a look at their complete magazine offerings to see what I mean.

Want in on the action? We are giving away TWO one-year subscriptions to the 3-per-month MAGHOUND plan, which would normally cost you $4.95 per month. Entering is simple - we will give one subscription away on Twitter, and the other on Facebook:

To enter the Twitter giveaway, be sure you are following Gear Live on Twitter, and tweet the following:

Hey @gearlive - Count me in on the MAGHOUND giveaway! http://bit.ly/maghound #gearlive (Click here to tweet this now!)

To enter the Facebook giveaway, just become a fan and leave a comment on the Gear Live Facebook page.

Feel free to enter both. Winners will be selected at random, and if you enter both, you will only be able to win one. The contest runs from today through September 11, at 11:59 PM PDT. We will announce winners on Monday, September 14th, and you must be a US resident to enter.


HP Back To School Better Together GiveawayWe realize that it’s been a few weeks since our last giveaway, so we are back with a vengeance this time around. As part of HP’s Back to School: Better Together campaign, we are a part of 25 different sites that are giving away a bunch of portable computing technology to one lucky winner. So, what’s up for grabs? Take a look:

  • One HP dv6 notebook: Intel Core 2 Duo P7350, Windows Vista Ultimate, 4GB RAM, 500 GB Hard Drive, drive
  • One HP Mini 110 netbook: Intel Atom 270, Windows XP, 1GB RAM, 10-inch display
  • A customized Gear Live Timbuk2 bag
  • Syncables software pre-installed on the notebooks, for hassle-free synchronization between the two

Sounds good, right? We’ve made entering super-easy. Here’s how to throw your name into the hat:

That’s it! Our contest runs from today through August 20, at 11:59 PM PDT. As long as you’ve completed the above requirements by that time, you are entered. The winner will be picked randomly, and contacted through Facebook messaging, and will need to respond within 48 hours, or else another random entry will be selected as the winner. This contest is open to anyone, as long as you live on planet Earth, so you non-US residents, feel free to play along.


La IslaOver the years, my husband and I have eaten at a lot of restaurants, I hesitate to say hundreds because it makes it sound like I never cook at home, but I would not be surprised if it were true. We love food. From shopping for quality ingredients, to preparation, and execution of a great dish. It is all so fascinating, not to mention delicious if said recipe turns out as it was intended. So in order to share my love or hate for a particular restaurant, I will be reviewing these establishments now and then so that the everyday person can go in knowing what to expect and what to order and what not to order should you walk away in disgust.

Today, I will be writing about one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area, La Isla, located in Ballard. It is not the easiest place to get to as far as easy freeway access, but so worth the drive. I love Puerto Rican food, as my husband does, and we don’t have any other restaurants in this area, for that matter anywhere in this region that we have heard of that offers the dishes that one must have to call themselves an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant. Why is that I wonder? I hope many more will open in this area following in the footsteps of La Isla, but they will have big shoes to fill.

Click to continue reading Puerto Rican Cuisine Done Right: La Isla Restaurant Review


MUG root beer fathers day giveaway
We’re less than a week out from Father’s day, and I can smell the charcoal already. While some may head out to a nice steakhouse for a special dinner for Dad, tons of us will be gathered around a grill doing it ourselves. My friends at Mug Root Beer want to help make all of this summer’s BBQs a culinary triumph for you.

From today until Sunday at 8:00 PM Eastern, comment on this entry about your most memorable “Dad” moment. Did your dad show up to the aforementioned steakhouse in a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops? Maybe your friend’s dad stepped in to save the day when a road trip went bad, or your uncle’s BBQ went up in a blaze of meat glory. I want to hear about it! I’ll be choosing five of the most memorable BBQ stories that you all share and the winners will each receive a prize pack, containing the fantastic recipe for MUG Root Beer Southern Specialty Brew-B-Q sauce (and the sauce is awesome - I was given a copy of the recipe and made some last night) and all of the ingredients to boot, in an insulated MUG bag with a MUG apron.

Lay’em on me guys - I want to hear your Dad stories!


palmiers

File these under “Super Easy, Still Impressive” - palmiers (light, sweet puff pastry cookies) are criminally cinchy to make and an impressive and tasty way to end a meal on a high (and not too heavy) note. I love to eat these with chocolate sauce or whipped cream, and every once in a while I get a little crazy and add some cinnamon to the sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425.

Sprinkle half of the sugar on a cutting board. Unfold the puff pastry and press it down into the sugar. Sprinkle the other half of the sugar on top of the puff pastry and spread it around with your fingers, brushing off the sugar that doesn’t stick to the pastry.

Fold the sides of the puff pastry in to the center. Fold the pastry again so there are four layers. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry across the short side into 1 inch slices. For the best results cut straight down, not back-and-forth like with bread or steak.

The very best baking results will be achieved using a silicone baking mat like a Silpat, but parchment paper will work in a pinch. To bake, take the sliced pieces and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Unfold them slightly and twist the edges down, so that the cookies make a V (this part is not the easiest thing to explain, I know - basically you’ll have one end standing up on the cut side, and it will be the point on the V that’s formed with the two ends lying flat on the the non-cut side). Bake until the tops are slightly golden (about 7 minutes) and remove from the oven. Flip them over and put back in the oven another 4 or 5 minutes or so - until the tops and sides are nicely browed and the sugar has caramelized. Remove and let cool, then eat!


Chicken Souvlaki salad recipe

At home one night with plenty of nicely marinated chicken but no pita to be found, I had an epiphany - if souvlaki is basically an undressed Greek salad with chicken on a pita, why couldn’t I eat it as a DRESSED Greek salad with chicken without a pita? And thus my new summer standby meal was born - the chicken souvlaki salad. This recipe will feed two very well and leave four wanting more (I suggest getting some baklava for dessert).

 

Vinaigrette Ingredients

:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

Salad Ingredients

:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce or 2 hearts of Romaine
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese

Preparation:
Mix the marinade. Reserve half to dress the salad, and combine the other half in a zipper bag with the chicken. Marinate the chicken for 4 to 24 hours.

Grill (or saute) the marinated chicken breasts. Slice thinly. Prepare the salad vegetables. Top with the chicken and cheese, then the reserved vinaigrette. If you’re feeling really saucy, you can use tzaziki as a dressing instead of the reserved half of the vinaigrette. Or you could just use both.


bbrb-muffins

It’s time for fresh berries! One of my favorite ever weekend breakfasts (okay, most weekend breakfasts are my favorite) is a nice warm blueberry muffin. Or a few. And yes, there are plenty of mixes and bakeries around who will hook my breakfast up right for just a little bit of time and money, but I’m still firmly of the belief that everything tastes better when it comes from my personal oven.

These muffins are an adaptation of a recipe from the Butter Queen Paula Deen - when I went to buy blueberries this week, there were some raspberries that I just couldn’t resist. I added a streusel topping recipe found on the Chowhound message board for a little bit of extra sweetness and crunch. And before you ask, I did not eat muffins straight off of my counter - there IS a plate under there. It’s just clear. I swear.

 

Click to continue reading Recipe: Summer Berry Muffins

Read More | Food Network

Gear Live

Whoa! Gear Live is now five years old—can you believe that? I sure can’t. It seems like it was just yesterday that I started up this little blog, to share my thoughts on consumer electronics in my spare time, and eventually getting a friend to help me post some news. Before we knew it, this become my full-time gig, and we were adding writers, and sections, left and right. Today, Gear Live has over 20,000 articles spread across our various sections, headed up by some of the best writers in the blogging game. We’ve got video shows, giveaways, and a social network that we are building as well. Regardless of how many things we’ve got going on from the past, we will always have some neat tricks up our collective sleeves in the future.

So how are we celebrating? Well, how about if we gave you presents? Since it’s our fifth birthday, we decided we would give away five Mophie Juice Pack Airs. After all, people are all over the if our numbers are correct (they are,) and what better way to celebrate than by doubling the battery life of your iPhone 3G or 3G S?

How do you enter? Simple. Just leave a reply in our ‘Gear Live Turns 5’ forum thread, letting us know what your favorite Gear Live story of all time happens to be. It can be a text update, or one of our videos. Just leave a link and tell us why you liked it. Once you’ve done that, head on over to Twitter and tweet the following:

“@gearlive Turns 5, and I just entered to win a Mophie Juice Pack Air! http://bit.ly/mophie-air” (Click here to tweet this now)

We will choose five random entries as our winners, and they’ll receive the Mophie Juice Pack Air for their troubles. Why should you want one? Check out our Mophie Juice Pack Air review. Now to start comparing kindergarten programs…


Platinum Zune HD giveaway

The Zune HD is real, and we are going to be giving one away to one of our readers. You want in? All you need to to do enter to win the is help us win the I’m a Blogger Get me Out of Here contest. If we win, we will be bringing you content straight from the set of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here. Seriously, I had to taste some of the most vile flavors I’ve ever put in my mouth, and you’ll probably get a few laughs out of it.

Here’s how to enter to win:

  1. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) - make the subject line “Vote for Andru Edwards” and hit send.
  2. If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Gear Live account
  3. If you don’t have one already, sign up for a Twitter account
  4. Add the Gear Live Twitter account to your follow list
  5. On Twitter, post the following tweet about our contest:

    “I just entered to win a Zune HD from @gearlive! http://bit.ly/zune-hd” (Click here to tweet this now)

  6. Once that is done, leave a comment in this forum thread with a direct link back to your Tweet, or a screen capture showing you voted. Be sure you are signed in to your Gear Live account before you leave the response.

Im a blogger get me out of here

BONUS ENTRIES: Want more chances to win? Share the link to our contests on the following sites, and leave us a comment linking to those as well:

  • Post a screen capture in the forum thread showing that you voted
  • Facebook: Shared Link
  • Del.icio.us bookmark
  • FriendFeed: Use Post a Link
  • Your blog: Have a site? Link to our contest on it!

Remember: The bonus entries are just that - bonus. In order to be eligible to win, you must complete the core Twitter requirements.

As we (hopefully) make it through each round, you get another chance to Vote all over again, giving you even more chances to win. The contest starts today, and is open to US residents only. You have until 11:00 PM PST on June 11th to enter your votes. We will then announce our winner, chosen randomly out of all valid entrants and bonus points, on June 12th. The winner will be sent a Zune HD right after the product launches. Remember, you have three chances to enter a vote!


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